DCSIMG

EAST FIFE MAIL LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

WHAT'S your view on some of the issues in the East Fife Mail? E-mail efmeditor@fifetoday.co.uk

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Don't forget you can read more letters and the best in news and sports coverage in the East Fife Mail every week.

East Fife Mail Letters - December 10, 2008

Housing glut

Sir, – Leven... the fag-end o' Fife and a developer's dream, a place to build houses, more houses, and even more houses!

More destruction of green fields, wildlife and fresh air, more pollution, more traffic congestion and possibly more of those life threatening roundabouts.

As it is you'd need a computerised brain to try and negotiate the existing ones.

Oh aye! More and bigger areas for doctors, nurses, ambulance crews and other vital services who are already stretched to the limit, to try and cover.

It's true, people who are my age and over shouldn't be too worried about what happens in the future, but some day we will be put on trial, albeit posthumously, when generations to come ask why we allowed this usurping of land and soil to go on?

There is only one answer, no matter how much we protest, no matter how many cosmetic exercises of meetings that we attend, and no matter how loud we shout, money shouts louder. – Yours, etc.,

M.M. THOMAS

4 Wilkie Cottages,

Rose Terrace,

Leven.

Ignored role

Sir, – How many more of our children are to die or be neglected and abused before the governments recognise the protective early detection role of grandparents?

A fortune is spent on all kinds of useless schemes that obviously do not work when we have tragedies like 'Baby P'.

Why won't they recognise the fact that grandparents can save the country millions by being relevant persons in a child's life.

What have the governments got against grandparents that they refuse them the legal right to know when their grandchildren are being taken into care and refuse them the right to information about their grandchildren's welfare?

Are the administrators of family law doing their best for our children?

Obviously not, but they still fill their pockets and children still die. Why do the governments refuse to accept that they are wrong and have messed up the family laws of this country?

We need grandparents to be relevant in a child's life. Who better knows what is going on behind the closed doors but are not taken seriously? – Yours, etc.,

JIMMY DEUCHARS

Grandparents Apart UK,

22 Alness Crescent,

Glasgow G52 1PJ.

Icy nightmare

Sir, – On Wednesday, December 3, the pavements where I live and the roadsides at my street were just a sheet of ice.

Trying to walk the pavements was a nightmare.

On Wednesday my grandson walked home from Kirkland School and found the pavements hell to walk home.

I watched elderly people and women pushing young children in pushchairs and everyone was complaining about the state of the pavements.

Why were they not gritted! I am totally disgusted with Fife Council. – Yours, etc.,

GEORGIA COOTE

10 Wheatley Street,

Methil.

Parade points

Sir, – I would like to set the record straight on the Rose Queen ceremony.

The three local primary school choirs did not attend, it was Methilhill primary choir which attended and was in the parade.

Also there was no mention of Councillor Aly Hunter and Rodger McMillan from Silberline who attended the ceremony. – Yours, etc.,

W. E. YOUNG

c/o Motorfits,

11 Commercial Road,

Leven.

United efforts

Sir, – Leven Business Association and Leven Environment Group thank all businesses, organisations and individuals whose efforts and support, both financial and in many different ways, made possible Leven's 2008-2009 Christmas lights display.

We are very grateful for the substantial financial support of Silberline, Diageo, Pfaudler Balfour and Donaldson's which made the re-installation of the lights possible.

We also thank Brucespeed for a great job well done re-siting the lights in record time. Our thanks are also due to Harry, Rab, Darren and Alan for their individual efforts. The staff of Sale of the Century deserve a special mention for the fantastic 1500 raised in the Thrift Shop with the help of the Caledonian Hotel, In Touch Home & Gifts and Brydies. Our thanks also go to The Co-op and Sainsbury's for the donation of prizes for our competition and tombola stall.

We also wish to express our appreciation to Leven Civic Week and this year's Rose Queen for their support and participation in the Christmas lights switch-on ceremony.

