Sir, – I was disappointed but not surprised to read the remarks by Jenny Marra MSP on Site Six at the waterfront.
She raised queries about the building being constructed “in front of the V&A” and asks “is the idea not to open up the waterfront?”
Where has she been all these years? The waterfront masterplan, conceived, initially under Labour and progressed ably under several SNP administrations, has seen a step-change in how Dundee is perceived locally, nationally and internationally.
It is an ambitious, 30 year plan – a balance of development and public access, investment and job-generation, open-space, tourism and new homes to create a thriving, sustainable waterfront and city centre.
By supporting the odd idea that a view of the V&A from Union Street will be “spoiled” it’s clear she thinks the whole balance of the plan can now be cherry-picked. That’s very sad because the success has been achieved by the city speaking with one voice. That’s how success is built, by a city discussing, then deciding and sticking with it and going all out for it, together.
Dundee needs a working, busy waterfront where real people live and work and come to stay. There is of course public open-space in the plan but we need to see the bigger view here; a vibrant internationally successful modern city and the employment that goes with it, not moaning about a lost view as if the V&A is some kind of Pyramid of Giza to be worshipped from afar.
142 Camphill Road,
Bonnie Dundee under threat
Sir, – I really cannot believe what I continue to read about the new block at Site 6. Can the 29 members of the Dundee authority really not see what the people of Dundee obviously can and are trying to tell them?
It is quite insulting that they infer that the people do not want what is best for themselves. Of course we all want more jobs and investment, but not the way it is happening.
It is not so much what is taking place but where and how. It is so obviously in the wrong place. If it had to be built why not further east (the other side of Slessor Gardens) and much lower, then perhaps we could all be more accepting.
Council leader John Alexander needs to listen to Jenny Marra. It has certainly not been absolutely clear about the configuration of the waterfront. I can’t believe that Kengo Kuma, when he returns, will continue to find it an ‘appropriate backdrop’ for his iconic building.
Thousands of Dundonians can’t all be wrong. They will have to live for many years in the future with the wrong decisions and have to put up with the probable continuous, and unfair, derogatory remarks about their undoubted Bonnie Dundee.
Waste not confined to sea
Sir, – So it looks likely both England and Scotland will ban plastic straws and cotton buds. So far, so good.
But what’s the point in two separate legislatures both enacting essentially similar legislation? We’ll have two groups of politicians debate the matter, then two different sets of civil servants draft the legislation in Westminster and Holyrood.
And who pays for this arguably pointless public sector duplication? Yes, you got it in one: the British taxpayer.
Much to learn from pupils
Sir, – What we are failing to see in the debate over Rev Mike Goss and how his views impact on his role as chaplain to Carnoustie High School, is the excellent education the students have received. An all-round education that gives them the confidence and abilities to think for themselves and more importantly to question.
Which is what it’s all about, their right to question and their right not to accept the views of those who would wish to indoctrinate them with their ill-informed codswallop.
As a recently retired teacher I am proud to have been part of an education system that teaches students to challenge, to think, to question, and never to just accept what is said at its face value.
This is what is required in a 21st Century Scotland.
Case for taking back tax control
Sir, – Jill Stephenson (letters, April 19) informs us that England pays for our ‘free services’.
What does she think happens to the 25 or so taxes that we Scots pay: income tax, national insurance, VAT, corporation tax, IPT, fuel tax, alcohol tax, tobacco tax, car tax, and so on?
It is true that a lot of our collected taxes go down to Westminster and then come back to Holyrood. Some of it never comes back because it is spent on illegal wars, WMDs, and Whitehall extravagance.
How much better it would be if our money simply stayed in Scotland.
Tories must own Brexit
Sir, – Councillor Braden Davy (The Courier, April 16) responded to the report from the Scottish Centre on European Relations on the damaging effects of Brexit in the traditional style of leavers.
Before the referendum problems were simply ‘Project Fear’. Since the vote this mantra has been joined by ‘will of the people’, as if that magically makes problems vanish, and a deplorable tendency to blame our friends and neighbours for the sin of being rational and abiding by the rules.
Intractable problems with the Irish border, customs and supply chains are dismissed with ill-informed hopes that ‘technology will solve it’, although experts say that no credible solution can be available in plausible timescales.
The SCER report criticised by Mr Davy does not directly call for a second referendum. It documents the dreadful situation we face following David Cameron’s preference for dividing the country rather than splitting his party.
The Conservatives are accountable for the outcome of Brexit. When will they take ownership of the problems they created and stop trying to blame everyone else?
Commonwealth question of faith
Sir, – Our head of state is guilty of both nepotism and bad judgment, if she claims that Prince Charles is fit to be head of the Commonwealth.
Would you place trust in someone who declared on his wedding day to Princess Diana, witnessed by billions of people world wide, that he would be faithful to her and forsake all others, whilst his lover was standing just yards from them?
Blunders keep on rolling
Sir, – I was surprised to find Tory MP Kirstine Hair had an opinion. In fact I was shocked.
For this lightweight to suggest the SNP were manufacturing a grievance in trying to protect the Scottish Parliament from Tory HQ is almost laughable.
The ironic part is all this from a Conservative who didn’t vote in the EU referendum because she found it too difficult.
If this is the standard of Conservative MPs it’s no wonder the blunders keep on rolling – Brexit, DWP, Rape Clause, Illegal actions in far flung countries and now the Windrush generation.
Shame of EU silence on Spain
Sir, – Christian teaching differentiates between the letter of the law and the spirit.
In a democratic country the law exists to protect rather than persecute its citizens.
Spain, since Franco, has not been truly democratic: a state that incites violence against its own people for political reasons does not deserve to be called a democracy.
Apologists for Rajoy invoke the rule of law to justify his actions. But what if the law is unjust, a political expedient designed to suppress all opposition?
Collaborationists who upheld the law in Vichy France by denouncing Resistance fighters paid a heavy price after the Liberation.
Shamefully, the silence of the Pope in that era is now echoed by the silence of the EU.