Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Readers’ letters: Backlogged driving tests, Aberdeen City Council and GP appointments

Driving tests Aberdeen City Council GP appointments

Sir, – I read with surprise, if not with shock, the article regarding the backlog of driving tests. Even more shocking was the pass rate of less than 50%!

It makes me think that drivers are applying before they are test ready. Maybe this is being decided by whoever is paying for the driving lessons – or are they regarding driving as simply putting the car in gear, letting off the handbrake and following the road? Perhaps the instructor may not be fully qualified.

A few months ago, I had the occasion to follow a learner driving a driving school car at three sets of traffic lights from Tillydrone Ave, at St Machar Drive to the roundabout at King Street.

While stopped at three sets of red traffic lights in that distance, the driver remained stationary with his foot on the brake pedal, and presumably because the car began to move immediately the brake lights went off, he had been stationary with the car in gear.

This is a practice used by thousands of drivers every day, but that does not mean it is the correct or safe practice. The driving instructor should have noticed that unsafe practice and instructed the driver to stop at the red traffic lights, apply the handbrake, bring the gear to neutral and take both feet off the pedals.

If the car was fitted with the fuel-saving stop/start facility the engine should have stopped.

When the traffic lights change to red and amber, the driver has plenty time to depress the clutch to start the engine, select first gear, check all three mirrors, then release the handbrake and move off if safe to do so when the lights change to green.

Learner drivers need to take every opportunity to get as much practice as is practical before taking the driving test.

David Walker, Glentanar Crescent, Dyce.

Comments from Sunak and Truss insulting 50% of Scots

Sir, – First it was Rishi Sunak, now it’s Liz Truss each trying to outdo the other in telling their faithful how they’ll sort out the Scots and deal with the “Scottish problem”.

Does neither of them realise that in being firm with Nicola and telling her about all the faults of her government, or ignoring her and treating her like a child, that they’re also insulting the more than 50% of the Scottish electorate who regularly vote for Nicola and her government?

Is this really the way to win hearts and minds up here? They have no knowledge of Scotland or of what Scotland’s priorities are. Nor do they have any way of finding out. They assume we want to be just like the south of England and can’t imagine that we’re any different in Scotland.

Do they not realise that for decades now, Scots have been electing a government that generally does what we want here, not what someone else tells us we should want?

Sure, they’ve made their mistakes, who hasn’t, but given the chaos, the corruption and the mismanagement within their own Tory government, are they really trying to tell us that somehow, that is a better example?

They may not like it, but Scots have voted consistently for a government which offers free health care for the elderly, a publicly-owned water supply, free university education, a nationalised railway, a sympathetic immigration policy and so many other things which are anathema to the Tories.

We generally do not share Westminster’s values here and this goes a long way towards explaining the scant support which the Tories have in Scotland.

As long as they continue to talk and act like Mr Sunak and Ms Truss, that Tory support will continue to bump along the bottom.

Alan Anderson. Berrymuir Road, Portlethen.

Rhetoric from Deveney is unconvincing

Sir, – The rhetoric used by Catherine Deveney in her Opinion article (August 5) is as unconvincing as her half-hearted attempts to tiptoe through the nationalist mess that has systematically degraded Scotland over the last 15 years.

Is Scotland really fighting “to be heard” above the “lioness’s roar”?

The SNP would no doubt applaud these nationalistic comments even from a patriotic individual who had “never voted for the SNP in my life”.

David Philip. Knockhall Way, Newburgh.

City council needs a wake-up call

Sir, – So, Aberdeen City Council thinks it’s experiencing a “perfect storm” affecting its finances and ability to deliver projects, does it? Anyone with intelligence could foresee that everything they are blaming on their woes, austerity, Brexit, the pandemic and, of course, Russia invading Ukraine would be on their scapegoat list as they brainlessly scrabble for solutions.

If they had any sense at all they would not have green-lit all the projects they have since 2012, nor would they have created the debt before hand nor spent billions in a nit-witted knee jerk reaction to the controversies they inveigled themselves into.

And that’s before the “perfect storm upon a perfect storm” of the minor slope of an oil downturn is factored in too.

Rather than “pausing” these projects like the ETZ, more mindless housing which will create further major infrastructure issues in future, and the notion of some new stadium and yet more pointless development of the kind simply not needed at the beach, someone needs to give these imbeciles a massive wake-up call.

The council simply haven’t grasped the concept that much larger perfect storms upon perfect storms upon perfect storms will engulf them due to their own actions.

Ian Beattie. Baker Street, Aberdeen.

