Sir, – I am really cross that Perth and Kinross Council has failed to tidy up the Meikleour Beech Hedge, as reported in The Courier.
I first wrote to the then provost who represented Blairgowrie about the state of the hedge in June 2016 and was told, as you report now, that there was a problem with the landowner.
Failing to maintain such a valuable asset to the local community and the nation is the sort of behaviour that puts people who inherit vast estates in the spotlight and will no doubt lead to socialist land ownership reform.
However, this is also yet another aspect of our elected representatives’ collective failure to act to preserve or exploit an important local asset. They seem able to spend tens of millions of pounds on projects in order to bask in their glory, yet are unable to use those powers to maintain or promote others.
There are statutory powers available to them to maintain roadside verges and trees. The cost, recoverable from the tree owners or not, is negligible alongside the cost of refurbishment of the City Chambers, Perth Theatre or Mill Street.
This neglect, like that of the City Hall, St Paul’s Church and the numerous buildings in Perth City Centre with vegetation growing all over, transcends the watch of councils of different political colours, so is it the fault of the paid officials?
Our council needs to tidy up the hedge, erect signs advising motorists they are not just entering a dark old wood,tidy up the layby, re-erect signs telling the history of the hedge and promote this world-renowned feature as a tourist attraction.
Maybe one day we will also see promotion of Dunsinane Hill. I show it off to everyone who visits me from far and wide, but its location appears to be a closely guarded secret in Pullar House and 3-5 High Street.
Alastair H Anderson.
Hedge fund gets my vote
Sir, – Following Alex Salmond’s recent crowdfunding success, might I suggest Mr Mercer Nairn tries something similar to raise the money for maintenance of the Meikleour Beech Hedge?
I’m sure that there are many local people who would contribute to such a fund in order to see the hedge restored to its former glory. I know I would.
More plumbers, fewer poets
Sir, – It has been reported that they may have to shut down some North Sea Oil platforms due to shortage of skilled labour.
I served my time in BSC at Burntisland, where they produced ships and skilled men of all trades.
Then along came Mrs Thatcher. The training stopped and now there is no more training, no more shipyards, pits, engineering firms or apprentices. They even tore down the workshops at Kirkcaldy tech.
Our governments are full of people who talk endlessly about when they were at university and ignore the experiences of those of us who paid for them to be there.
It seems all of the Scottish political parties want their middle class voters’ children to attend university but how many of them will end up doing hobby degrees?
This is a waste of our tax money and it should be stopped. Put money into training tradesmen and women and bring back the training that produced the tradesmen that built the North Sea platforms.
Our Westminster and Holyrood parliaments and politicians present a middle class view of the world that is far from where the real wealth is created on the shop floor.
No one is going to send for a poet when they need a doctor or a plumber.
John G Phimister.
St Clair St,
Thatcher legacy not all bad
Sir, – We constantly hear how the Tory Party has always been a disaster for Scotland, and many of the comments are attributed to the toxicity of Maggie Thatcher and the poll tax.
And yet, was it not Thatcher who took on the robber barons of the trades union movement and refused to tolerate the continuation of wildcat strikes and the severe disruption caused to our people and our economy?
Thatcher has been accused of destroying Scotland’s mining and shipbuilding industries when the real villains of the piece were the likes of Scargill and Scanlon.
Their activities made their industries non-competitive, and untrustworthy, leading to the importation of coal to fuel power stations and decisions by shipowners to send their business to less Bolshie and cost-effective parts of the world.
Our shipyards today, are reduced to producing ships commissioned by the same Tory Government that your correspondents constantly criticise.
Another Thatcher battle was to allow council house tenants to buy their own homes and begin to take an interest in self-sufficiency instead of a life-long dependency on state subsidies and support.
Other innovations included the introduction of “Peps” – tax-free savings now known as ISAs; the de-regulation of the UK financial markets; the break-up of City of London cartels, allowing participation and share-investment by ordinary people at a capped fee-rate, and the claw-back, from the EU, in a renegotiated settlement, of substantial payments, given away by her predecessors.
All of the above were beneficial to the people of Scotland, but Maggie remains associated with the poll tax, and nothing else. The detractors of this tough and principled lady need to re-read their history books.
Backing the wrong horse
Sir, – Alister Rankin claims (Letters, September 10) that much has drastically changed since “xenophobic people” voted for Brexit, with a prospect of “economic disaster”, in 2016, so justifying another referendum.
I believe most things since then have not changed.
These include the EU’s un-elected, greedy bureaucrats, with anti-democratic attitudes, dim views against any nation’s secession from the EU and ambitions for a United States of Europe.
Also unchanged are Theresa May’s Government’s bungling, half-hearted attitudes in negotiations and the demand by the British people for restoration of sovereignty over our trade, finances, immigration and laws.
Does Mr Rankin seek results from a “best-of-three” (or more) referenda, aiming, as is the EU’s record, for further votes until the “right” result has been obtained?
What evidence has he for attacking pro-Brexit voters of xenophobia, a charge that is sometimes made against our Scottish nationalists, but of unknown justification?
Our UK democracy has given us a hotly-contested Brexit result, but what would Mr Rankin’s attitude be after the horse he had heavily bet on came in second in a race?
Dr Charles Wardrop.
Viewlands Road West,
Testing time for state powers
Sir, – The heading “Philosophy is Questionable” to the Richard Lucas letter (Courier, September 11) could not be more apt in pointing to the dangers to family freedom inherent in the SNP’s determination to submit five year olds to attainment tests.
The philosophy has a name – Statism – which describes the political view of Benito Mussolini.
It was he who also ironically created the term “totalitarian”, not intending the negative meaning that now prevails but to explain that all citizens belonged to, and would be cared for, by the state – including children.
Has the SNP taken a leaf or two out of Il Duce’s notebook?