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Readers’ letter: Roald Dahl censorship, new deposit return scheme flaws and Bon Accord Terrace Gardens

Pile of old Roald Dahl books on a white background.
Image: Shutterstock

Sir, – If censors are to rewrite Roald Dahl to soften tales of how it used to be (I can relate to Matilda), then they have a big problem with another book that some children are encouraged to read by some.

The “Holy” Bible. There are dozens, if not hundreds of atrocities carried out on command of a god. An example:

Numbers 31:17-18

The lord commanded Moses. “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him. But all the woman children that hath not known a man, keep alive for yourselves”.

Or how about

“Any woman who is with child, cut their wombs open and dash their children to pieces on the rocks”?

Misogyny, infanticide, mass murder, paedophilia and rape. It’ll take a bit of editing to soften that lot. I find this antiquated superstitious guff abhorrent as will most people surely, but what I find even more abhorrent is that someone in a position of power and influence in government could use texts from that book to make decisions which would affect all of the population. Thanks to Catherine Deveney for her excellent article which puts all that in a nutshell.

George G Mitchell, Changehill, Newmachar.

Who was asked about closure?

David Threadgold, Chair of North Area Committee, Scottish Police Federation is meeting with Andrew Bowie MP (right) outside the police station. Image: Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

Sir, – Regarding Chief Inspector Christopher Kerr’s statement, “following an extensive community consultation” (on Portlethen Police Station) – when did this happen, who carried out the consultation and how many people were against the closure?

The value of Portlethen Police Station and grounds has increased dramatically.

Selling the property is the more likely reason for closure, giving Aberdeenshire Council money to spend on their pet projects.

Frederick Stewart, Alder Drive, Portlethen.

Ace discussions on independence

Sir, – While having no real interest in politics, I enjoy reading the letters in The P&J, the cut and thrust, the arguments for and against independence for our great little nation by supporters from both camps.

If, or when, Scotland does become free to choose its own course, special medals should be struck for two diehard and dedicated correspondents – regular readers will be aware of their identity. If they were tennis players, the Djokovic and Nadal of independence.

Powerful arguments in favour of the Union are never seen as beyond response and always, like the superstars of the court, a reply is found.

Sometimes it is the same repeated time and again, and why not if it is their favourite shot?

Occasionally a new gem is thrown in attack – all done without rancour as all debate should be conducted.

Only if independence becomes reality will game, set and match be declared.

Ivan W Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.

Enough of bottle scheme nonsense

Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Sir, – It was refreshing to read the excellent letters criticising the latest vanity project of SNP/Greens – an extra 20p for every can and bottle purchased – which is supposed to increase the recycling rate of waste in Scotland and create a small number of jobs.

It raises a number of questions. For example, many people operate the system currently in place by the local councils which works well, as far as I am concerned, as all our recycled material is rinsed and placed in the recycled bin provided – no travelling involved and no extra cash up front.

Furthermore, what about the existing recycling companies which have invested heavily to accommodate the current system? My understanding is that they pay the council for the high-quality mixed waste but why would they collect low-grade waste (minus bottles and cans) without charging – (leading to) higher council taxes?

Then what about the jobs losses associated with the current system?

Also what was the process used to select Biffa as sole contractor, and what safeguards had been secured to prevent unreasonable price increases in future especially once the competition has been squashed?

The view of businesses is that the proposed scheme could have a “catastrophic impact on businesses and consumers”.

The whole scheme should be scrapped before another Scottish Government economic disaster is allowed to take place, or at least wait and join the UK one that is currently being worked out with businesses.

Circularity Scotland is well named – going round in ever decreasing circles at the taxpayers’ expense. Enough of this nonsense.

Ian Lakin, Murtle Den Road, Milltimber, Aberdeen.

Labour backing Union is puzzling

Sir, – I can well understand any Conservative voter not wishing Scotland to become independent as they know they will become disenfranchised as Scotland has not had a Conservative majority for nearly 70 years.

I have no problem with that.

However, for the life of me, I cannot understand Labour voters not voting for independence. I am in my late 70s and have been a Labour supporter all my life but long ago realised that the only way to live in a country governed by Labour was, like many others with views similar to myself, to vote SNP to facilitate independence.

I cannot understand why the Scottish Labour Party cannot see this.

England is a right-leaning country and always will be. In the unlikely event that Labour wins the next general election and Sir Keir Starmer becomes prime minister it will again be short term. England’s right-wing media and inherent right-wing leanings will see to that.

The fact that a large proportion of English voters seem to think that Boris should be brought back symbolises this.

No, the time has come for England to be set free and for Scottish Labour to embrace independence.

WA Ross, Broomhill Avenue, Aberdeen.

Sturgeon leaves legacy of failure

Sir, – I will not dwell on the going of Ms Sturgeon only to say that even some hardliners in her own party feel the same way as most sane people in Scotland.

She and her cronies have left behind a legacy of failure. About the election of a new leader for the SNP, whoever wins, surely their first job should be to disentangle themselves from the so-called green party, of whom my father said: “They are worse than communist; they will soon have us in gulags.”

