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Readers’ letters: Aberdeen City Council budget, media bias in the UK and saving human rights

Protests to proposed budget cuts at Aberdeen City Council. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson
Protests to proposed budget cuts at Aberdeen City Council. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Sir, – Is there any councillor who has a modicum of common sense – closing libraries, pools and leaving many of our residents without ready access as they are also closing the town to cars?

Are they trying – and succeeding – in killing off the city altogether?

What about people who make the unfortunate decision to choose Aberdeen as a holiday destination? No ready access to pools, parks – and as for the shopping choices!

Don’t say there’s the art gallery and museums – name me one kid who wants to be trailed round places like that on a nice summer day.

Oh, and leave our beach alone so older folk can get there and enjoy it.


Time to take back control from ‘rich boy’ UK government

Sir, – If the 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, and make no mistake about it, it will legislate for the dismantling of EU human rights law, workers rights etc.

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

What else can you expect from a cabinet jam-packed 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.

Volunteers at Inchgarth community centre foodbank preparing food packages before opening in the afternoon. Image: Wullie Marr / DC Thomson

When foodbanks were first introduced in this country, it was 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 so laudable – doing the government’s bidding for them.

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 ultra-right-wing 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, one 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 much more than 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 (we have a mandate for it), 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 Private Frazer of Dad’s Army: “We are all doomed.”

They will be no better in charge of the chaos that’s been brought to our doors – they have not the will, the passion or the leadership to change anything for the better.

I am not an affiliated member of any political party, but I have believed for many years now that 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’s time for independence.

John McLeod, Oakwood Court, Inverness.

We must act to save human rights

Sir, – The hustings for a new SNP leader and First Minister are going well, under great scrutiny from the press. There will be no surprises once a leader is chosen, and there should be no skeletons in cupboards.

It’s striking, though, and a matter of national regret that there wasn’t the same enthusiasm in the media to scrutinise the leaders and ministers of the Tory party. We might not be faced with the disastrous Brexit and other damaging scandals.

Food shortages, a cost-of-living crisis, EU doctors and nurses leaving, billions wasted on faulty PPE and the test and trace system, Truss’s short-lived and financially disastrous premiership… Scandal after scandal.

To top it all, going to court to deny democracy, and, worse still, the court agreeing with Westminster’s corrupt colonialist stance.It’s one thing to support the union, but it’s another thing to deny the right of people in Scotland to decide their own destiny.

Image: Photo by Shutterstock

It is now nearly nine years since the last referendum – which was won on lies and false promises. Any fair-minded person, whether they want independence or to stay in this union, must surely agree that denying democracy is not only morally wrong but a denial of a basic human right.

It’s obvious that we must act now before more of our human rights are taken, now that we don’t have the protection of the EU.

I hear some people say they want more information on how much better off we will be. That’s understandable, but currently, our true wealth is hidden from us.

Isn’t it obvious though, when other countries similar size to Scotland with far less assets, regularly outperform the UK?

Those same assets plundered on a daily basis to support a UK dependent on Scottish energy.

I look forward to fresh leadership taking Scotland to self-determination, protecting our assets and sharing our country’s wealth as we make it a boldly progressive and fair nation.

Herbert Petrie, Parkhill, Dyce.

The Nationalist ‘poison’ is working

Sir, – You could almost hear the sound of Nationalists weeping into their porridge oats when Ms Sturgeon walked away from the bitter, divided mess, also known as Scotland, which she has created.

Some rumours say she’s off to the United Nations to apply her talents there.

Perhaps she’ll be driving some initiative to supply mobile phones to high-category prisoners in Nicaragua, getting free bus travel for migrants trying to reach the American border or gender awareness training for Maasai warriors – that kind of thing.

The banner-waving “yes” troop shouldn’t worry too much.

Identifying the SNP with a sense of Scottish superiority, the next leader will be backed by a third of the population without so much as doing a podcast.

It’s an attitude based largely on our history of educational excellence, which has sadly declined, on a claim of tolerance ignoring 150 years of sectarian strife (our two tribes rioting only last month) and the sentiments from a semi-mythical Mel Gibson film about a 13th- century Scottish knight.

