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Readers’ letter: The decline of the Dons, pipe music on the radio and Inverness railway station

Jim Goodwinin his final game in charge of Aberdeen at Easter Road. Image: SNS.
Jim Goodwinin his final game in charge of Aberdeen at Easter Road. Image: SNS.

Sir, – So, Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin has joined the long list of losers who have dragged the Dons to the depths has he?

If anyone thinks chairman Dave Cormack and the rest of the Milne-created board will have the requisite wit and imagination to resolve this, they had better rethink that sharpish.

Dons’ fans have endured woeful performances for three decades at the hands of witless players, managers, and board members, all as direct result of one of the most controversial appointments in AFC’s history.

Making Stewart Milne a board member then CEO, and his desire to destroy Pittodrie – another sorry saga by Milne and his sycophants – has meant so many have taken their eyes off the proverbial with dreams they have no reasonable hope of ever bringing to reality.

The Dons’ decline has been obvious to the most ardent supporters and if anyone doubts it take a long look at the fixtures, the results and all the comments which resemble a never-ending serious of pathetic excuses by those out of their depth.

Ian Beattie, Baker Street, Aberdeen.

Sea lice from fish farms are danger to wild salmon stocks

Man holding salmon.

Sir, – Wild salmon stocks are declining all over Scotland and beyond but, in contrast to Salmon Scotland’s member companies, the chief executive does not accept that sea lice from fish farms are making this worse.

He could have asked Mowi Scotland’s MD, who wrote to Argyll and Bute planning department in 2018 that “it is now the generally accepted position that uncontrolled sea lice levels on fish farms located in constrained water bodies can present a hazard to wild fish populations”. He could also have mentioned the Scottish Government’s Salmon Interactions Working Group, which included senior industry representatives. In 2020 it “acknowledged the potential hazard that farmed salmonid aquaculture presents to wild salmonids”, or he could have asked Sepa, as we did, who replied “the science is clear that sea lice (L. salmonis) from farms can pose a risk to wild salmon… I can assure you that Salmon Scotland and its members are fully aware that we will be regulating in this area because of the risk sea lice can pose and are informed of our progress towards doing so”.

He could also have referred to Marine Scotland’s assessment of international and national stock trends, which is non-committal about whether the western population is declining more quickly than elsewhere but which includes a map showing that almost every salmon breeding river in the “aquaculture zone” on the west coast and the Hebrides is in crisis (grade 3), while many rivers on the north and east coasts are in better shape (grade 1). For many decades the Scottish Government has not allowed any salmon farms on the north and east coasts (Policy Aquaculture 3 in the National Marine Plan) “to safeguard migratory fish species”. Why do that if farming salmon there poses no risk to wild salmon?

Yes, open net fish farms do create jobs in coastal communities, but there would also be jobs if the farms were designed, operated and sited to do no harm.

Instead of acknowledging the harm done by salmon farms to wild salmon and sea trout, Salmon Scotland’s director is trying to deflect attention by attacking the messengers.

No wonder many coastal communities have lost trust in the industry he represents.

No wonder chefs and shoppers are following WildFish’s suggestion that they should take farmed salmon off the table if they disagree with how the fish are produced (

John Aitchison, On behalf of Coastal Communities Network Scotland, Rose Street, Edinburgh.

Rail link planners not 100% right

The new railway station for Inverness Airport is due to open very soon. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

Sir, – I refer to the article in The P&J on January 28 about the new railway station at Inverness Airport.

In the article, and with reference to the half-mile walkway between station and airport, it was reported that Mr Roach (partnership manager for Hitrans) stated that people going through Gatwick or Heathrow “must walk much farther to get from one part to another, so 900m is not that far”.

As a frequent flier via many airports, Mr Roach is correct that distances between terminals or indeed gates can indeed be quite far.

However, these distances at other airports are not outside along a lit walkway.

I would imagine that the half-mile walk between Inverness Airport station and terminal would be very unpleasant on a cold winter’s rainy or snowy day.

The rail link is indeed welcomed, but as so often with transport projects in the UK, we never get it 100% right.

Steven Duncan, Academy Street, Elgin.

Catering for car park freeloaders

Sir, – Re your article on the new Inverness Airport Railway Station on January 28.

You quote Frank Roach, partnership manager for the regional transport body Hitrans, as saying that the terminal should be beside the railway line but it was too far down the planning process to change at that time. Really ?

In the 50 years I have lived in Inverness we are now on our third airport terminal, with the first one being basically a Nissen hut beside the airport entrance, if my memory serves me right. Surely we can’t have been too far down the planning process since then.

The planners in their wisdom moved the air traffic control tower over beside the railway line in the 1990s when I would have thought it would have made more sense to leave it and put the airport terminal over.

I see there is going to be free parking at the new station. I had a taxi driver telling me years ago of picking up customers who had parked at Raigmore Hospital once it became free, taking them to the airport to fly out on their holidays. I suspect these folk will now transfer to the Inverness Airport Railway Station.

I also imagine quite a few of the present long-stay parking customers at the airport will do the same.

I don’t think the planners have really thought through the implications of such a freebie parking bonanza.

I just hope they are going to have a very BIG car park.

Brian Stockdale, Boarstone Avenue, Inverness.

Pipe music to stay on BBC Scotland

Cpl Kevin Glover plays a bagpipe salute in Kabul on St Andrew’s Day Image: Army Scotland/PA Wire

Sir, – The headline on the Angus Peter Campbell column – “Shame on BBC Radio Scotland for switching the piping off” (January 26) – is inaccurate.

BBC Radio Scotland is not removing pipe music from its schedules. A new piping programme will remain in the current Pipeline slot on a Saturday.

