Sir, – The latest proposal from Dundee councillors to locate a “temporary stop off” for Travellers within Camperdown Park defies belief.
If this is the best solution to the Traveller problem the combined intellect of these councillors can come up with, it is a very sad reflection of the quality of those elected to positions of responsibility within Dundee.
Councillor John Alexander has, from time to time over the past two years, waffled about how he is monitoring, reviewing, discussing and liaising with the appropriate personnel to resolve the continuing and never-ending saga of the Travellers’ irregular and unauthorised encampments.
Now we, the council tax payers of Tayside are presented with the prospect of one of our main leisure facilities, Camperdown Park, being turned into an unauthorised and ill-equipped site for non-resident Travellers who, past experience has proven, have no respect for the area and locality they decide to take up residence in.
Mr Alexander states it will be a short-term stopover facility.
How will it be policed? Who will control the numbers who decide to stop? Who will ensure vandalism doesn’t take place? Who will maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of the designated site and who will ensure the safety of the Camperdown Park zoo animals and their welfare?
This idea is completely unworkable, irresponsible and should be resisted at all cost by the law-abiding citizens of Tayside.
If the councillors vote to allow this proposal to go ahead, they really should ask themselves if they are right for the job.
Come the next local elections, the public should provide that answer for them.
1 Liff Park,
Errors must not be repeated
Sir, – Thanks to the diligence of the Courier staff in uncovering the information relating to staffing level decisions at the Police Scotland command and control centre at Bilston Glen, we now have further confirmation of the lamentable lack of planning surrounding its creation.
Policing is unique in the challenges it faces and in consequence it requires unique solutions in order to meet those challenges effectively.
It in no way resembles an “industry” and for those involved in setting the staffing levels to simply adopt the “industry standard” as the yardstick would be incredible were it not for Police Scotland’s track record in making bad decisions.
The least that should have been done was to monitor properly the workload in the various command and control centres earmarked for closure to obtain a true picture of the time taken to deal with calls and establish the staff numbers needed to maintain at least that level of service.
That obviously did not happen and, as usual, the new set-up was opened with soundbites telling us all how wonderful it was and apparently with senior officers and government ministers either ignorant of the true position or choosing to ignore it.
Either way, it is a wonderful example of wishful thinking. Despite all the assurances given since the Lamara Bell incident, it is debatable if staffing levels have been properly addressed.
Further changes to command and control centres are in the pipeline and the thought of all police units north of the Tay being controlled from Dundee is truly frightening.
Hopefully, the errors made at Bilston Glen will not be repeated when that happens.
44 Viewforth Place,
Real crisis in our health service
Sir, – In your report on the devastating report by Audit Scotland on the state of the NHS in Scotland, our rarely-heard Health Secretary Shona Robison was quoted as saying: “Under this government there have been significant improvements in the performance of the NHS.”
Listening to experts is obviously not one of her strong points which could explain the current and real issues facing the NHS in Scotland.
Putting on a brave Brexit face
Sir, – Prime Minister Theresa May is presented as Stanley Baldwin in drag with a steady hand on the tiller – a relief from flash, lightweights like Tony Blair and David Cameron.
This is more apt than her spinmeisters realise because she clearly shares Baldwin’s tendency not to level with the public and confront them with the hard choices ahead.
Her manoeuvres to gain Number 10 have forced her into a position where she must now make arguments she does not believe on behalf of a cause she knows to be disastrous
Rev Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place.
Amsterdam can be hub airport
Sir, – What is the benefit to Scotland going to be from the Heathrow expansion?
We see lots of enthusiastic forecasts but we saw similar enthusiasm in 2014 concerning the huge benefits to Scotland from taking control of North Sea oil. We all know what became of those predictions.
The SNP and its Green allies champion the cause of environmental protection, and yet the SNP votes for Heathrow expansion that will not only increase pollution but will also require the demolition of villages and homes.
So, in the end, the SNP are no different from the parties they criticise.
I travel quite often from Edinburgh to London hubs. They are all dreadful.
Our airports (including Edinburgh) are foreign owned and are being turned into shopping malls.
Let’s go back to priority of purpose. Conversion of these shops into improved security space and passenger waiting areas would ease passenger congestion.
But it won’t happen because the shop rents are such a useful form of income to the shareholders of our airports. A better SNP initiative would be to push for more flights from Scottish airports to Amsterdam.
It hardly takes any longer to fly to Amsterdam than to London, and Schiphol is an oasis of calm and well-organised passenger processing compared to any of the London airports. And guess what? It doesn’t require another runway.
Hollow threats over Scexit
Sir, – Surely Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t think David Davis is sitting by his hotline waiting for her to call him with yet another Brexit- means-Scexit threat?
In reality, one of her staff phoned one of his staff to arrange a call which was organised for 15 working hours later.
I imagine Mr Davis had other calls and meetings booked, and all Ms Sturgeon has done is demonstrate to the public how little clout she actually has, albeit more than with the German junior minister who met her in a restaurant.
Advertising this just looks like an upmarket version of complaining that your Scottish pounds were not accepted in a shop in deepest England. Can you imagine Ms Merkel, Ms May or Ms Clinton carrying on like this?
1 Willow Row,