On the agenda today: NHS Fife spending, education, fixed-term parliaments and biomass technology.
Use ballot cash for frontline services
Sir,-Last week we saw every person in Fife over 16 being sent voting forms for elections to the Fife NHS Board.
The mailing contained stamped-addressed envelopes for the returned ballot papers.
By my reckoning, this cost NHS Fife at least £300,000 if not more, given that the mailings had first-class stamps and bulk costs less.
Now we are told (May 16) that savings in NHS Fife have to be made to frontline services.
The election mailings would have accounted for a good percentage of savings. It seems a pointless exercise takes precedence over patient care.
John Montgomery.24 March Crescent,Cellardyke.
Zero tolerance for bird killers
Sir,-The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has published advice to cat lovers on how to prevent their pets from killing birds.
One recommendation is that owners should put a bell on their pet’s collar. I agree and suggest a ship’s bell or even a church one should do the trick.
Clark Cross.138 Springfield Road,Linlithgow.
Labour failed on education
Sir,-The Sutton Trust, the charity dedicated to promoting social mobility through education, is concerned that the Liberal Conservative Cabinet “is highly unrepresentative”.
Yet it is clear that the reappearance of this educational elite in the seats of power is final proof of a self-defeating contradiction at the heart of socialism.
After the second world war, the Butler Education Act opened the way to tens of thousands of children who flooded out of the housing schemes and coalfields in the 1950s and 1960s.
However, after 13 years of New Labour, and many more years of misguided tampering with our schools and universities, that way ahead has been blocked.
It is ironical that this new Tory dominated coalition is far more likely to facilitate mobility through education than Labour in any of its guises.
(Dr) John Cameron.10 Howard Place,St Andrews.
Living with coalition rule
Sir,-I cannot understand the fury of former ministers David Blunkett and Jack Straw over the new government’s proposals for fixed-term parliaments.
Their real concern should be the power our unwritten constitution gives to a Prime Minister to call an election whenever he or she likes.
The advantages and disadvantages of hung, or balanced if you prefer, parliaments have been well rehearsed in recent weeks.
The unalterable fact is that people voted for it.
They may well do so again at future elections. In that event we do not just need a series of mechanisms to resolve disputes between the governing parties.
Trust between the parties will be increased if they know that the Prime Minister will not suddenly go to the country just because there has been a favourable shift in public opinion. That is why stable government needs to be underpinned by fixed-term parliament legislation.
We already have this in Scotland and Wales. Here we have experience of a coalition between Labour and Liberal Democrats and a minority government led by the SNP.
Both set-ups have had their tensions, their fallouts, their inconsistencies. But, for the most part, they have encouraged parties to work together effectively.
That was made a lot easier by the fact that everyone knew they were operating in the context of fixed-term parliaments. It can work in Westminster too.
All we need is the courage to think afresh and give this new form of administration a chance.
Bob Taylor.24 Shiel Court,Glenrothes.
Alarming scale of biomass plant
Sir,-In response to articles and letters about heating Seaview Primary School, Monifieth, with biomass, do biomass supporters appreciate that the incinerator being proposed at Dundee Port will be 480 times bigger and more powerful than that of Seawiew Primary School?
These small-scale incinerators are all very well when powering small-scale projects and especially so when being fuelled solely by locally sourced wood pellets and logs.
The Dundee incinerator will have the ability to burn all sort of “bio” debris, sourced from around the globe, and if, as we are led to believe, all that is emitted from its stack is “water vapour” and clean air, then why does the proposed chimney need to be 300 feet high?
Ian Milne.Netherton of Craigie,Craigiebarn Road,Dundee.