Sir,- I was saddened to read in The Courier about the gentleman who was forcibly removed from where he had decided to live rough, for whatever reason.
What did raise my faith in human nature was that kindness shown by the lady who organised a fund to pay the totally out-of-proportion fine handed out to him (October 6).
I read of many offenders who have done much worse muggings, assaults, theft, etc who get off with the proverbial “slap of the wrist”.
How could a sheriff expect this man to pay £1,500? Or was it a neat way of putting him in jail for non-payment?
Did it really take two sheriff officers to manhandle him from his dwelling?
I had a relative who had to fight in horrific wars to keep this country free. Is this their reward? Is this freedom?
All praise to Lorna Taylor for her caring attitude and for putting her concern into action, and shame on the court for such an extreme punishment on a harmless man.
If I can ever offer help to Mr Ingram, or anyone in a similar situation, I will not hesitate to do so.
Les Morrison, Caravan 8, Nursery Park Caravan Site, Nursery Lane, Brechin.
Russia showing up the West
Sir,- The Russians continue to bomb the real terrorists in Syria and it would seem are making real progress in weakening their numbers and structure.
So the question must be asked, what exactly have the Western powers been doing all these months?
We have been told they were attacking the same group, with the UK joining in with or without the permission of Parliament.
Does that mean the Russians have had to step in to mop up the mess created by, or at least added to, by the US and UK?
Just as worryingly, the propaganda machine seems to be implying we are under imminent threat of Russian invasion.
Whereas if we look at spending on defence we find that the US assigns almost 10 times the amount to its military budget than the Russians do.
That I think tells us who is really seeking a one world government.
All of this should be nothing to do with Scotland, except for the small issue of the UK’s nuclear deterrent being parked on our shores, with any incident at Faslane set to wipe out some of the most populated areas of the country.
Looking at potential blast area maps it may leave Aberdeen unscathed, so the oil and its revenues can continue to flow south but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.
Richard Clark, Craigton, Monikie.
Human rights and education
Sir,- The Rev David Robertson (October 7) claims the Scottish Secular Society opposes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the European Protocol on Human Rights (EPHR) in its stance on state funding for education according to religious beliefs.
This is not true.
The UDHR gives everyone the right to a free education and gives parents the right to educational choice, but it does not follow that the state must fund any education parents choose.
It must fund some kind of education and allow parents to choose alternative or additional kinds if the state provision does not meet all their wants, but it does not have to fund the alternatives and additions.
If it did, any parent could force the state to pay for horse-riding lessons!
The EPHR gives everyone the right to education and gives parents the right “to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions”, but this does not mean the state must fund the teaching of any religion as true.
The state respects the said right of parents merely by allowing them to withdraw their children from teaching that contradicts their beliefs and to promote their own by other means.
Mr Robertson declares himself concerned for the poor, presumably on the basis that removing promotion of religion from state schools would deprive people who want religious children but can’t afford private tuition.
First, the state is not obliged to supply people with something merely because they can’t afford it.
Food, a home and an education are understood as necessities for children, but the promotion of religion to them is a parental desire.
Second, I’d like to know how much a parent would pay for religious teaching outside school.
What is the entrance fee at Mr Robertson’s own church?
Robert Canning, Vice-chairman. Scottish SecularSociety.
The real conceit of socialists
Sir,- An irritating aspect of extreme socialists is their belief that what ails society has been revealed to them alone, and change can only be achieved by them.
Cultural Marxists have already been trying and failing to change society with their theories of political correctness and diversity, that are at last beginning to be seen as unworkable nonsense.
However, with no God other than itself, socialism of the Marxist variety is not obliged to adhere to any moral code, so we should be prepared for the deceits that will be used to achieve its ends, andfor the hardship it will inflict upon those who it claims to represent.
Malcolm Parkin, Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross.
Scotland’s small contribution
Sir,- In its annual report, Renewable UK claimed Scotland was leading the UK in onshore wind electricity.
Never shy of the limelight, Lang Banks of WWF Scotland said: “If Scotland and the UK are to cut carbon emissions and decarbonise the power sector, then it is vital that wind power be continued to be deployed here”.
Unpalatable truths, Mr Banks.
The world is burning coal, in China a new plant every week, India one every month and Japan has 41 planned.
Globally there are more than 4,500 coal plants in operation, planned or being built.
China and India are refusing to cut emissions until after 2030 and only if they and developing countries get $100 billion every year from a climate fund paid solely by the West.
Scotland has a miniscule 0.15% of global emissions, so Mr Banks should stop meddling in green politics, get back to basics and go on safari.
Clark Cross, 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow.
Independence bad for Scotland
Sirs,- I agree entirely with the argument made by Derek Farmer independence is not good for Scotland.
At a time when Scotland was in position 61 in a list of nations by their wealth, senior SNP politicians were advertising that independence would place Scotland amid the wealthiest six nations.
This was never going to happen, even with the benefit of North Sea oil.
SNP politicians seem determined to lead Scots into a position of financial suicide.
The number of people employed in Scotland who have wealth creating jobs have little chance of supporting the vast benefit programme our Holyrood parliament is targeting.
We all know that the value of North Sea oil has greatly diminished.
Anyone who has a modicum of knowledge on the subject of economics will realise that the people most at risk from independence will be those on benefits and lower-paid workers.
AA Bullions, 6 Glencairn Crescent, Leven.
Terribly wrong Tory teachings
Sir,- Given what I have heard from the Tory Conference, three things struck me as being terribly wrong.
I had to wonder if George Osborne had been reading the Goebbels handbook on propaganda the Tory Party is the party of the working man! According to Goebbels if you tell a lie long enough and loud enough people will believe it. Is that what Mr Osborne now advocates?
The Tories claim they alone can be trusted with the UK’s security having much reduced the size and effectiveness of the armed forces by cuts to investment and manpower is our defence is to be almost totally reliant on Trident?
This is hardly effective for intervention or to repel any conventional attack.
Finally, their position on the EU is totally wrong-headed: it is this institution and the fact we sit down to discuss issues with our European partners that has given Europe this long period of peace.
Brian Rattray, Gylemuir Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh.
It’s time to ban smoking in cars
Sir,- Though England has already passed legislation banning smoking in cars carrying under 18s, MSPs are still taking about it at Holyrood.
Smoking in cars when children are present is already banned in a number of US states, as well as in parts of Canada and Australia.
The harmful effect of passive smoking, especially on children, is well documented.
It’s commendable that Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume has at last proposed legislation, but why hasn’t the SNP Government acted before now?
And 300,000 children in the UK visit a GP each year as a result of the effects of second-hand smoke, with 9,500 going to hospital.
Smoking in a carcreates a higher concentration of toxins than in a bar some research has put it at 11 times higher.
The Scottish Government’s lack of action to date is shameful.
At the referendum, we were led to believe by the nationalists that governments of small countries are closer to the people and more responsive to their needs.
So why does the SNP Government persist in failing Scottish children in this vitally important, long devolved area of responsibility?
Martin Redfern, Royal Circus, Edinburgh.