Sir, – I do agree that cycling can be a very healthy pursuit.
However, all cyclists who use the roads of the UK must obey the rules of the highway.
For example, bikes, whether used after lighting up time or not, should be equipped with the appropriate regulation lights, just as motor vehicles are, and cyclists be made to adhere to the law regarding the use of their cycles.
All too often I have seen bikes being used after dark without lights or, what is even worse, illegal lighting which if used by motorists would result in prosecution.
Some method of identifying cyclists is necessary and this cost must be the responsibility of the individual cyclist.
The notion of a means of identification on a high-visibility vest is surely of value if it ensures accountability.
I agree that cycles should not be taxed but individual cyclists must accept some responsibility for the cost of making themselves identifiable as individuals.
Motorists are already treated thus.
Not all cyclists are bad, just as the majority of motorists are not bad either, but cyclists seem to think that their means of transport is not subject to the law.
It is and that law must also be enforced.
There cannot be one rule for motor drivers and another for cyclists when it comes to use of our highways.
John Barker. 99 Shaftesbury Road, Dundee.
Sir, – Muslim academic and apologist Professor Mona Siddiqui preaches tolerance and peaceful co-existence between Islam and other faiths and is critical of non-Muslims for perceiving Islam in terms of conflict (November 11).
As events in Tunisia and, more recently, in Paris and, historically, in Spain and New York have shown, her fellow
Muslims do not share her views and, by slaughtering non-Muslims right, left and centre have clearly demonstrated their perception of Islam in terms of conflict.
They do not leave much room to manoeuvre for a policy of peaceful co-existence.
Perhaps she might care to put her money where her mouth is and drop into Islamic State headquarters in Raqqa and give them the benefit of one of her lectures.
Then again, she might find that their “tolerance” doesn’t extend to being lectured to, and certainly not by a woman.
George Dobbie. 51 Airlie Street, Alyth.
Hall can revive centre of Perth
Sir, – Dr Norman Watson’s dislike of our City Hall is based, it seems, on perceived design flaws in its frontage but these can easily be put right by tasteful updating, as recent drawings show.
He suggests that the council’s plan for the creation of a civic square would help Perth to become a dynamic modern city and that citizens could then “enjoy and embrace” the empty space created.
He does not dwell on the horrors of a protracted demolition process, likely to kill off city centre businesses, then a square destined to become the haunt of ne’er-do-wells, drinkers and litterers.
He should consider the civic squares in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, only one enjoying any usefulness at all.
Does he judge Perth’s North and South Inches quite inadequate as local open areas?
Our City Hall is an asset to the Fair City, well-remembered, before its closure a decade ago by misguided council policy, as the main Perth community centre, conferring a benefit for all, both locals and visitors.
Of course, the council should have charted its course years ago, along with the planning of the concert hall.
Now the hall has the potential to help revive the ailing city centre by boosting the footfall of visitors and locals.
Isobel and Charles Wardrop. 111 Viewlands Road West, Perth.
Sir, – Your correspondent Norman Watson wants our Perth City Hall to be demolished (November 12).
To achieve demolition, Dr Watson needs to overcome the present impasse.
Our City Hall was listed as a schedule B building in 1977 with detailed citations for the west and east ends.
No one has had that listing overturned and our City Hall remains protected by law.
Dr Watson might wish to apply for our City Hall to be de-scheduled, which would create a novel precedent in Scotland.
We now know that our City Hall belongs to the Burgh of Perth and not to Perth and Kinross Council. It still falls to our whole council to decide what should happen to our hall.
In the meantime, the considerable cost of insuring and maintaining our hall is provided by Perth and Kinross Council, which is generous of our local authority.
It is not just the law that protects our hall. Our council’s own survey in 2010 revealed that a clear majority of people from Pitlochry to Kinross want it retained.
I suspect that most people in Perth whose hall it is would still prefer that an alternative use could be found to restore and maintain it.
Historic Environment Scotland confirmed in 2012 that our hall shall not be demolished unless no alternative use can be found.
That decision does not prevent sympathetic changes that would give new life to our listed building. Since our hall was offered for sale 18 months ago, our council has issued more restrictive conditions.
Those restrictions enabled our council to rule out all but one of the bids.
If the present restrictive conditions fail to secure a new use for our hall, it is improbable that HES could permit the demolition Dr Watson proposes.
Andrew Dundas. 34 Ross Avenue, Perth.
Political bias of UK media
Sir, -Jennifer Dempsie (November 12) wrote: “We must fight hard to halt Channel 4’s privatisation. The sell-off is bad for journalism as it risks the channel’s editorial independence being compromised by shareholders and advertisers.”
What gives Jennifer the idea that public ownership guarantees impartiality in news reporting?
The BBC has become more and more left-wing and politically correct for years.
As a publicly-owned and operated broadcasting corporation, it is supposed to be objective in its reporting. It is far from it.
The left-wing, politically correct, anti-British, anti-establishment and pro-EU bias of its staff has made BBC news programmes more like party political broadcasts for Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
The independence (from the state) of Britain’s newspapers is important, but our nationals are all politically biased in favour of one or the other parties.
Their news reporting should be objective but is not always so.
British readers can assert their independence by choosing which newspaper or newspapers to buy.
Reading what several papers have to say can give a clearer picture of what is actually happening in the world.
On the other hand, provincial newspapers are expected to report the news factually and objectively and not act as mouthpieces for any political party.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with some, including The Courier.
Its recent bias towards the Scottish National Party and Scottish independence is so blatant I am surprised local politicians opposed to both have not complained.
If private ownership makes Channel 4 news reporting prejudiced in favour of the right, rather than the left, of the political spectrum, it will only help redress the balance weighted so unfairly towards the left by the BBC for decades.
George K McMillan. 5 Mount Tabor Avenue, Perth.
Critical need of evidence
Sir, – I refer to Mr Watts’ letter (November 10) when he criticised my comments in a Courier article of November 6 regarding the difficulties in obtaining convictions for the poisoning of birds of prey.
He has either not read the article properly or has not understood it.
He mentions “baseless accusations” when in fact there are no accusations in the article.
Where have I said that I would like the law changed, that I expect a different “regime for wildlife crime” or that the burden of proof should be different?
The article is simply explaining to readers that police do not have a magic wand and if evidence is either insufficient or absent then the investigation can go no further.
I have no former knowledge of Mr Watts but for a person who claims to have been a police officer he is woefully short on accuracy and too liberal with denunciation.
Allan Stewart. Larchbank House, 9 Station Road, Methven.
Tory attack on nation’s needy
Sir, – Whenever I see or hear someone use the phrase “ hard-working middle-class families” (Martin Redfern, November) I know that what I’m hearing is yet another Tory attempt to label everyone else in our society as idle, benefit scroungers who are content to live off the hard work of others.
Such divisive language is now commonplace among those Tory politicians who seek political advantage from scapegoating the poor and disadvantaged and is equally contemptible whether it comes from Westminster or from an affluent address in Edinburgh.
Mr Redfern’s somewhat hopeful prediction that any further tax rises will see those earning over £43,000 switching their allegiance to the Tory Party is just another appeal to naked self-interest, historically used by those of his persuasion in order to further their own interests, rather than society’s.
George White. 2 Cupar Road, Auchtermchty.