Rural issues misunderstood by many

A Glorious 12th grouse shoot near Glenclova.

Sir, – I refer to the letter from George Murdoch (September 13) that attempts to take me to task for expressing a view in support of fieldsports in Scotland.

I do wish that Courier correspondents, when expressing opinion, could draw upon their own personal experiences and observations instead of simply quoting highly subjective and highly selective statistics and un-researched comment from others.

Secondhand comments are provided, by Mr Murdoch, to justify his argument on matters of food safety and animal welfare, but we can be fairly sure that Mr Murdoch has never, himself, set foot inside an abattoir, or attended a grouse shoot to see for himself what actually takes place.

He blithely asserts that present Government subsidies are perfectly adequate to support landscape maintenance in Scotland without any apparent understanding of how grant maintenance works.

He claims that thousands of tons of pheasants go to landfill each year……where is the evidence ?

Those who engage in field sports and who live and earn their living in the countryside have a far deeper compassion for animal behaviour than those who live an urban lifestyle and shout from the sidelines encouraging others to move into the 21st Century.

It would be more relevant if Mr Murdoch and others took the trouble to improve their personal education and experience on the matters about which they choose to criticise others.

Derek Farmer.
Knightsward Farm,
Anstruther.

 

A maternal spider

Sir, – The exhibition of a silver spider at Perth Museum and Art Gallery reminded me of seeing an identical, but larger, arachnid beside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

The artist, Louise Bourgeois, whose work is on display in Perth, named the spider “Maman” as a tribute to her mother who was also a weaver.

However, could it be that the version in Perth is in fact the offspring of its larger Spanish mother?

John Crichton.
Northampton Place,
Forfar.

 

Relief operation was rapid

Sir, – At 4pm one October afternoon in 1960, as I was just about shut down for the weekend, I happened to be the one (it could have been anybody) to pick up the phone in the engineering office of my RAF squadron in southern England.

I, a lowly corporal, was told that a hurricane had hit the Caribbean and to start getting a relief operation ready.

Within an hour we were fully manned, even getting the police to turn back those who had made an early start in anticpation of spending a weekend at home.

At 7pm we were sent home to pack our overnight kit (in actual fact the job eventually lasted two months!) and at 9pm on a Friday evening, only five hours after the first call came, we took off in an aeroplane fully laden with an array of relief supplies.

Less than 36 hours after that initial phone call, via the Azores and Bermuda, and with no satellites or internet but rather manually operated telephone exchanges, we were actually offloading our aid in the disaster area, having been met by an already deployed British army.

We didn’t need feasibility studies by politicians or to have an infrastructure in place.

British dependencies needed our help and we just got on with it.

Laurie Richards.
100 Crail Road,
Cellardyke.

 

Inconsiderate cyclists

Sir, – Letter writer Gordon Kennedy hit the nail on the head regarding inconsiderate cyclists.

As someone who cycles and walks regularly between Carnoustie and Arbroath or the Ferry, I have been on the receiving end of some cyclists’ bad behavior.

They spend a fortune on the best of bikes and Lycra but cannot seem to manage the cost of a bell.

As the nights and mornings are getting darker, every day you see youngsters careering from pavement to road with no lights whatsoever.

As for policing, its easier to mount campaigns against motorists — cyclists are small fry.

Bob Duncan.
110 Caesar Avenue,
Carnoustie.

 

Seeking new use for material

Sir, – It is reported that a large ‘Yes’ sticker has been pasted on to a road sign in Glasgow.

This has apprently obscured the road sign’s warning about a potential hazard on the route.

It is possible to regard this as a somewhat timely metaphor.

The entire ‘Yes’ campaign was one of camouflage designed to obscure the very real hazards that separating Scotland from its traditional place in the UK would entail.

Perhaps the culprit pasting the sticker was someone disposing of now redundant ‘Yes’ stickers.

After all, the format for the Brexit vote showed that the Electoral Commission is alive to the problems of a ‘yes/no’ vote.

That is why the preferred format was ‘Remain/Leave’.

I’m afraid nationalists will have a lot of useless stickers and other ‘Yes’ signs and flags on their hands.

Tant pis.

Jill Stephenson.
Glenlockhart Valley,
Edinburgh.

 

Questioning the ‘PR machine’

Sir, – Your correspondent Martin Redfern must be having a laugh.

He talks about the SNP and their PR machine winning votes.

Perhaps he would care to explain precisely how this PR is delivered?

Is it the 37 mostly London-based tabloids?

Or perhaps he is referring to the London-based BBC/STV and Sky?

He also states that the majority of Scots endorse Westminster’s view.

Countries have left Westminster rule but I have never heard of a country applying to be ruled by the place.

If the majority of Scots do indeed want to be anchored to Westminster as it is claimed, the more accurate reason is surely the British PR machine’s use of lies, deceit and fear.

Rod Selbie.
45 Silver Birch Drive,
Dundee.

 

Economic case is not clear

Sir, – I totally agree with Jim Parker of the Scottish Mineworkers’ Consortium.

Worldwide coal-fired power plants are being built at a faster rate than those being decommissioned so that new coal-fired electricity outstrips electricity lost by a factor of five.

Even nuclear countries such as Japan, South Africa and Vietnam are increasing their exposure to coal-powered investment with more than 50 new plants between them.

I fail to see the economic or environmental sense in de-industrialising Scotland and importing products manufactured overseas with higher emissions.

Rev Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,
St Andrews.

 

Time to rethink strategy

Nobody could fail to be moved by the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma).

Some 370,000 have fled Rakhine state for Bangladesh since the outbreak of violence last month, with whole villages being burned down and the government accused by the UN of ethnic cleansing.

There are numerous reports of beheadings, rape and children being deliberately shot.

It all rather begs the question of why the UK Government, our government, continues to train the Burmese military.

This is, after all, a task which cost the UK around £305,000 last year.

Based on reports from the UN, human rights organisations and Rohingya organisations, we are witnessing human rights violations on a scale extreme even by the standards of Myanmar’s rather chequered history.

Estimates of people killed range from official figures of hundreds dead, to far higher estimates by reliable Rohingya organisations of between 2,000 and 3,000 killed.

Before we pontificate on the actions of the Burmese military, it would clearly be of no little assistance were we to put our own house in order.

That means immediately suspending training the soldiers of this brutal regime.

Alex Orr.
77 Leamington Terrace,
Edinburgh.

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