Madam, – At last someone has had the honesty to call the scale of drug addiction and deaths in Britain, and Dundee in particular, an “epidemic”.
Perhaps this will help mould the mindset of the politicians, commissions and forums who go through the public ritual of breastbeating over the victims of drugs but who have yet to come up with any practical proposals to eradicate the source of the epidemic, concentrating instead on providing facilities for the addicts.
During an epidemic the full resources of a nation, including the military, are mobilised.
The victims are nursed and cared for, but major efforts are put into tracking down and identifying the source, which is then eradicated.
If the political will is there, the drug producing areas of the world can be defoliated and the suppliers of drugs removed from circulation permanently.
However, I don’t hold out much hope of this happening as the social elite and ruling classes are just as addicted as the poor, only, instead of shooting up in a “closie”, their poison of choice is served up in a bowl at a dinner party in the leafy suburbs along with the foie gras.
Their vice is not addictive but “recreational”, and until they admit that they too have a problem they are unlikely to be in favour of taking practical action to address it.
The reason addiction is more prevalent and obvious among the poor is that there are more of them.
In this era of surveys and referendums, why not ask the parents and relatives of addicts living and dead what they think should be done to prevent a new generation of young people becoming addicted to drugs?
51 Airlie Street,
Union has come to end of its life
Madam, – One woman’s “nationalism” is another’s commonsense patriotism.
Pro-unionists like Jenny Hjul (Indyref2 may need two-thirds majority to prove Scots really want independence, Courier, August 21) choose to ignore the fact chauvinistic English nationalism has reduced Britain to a laughing stock by pursuing Brexit at any price.
She should be more worried about the 68% of English Tories who would happily end the union with Scotland and be shot of the EU into the bargain.
Add in some English Labour and Lib Dems, and many Brexit and UKIP supporters who feel the same, and you have a massive majority of English nationalists willing to sacrifice the precious union.
6 Conachar Court,
Isla Road, Perth.
A negotiated vote outcome
Madam, – Alex Bell (Let’s look into life after ‘Yes’, Courier, August 22) is right in that we need to be thinking more about process in relation to any future independence referendum here.
There is plenty of evidence that a Yes/No question hands a very significance advantage to the Yes side, effectively giving them a 5-10% point start, enough to change the outcome of any referendum.
But there are bigger questions beyond this.
If the 2014 and 2016 referendums did not resolve the issues they were supposed to resolve, then why should another one be any different?
We need to be voting on a negotiated outcome, so that there is no dispute about what an independent country would look like.
Surely we have learned that much recently?
And, if a 55:45 result in 2014 was not conclusive, then what would be conclusive?
A higher mandate is required and this is the reason why any organisation, political parties especially, set a higher threshold mandate of two thirds.
It is simply so their membership do not become entwined and disabled by disputes on constitution and points of procedure, like we currently are in Scotland.
If we want to change our constitutional position, then that will be more likely to be successful if this is the clear and unambiguous position of a clear majority of the country.
We need to demonstrate that we are capable of learning from all this, and start asking more questions.
It will not reflect very well on us as a country if we are unable to do that.
Misery over expenditure
Madam, – Charles Dickens had a character called Mr McCawber who had sound advice on budgets.
Namely, income £1 per annum expenditure nineteen shillings and six pence. Result happiness.
Whereas, income £1 per annum, expenditure (£1. 6d) one pound six pence. Result misery.
With this in mind, might I pass on to the first minister that income from tax of £26 billion and public expenditure of £38bn results in lots of misery, austerity and cuts to public services plus an increase in taxes.
It is simple budgeting.
Concern as GP surgery shuts
Madam, – It has taken three weeks for NHS Tayside to come to the foregone conclusion that the closure of the GP surgery in Bridge of Earn is unavoidable.
It normally takes NHS Tayside over a week to send out one letter.
So the task of finding alternative surgeries for patients and sending out letters and details to 3,500 patients may take months.
What about those patients who require repeat prescriptions?
Could NHS Tayside help them by arranging for these to be handed into the local pharmacy in Bridge of Earn and actioned?
Other pharmacies seem to be able to deliver repeat prescriptions on a regular basis.
Bridge of Earn.
Different reality from my own
Madam, – After the suspension of two councillors by council leader Murray Lyle, I was left wondering what alternative reality some in Perth and Kinross Council think they are in (‘No choice but to suspend members, Courier, August 21).
Clearly a different one to mine.
Politicians should have learned, from the widely reported difficulties a political party had with its former leader, that suspending members whilst ignoring due process is a bad idea.
In my reality, too, facilitating a discussion for members of the public who have arrived expecting a meeting is a good idea and not, as the council leader seems to think, an inexcusable activity that left him “no choice” but to suspend the perpetrators.
It all seems a bit Kafkaesque to me.
Radical rethink of our railways
Madam, – It has been suggested that ScotRail be stripped of its franchise.
It is a good idea as its owners, Abellio, have no interest in Scotland’s rail passengers.
They just use the profits made to subsidise the Netherlands state rail system.
Caledonian Sleeper is also in disarray and should be looked at.
It perhaps would be a good idea to transfer these services to LNER along with the management of all rail stations.
It is a radical suggestion perhaps, but it would be good for Scotland’s long suffering rail travellers.