From our postbag

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Counting the cost of gala day bands

Sir, – Although I welcome the news of the £1000 donation reported in last week’s edition, I must take issue with Evelyn Kidd’s assertion that bands are “not cheap at £500 each”.

Let’s do some minimalist arithmetic here (I use Linlithgow Reed Band as an example because I used to play for them and was for many years their treasurer). Thirty players, 11.30am-2.30pm = three hours, national minimum hourly wage £5 (assuming a mix of player ages).

No account taken of the costs of conductor’s remuneration, uniforms, instruments (when I was still playing, my trombone was valued at £2200), music, rehearsal hall rents, travelling expenses.

Need I go on? £500 is nowhere near a cost-neutral rate for what is being provided.

I think Mrs Kidd and the other local gala day organisers should be mightily grateful that the band members enjoy their music so much and are prepared to show such community spirit.

When I retired from the Reed Band, the membership subscription was by far the highest of all my voluntary organisations.

The players are paying to take part in the gala days - not the other way about. – Yours etc.,

Edgar Liddle

38 Lennox Gardens

Former member and ex-treasurer

Linlithgow Reed Band

Sir, – Despite the unanimous decision by West Lothian’s democratically-elected councillors to reject Wallace Land’s proposal to build 200 homes at Burghmuir, the developer is now trying to overturn this decision and has lodged an appeal.

As a result, a hearing session will be held at the Burgh Halls, Linlithgow, on Wednesday, July 16. However, only those people who have previously submitted comments to West Lothian Council will be able to participate.

Whilst the deadline for submitting comments to the West Lothian Council has now passed, the Linlithgow Planning Forum, a body set-up by the Community Council, continues to welcome comments regarding this proposal from the local community and they will have a representative

participating at the appeal hearing. Their email address is planning@linlithgow.com

Given the additional stresses that this proposed development would place on our local infrastructure - schools, transport links, leisure centre, etc - not to mention the destruction of the scenic entrance at the east of our town, I would urge people to take this final opportunity to let their views be known. – Yours etc.,

Duncan Calder

Linlithgow

by email

Sir, – How ironic that the Journal and Gazette both ran an article on a misleading press release from Cecil Meiklejohn in relation to the Better Together’ and No Borders campaign ads in the Hippodrome.

What she failed to advise was that both the Yes and No campaign ads were removed not only from the council cinemas but nationally as well as there were complaints from users!

However, the irony of this issue is the fact that Councillor Meiklejohn claims the adverts were political rather than commercial but, if anyone was to walk around the back of the municipal buildings they would see campaign posters on the windows of every SNP office, contrary to the council decision that no election materials are allowed on the buildings in relation to the referendum.

The leader of the SNP group needs to stop saying one thing in public and doing another in private.

How dare she complain that the administration has double standards allowing such adverts in a public building such as the Hippodrome when she herself is condoning the use of Yes propaganda material on the windows of SNP office in the municipal buildings. – Yours etc.,

Councillor Craig Martin

Leader, Falkirk Council

Sir, – The public has a unique opportunity to help end the secret suffering of animals in laboratories.

The government has launched a public consultation on the future of Section 24 - the clause in the law on animal experiments that has long been used to prevent even the most basic information about vivisection from being released.

But only one of the options provided in the consultation will genuinely end the secrecy.

This is Option 3 - a full repeal of the secrecy clause with no additional mechanisms to restrict openness.

By sparing a little time to complete the consultation the public can pave the way for informed public debate about animal research.

The consultation closes on June 13.

For guidance on how to complete the consultation visit www.animalaid.org.uk/go/S24, email isobel@animalaid.co.uk, or phone 01732 364 546 ext. 233. – Yours etc.

Isobel Hutchinson

Animal Aid

Tonbridge, Kent