Letters to the editor

A selection of comments from our readers

Sir,– I went along with my three grandchildren to see the Disney film Tangled at the Bo’ness Hippodrome.

The film was excellent and packed with children who sat quietly engrossed in the film. After the lights went up and everybody started making their way out, I looked around and was shocked to see the amount of litter strewn about.

I would appeal to the parents to ensure that all litter is picked up and deposited in the bins provided. This lovely cinema on our own doorstep is such a bonus, please do not abuse it.–Yours etc.,

NAME AND ADDRESS

SUPPLIED.

Oil issue

Sir,– It was with interest that I read Michael Connarty’s article on the Afghan War, his observations and basically his overall support.

Whilst I agree with his appraisal of the British troops and their performance, allied to their undoubted professionalism and bravery, the question to be addressed is “Why are they in Afghanistan?”

The answer is the three letter word with which the western world is so dependent — oil, although in Afghanistan this may not be totally accurate, are we not protecting vital pipe lines and communications?

Having lived and worked in the Gulf States of UAE and Bahrain for some seven years allied to a same period of term in Nigeria, I have become aware of local custom, traditions and culture, which are significantly different attitudes and contrary to western way of life, particularly our concept of democracy which in effect is a European concept of government exported to developing countries. Has it worked? Surely past British and Soviet experiences in Afghanistan should have taught us a lesson.

Kuwait was the excuse for the first Iraqi war, in effect to protect Saudi, for the west is totally cognisant of the fact that if Saudi was to suffer a collapse the proverbial muck would hit the fan, destabilisation in the region would create havoc politically and financially, even to the possibility of an escalation of armed conflict in the region.

I tend to agree with Mr Connarty’s bitterness with the Americans’ attitude to President Karzai who comes across as despotic, but if one progresses the argument of developing western style democracy then why stop? Is there a democratic country in the Middle East, African democracy is corrupt, Mugabe is getting off with wholesale slaughter, the list is endless. Where was the western presence - no oil.

Events in North Africa in the past few weeks, including Egypt and now Bahrain, come into the “I told you so” category and now we are in the world of global communication, proxy governments are no longer an option for the indigenous population of countries seeking political change.–Yours etc.,

ALISTAIR COLQUHOUN

Preston Court

Linlithgow.

Fair chance

Sir,– The Bo’ness Fair is a fantastic event for thousands of children and one of the highlights of the area’s calendar. Local people should, and do, support it.

But I take issue with Garry Chapman’s suggestions of the “savage hack” to the Fair’s funding from Falkirk Council. Some might suggest it’s quite generous in the circumstances.

The council’s website shows that in the current financial year, just over £33,800 in grant aid was allocated to the Bo’ness Fair. In the next financial year, that taxpayer support will fall by 10 per cent to just over £30,400. That’s still a substantial amount of money in anyone’s book.

I understand that the council doesn’t pay the money to the Fair directly - but uses it to buy in services to deliver the big day. In other words, the council pays a lot of money to help deliver the Fair to the people of Bo’ness.

In 2010/11, just over £16,000 was awarded to cover all the similar events in the rest of the district. Again this figure will fall by 10 per cent in the coming year.

If you live in Camelon, or many other parts of the district that don’t have a children’s day any more, you might look at the money being spent on Bo’ness with a certain amount of envy. After all, you pay the same council tax.

Garry suggests the public should “dig deep” to maintain “our fair day to the standards expected”. But perhaps Garry needs to look at these standards they’re setting on the public’s behalf?

The accounts show for instance, “reception costs” for the Fair grew from £605 in 2009 to £1843 in 2010. Meanwhile the spending on “pencils, erasers and jigsaws” grew from £1465 in 2009 to £2409 last year. I assume these are gifts for children taking part in the Fair. I question, however, whether they are integral to having a high standard of local event.

As I said, the Fair is a fantastic community celebration - and may well deserve strong support from the council. But when Bo’ness Fair gets twice as much allocated for the rest of the district, questions have to be asked.

Some might say : it’s no’ fair. –Yours etc.,

CONCERNED GRANGEMOUTH RESIDENT

Name and address supplied.