Readers' letters: Government childcare was better in forties

I was in the early years of primary school during the second world war.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 7:00 am
Free school milk was ended by Margaret Thatcher in 1971

Each pupil received a third of a pint of milk each day and families were supplied with cod liver oil and orange juice for their children.

Pre-war planning had ensured that everyone had a gas mask in the event that gas was used by the enemy. My little sister had a gas mask styled on Mickey Mouse designed to avoid small children being frightened.

Much food and other commodities were shipped across the Atlantic in convoys constantly under attack.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rationing was in force, but no child went hungry at a time when the major effort was to defend the country against a ruthless enemy. The generation which grew up in these times is one of the healthiest in history.

I contrast this wartime planning and concern for the welfare of children with the failures that appear in government today.

If this planning and foresight was applied now, we would not be lurching from crisis to crisis, with “just in time” being replaced by the latest shortages and failures.

The major blame for this is deflected towards a benign European Union rather than a government set on fulfilling jingoistic ideals.

Some of the compassion and efficiency shown in the 1940s would not go amiss today.

David Middleton, St Andrews.

Holyrood Park traffic ban is high-handed

I was seething after seeing an online survey by Historic Environment Scotland, asking people for their thoughts on permanently banning all traffic around Holyrood Park.

I and probably many other residents of Dumbiedykes never heard anything about the survey, which considering we live right beside Holyrood Park, is a disgrace.

Also not everyone has a computer. The survey is now closed. I agree with Cllr John McLellan that Holyrood Park managers are being high-handed.

Has HES remembered that access is required for emergency vehicles? Queens Drive is used regularly as a quick route to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Since HES started closing the roads in Holyrood Park on a Saturday, traffic on Holyrood Road has been an absolute nightmare. Think Sunday was enough.

Stephanie Wint, Edinburgh.

Whatever happened to correct grammar?

On Question Time recently one of the members of the panel, an MP who has served as a shadow minister for schools and is Vice President of the Higher Education Academy said, "I'm sat on this platform talking to you ...."

The use of the words ‘sat’ and ‘stood’ in the wrong context have become commonplace, with adults often as bad as children in their apparent inability to speak correctly.

We are often assured that education in schools is of an excellent standard. This shocking lack of knowledge of basic correct use of grammar has been going on for decades.

This is evident, given that many journalists and others working in the media, including radio and television make such basic errors.

A presenter reporting from Wimbledon told us, "I am stood here on the centre court"; a short time later, she said, "I am sat here at the centre court".

There was a time when one couldn't gain a place at university without a high pass in English. If only those deserving of a place at university now were given one, many or even most universities would have to close, due to lack of students.

Sandra Busell, Edinburgh.