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Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.

Readers' letters

Supporters don’t need alcohol during game

December 23 2014

Sir, Jim Murphy is backing the sale of alcohol in football stadiums. This Blairite politician is desperately trying to reinvent himself as one of the people. Unlike him I have been watching live Scottish football for a great many years and see no reason for the reintroduction of alcohol at games at all. On Sunday I was present at Tannadice watching my team beat Celtic. It was an exciting game played in front of a full house. Before and after the game United and Celtic supporters mixed in the surrounding streets without the slightest feeling of menace. We were all there to enjoy a game of football. That was in marked contrast to last week when Aberdeen supporters were in town and caused a good deal of bother and menace due to some of them being tanked up on booze. Mr Murphy suggests that it is unfair that the folk in the executive boxes can have a drink but the ordinary supporters can’t. The fact is that many of the people in the executive boxes are not that interested in the game, unlike us real supporters. It might come as a surprise to Mr Murphy to learn that real football supporters don’t need to have alcohol during a game. There’s plenty of opportunity to celebrate afterwards. Harry Key. 20 Mid Street, Largoward. Good news for consumers . . . Sir, Suddenly the world is awash with oil at below $60 a barrel. A surge in production and weaker global demand for crude have sent oil reserves soaring and prices tumbling. This is good news for consumers, industry and motorists, but environmentalists and the renewables industry will not be happy. The reason? Cheaper oil and gas will make it even harder for Britain to achieve its pie-in-the-sky, but legally binding, targets to cut carbon emissions. The argument for eye-watering renewables subsidies was that they were temporary and that fossil fuels would become more expensive while the renewable subsidies imposed on energy bills would be reduced. European nations, notably Germany and Spain, have slashed renewable subsidies and turned to cheaper fossil fuels. Britain, to survive, must do the same. Clark Cross. 138 Springfield Road, Linlithgow. There’s life out there too! Sir, I was delighted to read in The Courier, December 18, that Perth is to have a new state of the art “sports hub” built in the next four years. Meanwhile, however, satellite towns such as Blairgowrie and Rattray cannot even have their own recreation centre and swimming pool kept open over the festive period from December 23 until January 3 due to “financial restrictions”. I have voiced my concerns to local councillors and also the chief executive officer of Live Active who are, apparently, a charity in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council. Suffice to say my council tax should be paying for facilities in my town rather than those an hour’s bus ride away and all the expense incurred with a trip to Perth. If the recreational facilities of Perth and Kinross are in the hands of a “charity” my only comment is: charity begins at home. The children of Blairgowrie and Rattray deserve to be able to get rid of some of their excess Christmas energy in the local swimming pool. For special occasions and treats I am sure a trip to the proposed amazing and costly new sports facility in Perth will be enjoyed, but there is life outside the cities, so please support us as we support you with our community charge! Johanna Frampton. Braes Road, Rattray, Blairgowrie. Disassociate themselves? Sir, The Reverend David Robertson seems to have a good point with regard to Garry Otton, founder of one of Scotland’s more voluble secular groups, expressing apparently intolerant views. I am looking at posts where Mr Otton has referred to “the vile history of Christianity” and expressed his hope that Scotland will soon “sideline the churches.” I also note that, two years ago, Mr Otton published an online essay entitled: Is religion fascism? Perhaps the time has come for the secular group Mr Otton founded to disassociate itself from his views? Gus Logan. 2 York Road, North Berwick. A brilliant shot in the foot Sir There were two interesting articles in the farming columns recently. Firstly, the results of the EU’s cackhanded niconitinoid ban is now showing through, with reductions in rapeseed yield, due entirely to the ban. For an organisation which trumpets, nay, demands, conversion to “green” mythology, whereby farmers grow oilseed as biomass fuel (instead of for human consumption), to replace the evil fossil stuff, surely this must be a brilliant shot in the foot. As a lay person who has seen sunflower grown in large quantities in countries like Hungary and Romania, could this be grown as a rapeseed alternative? Letters to the EU in Brussels/Strasbourg and me if anyone is interested. Secondly, a marvellous gesture by the Junior Yeomen and Yeowomen of Tayside in making the generous gifts of bags of potatoes to foodbanks. I see Fife is not on the destination list. The donation lists from that last-mentioned area have asked for packets of potato mash powder. Sad. It can’t be a requirement for preservation the food is needed now. I’m a pensioner I’ll take a bag anytime! Address below. A T Geddie. 68 Carleton Avenue, Glenrothes. Do they care about theatre? Sir, It seems from your article of December 3 that nothing has changed regarding the delayed start of work on the closed Perth Theatre. The chief executive ofHorsecross Arts largely repeats verbatim parts of earlier statements from its chairman. There is “a huge amount of work” going on “ behind the scenes” apparently. Yet again Perth Theatre is seen as the “linchpin” of Perth and Kinross Council’s “ambitious” plans for city regeneration Mill Street in particular. Why Mill Street? How much of that £15 million is needed just to turn the building’s entrance back-to-front? I think that lifelong theatre-goers would prefer an open theatre to a linchpin, whatever that is. It is claimed that the delay is because planners have been deliberating on plans and costs. No wonder, when part of those costs involve a new studio theatre. Perth Theatre already has a studio theatre. As for the kind of conference/meeting spaces that have been projected, these are already available at Perth Concert Hall and the A K Bell Library. So, is the £15m needed to restore the theatre to its original state, or to make it a “linchpin” for the council’s grandiose plans? Do they care about the theatre’s lifelong patrons (who might not come back in 2017, the supposed new date of completion)? Do they care about theatre? I don’t remember Perth Theatre ever (until this year) cancelling a first night of a pantomime in the last 60 years, but good luck anyway for the sake of those who do care. Neil Foston. 47 Arbroath Road, Carnoustie. Image issue cleared up Sir, I wish to thank both Cllr Thomson and Cllr Poole for explaining the use of the image which was used in support of a new school at Pipeland. This issue has been ongoing in the community for some time now. I certainly did not intend to infer that there was any inappropriate relationship with Hermiston Securities merely asking a question about the use of the image which has now been answered by both councillors in this paper. It now appears that it is a Fife Council image. That being so I withdraw the assertion contained in my letter that Cllr Thomson used an illustration commissioned by Hermiston Security Group and endorsed by Cllr Poole and apologise for any inference to be drawn that there has been any relationship with this group and that they had been acting improperly in their capacity as councillors. Bill Sangster. 24 Main Street, Strathkinness.

