Sir, – Antony Black (November 17) asks: “what, pray is the stature of St Andrews that it deserves such a (rail) link more than hundreds of towns of similar size?”
Mr Black clearlydislikes St Andrews and appears to think that a rail link is an award which should be deserved.
Which town of similar size does he have in mind which has 650,000 visitors a year, students who number nearly half the population (the highest level by far in the UK) and is targeted bydevelopers from allover the UK and elsewhere?
Which town of similar size charges £1 an hour for parking in the town centre, but sees thatrevenue dispersed to the rest of Fife?
Which town of similar size is expected to host The Open and other national events?
The resulting income is widely publicised but St Andrews is not given any extra funds to repair its damaged streets and pavements, or to provide more parking.
A rail link might possibly, if used by a reasonable number of permanent residents, students and visitors, reduce the number of cars coming into the most important small historic burgh in Scotland, reduce thefrequent gridlock in its main streets and reduce dependence on the internal combustion engine the only way to get to St Andrews, apart from Shanks’s Pony.
It might also mean that St Andrews, which has been here for 800 years, can continue to contribute millions of pounds to the economy each year, without being overwhelmed by exploitation, over-development,traffic and a steadily growing population.
(Miss) P. M. Uprichard. Littleridge, Hepburn Gardens, St Andrews.
Terror cannot kill optimism
Sir, – What a wonderful picture of the day in The Courier (November 16).
Of all the horrors and tragedies happening worldwide it was nice to see a bright, cheerful photograph from Indonesia showing three young smiling ladies dressed up as comic characters while visiting The Jakarta Comic Conference 2015.
This made me wonder. Could all the terrorists of whatever cause or excuse ever defeat happiness and optimism in the world? I think not, and these ladies, with their smiles and sense of fun certainly gave me a boost on a grey depressing day when bad news was all around us.
The young people of today’s world are hardier and tougher than we sometimes give them credit for.
Arthur Gall. Pitalpin Court, Dundee.
End this wind obsession
Sir, – Like many others who love the countryside and natural scenery of Scotland, I was delighted to read in The Courier that Scottish ministers have rejected the plan for a major wind factory at Rannoch. Only the insane would have even contemplated such a scheme.
I was, however, appalled, by the reason for rejection, merely that the bid was not competent because of when the applicant registered as a company.
Surely Rannoch and other beautiful parts of Scotland are worthconserving for their own sake?
The weather pattern in October clearlydemonstrated the follyof relying on wind.
When we get similar high pressure in the middle of winter we will soon not produce enough power, even if every molehill has a turbine.
Come on SNP, have the guts to admit you got it wrong and encourage the building of conventional gas powerstations. It may already be too late to stop the lights going out.
How can a country be independent if it cannot produce enough energy?
Jack Greenway. 9b The Esplanade, Broughty Ferry.
An absence of political bias
Sir, – George K McMillan (November 16) expresses surprise about local unionist politicians not complaining about The Courier’s “blatant” bias towards the Scottish National Party andScottish independence.
I would suggest they have not done so because the bias alleged by Mr McMillan does notcurrently exist.
Gordon Dilworth. 20 Baledmund Road, Pitlochry.
Let’s decide our own future
Sir, – On a recent city break in Prague, my first trip to the CzechRepublic or indeedEastern Europe, I was not sure what to expect, so was happy to see a modern, independent country in action.
Maybe, somehow, I still viewed this nation as an old communist state to be well avoided but it was, in fact, very nice.
However, it made me wonder just how it survives as a medium-sized independent country with a debt of almost half that of the UK as apercentage of GDP.
It has only a fraction of the oil production that the North Sea accounts for with just 11,000barrels per day last year against the UK’s 900,000?
Meanwhile, closer to home in Norway, it has emerged that theirsovereign wealth fund has taken a hit during the recent oil industry downturn.
The $825 billion pot is struggling slightly but is still very healthy when compared to the UK where our own wealth fund is sitting at around minus 1.5 trillion pounds. These examples clearly show that making our own decisions has to be the right thing to do.
Richard Clark. Craigton, Monikie.
Poor paying price of war
Sir, – The fact that more than 1,000 children are reliant on foodbanks in Dundee, is a shocking indictment of Tory ideological austerity, driven by greed.
Rather than tackle the problem, David Cameron has announced a massive increase inBritain’s military and intelligence apparatus.
Mr Cameron has said that his Government would continue with its austerity measures that have slashed wages and increased levels of poverty and homelessness.
It was only because of the draconian cuts that the UK was able to maintain the second-best funded armed forces in all of NATO and tocontinue spending 2%of GDP on defence.
Mr Cameron does not address how the state of affairs had arisen in Syria.
Next week, George Osborne will set out a spending review that will enforce a cumulative cut in day-to-day Government spending by an average of 24% in the next three yearsalmost half, and more, in some departments since 2010.
The massive expansion of the police andmilitary apparatus is directly bound up with the ongoing gutting of health, education and essential social provision.
Alan Hinnrichs. 2 Gillespie Terrace, Dundee.
Honour sacrifice of animals
Sir, – With the raid in Paris on Wednesday we see that the police dog Diesel paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep people safe from terrorists.
It was a heartbreaking situation to see that brave animal die on the frontline at the hands of cowardly terrorists but this, unfortunately, is nothing new.
Many animals are killed on duty to protect citizens across the world and their sacrifice, while never in vain, needs to be acknowledged in some way.
In Oklahoma this year, a police dog called Kyre was killed in the line of duty and received a funeral with full military honours.
That is what I believe should happen to Diesel. His sacrifice probably saved scores of innocent lives.
Give all animals killed in police and armed service military honours.
Gordon Kennedy. 117 Simpson Square, Perth.
The last thing Paris needs
Sir, – I agree with Jenny Hjul (November 18) that only the most self-righteous prigs would flood Paris with noisy eco-fascist demonstrators in the aftermath of the attacks.
Sadly, Nick Holtam, the Anglican bishop who thinks obsessing about global warming is the sign of a good Christian, is just a useful idiot for the misanthropic green movement.
With their securityservices exhausted, the last thing the French need is the invasion of a rent-a-mob from across the Channel publicising December’s absurdclimate summit.
Friends of the Earth demand that thousands protest about energy, corporate power and help transfer London’s habitually violentdemonstrations to the streets of Paris.
Rev Dr John Cameron. 10 Howard Place, St Andrews.