Fife Council must now display leadership

Fife Council HQ, Fife House in Glenrothes.

Sir, – Should there be an independent inquiry into what happened within Fife Council social work department when three Fife children were killed in the space of some months in 2014?

The recent BBC documentary raised a number of questions and it was stunning that the council’s chief executive and at least one of its political co-leaders did not appear on it.

They had the chance to exercise some leadership, to reinforce the point that although mistakes were made there is a determination to put things right.

They had a chance to reassure the Fife public this key service is being properly and sensitively run.

It is appalling that they could not bring themselves to do so.

Having said that, it is doubtful whether another investigation into the tragedies would produce anything new.

It might make out a case for disciplinary action against some individuals but what would that solve?

There is obviously a problem of communication, morale and resources within the social work department.

That can only be sorted out with effective management action, and yes, possibly more staff.

The anguish we saw expressed in the documentary last week from former employees and aggrieved relatives was painful to watch.

Fife Council must now show some leadership and let the public know just exactly what remedial action has been taken as well as their resolve that its failings should never be repeated.

Bob Taylor.
24 Shiel Court,
Glenrothes.

SNP spin will not fool voters

Sir, – Have you noticed Nicola Sturgeon now seems reluctant to mention the “i” word?

Last year the nationalist leader decreed the term Indyref2 must be banished from the SNP lexicon.

This was just in case any of us were foolish enough to believe a second independence referendum would be yet another vote about independence, alarmingly similar to the once -in-a-generation referendum three years ago.

Conscious her UK break-up obsession lost the SNP 21 Westminster seats in June, Ms Sturgeon is even more circumspect these days, talking about giving us the opportunity to choose “a different path” or select “our own destiny”.

Despite most realising it is a tortuous non-sequitur, she is also fond of implying it wouldn’t really be a vote about independence but instead a vote to remain in the EU.

By attempting to keep her dyed-in-the-wool supporters on board without further alienating the majority, the SNP leader insults the electorate’s intelligence.

Few fail to understand her sole raison d’etre. There’s no disguising the SNP is a single-issue party and that toxic issue is independence at any cost and on the SNP’s timetable. A spade is still a spade, even if Ms Sturgeon and her team rebrands it as an earth moving implement.

Martin Redfern.
Woodcroft Road,
Edinburgh.

Tories create national scandal

Sir, – Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the High Court in England, said “society and the state” will “have blood on our hands” if a vulnerable 17-year-old girl cannot be found a mental health place.

This is just a further example of the quite deliberate choices made by Westminster Tories determined to target the bankers and hedge fund mangers who fund their odious party for tax hand outs while cutting life-saving services for the poor, sick and disabled.

At the general election a number of Scottish citizens misguidedly chose to vote for the Tories. Now we see again what they inadvertently voted for. For the very rich, more tax cuts and wealth. For a mentally ill girl, cuts and possible death. It really is a disgusting scandal.

Karen Heath.
Cortachy,
Kirriemuir.

Fishermen being sold out

Sir, – On a visit to Denmark, the environment secretary Michael Gove confirmed that some EU fishing boats will still be able to fish in British waters.

This is totally at odds with previous claims by the Brexiteers, reinforced by Mr Gove on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show last month, that no foreign boats would be allowed to fish within six to 12 miles of the UK coast.

He said the UK would become an “independent coastal state” after leaving the EU, which would allow it to extend control of its waters up to 200 miles from its coastline. This would, he claimed, allow the UK to “take control” of its waters.

This u-turn is a quite incredible revelation and a total let-down for our fishermen, many of whom voted for Brexit on the basis of “taking back control” but now find that they are pawns in a game, the promises given to them bartered away.

It should also be noted that this statement was made without consultation with the Scottish Government, despite fisheries being a devolved issue.

The fishermen were sold out when the UK entered what was then the EEC, on the basis that they were seen as being “expendable”.

They recently put faith in those advocating Brexit on the basis that the UK would take full control and management of its own waters.

This has now proven not to be the case, and while Mr Gove tries to keep fishermen onside, he is jetting around Europe’s capitals telling them the complete opposite.

Alex Orr.
77 Leamington Terrace,
Edinburgh.

Unfair tax on energy users

Sir, – The recently announced British Gas 12.5% electricity price rise is entirely due to expensive government green energy policies, as wholesale electricity prices have actually reduced.

Existing onshore and offshore wind generation still receive Renewable Obligation subsidies under long term contracts.

New offshore wind, solar, wave, tidal, and biomass, all benefit from exorbitant feed-in tariffs or generous guaranteed minimum prices under the new Contracts for Difference scheme.

Then there are carbon levies and massive grid investments to send an erratic supply of wind, tidal, and wave electricity from remote areas to where it is needed plus, of course, the ever increasing constraint payments when wind-farmers are paid for not producing electricity.

Renewable energy is an unreliable and unfair concept that could be best described as subsidy farming, producing part-time electricity as a side-line, and consumers being taxed to pay for it regardless of financial status.

And all for the benefit of wealthy landowners and developers and foreign manufacturers.

Malcolm Parkin.
Gamekeepers Road,
Kinnesswood,
Kinross.

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