Sir, – The news that RBS intends to close its branch at Anstruther is a hammer blow for residents and businesses who will now have no banking facility at all in the East Neuk.
Like Post Offices and pharmacies, banks offer a crucial amenity in rural communities and a lifeline for those with limited access to transport and the internet.
These are not just businesses but public services with key social and economic functions.
As ever, communities and politicians have been caught on the hop. Despite the distraction of local elections, I hope our councillors are doing all they can to get RBS to reconsider its closures in Anstruther and elsewhere in north-east Fife.
However, in the longer term, Fife Council could be much more proactive about supporting crucial local facilities like banks, Post Offices and pharmacies.
It could, for example, ask them to sign a voluntary undertaking that affected communities and the council will be consulted well before any decision to close a service is made so that avenues for retaining it in some form can be explored.
Fife Council could also look at incentives such as business rate reductions or offers of subsidised space in the council estate to make facilities more sustainable.
Either way, Fife Council needs a more proactive economic and community strategy for safeguarding and growing the East Neuk’s business infrastructure.
Tebbit right on McGuinness
Sir, – I never thought I’d find myself agreeing with a Tory peer but full marks to Norman Tebbit for calling Martin McGuinness, pictured, for what he was, a coward and a terrorist.
As people mourned his death, he reminded people that, if he didn’t actually pull the trigger on many killings,he certainly sanctioned them from his position as head of the IRA and he should’ve been in prison, rather than helping to run a country.
38 Gellatly Road,
Stick to nature writing Jim
Sir, – Jim Crumley’s extreme pessimism about Brexit is grotesquely distorted, regarding it as the worst policy in Europe since the Second World War.
He evidently expects us in the UK to end cultural exchanges with our continental counterparts, break off friendly relations and look only inwards, as little Englanders, or self-obsessed Britons.
Indeed, he seems to regard the notion of Britain as a dying concept, being supplanted by rebellious nationalism in Celtic enclaves.
Despite the remarkable post-EU referendum growing British prosperity, he has not moved on economically from the pre-referendum project fear which proved a spectacular failure, resulting in the resignation of its chief proponent, David Cameron, as the Leave vote triumphed, based on the largest vote ever recorded for anything in the UK.
Far from encouraging animosity towards or among our Continental friends, political anti-EU feeling in Europe surely represents reaction against the political elite and the unelected, bossy, interfering EU officials, aiming to carry “the project” inexorably towards a united states of Europe.
Jim Crumley’s view will not further his reputation as a first-class writer on the natural world, described in the Los Angeles Times as the best reporter in Britain. Maybe he should stick to such topics in the future.
(Dr) Charles Wardrop.
111 Viewlands Road West,
Cooperation can continue
Sir, – Does Jim Crumley really believe what he wrote in his column of March 21?
He stated: “Brexit stops us talking with Europe. It stops us making music with Europe.”
Orchestras such as the European Union Baroque Orchestra and the European Union Youth Orchestra are clearly closed shops based on political grounds, which seems to me a somewhat skewed basis for a cultural activity.
The reason these orchestras would be unable to be based in the UK post Brexit is not any perceived travel difficulties, (highly unlikely by the way) but by virtue of their name: European Union.
If they wish to perpetuate their existence as presently constituted and, therefore, exclude UK musicians from their ranks, this will be a sad loss to all concerned. I suggest they take a long hard look at themselves.
As for the wider implications of Jim Crumley’s sweeping statements, I find this approach to be unrealistic and extremely negative.
There are many European organisations which are not based on political affiliations but on cooperation in fields such as science, culture and sport and these will essentially be unaffected by Brexit.
Netherton of Kinloch,
Racism rears its head
Sir, – So it begins.
Twice recently I have been told I will soon have to go back to England. I am not English, but this is rank racism based on accent.
It matters little that I first came here 60 years ago, or that I married a Scots girl whose ashes are scattered here, or that my son proudly wears his mother’s Wotherspoon tartan, or that I voted Yes the last time and will probably do so again, my accent doesn’t fit.
This is the unacceptable face of nationalism
100 Crail Road,
Folly of federal UK
Sir, – Gordon Brown’s proposal for a federal Britain may appear attractive to some as a method of preserving the union, but leaving vital elements of fiscal control with the Bank of England would be disastrous for Scotland.
Susan McKenzie (March 21) is upset because she voted Remain in the EU and still finds a problem with the First Minister for trying to give her what she wants.
She points out that 62% of Scots voted to remain and accuses Nicola Sturgeon of arrogantly using these voters as an excuse to push for another independence referendum.
She makes no mention of the fact that the Scottish Government was elected, no doubt by a lot of the same 62% of Remain voters, to support a manifesto commitment to press for such a referendum if a situation such as Brexit adversely impacted upon Scottish interests.
It may be that she is promoting sympathy towards the UK Government’s task of dealing with EU exit, but she should hardly be surprised at others’ lack of sympathy for a party currently under police investigation for alleged misuse of election funds, in certain key areas, in winning the 2015 General Election.
Allan A MacDougall.
37 Forth Park,
Bridge of Allan.