Enterprise age

Jim Duffy makes a strong case for universities to re-orientate their business models towards creating an entrepreneurial culture in students (Perspective, 5 August). That would build on the proposal this week by the longest-serving member of BBC2's Dragons' Den panel, Peter Jones MBE, that schools should foster an enterprise culture in pupils.

Adopting such attitudes would increase social mobility and help reduce the attainment gap between state and private schools, and between state schools in leafy suburbs versus poorer areas, thereby benefiting both the individuals and the country – whether Scotland or the UK – in our increasingly globally competitive world.

North-East Fife pupils, located in a split-site secondary school long overdue for single site relocation, are uniquely placed for both such opportunities. The world-renowned St Andrews University has offered Fife Council an ideal site for the school on its maths and science campus, facilitating valuable co-location synergies for pupils, students and staff.

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Advocating a broadly similar proposal in 2009-10, the then university principal praised it as a unique relationship in Scotland, saying that “by taking a school to the heart of a university science campus, we are signalling our ambition to nurture new generations of science-literate students, in a model for future partnerships between schools, universities, colleges and industry”.

Sadly, it did not materialise then. With the school’s relocation now on Fife Council’s urgent agenda, it would indicate a deplorable lack of long-term forward thinking if such obviously beneficial educational and planning visions for the 21st century were once again not achieved.

John Birkett

Horseleys Park, St. Andrews, Fife

Jim Duffy suggests a university principal ought to be “creating an entrepreneurial culture throughout the university”.

It is debateable if “business studies” should be a university discipline and offered in universities anyway. Nor is it legitimate to impose “business models” on institutions like university education and the NHS.

Are we really ready to accept the values pursued in The Apprentice or Dragons’ Den? Universities should embody the humanistic values of the Enlightenment; reason, tolerance, freedom of thought, for example.

Young people should choose what to study for their own self-development and not be bound to “business.”

Sadly, Jim Duffy seems to advocate the “commercialisation” of everyday life where everything is about “business”. Arguably this is a conformist philosophy in which dominant values centre on “follow the money”.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk, Inverurie

Changed lives

In the past few months, The Scotsman has published obituaries of those who came as refugees during or in the aftermath of the Second World War. These individuals found refuge, in this, their adopted country and during their lives here contributed so much to its life and prosperity.

Christian Aid has recently launched a campaign entitled Change the Story in response to the often negative stories about refugees in the media which can promote fear and resentment. A different story can be told that celebrates those who offer a welcome and acknowledges the contribution that refugees make to our country.

Maggie Romanis

East Trinity Road, Edinburgh

Japan’s folly

Perhaps a counterintuitive approach is needed to UK interest rate policy? Low to zero interest rates crippled the Japanese economy for more than 20 years by ignoring economic fundamentals.

If interest rates are sufficient to encourage savings this increases funds available for investment.The UK economy has been skewered for years by low interest rates spawning dead assets in the form of a property pyramid. As a consequence, investment diverted from infrastructure and industry has promoted economic stagnation.

The UK Government needs the courage to break this Gordian knot, raise interest rates, stop printing money and attract real inward investment. Low to zero interest rates and the accompanying hazard of quantitative easing – printing money – can only increase inequality and poverty, whilst so inflating property prices that no young people can afford to buy.

We urgently need a rise in interest rates and a return to a traditional financial and interest rate policy if we are ever to rebuild our economy on a sustainable basis.

Elizabeth Marshall

Western Harbour Midway, Edinburgh

Waste of paper

It took about 18 months to produce, ran to 650 pages and cost almost £1.5 million of taxpayers’ money. Yet SNP MP Tommy Sheppard tells us that a new version of the White Paper is required (The Scotsman, 5 August). This means that the “blueprint” for independence would have struggled to have relevance beyond the projected “independence day” in March this year! So much for the vision of the SNP.

I wonder if Mr Sheppard would like to tell us who would be liable to pay for the new version? Given that one thing the SNP are very good at is amassing money for its own party – £6 million last year as reported in the same edition – perhaps it wouldn’t be too much to ask that they pay for the pursuit of their obsession out of their own funds. Indeed, maybe they could make it a moneyspinner by turning it into an annual.

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue, Edinburgh

Lord, no

Has there been an election and did I miss it?

I have just heard that we have 13 new Tory legislators, one Labour one and a couple of cross benchers. I don’t ever remember having the opportunity to vote for a cross bencher at all: this leaves me quite a cross democrat.

Abolish this nonsense.

Mike Bartlett

Brue, Isle of Lewis

SNP for me

In response to Colin Hamilton and Jim Houston, the actual number of police officers in Scotland compared to a year ago has dropped by just 30 out of around 17,300 (Letters, 4 August) .

While police numbers have remained the same in Scotland since 2007, the manpower of England and Wales’s force has dropped by 14 per cent and that of Northern Ireland has fallen by 20 per cent since 2005.

Despite Westminster cuts to the Scottish budget, the SNP’s record on delivering public services is far superior compared to England under Tory control or Wales under Labour rule.

In June, 95.7 per cent of Scotland’s A&E departments’ patients were seen within four hours, a performance that has remained better than elsewhere in the UK for each of the last 15 months.

In 2014, the UK Office of National Statistics confirmed that Scotland was the best -educated nation in Europe and a record number of Scottish pupils achieved Highers in 2015. Also, more youngsters from deprived backgrounds are going on to higher education than in England or Wales.

The Scottish Government exceeded its target of 30,000 new affordable homes whereas in England the latest figures show that the number of new social sector homes has slumped to a record low.

These are just some of reasons the SNP remain the most popular political party in the UK .

Fraser Grant

Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Organ grander

I read Dr Sue Robertson’s comments on presumed consent being the way ahead for organ donations (Perspective, 4 August). I benefited from a liver transplant at the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit at The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh on 16 July. The difference this transplant has made to my quality of life is something I will treasure for the rest of my days and it would not have been possible without someone agreeing that their organs could be used. The care and dedication of every member of the staff in the Transplant Unit cannot be understated and it is comforting to note that they will be with me in the future.

The Scottish Government must stop having consultations on ever single issue and start to take decisions, particularly where it is a life or death position.

Robin Dickson

The Glebe, East Linton

Windy city

It has shocked me, as a StAndrews graduate, to see my alma mater behaving, demeaningly, like an ignorant, shabby, greedy besom, in planning to install wind turbines only for the filthy lucre.

Their university staff must be well aware that the planet, local employment and UK industry would see no benefits whilst Fife opinion is almost universally opposed and the world-famous local areas threatened, as ordinary peoples’ pockets are raided.

The origins of the national con trick that is wind-powered electricity depend on parliamentary group think, lack of research and ignoring expert advice to delay the installations pending the development of vastly improved means of electricity storage. That wind turbines are still being considered at all reflects only greed and political inertia and fear of having to change a policy previously involving huge, but unjustified, boasting by senior politicos.

None of these features behind the proposed windfarm reflects credit but, rather, shameful odium on StAndrews University.

(Dr) Charles Wardrop,

Viewlands Road West, Perth

Scone crazy

Why are so many cakes, scones and traybakes in so many cafes and tearooms off-puttingly large nowadays?

I was recently served a massive scone which three people could easily have shared and my husband had a gigantic wedge of carrot cake which would have served four or five!

Perhaps this upping of portion size is in response to some people looking for larger servings, but with obesity a huge issue, if portions continue to grow, I fear we can no longer have our cake and eat it.

Judi Martin

Maryculter, Aberdeenshire