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Readers’ letters: Former John Lewis building, King Charles III’s coronation and Aberdeen City Council killing the city

Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson
Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Sir, – I understand that the John Lewis building was offered to Aberdeen City Council for free.

I would like our council to take up this offer and use the building as a youth hub with five-a-side football, tennis, hockey, boxing and also gaming stations as I feel the youth in Aberdeen have nowhere to go.

I saw the pictures of the youths fighting in Union Terrace Gardens and I feel they are not being fulfilled.

It is OK for some people to say they have got everything – mobile phones, game stations, etc – but that is monetary.

So I say come on Aberdeen City Council – help make the city a better place for all of us and to make our youth feel needed.

I was lucky enough to have grown up in a time when we went to youth clubs and such like but it does not seem our young people have that option.

The kids need some help and understanding in the world today as there is so much angst and also a lot of bullying.

I know this will cost money but think how much the council will save on security and it will help Aberdeen to be a better place for us all.

Marion Young, Queens Road, Aberdeen.

Gender Bill veto a democratic failure

Sir, – If it wasn’t bad enough that Westminster has rubbished the whole of the UK, now the government has painted itself into a corner over the gender Bill.

The sad fact is Alister Jack is making a political point and has no care for the handful of people the Bill is designed to help. Anyone who saw the bravery of the singer on The Voice Kids would realise this Bill will help some young and vulnerable people. What Mr Jack forgets is that there was cross-party support, including some Tories voting in favour, but also with a few SNP voting against introducing this Bill.

Yet again the UK Government makes the point that it does not respect devolution. The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford was planning to introduce the same Bill as many other countries already have, Spain being the most recent. This legislation isn’t radical – it is simply bringing Scotland in line with many other countries.

If they can use such legal tools to deny our democratically-elected government’s plans, what hope do we have of getting a referendum by legal action? There has to be a legal way to have the mandate for a referendum honoured. If not, we are not in a voluntary union.

Let’s see how this pans out. If they are determined to pick fights then maybe we should just have a referendum and let them fight that as well.

Herbert Petrie, Parkhill, Dyce, Aberdeen.

Is FM weaponising all her grievances?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during a press conference. Image: Russell Cheyne/PA Wire

Sir, – Do Nicola Sturgeon and most SNP members have any basic understanding of the real and significant differences between independence and devolution?

It is worth reflecting on the previous commentary of Lord Reed who presides over the Supreme Court and who has stated “the court has been called on yet again to adjudicate on a dispute about Holyrood’s powers. It appeared to be a matter of (SNP) policy that you draft (poor) legislation as if the constraints of the Scotland Act don’t exist, and then leave it to the courts to sort out the problems on a case-by-case basis”.

Yet again it seems to be deliberate policy by Nicola Sturgeon to weaponise her manufactured grievances and then use the courts to re-educate her as to the legal reality. Where she goes her sheep dutifully follow.

For devolution to work effectively it needs to be respected and acknowledged constructively by both sides. It is worth realising that neither the Conservatives nor the SNP took an active and constructive part in the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament. The time to have objected to any variations or limitations in the Scotland Act was when it was being established.

Now it is the established law and needs to be respected even if that is not easy or straightforward.

A bit less bleating about democratic deficits deliberately created by the SNP would calm the


David Philip, Knockhall Way, Newburgh.

Case for IndyRef2 is set out in print

Sir, – It’s good to hear that Andrew Dingwall (January 19) is looking for a full understanding of both sides of the indy debate, especially the economics of independence.

I recommend to him and others Scotland the Brief – published by Business for Scotland – an excellent, easy-to-read overview covering the breadth of Scotland’s economic activity plus a financial overview. Scotland the Brief will once and for all put to rest the myth that Scotland is a poor country subsidised by its neighbour.

Readers will be particularly happy to see all details are backed up with original sources so happy reading. It’s available online.

Willie Dunbar, Deeside Gardens, Aberdeen.

Hard-working King deserves coronation

Image: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Sir, – Recently The P&J has featured articles by pro-republican supporters and letter writers who have jumped on the “trash the British monarchy” bandwagon.

Campbell Gunn reminds readers that there were thousands executed many years ago in the dim and distant past including the French King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, and also the Russian Romanov family at the hands of hot-headed, power- crazed revolutionaries, at those points in history to set up their republic or soviet socialist republic.

Then Kirstin Innes in her queen-of-mean assessment of British royalty begrudges the upcoming coronation for the King as she confesses she does not grasp the meaning of the event and the role of a sovereign in the monarchist democracy, which is the envy of the world and a regret of the countries which executed their heads of state (pardon the pun).

British royal soft power enables the UK to engage with countries across the globe to further diplomatic and business interests which deliver us a premium, just as royal tourism – including Crown enterprises – in total generates £19 billion (internet site information) for the country.

The hard-working senior members represent numerous organisations, charitable and commercial or military, and do so as a duty without question. Most fair-minded citizens appreciate the efforts by them at home and abroad.

Given the availability of funds raised and the King’s recent benevolent donation of money to food and fuel charities, it would be churlish in the extreme to begrudge the monarch a coronation, which will be a model of organisation and a spectacle for millions around the world to enjoy, and a showcase for UK armed forces, broadcasters and contributing artists from a range of talents with hopefully Brian May and his band belting out the anthem.

