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I WAS interested to read two recent stories in The Scotsman.

The first was the announcement by Sir Stephen House that he would consider scrapping the alcohol prohibition at football matches if mass opinion were in favour (your report, 16 February).

My understanding was that Sir Stephen is the man responsible for implementing decisions, not making them. 

On a similar theme, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) seems to be threatening to take Scottish ministers to court over their actions in relation to teacher numbers (your report, 17 February)

What is Cosla? I don’t recall its name on my ballot paper. 
I respectfully urge Sir Stephen House and Cosla to do their day jobs, and leave the decisions to the people we have elected. At least we can kick them out if dissatisfied. 

Alan Thomson 

High Street, Kinross

Perth and Kinross

I HAVE been reading with interest the report of the current dispute between Cosla and the Scottish Government on teacher numbers and the right of government to impose financial sanctions on local authorities.

Perhaps I should explain that I was the first Secretary of Cosla but since I held office from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s I doubt if anybody remembers me and I certainly do not claim to have knowledge of the state of central/local government relations today.

The current reports bring back to mind a situation which arose many years ago when the then Department of Health issued a circular letter headed The Deratisation of Ships. The recipients included West Lothian County Council because in those days Bo’ness had certain port facilities. The letter greatly angered the then county clerk of West Lothian partly because it purported to tell the council how to exercise its functions and partly because it contained what he regarded as an abuse of the English language.

The county clerk therefore replied: “I have received your circular letter concerning the deratisation of ships. My council is aware of the problem and is dealing with the deratisation of ships but that is not its top priority. Its main concern is the debugerisation of houses.”

Graham H Speirs

Dirleton Avenue

North Berwick, East Lothian

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