Sir, – I was motivated to write in to your letters page following a number of negative comments featured recently relating to the Gaelic language.
While I can appreciate individuals’ concerns, I have to say that my own experience within the past year has been very different.
Since travelling around Scotland and taking an interest in local history and culture, I have become aware of the opportunities to learn more about Scots Gaelic.
There are many myths that are perpetuated around the money spent on promoting and supporting Gaelic without thinking of the social, cultural and economic benefits to all.
I have been amazed and inspired by the uptake reported nationally of Gaelic medium education and the enthusiasm of learners, young and old.
It is estimated that there are currently 20,000 people learning the language across Scotland.
Developments in technology makes this inclusive and easy to access.
The benefits of learning a second language are well documented and it is heartening to hear that young children have access to Gaelic books and websites that they can share with parents, carers and grandparents.
I have increased my own knowledge of everything from the origins of place names to Gaelic music and song.
Meanwhile, Dundee has a thriving Gaelic choir which competes in competitions including the Royal National Mod.
Laura Cosgrove, Sandy Loan, Broughty Ferry.
Time to end the hostility
Sir, – The hostile attitudes towards Gaelic and the Gaels held by many in the Edinburgh- based establishment was evident as far back as the 1600s and seem to be mirrored in 2018 by our writer from Scone who objects to Government attempts to support the language in Scotland (letters, January 11).
In 1872 the Education (Scotland) Act which promised a free state education for all but on condition that it was done in English only entirely side-lined Gaelic.
This was without doubt a form of social engineering, or even worse a form of ethnic cleansing, at least as far as the Gaelic language is concerned.
Is the writer really suggesting that we should perpetuate the demise of Gaelic and continue to cleanse it from our shores?
If the language dies, the culture dies.
S Wilson Lindsay, 11B Wellburn Street, Dundee.
Must review GPs’ contracts
Sir, – The NHS needs a lateral thinker to reorganise it from the ground up.
GPs should be practising within NHS hospitals and work the 24/7 rota expected of the rest of its employees.
There should be no additional distractions, such as becoming advisers or taking on teaching roles.
GPs salaries are enormous and give them a very good lifestyle.
They don’t need extra revenue – it is driven by greed and self- importance.
Even if they take on additional work which is voluntary, it is still too much of a burden.
The GPs in the practice I attend seem to work part time only so it seems to me that they are overpaid, enabling them to enjoy outside professional activities resulting in plenty of GPs but insufficient GP hours.
We need not more doctors’ surgeries, rather replacement medical centres manned by nurse practitioners and care teams.
Financially this would be amazing and for patients there would be the provision of an outstanding service.
Many more nurse practitioners could be employed for the same cost of one GP, with efficiency stepped up and referral times shortened considerably.
GPs only seem to triage. They take no responsibility because they refer to another.
Meanwhile, any medical procedures are abdicated to the nurse practitioners, so what is the responsibility or indeed liability of a GP?
How often do GPs have to update their skills – is it mandatory or voluntary?
I understand nurse practitioners have to and want to update their skills regularly.
I would much rather see someone medically whose skills are current and who wants to know more.
GPs are expensive and their contracts absolutely need to be reviewed.
I don’t know how many billions are wasted supporting them in their business arrangements.
Seemingly they run practices as businesses with NHS grants.
My view of businesses is that it always come down to the bottom line, profit.
Is there a danger that profit is being considered over patients?
There are good and honourable GPs, no question, and these GPs could work within a hospital environment with no detriment to their careers.
There would be more observation from fellow workers and patients, and more accountability.
They could actually use their skills and their energy to be a doctor and not a profit generator.
We all need to wake up and think about what our GPs really offer us.
Georgina Spiers, Fernhill, Bridge of Cally.
Secularists love to complain
Sir, – Once again the intolerance of the National Secular Society rears its ugly head.
Alistair McBay (letters, January 12) cannot resist having a go at the Church of England and complaining about the BBC broadcasting a whole hour long programme from its headquarters.
The Church of England is a national church with a total membership of around seven million.
Fair minded and balanced people would not really see any problem in having one hour in the year when the BBC broadcasts from such an important organisation in the life of the country.
On the other hand the National Secular Society has a membership of 7,000 – about the same as the sausage appreciation society.
Yet they expect that every state institution, whether academic, political or media, should only reflect their values and their agenda.
Their obsessive secular fundamentalism is actually off-putting to many of their fellow atheists and leaves the rest of us wondering what they fear so much that they have to complain about every little thing if it is in any way perceived as religious.
Methinks the secularist doth protest too much.
David Robertson, 4 St Peter Street, Dundee.
Solution sadly misses the point
Sir, – If plastic dumped in the sea is a problem, then the answer is to stop doing that, not to stop making plastic items.
As usual, government makes its decision at the wrong level.
Plastic has a fairly good calorific value, and could be burned in gasification plants to generate electricity to power the forthcoming electric cars we have been hearing so much about.
So that’s two problems solved.
Plastic takeaway coffee cups could be recycled by washing them and reusing them.
Restaurants don’t destroy food plates and drinking glasses. They wash them. It could be the same deal for coffee.
Or if the desire to ban something is still overwhelming, then why not ban the disgusting habit of eating and drinking while walking in the street?
Malcolm Parkin, Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross.
Examining what education is for
Sir, – David Thomson (letters, January 11) appears to be confused about exactly what ‘education’ is for.
If the sole purpose of education is to get up the league tables, as it is in England, then the focus should be on the three Rs.
If, however, the purpose of education is to prepare young people for life and employment then a much broader, more sophisticated approach is required.
Employers need staff who can be creative, work as a team, be flexible, work across disciplines and so on.
These vital skills are not in the league tables.
The main problem with education here is not the Curriculum for Excellence but the lack of a kindergarten stage (learning through play) for three to seven year-olds.
This tender age is when these vital skills are learnt, and the current focus on formal education so early in life is bad for the health and wellbeing of our children.
Moreover, it is proven not to produce better outcomes in the later stages of education.
Andrew Collins, Ladyburn House, Skinners Steps, Cupar.