Sir, – According to Nicola Sturgeon, when a material change in terms occurs, a referendum to sever ties is justified.
On this principle, could all parents in Scotland be allowed a vote on September 1 on whether they wish to have a government-appointed official monitor their parenting, or whether they wish to opt out of the named person scheme?
The named person will change the relationship between parents and children, inserting a government official ready to jump in with “advice” and “support” if a child is not being brought up in the state-approved style, eager to intervene in trivial issues, undermining parental authority and trying to democratise the family.
While the Scottish Government sets about abolishing punishments in schools, don’t expect the named person to look kindly on it when good parents punish their children when they misbehave.
If your children are unruly, disobedient and disrespectful and you give them a spot of punishment to keep them on the straight and narrow, the named person might want to “support” you by “recommending” a parenting course.
Eventually kids will catch on that when parents put their foot down, a quick chat with the named person can put mum and dad firmly in their place.
Bridge delay does not add up
Sir, – In the lead up to the Holyrood election in May, we were assured by the SNP that the Queensferry Crossing (above) would be completed ahead of schedule and open to the public in December this year.
Surprise, surprise, some five weeks later, we are advised by the Scottish Government that the bridge will not be opened until May 2017 at the earliest.
The reason given is that in the months of April and May, a total of 25 working days were lost due to adverse weather.
When I was at school, albeit a number of years ago, 25 days did not equate to almost six months.
No doubt the original claims of the early opening were designed to be a vote catcher.
Lets us hope the new Education Secretary, John Swinney, can educate his colleagues in basic arithmetic.
9 Mackie Crescent,
Westminster CAP failings
Sir, – Westminster’s record on CAP payments is far worse than the hysterical accusations made against the SNP government on IT failure.
There have been constant fines throughout the years.
I do not advocate that the current IT issues are ideal and that two wrongs make a right but attacking our SNP as bad and not even mentioning that we have had similar IT problems elsewhere within the UK was hardly balanced comment by your correspondent Donald Lewis (June 8).
One thing that is quite obvious to me is that IT systems are very much an unknown beast that puts one totally in the hands of a science that few seem to understand.
I find it hard to believe that Alex Salmond congratulating Fred Goodwin had any bearing on the global financial collapse back in 2007/8.
Perhaps we should be condemning Westminster politicians for injecting billions of our money in a rescue package to save the banks, while Iceland chose to jail their bankers for their incompetence.
Cllr Henry Anderson.
Ward nine Almond and Earn.
Perth and Kinross Council.
Will SNP now back fracking?
Sir, – Ineos at Grangemouth has been trying to engage with residents in areas where shale gas can be found and has even said that there will be financial incentives for the community and householders.
The Scottish Parliament has voted to ban shale gas extraction but this was only passed because SNP MSPs were instructed to abstain.
What does this say?
Quite clearly it is in line with the SNP fence-sitting moratorium which allows time for “reflection” and the grand announcement that after long and detailed consideration and Scottish scientific advice and inspired new Scottish health and safety measures, Scottish fracking will be allowed to go ahead and Scottish shale gas will drive the Scottish economy.
Expert opinion, albeit English, is already available in that Public Health England concluded that the “current available evidence indicates that the potential risks will be low” and the UK Environmental Agency stated “that the use of hazardous substances would never be permitted”.
Is the SNP deliberately ignoring this advice since it comes from England?
138 Springfield Road,
Primary care fails Scots poor
Sir, – You did a great service (June 7) in extracting and publishing the results for Tayside and Fife from the national Health and Care Experience Survey 2015/16.
However, the results are anything but a postcode lottery. A lottery suggests that ease of access to GP services is random, but in fact the figures show that it is closely correlated with levels of economic and social deprivation.
In a league table of 122 surgeries across Fife and Tayside, Lochgelly Health Centre is bottom when it comes to the overall experience of seeing a GP, third from bottom for accessing the surgery by phone, and second from bottom for getting to see a doctor within two days.
In other words, Lochgelly, like other areas in Central Fife, Leven and Dundee, suffers a double whammy – existing social, economic and health inequalities are being compounded by extreme inequalities in primary care provision.
While there is a national shortage of GPs, the figures show deprived areas are hit hardest. Health inequalities have multiple causes, of course, but this is one that is very easy to remedy: send more GPs and health professionals to those areas where clinical need is greatest.
While politicians delay, people in Fife’s most deprived areas are suffering badly, and in some cases dying, just because they cannot get to a GP.
If Scotland were a Third World country, aid agencies would be sending emergency rescue teams.
Pension misery facing police
Sir, – I refer to Donald Lewis’ letter (June 7) regarding public-sector pensions.
Can I point out that police officers in Scotland pay 14% of their pay towards their pension and that is to rise by another 1%.
Can Mr Lewis inform me as to any other profession which pays that percentage?
I would also like to point out the government has attacked police pensions in recent years, despite the former Justice Minister stating Scotland’s police pension system was sustainable.
Police officers up until recently signed a contract to work for 30 years which justified the high pension contribution.
This was combined with the short life expectancy of retiring officers.
For thousands of officers in Scotland this contract was breached 22 years into the 30-year contract, with officers now in the position where they have no idea when they can retire.
Police officers are unfortunately an easy target with no union, a woeful federation and no human rights afforded to them.
Education is devolved
Sir, – What business does Stephen Gethins MP have questioning our Education Minister, John Swinney about Elmwood College, Cupar, (June 3)?
So far as I know, education is devolved, and is dealt with by the elected representatives of Holyrood, not Westminster, unless, of course, he is simply a concerned constituent, in which case he should contact his constituency MSP.
The cobbler should stick to his last.
100 Crail Road,