From our postbag

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Plea to support shopkeeper

Sir, - I refer to the I. Ross letter (Journal and Gazette, April 3) asking that we petition to stop hounding the Saturday fish van.

My reply is written against the backdrop of nine empty retail units on the High Street and a further two in the Regent Centre.

We have a very good local fish shop that is here five days a week and pays hefty rent and rates for the privilege.

The van owner pays just £90 per annum for his licence giving him a huge cost advantage.

Unlike the local fish shop owner, the van-based operator is a substantial Edinburgh company with two fish shops and two vans.

Perhaps they should move into one of the empty retail units and compete on a level playing field?

The legal position as I have been informed, is that the van operator has a street trading licence that does not allow them relief from parking restrictions.

According to the local police inspector, they have been moved on and ticketed but continue to return irrespective of this.

Clearly the profit they can make on a Saturday outweighs the cost of an occasional ticket.

I ask the petitioners how they would feel if they were running a local business and encountered competition from an itinerant operator with no loyalty to the town, a much lower cost base, and knowingly in breach of the law?

I for one will continue to support those businesses that give a year-long commitment to our town.

We will not attract new traders to fill the empty units if we support petitions like this.

Come on, give our local retailers a chance! - Yours etc.,

Douglas Cook

Waterdale, St Ninian’s Road,


Greenpeace’s double standards

Sir, – Ineos is speaking directly to communities about fracking and hoping to “dispel as many of the untruths and myths as possible” (Journal and Gazette. Friday, April 3).

I will not comment on this at this stage.

However the usual suspects rush with vocal opposition.

A Greenpeace spokesman moans about the “cash sweeteners” being offered by Ineos to “bribe” communities.

That is Greenpeace deviousness when they had nothing to say when wind farm developers bribed communities with oodles of cash not to oppose their planning applications.

Recently the developers are so desperate to get the eye-watering turbine subsidies that they are giving individuals “sweeteners” to support their planning applications and to others not to object.

Greenpeace conveniently ignores the environmental impact of wind turbines including all the pollution and radiation in China from the mining of the rare metals essential for the turbines’ electric motors.

Double standards? – Yours etc.,

Clark Cross

138 Springfield Road


New laws are positive

Sir, – I write to welcome the news of new laws passed to allow for the integration of Scotland’s health and social care services. In theory, this could potentially have a very welcome and significant impact on older people in the country. The two realms are so intertwined that a single point for care co-ordination makes perfect sense and should help prevent people slipping through the cracks.

We would also encourage these public agencies to work alongside the voluntary sector and look at the wider issues facing older people in particular. Our charity, Contact the Elderly, supports more than 750 older people in Scotland who are over the age of 75, and have suffered, or are at risk of suffering, social isolation.

Loneliness among our ageing population is something that is only set to increase and the ramifications are clear to see, through poor mental and physical health which places pressure on the NHS, as well as a significant demand on already-overstretched social work departments. – Yours etc.,

Valerie Crookston

Scotland Executive Officer, Contact the Elderly
George Street

Time for radical thinking?

Sir, – My three brothers are medics and know, as do I, the value of good palliative care and strongly support this for more citizens.

Sadly the fact is that, even with first-rate palliative care, a small number of patients suffer intolerably towards the end of their lives.

More than 80 per cent of the nation supports assisted dying because they have experienced such a traumatic episode within their extended family.

Certainly I sat beside the beds of parishioners in busy, anonymous wards as they lived out their final days in the grossest indignity and suffering.

Insistence by the opponents of medially assisted death that such occurrences do not exist insults the intelligence of ordinary people.

The last report by The Commission on Assisted Dying stated “The current legal status of assisted suicide is inadequate and incoherent.”

Surely the time has come for a radical change in the law because modern medicine is preventing nature taking its merciful course. – Yours etc.,

Rev Dr John Cameron

St Andrews