Angus McNair, Clochan, Buckie.

Actions of rogue police not typical

Sir, – Following the unmasking of another policeman wearing the uniform and bringing disrepute to the ranks of the UK’s largest force, questions are being asked – do our police require policing and are women safe with them?

Despicable behaviour by an officer who, with proper vetting procedures, should never have been allowed to enter the force – even his years of abusing women avoided scrutiny. When added to the tragic case of Sarah Everard, cruelly murdered by an officer with perversion rather than policing in mind, it does all leave a stain on the reputation of the institution we rely on to apprehend and bring to justice errant members of our society guilty of such heinous acts.

Image: Shutterstock.

But should the sordid behaviour of such individuals who represent an infinitesimal portion of our guardians of law and order be used as a barometer of what is normal in their workforce? Absolutely not – thankfully their ranks are populated with decent men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. Without their presence, society would disintegrate into a lawless mob.

Consider a similar situation in a different profession. A doctor is found to have behaved indecently with a female patient, he is struck off the medical register and, if his offending is serious, a term of imprisonment awaits.

When such a crime is reported I can recall no outcry for doctors to be policed – or are women safe with doctors? Two tragic cases involving the lusts of despicable men, but the words mountains and molehills keep entering my thoughts.

Ivan W. Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.

Lunatics taking over the asylum?

Sir, – Another day and, like a stuck record, nationalist foot soldier Peter E Smith (January 18) cannot help but repeat the same old condemnation towards the UK, and bombard us all with his SNP-indoctrinated opinions.

The disaster-prone SNP have proven over 15 years that they are world champions at beguiling Braveheart waffle, but useless at government and incapable of producing an economic plan for their independent but ruled- by-Brussels Scotland.

Their growing army of neverendum advisers, bloated public sector jobsworths and workshy freeloaders have become an unsustainable burden on our struggling taxpayers. For the Nats to keep squandering taxpayers’ money on hand-outs and on neverendums, until they win only once, is mafia democracy at its finest.

The next referendum in Scotland should be on Nicola Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Bill, which like her named persons snooper scheme, is another one of her dodgy proposals that the majority of Scots did not vote for. And to “explore letting eight-year-olds legally change gender” is madness.

It’s time for Peter the Great, up there in beautiful Beauly, to come off his high horse and acknowledge that the lunatics are taking over the asylum that is Scotland’s devolved Holyrood parliament.

George Emslie, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen.

Time for complete change at Holyrood

Sir, – Having listened and watched the SNP over the past few months I now see that the so-called first minister does not have the knowledge or experience in order to govern Scotland.

Under her management, Scotland would no longer exist.

With Nicola Sturgeon and her helpers now running Prestwick Airport and Ferguson’s shipyard, as well as many other non-profitable businesses in Scotland, it’s now time for her and the SNP MPs to stand down, perhaps take advice and maybe get a job outwith politics.

The SNP are on the way out and, with a bit of luck, a more mature party will lead Scotland to a more profitable future.

The SNP-led party is about to be destroyed and the real people of Scotland will be able to have a profitable life with no debt.

Sturgeon’s followers are now destroying Scotland and all because things did not come out right at Culloden.

Gavin Elder, Prunier Drive, Peterhead.

Clarity needed on recreational area

Sir, – Boddam Community Association made a representation regarding the 2023 local plan, asking that due regard be given to development on Stirlinghill, Boddam, as it’s a valuable area for the village’s recreation and the Peterhead area generally.

Can someone please tell me what level of protection now exists with the local plan’s adoption which is of particular interest to us in view of the time and effort – not to mention the amount of public funding – which has been poured into footpaths, etc?

I believe that NorthConnect are still investing in their Four Fields and recently erected an ornamental shelter which carries a plaque dedicating it to Ms Betty May, our late chairwoman who carried most of the load with us… at our request.

Sam Coull, Lendrum Terrace, Boddam.

Who is killing the city I love?

Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson

Sir, – As an Aberdeen lad for the last 67 years, I have seen so many changes to our once “buzzing” city.

The notable decline has been considerable and the 2020 Covid pandemic certainly contributed to that majorly.

Usually a “sit on the fence” type of chap, the recent news over the past week or so has been so alarming I feel I have to “vent a bit”… aimed at Aberdeen City Council (ACC). The news of the imminent closures of key routes will not only add to the decline, but will affect Aberdonians, shops, schools and potential visitors to the city.

What is really worrying too is there will be NO consultation – this is happening now!

Aberdeen City Council proposes banning cars from Guild Street, banning cars from Bridge Street, banning cars turning right from Union Terrace on to Rosemount Viaduct and banning cars from the Beach Esplanade.

The more I look at the proposals, numerous thoughts jump into my head that will cause major traffic issues to city drivers: bottlenecks, school drop-offs, pick-ups. This will also lead to shops/cafes/hairdressers and bars closing (the Beach Esplanade closure for me is particularly heartbreaking).

Regarding the schools, in Rosemount and the town centre, I don’t think the council has considered child safety which is more important than any appropriate/inappropriate traffic measures.

It is possible to name the ACC person/people responsible for this potentially city-killing proposal. Somebody has to answer for this.

This is only my humble opinion but I am really concerned about the city I love.

ABW, Aberdeen.