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Readers’ letters: Scotland’s drinking problem, new Dons stadium and Ian Yuill

A person drinking some alcohol- highlighing Scotland's alcohol problem

Sir, – Latest figures show that Scotland has the highest death rate from alcohol abuse in the United Kingdom, which serves to underline the complete failure of minimum pricing on alcohol legislation in Scotland.

The only benefit accrued from the legislation has been to increase alcohol prices and thereby increase the profits made from alcohol sales for supermarkets and off-licences.

Dennis F Grattan, Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen.

Private health care contributions tax would benefit the NHS

Sir, – After four months in the hospital, three of which were spent reading books, I could write you a serial article on the subject.

None of the problems are directly due to the NHS but to a failure by our council and the government to provide sufficient finance to fund the volume of resources required and to release badly-needed beds.

The volume of facilities and services being provided to the private healthcare sector is detrimental to the NHS in many ways and a 50% tax should be applied to all such provisions.

The lack of proper NHS funding has led to the large use of inexperienced doctors and nursing staff who have no real mentors to learn from.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf is entirely wrong in stating any salary increases would have to come out of money for operations, etc, because a 20% tax on private healthcare contributions would put the NHS and care sector on a sound financial basis. If you would like any more details please let me know.

In conclusion, I would like to say what wonderful staff and nurses we have – all making sure that patients have as good an experience as possible and many of them working double shifts to make ends meet and provide for their families.

Alan Morrison, 9 Kingswood Road, Kingswells.

Stadium saga needs joined-up thinking

Aberdeen FC new stadium a part of the beach masterplan

Sir, – Dave Cormack’s still suffering from what can only be described as Stewart Milne levels of delusion with his claims about the beachfront stadium.

Aside from the fact that, under Mr Milne, the once dandy Dons couldn’t raise £50 million, there’s no way that a potentially smaller capacity stadium at £80-90 million is feasible. A more realistic cost is £120 million and above, with contingencies and anything else if or when ground is broken.

Ask how Mr Cormack’s going to get this shiny trinket full every week to prove this is realistic and plausible. Let’s not forget this is plan number five (Kingswells, Cove, Kingsford and the hotel site on the Boulevard) or the long history of Dons fans who’ve been firmly against this nonsense since day one.

The small number of fans polled thus far does not prove all the fans are in favour. If, as alleged, this is about “growing a club” then building a smaller-capacity ground as recently stated makes zero sense. So too does continuing with ideas that destroy heritage and green space.

Furthermore, building nearer the sea with rising sea levels is imbecilic beyond belief, much like the drawn-out history of this sorry saga or how the “cash-strapped” city council can afford it.

Ian Beattie, Baker Street, Aberdeen.

Show courage of your convictions

Sir, – I’m not surprised Mr or Ms No Name who has supplied their details does not have the courage of their convictions to allow their name to be printed because it is obvious Scotland would be far better off as an independent country.

They should look at the bigger picture of how consecutive Westminster governments have squandered our wealth, run our country down and made a total mess of everything, making them the laughing stock of the world. A small country with our massive resources can and will do a lot better job than our neighbour.

If people are not prepared to put their name to a letter then readers should take the content with a large pinch of salt.

Herbert Petrie, Parkhill, Dyce.

Local democracy questions raised

Councillor Ian Yuill outside Aberdeen Town House.
Councillor Ian Yuill outside Aberdeen Town House.

Sir, – In the letter published on December 12, Ian Yuill said that the Liberal Democrats consistently made the case for reopening Union Street to buses, finally winning the vote in February. Spaces for people had outlived its purpose and become a nuisance, so I agree this was a good outcome.

Regarding long-term plans for Union Street, however, pedestrianisation was still very much on the table and a key issue in the council election.

In April, the Liberal Democrat position was that central Union Street should be traffic-free. This was clearly stated in the P&J’s own pre-election candidates’ debate, which is still available to watch.

It was the very first question. Having seen this kind of initiative succeed in other cities, I voted accordingly. Now the Liberal Democrats support a bus and possible rapid transit infrastructure extending the whole length of Union Street. I don’t see how this can be described as anything other than a reversal.

I hope the new plan succeeds, but it’s a risky strategy for regeneration. It also raises some questions about local democracy, given that the majority of elected councillors were publicly in favour of pedestrianisation just a week before the election.

Simon Rae, Wellbrae Terrace, Aberdeen.

World Cup referee played a shocker

Sir, – In keeping with so many in our country I was disappointed to see England, the last hope from the home nations, eliminated from the World Cup.

Despite fantastic displays by so many of the lads it was just not to be, and setting aside the penalty miss when the iconic leader sent the ball into the stratosphere instead of the French net, the reason was there for all to see – a referee who gave a performance that brought disgrace to the authority of the profession of pencil, card and whistle.

Even as fair a group of judges as Gary Neville and fellow pundits with long and distinguished playing careers, old pros who have seen and done it all – the nifty nudge, surreptitious shove and timely trip – couldn’t contain their condemnation. But has the opinion on referees not always been the same?

Why, even in the grade of football I played around 70 years ago when sheep, nature’s natural mowers, were moved from the pitch to an adjacent field so that a match could begin, referees were blamed for many an agonising defeat.

We could never understand why Jimmy, a top-rate referee when we won, could have such a shocker as we nursed defeat.

Now, 70 years later in the greatest tournament of the game, the same problem rears its head.

I hope that in four years, when the ultimate prize is again on offer and with the eyes of the football world focused on their efforts, referees can leave the field at the final whistle with the compliments of the defeated team ringing in their ears.

On reflection, I’m maybe being a touch over-optimistic. Only those who pursue flagellation as a form of enjoyment would ever desire to be a referee.

Ivan W. Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.

Help forstadium is a ‘no-brainer’

Sir, – With reference to Mr Noel’s comments in the Evening Express regarding Aberdeen FC’s proposed new stadium, he is clearly not in the festive spirit.

While I agree everyone has and is entitled to their own opinion, in this matter I feel it is a no-brainer and a must for the council to back and help fund it.

The city is in need of a major overhaul, and this in itself will clearly help and improve the regeneration of the beach area. In the long run it will bring much-needed money into the Aberdeen economy.

The stadium could also host many other major events and concerts, etc. I can only assume that Mr Noel would much prefer the stadium being built outwith the city and the money generated from this going to the shire.

He clearly believes the stadium should be outside the city, and no doubt in years to come will regret his and the city council’s choice.

Brian Reid.