Sir, I write with regard to the Scottish Parliament passing the motion to lower the drink-drive threshold from its current 80 mgs to 50 mgs. I have no doubt this reduction is well intentioned but I just wonder if the SNP Justice Minister has overstepped the mark.
Firstly, as Police Scotland concede, there are no statistics at all to indicate the number of accidents and fatalities which currently fall into the 50 – 80 mgs bracket, so for Kenny MacAskill to claim that his proposed measure will “significantly improve road safety and reduce deaths” is nothing but speculation and wishful thinking.
Secondly, it would seem that this measure targets the wrong people. Those hardened drinkers who currently adopt a catch-me-if-you-can attitude and have a skinful before driving home will continue to do so.
However, those who presently abide by the law by sensibly having just one pint of beer or glass of wine before driving will soon be at risk of becoming criminals.
Thirdly, has anyone considered the hardening effect this might have on currently responsible drink drivers? On the premise that you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, I can imagine a “what the hell” attitude from some once they’re over the single drink mark, knowing that the damage is already done.
To compound this, the fact that the lower drink-drive limit is subject to the same one-year ban, fine and penalty points as the current upper limit could well lead to otherwise law-abiding people considering it a chance worth taking.
My last point concerns the flagrant disregard to the licensing trade. The Scottish Government is already indebted to publicans and restaurant owners, especially when we consider that without their cooperation the ban on smoking on licensed premises would have been almost impossible to implement. Now it seems licensees might lose a sizeable trade in responsible drink drivers.
Sorry, Kenny, but we won’t be fooled. Come the next Scottish elections it’ll be “taxi for MacAskill”. Now there’s a motion to which we can all raise a glass and not fear the consequences!
Jamie Buchan. Grove Road, Dundee.
They should get a taxi
Sir, I cannot understand why so many people are up in arms about the new legislation to reduce the drink-drive limit. There are far too many fatal road accidents in Scotland where alcohol is a factor. If people want to consume alcohol then they should get a taxi. They should make provision for this as part of their night out before they go out.
This legislation is bringing Scotland into line with many other countries including France and Germany. Too many families will be celebrating Christmas without a loved one because of an irresponsible drink driver.
Gordon Kennedy. 117 Simpson Square, Perth.
Targets are not strong enough
Sir, If the non-binding pledges announced by European governments in Brussels are an indication of the global response to climate change, the world and its inhabitants are in big, big trouble.
Members of the European Commission and European Council championed the commitments for emission reductions, energy conservation and the increase of renewable power sources that were contained in the agreement, but the targets simply are not strong enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the rate demanded by the science of climate change.
To describe 40% emissions cuts as adequate or ambitious, as EU leaders are doing, is dangerously irresponsible 40% is off the radar of climate science.
This deal does nothing to end Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels, or to speed up our transition to a clean energy future. It’s a deal that puts dirty industry interests ahead of citizens and the planet.
The UK and Poland continually roadblocked more aggressive action by threatening to use their veto power to torpedo the entire agreement.
Alan Hinnrichs. 2 Gillespie Terrace, Dundee.
Discourage this speculation
Sir, The announcement by Police Scotland that the 20 raptors found poisoned in March near Conon Bridge were “not deliberatelytargeted” raises number of serious matters.
Despite the trend of crimes against birds of prey having gone down in the last three to five years, particularly by poisoning, the speculation around each case has become more hysterical. The RSPB even tried to link the Conon Bridge incident to grouse moor management.
There are now websites and bloggers and organisations involved in police investigations who are not slow to feed information to the media and promote speculation.
This speculation is having a corrosive knock-on effect on many other aspects of land management, severely straining the relationship between land managers and conservation bodies.
This also brings into focus the new measure whereby general licences to control pest birds may be withdrawn where there is only a suspicion of wildlife crime, rather than it being proven in court.
Any deliberate killing of a bird of prey is illegal and is to be condemned but it is not in anyone’s interests that various activists and organisations can leap to conclusions without any evidence to support their point of view which in turn is afforded political and media credence.
It would be a major step forward if government and other interested organisations were to take a lead in ensuring that reckless speculation should be discouraged.
If everyone sticks to the facts and works more constructively together then the interests of conservation will be better served.
Tim Baynes. Scottish Moorland Group Scottish Land & Estates Musselburgh.
Should be held accountable
Sir, I couldn’t agree more with Mr Strathearn’s letter (October 21), with regard to the relocation of Kirriemuir’s post office.
It is now obvious there have been done deals by the Post Office since privatisation and that their proposed economic strategies are just beginning to hit Kirriemuir, Forfar, Brechin, etc, with a total disregard for the social disruption they are going to cause to townspeople.
