Letters to the editor


From our edition of January 9, 2013

Opposite views

Sir, – Readers may remember that a week ago I wrote to express my hope that the referendum debate is conducted positively and my worry that it would degenerate into petty and divisive political point scoring. The three lengthy responses I received in last week’s paper suggest I wasn’t too far off the mark. I write again to address the main points raised by my opposition.

Councillor Alan Masterton gives a bizarre statement that Scandinavians pay more in tax because GDP is higher in Scandinavia. This ignores the obvious fact that tax is taken as a percentage of income. As such, a person in Sweden earning X pays a higher rate of tax (ie more money) than someone in Scotland earning the exact same. This is undeniable. Councillor Masterton is simply using word play to give a false impression. (This before we even mention the higher cost of living). Moreover, his refusal to accept the potential danger Independence causes to the Cumbernauld Tax Office is actually quite worrying and emblematic of the SNP’s unrealistic dream that separation is the answer to every ill in the world. Suggesting that people shouldn’t worry because there will be other jobs to do is akin to telling steel workers or coal miners that they were wrong to worry when their pits or factory’s were closed. Thatcher tried that brand of free-market economics and is, rightly, hated for it until this day.

Councillor Johnston’s intervention is even more suspect/nonsensical. He mentions the £73 million worth of savings that North Lanarkshire Council having to make. He knows that no decision has been taken by council. He doesn’t mention that it is his SNP Government that is imposing these cuts by slashing the local authority budget far deeper than its own budget is being cut by the UK Government (it’s also worth mentioning that the SNP are cutting the council budget even deeper than the Tories are cutting the English equivalent). In fact there are loads of things the SNP are cutting deeper than the Tories, not least the three C’s: Colleges, Councils and Coalfields (the fund set up by Labour to regenerate areas particularly damaged by Thatcher in the 80s - which has been a massive boost to Cumbernauld and Kilsyth in recent years. Once again he scores nil out of 10 marking. – Yours etc.,


Taxing issue

Sir, – Is the Gregg McClymont that appears to be so worried about how the Conservative Government is treating the HMRC staff in Cumbernauld (Cumbernauld News January 2, 2013) the same Gregg McClymont who refused to attend a meeting in 2010 held by the PCS union which was worried about how the Labour Government was treating the same staff?

It is amazing what a spell in opposition does to the Labour Party’s ethos. – Yours etc.,


New discovery

Sir, – Further to your article in last week’s paper about the Discovery Award, I should like to point out that a Discovery Group was set up in Cumbernauld in 1992. This group, the Westfield Discovery Group, was followed by the Muirfield Discovery Group and these two groups amalgamated later to form the Cumbernauld Discovery Group, which is still in existence. We meet on the first Thursday of the month in the Westfield Community Rooms at 2pm. – Yours etc.,


Group Co-ordinator

3g Doon Side,


Flower power

Sir, – I am conducting a survey of the folklore and uses of wild plants, so I would be pleased to hear of any memories which readers might have. Were you ever told not to bring certain flowers indoors? Do you remember any local plant names? Did you ever play games with wild plants, or use any herbal remedies? If you did, please contact me at the address below or email roy@plant-lore.com. – Yours etc.,


9 Terrapin Court

London SW17 8QW

Older people

Sir, – Forgotten to make a New Year’s resolution for 2013?

As we return to our normal day-to-day routines following the Christmas festivities, why not add something a little different to your life this year by resolving to take a personal challenge? Why not make a resolution that could make a real difference to older people’s lives as well as your own?

At Independent Age, 2013 isn’t just a new year for us. It marks our 150-year anniversary of supporting older people in need. To celebrate this, we are asking 150 people to raise money by taking on a personal challenge, which will help us to continue to provide information, advice and support for thousands of older people.

This is your challenge, so what you do is completely up to you. You can choose something from the array of experiences we’ve suggested, such as taking a tandem skydive, running 10km dressed as your favourite superhero or even trekking the Great Wall of China. Or, you can create something completely unique.

Whatever you choose, we’ll support you every step of the way to make sure your challenge is something you’ll never forget. You can rest assured in the knowledge that it will be a huge achievement in more ways than one. We hope this will be an experience which stays with you forever – and it will be one which makes a lasting difference to the lives of older people.

Whatever your age or fitness level, there is a challenge for you this year. To find out more about Independent Age’s Challenge 150, visit www.independentage.org email: events@independentage.org or call 020 7605 4287. – Yours etc.,


Fundraising Officer

Independent Age