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READERS’ LETTERS: Stop splashing cash on promotion of Gaelic

Welcome to Scotland sign at Scottish border
Welcome to Scotland sign at Scottish border

Sir, – On a recent car journey from Perth to Oban I was intrigued to note, en route, the number of place names on road signs now indicating a Gaelic equivalent.

Indeed, throughout Scotland, bilingual signs appear to be on the increase, even in parts where Gaelic was never spoken.

The cost of this exercise to local authorities must have been considerable.

At its peak in 1755 Gaelic was only understood and spoken by about 27% of the population of Scotland; and in areas such as south-west Scotland the Celtic tongue was more likely to be of Brythonic origin, similar to Welsh, rather than of the Scottish or Goidelic form. Today only 1% of the population of Scotland speak Gaelic; and an even smaller percentage is literate in the language.

So why then are local councils being pressed into this complete waste of financial resources by the Scottish Government when the budgets pertaining to the NHS, education, welfare, policing, local council services and so on and so forth are strapped for cash – it just does not make sense.

I have checked up on the measures taken by the Scottish Government which have led to the current situation and have found that it was enacted through the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act.

What then does the polarised SNP administration hope to achieve through this sort of policy?

Is it just another of its ploys to create divisions and split up the UK?

Robert I G Scott.




Planning saga is baffling

Sir, – Knowing a wee bit about local planning, while also being a practical thinker, I realise that procedures must be followed when local planning applications and decisions are made.

The Halley debacle, however, has me somewhat confused.

It was well known it was a listed building and anything that altered its status would require Listed Building Consent (LBC).

An application to demolish was approved because the planners agreed with the applicant that it was in an unsafe condition.

Now this is where weaknesses appear in the system.

The application to demolish was approved before a LBC application had been made even though both parties, the planners and presumably the applicant, knew that an LBC was required before demolition could proceed.

Why was planning consent to demolish not withheld until an LBC had been applied for and approved?

I understand that the original notice of approval to demolish reminded the successful applicant that other permissions may be required.

Why was the notice not specific in drawing attention to the fact that a LBC was now required before the approved application could be released?

In the meantime, and because the building has been formally declared unsafe, the owner of the property removed the risk to the public, and indeed itself, by carrying out the approved demolition even though it was aware that an LBC was required.

While I understand the decision of the development committee on Monday night to refer the matter to the Procurator Fiscal, it does however cause me to wonder whether the pot is calling the kettle black.

I also wonder who would have been liable had some person entered the premises after approval to demolish had been given and been killed by falling masonry while LBC was being considered.

John J Watson.

39 Elie Avenue,

Broughty Ferry.


Poll is proof of a new confidence

Sir, – An interesting poll in a national newspaper revealed that 36% of Scots think Scotland’s best days are ahead of it as opposed to 29% who think its best days are past.

This provides an interesting comparison to England where 49% thought England was better in the past and only 17% thought its best days were to come.

I realise it is only a poll but could it be that the positive Scottish attitude toward the EU and internationalism makes Scotland a happier and more progressive place to live and work and that the old clichéd idea of Presbyterian gloom that was often portrayed about Scots has now been put to bed?

Could we be at last breaking into a new Scotland that is getting over its inferiority complex and moving forward with confidence and breaking the conventions of the past?

Let us all hope that this poll, however light, has identified a shift in the Scottish psyche and that Scots are much more confident and that our best days are indeed yet to come.

Bryan Auchterlonie.

Bluebell Cottage.



Trump has the right idea

Sir, – I am surprised you printed a letter rudely describing our senior politicians as “clowns”. Mrs May and her team are very capable and are probably just as relaxed as I am about a so-called “no deal”.

I am very impressed by how the Prime Minister is handling the ridiculous lack of support.

It is time that trade with the rest of Europe was slowly reduced.

There is not a single manufactured product imported that we can’t make better and if they won’t buy our beer and whisky we can drink it ourselves and stop drinking wine.

Tariffs will make us buy British made cars and take thousands of lorries off our roads.

If you are looking for scapegoats for the present difficulties try Edward Heath and John Major who took us in and deeper to engage with a group of countries who start wars and then can’t finish them and who open their doors to Africa and terrorists.

Donald Trump is going the right way by sorting out his own house and leaving others to sort out theirs.

RJ Soutar.

Camperdown Street,



Taking Scotland for granted

Sir, – As someone who has believed in Scottish Independence since leaving Waid Academy in June 1990 but voted for Menzies Campbell at the 1992 General Election, I was prepared to see if all the patronising guff about hearing, but not listening, to those who voted for Scottish Independence had more substance.

Sadly, since the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014 the rubbish about supporters of independence having a part to play in the future development of the union have proven to be that – just the utter meaningless tripe I thought it was.

While the Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs may not be into SNP-style Westminster walkouts can they at least find a way to show “Maggie 2”, otherwise known as Theresa May, that Scotland will no longer be treated with the utter contempt it was treated like by the late Baroness Thatcher?

Time will tell if they have what it takes to recognise that it is unacceptable for the largest town in Aberdeenshire to be more than 30 miles from the nearest railway station and having the EU deciding the quota for Peterhead fishermen long after we have left the EU.

Peter Ovenstone.

6 Orchard Grove,



A new way will be found

Sir, – The core dynamic since the industrial revolution has been ever-greater production and consumption of goods and resources but that is winding down.

The population explosion is over while the internet and new technologies point the way to consumption with less use of scarce resources.

As we get richer we take more of that increased wealth as leisure.

By industrialising agriculture, we return huge swathes of land to nature.

New England used to be small farms but is now woodland while the rainforest is re-gaining the Amazon basin.

We will move on from fossil fuels before the end of the century without legislation or green hysterics.

After all the Stone Age didn’t end because the world ran out of stone.

Rev Dr John Cameron.

10 Howard Place,

St Andrews.


A missed opportunity

Sir, – The UK Government is planning to ban upskirting.

Surely this presents the SNP with a chance to demand why Westminster have slighted the Scottish nation by ignoring the introduction of a ban on upkilting?

Bill Watson.

Seaton Estate,