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Readers’ letters: Local elections should be stripped of national party politics

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Sir, – With all politics – local, Holyrood and Westminster – having the seriousness of a pantomime, apparently more interested in flaying each other publicly than actually concentrating on the issues of government, would it be too radical for communities to insist their local council representatives were unaligned with any national parties?

Local politics are surely about those issues that pertain to the communities in that area and not about policy directives or propaganda issued by the national governments in Edinburgh or London.

Local government elections currently seem like a rerun of a general election with the individual parties being more intent on a collective victory, judging by the intensity of the party machines’ efforts to achieve control of a council.

Are we constituents just a tick in a box?

Is it the right thing to have substantial fines in place for failing to respond to a Census but it’s OK to ignore any elections, local or national?

It would be nice to have someone dedicated to local issues fighting for our local needs in the local communities, not someone pledging their allegiance to any of the national parties and their rigid dogmas.

Jack Slupinski, Retirement Park, Peterculter, Aberdeen.

Rowie option not the healthiest

Sir, – As a young apprentice baker in Aberdeen I was treated to tales by the older bakers who were involved in making rowies during the war when fats were in short supply, using whale oil and even liquid paraffin. At home since I retired, I must admit that my favourite fat contains palm oil.

I know animal fat is frowned upon these days so may I mention that purely for personal use the best alternative is a blend of lard and duck fat – not I admit the healthy option.

Alan McPherson, Grant Street, Cullen.

NC500 route isn’t race track

Sir, – With reference to the article in The Press and Journal (Biker revved up for gruelling fundraiser, May 3).

Has bike rider George Maciver thought this through? 1,032miles in 24 hours. This equates to an average of 43mph which I am sure his high-powered bike can do no problem round a race track.

But the NC500 is not a race track.

There are towns, villages and communities around the route that are sick of irresponsible drivers driving at excessive speeds.

Has he given any thought to other road users? It doesn’t seem like it. So I hope that the Northern Constabulary have read the article and are lying in wait for him on June 7.

Challenges like this are just going to encourage more irresponsible people trying to set stupid records.

Gordon Moncur, Riverview, Thurso.

Editor’s note: George Maciver has reassured us that he has fully assessed the risks, is entirely confident he will cause no one – including himself – any harm, knows the roads involved very well and will not be breaking any speed limits to achieve his fundraising mission.

Fleet Air Arm deserves flypast

Sir, – HM Forces will play a major part in Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Fleet reviews may be history but there should always be “sea room” for the Royal Navy at state events.

The RAF, which operates 75% of British military aircraft, closes the Queen’s birthday parade with a flypast. It is surely right for Fleet Air Arm aircraft, with Army Air Corps colleagues, comprising a very front-line 25%, to take part in flypasts, both along The Mall and at Armed Forces Day (Scarborough is the national host this year).

The Fleet Air Arm and Royal Marines make it obvious the Royal Navy is about more than ships and submarines.

Rear Admiral Jeremy Larken DSO, Reachview Close, London.

Johnson possesses vandal’s mindset

Sir, – Ivan Reid’s letter is wrong to separate the PM’s behaviour from that of yobbos’ “lack of respect for others and property” of whom “many are not taught respect” and “if caught the sentence is no deterrent”.

The PM was an enthusiast in the vandal Bullingdon Club, trashing restaurants who had just served them – “we did it for a laugh” in Ivan Reid’s words, with no penalty as wealthy parents paid out.

The PM continues a vandal’s mindset “rules don’t apply to me and I won’t get caught”, while trashing the norms of the UK voluntary constitution and parliamentary service.

No democracy deserves, nor survives over time, such wanton disdain and self-centredness.

Conservative decency has been hijacked.

Mike Hannan, Earlswells Place, Cults, Aberdeen.

Plus ca change in Aussie politics

Sir, – The wearing of masks is still being promoted by some people despite the mandates being dropped.

In New South Wales in 2003 the fair trade minister threatened fines of up to $110,000 against any retailer that promoted unrealistic protection claims for masks against the then SARS outbreak.

The minister’s action was based on a study from the Department of Infectious Diseases in Sydney which found that in as little as 15 minutes masks became useless as they were saturated with moisture from a person’s breath.

How politics changes.

Geoff Moore, Braeface Park, Alness

Lessons needed in local democracy

Sir, – As well as the local council elections, my eldest daughter Bethany sat her modern studies examination on May 5 and, while it concentrates on many areas, one area it does not cover at all is how local councils work and function.

That surely, like the Scottish Labour Party not fielding any candidates at all in Peterhead, is an absolute disgrace?

The one part of the system that affects most of us directly with the services it provides, and a mainstream political party not giving the residents of Peterhead, the largest town in Aberdeenshire, the chance to vote for it, has to rank with the fact that the same town does not have a rail link and is absolutely shocking.

Are we serious about levelling up and regarding those who voted for Scottish independence as part of the same Union as those who voted for the Union? While very welcome for those in Aberdeenshire, the fact that Jim Gifford and Alison Evison stood as independents in the 2022 elections shows how out of touch both the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and Scottish Labour Party are with ordinary working people like myself.

We simply must change our attitude to local councils.

While the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and Scottish Labour continue to almost demonise those who voted for Scottish independence in 2014, those in the city of Aberdeen almost live in two different worlds with those in places like Cults, Bieldside, Milltimber and Peterculter living in a completely different environment from those in Tillydrone, Seaton, Mastrick, Torry, and that surely must change.

In the same way independence voters in 2014 are part of the same Union as unionists, in my opinion. Regardless of which part of Aberdeen you live in surely you should feel as much Aberdonian and part of the oil capital of Europe.

Sorting out both Union Street and Union Terrace Gardens would be a good first step in what promises to be a long process.

Peter Ovenstone, Orchard Grove, Peterhead.