Geoffrey Rush inappropriately touched actress, court told

February 19 2018

A lawyer has accused Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush in court of touching an actress inappropriately on an Sydney stage three years ago while he was starring in a production of King Lear.Rush is suing Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper in federal court for defamation over articles last year which alleged inappropriate behaviour and touching during the Sydney Theatre Company production in 2015.The newspaper’s lawyer, Tom Blackburn, told the court that Rush, now 66, touched an actress who has not been identified on five consecutive nights in the last week of the production in a way that he had not done before and that made her uncomfortable.Mr Blackburn told the court: “She said stop — he didn’t. He went on doing it. Our case is that that in itself is inappropriate.”But Rush’s lawyer, Richard McHugh, told the court the accusations were vague.Mr Blackburn is fighting Rush’s request to have the newspaper’s truth defence struck out.Justice Michael Wigney delayed his decision on that request to a later date.Mr McHugh told the court that parts of the defence lacked specificity and did not detail Rush’s alleged behaviour.The inappropriate behaviour is alleged to have occurred when Rush and the actress were required to touch on stage, Mr McHugh said.“To this day, it’s not clear what they’re saying. Not just unclear, it’s completely opaque,” Mr McHugh said.The newspaper’s lawyers have previously told the court that the articles did not allege Rush engaged in inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature.Mr Blackburn said for the purposes of the defence it was not important where Rush touched the actress, but the fact she allegedly asked him to stop — and he did not stop — made it inappropriate.Rush, who was not in court on Monday, has denied behaving inappropriately.The actor announced in December he was suing the newspaper over its reporting of the actress’s complaint over what the theatre company described in a statement as “inappropriate behaviour”.The company said the complaint was made after the production closed. The actress had not wanted Rush to be informed of her complaint, the company said.Rush has performed in the Sydney Theatre Company for 35 years. He won the 1997 best actor Academy Award for Shine and has three other Oscar nominations. He is perhaps best known as Captain Barbossa in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films.

