Sir, – There has been much discussion in support, or otherwise, of the reinstatement of the rail line from Leuchars Junction to St Andrews.
I cannot help but liken the proposal to many of the Victorian schemes designed to make money from this means of transport, many of which had premature closures due to low revenue.
Times have changed and the following thoughts might assist in the logic of this scheme.
More people have cars than not these days.
The service would need to be fast and very frequent.
The original line went far beyond St Andrews, serving the whole of the Fife coast, connecting with the main line at Thornton.
Comparing travel between London and Cambridge is not comparing apples with apples when considering Edinburgh and St Andrews, as one would still require to change at Leuchars, whereas at Cambridge, there are routes established in other directions.
There are many other routes more viable, including Leven and Methil to Thornton.
It could be argued quite strongly that the closure of the old Caledonian line from Kinnaber to Stanley with the Aberdeen to Glasgow services was an error and it could still have operated profitably even if the line was singled, due to the increased freight potential.
This will never happen now sadly, as many houses have been built on the old track bed and much infrastructure removed. Remaining infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose.
As one brought up in the age of the train, steam especially, I bemoaned the Beeching axe but cannot see how a line to St Andrews can ever be a viable proposition.
Geoff Bray. 5 Heather Croft, Letham (Angus).
Police should not be armed
Sir, – Calum Steele, secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, argues for an increase in routinely armed police officers in the aftermath of the Paris massacre.
He would do well to remember the armed response to this incident was reactive, not proactive. By the same argument, should people be empowered to carry their own firearms? No, I don’t think so.
There is a disconnect between police and public as police uniforms become more and more militaristic. The paraphernalia of anti-stab vests, flak jackets, pepper spray and stun guns are now common place.
The police have a responsibility to promote public tranquility and peace, enforce traffic rules and deal with and criminal behaviour.
They are not soldiers.
If there is a need for an armed security force, this falls outside the expertise of the police. Do they believe the single-shot weapons they carry are a match for determined terrorists with automatic weapons and explosives? These skills are only gained by the military through continual training.
The areas of risk are predominantly where there are high levels of population and few such places are outwith close proximity to military bases.
Better screening at public venues and heightened awareness are our best allies in mitigating terrorist risk.
Of course, from time to time there is a need for an armed response to violent domestic incidents but these are well catered for by restricted access to firearms.
There are increasing strains on police budgets and this is a prime example of where money could be better spent on day-to-day policing where firearms are not an asset to investigation.
I doubt if there is a public appetite for routinely armed police.
It may be worth considering that if there was a clear distinction between unarmed police and specialised military units this might be beneficial to the safety of those we entrust to uphold the law, as it will become accepted by one and all that the police do not carry guns.
AG Walker. Puddledub Cottage, Guthrie, By Forfar.
Defeat ISIS with power of reason
Sir, – Islamic terrorists support their philosophy through a two-stage process of reasoning. Firstly, they accept that Mohammed was a prophet worthy of emulation and that the Koran is a revelation of God’s will.
Secondly, they study the foundational documents of Islam and conclude Allah calls them to violent conquest and suppression of dissent.
In countering this, the West puts its eggs in the basket of disrupting the second stage, while interfering in the first is regarded as futile.
Unfortunately, when I study the Hadith and the Koran, I find much that can be interpreted as clearly justifying IS.
Islamic moderates are fighting an uphill battle against extremism because they have to contend with aspects of the example of Mohammed and the teaching of the Koran.
On the other hand, the rational case for Mohammed’s prophethood and the veracity of the Koran is precarious, to say the least, vulnerable to many historical, logical and ethical challenges.
Islamic extremism must be defeated by refutation. I urge intellectuals to strike at the soft underbelly as well as the tough shell.
Richard Lucas. Broomyknowe, Colinton, Edinburgh.
Dundee junction safety concern
Sir, – We wonder how many of your readers have experienced a very unsafe crossing at the junction of Perth Road and Riverside Drive in Dundee?
We have had to use it more often recently and, over even a few days, we have seen several near-misses mainly due to drivers speeding towards Perth and failing to see the giveway signs which give the right of way to drivers from the Perth side of the complicated junction.
We appreciate that our council is very strapped for cash but even so, would it be possible for the powers-that-be in Dundee to give some serious thought to making this junction simpler and safer by perhaps considering a form of roundabout?
Drs Duncan and Norma Smith. 7 Adelaide Terrace, Dundee.
Nonsense of climate change
Sir, – Alan Hinnrichs (November 24) is at it again.
Anyone, like Dr John Cameron of St Andrews, who dares to question climate change as preached by Alan Hinnrichs is met with the ferocity of a wildcat.
He chooses to ignore the fact that for 18 years, while atmospheric CO2 levels have dramatically increased, global surface temperatures have not increased.
This important fact has been acknowledged by both the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Kingdom Met Office.
The IPCC admits that there is little or no link between climate change and extreme weather events.
Mr Hinnrichs’ previous letters always claimed that climate change was causing extreme weather.
I was only surprised that he did not blame volcanic eruptions on mankind.
He never mentions population growth, which will be increased by two billion by 2050, swamping the effect of very expensive climate – reduction policies.
Finally, Mr Hinnrichs, atmospheric CO2 amounts to only 0.038% of the atmosphere. Human activity contributes only 3% of that.
Man-made emissions are essentially trivial.
Clark Cross. 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow.
Scotland tires of oppression
Sir, – All too often these letters pages are used as a means of sniping at others who hold different opinions.
However, without naming names, I feel I must clarify the position regarding Scotland’s strong financial basis for independence.
You see, the nationalists don’t really need to provide the positive fiscal case for self-government because the unionist parties are doing a fine job of highlighting the failings of the UK with continued mismanagement of the whole economy.
After the Tories are finished with us, breaking away really will seem like the only option.
Meanwhile, my current party of choice has a massive mandate for government here while I suspect the parties of those expressing a different opinion are most firmly in the minority.
This clearly shows that the masses in Scotland have grown tired of the few with land and title ruling over us with an imperial fist while keeping the country down.
Their gravy train is soon to leave the station, its departure hastened by an out-of-touch archaic hankering to keep the commoners in their place.
Richard Clark. Craigton, Monikie.