In Scotland, if you want to start a brick company, call it “Scot-Bricks”. Starting a garden pot company? Then it’s got to be “Scot-Pots”.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon. Image: Shutterstock.

You’ll instantly have a quarter of the clientele convinced your products are top quality.

The most pathetic example of this is Dundee, shockingly the European capital of drug deaths. Yet, at the last election, the failed public health chief and MSP for Dundee City West Joe FitzPatrick actually increased his vote share.

Frankly, you could dress an Egyptian mummy with an SNP rosette and tartan scarf and they’d vote for it.

So you nationalists out there should relax – the poison is clearly working. A few more years of school-leavers numbed by our SNP-influenced so-called educational system might just get your vote numbers across the line.

And you’ll have a lifetime to repent at leisure.

M R Kay, Lochview Place, Bridge of Don.

Pedestrians forgotten

Sir, – It’s disappointing that our roads department have shown total and utter disregard for pedestrians when they decided to use the old Brig of Dee as a diversion route to accommodate traffic whilst repair works are progressing on the King George VI Bridge.

Presumably, this will include HGV vehicles and buses.

The so-called pavement on this bridge is totally unacceptable for HGV traffic, as the disabled and kids use it to access the facilities on Garthdee Road.

But yet again, the simple solution is not to be contemplated by our wizards at the roads department.

Why not divert HGV traffic away from the A92 and down Wellington Road and along North Esplanade West?

But hold on, isn’t this route also closed on both sides of the road – despite us being told that it would only be closed for the week on either carriageway?

We have just spent over a billion pounds on a bypass and our roads department are acting as if it doesn’t exist

James Noel, Leggart Terrace, Aberdeen.

BBC’s England bias is obvious

Sir, – As a rugby fan, I have always been aware of the BBC’s bias in favour of the English team. My Irish friends call it the EBC, the English Broadcasting Corporation.

If a Scots, Welsh or Irish player makes an extraordinary run, it is commented on but not with the same excitement as an English player inching a few metres forward.

The answer is to turn off the sound on the TV and listen to the radio, or even (though I am not a Welsh speaker) watch on S4C, the Welsh language channel.

Having grown up in the US, I was used to neutral commentators, narrating, say, a college basketball match between teams representing two different states, which were scrupulously fair.

Former Scotland rugby captain John Barclay.
Former Scotland rugby captain John Barclay. Image: Colorsport/Shutterstock

Imagine, therefore, my horror in moving to Scotland, to find out how the news is reported here on the BBC. It is clear its allegiance is to England, and to Westminster as the embodiment of England.

Nothing could be more illustrative than the recent Question Time, where not only did the chair talk more than some of the panellists, a 20-something British nationalist was allowed to spout his extremist views for a considerable length of time, as if he were at a Farage rally.

Having appeared on Question Time myself, twice, when Peter Sissons was chairing, I can only mourn the passage of serious political television, serious political journalists and serious politicians.

Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Royal Terrace, Edinburgh.

‘Are they all right otherwise?’

Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, Scotland.

Sir, – My brother recently told our mother that one of his daughters had decided to start swimming in Loch Ness. Granny just nodded and asked: “Is she all right otherwise?”

All the candidates for leadership of the SNP remain convinced that breaking Scotland from the UK would be painless. We must ask: “Are they all right otherwise?”

Donald MacKenzie, Crown Drive, Inverness.

Council should listen to people

Sir, – I totally agree with Fiona Henderson – how is it the council can earmark £20
million for a beach project when the people simply do not need it?”

As far as I am aware the beach belongs to the people and not the council who made the decision. Who really wants a lump of concrete sticking out on our beautiful beachfront? This is the Granite City.

If indeed you do have funds of £20 million, put it towards keeping the Beach Leisure Centre – it’s only 30 years old – and keep our Bucksburn Swimming Pool, we all worked hard to get it, as well as the Big Noise Torry for all the children and the libraries and stop squandering our money on what you want. What planet do you live on spending our cash on unnecessary things? End demolition and start rebuilding, our city is a mess and maintenance is required everywhere you look.

What do we pay our council tax for? We need our leisure facilities more than ever in this extremely worrying world we are all trying to survive in.

Grannie Annie.