Last but not least, we thank the people of Leven who have once again dug into their pockets and are supporting our collections, raffles and competitions. – Yours, etc.,

LEVEN BUSINESS

ASSOCIATION

LEVEN ENVIRONMENT GROUP

Time for change

Sir, – I would like to draw your readers' attention to a shocking statistic that has emerged in recent days.

Almost a third of Scottish households are "breadline poor", according to research commissioned by the BBC.

Changing UK – a study conducted by Sheffield University – looked at how nations and regions within Britain have altered over the past four decades.

It said Scotland had the largest number of poor people in each of the last four decades, as well as the highest death rate of all 14 regions examined.

In 1970, 27 per cent of the Scottish population was classed as breadline poor, but this rose to 32 per cent in recent years according to the report.

As a fair minded individual I would call this nothing less than a scandal and an appalling legacy for those who were supposed to have been looking after Scotland's best interests.

John Dickie, head of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: "Across Scotland the number of families living below the poverty line remains a scandal. There is nothing inevitable about this injustice, an injustice that damages children's health, education and wellbeing in profound ways."

Scotland is a wealthy nation and is energy rich and I find it disgusting that those in power over the last four decades have squandered this wealth leaving those most vulnerable in society to pay the price.

The question of Scotland's constitutional future will be talked about a lot in the next few years and I would urge each and every one of you reading this letter to reflect on what type of future you would like.

I, for one, would like my children to grow up with a new confidence and increased prosperity in a country that uses its own resources to fund a better quality of life for its citizens and turns its back on the politics of fear pedalled by London which is, even now, trying to convince us that it is in our best interests to borrow 100 billion pounds to buy itself out of a financial crisis that it presided over.

I look to a brighter future where we see Scotland live up to her potential and stand on her own two feet. – Yours, etc.,

ALISTAIR HUNTER (Cllr)

Turpie Road,

Leven.

High charges

Sir, – To answer Councillor Alexander I can only give my own opinion on homecare charges.

If a recipient of care is not on benefit they should pay nothing. People on benefit should pay a contribution to the service they get.

I am unfortunately disabled but do get DLA that enables me to pay a cleaner and handyman to do chores and gardening etc.

If Fife Council charged everyone in receipt of benefit there would be no need for charges to be so high.

It is unfair that the same 30 per cent of people pay full charges for everything.

I pay full rent and council tax and others like me who have worked hard and have additional works pension can end up worse off financially than others on housing benefit.

DLA and mobility are benefits that are meant to enable people to buy services that assist them to live at home and work if on mobility. They are not meant to be used as extra pocket money.

I have no time for the have it and eat it brigade. I am also very fortunate to have good friends who visit me with shopping every day. I wonder what would happen if a future government made a rule – money or service? How many would take service. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

Cynical spin

Sir, – Now that the dust has settled I am sure that I am not the only person who is bitterly disappointed with our recent election result.

Although I am a member of a political party I still look for what any prospective candidate will do for me, my family and my community before deciding where I should mark my cross.

I was appalled by the recent by-election campaign that the Labour Party ran. It treated the general population in the constituency with contempt.

By its own admission it ran its campaign to motivate its own voters by doing two things, scaremongering and launching vicious personal attacks on the other candidates without any facts and promising to deliver Lindsay's action plan.

His action plan consisted of the following:

A crack down on anti-social behaviour – not a Westminster responsibility!

Mr Roy was campaigning against a backdrop that shows Fife Constabulary, with the help and support of their partners and the public, tabled the highest drop in recorded crime in the country, down 16 per cent (double the Scottish average).

To fight for more opportunities for young people – not a Westminster responsibility!

He promised to fight for more sports and recreation facilities for Fife. I assume this is in addition to the 50 million investment from Fife Council to replace the three major sports centres and almost 3.3 million in Levenmouth for upgrades to Leven pool, Savoy centre and a new sports hall at Buckhaven High.

Sort out the roads and buses – not a Westminster responsibility!

He promised to give powers back to Fifers so local people can make decisions about their buses – is he suggesting the buses be brought back under public control? His party has bludgeoned ahead with public sector reform including the ill-fated PFI and PPP initiatives that place fundamental services such as schools and hospitals in the control of the private sector for massive financial returns.

