Sir, It has been announced that the Scottish Government will buy the assets of the defunct wave power company Pelamis Wave Power Ltd. which went into administration on November 21 leaving its creditors owed money.
It is quite revealing that no independent bidder came forward to buy this company as a going concern yet a government body Highland and Islands Enterprise seems to think it can wave a magic wand and, hey presto, we have wave power.
A total of £30 million of taxpayers’ money has already been wasted but I wager there is a lot more to come. Then, of course, another bad Scottish Government “investment” was to give wind turbine company Vestas more than £10 million and they, too, went bust.
Last, but not least, is Prestwick Airport which the Scottish Government bought for £1 to save it from closure and has promised/given another £27 million.
Taxpayers are being hoodwinked by an SNP renewable-obsessed government with high- flying ambitions.
It’s time to bring them back down to earth.
Dan Arnott. St Brycedale Court, Kirkcaldy.
Grateful for all the support
Sir, The directors of The St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd (STEPAL) wish to thank sincerely all the members of the public in St Andrews and the rest of North East Fife who have supported the company, both financially and in so many other ways, to ensure that we were able to present our petition before Lord Doherty at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on December 16 and 17.
We quickly became aware that our efforts were important to many sections of the community who strongly agreed with our aims and offered their expertise and informed practical experience to help us.
We extend our grateful thanks to those who have contributed to helping us follow through this important commitment to the children in the entire Madras College catchment area to try to ensure they will be able to attend a school in a more suitable area for generations to come and to try and ensure the southern hillside of St Andrews and its greenbelt is preserved.
We are hopeful the judicial review has been successful but, unfortunately, we have to wait for two to three months to know the outcome.
STEPAL wishes all our supporters a very happy New Year.
Mary R C Jack. (Chairman). Lindsay Matheson. (Treasurer). Sandra Thomson. (Secretary).
Heroes should be honoured
Sir, Once again we have seen the city of Glasgow and the emergency services stretched to the limit with the devastating bin lorry crash on Monday.
However, what has shone through has been the unity of the people of Glasgow and the outstanding work by the emergency services, who selflessly put their own feelings aside to help and comfort others who witnessed the tragedy and attended to the seriously injured.
Every year at Christmas time they are working hard to keep us safe, while the rest of us are enjoying ourselves. And when major incidents happen they witness some very traumatic scenes yet carry out their work with compassion and professionalism.
I believe that emergency service workers who attend events and major incidents such as this are the real heroes of society and should be rewarded in the Queen’s New Year and Birthday Honours lists.
Gordon Kennedy. 117 Simpson Square, Perth.
Absence not a surprise
Sir, I am pleased to see your paper highlighting the absence of local MP Jim McGovern from a crucial vote to end the “bedroom tax” (Fury at Dundee MP for missing crucial ‘bedroom tax’ vote).
Based on Mr McGovern’s track record, this should come as no surprise. Having abstained from the original “bedroom tax” vote and voted in support of the welfare sanctions it is clear that he does not represent the people of Dundee West who elected him.
It was behaviour like this which made up my mind to leave the Labour Party and join the Scottish Socialist Party, who truly represent the needs and aspirations of the working class people of Dundee West.
What has been clear in his actions is that Mr McGovern is in politics not to help but rather to take.
Surely the question now must be asked. What does Jim McGovern do for his constituents?
Allan Grogan. Scottish Socialist Party.
Relying on chance
Sir, At least two aspects of SNP policy rely on chance.
Economic viability, if the oil price holds up and electricity, if the wind blows.
What else? Perhaps pensions and benefits on the outcome of the 3.30 at Kempton Park?
Malcolm Parkin. 15 Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross.
Sir, The Scottish Court Service wishes to reduce delays in court procedures and the length of trials. The service suggests that this might be achieved by allowing witnesses to pre-record their evidence, thus removing the necessity of a witness having to attend court.
On the face of it this is an attractive suggestion but, sadly, it would be quite impractical. If an accused pleads not guilty and a case proceeds to trial it is almost always because the defence wishes to challenge the prosecution evidence.
The only way in which this can be done is by the cross-examination of a witness. In order to be cross-examined a witness would have to attend court.
Pre-recorded evidence might take the place of a witness’s evidence in chief (ie the evidence given in response to the prosecutor’s questions) but could never replace cross-examination. If a witness’s evidence is not to be challenged there are already provisions in effect by which the evidence of that witness can be agreed by prosecution and defence and the witness need not attend court.
The only realistic way in which criminal legal procedures could be speeded up is by increasing the number of judges, sheriffs and prosecutors and re-opening the courts which have been closed.
But this, of course, would be expensive and, no doubt, our politicians would not agree!
Alastair L Stewart. 86 Albany Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.
After learning re-learning
Sir, For my post-war generation, our job for the first 20 years was learning and when we left school or university we felt the “learning” job was done and it was time to get a “real” job.
We had absorbed the idea from our elders that we could rest on our laurels and the only new stuff we might need to absorb would be some small technical improvements in our trade.
Sadly the “job for life” was soon gone and with it the idea that the early skills we learned would last a life-time soon cutting edge skills were out of date in five to 10 years.
On the plus side re-skilling keeps our brains healthy and dementia at bay. As Henry Ford said: “Anyone who stops learning is old. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.
Answers needed now, not later
Sir, For those like myself who are interested in the workings of the political machine, there are many times when minor aspects are better overlooked and times when major aspects need to be brought out onto the forecourt to be microscopically examined before any voting decisions are made.
There is now extensive media comment about a Labour – SNP coalition at Westminster, and as both a Labour and “no” voter who “didn’t do walking away” at the referendum, I would like to hear what the position of the new Scottish Labour Party is on such a coalition and to see it in print.
Yes, I well know that many factors prevail and exist that will have a deciding outcome post the national elections, but I, and no doubt many others, would prefer to see which way the tide is flowing and not to find out on voting day plus one when there is no way of complaining for a full five years.
Colin Cookson. Glenrothes.
Roads can’t cope as things stand
Sir, It is unbelievable that councillors in Angus, despite objections from many fronts, have allowed the planning application for in excess of 200 properties to be built on the site of Strathmartine Hospital.
They seem not to have considered the implications of the increase in road traffic on a roads infrastructure that is totally unsuitable for the level of construction traffic that will be required, let alone the effect that another 200 vehicles will have on Baldovan Road, Harestane Road, Pitempton Road and Strathmartine Road, all Dundee.
The said roads are barely suitable for the current volume of traffic. I reside in the area and daily see heavy volumes of speeding traffic and a considerable number of very near misses which barely escape being serious accidents.
As well as urbanising a rural area it will create many problems for residents on the northern edge of the city as well as being a burden on the already congested roads. I would urge all of our local councillors and MSPs to voice strong objections to this development.
Ken Dickson. Collace Crescent, Dundee.