Until that change is made Pipeline will continue to air, so there will be no break in dedicated programming for pipe music.

It is worth noting that we’ll also continue to cover live events such as the World Pipe Band Championships.

The decision to decommission Classics Unwrapped and Jazz Nights is part of our response to the licence fee being frozen for two years at a time of high inflation.

We are also refocusing some efforts from broadcast to digital output in response to how audiences are now consuming content and in an effort to provide more value for all licence fee payers.

I acknowledge that any changes to radio schedules are always difficult decisions and all programmes have audiences who love them.

But we will still reflect our vibrant classical and jazz communities in Scotland on our schedule and across our platforms. As an example, BBC Scotland currently invests £5 million every year in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra but, until now, the orchestra’s concerts have not been heard on BBC Radio Scotland.

In the future they will be, ensuring classical music is part of our schedule every week.

Since these programmes first launched, there has been a raft of new ways in which the BBC supports new and emerging talent, not least through our TV programmes on BBC Scotland and BBC Alba, through digital offerings such as BBC The Social, and through the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year awards and BBC Introducing in Scotland, none of which previously existed. BBC iPlayer also provides music content made in the nation.

BBC Radio Scotland will continue to have music programmes on air every day of the week, across a range of genres, in addition to all of our arts coverage each weekday afternoon on The Afternoon Show.

Louise Thornton, Head of Commissioning, BBC Scotland.

Balance needed in P&J’s letters

Sir, – I commend Lesley Ellis (January 27) on her restrained response to Charles Wardrop (January 20), that I read as his gratuitously offensive reply to Lesley’s polite letter of January 13.

Similarly, his offensiveness to all reputable world bodies continues. His attacks cover everybody from the Met Office to David Attenborough in the UK, all worldwide national weather bodies, Nasa, and the UN as being “crass”. Are they all supporters of some enormous conspiracy, gaining from his imagined “financial gravy train”?

I have submitted letters that calmly dismantle each of his claims. I patiently wait for them to be printed, while Charles Wardrop et al are given plentiful letter space, way beyond their public consensus.

Then his “kind view” of Trump (January 26), his “Trump not all bad” view, would excuse a violent attempt to abuse USA voters.

Such reactionary (backward-facing) minority views hinder change and progress of society. Come on P&J get your act together on “crank letters”, especially on the existential topic of climate which is above politics.

They must have their say, but not in disproportion without reply. Please represent the majority. P&J is balanced in its features. Why not in letters? Editorial comment welcome.

Mike Hannan, Cults, Aberdeen.

GRA supposed to simplify process

The transgender flag
Image: Shutterstock

Sir, – Grant Frazer (January 28) considers the actions of Westminster in blocking the Gender Recognition Act as a broken promise, and goes on to cite it as their means of undermining democracy, throwing the old Trident cost, Brexit, “Tories we didn’t vote for” comments in for good measure.

The reality is that the GRA as delivered goes much further than anyone considered it would and as a result it appears to conflict with existing UK legislation.

If so, that is not what democratic devolution was about and Westminister have blocked it, not to spite Holyrood, but to have its content legally reviewed.

There are many concerns over the depth of the GRA and the lack of consultation with many who were promised a voice in the review.

Mr Frazer should perhaps see broken promises by the SNP toward the parties who have not been consulted as more of a problem than Westminister seeking to ensure the GRA does the job it was intended to do which was to simplify the gender assessment process, not rewrite it and pose more problems than it started with.

Walter Service, Fairview Manor, Danestone, Aberdeen.

No one set out to fail at Dons

Sir, – Nobody employed at Pittodrie wants Aberdeen to fail.

I don’t blame Jim Goodwin for taking the job as manager. He applied/was headhunted for the post and succeeded as he was ambitious.

Unfortunately, it came too quickly for him. As for our chairman Dave Cormack, he wants the Dons to succeed as all Dons fans do.

There must be a real hard think about the future, as there is a mass support waiting for the good times back.

Get Barry Robson in as the interim manager, he’s a winner.

Don’t go for another manager who is doing the rounds in Scotland.

As you scour the world for new players, what about doing the same for a manager?

Sell him the history, the good times, the loyal support.

Let’s see the Main Stand, the Dick Donald Stand, the South Terracing and the Shed being filled again.

Jim, all the best for the future.

You’ll be back in charge again soon. Learn from your mistakes, no more Mr Nice Guy.

Dave, your heart is in the right place. However, you must also be hard. Look at who’s advising you and ask yourself where did it all wrong?

Bob Adie (Senior).

Players were pitiful

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin during a cinch Premiership match between Hibernian and Aberdeen at Easter Road, on January 28, 2023, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Sir, – As an Aberdeen fan all my life, the last three games have been the worst results/games I can recall in all the time supporting the Dons.

We all accept defeats are part of the game, but it’s the manner in which we accepted these defeats.

Yes, Jim Goodwin as the manager has to take full responsibility and the wrath of fans and the media – and he has had plenty.

However, I feel in all the coverage since the Hearts defeat, this pool of players have got off lightly in my opinion.

The players in these last three defeats have deceived all of us – fans, board and even Goodwin to an extent with these pitiful displays.

We all make mistakes at some point but try to do better next time.

I urge every one of those players to take a good look at themselves in a mirror and realise they must stand up and be counted for the good of AFC.


Win, lose or draw

Maybe the Dons are losing a lot, but they are the only team we’ve got.

They are under a lot of pressure, but they are the team I treasure.

Every week is the same, they have hardly won a game – but good or bad, win or lose, the Dons are the team I choose.

I really love it when they win and they get a few goals in, but if they lose, while that’s bad news, they’re still the team I choose.

Dot Niven, Aberdeen.