First for value

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It is sad that Brian Allan ­(Letters, 30 November) makes allegations that include none of the facts about the visit to the Ryder Cup at Medinah.

First Minister Alex Salmond’s trip to the Ryder Cup in Chicago was to receive the “Silver Putter” as Gleneagles is to be the next host.

He was accompanied by 12 Scottish Government officials, a team from VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise at a cost of £468,580. The event at Glen­eagles is expected to inject ­
£100 million into the Scottish economy. In these difficult times one would have expected Mr Allan to be grateful.

However, did Mr Allan criticise when Labour in Scotland spent millions in 2005 andd 2006 attending Tartan Day in New York?

Mr Salmond’s chief critic, Labour MSP ­Patricia Ferguson, travelled to Australia with 19 ­officials to attend the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, attended the Commonwealth Youth Games there and was present in New York for Tartan Day four times. No wonder she jokes she was dubbed “the Queen of Junkets”!

Mr Allan should note Lord Justice Leveson’s words about Mr Salmond in related matters: “I have absolutely no doubt that Mr Salmond was motivated by an anxiety to help Scottish employment and to benefit Scotland generally: that is entirely laudable and exactly what is the expectation and proper function of the First Minister.”

Bill McLean



How many good, keen Scottish golfers would have given much to attend the Ryder Cup in ­Chicago? Instead they gave much to the taxman so that Alex Salmond could be there.

Is there to be no end to these extravagant trips made by this arrogant man? While the rest of us are struggling with the problems of the present economic climate, the First Minister and his entourage are living “high on the hog” at our expense.

With his steadfast refusal to acknowledge the truth of any situation, he deludes himself that this vast expenditure brings jobs to Scotland.

It may be, of course, that he intends to make the one million unemployed Scottish youth into Ryder Cup-standard golfers. That way he, and his cohorts, may continue to travel to exotic places and enjoy the lavish lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

Anne C Ferguson

The Courtyard


The hypocrisy of the Unionist parties is quite astounding; 36 people representing Scotland on a mandatory trip looks like fair value to me, as it not only ­fulfilled the Ryder Cup obligation but also “secured 140 new jobs and tens of millions in new investment”.

Contrast this with the number of taxpayer-funded trips, running into tens of thousands of pounds, by all members of the Royal Family this year with a net return for Scotland of zero.

Then factor in the cost to the Scottish taxpayer of the Olympics and Jubilee celebrations, of which there was neglible benefit to Scotland. At a time of cuts, that truly is outrageous.

C Murphy

West Calder
West Lothian