Today’s letters to The Courier.
Sir, – Malcolm McCandless (Letters, August 6), is very quick to stick the knife into Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader.
However, a poll looking at one party and listing ”untrustworthy”, ”out of touch”, ”incompetent” and ”boring” as options is clearly biased and focused on achieving a destructive outcome, for whatever reason.
When you ask people leading questions, you will get a biased answer. If you were to ask the Scottish public whether they trusted Alex Salmond, there would almost certainly be a very significant number, even within his own party, who would reply in the negative.
I watched Johann Lamont in one of the televised leadership debates earlier this year and even as a member of another party, I have to say that the audience reacted very well to her good humour and groundedness, and it was obvious to me that she had learned the lessons from 2011. Their election results demonstrate this, gaining even in Perth and Kinross.
Johann Lamont is very obviously persuaded that our future lies with a better devolved settlement, not with the country being independent. Be that right or wrong, she appears clear and sincere in her beliefs and we should respect that. I don’t recall any Labour politician or party member coming forward to contest their recent leadership contest on the basis that Scotland should be independent.
Victor Clements. Mamie’s Cottage, Aberfeldy.
Glowing picture of the old days
Sir, – When I read Andrew Arbuckle’s piece ”Sad to lose this local link” (August 6), I was reminded of an article in the Holyrood Magazine which expressed similar sentiment around the time of the move towards multi-member constituencies.
It painted a glowing picture of the days when, ”it was possible to bump into the Provost on his way to and from the town hall, or to drop in to see the burgh engineer about a hole in the road, there was a sense of communal ownership of local democracy.
”Local rows might become more intense and local feelings might run high about minor issues on such a row, but the upside was that there was a shared desire to see appropriate services provided to the highest standard” and if it all seemed to be costing too much ”then there was the burgh treasurer to buttonhole at the paper shop or pub.”
It went on to say that it was important to ”return decision making to each community. That means putting into the hands of ordinary people control of the place in which they live and giving them the means to hold to account those who represent them. So ‘back to the burghs’ it must be.”
The author of this piece? None other than Mike Russell. Yes, the same Mike Russell who went on to become a list MSP for South of Scotland with an electorate of some 500,000 and stretching from Kilmarnock to Berwickshire. As you say, Mr Russell: ”Nothing beats keeping it local!”
Ray Russell. 16 Byron Crescent, Dundee.
More than just a policy mistake
Sir, – Dr Gordon Hughes, Professor of Economics at Edinburgh University, has assessed the likely impact of wind power on household energy bills. He told the House of Commons Energy Committee that meeting our renewable energy generation targets would increase households’ electricity bills by around 60% by 2020.
The necessary investment in windfarms would amount to about £125 billion while the same electricity demand could be met from gas plants for a capital cost of £15 billion.
According to Hughes: ”The average household electricity bill would increase from some £500 per year at 2010 prices to around £800 in 2020 if we rely on wind power.”
This huge investment in an expensive and inflexible technology that is not even very green will be worse than a simple policy mistake – it will be a major economic blunder
Dr John Cameron, 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
Root our rogue cars overnight
Sir, – Clark Cross (Letters, August 2, ”Who pays for travellers? We do, of course”) suggests as a solution to illegal camping a visit from HM Revenue and Customs inquiring about tax payments and vehicle registrations.
As far as cars are concerned, I have suggested for years that the police could profitably introduce overnight checks on our streets. They now have access to databases listing which cars are licensed, insured and have a current MOT certificate.
Such checks could winkle out all the tax and insurance dodgers and illegally-run cars could be either towed away at once or dealt with when the owners arrive to drive them away in the morning.
The benefits would be enormous. Thousands and thousands of pounds in lost revenue recovered, side-streets cleared of illegally-run cars, traffic congestion relieved because of the absence of these pirate vehicles and, most important of all, the great improvement in road safety with unroadworthy vehicles (as so many of them are!) removed.
Another plus would be that the travellers would not feel that they alone were being victimised!
George K McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth.
Meteor not the only jet
Sir – Reference your article ”Aircraft will mark royal milestone” (August 8), the Meteor was the only allied jet fighter to see combat in the Second World War. The Germans, of course, had several jet aircraft in service, or on trials, during the conflict.
A. T. Geddie. 68 Carleton Avenue, Glenrothes.