Angus & The Mearns

From Lionel Richie to Gary Barlow…Here are Tayside and Fife’s biggest gigs of 2018 so far

January 30 2018

It's not even the end of January, but already 2018 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for live music that Courier Country has experienced in a long time. Excitement reached fever pitch on Tuesday morning following a string of huge gig announcements, with music icons including Noel Gallagher and Lionel Richie confirming shows in the region. We've put together a list of the biggest acts heading our way in the coming months. This article will be updated as and when further acts are announced. Lionel Richie US singer Lionel Richie will perform to thousands of fans at McDairmid Park, Perth on June 3. Tickets for the gig will go on sale online at 10am on Friday, February 2. Richie is the biggest star to play the stadium since Elton John more than a decade ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqAvFx3NxUM https://twitter.com/LionelRichie/status/958249678314721280   Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67zX4oiXqqY The former Oasis man will be the headline act at the BBC's Biggest Weekend festival at Scone Palace on May 26. The guitarist and singer-songwriter, who penned some of the most famous songs of the 1990s, will perform with his High Flying Birds band. https://twitter.com/NoelGallagher/status/958254887866916864   Rita Ora Music superstar Rita Ora is another big name added to the Slessor Gardens concert list. She will play at Dundee's waterfront venue on Saturday July 28.   Gary Barlow The Take That frontman is playing two gigs in Tayside this year, one at Perth Concert Hall on April 19 and another at Dundee's Caird Hal on April 20. Tickets for both gigs sold out rapidly.   Status Quo Legendary British rock band Status Quo will be at Scone Palace as the headline act for the 2018 ReWind Festival in July.   Bonnie Tyler, The Boomtown Rats and UB40 These are just a few of the other big name acts returning to Tayside for this year's Rewind Festival.   Simple Minds and The Pretenders Scottish rock bands Simple Minds and The Pretenders will lead the line-up at Dundee's Slessor Gardens on September 9. Steps The pop group are coming to Slessor Gardens on June 22. They will be supported by fellow 90s bands Blue and Aqua.   KT Tunstall The Fife musician is providing support to both Simple Minds and The Pretenders at Slessor Gardens on September 9, and to Gary Barlow at his local gigs in April. Belle and Sebastian The influential Scottish band will play Perth Concert Hall on Friday, March 23.   Eddi Reader The Scots singer will play Perth Concert Hall on February 28. Leo Sayer The pop star will play at Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, on October 9. Suggs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc3AovUZgvo The Ska legend and Madness frontman is playing at Dunfermline's Alhambra Theatre on Wednesday, February 28.   Erasure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x34icYC8zA0 The 1980s synthpop act are playing Dundee's Caird Hall in just a matter of days - on Friday, February 2.   The Proclaimers The Scottish musical legends will play Dundee's Caird Hall on December 15.   Could more great gigs be on the cards for Tayside and Fife? Dundonians were treated to three shows at Slessor Gardens in 2017 from UB40, Little Mix and Olly Murs, so we may well see some more big-name musicians making their way to the city in 2018. And MoFest is yet to announce its 2018 line-up after attracting The Beach Boys last year.   Will Carnival 56 return? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29oN9VBXf_U Despite attracting thousands of music fans and earning several major award nominations, the future of Dundee's new music festival still remains unknown. Festival founder Craig Blyth has left the company that set up the popular event at Camperdown Park last year. However Dundee City Council has granted permission for it to run every year until 2021. In October last year an official festival spokeswoman said there had been “no confirmation” of the festival’s return, adding: “The debrief process is still under way”.   Sir Rod Stewart to Dundee? No, we've not given up on Sir Rod coming to Dundee in 2018! The rocker is partnered with the Liz Hobbs Group, who are behind all of the hugely-successful 2017 Slessor Gardens concerts. Sir Rod came out as the overwhelming favourite in a Courier poll which asked locals who they would most like to see next at the waterfront music venue in 2018. And the Lizz Hobbs Group themselves haven't ruled it out. Sir Rod is not believed to have played in Dundee since the 1970s, despite a number of appearances elsewhere in Scotland.   In this weekend's Courier, we speak to Simple Minds singer-songwriter Jim Kerr.

