Sir, – I’ve always had respect for those trying to provide good housing for those who are locked out of the grossly overpriced housing market.
The building of hundreds of thousands of sub-standard council houses that were demolished within 40 years later was not the answer.
We heard Dundee housing convenor, John Alexander, once again, blame the shortage of houses to rent at reasonable prices on the right-to-buy legislation.
Councillor Brian Gordon was at it just a few weeks ago when he blamed right-to-buy.
In 1980, the Housing Scotland Act came into force and it was the law of the land. Employees of Dundee District Council and the hard-left Labour administration, elected the same year had no right to defy the law of the land, no matter what their personal feelings were.
At the one Labour Party general management committee I ever attended, around 1981 or so, up on the platform was George Galloway, chairman of Dundee Labour Party who instructed the NALGO rep to go back to work on Monday and “frustrate the sales of any council houses.”
My idea, at the time, was to sell off council houses and use the revenues to refurbish the homes that Dundee District Council had neglected.
In the early 1980s, I had many meetings with George A Smith, the then director of housing who told me that when a council house was sold, first, any outstanding debt was paid off and the council could then borrow that amount again and build new homes.
Dundee’s Labour administration said this was not so but did not explore the option.
The average outstanding loan on a Dundee council house was £3,500.
A good new bungalow in Monifieth cost just under £10,000. When they were built in 1971, mine cost £4,175 yet a multi-storey in Whitfield was more than £5,000.
So, please, all you politicians, do not blame right-to-buy for a shortage of housing.
The sold houses are still there.
They have people in them, most of whom would have lived in them the rest of their days anyway.
3 Logie Avenue,
Scotland must start fracking
Sir, – Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of Grangemouth refinery, has warned that Scotland will never be able to become an independent country unless it embraces fracking and reminded the Scottish Government of the £15 billion black hole in its public finances.
He said that the Scottish Government’s opposition to fracking is “not a logical objection” and pointed out that shale gas imported from the US has saved 10,000 jobs in the Falkirk area.
He accused SNP ministers of hypocrisy for welcoming Ineos’s decision to import US shale gas while imposing a moratorium on fracking.
How true, especially when a Scottish Government report has already found that fracking can be done safely.
Graeme Blackett has just been appointed economic advisor to Nicola Sturgeon’s new Growth Commission, set up to tackle Scotland’s £15bn deficit.
He is in favour of drilling underground coal and turning it into gas – a technique almost identical to fracking – which could boost the economy by £13bn and create up to 12,000 jobs.
How long before Nicola Sturgeon has to admit that fracking is safe and will drive the Scottish economy?
138 Springfield Road,
A vehicle for division
Sir, – With another of his grand pronouncements about all our futures, Alex Salmond tells us a second referendum will happen in around two years’ time.
Given his position in the SNP hierarchy, he has as much insight as anyone into what the leadership really intend behind their talk of looking at all the options in the light of the Brexit result.
Indeed, given recent polls showing clear majority support for remaining in the UK, along with even more people saying no to another referendum, the message from Mr Salmond seems to be we are getting another referendum whether we like it or not.
Those who voted No last time are seeing that vote set aside as it does not fit the SNP view of the world.
Equally, many who voted Remain in 2016 are feeling just as aggrieved as the SNP knowingly misinterpret their vote as giving a mandate to the SNP to try to break up the UK.
The SNP know referendums are an ideal platform for their grievance-driven agenda, encouraging an over simplification of often complex issues.
We have all learnt to our cost that referendums are by their very nature divisive, and when, like the SNP, your fundamental ambition is based on separating people, no other mechanism seems so ideally suited to this purpose.
Fairer future in our reach
Sir, – The slow but constant shift in opinion polls showing increased support for independence and people taking to the streets in their droves at the weekend demonstrates that the 2014 vote was nothing more than a dress rehearsal for the real event.
All of Project Fear’s big hitters have disappeared into the night with their ermine robes and huge cheques.
With a much healthier starting point and stronger than ever arguments, there can only be one direction of travel for this nation.
But after all, regardless of your political leanings, who in their right mind would continue to accept their country being owned by another with entirely different motives.
A fairer and more prosperous future is within our grasp.
How will SNP fund pensions?
Sir, – In your article of September 19, much wrong-doing by the UK Government was alleged by certain women angry at the equalisation of the state pension arrangements.
Dundee’s MPs, Stewart Hosie and Chris Law, jumped on the bandwagon to castigate the UK Government using the term “shameful”, among others.
They have had since at least 2011 to react. Nowhere in the article were any proposals attributed to Messrs Hosie and Law as to what arrangements an independent Scottish Government would put in place to correct the position affecting the women concerned.
This is typical of the SNP which has consistently failed to inform the electorate how they would finance an independent Scotland, with pensions being critical given the increasing longevity of the population.
Presumably the amended UK state pension regulations comply with the laws on equality both in the UK and in Europe, so beloved by the SNP.
Furthermore, the increase in qualifying age for some has been commented upon in the press and throughout society for many years. Individuals bear some responsibility to keep up to date, stay informed, and make provision for their retirement.
When things are equalised, some will gain and some will lose. So it is with the state pension.
As for there being a protest in Lochee, it was nothing more than a photo opportunity outside the SNP office.
Respect for burger flippers
Sir, – The Bavarian-themed burger bar has been banished from the Kelpies site. This is evidence of an anti-European backlash in the wake of the Brexit vote.
I would like to reassure Bavarians, and other Europeans from burger-producing regions, that they are fully valued and respected in Scotland.