Sir, – I was amazed at the headlines asking for volunteers to grit the pavements (“Volunteers needed to grit Angus pavements”, Courier, August 11).
Being an old age pensioner and having seen many a rough winter, I wonder what is going to happen to all the new footway gritters the council has.
Will they be put in a shed and forgotten about?
Long ago when the “scaffies” (or street orderlies or refuse technicians or whatever they are called now) could not sweep the streets they simply filled their barrows with sand or grit and spread this on the pavements.
This was obviously done away with when the new fancy machines arrived.
On another note, what about all the people doing community service ordered by the criminal courts?
Wouldn’t clearing the streets during adverse winter weather be a good way of finding something positive for them to do?
Then, of course, there is the £80 million supposedly generated by the recently-held Open golf championship that the local council and councillors keep boasting about. A chunk of that cash could surely be spent on winter maintenance.
Perhaps the heads of department at the council just fancy a fact-finding trip (or junket) to some of the Scandinavian countries to find out how they cope with more extreme conditions than we have.
It is about as daft as having your bins emptied at 10 o’clock at night.
7 Links Avenue,
Banks have a dark agenda
Sir, – There is a very simple reason why banks are trying to force us to stop using cash.
For every electronic, card or automated transaction, whether paid or received and deposited, a 2 or 3% cut of that transaction is taken, thus boosting the banks’ profits.
At the same time it allows them to further increase profits by closing branches and shedding staff.
With cash they cannot control or benefit from economic activity and so they close ATMs.
This increasing dependence on electronic systems means that in the event of a system or power failure, there is little or no fallback, as we have seen in recent times.
There is also another impact in that retailers now factor in that 2 to 3% by increasing their prices.
In strict terms, the public own most banks, but that control is exerted by Westminster politicians “on our behalf” — and they operate to their own self-serving agenda rather than ours.
Assessment starts too early
Sir, – Lately there was much to-do about assessments for four and five-year-olds, with some kids being very upset because they did not know the answers.
The more I started to think about this, the more upset I got.
What is wrong with the SNP in having such young kids assessed – kids that barely started life?
Who on earth started this totally crazy idea of letting kids answer questions with multiple choice answers?
These children have only just started to read and write.
Education minister John Swinney says that these assessments have no great influence on the school years or education of these kids.
However, it seems to me as if children are no longer allowed to be children.
Instead, children have to perform under pressure as soon as they are born.
If you want to create mental health issues, the SNP is well on its way to creating a whole generation with such problems.
It starts with these assessments – children being branded and feeling bad for not knowing answers.
It all creates feelings of low esteem.
That is where it starts –with a lack of self- confidence the seeds of mental heath problems are planted.
Does Mr Swinney not realise that not everyone fits into the box created by the SNP?
What is wrong with people not going to university?
What is wrong with learning an honest trade?
Due to the pressure from an early age, everyone feels they have to go to university, resulting in a lack of good, honest tradesmen.
Church must be bold
Sir, – There is a serious theological gap in current Christian doctrine.
Through all the ages and in many lands there have been those who spoke with the authority of their own experience on the fundamental questions of life.
For instance Krishna of India, Isaiah, Lao Tse of China, Confucius, Jesus of Nazareth and Mahomet.
In the case of Jesus’s teaching, the church hierarchy of the Sixth Century saw fit, inexcusably, to alter parts of his teaching for their own ends and personal aggrandisement.
At the Fifth Council of Constantinople in 553 AD, the Roman Emperor Justinian, his wife Theodora and the church hierarchy declared anathema a belief in the twin laws of reincarnation (the law of rebirth) and karma (the law of cause and effect).
The retention of the two laws did not suit the church fathers whose mantra of “here today, gone tomorrow, sins forgiven, up to heaven” was an easy way of recruiting and inducing subservience in their followers.
The removal of these two beliefs from Jesus’ teaching has left us with no idea why we’re here, of the purpose of life, what happens when we die, where do we go, do we come back, do we start again?
We have no idea at all.
No wonder there are sceptics, agnostics and atheists.
To include these two beliefs would not be easy to accomplish, but to continue as we are today is to misguide almost half of the world’s population.
Some serious thinking and brave action needs to be undertaken by the Christian theological establishment.
Much to gain by independence
Sir, – Contrary to the views of a group of regular contributors to this column, Scotland has great potential as a nation which unfortunately will never be realised for as long as it remains trapped in a union of states dominated by the numerical voting power of its much larger neighbour.
Those who sing the praises of being part of the UK are speaking from their sheltered comfort zone where an already comfortable lifestyle is capable of withstanding any unpleasant surprises which may come their way during the remainder of their lifetime.
This self-centred outlook does nothing to look after the future prospects of our children and grandchildren and their support for Scotland’s pocket money operating budget is sadly misplaced.
No nation can make a success of its finances without the control afforded by the full fiscal levers currently denied to Scotland by London.
Independence would enable Scotland to ditch the UK business model of dependency on investors by creating an investment bank to support business enterprise, much like the German model.
Its success has much to teach investor-led economies like the UK.
37 Forth Park,
Bridge of Allan.
Dangers of paid parking plan
Sir, – Edinburgh Council could be the first local authority in Scotland to charge businesses for allowing employees to park at work.
Nottingham charges £402 each year per space.
Scottish council leaders are already licking their lips and jumping with joy at the thought of millions of pounds more to spend on their various pet projects.
However, there is a risk that businesses would relocate outside the city and some could even relocate to England.
All 32 councils in Scotland have exclusive car parks.
There are 244,300 public sector employees and 1,223 councillors, so lots of cars emitting lots of fumes.
Councils should lead by example and charge their employees and councillors £402 a year for parking before hammering businesses.
One might be tempted to suggest that Holyrood and Edinburgh Council would be the obvious places to start.
138 Springfield Road,