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READERS’ LETTERS: Too many people tinkering with services

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Sir, – We are fast becoming a nation of interferers – and often with disastrous consequences.

Our once proud and much lauded education system was copied by many.

Yet now it has been beset upon by the so-called Curriculum for Excellence which has wrought confusion upon both teachers and pupils.

There seem to be ever changing modes and directions all leading downwards to a fall in literacy and numeracy.

Meanwhile, our police force is now centrally organised , apparently in the interest of social and financial efficiency.

But it has an IT system seemingly not fit for purpose.

At the same time the service is now facing an enormous monetary black hole, with public confidence also at a low ebb.

Then we turn to our once vaunted National Health Service.

Once upon a time the NHS was run wholly satisfactorily by a Matron-inspired regime with both State Registered Nurse (SRN) and State Enrolled Nurse (SEN) levels of nurses.

This has been replaced by a top heavy and highly bureaucratic system, more concerned with number crunching than delivery, and the SEN rank, very much the backbone of hospitals, eliminated .

The tinkerers are at play everywhere.

There is an old adage that “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”.

That being so we have a surfeit of camels abounding us – and continuing to multiply at a cost.

David L Thomson.

24 Laurence Park,



Waste changes are rubbish

Sir, – I read your story regarding potential changes to arrangements for waste disposal at recycling centres in Fife with interest (“Calls to reconsider centre’s ‘walk on’ ban”, Courier, October 31).

I visit the recycling centre in Cupar by car every week.

When I am there I park and then walk to the non recyclable skip, the paper and cardboard container, and the separate bins for glass, tins and plastic.

I cannot see a different safety issue for a customer walking in through the gates from one arriving by car and disposing of their rubbish as I do.

Banning pedestrian access to a civic amenity site is illogical.

A civic amenity should be available to all users, regardless of whether they choose to walk in or drive in.

Graham Lang.


Coaltown of Callange,



Hjul only looks at one side

Sir, – Once again I feel I must respond to an article by Jenny Hjul (“Buck now stops at Holyrood”, Courier, October 31).

This article not only lacks substance but is full of generalisation.

Monday’s budget not only told us nothing here in Scotland but left the UK bereft of anything of economic relevance other than trying to resolve the pothole problem, albeit an English pothole problem.

As usual the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

Does anyone other than Ms Hjul and the Tories really believe that austerity is over?

She once again trots out how Scotland is so fortunate in receiving nearly “£1 billion” as a result of the Barnett formula.

Many economists have debunked this formula and the advantages it provides to the Scots.

No mention, either, of the £3.5 billion that has/is being removed from the Scottish allocation.

With Ms Hjul all you get is the one side of the argument.

She constantly complains about how incompetent and stupid the Scottish Government is, yet, in democratic elections over 11 years our voters continue to vote the SNP into power as the biggest party.

Once again out comes the old chestnut of the SNP obsessing on independence and not doing the day job.

Ms Hjul should open her eyes to the fact that Scotland is forging a different path than the rest of the UK .

Our country’s social democratic agenda is now moving forward apace, our NHS is different, our education system is different, our people’s attitude to wealth distribution is different.

Our fiscal and monetary policies, our social policies and priorities are different.

The elephant in the room is Brexit yet that is nowhere to be seen in this article.

Ms Hjul clearly sees no consequences for Scotland.

Dan Wood.

1 Charles Melvin




Government is confused

Sir, – The government keep telling people that a Brexit deal is 95% done and dusted, yet the chancellor says that his Budget proposals may not be implemented if a deal is not reached with the European community.

Yet more confusion from this government.

Alister Rankin.

93 Whyterose Terrace,



Local members are not the issue

Sir, – In answer to Councillor Harry Coates regarding the motivation of politicians (Letters, November 1) the problem is not the dedicated councillors or police officers but the system.

These dedicated elected representatives are having to fight ludicrous decisions of the Home Office to deport people from Scotland that should never be considered for deportation in places such as Shetland and currently in Gillian Martin’s constituency in Aberdeenshire.

If the system that allows people to make laws and never have to face election but be appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister – or a system is in place to police Scotland that fails to recognise that Mintlaw is different to Motherwell or Pittenweem is different to Paisley – you try to fix it, not ignore it and hope it gets better in time.

It simply defies common sense to expect people in Glasgow to have a good local knowledge of Kemnay or vice versa, in my opinion.

Peter Ovenstone.

6 Orchard Grove,



Progress has been painful

Sir, – Over 20 years ago,the BMA produced an excellent booklet on cannabis.

I was part of a panel, hosted by Kirsty Wark, which debated the use of cannabis.

This was broadcast from the Caird Hall.

It has taken this long to reach the powers that be to allow it to be prescribed by medical staff for specific conditions.

I was fortunate to be one of the clinicians at the then Dundee Limb Fitting Centre.

I came across several patients who found relief from intractable phantom pain, with the use of illegal cannabis.

I championed its use for the pain.

Not phantom sensation, which is common in amputees, but true pain.

I hope that in time the prescription guidelines will be extended to include phantom pain.

This would be of considerable help to another group of individuals for whom no other medication works.

Dr C P U Stewart.

38 Seafield Road,

Broughty Ferry.


Euthanasia legislation likely

Sir, – It is perhaps understandable that proponents of killing seek euphemisms for their campaigns.

Their latest, “assisted dying”, implies that it is assistance for the dying – but palliative care is uncontroversial.

Causing death, however, is a completely different matter.

The arguments for and against will be rehearsed as the euthanasia campaign relaunches.

However, on our current trajectory, it is possible to predict that it will indeed eventually be passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Of the five parties represented, two support some form of euthanasia or assisted suicide (the Greens and Liberal Democrats).Meanwhile, three are neutral.

Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson have both voted against it, but their public statements on the matter have seemed to deliberately leave the door open for a future change of heart.

Does anyone seriously expect our current crop of MSPs to do anything other than drift in the so-called “progressive” direction?

When Labour, the SNP and Conservatives declare such issues to be a “matter of conscience” for their MSPs, they seek to exclude the electorate from the decision making process and thereby confine party political debate to more comfortable territory.

Richard Lucas.

Leader of the Scottish Family Party,

272 Bath Street,