READERS’ LETTERS: Time to remove the rose-tinted spectacles

Berry picking at Arbuckles Soft Fruit Farm, Invergowrie.
Berry picking at Arbuckles Soft Fruit Farm, Invergowrie.

Sir, – There has been a lot of debate recently over why there doesn’t seem to be enough pickers for the strawberries.

The truth is that times have changed and there is now a much more highly-pressured production system than there was when families were collected by the berry buses.

The big supermarkets push down the farmers’ prices and the farmers pass the pressure on to their workers.

Workers are paid piece rates but have to pick fast enough to make the minimum wage or they are off the fields.

It is a highly exploitative system.

To make it work the farms recruit young people from Eastern Europe who mainly stay together in caravans on the farm.

It is hard for them to complain about the pressures as they will lose their accommodation as well as their job.

However, if they can save their money it should go further when they get home.

Very few picking jobs are advertised locally.

Although it may seem somewhat absurd that these jobs aren’t going to local unemployed people, we would hardly advocate for anyone to be pushed into such exploitative work.

This is especially the case given the backdrop of a benefit system that leaves unsupported gaps whenever you sign back on after temporary employment.

Sadly this exploitation won’t end without major changes to our whole pattern of food retail and production.

Sarah Glynn.

Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network,

c/o Castle Terrace, Broughty Ferry.


Angling for a new solution

Sir, – As a resident of Rattray, I have been watching the Ericht get to the dried-up state shown in your photo (The Courier, July 28).

And yet I presume the lade fed from the croy at the bridge still has all the water that is missing in the photo.

This is used by the fish farm some way downstream. Can’t some other way be found to extract Ericht water from the river and return it close to the site of the fish farm?

I remember one year when the fish were trapped close to the croy and carried in tanks for release further upstream, but there hasn’t been enough water even for that this year.

John Wilson.

Castle Drive,



No need for a second poll

Sir, – The Oxford English Dictionary defines a politician as “a person who is involved in politics as a job, either as a holder of or as a candidate for an elected office”.

Therefore, I am not a politician.

I have, however, lived a pretty full life.

Five years apprenticed to an accountant, 10 years in manufacturing and 30 plus years in retail and wholesale distribution.

Over time I have been a reasonably competent businessman.

I cannot understand how anyone believes that a second referendum is the answer to our distress over Brexit.

A gross political error by David Cameron took us into the mess we are in – he obviously was of the opinion that we would not vote leave. As we now know, in the run up to the vote politicians told lies, for which there is no legal redress, and exceeded allowable financial limits, for which redress is available.

Many votes cast in this referendum could only be based on intuition as reliable facts were hard to find.

Recently, Jeremy Corbyn at a political meeting asked what the Government had been doing over the intervening years that we were nowhere near ready with an acceptable position on Brexit.

His contribution in this period was hardly an exemplar of willingness to find a solution.

In my opinion, voters are no more able to make a valid judgement in a second referendum than they were in the first.

Opinions are not a reliable way to run a country when there is no clear guidance on the possible outcome.

A A Bullions.

6 Glencairn Crescent,



Be careful when poking fun

Sir, – Helen Brown wrote an amusing piece in last week’s Courier about gourmet sausage rolls and square sausage ice cream.

I was, however, disappointed that the article mocked the Edinburgh-based chef for his “unlikely name”, and for the way it sounds (the Latvian chef’s name, incidentally, is Vladimirs Kruus – and not Vladimir as was printed. If that seems petty, just reflect on how you feel when your name is misspelled).

In the early 1930s, Herbert J Taylor developed a four-way test, later adopted by the Rotary movement – Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Keeping those questions in mind will help us all to build a better future – where the worth of each individual (not just those like us) is recognised and valued.

Let’s bear in mind too that the best humour is usually the stories we’re prepared to tell against ourselves, rather than the laughs we try to gain at the expense of others.

Gordon A Campbell.

2 Falkland Place,




Drag queens will not counter hate

Sir, – 25% of Dundee’s children are living in poverty.

Meanwhile, 10% are suffering from hunger.

One in five children and teenagers are not functionally literate.

Mental health issues among young people are increasing exponentially.

And so we call a drag queen to promote “inclusion and diversity” (The Courier, July 26).

I have no objection to a drag queen giving children some fun – but let’s not pretend that this is about challenging stereotypes.

Given that drag queens thrive on the stereotypes of extreme “feminine” clothing and behaviour, this will only reinforce those stereotypes.

Nor is it about promoting “inclusion and diversity”.

Rather it is about promoting one particular philosophy of sex and gender known as Queer theory – to the exclusion of all others.

The fact that this is the current fashion for the civic elites does not mean that the rest of us should not be allowed to question whether this is a good use of tax payers’ money.

The Transgender community makes up about 0.01% of the population.

The Christian population make up more than 50%.

I wonder if Dundee City Council would pay someone to come and have a bible story time in their library or would they regard that as non-inclusive?

Having a drag queen in the library will not bring about peace and the end of hate.

The only thing that can counter hate is love – which is why children need to hear more about the God who is love, and the loving commands that he gives to us.

But apparently in today’s topsy turvy world indoctrinating five-year-olds about LGBTQI is “inclusive”, whilst teaching about the God who is love is excluded.

David Robertson.

St Peters Free Church,

4 St Peter Street.



A lot of hot air in wind debate

Sir, – The recent heatwave has seen the amount of electricity produced by wind turbines fall alarmingly, justifying the criticism of those who said that they are not reliable and do not produce on demand electricity like gas generators.

Energy giant SSE said that the lack of wind caused its profits to fall by £80 million in the three months since April since it only reaps wind subsidies when the wind blows.

Supporters of wind electricity say that better storage technology will solve the lack of wind problem.

Would they like to tell us when we are likely to see this since at present it is only a far distant pipe-dream?

Clark Cross.

138 Springfield Road,



No defence for juvenile prank

Sir, – I am surprised at the attitude of responsible readers to the juvenile actions of a grown man who placed a skeleton in a prominent position next to his house in Carnoustie just before the recent Open Championship.

Depicting a skeleton of the England football manager, at a time of pent-up emotions, during the World Cup, showed a lack of respect.

It is not the kind of behaviour that should be condoned.

There was a lot of hyped-up praise of the England team by TV reporters and perhaps that hit a nerve, but this was not just banter – it was merely an attempt to have a laugh at someone else’s expense.

A Gallacher.

Ashbank Road,