Sir, – It is undeniable that heavy budgetary constraints have been imposed upon local authorities by the Scottish Government, reducing resources and denying them the ability to raise rates to ameliorate this.
This is witnessed by the many service cuts reluctantly imposed by councils, throwing thousands out of work.
We have seen the closure of both police stations and courts, increased waiting times in hospitals and a constriction upon care services for the elderly.
Our once much envied educational system is consistently under attack through budgetary constriction, and we are faced with the consequence that more and more pupils are reputedly leaving school with an absence of basic abilities.
It is now reported that cash-strapped schools may be forced into a number of ways and means to make their books balance, and indeed the Rector of Madras College in Fife suggested that he could be faced with the possibility of staff cuts, the increase in class sizes, or even a shorter scholastic week.
Meanwhile, free education to all is a myth, in that well qualified and able students are being denied university placements when budgetary allocations become exhausted, paving the way for full fee-paying foreign students to make up the shortfall, to the detriment of the former.
Surely party games should be abandoned and a serious emphasis placed upon tackling these looming problems.
David L Thomson.
24 Laurence Park,
Not all churches are in decline
Sir, – An article in Monday’s Courier said the Church is “in crisis” as numbers decline.
This raised my hackles a bit, as it appears to include all denominations, but only refers to the Church of Scotland.
I was a Church of Scotland minister until 1977.
When I left I gave the Church of Scotland as a whole, 20 years to continue.
My figures may have been wrong, but now even the Church of Scotland authorities are forecasting its demise.
My feeling was that there were too many gimmicks being tried to woo people in.
The “plain” gospel message was only heard in a small handful of congregations.
I am now a member of the Free Church.
Our congregation in Dundee is thriving and being added to week by week.
There is a large Sunday School, and a new “shoot” has been planted in another part of the city.
There are also brand new Free Church congregations in Stirling, Montrose and Broughty Ferry, to name but three.
There are also other churches of different denominations in the city with no shortage of attendees.
A D Williams.
Tourists want to spend a penny
Sir, – Has anyone noticed a curious affliction, particularly prevalent among our tourists at the moment?
It is characterised by grimly crossed legs, eyes staring out to sea with a horrified, puzzled expression, followed by watering eyes and even tears.
Let me explain.
There is hardly a public loo to be found anywhere in the north of Scotland.
Even fewer remain open for our valued visitors to use all year round.
Most are shut over the winter, forced to close through lack of funding.
Why? Because councils are being starved of funds by Holyrood hoarders waiting for indyref umpteen.
Meanwhile as they stare out to sea, our pristine, sparkling horizon, is being destroyed by the demonstrably useless Beatrice wind farm being foisted on us at truly astronomical cost.
Our politicians have prioritised spending a simply-staggering £2,600,000,000 to supposedly save the planet, yet won’t spend a penny to save the pan.
How many toilets, and how much crumbling infrastructure would that sort of money provide?
Remember wind farms have been flat-lining for around six weeks now, so what exactly are we getting for our hard-earned cash?
Royals come at quite a cost
Sir, – Recent news suggests that both the police force and education services are suffering from budget cuts and cannot carry out their functions as they would like.
Meanwhile, last month the royals received an increase of 13% on their expenditure.
In addition to this, the Queen got an extra £1 million on the revenue she receives from the Duchy of Lancaster, making a total of £21 million.
There are also ever increasing numbers, with the royal family rapidly expanding.
At the same time there are more people sleeping rough and attending food banks.
Why do the people of Britain stand for this farce?
93 Whyterose Terrace,
Perception must be challenged
Sir, – It was sad but not surprising to read that acts of terrorism by Muslims receive 357% more press attention than other terrorists, as was reported in a recent study by the University of Alabama.
It is about time the media questioned the role it plays in society.
Is terrorism not another form of attention-seeking?
Terrorists are willing to die for the attention they crave.
But here we are, feeding them exactly what they are after.
Back in 2016, two years before this research came to light, the Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community astutely noted: “Publicity is the oxygen sustaining most terrorist or extremist groups”.
The media needs to drown out the voices of hate and elevate the sound of reason.
This weekend, the media has a chance to receive the answer to the question it actively or passively puts to people.
Is Islam a religion of peace or violence?
One of the biggest questions facing us is being answered by one of the largest gatherings of Muslims in Britain.
Thirty five thousand Muslims this weekend in a Hampshire farm will get together to show the true teachings of Islam.
And I am travelling from Dundee to help organise it.
But the real question is, does the media have the audacity to swim against the trends it creates and look to see if they can find the time to challenge common narratives around Muslims, for once?
10F Arklay Terrace,
Poll result must not be ignored
Sir, – In AA Bullions’s opinion (Courier letters, July 31), “opinions are not a reliable way to run a country when there is no clear guidance on the possible outcome” and “we are nowhere near ready with an acceptable position on Brexit”.
Before, say, the First World War and the Iraq War, any guidance on their outcome was lacking but, for better or worse, our politicians chose war. The present Brexit negotiations are dragging on, quite avoidably, because of poor leadership and governmental confusion of purpose; a second referendum would likely settle that only with a “best of three” – or more.
We do have 17.4 million voter’s opinon to leave the EU and, though many remainers desperately want the result overturned, democracy was surely served with the first vote.
By no democratic process did the UK become a member of the EU.
The “great and the good” opted for the then Common Market on our behalf in the 1970s.
The EU has since evolved into an imperialistic body seeking a “US of Europe,” – always their real objective – complete with an army, eliminating the nation-states.
The remainers’ claim of “we wuz robbed” would not work if their racehorse had come in second.
It is now time for the people’s vote in 2016 to be respected, as after all our other elections.
111 Viewlands Rd West,
Respecting old traditions
Sir, – With the Edinburgh Festivals starting, can I remind your readers to helpfully inform visitors to our city that, unlike the made-up and damaging “tradition” of rubbing Greyfriars Bobby’s nose, it is a genuine Edinburgh tradition to pause for a moment in the Royal Mile beside St Giles to lick the Heart of Midlothian?
78 Montgomery Street,