Madam, – Over the last few days Boris Johnson has been talking a lot about democracy.
He says he wants a democratic immigration system and wants to have a democratic Brexit, even though he seems to be actively working to ensure a no deal.
Is the democracy that he talks about the same democracy that allowed, out of a UK population of 66 million, only about 120,000 members of the Tory party to determine who would be our PM?
Is it the same democracy that has for the past eight years allowed a Tory Government to rule even though most of the electorate voted against them?
Democracy is a slippery term.
As Dennis Potter the playwright once said: “The problem with words is that you can never tell whose mouth they have been in before”.
We need to ask what type of democratic mechanisms are in force to ensure democracy.
In Britain it is one vote every five years.
This is hardly sufficient for politicians to say what the people want.
But that doesn’t stop them trying.
We need to have wider participation in the democratic process.
Proportional representation and some form of people panels would be steps in the right direction.
But as long as Johnson is in power I suspect we will not hear a lot about changing a process that has seen him appointed PM in a most undemocratic way.
7 Lour Road,
Scare tactics over EU position
Madam, – In The Courier of August 20 we were once more subjected to another scaremongering letter from Keith Howell, this time on an independent Scotland’s chances of remaining in the EU (SNP’s stance is a tale of two deals).
Over the years Mr Howell has warned us that voting yes to independence would see Scotland out of the EU.
Further he has stated that Scotland would be vetoed by Spain; that Scotland would have to join a queue; that Scotland would have to join the euro and much more; that it would take 10 years of negotiations. All, of course, untrue.
I could point to statements from leading EU officials who have said Scotland would be more than welcome, and that joining the EU would be seamless.
Instead I would suggest your readers do a wee bit of research.
Professor Graham Avery who is a senior adviser at the European Policy Centre, senior member of St Antony’s College, Oxford University and honorary director general of the EU commission,versus Mr Howell and Scotland in the union.
Professor Avery looked into the question of an independent Scotland and EU membership…prior to Brexit.
He states at the end of his paper (European Policy Centre, policy brief May 28, 2014) “in conclusion, Scotland in the future is likely to remain in the EU, either as an independent country or as part of the UK”.
Reading this brief would put to bed the scaremongering of Mr Howell and his compatriots.
Helping, not hindering
Madam, – Yet again more gloom and doom from Mr Howell on what a terrible place Scotland is.
His letters become more desperate by the day.
All this free home care, free prescriptions, subsidised university education, free bus travel for over 60s, better performing NHS, bedroom tax negated and many other initiatives seems to really upset him.
It must be dreadful for a man of his political sensibilities that in Scotland there is a government that tries to help ordinary people rather than kick them.
Leave the jury system alone
Madam, – Regarding the recent letter from a disgruntled potential juror, there are some factors worthy of consideration.
The first point to make is that the Scottish criminal justice system is far superior to the system used in England.
On no account should we contemplate going down the “12 good men and true” route.
It is a recipe for hung juries and time wasted in retrials, putting the witnesses through the ordeal of giving evidence for a second time.
The 15 jurors used here prevents that from happening.
Likewise, a majority decision is accepted as a matter of course here so there is no need for any time wasting discussion about accepting a majority verdict.
A simple majority suffices to bring in any of the three verdicts available to a Scottish jury. It may not be perfect but it is certainly better than the English system.
As to the comments about the accommodation at court, 75 is the number required for three juries as both prosecution and defence have five objections each (three times 25 takes us to the 75 potential jurors cited).
The accommodation problems are a result of closing the smaller courts and lumping the business that would have been done there on to Dundee, which was already stretched.
A stupid idea which has not worked in practice. In essence, leave the jury system alone and sort the courts.
44 Viewforth Place,
Just give them the money
Madam, – Your report on Perth and Kinross Council’s controversial decision to approve the siting of a 77m high wind turbine at Aviva’s headquarters in Perth omits to state some serious problems with wind-generated electricity (Winds of change as authority U-turns on turbine plan rejection, Courier, August 21).
Environmental drawbacks, including visual and auditory, are mentioned but not all costs or avian wildlife killing. CO2 emission reductions to offset adverse climate changes are wishful thinking since the manufacture and installation of the imported hardware nullify that claimed benefit.
Nor are long-term local jobs created, even from demolition of the scrapped windmill within 25 years.
Electricity generation is paltry and intermittent and depends on the “correct” wind speed.
Heavy payments are made for shutdown because of excess wind velocity. On the continent, new orders for wind turbines are in freefall because of their now recognised inefficacy, costs and electricity grid failures, as happened recently down south.
If the council are motivated to encourage Aviva to remain in Perth, why not just grant them the money?
Dr Charles Wardrop.
111 Viewlands Rd West,
Bring back the lemon trees!
Madam, – We’ve had Stan Urban tinkling the ivories at Tay Bridge Station, Desperate Dan overseeing city square, Oor Wullie with hunners of selfies and the penguins guarding the City Churches.
All wonderful, and an entertaining tribute to Dundee’s rich cultural heritage.
But where are the lemon trees? Citizens of good taste and discernment will know what I mean.
Bring back the lemon trees and celebrate Dundee’s finest!
Slessor Gardens would seem to be an ideal spot, not too far away from their original habitat.