Reader’s letters

Here is a selection of the letters featured in this week’s newspaper dated Wednesday, December 26.

Xrays: MSP’s been outspoken

Sir, – I read with surprise the letter from Hamish Leishman that suggested I have been “conspicuously silent” on the closure of X-ray facilities in our area by NHS Lanarkshire. That is far from the case. As regular readers of your newspaper will know, I have been quoted myriad times stating my opposition to the removal of local radiology services.

If Mr Leishman if referring to the fact that I was not quoted in the latest article on the matter then I am sure that the editor and staff can confirm that I was not approached to provide such, otherwise I would have been only too glad to once again set out my opposition to these moves.

Furthermore, if Mr Leishman or any other constituent wants to receive a copy of the correspondence I have engaged in on this issue with NHS Lanarkshire and the Scottish Government, then they need only make contact with me to request such. – Yours etc.,

JAMIE HEPBURN MSP

Divisive views

Sir, – I would like to respond to the letter by Councillor Bob Chadha in last week’s Cumbernauld News (December 19). I am glad that he recognises the democratic right of the SNP to hold a referendum on Scottish independence following our victory in the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2011. However, there is nothing positive about the case made in Councillor Chadha’s letter, contrary to the words in his first paragraph and he, along with his Labour colleagues, appears to be the only ones seeking to create divisions.

The only people who are talking about ‘English Rule’, ‘Separation’ and anyone being ‘less Scottish’ are the Labour party. The SNP have always promoted an inclusive Scotland post-independence where anyone no matter their religion, race, ideology, nationality or place of birth are welcome and all of whom upon independence would have a right to citizenship. Scotland benefits from a diversity of backgrounds living here and that will continue.

Councillor Chadha mentions the security brought by remaining as part of the UK – does this security include being taken into illegal wars or weapons of mass destruction on the river Clyde? With independence we could make our own decision on these issues.

He also mentions the local tax office in Cumbernauld – I have family and friends who work and who have worked in the tax office and am aware how important it is to Cumbernauld. But, as well as that tax office dealing with tax from the rest of the UK the tax of people in Cumbernauld and other places in Scotland is also dealt with in offices in Cardiff, and across the UK. Upon independence the people who work in this office and others like it, along with their skills, will still be needed to deal with not only taxation but the many other functions that will come to Scotland with independence such as welfare policy, foreign affairs, etc.

Councillor Chadha’s letter also talks about Scandinavia – one of the reasons why taxes are high in Scandinavia is because not only is public spending high but so is the average income per head. In fact the GDP per head is higher in every country in Scandinavia than the UK. Norway has a wealth of natural resources, including massive oil reserves, which have been invested to benefit their population. This is unlike Scotland which must be the only country in the world to discover oil and become poorer. With independence we can invest our own natural resources directly to the benefit of Scotland, rather than them being consumed by a Government in London who have no concern for the needs of Scotland. – Yours etc.,

COUNCILLOR ALAN MASTERTON

Cumbernauld North (SNP)

What alternative?

Sir, – Councillor Bob Chadha will campaign against Scottish independence. So what does he have to offer instead? £73 million worth of cuts in North Lanarkshire. UK cuts “worse than Thatcher” (Labour’s Chancellor Alastair Darling). Bob Chadha opposes free prescriptions, free tuition fees, free bus passes and the freeze on Council Tax. The UK Government offers the Welfare Bill, and end to winter fuel allowances (Nick Clegg) and creeping privatisation of the NHS in England. The bankrupt government, heavily in debt, has printed £370 billion worth of money (counterfeit notes, we used to call it) to devalue savings. But there’s cash for ten years of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and for Trident.

The declining UK has failed Scotland. Bob Chadha, a social worker by profession, knows that Scotland has one of the worst records in Europe in social deprivation, health, drugs and alcohol. He should also know that the latest, deep, research by Dr Harry Burns and others demonstrates that deprivation in the West of Scotland is not simply a copy of deprivation in Liverpool or Manchester, it runs much, much deeper. Bob Chadha’s British Labour Party has presided over West of Scotland deprivation for 79 years, ever since they took power in Glasgow in 1933.

Scotland has 90 per cent of the EU oil reserves. It is the largest producer of oil and gas in the EU. It more than pays its way within the UK. We are two-thirds the land size of England, with only five million to feed: England has 55 million. We are a vast exporter of fish, electricity, quality foods and billions of pounds of whisky. Tourism booms. Bob Chadha has to explain to his fellow Scots why he offers cuts and eternal social deprivation in a small, rich country. He has to explain why Scots must shell out millions each year to pay for Trident to give free nuclear cover to rich Germans and Swedes.

That’s why I will be voting ‘Yes’ to independence. – Yours etc.,

COUNCILLOR TOM JOHNSTON (SNP)

Ward 4 (Abronhill, Kildrum & the Village)

Poor debate

Sir, – While Cumbernauld Labour Councillor Bob Chadha is entitled to his opinion on the question of Scottish Independence ahead of the 2014 referendum, his personal insults regarding Alex Salmond, and the SNP Government, once again debase the level of debate.

This issue is far too serious to be reduced to this level, but I’m afraid it reflects his national leader’s weekly diatribe at Holyrood. In other words, throw enough mud, and hope some sticks. The flaw in this tactic is that many of their accusations are inaccurate, but they hope, with some justification, that subsequently, the media never report the facts leaving them with a measure of success. This is borne out by one of the areas mentioned by Mr Chadha – Defence.

On the latest Ministry of Defence figures, Scottish taxpayers pay out over £2 billion more than they should be required to do so, if the percentage of population of the UK is taken into account, as it should be. This is coupled, over the last six years, with a 60 per cent reduction in personnel. In fact, according to a recent survey by the Royal United Services Institute, (R.U.S.I), the Scottish defence bill after independence should be no more than £1.8 billion, a considerable saving on what we now pay to Westminster for our vastly reduced defence capability. And we’re still waiting for an answer from Johann Lamont on her policy on the renewal of Trident.

This is another reason the unionists are running scared because if the Scottish people say ‘yes’ to independence, then this useless weapon of mass destruction will be removed from our country, once and for all.

So one final question to Councillor Chadha and all his unionist colleagues. What makes you so scared to have complete control of your own country, because it’s a certainty that the SNP won’t be in power forever. – Yours etc.,

ALEX BEVERIDGE

Carbrain,

Cumbernauld.