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Consultants paid to do councillors’ work

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Sir, – Your reports explaining that Angus Council requires to reduce expenditure by £30 million have caused me concern, not because of the need to save money but the proposed methodology to be adopted.

The use of consultants at a cost of more than £1 million appears to me, as a retired managing director of a manufacturing business, an admission that the senior management of the council does not know much about their business and the departments under their control.

In the past I have heard statements that councils need to pay top money to get the best people.

If the best people were in place they would understand how to reduce costs, painful as that may be in terms of staffing levels and services provided.

The management team would provide the democratically-elected representatives with options upon which informed decisions could be made.

Had I suggested to the shareholders of the business with which I was entrusted that my management team and I did not know enough about the business to implement cost savings, there would have been one saving very quickly: my salary.

And, incidentally, my experience of consultants is that they are always looking for, and proposing, their next well-paid job.

David Baker.
3 Denley Court,
Arbroath.

 

We should agree to disagree

Sir, – Your correspondent Mr Morrison of Brechin asserts that “refusing to accept that God exists will not make him go away”, but I argue instead that insisting that God does exist won’t make him real. Neither view is provable in our lifetime.

Believers in God and an afterlife are arguably better off than the non-religious because if they are wrong they will never know as they will no longer have the consciousness required for knowledge.

On the other hand, if God does exist and there is a life beyond this one, Mr Morrison and others will have the satisfaction of knowing that they were right.

As a lifelong atheist, despite the efforts of Christian teachers throughout my childhood, I shall never have the satisfaction of knowing that I was right as I will cease to exist when I die.

On the other hand, I might come face to face with an angry deity and know that I was completely wrong.

That would be an interesting, or even terrifying, experience.

I won’t waste time worrying about it, but nor am I going to try to talk others out of their faith.

Cannot all of us just agree to disagree and get on with trying to be decent human beings in the one life that we absolutely know exists?

Moira Symons.
17 Woodlands Gardens,
Dundee.

 

Transformation of politics

Sir, – First we had Brexit, now we have President-elect Donald Trump and maybe there will be a stampede for the exit doors from other European Union countries emboldened by recent events.

A material change indeed, but not in the way Ms Sturgeon had hoped for in order to manufacture an excuse for another referendum.

However, what is clear is that we no longer have the old-established political classes in control.

When it comes to national issues we have a new political force which is an unholy alliance across the political spectrum underpinned by the neglected blue collar and the working classes who have been left behind following the Great Recession and globalisation and who believe in secure borders, immigration control and fair trade agreements.

Whether we like it or not, Nigel Farage led the charge in the UK and Mr Trump followed suit in the United States.

In both countries the established political parties have struggled to come to terms with the new populist movements. Interestingly, it is the Tories and the Republicans who have made most progress to transition to the new reality.

Spare a thought for Ms Sturgeon who has been wrong-footed at every turn, whether it was about Brexit, President-elect Trump or trying to do separate deals with other EU countries to undermine UK Brexit negotiations.

Ian Lakin.
Pinelands,
Murtle Den Road,
Milltimber.

 

An emotional appeal on way

Sir, – So Oxford Dictionaries declare post-truth as its 2016 word of the year.

In 2014, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon were among the first politicians to employ rigorously post-truth politics: the objective weaknesses in their separatist argument were papered over with emotional appeals to a sense of Scottishness.

Their claims on the economy were deemed by the majority to be vacuous but boy, could their dyed-in-the-wool supporters wave a Saltire well.

But what next for SNP post-truth politics?

Nicola Sturgeon’s EU rhetoric has backed her into a corner meaning, to retain any credibility in nationalist ranks, she could be forced to demand a second independence referendum.

We have witnessed post-truth politics help catapult Donald Trump to the White House.

Ms Sturgeon may not share his political views but it is an undeniable truth, should she again attempt to drag Scotland out of the UK, that she will employ his emotive campaigning methods with gusto.

Martin Redfern.
4 Royal Circus,
Edinburgh.

 

SNP splashes taxpayers’ cash

Sir,- I don’t know whether Humza Yousaf is responsible for recent train problems, but the story of his rise to SNP prominence is worth retelling.

He worked for the Scottish Government- funded Scottish Islamic Foundation. The tax-payers’ money spent on this organisation was intended to ingratiate the SNP with the Muslim community.

One is reminded of the public funds lavished on Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh’s Scottish Asian Womens’ Association that brought her to prominence before her bid for political office.

With so many important projects to fund, no wonder the SNP is desperate to plunge us further into debt.

Richard Lucas.
11 Broomyknowe,
Colinton,
Edinburgh.

 

Trump will win over his critics

Sir, – Donald Trump is not a politician and does not come with the usual barrel of anodyne policies and sayings.

He is a successful businessman who knows what is wrong and wishes to remedy it.

His concept of putting things right for America eludes people for the moment. When it starts to work, they will soon come aboard.

Malcolm Parkin.
Gamekeepers Road,
Kinnesswood.

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