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Scotland’s poor must not be left behind

Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee
Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee

Sir, – I have great sympathy with Professor Sir Pete Downes, principal of Dundee University, in his concerns about the impact of Brexit and I share his desire to see many foreign nationals at both Dundee and Abertay Universities.

They enrich our city and my church, for one, would be poorer without them.

However, I think he is unwise to allow his political prejudices about the EU to influence his doom-and-gloom prognosis for the university.

I realise Dundee University receives a great deal of finance from the EU but the possibility of this being removed should not cause panic.

Sir Pete campaigned against Brexit. He should not be continuing that campaign but seeking to get the best deal possible for the university.

Telling his staff that Brexit means foreigners are not welcome will result in foreign staff and students feeling as if they are not welcome.

As someone who is involved with inter-national students I want to say foreigners are even more welcome in Dundee. We need them.

It’s good that Dundee University has 1,000 students from other EU countries and I agree we should campaign to see as many as possible continue to come.

However, universities need to remember they are not just corporate companies selling educational products.

I wish that there would be as much concern and passion to see 1,000 students from Scotland’s housing schemes and from the poorer countries of the world.

We need to see the same concern for the young people who come from the housing schemes of Dundee and Perth and the slums of Nairobi and Aleppo, as for those who come from the suburbs of Paris and Berlin.

David A. Robertson,
St Peter’s Free Church,


Has Strictly been fixed?

Sir, – What is going on with Strictly Come Dancing? Is it for real this year?

The standard of dancing has been unprecedented and we have been treated to a festival of fun, talent and wonder. Until now.

I didn’t ever vote Labour but shared the mirth of watching Mr Balls, above, once again demean himself in front of the nation. It was entertaining – at first.

The viewers aren’t surely as half-baked as to keep voting him in at the expense of talented celebrities who have exceeded all expectations in their skills and endeavour?

So just who is keeping this clown on our screens? I question the voting results and I’m not alone. The Strictly viewing public is up in arms at the recent outcome where fairly polished participants have been ousted in favour of a lumbering, heavy-footed politician.

The shocking fact is he shows no remorse and seems to think his potential knows no bounds.

The powers that be absolutely must take control of this situation and, unless it is a fix as is being speculated, the aftermath will put a huge cloud over the entire proceedings, with viewers losing faith.

Mr Balls, it is time to show some humiliation and bow out, whether gracefully or not.

I speak for the fans when I say the public cannot possibly be as gullible as to believe the results are genuine.

The series has been on for 14 years now and it is an insult to our intelligence to assume that we implicitly believe that behind-the-scenes machinations don’t exist.

Irene Thomson
72 Glasgow Road


An obsession with Amazon

Sir, – Willie Rennie should really try to keep up.

Regarding the news story on Amazon selling alcohol (November 21), he suggests we need an investigation of “this new model of alcohol sales” and “an examination of the evidence from other countries where this has been introduced”.

It is not a new model, nor do we need evidence from other countries.

Alcohol has been available in Scotland from Amazon for some time. I have seen no definitive evidence that it has exacerbated Scotland’s admitted drink problem.

Mr Rennie’s antipathy to Amazon is becoming an obsession.

Laurie Richards.
100 Crail Road,


Cut jobs at top not bottom

Sir, – I read with disgust that Angus Council is considering paying consultants £1.1 million to help save £30 million.

Why not forget the consultants and save £1.1m or do away with the obviously overstaffed and overpaid finance department which is meant to sort this problem. It is getting clearer now to many people that cuts should be started at the well-paid top part of this council and not the under-paid staff at the bottom.

T. Mitchell.
7 Links Avenue,


Have we got our priorities wrong?

Sir, – Recently I had to spend more than an hour in queues for the car park and drop-off point at Ninewells Hospital.

This is a facility where many people turn up under all sorts of physical and mental stress.

I sat and wondered if there would ever be queues like that at The Rep theatre or the new V&A, both of which have received public money.

I wondered if we were getting our priorities right.

Of course, there would be no gongs for improving parking at Ninewells.

The fact is that lumping all medical facilities in one massive congested block was always going to be a serious mistake.

The huge block of shaped concrete of the V&A will never outclass the beautiful Albert Institute anyway.

Ron Soutar.
Camperdown Street,


Britain’s poor abused by elite

Sir, – I hate Children In Need and Comic Relief.

Neither of these are signs of a caring sharing society. They are signs of a return to Dickensian alms for the poor, replacing the welfare state with “charitable institutions”.

Trolleys for foodbanks in supermarkets are joined by drop-offs for toys for the poor at this season of goodwill.

Once again, our rich overlords in Westminster are asking the middle classes and the working class to pay for the poorest while they make “generous donations” and get tax-relief and photo opportunities with celebrities.

You’ll find the poor working class are the most generous as they are closest to the edge of the cliff of despair.

British values sicken me. Give me honest patter and a helping hand any day over a condescending speech about pooling and sharing.

We need to take back our country from those who abuse the system.

The rich elite who run everything, including the media, tells us to hate the foreigners or the poorest, most vulnerable, who are forced to beg for the necessities of life and are hated for their poverty.

Mark Harper.
22 Fitzroy Street,


A warmth in frosty message

Sir, – Walking past a car on a beautiful, sunny, crisp morning I noticed it was white with frost.

On the windscreen was written – I love you mum.

I immediately smiled to myself and thought this is what Christmas is all about.

(Mrs) Ercell Carruthers.
11 Poplar Avenue,