Sir, I took part in the funeral procession for Sheku Bayoh, the man who died in the hands of the police over five weeks ago, and was also at the public meeting later in the afternoon.
I came away with a mix of emotions deeply saddened by the needless death of this young man and the torment that his family is suffering both by his death and by the fact that they are still in the dark about whathappened to Sheku.
I am also very angry at the way his family has been treated by the local police and their federation. How can it be that nine police officers who were at the scene were able to stand firm for five weeks and refuse to give even the basic operational details of what happened to Sheku when they made to arrest him?
In what other walk of life, where someone dies in your care, would you be allowed to refuse to cooperate by providing details of what led up to the person’s death?
There was a very poignant moment at the meeting when a family member stood up and said he would like to know what the last words of his cousin were before he died.
The family has been given five different accounts of what happened the first was that he had been found dead on the pavement by a member of the public and we know this to have been a blatant lie. At the public meeting we learned that gas and batons were used on Sheku and that he needed to be given CPR in the street.
Not only that but he was put into the ambulance with handcuffs restraining his arms at his back and with his legs also shackled. I think we were all horrified to hear of the all-round lack of humanity displayed by the police.
How can it be that in a country where we are reputed to have one of the best justice systems in the world, we can have a police service that has no accountability and seems itself to be above the law?
There needs to be a change in the rule that, unlike in England, allows police officers to confer together and refuse to give evidence to the independent body which has been set up to investigate matters which could involve police misdoings.
I would like to see local politicians begin to put pressure on our national government to bring about new legislation.
It looks like this is going to be a long,arduous and expensive road for the family until they finally get justice for Sheku Bayoh and I hope that we can all be there to offer support to them in their struggle. My heart is with them.
Maureen Closs. 1 Barassie Drive, Kirkcaldy.
Labour must break away
Sir, How seriously should we takeCowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley’s call for anindependent Scottish Labour Party (June 8)?
It doesn’t appear to be high on the agenda of the main leadership candidates Kezia Dugdale and Ken McIntosh. Yet the matter could help determine whether or not the party north of the border stays in the electoral doldrums for a very, very long time.
The main drawback to Mr Rowley’s proposal is the practical one. Where is the money to finance headquarters, a general secretary and other key staff to come from?
The unions are unlikely to want to back an autonomous operation. Party membership is now so low it was unable even to have a physical presence at many polling stations in the recent election.
Yet if these problems could be overcome the case for an independent party is an overwhelming one. It would once and for all dispel the idea of branch office status.
It would clear up any confusion in the public mind about who actually leads the party in Scotland. It would speak as an equal not a subordinate to parties elsewhere in the United Kingdom and at international level.
Above all it would be able to present a coherent alernative to the voters unfettered by the charge that someone else is calling its tune.
Bob Taylor. 24 Shiel Court, Glenrothes.
The facts about Airleywight
Sir, Your article on the sale of Airleywight House (June 6) hasinaccuracies.
Let me set the record straight.
Airleywight House was built between 1810 and 1812 for James Wylie, a merchant from Perth, and not Thomas Wylie as stated in the article.
James was given theAirleywight estate by his mother Grizel Wylie in 1806.
She was the daughter and heir of Andrew Ritchie who had exchanged the 1,173 acres at Airleywight and Cultrannie for a large tract of land known as the Hole of Scone following a contract of excambion with the Earl of Mansfield.
James Wylie was an agricultural improver who consolidated the many small holdings on his estate into the large farm structure we still see today.
He offered feus to the dispossessed in the new villages of Bankfoot of Auchtergaven and Waterloo. By 1850 each was a well established community.
James Wylie had four children two sons, Thomas and William, and two daughters, Grace and Mary. Following the death of his father, Thomas inherited the lands of Airleywight while William was gifted the lands of Cultrannie.
The two girls each received a large cash settlement. It was Thomas Wylie who developed the Airleywight Linen Works in Bankfoot.
The mansion house at Airleywight was completely destroyed by fire in the early hours of Tuesday January 28 1908.
Nothing remained of the original building except the four walls and all the luxury furniture, rare antiques, and valuable books and paintings were lost. The damage was fully covered by insurance and the house was restored within the year.
