Sir, I read of the SNP anger at Mr Adams’ effrontery in being selected by his party to stand for election in the Dunfermline by-election.
The same SNP which did not see any constitutional problem with Alex Salmond, standing as “Alex Salmond for First Minister” on the ballot paper in the last Holyrood election, not representing a constituency like all the other candidates.
I remember Peter Grant, when leader of Fife Council, standing for election to Westminster, I believe without having to relinquish his local authority appointment.
When he failed to be elected, he simply returned to his “old job” as leader of Fife Council. His salary probably helped with his election expenses. All right for some.
I recall that the doubling in size of two Scottish health boards, so that half the members could be elected, was supposed to be a two-year experiment. Unless I missed the announcement of the term being extended, Mr Adams shouldn’t be an elected member any health board.
Good luck to him. The country needs new political blood.
All depends on who makes the rules, I suppose.
A T Geddie. 68 Carleton Avenue, Glenrothes.
Is anything left of the original Labour Party?
Sir, Jimmy Reid once famously said: “Everyone has his price and my price is socialism.”, thus ensuring he would never be a member of the Labour Party. Mae West claimed: “I was once Snow White but I drifted!”.
Well, the Labour Party has drifted. Founded in 1888, by Keir Hardie, promising Home Rule for Scotland and much needed redistribution of wealth. Thirteen long years of Labour rule did, in fact, see the redistribution of wealth. . . the rich got richer and the poor got poorer!
Under Blair and Brown, we saw the sale of the gold reserves; the raids on pension funds; countless stealth taxes and the abolition of the 10p rate of tax, while nothing was done to close the tax loopholes quite legally exploited by the 1%, who enjoy 99% of the country’s monetary assets.
Through their failure to regulate, we saw the collapse of the banks leading to the ongoing “grand theft” of billions from savers, via absurdly low interest rates and excessive inflation.
After six months of dithering, we have, at last a promise from the Lesser Miliband that if elected, Labour would abolish the “bedroom tax”, but what has happened to the promises of 1888?
Now, in further direct contrast to its founding principles, Labour is “cosying” up to the Tories, striving collectively to smother any aspirations of the Scottish people for an independent Scotland.
Is there anything of the original Labour Party left? Or, are they now merely dim flickering shadows cast, and controlled, by the firm right hand of David Cameron?
Joseph G Miller. 44 Gardeners Street, Dunfermline.
Perth should follow suit
Sir, I was in St Andrews a few days ago and was amazed to see there were no empty shops in the streets and that the town was packed with visitors.
How about helping to bring visitors back to Perth? One way to help would be to highlight the fact that the only parking charges in St Andrews are in the main streets. There are large car parking areas that are completely free of charge.
Perth charges approximately £1 an hour to park and even local people have stopped spending time in the city centre there due to the high cost of parking charges.
It would help if Perth would copy Dundee and provide a free two-hour parking ticket in their large car parks such as the ones on South Inch and Old High Street.
This would encourage local shoppers and visitors to visit the few privately owned shops left in Perth!
Robin Valentine. 3 Burnbank, Bridge of Earn.
I need these answers first
Sir, I was interested to read in Andrew Collins’ letter (September 25), that the choice in the referendum is between a democratic government in Edinburgh elected by Scotland or a barely democratic government in London elected by the whole of the UK.
Could he please tell me how much of our legislation at present comes from Brussels eg European Working Time Directive, Human Rights Legislation etc. and how this would change if we had a democratically elected government in Edinburgh?
Also, is it the intention of the SNP, if Brussels insists that a Free Scotland has to renegotiate entry into the EU, that Scotland adopts the Euro as its currency with all that that entails? If not, what is the SNP to do?
When I know the answers to these questions, I will make up my mind how to vote.
I M Little. Stirling.
Why close it?
Sir, I have just returned home from a three-week hospital stay. The medical and domestic staff were wonderful. Nothing was too much trouble for any of them. They kept every one happy and cheerful. This wonderful jewel in the NHS crown was Little Cairnie Hospital, Arbroath.
Why are they thinking of closing it?
Mrs J Knutton. 100 Grangehill Drive, Monifieth.
Climate change a fact
Sir, It would appear, in the most thorough scientific report yet produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that the world is indeed warming up.
Climate change is a fact and the 840 scientific authors of this report are more certain than they have ever been that human activity has a responsibility in all this
I am quite sure that this report shall not sit well with the global warming and climate change sceptics and regular contributor to this debate Mr Clark Cross shall no doubt quote his “independent scientists” who have tried to prove the opposite.
I am fairly sure I have not seen Mr Cross name these independent scientists.
I am no scientist, but I think you could probably guarantee that this report, deemed to be the most comprehensive ever undertaken on global warming etc, is likely to have a far greater element of factual evidence in it than reports by “independent scientists”.
Robert T Smith. 30 Braeside Terrace, Aberdeen.
Church must accept it has no mandate
Sir, The 2011 census figures for Scotland reveal such plunging numbers declaring religious beliefs that it is predicted in a few years the total number of people with any religious belief will be a minority.
The most striking figure even now is that “no religion” was 37%, higher than The Church of Scotland at 32%.
I respect an adult’s religious choice so these figures neither gladden nor sadden me but for years the Church of Scotland has assumed to speak for us all.
It continues to impose its minority beliefs in our non-denominational schools and together with other religions has unelected representatives on all Scottish education committees.
When will the government and church leaders have the grace to accept that they have no mandate for these privileges ?
Neil Barber. Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh.
An exciting opportunity
Sir, What an exciting opportunity the 2011 census results offer the church in Scotland lose the, “hatch, match and despatch”, tag, and become the powerhouse of God in the 21st century.
It will mean the church itself discovering God anew so it can be the one place offering real hope and purpose in life today. What an opportunity. We mustn’t blow it.
Grahame Lockhart. Myrtle Cottage, 15 Scott Street, Brechin.
Can’t support this bill
Sir, The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has campaigned consistently and vociferously for the repeal of the unfair and unworkable “bedroom tax” because there is a shortage of suitable smaller properties for those affected to move into. However, we are deeply concerned by the Member’s Bill, lodged by Jackie Baillie MSP, which proposes that anyone who falls into arrears as a result of the policy will not be evicted from their home.
Housing associations and co-operatives are tirelessly and proactively doing all they can to help tenants who are struggling financially as a result of the “bedroom tax”. Evictions are only ever a last resort.
However, rent arrears fundamentally threaten the financial position of housing associations. Since associations are not for profit and charitable social businesses with a responsibility to a wide range of tenants, preventing landlords from evicting will ultimately affect more tenants than the “bedroom tax”. Evictions are a sparingly used but necessary ultimate sanction.
The real problem is the unjust “bedroom tax” which unfairly penalises people on low incomes and threatens the financial stability of social landlords. Tenants are already protected by the test of reasonableness and proportionality applied by sheriffs to repossession actions.
Unless the Scottish Government can provide financial support which would protect the viability of social landlords, we cannot support this bill.
Mary Taylor. Chief Executive, SFHA, Sutherland House, 149 St Vincent Street, Glasgow.