Scheme is flawed

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THE DEATH of Liam Fee, two, is yet another case which raises questions about the effectiveness of child protection procedures here in Scotland. Of course, the Scottish Government is claiming the soon-to-be-introduced Named Person scheme will help prevent such tragedies.

But the recent tragedy happened in Fife, one of the local authorities operating a pilot Named Person scheme. This fact cannot be ignored. Nicola Sturgeon however seems more intent on warning opponents not to use the tragedy to score political points than to facing up to the criticisms of the Named Person scheme.

There is a whiff of hypocrisy on the First Minister’s part, not least because both she and Humza Yousef have made political points by linking the Named Person scheme to the drive to prevent such tragedies from happening. Having done so, they should not complain if opposition politicians point out that the Named Person scheme was clearly ineffective in this particular case.

At a time when Scottish Government policies have led to unprecedented pressures on council budgets, CARE’s argument has always been that the Named Person legislation will divert scarce resources and attention away from children who are at risk of serious harm, neglect and abuse whilst leading to unwarranted interventions in ordinary families.

Rather than repeatedly ignoring critics, the Scottish Government should listen to those of us who have pointed out the evident flaws contained in the scheme, and work with us to resolve them.

Dr Gordon Macdonald

CARE for Scotland, Challenge House, Glasgow

Grave situation

Having paid a visit to Highgate Cemetery in London at the weekend, I was struck by something immediately. Despite the number of old gravestones, some of which were at a decidedly extreme angle, there was no sign of any intervention on the part of the cemetery’s administrators to push any of them over.

By comparison, at the recent interment of a relative’s ashes in Edinburgh, I and many of the family attending were, quite rightly, appalled by the desecration of the graveyard.

This is outrageous despoiling of graveyards by jobsworths in the council. It has left a scene reminiscent of the aftermath of a hurricane.

Doubtless, the council will attempt to exculpate itself because someone might have been injured by a stone falling over. Equally, people might be injured (and probably will be) by branches falling off trees in the city. However, we do not go around chopping all the branches off.

It is high time that someone was prosecuted for this sacrilegious act and that the council was forced to re-erect each and every headstone they have overturned.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive , Edinburgh

APD cut is boost

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) reacts whenever they see anything that they feel will endanger Scottish climate change targets (your report, 2 June).

This time it is the Scottish Government plans to half then abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD).

SCCS say that cutting APD by 50 per cent could result in an extra 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses. In the global scheme of things this is insignificant since in 2015 the world emitted more than 35.7 gigatonnes. A gigatonne is a billion metric tonnes.

SCCS is so tied up with the insignificant part that Scotland plays with 0.13 per cent of global emissions that it is blind to the rest of the world.

Europe has poured $1.2 trillion into green energy to fight global warming but its CO2 emissions just keep rising.

Norwegian Air and Delta have now started flights from Edinburgh.

The passenger numbers from Edinburgh for March was a staggering 1,009,529.

As Bill Jamieson says in his article Tourism needs help in taxing times (2 June) Scotland needs more tourism to boost the economy and if the cut in APD can do this then the sooner the better.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Kirk ‘overstated’

Ruth Davidson is a little overstated when she suggests that “civic society would completely collapse without the Church of Scotland” (your report 1 June).

Religious groups must be entitled to voice opinions as long as it is not from a platform of privilege, but is it cynical to suggest that for a Conservative politician the religious block vote is too hard to ignore?

We may applaud The Church of Scotland’s support for foodbanks and sometimes agree with its “challenging of politicians” but remember its challenge to several liberal initiatives including marriage equality which happily Ms Davidson herself is soon to enjoy.

Neil Barber

Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive , Edinburgh

Grasp EU nettle

It is instructive to remember the events of 1992 when on Black Wednesday we had John Major’s humiliation when Britain was forced out of the European Exchange Mechanism (ERM), and this is a man who would advise us to stay in the EU. Thank goodness the UK never embraced the Euro which has proved an unmitigated disaster.

If you foolishly wish to embrace the EU then all you need do is weigh the words and actions of such politicians as Tony Blair, Neil Kinnock, Ed Miliband, George Osborne, Paddy Ashdown, and David Cameron to realise the unpalatable truth.

Remember the Common Market originally consisted of just six founder members, namely, France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Now look at the monster it has become – the Maastricht Treaty (John Major again) established the European Union – simply a case of “slowly, slowly catchee monkey”– a union of 28 countries which is still growing.

The public has been conned and needs to ask who exactly is making the rules and laws – who is actually accountable and is really pulling the strings?

The coming referendum is truly a wake up call for the people of the UK and for all of us to grasp the nettle to come out of this behemoth they call the EU!

Dave Haskell

Brithdir, Cardigan

Threat to wildlife

Once again it is heartbreaking to read that one of our rare, iconic ospreys was killed by a wind turbine at Moy, south of Inverness. The RSPB only recently confirmed that golden plover numbers had dropped by no less than 80 per cent at Gordon bush wind farm in Sutherland. What will our eco tourists make of 

Wind farms are devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, driving some to the point of extinction. In Spain alone, according to SEO/Birdlife, between six and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind 

Our own Golden Eagles and raptors are particularly susceptible as their habitats are on high ground.

When will the Scottish Government, or any of our wildlife organisations and statutory bodies who are supposed to be protecting our environment, actually stand up and defend our landscapes and wildlife from further devastation?

When I hear they are “working closely with the wind industry” it could not be more harrowing.

George Herraghty

Lhanbryde, Moray

Wall of silence

Nicola Sturgeon is astute enough to know what she signed up to with the Chinese earlier this year, especially when £10 billion is said to be involved.

It seems reprehensible our Holyrood Parliament, which often debates issues for which it holds no responsibilities, gets ignored and fails to call the First Minister to account.

Chinese investment in Scotland for housing developments or whatever is not being done out of charity and the new Finance Secretary who seemed tongue-tied on the Forth Road Bridge closure when Transport Minister ought to spell out any financial implications for Scots taxpayers.

Ironically we learned more from the other side of the Great Wall of China than from the Scottish Government which seems to have created its own wall of silence.

Jim Craigen

Downie Grove, Edinburgh

Biggest battle

There was a statement inThe Scotsman on 1 June that the combined fleets of Britain and Germany participating with 249 ships made The Battle of Jutland “the largest naval battle in history”.

I would like to refer to US Navy Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison’s excellent book The Two-Ocean War, where he states in a footnote on page 436 that the Leyte battle in the Philippines in October 1944 “was the greatest naval battle of all time”.

In the Leyte battle 282 ships were involved (216 US Navy, two Australian Navy and 64 Japanese) with 143,668 US and Australian sailors against 42,800 Japanese. This greatly exceeds the Jutland battle on both ship and sailor counts.

John Peter,

Monks Road, Airdrie

Place for openness

The architecture of Mortonhall Crematorium should not reflect Neil Barber’s (Letters, June 2) closed world with its uncompromising “end of” philosophy. It should reflect Christianity’s open world and its contribution to human understanding of the meaning and purpose of life.

A Seenan (Letters, June 2) does not appreciate the qualitative difference of Christianity’s origin in the personal resurrection of Jesus.

Rev Dr Robert Anderson

Blackburn & Seafield Church, MacDonald Gardens, Blackburn