Scotland

Reprieve for Scottish Youth Theatre after new funding secured

March 20 2018

The Scottish Youth Theatre’s planned closure in the summer will not go ahead after new funding was announced.The Scottish Government will give £150,000 to match private sponsorship secured by the theatre, including from Edinburgh-based investment firm Baillie Gifford.The cash will enable the theatre to stay open for the rest of 2018.The theatre, whose alumni include stars such as Gerard Butler and Karen Gillan, announced earlier this month it planned to close in the summer after losing out on Creative Scotland funding.Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the new cash would give the theatre a chance to find money to stay open long-term.Scottish Youth Theatre chief executive Jacky Hardacre said: “With a future now secured for Scottish Youth Theatre, our focus is firmly on ensuring the nation’s young people have their own thriving national theatre company to engage with, be inspired by and to aspire to be a part of.“This solution would not be possible without the support from Baillie Gifford and a number of private-sector organisations and individuals.“Furthermore, the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary have shown a great willingness to explore every option for Scottish Youth Theatre and we are very grateful for their time and efforts and their clear commitment to youth arts in Scotland.”She said she had been “overwhelmed and humbled” by the support for the theatre.Ms Hyslop said: “There was widespread concern about the announcement that the theatre was facing closure due to its financial position.“This funding from partners will allow the theatre to maintain its work and complete the ongoing positive changes to their business. It will also give time for further dialogue about a longer-term funding strategy.“I have set out this offer to the Scottish Youth Theatre and I have encouraged them to continue exploring all options available to secure a more permanent funding solution.”She said they had also discussed improving the “reach, depth and quality” of the theatre’s work across Scotland and how the new money will assist.The government had faced criticism over the planned closure would in the Year of Young People but ministers stressed Creative Scotland is at arm’s length from the government and officials are legally barred from interfering in their funding decisions.

Scotland

Closing youth theatre would ‘jeopardise’ flagship government programme, MSP says

March 13 2018

The planned closure of Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT) would “jeopardise” the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People, MSPs have heard.The theatre, whose alumni include stars such as Gerard Butler and Karen Gillan, announced last week it will close in summer after losing out on Creative Scotland funding.Childcare and Early Years Minister Maree Todd faced questions on the closure at Holyrood.Conservative Rachael Hamilton said the closure “stands to jeopardise” the Year of Young People, which includes an objective to allow young people to express themselves through culture.She said: “How will the Scottish Government ensure that the decisions made with regards to the Scottish Youth Theatre promote, and not jeopardise, the objectives and ambitions of the Year of Young People?”Labour’s Claire Baker highlighted a petition to prevent closure has gathered more than 37,000 signatures and asked Ms Todd to examine giving the theatre national status, enabling it to receive direct Scottish Government funding.The Minister said Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop is due to meet SYT members later this week and conferring national status is “likely” to be one of the options under discussion.She stressed Creative Scotland is at arm’s length from the government and officials are legally barred from interfering in their funding decisions.“We recognise the potential closure of Scottish Youth Theatre is of concern to many people, including right across this chamber,” she added.“That’s why we’re exploring all the options available with the theatre and Creative Scotland.“Difficult decisions just can’t be completely escaped though but we are absolutely determined to look at all options to protect, if we can, the work that Scottish Youth Theatre does, and to support as far as we can a healthy, vibrant culture sector right across Scotland in this year, the Year of Young People, and beyond.”

Farming news

SNP handling of new beef scheme attacked

November 10 2016

The Scottish Government's own efficiency has been called into question over the handling of the new £45million Beef Efficiency Scheme (BES). An estimated 180,000 beef cows from 2000 Scottish farmers have been enrolled in the new five-year  scheme which aims to improve the efficiency and quality of the beef herd and help producers increase the genetic value of their stock. But months after signing up for the scheme, farmers are still waiting to be supplied with special tags to meet the rules which call for 'tissue tagging' of 20% of cattle. And now NFU Scotland's livestock chairman Charlie Adam says farmers' confidence in the scheme is being affected and has called for the rules to be adjusted. The union has also urged the Scottish Government to update all scheme applicants on progress with BES and let them know when the necessary tags will arrive. “If tag delays cannot be resolved in the immediate future, then the Scottish Government should recognise the problem and make the tissue tagging element voluntary for 2016. This will allow those who can take samples from the animals that they still own to do so,"  said Mr Adam. “Applicants to this important scheme, worth £45 million to the industry, have every right to know now, and in detail, what they are expected to do to fulfil their BES obligations and Scottish Government must get back on the front foot in delivering the scheme.” Mr Adam added that it was frustrating for the farmers who have already housed and handled their cattle for the winter as many of those animals were by now located in overwintering accommodation that can be some distance from home farms. Shadow Rural Economy secretary, Peter Chapman MSP claimed it was impossible for farmers to sell store cattle in the autumn sales until they were told which animals need tagged and were sent  the tags to do the job. He added: "This will create huge cash flow and logistic problems for farmers who normally sell calves at this time – this is the SNP letting farmers down yet again.” A Scottish Government spokesman said work was under way to rectify the problem and a timetable was expected by the end of the week. He added: "It is not necessary for farmers to hold off from selling their animals. "We will ensure that the sampling regime accommodates those farmers who have sold their calves and there will be no penalties for those whoo have. It may mean that some farmers will have a higher rate of sampling next year." nnicolson@thecourier.co.uk      

