Readers' Letters: Free car parking at hospitals too often abused

Raigmore Hospital is used as a free long-stay car park by holidaymakers, says reader (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Raigmore Hospital is used as a free long-stay car park by holidaymakers, says reader (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Raigmore Hospital is used as a free long-stay car park by holidaymakers, says reader (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
I was all for free hospital parking until I became a regular outpatient at Raigmore hospital in Inverness.

Often, after a two-hour plus drive to the Highland capital’s hospital I could not find a parking space at the free car park and had to resort to parking in town and then taking the bus. I mentioned this to one of my consultants, who told me that early one day she witnessed people in the car park emptying luggage out of their boot and then putting their cases in a waiting car, which must then have gone on to Inverness airport or the railway station. Free parking for the duration of a holiday. I heard also that the hospital car park was often used as a park and ride by people travelling into the town centre.

There must be a way of prioritising spaces for actual patients, especially those who have travelled long distances. If not, bring back the parking fees, this would go some way to help.

Douglas S Bruce, Penicuik, Midlothian

Race to bottom

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Yesterday’s Scotsman reports on the latest piece of fiddling with our not-so-great education system, an attempt to push political viewpoints upon our most vulnerable, the children, via a tired, overstretched teaching workforce.

The anti-racism teaching plan is another hotch-potch of incompetent nonsense. Presenting “white privilege” in classrooms as uncontested fact has rightly been called out by Kemi Badenoch, the UK Government equalities minister. Lindsay Paterson, professor of education policy at Edinburgh University, said if lessons were based on the “astonishingly one-sided” guidelines, they would be “wholly inadequate in a liberal society”.

One of the ridiculous questions in the “test” is “if my day is going badly, I wonder if the negative episodes had racial overtones”. It seems to me someone has far too much time on their hands, and is probably being paid a small fortune to come up with this nonsense. Any government that starts to fiddle with our education system must come under the greatest degree of scrutiny.

Five years ago, the Supreme Court, on ruling on the empty can kicked down the road that was the “named persons” bill, stated “the first thing a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world”.

With that in mind, when the document states that teachers should recognise that race is “a system that serves to enable capitalism and the current world order”, I think alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear.

The EIS, led by Larry Flanagan, has backed this rubbish. What else would one expect from a union that makes policy with the Scottish Government without the consent of its members and would rather have children sitting at home staring at a computer than experiencing what education is really about, daily interaction with their fellows and face-to-face learning with professional teachers.

Is there no end to what this Government will do to mould the nation in its image?

David Millar, Lauder, Berwickshire

Sturgeon’s trick

Conor Matchett (27 August) is correct in his analysis of Nicola Sturgeon’s constant predicament – trying to keep the fanatical membership on board while not scaring away the swing voters. For years now she has dangled the independence carrot in front of the hardened nationalists while, to appease those who are less keen, declaring that a vote for the SNP is not a vote for independence. This is quickly changed to “the people have spoken and want an independence referendum” once the votes are counted.

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There are only so many times that the First Minister can do this before one, if not both, sides get wise and see that she is taking them for fools. Getting the Green Party on board will make no difference, regardless of what she may say.

Another referendum, especially now after the impact of Covid, would result in a taxi being called for her as it was for her predecessor seven years ago. I don’t care if it is a hybrid or fully electric vehicle, so long as it drives her away from Bute House forever.

Jane Lax, Aberlour

Challenge to PO

I am surely not alone in asking the Holyrood Presiding Officer to take an early and effective decision as Presiding Officer (not as a Green MSP) to remove the right of the Green Party to ask questions of the First Minister at FMQs.

By entering into a coalition with the SNP Government – and a coalition, whilst denied, it most certainly is – removes the Green Party as an official opposition party. It would be wholly inappropriate for one of two Junior Ministers to have the opportunity and the right to ask questions of a Government in which they serve. Alison Johnstone, as Presiding Officer, needs to demonstrate her “independence” from the party she supports and act accordingly with immediate effect.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Transport trouble

On the day Scotland recorded its highest ever number of Covid cases, the SNP Transport Minister announced seven additional countries from which people could travel to Scotland without quarantine. It beggars belief that we are repeating the same mistakes over and over again. As we head towards 11,000 deaths, the Scottish Government must act now.

David Watson, Leith, Edinburgh

Slot for Slater

I think Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater should be put in charge of the SNP/Scottish Government’s Beijing consulate in China as part of her new Junior Minister portfolio of responsibilities. Lorna’s politics are pretty similar to the Chinese Communist Party so she should fit in well within the Chinese state.

I’m confident that as we are in a Code Red climate emergency, helping the Chinese carry out a climate compatibility assessment on the impact of China’s planned building of 43 new coal-fired power plants would be far more beneficial to the planet than carrying out a climate compatibility study on the upgrade of the A96 in the highlands of Scotland.

John Smith, Falkirk

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Anti-racism teaching to be ‘embedded’ into school life in Scotland

Heed warnings

I’ve been rebuked by Clark Cross for not paying attention to the points he made in his previous letter (Letters, 26 August). I should put myself to the back of the class, but not before I put a call out to those who are concerned about the future of planet Earth. Human sources of carbon dioxide emissions have been steadily growing since the Industrial Revolution. The increasing rate of deforestation, and the burning of oil, coal and gas, are the primary causes of this increase.

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The only sure thing that will save our planet from our ineptitude and selfishness is our extinction. We’ve proven ourselves to be poor guardians of once pristine environments right across the globe, and our sense of superiority over all other species is likely to be our downfall. We can’t exist in splendid isolation – we’re part of the cycle of life.

We are a highly intelligent species, but we haven’t always used our cognitive capacity wisely, humanely, or even in our own interests. If we were on trial here, being observed by a cynical supernatural being, I doubt that we would gain a pass on the requirements which give us the right to remain.

How can we boast about our superior intelligence when we are despoiling the only home on which we have to live? If we continue on our current trajectory we will reach the point of no return – and no amount of lamentations will alter our fate. We just have to hope that we'll heed the warnings which nature is sending us at an increasing rate.

Carolyn Taylor, Dundee

Nuclear option

To survive global warming Professor Stuart Haszeldine lists several techniques (“Scotland can lead the way with carbon storage”, Perspective, 25 August). However, he fails to mention nuclear power, the one ingredient required to provide reliable and greenhouse-gas-free base load electricity. Scotland will not be leading the way without this ingredient, which the Scottish Government will foolishly allow to fade away in a few years.Nor is greater energy efficiency a guaranteed way to reduce demand. Studies have shown that such a measure can lead to an increase in demand as users find energy cheaper. As for carbon capture and storage, we have yet to see it demonstrated. I don't expect this to be a practical solution.Regardless of such attempts, global warming will continue relentlessly until the world realises that some drastic geoengineering is required.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Clean slate?

In any debate about Scotland’s position in the future, it is important that facts do not get ignored and propaganda put in their place. One fable which is regularly recycled by many who desperately want to break up the UK is that Scotland would, by some amazing stroke of luck, start off “with a clean slate” and the UK would take all the debt and pay the pensions of a new Scottish state.

The truth is less appealing. If Scotland broke away, it would not have the pound. There would be no Scottish input on interest rates and there would be no bank of last resort to help us as happened during the Covid crisis. The new state would also have to shoulder a very large debt. Advocates of Scottish independence like Leah Gunn Barrett (Letters, 26 August) claim that if Scotland were to break up the UK it would carry no share of the UK National Debt and that “the UK inherits all the treaty obligations, including debt”. The correct position of the Government has been unequivocally stated: “...the respective shares of debt and the terms of repayment would be subject to negotiation.”

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

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