Sir, – In reply to Jim Crumley’s criticism of hillside roads and tracks (February 2) at the estate I work at in Glen Esk, nearly all the roads have been there for 120-plus years.
They are drove roads from Aboyne, Ballater and Glen Tanar. There have been a few others created in more recent times. These have been put in one at a time and are given about five years to green over.
With reference to Mr Crumley’s comments on beavers, may I point out that they are not native to Scotland but released recently.
I suggest Mr Crumley goes to Glamis Castle and leaves by the west drive to view the eight 250-year-old oaks, limes and ash trees all stripped by beavers in the past three months, partly due to the high waters.
All eight trees will die in less than two years. I believe little can bedone to repair thedamage.
I understand twoothers were damaged in 2014/15 and have already been removed. What a waste of 250 years of growth enjoyed by many thousands of visitors.
Some of what Mr Crumley had to say about gamekeepers was correct just after the war when there was no controls. Today there is a new generation ofkeepers in their 30s and 40s who have a different view of the countryside and their job.
I work my dogs for about 12 keepers, nine of whom are under 40, Three of them are head keepers.
Mr Crumley should go to the Scottish Parliament and listen to some of what they have to say at presentations by the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association.
The keepers may not be as eloquent as Mr Crumley but their presentations are well researched.
George Sangster. Woodlands, Logie, Montrose.
Retain Christian education
Sir, – John Munro(February 2) asks what I mean by Christian beliefs.
It is not difficult. I meant those beliefs shared by all Christians as expressed in theApostles’ Creed, held in common by Catholics, Presbyterians, Anglicans and others.
It is also a bit of a cheap jibe for Mr Munro to say that my beliefs seem identical with SarahPalin’s. But, sadly, this kind of superior attitude is typical of the atheistic secularist approach.
Mr Munro says he knows of no person who wants schools to promote atheism. I know many.
And yet he then goes on to say that schools and parents should notpromote religious ideas.
I do agree with him that pupils should learn to think for themselves, but in the one size fits all education system of the atheistic secularists,that is going to be increasingly difficult.
I agree with Mr Munro that schools shouldpromote values such as honesty, reliability, responsibility, empathy and compassion.
The question is not only what is the basis for these values, but how should they be promoted? Christianity has an excellent track record on promoting such values. Atheism has so far not shown those fruits.
Finally, for once, I agree with Alistair McBay of the National Secular Society when he says that it is not thegovernment’s job to fund sectarian indoctrination through schools.
That surely equally applies to secularist schools which only teach secular humanist values.
Would it not be better to stick with Scotland’s tradition of broadly Christian education?
David A Robertson. St Peter’s Free Church, 4 St Peter Street, Dundee.
Where are Dundee jobs?
Sir, – I could not agree more with business editor Graham Huband’s article, Right deal, wrong city (February 3).
For all the SNP Government’s promises of jobs coming to Dundee from renewables and decommissioning, what does it actually do?
It provides cash to develop Aberdeenharbour for theseindustries while Dundee, with its excellent deep-water port and surplus development space is allowed to stagnate.
The waterfront and V&A are very welcome but we need the heavy industries our port could provide.
Aberdeen has had its golden days while Dundee has lostthousands of jobs over the last few decades.
Aberdeen has areputation for being canny with its money but it would appear the city has not budgeted for a rainy day.
Meanwhile, Dundee harbour is like Aberdeen on a flag day.
David Kydd. 21a Balunie Avenue, Dundee.
Sir, – Dr Arthur (February 2) raises valid concerns about the council tax freeze, but in assigning blame for the problems of local government finance solely to the SNP, he is being disingenuous.
In her recent report to the Scottish Government on poverty and inequality Naomi Eisenstadt did not say that the freeze “disproportionately benefits the wealthiest”.
She did say the council tax is “no longer fit for purpose”, that it should be replaced by a “much more progressivesystem”, and thegovernment shouldconsider ending the freeze from 2017/18.
She is right on all counts.
The freeze was astopgap and it is now time for the council tax itself to go.
However, the reason we still have it is that the UK Labour Government torpedoed the SNP’s attempt to replace the council tax in 2008.
Although this was a devolved matter, Labour insisted that if the council tax was replaced, theUK would withhold funds provided under thecouncil tax rebate,equivalent to 3% ofcouncil spending.
Dr Arthur wonders what would happen if the UK Government forced a regressive measure on Holyrood.
That’s not hypothetical. It happened.
James Christie. 2 Dryburgh Crescent, Perth.
Support for SNP starts to stall
Sir, – While the SNP retains a commanding lead, polls indicate support is stalling as voters start to question whether promises are being kept and pledges delivered.
The short termism revealed by the Forth Bridge fiasco only adds to concern that nationalist ministers are failing to cope with devolved issues like education, police and health.
But its most disturbing feature is a policyvacuum in key areas such as energy and council tax to say nothing of its demand for more fiscal power without any responsibility.
Rev Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
Centre closure loss to Brechin
Sir, – I agree entirely with Mrs Armstrong of Edzell (January 29) about the closure of the Damacre centre in Brechin.
I belong to a large, popular, long-running club for ladies in Brechin which has met in the centre for years and we now have to find other premises which are not soconvenient for everyone.
Closing the Damacre centre is madness. There is much emphasis nowadays on loneliness. This closure will do nothing to help.
Mrs M. Wyse. Flat 9, Denburn Court, 1 Montrose Street, Brechin.
Bring back the steamie
Sir, – Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod suggests washing our clothes at a lower temperature to save energy.
Really substantial savings could be made if we reverted to the use of street corner steamies where we could all wash together.
Replicating the washing process in each house, at a desperate time like this, is irresponsible.
Malcolm Parkin. 15 Gamekeepers Road Kinnesswood.