Help Fife families through tough times – at last a shared responsibility!

Although this is a shared responsibility Mr Roy says he will encourage benefit 'check-ups' to ensure pensioners get the benefits they deserve. This policy has been pursued by Fife Council recently returning over a million pounds of unclaimed benefits to Fife families – too late Lindsay!

In his election propaganda Mr Roy said that single people will lose all the discount they get on council tax – does he not know that Local Income Tax will replace the council tax? Misleading the public so openly in a campaign is nothing short of shocking.

With the whole might of the UK Labour Party machine behind him Mr Roy produced a negative campaign that got him elected by scaring and misinforming people – I find this despicable.

He also promised action on areas in the control of the Scottish Government and Fife Council – how will he deliver for the people of Fife in these areas where he has no say? I suspect that delivering for the people of Fife was way down the agenda behind protecting G. Brown's premiership – we are being treated with contempt.

Although I have strong feelings on the campaign, the result is democratic and I am glad we are afforded this privilege.

I wish Mr Roy well as my MP and encourage all of those who voted for him or any of the other candidates to keep a close eye on what he delivers for the constituency and let him be judged by his actions and not the hollow, cynical spin that we saw in his campaign. – Yours, etc.,

STEVIE RODGER

Leven.

Matter of fact

Sir, – The new MP for Levenmouth was elected on a barrage of misinformation and, unfortunately, he seems keen to keep this trend going even if it means driving a cart and horse through the facts.

Let's concentrate on his comments on education cuts.

The statement last week, "it is clearly evident that the current SNP/Liberal administration approved the hefty cuts in secondary schools budgets" is totally, absolutely wrong and can be proven to be so with remarkable ease.

The "hefty cuts" he talks about relate to the financial year 2007/08. That covers the period April 1, 2007, to March 31, 2008.

The Budget that put these cuts in place was voted through in February 2007 – by the last Labour administration – before the May elections that replaced Labour had even taken place.

This is basic stuff so perhaps Lindsay Roy is just confused when he blames it on the new SNP/Lib administration.

Well, attached to this letter, for the benefit of the editor, is a copy of a letter Lindsay Roy (then the headteacher at Inverkeithing) sent to his local councillor dated March 28, 2007.

The letter states, "As you will observe, the school is required to make 140,000 of savings in the next financial year (2007/08). I will consider how such economies might be made with minimum impact on the experience of pupils".

The significance of the letter is the date – March 28 – and

the fact that it proves conclusively that Lindsay Roy was personally aware of the last Labour budget and the extent of the cuts before the elections even took place.

So, he obviously isn't confused yet still managed to put in print a statement that says that it was all the fault of the new administration.

As can now be seen, Lindsay Roy's comments on education cuts carry not a shred of truth.

It is as blatant as it gets.

And if his comments on education are so wrong, which they are, what about the rest of the stuff? The wrong man was elected. – Yours, etc.,

DAVID ALEXANDER (Cllr)

39 Hill Road,

Kennoway.

Credible claims

Sir, – As a former `politician' I've been asked by some people to try to explain what Bob Scott was rattling on about last week.

Bob has been away from politics for a while now, stalking Gordon Brown on his treatment of his beloved Black Watch. That seems to have been forgiven now and Bob, to the astonishment and scorn (it has to be said) of many, has returned to the fold.

The situation is this.

Bob said that Labour, in the by-election, achieved an 80/20 superiority over the SNP in Methilhill. The SNP disputes this and says that the SNP vote in Methilhill was the highest it has ever achieved.

Bob has come back and said he had ``gate bar charts'' that prove his numbers. This is the statement that concerned the people who contacted me.

People were worried that actual polling information had somehow leaked.

There's no need to worry.

The only time politicians can gauge actual votes from a local area is when the ballot box is emptied on to the table at the count and polling agents record a sample of actual votes by party.

This is the basis of the SNP claims – actual ballot box sampling.

