Letters to the Editor

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Fettercairn arch - Bend is dangerous

Madam- I am writing about the issues concerning Fettercairn arch following the recent changes. We have witnessed first hand the damage and confusion this is currently causing. For example we were present when a caravan got stuck in June due to the bend under the arch the caravan was unable to proceed and it took a number of locals to move it.

The caravan owner commented that he had driven all round Scotland and not encountered such an issue. If you go

in to the Ramsay for an evening meal you can sit by the window and witness a significant number of vehicles striking the curbs or having to go over them, not to mention from the Edzell side where you have to swing in to a blind situation of oncoming traffic to approach the narrowed road.

The impact on the local traders such as the arch and shop are significant we would like to welcome visitors to the village not discourage them. Whilst not an engineer maybe we should consider either actually putting a height

restriction on the arch, heightening the kerb and improving signage but we must remove the bend as it is a dangerous.

Yours etc.,

Jim Cargill

Coldstream farm

EU debate - Folly for us to remove ourselves from EU

Madam, - The record results from Scottish Development International, which show an increase in both projects and jobs created or safeguarded in Scotland through inward investment, highlights the considerable benefits of our continued membership of the European Union.

More than 2,000 companies already call Scotland home and many of these companies are coming here, in part, to access the considerable advantages being part of the EU Single Market, the largest in the world and amounting to over 500 million people, brings.

With nearly half of Scotland’s international exports to the EU and with over 300,000 jobs dependent on such exports it would be folly for us to remove ourselves from the EU and the many clear advantages membership brings.

Yours etc.,

Derek Hammersley

Chair, The European

Movement in Scotland

Saltire society - Concerns about low earnings

Madam- It’s a source of real concern for the cultural life of our nation that most Scottish writers earn less than the minimum wage for their writing – a key finding of a new report from Creative Scotland. A survey commissioned by the Saltire Society last year found Scottish writing has a broad appeal. Almost 70% of Scottish adults said they purchase new books by Scottish writers and almost a third buy at least one new book by a Scottish writer every six months.

But this new report highlights the real challenges today’s Scottish writers face in making a living from their work. The Saltire Society recently launched a new Trust with the aim of raising £5million by St. Andrew’s Day 2016 to help foster Scotland’s cultural talent. One early ambition of the Trust will be to create the Saltire Fellowships scheme. The scheme would provide financial support to enable exceptional individuals in Scottish arts and culture to devote their full energies to their work. Once established, I sincerely hope that some of Scotland’s outstanding writing talent can benefit from the scheme. That way, we can help ensure that Scottish writing continues to make a valuable contribution to our cultural life for many years to come.

Yours etc.,

Sarah Mason

Programme Manager

The Saltire Society

Staff, programmes - A cull at the BBC is long overdue

Madam, – The BBC has taken over responsibility for funding TV licences for the over-75s.

James Heath, BBC director of policy, said this move would “reduce the BBC’s income by £725 million” a year and suggested that the over-75s might like to voluntarily pay for a licence to plug this hole. The BBC is overstaffed and its mega highly-paid executives would never survive outside the BBC. The BBC “stars” are paid more in a year than most people earn in a lifetime. For years they and others, have avoided tax, aided and abetted by the BBC, by having their fees put into limited companies which only pay corporation tax of 20 per cent instead of the highest personal rate. A cull of personnel and programmes is long overdue. Mr Heath, and those over £100,000 a year, should lead by example and voluntarily reduce their salaries by at least 5 per cent. – Yours, etc.,

Clark Cross

(address supplied)

Polio fellowship - Support and awareness

Madam, – The British Polio Fellowship is committed to supporting and empowering thousands of people with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) with guidance and advice.

As July is British Polio Month I call on your readers to help us raise awareness of PPS and educate the public on the effects of a condition that affects around 120,000 people in the UK. PPS and the late effects of Polio impact on around the same numbers as Motor Neurone disease or Parkinson’s, yet the condition remains little known amongst the public or medical professions. The Fellowship survives thanks to the generosity of the public, but the aim of this month is awareness raising and helping those affected by Polio and PPS, by sending out the message that there is help available. If you need our support, call us on 0800 0431935, and our website www.britishpolio.org.uk has lots of advice for those living with the late effects of Polio or PPS. – Yours, etc.,

Ted Hill MBE


13M WILL DISAGREE - Tories a party for the workers?

Madam, – So Tory PM David Cameron is claiming the budget proves his is the workers party. Well somehow I suspect the 13 million families in the UK who will now find themselves made poorer and the public sector workers restricted to a one per cent pay rise a year for the next four years will disagree with him.

As for the living wage being £9 an hour by 2020, the IFS has said it still won’t make up for the cut to working tax credits.

And does anyone seriously believe that employers will make up the shortfall in the wages of their employees as a result of the cuts to tax credits? Unsurprisingly we had Harriet Harman saying that Labour won’t oppose Tory benefits cuts. Which brings to me to one of the contenders for the leadership of Labour in Scotland, who has said that “too often in the recent past it has looked like we are only on the side of one group of people – the most vulnerable in society”. Really?

