Today’s letters to The Courier.
Sir,-While the probable finding of a lock of Napoleon’s hair at Sir Walter Scott’s house at Abbotsford is of interest, (September 6), there are even greater possibilities that Courier readers might care to note.
It has always been rumoured that Napoleon might have been slowly and systematically poisoned by being fed small quantities of arsenic by his British captors.
Now we have another chance to find out. DNA and forensic analysis of hair is a reality.
It is a comparatively simple matter to see from hair samples not only whether his body contained arsenic in meaningful quantities, but at what intervals it was given to him.
Archibald A. Lawrie.5 Church Wynd,Kingskettle.
Ways to reduce demand
Sir,-Besides addressing the current economic situation, the forthcoming spending review must have the principles of prevention at its heart.
It is the only way for the Scottish Government to reduce public spending and choke off demand for expensive services the country can’t now afford.
While we can’t expect a wholesale move to prevention approaches right away, we recommend that the Scottish Government initially focuses on allocating prevention funding to three key areas: care for older people, reoffending and early years.
If we want to choke off demand, we need to simplify the public sector and have more integrated public funding.
Martin Sime.Chief executive SCVO,Edinburgh.
Look again at two-school option
Sir,-With regards to the shocking situation between Fife Council and St Andrews University, it would be interesting to find out how much has been spent on negotiations.
Recent press coverage suggests that £140,000 has been spent since April this year alone. What about the last five years?
Councillor Maggie Taylor rubbishes the two-school option. She states that because of demographics there would not be enough pupils in future to fill the schools.
I find this puzzling given that Madras has a roll of 1513, more than half of whom would use the bridgehead option.
Bell Baxter has a roll of 1800 and some of the pupils there would also use this option. The arrival of the army at Leuchars would further boost the need for school places for families stationed there.
Perhaps a member of Fife Council and St Andrews University would care to join the children who wait at bus stops at 7.55am in the freezing cold to be bussed to a school which cannot even provide decent heating nor keep the classrooms watertight in bad weather.
They should hang their heads in shame for forcing the unfortunate pupils to continue being educated in such appalling conditions.
The local Liberal Democrat Party were very vocal at the last election for the need for a two-school option, but it did not take them long to backtrack once in office.
The population of East Fife may want to think very carefully before they mark their voting paper come next election.
Mrs Sylvia Norrie.Tayport.
Tay skippers are well trained
Sir,-I refer to the comments by jet skier Alistair Phillips (September 6) in which he suggests that seals or dolphins on the Tay are far more likely to be hit by pleasure boats run by the Taymara charity than by high-speed jet-skis.
The vessels Badger and Marigot, run by the charity, have been successfully carrying passengers on wildlife-watching cruises on the estuary for six years without incident or injury.
This is entirely due to six of our skippers becoming accredited operators in the WiSe training scheme run by Wild Scotland.
Wild Scotland run the one-day training courses for marine boat operators, organisations and individuals interested in watching marine wildlife.
Bob Richmond.The Taymara Charity,Newport-on-Tay.
Murdo Fraser to the rescue
Sir,-Thank goodness for Murdo Fraser.
In the 14 years since the 1997 wipe-out, the Scottish Conservative leadership has been consistent in its failure to learn the message the electorate so clearly sent us.
At that point I left the party. Why would anyone give another 20 years of time and energy to a political organisation so determined to refuse to listen?
If Murdo Fraser’s Scotland’s Right party is a bottom-up organisation that concentrates wholly and solely on working up policies for the benefit of Scotland and the Scottish people, he will gain not just my support but that of thousands of like-minded folk sickened by the poor government under which we now suffer.
Bad teachers let down children
Sir,-I recently read an astonishing fact that in the last 40 years only 18 teachers had been sacked for incompetence.
This despite a former chief inspector of schools in England suggesting that as many as 15,000 bad teachers are working at any one time.
What harm is this doing to children in their classes? What about the newly trained, enthusiastic young teachers who can’t get a job?
Iain McLaren.1 Clinkerheel Drive,Birkhill.
Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.