Given that the SNP vote rose by 50 per cent and recorded a reasonable swing against Labour, these votes had to come from somewhere, why not Methilhill?

Bob, on the other hand, seems to be basing his numbers on people going into Methilhill polling station, combined with an expectation on how they were going to vote from by-election canvassing.

The trouble with that is – what voters say they are going to do and what they actually do are two different things. I cannot imagine a Labour voter who is switching to the SNP for the first time telling anyone – especially Bob.

So, the SNP claims are certainly more credible than Bob's in that they are based on actual votes cast. – Yours, etc.,

ANONYMOUS

(Name and address supplied)

Dirty campaign

Sir, – At the beginning of the recent Glenrothes constituency by-election I warned members of the public to whom I spoke that what we would get from Labour was a hard fought dirty campaign.

I have been more than vindicated, because what we saw from Labour was a despicable campaign of disinformation and scaremongering particularly on the issue of homecare charges.

So how would those Labourites who participated in that campaign describe the charges for homecare which are levied by Labour-run councils such as Glasgow City Council, where vulnerable people pay 3 per week for their community alarms and 16.50 for a home carer? On the issue about what percentage of the electorate of Methilhill voted for Labour and the SNP.

While Bob Scott may have Labour bar gate charts they aren't actually proof that people voted Labour.

What people may say to you on entering a polling station and what they do in the privacy of the polling booth are two completely different things.

Unlike Bob Scott, Councillor David Alexander was at the count in Glenrothes and witnessed the counting of the actual votes and what share of votes in the ballot boxes were for the SNP and Labour! – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road,

Methil.

East Fife Mail Letters - December 3, 2008

Council homes

Sir, – It was heartening to read that Fife Council is considering a return to local authority house building.

I would hope, even if this begins on a modest scale, that the council takes an innovative. community-focused approach.

It would be good to see Fife setting the standard for others to follow.

Before the high-rise flats and bleak estates, our council housing was a triumph.

Let's see a return to that. – Yours, etc.,

HOPEFUL

Den Walk,

Buckhaven

(Name and address supplied)

Fine example

Sir, – We read with interest your article at the beginning of November about Denbeath School's 100th anniversary.

You mentioned that local personnel had sent in pictures to the school.

My wife and I also gave some pictures (plus a copy of the invitation to the 1908 opening ceremonies) to the school during our visit to the school in June.

We were visiting with friends Bill and Dorothy Dunn who live in Methil.

Bill is a former member of the Denbeath School Board.

During our visit to the school in June we found out about the anniversary celebration being planned for September.

My wife and I live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and decided to return for the anniversary. I took some movies during the proceedings and also some still pictures.

After the pupils finished the show, which we thought was very well done, we joined the students outside for the barbecue and had a lovely time.

On the way home to Brady Crescent I discovered I had left my video camera somewhere in the school. I returned, went to the office and found that two pupils had found the camera and handed it in.

These two pupils set a great example for the school and we thank them very much.

Just for the record, my wife's father, David Duff Brand, started at Denbeath Public School when he was five years old in 1908 when the school opened. He served his apprenticeship as an electrician at the Michael Colliery before emigrating to Canada in 1926. I attended the school from 1936 to 1941 and lived in Bow Street at that time. – Yours, etc.,

CEC HARRISON

(via e-mail)

Hefty cuts

Sir, – It was with interest that I read your letters page of November 19, in particular the correspondence from Craig Walker and David Alexander.

With reference to the former, in May this year, I made a commitment to participate in a leadership conference in Cumbernauld on the afternoon of Thursday, November 13. I was determined to honour that commitment. I am not in the habit of letting people down! On that morning, I met with MSPs in the Scottish Parliament to thank them for their support during the by election campaign.

Whilst that was the main purpose of my visit to Holyrood, it was also interesting to see Alex Salmond, the MP for Banff and Buchan, who visited the constituency as the 'other SNP candidate' on more than a dozen occasions during the by-election.

I understand that his visits to this constituency far outnumber his appearances in the House of Commons over the last year!