Because under the previous Labour Government, as the rich were getting richer, the disabled had their benefits cut and in 2007 Labour brought in its welfare reform bill which saw the introduction of the fitness for work tests for the disabled and those suffering illness which have been continued under the Tories.

Maybe she has forgotten about this or thinks everyone else has, but if being treated in such a way is what Labour considers as being on the side of the most vulnerable, then I would really hate to have seen what life would have been like for many vulnerable people if it hadn’t been on their side! – Yours, etc.,

Peter McCulloch

(by email)

SCOTTISH TAPESTRY - Some surprising omissions

Madam, – “An extraordinary celebration of Scottish History”; “One of the world’s largest embroidered tapestries”.

Alexander McCall Smith, Andrew Crummy and Alistair Moffat are to be congratulated – as are the 1000 volunteers who created this remarkable work of art. There are, of course, omissions and inclusions that seem odd. But that is always a personal perspective as a desire for objectivity. Sadly some of the panels seem poor artistic interpretations of the themes they seek to illustrate. Fingal’s Cave would be more significant with the name ‘Mendelssohn’ and a reference to his ‘Hebridean Overture/some musical notation. But then I am lucky.

I’ve landed on Staffa, been inside Fingal’s Cave at low tide and I’ve heard The Hebridean Overture live on a tape/CD many times. James Clerk-Maxwell – he was known as “daftie” by school-mates at Edinburgh Academy – invented colour photography.

And he imaginatively understood that magnetism, electricity and even light, travel in wave patterns like the ocean and ripples on a pond. That is what his equations are all about. Mobile phones and the internet are the offspring of Maxwell’s imagination. There is no panel on The Burghead Bull. What an omission. Here is high art that is on par with Durer’s woodcuts and etchings or Picasso and his obsession with balls – perhaps superior! And where is Callanish – a bronze age celestial computer that still works accurately and pre-dates the pyramids? – Yours, etc.,

Ian L. Forrester

(by email)

Art exhibition - David Waterson works to be displayed

Madam, - “Here at last is genius,” a succinct and dramatic accolade made in 1904 by Sir Francis Seymour Haden, the then President of the Royal Society of Painters-Etchers and Engravers, is even more significant, in that the statement was made only a few years before Sir Seymour Haden died at the age of 92, prior to which time, an experienced Sir Seymour Haden, married to the sister of James Whistler, had completed studies of other famous artists - including Rembrandt!

One hundred and eleven years later, after having exhibited in Sweden, Germany, France and many other Galleries throughout the UK including Royal Palaces; Angus Council Galleries & Museums and David Waterson Trust (DWT) are pleased to announce a joint exhibition of that genius - one of the most important of Waterson’s Collections - paintings owned by the people of Brechin.

Waterson also wrote more than 500 poems and (DWT) Trustee Ken MacAskill, a retired English teacher born and raised in Brechin, a second cousin of Waterson, has identified poems to 47 of the paintings which will also be available at the exhibition. An old artist friend of mine has always considered poetry to be the most important of the arts and with that, Brechin’s Waterson was doubly talented! The exhibition in Brechin Town House Museum is open to the public from July 25 to September 19. The virtual gallery can be viewed at www.davidwaterson.co.uk. – Yours etc., -

John Ritchie

David Waterson

Trust Chairman

(by email)

Health concerns - Scotland’s youth giving oral healthcare the brush off

Madam, - Scottish children as young as two are going days without brushing their teeth according to new research, as experts warn that up to a third of children are suffering with tooth decay by the age of three. A new survey of parents of children aged 2-11 from Denplan, the UK’s leading dental payment plan specialist shows more than a third of Scottish children have gone over a day without brushing their teeth, with almost one in ten not brushing for over two days.

Over 15% of parents say their children lie about brushing their teeth when they haven’t, and the same amount deliberately go to sleep before brushing their teeth to avoid the night-time routine. Worryingly, a quarter of many Scottish parents admitted that their children were three or older before they saw the dentist for the first time, and the same number said they had a problem taking their children to the dentist because the children were too scared.

While parents try a multitude of methods to persuade their children to adopt good oral health routines, over a quarter of Scottish parents admitted that the sugary sweets and treats they offer children as a reward for good behaviour have the biggest negative effect on their teeth, while almost a fifth blamed treats from the grandparents as the biggest negative effect on their children’s dental health.

In light of the research findings, Denplan is encouraging parents across Scotland to take part in the Big Summer Brush-Up, making the most of the summer holidays to visit the dentist and spend time practising brushing techniques with their children.

Denplan has also developed ‘Denplan’s Little Book of Healthy Smiles’, containing handy tips and advice on how to enthuse unwilling children to brush up on cleaning teeth, written for parents by parents.

To find out more about how to improve your family’s oral health visit www.denplan.co.uk/myteeth or visit your dentist.

Vicky Flannigan


(by email)