Sir, – Now that our band of travelling people have partly moved on from Camperdown Park, Dundee, I am sure their supporter, Ms Ana Hine, and her reception group (April 22) are already on their way to clear up the usual mess these people leave behind.
It was Ms Hine who brought the word “vermin” into the story. In the circumstances, it appears an appropriate word to use.
She also suggested Dundee City Council should provide skips for the travellers.
But she ignored the fact these travellers are non-contributors to council tax, unlike most of us who will have to foot the bill for clearing up the mess.
Is it a good idea to provide such a facility at an illegal encampment, which will only encourage more of this type of use to the detriment of lawful park users?
I quote from the article: “They were indignant to hear they’d been accused of leaving a mess at Riverside and explained they had left their rubbish in the bags provided by the council.”
As these travellers have more than an adequate number of suitable vehicles, perhaps they could help their own cause by making the short, two-mile journey to Riverside themselves to dispose of those piles of rubbish.
That assumes, of course, that they have any consideration for the environment and for others.
They are probably too busy laying driveways and carrying out other work to have time to actually clear up their own mess.
Once Ms Hine and her friends are finished clearing up at Camperdown, I’ve got one or two things I would like done that I can’t be bothered to do.
Perhaps she can give me a ring?
G. Adamson. 8 Morlich Gardens, Broughty Ferry.
Sir, – Stuart Wishart’s contention (April 29) that “God’s truth is spiritual and transcends human logic” is yet another example of the intellectual cowardice and scientific ignorance that pervades all organised religions.
It amounts to throwing the brain his supposed God gave him back in his face.
Yes, I’m sure that after conversion, inappropriate sexuality and all the rest “changes, as theperson receives a new nature” and therefore ceases to think.
Why would anyone choose a sexuality that still invites such vilification? Do people choose to be female, black, or gay, or, much worse , all three together?
Grahame Miller. 53 Millgate, Friockheim.
Rev Robertson’s God delusion
Sir, – I would like to thank Rev David Robertson and Mr Stuart Wishart for their answers to my question: “If God created all mankind, by definition, he also created people of the LGBT nature as well. So why would he punish them for being what he created?”
My question was sparked by an earlier article in The Courier which highlighted the constantly declining numbers of church congregations, often accelerated by their refusal to accept gay ministers, but denied, irrespective of facts, by many including Mr Robertson.
Of course, the real answer is that God only exists in the minds of his believers.
Otherwise, why did we have two world wars within 20 years of each other and against the same country, in which millions of people died?
Had an all-powerful God really existed, we would not have any wars at all, ever.
Perhaps a better response is Stephen Fry’s interview on You Tube called, Stephen Fry on God. It is well worth a watch.
And finally, as an aside, there are an estimated 4,200 religions in this world.
Of course, they all claim to be the only true religion and pathway into heaven. So, we’re all doomed, Mr Robertson, all doomed!
Howard Evans. 13 Links Parade, Carnoustie.
Poor road manners
Sir, – Mr Robert Anderson (April 27) is not alone in his despair of current driving standards.
This is a frequent topic in our house.
Insolent, aggressive, bullying, selfish, Highway Code-ignoring, dangerous drivers, usually with mobile phone in hand seem to be the norm on our roads today.
Where are the police who are most certainly absent when we are out and about?
Pat Carson. Gillburn Road, Downfield, Dundee.
Please just build this school
Sir, – Readers may have noticed that anyone who writes or says anything in favour of the Madras College, St Andrews, being located at Pipeland is rebutted by the small but vociferous group of objectors to the new school.
This is from people, who among their claims also tell us that they are holding our public officials to account.
It would seem, however, that in their version of democracy, a decision comprehensively endorsed by public response, elected councillors, government officers and a law lord, is unacceptable, as it does not agree with their view.
With a little more appreciation of the wider picture, the objectors might take on board that the prime driver is the absolute need for the new school and that sometimes we have to accept that decisions may not go our way.