Perth & Kinross

‘Night at the movies’ theme for Perth’s charity Guy Fawkes’ night entertainment

October 27 2011

Preparations for Perth's charity Guy Fawkes' night bonfire are almost complete. The volunteers from Perth Strathearn 200 Round Table have announced the timings for the evening's entertainment. At the request of main sponsors, Perth Common Good Fund, the organisers have made significant efforts to control costs but have confirmed there will still be a spectacular fireworks display. Tay FM's John Milne will welcome everyone to the South Inch at 6pm and start the music, while other attractions will include the Last Orders Band from 6.25pm and a funfair in the car park. The bonfire will be lit at 7pm and the fireworks will start no earlier than 7.20pm, with the Round Table advising people to arrive as early as possible. The music and sideshows will continue, with the event closing by 9pm. Bucket-shaking volunteers will welcome the crowds, grateful for donations to good causes. Round Table chairman Graham Powrie welcomed the common good fund grant, saying: ''It will allow us to provide the people of Perth with a spectacular pyro-musical fireworks display based around A Night at the Movies theme that will appeal to all age ranges. ''Similar pyro-musical shows by 21ccfireworks have received rave reviews in other locations and I'm sure it will be a great night.'' There are dedicated Facebook (link) and Twitter (link) profiles for the event, and you can also find more about the group at perthroundtable.co.uk.

Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon to explore ‘all options’ to keep Scottish Youth Theatre open

March 8 2018

The First Minister has said the government will explore “all options” to keep the Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT) running after it failed to secure regular funding from Creative Scotland.Nicola Sturgeon was urged to intervene to prevent the closure of the arts organisation during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood.SYT has said it will be forced to cease trading in July due to a funding gap amounting to around a third of its required income.Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said the lives of people across Scotland had been “enriched and transformed” by the experience of attending SYT.He said he accepted that the Scottish Government could not instruct Creative Scotland but added that ministers had a “direct responsibility” for a national asset like the theatre group.Staff and young people deserved some good news and confidence about the organisation’s future, he added.Mr Harvie said: “This year is being billed as the year of young people. Are we really going to let Scottish Youth Theatre close?”He was joined by SNP MSP Sandra White, who said the decision had been a “very big slap and a kick in the teeth” for SYT, and it was “absolutely essential” it was allowed to continue.Ms Sturgeon said that she had a “lot of sympathy” with the views expressed by MSPs.“Scottish Youth Theatre do fantastic work and I think it would be the desire of all of us to see them able to continue to do that,” she said.The First Minister highlighted that decisions about funding were for Creative Scotland and legally the Scottish Government was unable to intervene.She added: “That said, the announcement by the Scottish Youth Theatre … is of serious concern. It will be of serious concern to many people across Scotland and indeed it is to me.“I know that Creative Scotland has approved some funding to allow the organisation to continue to operate while they hopefully work together to look at alternative routes to support and I would encourage the Scottish Youth Theatre to continue these discussions.”Ms Sturgeon said she had asked Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop to offer to meet with SYT “to see whether there is some action that the Scottish Government could be party to that would help to secure a future for the Scottish Youth Theatre”.She added: “While I can’t give detail about what those options might be, today I certainly give a commitment that we will do everything we can to fully explore all options to allow young people in the future to benefit from the Scottish Youth Theatre in the way that young people in the past have done.“There will always be difficult decisions on funding to be made and I think sometimes Creative Scotland is unfairly criticised because they have to make these decisions, but we want to make sure that theatre, and youth theatre in particular, can flourish not just in this year but generally in Scotland.”Creative Scotland has said it is “disappointed” to learn of SYT’s decision, is fully committed to supporting youth arts and has been in discussions with the theatre group “regarding alternative routes to support”.