The headline to the article on Saturday suggests that Airleywight House “escaped Nazi bombing”.
Some 200 high explosive bombs and hundreds of incendiaries were dropped in Perthshire and Kinross during the Second World War.
A few were targetedon rail tunnels andpower lines but most were reckoned to be pilots dropping their load of munitions before returning to base inGermany.
The official records show that two bomb loads were dropped around Bankfoot during the war years.
On November 3 1940 some 13 high explosives were dropped near Waterloo between Mains of Airleywight Farm and Sunnybrae Farm.
On April 7 1941 some 22 bombs werejettisoned along the Five Mile Wood between Ardonachie, Westwood and Newmill.
Without doubtAirleywight House was not the target on either bomb drop.
Michael Lawrence. 10 Dowanside Road, Glasgow.
Football women on the ball
Sir, Having watched Canada v China in the opening match of the Women’s World Cup in Canada I found thisspectacle quiteappalling.
When players were tackled they seemed to get up immediately, unlike the men’s game where we are treated to a fantastic array ofamateur dramatics as players roll around on the ground.
When a decision goes against the players they fully respect it and the game goes on.
There is no crowding of the referee with an accompanying barrage of verbal insults.
The ladies do indeed have a lot to learn from the men’s game.
Alex Orr. Flat 2, 77 Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh.
Great irony of minister’s words
Sir, I read withinterest the Rev DrCameron’s letter (June 8).
The irony of theminister warning others over stick poking individuals is hopefully not lost on others!
At least the majorityof his stick prodding nowadays appears tobe restricted to usinghis pencil for lettercorrespondence with newspapers.
Whilst Isis andglobal warmists may recruit from the vast ranks of graduatesthe United Kingdomproduces, surely itwould worthwhilepointing out that sodoes the Church ofScotland.
Fortunately not many other ministers makethe same tripeobservations as thegood Rev!
Alastair Blair. Fernie Gardens, Broughty Ferry.
Greek exit may not be a tragedy
Sir, Greece’sgamble to delay loan repayments to theInternationalMonetary Fund (IMF) has caused panic inthe EuropeanUnion.
There is now areal risk that failure to pay £1.1 billion on June 30 will see Greeceforced to leave theeurozone and stop using the euro as currency.
Leaving theunaccountable, corrupt, spendthrift Eurpoean Union dominated byGermany seems a good deal.
Dan Arnott. 1 St BrycedaleCourt, Kirkcaldy.
Would SNP logic apply to UK vote?
Sir, After considering the conditions beingproposed by the Scottish nationalists where they suggest that the four countries that make up the United Kingdom vote independently on whether we remain in the European Union or not, and should any country decide to remain as a member of thatexpensive club, thenthat would surelyoverride the democratic vote of the majorityand prevent anywithdrawal.
However, I do not expect the sameconditions to be applied if the nats decide to hold another referendum whereby following their logic, then should it not also be conducted in the four countries and should any country object to the dissolution of the UK then this will be paramount in the decision on ourremaining as one United Kingdom.
Should the PrimeMinister be successful in getting our conditions changed to a satisfactory standard which willsatisfy the voters ofthe UK, I would vote to stay in, but if not then I would vote to withdraw.
John McNab Inshallah, Mountboy, Rossie, Montrose.
Evolution not so straightforward
Sir, I would like to respond to the letter ‘Evidence for Evolution’ (June 6).
What struck me was that Mr Wilson felt the need to tell others about these discoveries thatreinforce evolution, butI suppose that’sunderstandable, given that this drives thebelief and world view of many and we all liketo prove ourselvesright.
I would just like to inform others that macro-evolution, which is a more accurate term, is undisputed, but is merely the process of mutation, gene flow, genetic drift, or natural selection not an increase in new genetic information.
The richencyclopaedicinformation called DNA was complete in the beginning, but the above mentioned processes cause information changes and loss, not an increase.
An increase ofinformation has never been proven.
So, the cycle of trying to answer away God with science continues, but we will never account for complex lifeformcoming from nothing.
Ian Klek Paradise Rd Dundee.