In suggesting that somehow the education, sports and after-school activities will be materially damaged by a location one-and-a-quarter miles from the other is fanciful to say the least.
The people and children of north-east Fife have waited long enough for the school they deserve.
The local authority has met the criteria necessary to fulfil that need.
Please let them get on with it. We will all feel the benefit.
Brian Wallace. 1 Lawmill Gardens, St Andrews
. SNP’s fiscal imprudence
Sir, – How can we be confident that the SNP will be financially sensible and will not waste money as they did earlier this year when authorising CalMac to build three diesel electric ferries carrying 23 cars costing £12 million each when they could have agreed to the purchase of three diesel ferriescarrying 54 cars for £4m each.
That is £522,000 per car rather than £74,000 per car.
Garry Barnett. The Garden House, Campsie Hill, Guildtown.
Hope for Angus palliative care
Sir, – Further to the public event organised by NHS Tayside in Arbroath last Saturday, I am grateful to the health and social-care professionals and members of the third sector who gave their time and expertise.
I was delighted to learn that the building work to create three en-suite palliative care rooms at Arbroath Infirmary is now scheduled to commence in July/August and trust that this timeframe will be adhered to as publicly promised.
These facilities, with NHS Tayside working in partnership with MacMillan Cancer Care, have been long anticipated and deemed essential when Little Cairnie Hospital became non-operational in February.
Jacqueline Cargill. Chairperson, League of Friends of Arbroath Infirmary and Little Cairnie Hospital.
Landlords have role to play
Sir, – The accusation by GMB Scotland thatprivate landlords are “exploiting” those in housing need (Union hits out at landlords’ benefit abuse, April 28) shows a chronic lack of understanding of the housing sector.
Rather than exploiting the system to pocket “sackloads” of public money, landlords are receiving rental payments for accommodation provided.
Does the GMB suggest that private landlords should not accept tenants who receive housing benefit?
Or perhaps they should not be charging rent and offering properties for free to those who cannot afford to pay rent without housing benefit support?
But this is not a matter to jest over. It must not be ignored that private landlords are a well-regulated provider of 312,000 homes in Scotland.
Our members are pleased to be the leading supplier of rural housing in Scotland and they are also very proud of the fact that they rent many of their properties at a rent which is lower than the local housing allowance rate.
Accommodating private landlords must not be demonised. They should be supported so that they can continue to meet the demand for housing, particularly in rural areas where there is a serious lack of social housing.
The key issue in housing is not that private landlords are siphoning off public money, it is a lack of affordable housing across all tenures.
Katy Dickson. Policy Officer, Scottish Land and Estates, Stuart House, Musselburgh.
Norwegians taxed to hilt
Sir, – How does Norway pay for its generous social services? It’s a question that keeps coming up on this page.
The answer is with much higher taxes. That’s how they pay for their bigger government.
Basic-rate tax is payable on all Norwegian incomes above £350 a month at 27%.
Higher-rate tax is payable at 36% for incomes above £4,000 a month, and another 3% extra on all incomes at or above £6,300 a month.
Everyone has to pay the Norwegian equivalent of National Insurance including pensioners at another 8% on top of all tax rates.
This makes the marginal top-rate of tax in Norway 47%, while the UK equivalent is 45%, plus 12% NIC.
The UK highest tax rates with NIC are currently 57%.
To be sure that no one gets away, VAT is even higher than here.
The general rate is 25% with 15% tax on foodstuffs and 8% tax on public transport and hotels, all of which bear down most heavily on low-income families.
So that’s Norwegian taxes for you. Low earners pay a lot more than we do and their higher earners pay less.
Is that what your correspondents want for Scotland? I suspect most readers do not.
I like the idea of pensioners like myself paying some NIC, because that’s fair. But otherwise, I do wonder why there’s so much enthusiasm for paying lots of extra taxes. Maybe that’s what the Scottish Government has in mind?
Andrew Dundas. 34 Ross Avenue, Perth.