Letters to the editor

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Politics - Response to Niegl Don

Madam- I found much to agree with in the article by Nigel Don in last week’s Leader. It was about the damning Audit Scotland report on the SNP’s performance in running the NHS for the past eight years.

He says you can’t blame the government for all of this; budgets are tight, expectations and demand are growing and people need to do their bit by eating, drinking, smoking, expecting less - and embracing change. He is right; for example treating the effects of Type 2 diabetes, mainly caused by obesity, costs £1bn of the £12bn Scottish NHS budget.

He said, “We know the answers, - it’s just difficult to accept personal responsibility, and that’s why if we are not careful we’ll carry on blaming politicians or the NHS staff themselves for not meeting our collective unrealistic aspirations”.

Of course, his main objective was to deflect blame from his own party, but pointing the finger at the electorate still a major departure by an SNP politician.

But to his credit he didn’t say “it’s all the Tories’ fault” (you’re supposed to blame them for everything, Nigel!), or “the only solution is independence, or “we need more cash” . And he didn’t trot out the Nicola Sturgeon “trust me, I’ll fix it” mantra.

If only Nicola Sturgeon could be this brave and honest she might get more support for the desperately needed NHS reforms, and the same goes for education. But there’s always an election or referendum coming up so she can’t take any blame or alienate her core vote.

I voted for Mr Don in 2011, but after the last two years I will never vote SNP again. I wouldn’t get the chance anyway, he was deselected in September. Maybe he is too honest.

Yours etc.,

Allan Sutherland

via email

Research - Those who paid the ultimate price

Madam- I am researching the men, who paid the ultimate price during W.W.1, and whose names appear on the Crosspoles War Memorial.

This Memorial was erected by the Parish of Marykirk which includes the village of Luthermuir and is situated at the Crosspoles Junction just off the A90 south of Laurencekirk.

Any information would be very much appreciated.

Yours etc.,

Janette Anderson,

Thistle Cottage,

Luthermuir,

Laurencekirk.

Trees - Looking to the future

We take the large deciduous trees for granted but when Dr Johnson and James Boswell passed through the east of Scotland- including Laurencekirk- in the 1770s, Johnson commented that having travelled from Berwick to Peterhead he had not seen a tree older than himself.

Scotland ran short of timber before 1500 and started importing roofing timber from that time.

All the mature deciduous trees we see around the Mearns were planted in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. We are the first generation for centuries to witness the resulting landscape we have today.

We must thank the foresight of the “improving” landowners in the Howe for today’s scenery- but what about tomorrow’s?

Perhaps we should take note of these trees and put preservation orders on them so that when they are eventually felled we replant to conserve our bonnie views and autumn colours.

Mike Robson

Laurencekirk