The reality is that, once again, we can thank Vince Cable MP, along with the Westminster Government and friends for this situation.
Is it not about time the Westminster Government and friends were held accountable for the sell-off of our obvious business money makers which could have and should have been run by astute businessmen on behalf of the government with profits reinvested back into our economy?
Mrs J Moncur. 3 Park Place, Kirriemuir.
Council wasn’t at fault here
Sir, I read with interest the article relating to MrSobczak’s blue badge having expired (Courier, October 27).
This, apparently, has placed a great restriction on his movements, as he is afraid to travel and park outwith Fife while his vehicle displays an expired badge.
It is then interesting to note that it took him seven weeks to return his renewal application to Fife Council.
This indicates efficiency on the part of Fife Council and a disregard to the renewal process by Mr Sobczak.
Please give credit where it is due as this was no fault of Fife Council.
Jack Harley. 9 Mackie Crescent, Markinch.
Actors’ superb performance
Sir, On Friday night (October 24), I attended a performance in FinmillCommunity Centre in Fintry, consisting of four short plays by Tennessee Williams, superbly acted by members of the Rep Theatre.
Performing in all the community centres is something they do on a regular basis.
I know this playwright isn’t appreciated by everyone, but the performance by the Rep actors and actresses was absolutely superb.
All I can say is if you haven’t already seen this group in action, there is still time to do so in other community centres in Dundee.
June Reid. 12 Findhorn Street, Fintry, Dundee.
It won’t benefit us
Sir, Contrary to the gloom that was forecast over the past two years and which culminated on the September 18, I notice that a new oilfield has been discovered which, according to reports, is significant.
This, allied to the fact that due to the accident at Didcot 40% of the UK’s power was generated from wind, and the possibility of shale gas becoming an extra bonus if its extraction is proved to be safe, added to the already efficient hydro generation and a nuclear industry, would make you think that this small country would have an abundance of power sources and that this would lead to extremely low fuel bills.
Sorry to disappoint, however. Power in this country has been squandered by successive governments at Westminster and I see no change to that in the future.
What will happen is that the money raised from these new sources will continue to bleed into the pockets of those who have always benefited from natural resources, while the rest of us will continue to stump up.
We should be in a position to give large discounts to at least those on small pensions or those disabled and unable to work and not the pathetic offers of help that they can apply for at the moment.
Great hope is put on shale gas, but I very much doubt it will make any difference to the ordinary Joe. History has already taught us that.
Bryan Auchterlonie. Bluebell Cottages, Ardargie.
Make them all scrap these terrible contracts
Sir, Recently, SportsDirect have backed down regarding their zero hours contracts and have given staff the basic rights of holiday and sick pay.
I would like all companies exploiting their workers in this way to be made to scrap these terrible contracts.
Jean McAulay. 52 High Street, Brechin.
An unintended consequence?
Sir, I write regarding the “plastic bag tax” of 5p. I went into my local KFC recently for a takeaway meal and was charged 5p for a brown paper carrier. This was freshly cooked food and could have been contaminated if I had supplied a bag.
Is it the Scottish Parliament’s intention to increase the NHS costs by introducing food poisoning?
Dave Whyte. 73 Blackcraigs, Kirkcaldy.
A good thing to revitalise culture?
Sir, The state of the Gaelic language would appear to be the same as the state of the Welsh language 50 years or so ago spoken by relatively few people in the north and west of the country, but generally moribund or in decline.
Brought up in South Wales, until I left home as a teenager, I only ever met one native Welsh speaker.
A persistent, but gentle, campaign by the Welsh Language Society, similar to that now being mooted in Scotland, starting with dual language road signs, has resulted in Welsh becoming revitalised as a living language.
It has seen Cardiff, perhaps the most Anglicised of Welsh communities, having to make provision for more Welsh medium schools and many areas having a waiting list for such schools.
This surely cannot be a bad thing for native culture and traditions in the ever more globalised world?
Laurie Richards. 100 Crail Road, Cellardyke.
Gaelic a waste of public money
Sir, I think the proposals to introduce Gaelic by Dundee and Perth and Kinross councils are a waste of public money (£350,000 being the quoted cost for Perth and Kinross!).
As far as road signs are concerned, it would be more appropriate if efforts were made to clear overgrown hedges and trees which completely obstruct the signs during the summer tourist season.
On the other hand, if we introduce Gaelic, bearing in mind the small number of Gaelic speaking people, what about the vast number of Polish and other European speakers in this country?
Do we print all signs in about 10 different languages?
I think there are many more important projects on which the money could be spent, for the benefit of everyone.
John McDonald. 14 Rosebery Court, Kirkcaldy.