GP penalty just would not pay

Sir, – It would appear that Rishi Sunak, a current candidate for the Tory leadership, has stated that if he gains the position of prime minister he will bring in a charge of £10 for any missed appointments at hospitals, health centres, and other NHS facilities.

Currently there are certain dental practices where such a penalty is carried out, albeit private dentists uphold a 24-hour cancellation period, but many dental practices point out that irresponsible patients will be charged for non appearance or asked to join an alternative practice.

However, bearing in mind the current scenario vis-a-vis appointments, there would be little funding heading towards the exchequer when a telephone appointment can take up to four weeks, and apart from an emergency appointment with a GP there is about as much chance of acquiring a face-to-face one with the aforementioned practitioner as there is of a Scottish football club winning a European trophy.

John Reid. Regent Court, Keith.

Please sir, can I have some more?

Sir, – Charles Dickens’ campaigning novel Oliver Twist was given a “trigger warning” some time ago by the University of London.

The novel describes poverty in the capital in Victorian times and, apparently, is likely to cause anxiety or distress.

The classic features child abuse, domestic violence and racial prejudice.

This nonsense is part and parcel of the “woke” pandemic still rife in Western democracies.

But Oliver reminded me of John Swinney, deputy first minister. Unsurprisingly, council workers are not satisfied with a derisory annual increase of £850 or a 2% wage offer. A bundle of cash has already been disbursed to Scotland by the UK taxpayer via the Barnett formula resulting in funding per person in Scotland being much higher compared with England. Cash wasted on an industrial scale by the SNP government generating crises in education, transport, health and social care and policing. Not to mention money already squandered on preparations for a pointless IndyRef2.

And John Swinney’s comment on money mismanaged? Please, prime minister, I want some more!

Bill Maxwell. Mar Place, Keith, Banffshire.

Sturgeon showed no respect to PMs

Sir, – Catherine Deveney’s (Opinion August 5) says she has never voted SNP and believes the toxic relationship between London and Edinburgh is due to lack of respect on the part of the UK.

I too have never voted SNP but believe the lack of respect comes mainly from Bute House.

When Theresa May became PM one of her first acts was to pay a visit to Nicola Sturgeon, an act I would say did indeed show respect to Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon responded by displaying two saltires behind the two leaders instead of the saltire and Union flag which would have been polite and customary, an act clearly intended to humiliate the British PM.

One of Boris Johnson’s first acts as PM was also a visit to Bute house.

Everyone will remember Ms Sturgeon’s petulance and angry face on the steps before going in for the meeting.

To make it worse the SNP rent a mob turned up meaning Boris had to have an undignified exit through the back entrance.

Nobody other than an SNP supporter or Catherine Deveney can think Ms Sturgeon showed either British PM any respect.

The truth is that the SNP benefit from a toxic relationship as in their view it benefits the independence cause.

To see the prime minister/first minister relationship working well and devolution delivering for the Scottish people would not be in the SNP’s or Ms Sturgeon’s political interests.

Keith Shortreed. Cottown of Gight, Methlick.

Voters must think of good of country

Sir, – It seems the choice in the Conservative leadership campaign is between a message designed to appeal to the personal interests of the immediate electorate, and one which has the needs and votes of the wider electorate – and a general election – in mind.

The former is Liz Truss’s promise to scrap the National Insurance rise, cut taxes and minimise targeted financial help, funded by borrowing and hoped-for growth, fuelled by an inflationary spending boom.

Rishi Sunak has realised none of the above will help the people who will be most affected by the cost of living crisis because they don’t pay much tax or NI and the borrowing to pay for Truss’s lower taxes will force up interest rates and the value of the pound, which will make our exports more expensive.

I just hope that enough party members think beyond their own pockets and vote for what’s best for the country and their party’s fortunes at the forthcoming election.

Allan Sutherland. Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Park questions

Sir, – In their statement re the “invasion” of Torry Harbour on Sunday, ETZ Ltd said: “We recognise the strength of sentiment and how important accessible green public space and biodiverse areas are for the people of Torry, particularly the walkways, wetlands and habitats at St Fittick’s Park and have already confirmed through this process that the East Tullos Burn will be retained.”

Well that’s dashed decent of them. Could I remind folks that St Fittick’s Park has not been rezoned for industrialisation (the reporter’s decision is due in the near future), no planning permission has been given, and if the reporter approves the rezoning any entity can apply to develop the park. If it’s already been decided that ETZ Ltd are the only body to get approval then there’s something wrong.

Could I also ask ETZ Ltd who provides oversight of their operations as I haven’t been able to find any governmental or local democratic body they report to. It is important because we, the taxpayers, have supplied £27m plus £26m plus £3m for the project from governments and NEERSF.

Richard Caie, Aberdeen.