Sir,- As reported in the Courier (29 July), sheriff and jury cases at Dundee and Forfar Sheriff Courts now have roughly a one-in-five chance of being adjourned for want of court time.
This causes inconvenience and stress to the witnesses involved, particularly as they know that they will have it all to do again with no certainty the case will proceed on the new date.
This also causes huge expense to the public purse as witnesses and jurors have to be paid their expenses, then there is the additional expense incurred by the police in re-rostering shifts, arranging cover, and transporting officers to a far distant court.
The official line from the Scottish Courts Service is that these delays are nothing to do with the closure of Cupar and Arbroath Sheriff Courts but are due to the complex nature of the cases now being tried.
That must rank as one of the most feeble reasons ever used to excuse a failure of policy.
The court closures were made on the premise of improving service and saving money – a very difficult trick, and in this instance one that has failed spectacularly.
The only thing it has achieved is to delay access to justice – and justice delayed is justice denied.
If an experienced legal practitioner such as Billy Boyle thinks things will only get worse then you can rest assured they will.
Worst of all, this mess was predicted by almost everyone who had anything to do with the closure-threatened courts.
This stands alongside the changes forced upon the Scottish police service and both are a total shambles.
As far as courts and policing are concerned the inhabitants of rural Scotland in particular have been mugged.
44 Viewforth Place,
The danger of ‘guidelines’
Sir, – I can understand why some see the named person scheme as benign.
The mechanics may seem innocuous and, implemented with universal wisdom, it might cause few problems.
However, the proposed increase of state power over family life should be considered in the context of the philosophy of the Scottish social work and educational establishment.
Their views of parenting are extreme and dogmatic. What most good parents would regard as a moderate and deserved punishment for a child, would often be the subject of hysterical over-reaction by the authorities.
Where most reasonable parents might decide to make demands in terms of help with chores, the state agents are more likely to recommend negotiating with children to ensure they are entirely happy with their allocated jobs.
When a good parent reports they have a few perfectly sensible rules in the house, the named person could be horrified by this authoritarian and dictatorial language – the term “guidelines” must be employed in future.
Don’t forget that many social workers would rather see a child remain in a care home, with all of the attendant risks, than agree to their adoption into a stable happy family whose values don’t quite tick all of the politically-correct boxes.
A purpose for named persons
Sir, – The Scottish Government should go back to the drawing board and work out what the purpose, objectives, remit and execution of the named persons should be.
Too many young people I meet are not looking for work. They dream about, or do, courses such as “sound technology”, media studies or childcare.
This complicated, entrenched problem starts at home and continues at school.
Children need routine, challenge, good nutrition, stimulation and aspiration – not
mantras that kid them they can be whatever they want and leave them with an attitude of entitlement and learned helplessness.
The extremely impressive group of enthusiastic, grounded, highly-educated young people who are the future of this country have benefited from good parenting, irrespective of the social or economic class they come from, but there is not enough of them and the fate of thousands of others is low pay, illness, no private pension and old age destitution.
Targeted intervention is required to mitigate this looming disaster – it can’t be fixed.
The unpalatable truth is too many people don’t know how to bring up children, or are too lazy to work at it.
Ruthless prioritisation based on need and social and economic return, and proper investment of money and resources will start to eat into the problem and uncover solutions and success.
Unfortunately for all parties – not just the SNP – this means admitting the scale and source of the problem and alienating the very people who need the help and who provide a large chunk of their voter base.
1 Willow Row,
The urgent need for more power
Sir, – The French energy giant EDF gave final approval for the £18 billion nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
However, EDF had to cancel a planned party for 150 VIPs, including two Chinese dignitaries, because Theresa May has delayed signing a deal until she is sure
that it provides value for money since the agreement includes paying double the going rate per unit of energy.
Is it security concerns since the Chinese have a 33.5% stake?
This winter power stations will produce barely enough electricity to meet peak demand. Panic has set in.
The National Grid is paying 10 fossil-fuelled power plants £123 million to stay open but idle until required.
Thousands of diesel generators are standing idle and being paid to be available.
Hospitals have been asked to use their own diesel generators and not the national grid.
This is not an energy policy this is back of the envelope stuff.
The Scottish Government cannot be critical, since Scotland’s energy policy of wind turbines has failed and Scotland is now regularly importing English electricity when the wind does not blow.
138 Springfield Road
An encouraging reconsideration
Sir, – It is encouraging that further consideration is given prior to commitment to the proposed new Hinckley nuclear power station.
If only such had been the case before our headlong rush into renewable energy, and the ruination of our landscape by useless wind turbines.
Sturgeon should think of home
Sir, – I wish Nicola
Sturgeon would get off her high horse and stop trying to be an international stateswoman.
Instead of going on about EU membership and trying to break up the UK, why does she not show us how we will be much better off after independence.
At present Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK in growth and employment.
Living in Perthshire I notice road verges are not trimmed, and just to the north of Perth the A9 is littered with pot holes that should have been repaired months ago.
In fact, the whole area is beginning to feel and look run down.
This is not the image we should be sending to tourists and possible investors.
These are a few of the many things she should be dealing with at home instead of pointless posturing.
Information that is honest and fair
Sir, – The spokes-person for St Andrews University claims that the information provided by me to your excellent journalist, Cheryl Peebles, is false and irresponsible (30 July).
I cannot let that accusation stand unchallenged as any material I give to
journalists is always well-researched, honest, responsible and reliable – and they know that.
I relied for part of my material on the environmental statement submitted by the university in support of its planning application.
Chapter 20 (Grid Connection), para 20.5 states: “Based
on the findings of this initial grid connection assessment, connecting to the St Andrews primary substation at 11kV is considered to be the most feasible option available at this time. “To maximise the generating capacity of the wind farm, the option to connect via two new 11kV circuits is considered to be the most attractive.
“If the reinforcements to the 33kV system described under Option 3B are implemented, it may be possible to increase the installed capacity of the wind farm at a later date.”
The university spokesperson glibly states: “We have no ambition to expand the wind farm.”
I think if the vice-chancellor were to put that in writing, I might believe it, but I don’t give any weight to such a statement from an anonymous mouthpiece.