In his positions as MP and First Minister, surely he should have been devoting much more time and attention to working with the UK government during very challenging economic times?

With regard to David Alexander's letter, it is easy to blame the previous administration.

I do not doubt that the current SNP/Liberal Democrat group has had to make some difficult choices over its last 18 months in power.

However, it is clearly evident this SNP/Liberal Democrat administration approved the hefty cuts in secondary school budgets, a 50 per cent cut in the number of home school link/attendance officers in our schools and the increased homecare charges for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

These choices for our communities demonstrate a breathtaking 'social irresponsibility'!

Let's not forget, either, that these choices were made before the impact of the current economic slow down. As the council prepares plans for 2009-10, it will be interesting to see where its priorities lie. – Yours, etc.,

LINDSAY A. ROY

MP Glenrothes and Central Fife

Spartan living

Sir, – As regards to Sandy Reid's stay in `Greenbanks Home', I and another friend visited a girl named Catherine Cox at same home.

It was a short visit and the home was spartan but she didn't complain, probably because she knew nothing better.

It was the same time –1959. We were eight years old and at Parkhill Primary School. – Yours, etc.,

SANDRA LINDSAY

Burnbank Cottage,

Kennoway.

Poll whinge

Sir, – I would like to thank you for your letters page (EFM 19/11/08) – it was a hoot.

You had me both slapping my thighs with laughter and a wee bit sad at the level of whingeing.

Firstly the local income tax letter... 270 divided by 52 according to Nexos was only 50p per week.

Instead of berating Linsay on his maths he should look back at his school days because I think he was off the day they covered division. 'New Voice', he who jumps in with both feet gets very wet, you should show a little more patience.

Now that the laughter is out of the way, let's deal with the whingeing.

People who know me will tell you one thing I am not and that is a liar, so I was a bit put out when Cllr David Alexander accused me of cooking the books.

I still have the gate bar charts from that day and should he wish to see them I will gladly provide them.

I know it is hard to bear when you get beaten, but one thing I never took him for was a whinger.

He, like myself, always said it as it was, so let's get back to "if it is broken then fix it", don't look for pathetic excuses as to why "it's not my fault".

The honeymoon is over and the SNP has had 18 months to tell us what it is going to do – not make lame excuses about the last administration. Lessons were learnt in Glasgow and there wasn't all these buts and ifs, so let's see a bit of maturity and tell the people what the plans for the future are without taking the plaudits for the five-year plan etc.

People want to know what you are going to do about charges on care and other important things to them. Stop whingeing and let's get some real services for our taxes which includes our golf courses and bowling clubs, or are you afraid history may just be repeated? – Yours, etc.,

RM SCOTT

13 Hawthorn Street,

Methil.

Lost confidence

Sir, – It is a true saying that the opposition are your opponents but your enemies are in your own party.

I do not need criticism from a councillor who does not attend the community forum or community management meetings.

On contentious community issues, like the loss of a much-needed bus service, which incidentally I fought to get the service to assist people from this area visiting Victoria Hospital, his silence has been deafening. I applaud the Kirkcaldy councillors who did fight to get their service replaced.

Last week when I was in bed ill, I had no less than seven phone calls about street lighting out but, of course, unlike when I was an elected member I had a weekly surgery and responded to every phone call.

I would have respected Mr Adams more if he had phoned or visited me to ask why I had lost confidence in and was bitter towards Levenmouth police but no, he is not interested in real vandalism and unfair treatment to an individual by Levenmouth police.

I reiterate, despite all the service I gave which Tom Adams will never equal, the chief inspector refuses to speak to me.

I said when this ludicrous voting system came in, giving us four councillors getting 15,000 a year, local accountability would go out the window.

Boy have I been proved correct. Thank goodness we have Andrew Rodger but he is overworked. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

East Fife Mail Letters - November 26, 2008

Unjust comment

Sir, – Can I express my concern that former councillor Joyce Smith felt the need to criticise the chief inspector of Levenmouth police in last week's East Fife Mail.