Readers' letters

February 11: Is political obstinacy the barrier to taking a sensible line on power generation?

February 11 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - I never thought I would find myself in the same camp as the awesome and awful Donald Trump, but he has got one thing right it is worrying that Scotland is depending more and more on tourism as the saviour of the economy. There is nothing wrong with tourism it has led to an enormous upsurge in the quality of restaurants, hotels, etc but it is manufacturing that is going to pay the bills, and that is going down rather than up. Westminster and Edinburgh plug green power for all it is worth, resulting in the ruination of many magnificent landscapes with pylons and windfarms in direct contrast to what is desired by the tourist industry. Many of your readers have put far better than I am able how inefficient wind power is. Much more worrying is how likely it is that we are going to run out of power altogether and become reliant on European neighbours, who have more sense than we do, for necessary imported power. Nobody in Britain is investing in new and proper power stations. We have under Scotland about a 500-year supply of coal. We also have the technology to extract cleanly electric power from this coal. Why are we not doing the sensible thing and creating thousands of jobs in extracting and using this coal and becoming a massive exporter of power? Political obstinacy? Flexible thinking, it seems, is highly regarded in every area, except where it involves a politician doing a u-turn. Robert Lightband.Clepington Court,Dundee. Rugby club finances are in robust health Sir, - I refer to the article published in The Courier on February 6, reporting Cupar Community Council's support of Howe of Fife RFC's efforts to explore the possibility of it creating clubhouse facilities at Duffus Park, Cupar. The club welcomes the community council's support of this venture. However, the comments in the article attributed to its chairman, Canon Pat McInally, as regards the club's financial integrity were wholly inaccurate. Howe of Fife RFC is not, and never has been "...just about bankrupt..." as Canon McInally was quoted as saying. To the contrary, the finances of the rugby club are in robust health with its clubhouse operation trading profitably. I am sure that neither Canon McInally, nor any of the members of the community council, would have intended to cast doubt on the club's financial well-being, but, that, unfortunately, is what the article has achieved. In these circumstances, it is important that the record be set straight in order to allay any unfounded concerns that may have been raised amongst both the club's membership and the general public. Over many years Howe of Fife RFC has built a deserved reputation as a force in developing youth rugby. The project currently under consideration is driven by the club's ambition to build on that reputation and, ultimately, if possible, to provide improved facilities for all its members, but, in particular, the youth of the club. David Harley.President,Howe of Fife RFC. Where is the evidence? Sir, - Isn't living in Scotland interesting? Despite 75% of the electorate declining to vote SNP last May and the referendum being at least two years away, Ian Angus claims in his letter (February 8) that Mr Salmond has a "mandate for independence"! As if that's not enough he has decided that those who choose not to vote in the referendum must be opposed to the union, so a vote of less than 50% for independence will give the "green light" to go ahead with negotiations. Where on earth does he get the evidence for these statements? Kenn McLeod.70 Ralston Drive,Kirkcaldy. Memories of Willie Logan Sir, - The article on the 50th anniversary of Loganair brought back memories of founder, Willie Logan. In the early 1960s my parents lived in Magdalen Yard Road, overlooking the Riverside Drive airstrip. Blazing oil drums lining the grass runway often announced the early morning arrival of Willie to inspect work on the Tay Road Bridge. I worked for a spell then at Caird's in Reform Street, and on occasions there would be a hammering on the door before opening time, as he came post-haste from Riverside looking for a quick haircut! John Crichton.6 Northampton Place,Forfar. The road is not to blame Sir, - I refer to an article you ran on the front page quite recently, Shock at speeders on the A9. As an ex-driving examiner and member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, I know the A9 having used it for years and have experienced some dreadful acts of overtaking at speeds over the limit. I certainly do not blame the road. All roads are safe without traffic. Neil G. Sinclair.St Martins, Balbeggie,Perthshire. Poor response Sir, - Further to your recent article, Windfarm response is positive, which referred to a proposal to erect a windfarm alongside the A822 tourist route between Crieff and Aberfeldy at a site above Connachan Farm, it may be illuminating to point out that the conclusions were based on only 50 responses a 1% return of the 5,000 survey questionnaires! A totally insignificant response. John Hughes.Crieff. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

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