Nicola Sturgeon waving
Nicola Sturgeon. Image: Shutterstock

Whoever takes on the mantle of SNP leader and first minister will need to create a new team. Where will they come from? Except for a small minority, the current crop of SNP MSPs are what could be termed political lightweights. The thought of trying to put right the mess of the last eight years will make some of the sane hierarchy think twice about taking the job.

Of those who put their name forward, I would put them into two classes, first those seeking immortality.

Secondly, those who think that they can do a better job and get Scotland on the road to recovery, and the leader, if that, must be Kate Forbes. There are interesting times ahead, however it turns out.

Whoever is to run Scotland, let’s hope they concentrate on all the things that the previous FM put on the back burner.

I get my state pension and it riles me that the person in her tenure as FM will get for life considerably more than that. If the FM pension was performance-related she would owe Scotland money.

Finlay G Mackintosh, Forres.

City parking fees are ring-fenced

Sir, – With April 1 approaching, and with it the huge and unreasonable increase in parking permit fees, I was minded to check the legislation that allows a council to make parking charges.

It is the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Of interest is clause 55 which requires councils to effectively “ring fence” income from parking, and it can be spent only on administering its parking schemes, or for one of the specific purposes set out in the clause’s subsection (4).

Image: Kieran Beattie/DC Thomson

Apart from meeting any previous years’ deficits, the other main destination permitted for surplus funds is for creating new off-street parking provisions.

Only if any further off-street parking provision is deemed unnecessary can the funds be diverted to a short list of other provisions.

As I understand it, to move the excess funds into the general council fund would be unlawful.

I wonder if the council remembers that in 2014 a court case reinforced this point and many councils throughout the UK, including Aberdeen city, had to reduce their parking charges so as not to make a profit to feed their general funds?

Nick Norman, Osborne Place, Aberdeen.

Take back control from privileged few

Sir, – If the soulless, corrupt and dysfunctional government at Westminster are allowed to continue with their reckless ways, then we are all in the firing line for the ruthless policies they are hellbent on deploying.

It will legislate for the dismantling of EU human rights law and workers’ rights.

The process has already begun, with their attempts to give employers the right to sack workers who join the picket line of strikers, and to make it illegal for any form of demonstration against unfairness or injustice in the workplace.

What else can you expect from a Cabinet jampacked with privately educated rich boys, the millionaire government who claim to understand the lives of ordinary people?

In our modern times never has the divide between rich and poor been greater.

Foodbanks were introduced in this country as a necessity, they have now become normality.

When charities throughout the land provide with empathy, kindness and understanding, the need to feed and clothe those in need, they are – although their commitment is laudable – doing the government’s bidding for them.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

It should never be up to charity to be blackmailed into looking after our people.

That should be the work of an effectively functioning hard-working government who treat the interests of the electorate with the seriousness they deserve, the people first.

We have seen through the 13 years of this Tory government, with PMs and chancellors of the Exchequer coming and going two a penny, that their interests rest first and foremost with their own kind.

A previous PM, Theresa May, used the patronising term “Jams”, meaning “just about managing”, and what an insult that was. In Scotland, as elsewhere, we are both a proud and dignified nation, and deserve much more than what this shower of charlatans can deliver.

It is time we debunked once and for all the idea of superiority and supremacy.

It is time that we finally took things into our own hands, to deliver for our own country the choice to decide our own future.

What we need here now is the mettle of the likes of the great John Maclean, James Maxton or dare I say it Manny Shinwell.

I wish the Labour Party could recognise this for, if they continue denying our democracy too, by rubbing shoulders and sharing the same policies as the Tories, then to quote from Private Frazer of Dad’s Army, “we are all doomed”.

I am not an affiliated member of any political party, but to free ourselves from the continuous chicanery of the Westminster elite is the only way we can achieve independence, and what is most importantly called for now is change that comes from ourselves, the Scottish people.

So let’s rise up and be counted, stop tipping our caps to the landed gentry.

And to use one of the Tories’ own well-used lines since the conception of the disastrous Brexit, “let’s take back control”.

It is time for independence.

John McLeod, Oakwood Court, Inverness.

Bottle return plan chaotic

Sir, – The shambles of the bottle return scheme is another example of devolved powers not working in the best interests of the UK.

Most of the distribution of bottles and cans is set up on a national basis, so for Holyrood to impose this on a Scotland-only scheme will create problems for the drinks industry.

The Scottish Government should have coordinated its introduction to coincide with the UK scheme and there would have been none of the problems that the industry is facing.

If MSP Lorna Slater had stopped to consider the implications of Scotland going on its own with the plan then all this confusion could have been avoided.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn.

Time to get city blooming again

Bon Accord Terrace Gardens. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Sir, – I have little faith in the city council to spruce up Bon Accord Gardens.

It is a case of out of sight, out of mind.

The council are keen to promote Duthie Park even though it was the Friends Of Duthie Park that did all the work.

Let’s say that UTG gets popular, does it not make sense that Aberdeen has another city centre gardens for people to visit?

Come on councillors, prove me wrong and sort out Bon Accord Terrace Gardens.

I am old enough to remember when the Granite City won Britain In Bloom many times, so let’s get back up there.

Michael North, Lang Stracht, Summerhill.