Madam, In the past eight weeks, two members of my family have been knocked off their bikes and killed on country roads in north-east Fife.
I regularly drive my old Mini on country roads at an average speed of 40 to 50mph and I am regularly overtaken by cars, taxis, vans and small trucks that are quite obviously travelling at speeds of 70mph to 90mph to achieve the overtake.
Since our road system has an overall speed limit of 60mph, drivers are exceeding the speed limit every day with complete impunity.
So what is Police Scotland doing about the situation ?
The answer is, nothing much.
What is Holyrood doing about the situation?
Even less than nothing.
Aside from speed issues, there is the further factor that our narrow undulating country roads were never designed for the volumes of traffic, and the large individual size of commercial vehicles now to be seen everywhere on these roads.
A 10-wheel delivery truck being driven at a fair lick, the ever increasing size of agricultural vehicles and their ever larger trailers and equipment being towed are all issues that should be receiving attention from the authorities.
Apart from anything else, the increased weights contribute to wear and tear on the roads, resulting in potholes that are rarely repaired by council.
I had always thought that the creation of a devolved Assembly in Scotland was a good idea, and would make a significant difference to the daily lives of ordinary people.
Instead we have a government so completely obsessed with stage-managing nationalist campaigns and constitutional matters, there is neither time nor appetite for any worthwhile contribution being made towards the real issues that affect our lives.
Most likely, the obvious way to achieve reductions in traffic volumes and vehicle size is either by taxation or the introduction of a toll-road system based upon FinTech.
But so long as the SNP remains in charge and remains obsessed with its idealism, I believe there is little chance of seeing any improvement to the situation in my lifetime.
Drug prohibition is a failed policy
Madam, – The recent suggestion from the so- called “family party” that the current regime of drugs prohibition should continue is dim witted.
For many decades we have seen what some of the toughest laws in Europe have achieved – the worst drugs problems in Europe.
The fact is that drug prohibition has not just failed. It has actually made the drug problem worse.
Prohibition has left no community safe from the scourge and misery of drug misuse.
It has seen drug prices falling, but seen everything else on the rise – drug deaths, drug- related crime, prison population and of course the profits of organised crime.
Drugs prohibition has been so profitable for organised crime that the evil gangsters now buy submarines to move the drugs around.
There is so much money made by international criminals that our young people are being paid to launder it through their bank accounts.
The tsunami of illicit drugs is overwhelming us, and costing all of us dear in terms of pressure on health and social work services resulting from the broken lives and broken families.
The illegal drug trade is corrupting governments across the world.
An end to treating drug use as crime would be opposed not just by ostrich-like idiots clinging on to the dream that you can use the criminal justice system to deal with it.
Ending prohibition would be most strongly opposed by the Russian mafia, the American drugs barons and other low-life criminals, as it would eat into their profits.
If you have a disease like drug misuse, and you give it prohibition as a medicine, when it is clear that this medicine is killing the patient, you should not increase the dose, as Mr Lucas suggests (“Illegal drug abuse ‘irresponsible and selfish’,” Letters, October 15).
That would be very stupid.
Catalan jailings a sinister sign
Madam, – The conviction and jailing of the Catalan nationalists on fraudulent charges of orchestrating rebellion is a tragedy and an outrage.
The fascist regime in Madrid are the only country in Western Europe in the 21st Century with political prisoners.
The conviction of an elected government for acting on its manifesto is an escalation of the attacks on democratic rights; all throughout the Western world.
It’s an attack on freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
The International Federation for Human Rights concluded that the trial “didn’t offer the minimum guarantees to be qualified as fair.”
General Franco clone Pedro Sanchez has warned he may invoke the National Security Law and Article 155 of the Constitution before elections called for November 11.
The people in Catalonia need to engage in meaningful and on-going opposition to Madrid.
This needs to take the form of mass demos, occupations, strikes. Simply doing it on a one-off basis will not be enough.
The lessons for the independence movement are clear.
Boris Johnson and his band of fanatical unionists will not grant a Section 30 Order.
They will follow the example of Spain and will try to bring charges if any referendum is held in Scotland without Westminster’s consent.
2 Gillespie Terrace,
EU must act on Catalonia crisis
Madam, – The decision of Spain’s Supreme Court to convict Catalan politicians and activists to lengthy jail sentences following their bid to win independence in 2017 is truly appalling.
Normal Western countries don’t lock up democratic opponents and for an EU member state in the 21st Century to have political prisoners beggars belief.
This situation raises serious concerns about the very nature of democracy in Europe.
The EU and the rest of the international community must intervene, offering the parties a way out of the conflict. This is no longer an internal Spanish affair, it is a European and a global crisis. The EU does not need to take a side in the argument, rather it should act as an impartial mediator, looking at democratic and negotiated solutions.
The EU cannot afford not to intervene or the crisis will simply escalate. Let the EU help Spain and Catalonia find peace.
2 Marchmont Road,
The fuss was over spending
Madam, – Your letter from Mr Malone, “What is the fuss all about?” (October 14), completely misses the point about the SNP Lord Provost of Glasgow’s extravagance.
Whilst celebrities are at liberty to spend their own money as they wish, surely somebody in public office,whilst dressing appropriately, should act prudently with the public purse?
Didn’t your good paper report that it was £8,000 she spent, and on reflection she has correctly decided to pay some of it back?
82 Feus Road,