Since he took up his post about a year ago, he has worked closely with all elected members of the Levenmouth area.

The result is vandalism is down, violent crime is down and housebreakings are down.

This can all be attributed to his good work.

Anti-social behaviour although still a problem, is also down – just ask the residents of Maple Gardens. Some have called me to say what a pleasure it is to get a good night's sleep.

The initiatives put in place by Ch Insp Morris, which includes a more visible police presence and the deployment of Dome Hawk mobile CCTV, has worked.

I, as an elected member, will continue to support Ch Insp Morris in the work that he is carrying out on behalf of all Levenmouth citizens and I expect the comments from Joyce are not supported in our wider community. – Yours, etc.,

TOM ADAMS (Cllr)

Ward 23,

(Buckhaven, Methil & Wemyss)

BNP members

Sir, – Due to infighting within the British National Party, the full contact details, in some cases work place, of its membership is available on line, including those within the East Fife Mail readership area.

These details were obtained illegally, the publication an infringement of the human rights of those who were named, and they include the names of children, people who were not members and the list is 18 months out of date.

This act by itself carried out by would-be leaders of the BNP should be enough to make the members reconsider its loyalties, abandon the politics of force and consider a democratic alternative, such as the Tories or UKIP.

But what use should a democratic socialist make of this information? The answer should be none.

To take advantage of this would be hypocritical. To defend the rights of the individual then abandon them to make a political point or seek vengeance would make a farce of our beliefs.

As an aside, my father, a working class Tory who served 50 years with the MOD, fought the Nazis. He never could see the connection between patriotism and fascism and saw these extremists as traitors who undermined what he and his comrades fought for, but his fight was for their right to believe. – Yours, etc.,

JIM McLEAN

(Scottish Socialist Party),

18 Wemysshaven Gardens,

East Wemyss.

Council spend

Sir, – I seek clarification from `Observer' who under `Fresh approach' (EFM 19/11/08) stated that hundreds of thousands of pounds had been spent on Silverburn, The Prom, Letham Glen and Cotlands Park.

As a regular visitor to the first three locations I would appreciate details of the actual amounts spent and on what.

As a taxpayer I am a little concerned that we may not be getting value for money.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds in 18 months for what? – Yours, etc.,

T. McANDREW

Scoonie Road,

Leven.

Lowly Leven

Sir, – Do we in the Levenmouth area pay council tax to Fife Council? Do people in Glenrothes pay council tax to Fife Council?, and do people in Kirkcaldy pay council tax to Fife Council?

If we all do, then why does Leven look so dull, uninteresting and lifeless compared to the rest.

It is no wonder the kids round here have nothing to do!

To go and see the latest film – Dunfermline!

To do some indoor shopping – Kirkcaldy/Glenrothes!

Fancy a game of bowling? Glenrothes!

Fancy a McDonalds? Glenrothes!

You can't even take your own family out to eat together. Brewers Fayre – Glenrothes! Hungry Horse – Kirkcaldy!

The choice of shops in the High Street is limited, unless you want a pie, a drink or a greeting card.

What do we have? A ghastly old power station taking up room, for what?

I can think of a few leisure facilities that people would like to see there instead of that thing.

And the old Troxy, let's have it back. – Yours, etc.,

MAROONED

(Name and address supplied)

Blinding light

Sir, – Is it just me or are the new traffic lights, at two places in Buckhaven, too bright?

One set is on Kenmore Terrace near the Randolph Wemyss Memorial Hospital and the other set is at the entrance to the "Bird Scheme".

During the day the brightness of the lights are at the correct level for everyone to see. At night they are blinding to approaching cars etc.

When you approach the lights, and they are at green, you can't see if anyone is standing on the kerb.

If anyone was to try and cross while the lights were at green, for the cars, you wouldn't see them until it was too late.

Even when you pass, you have to look twice as it looks like someone is behind you with their main beam lights on. They are that bright.

Surely the lights should be dimmed at night. I don't know of any place else where the lights look so bright. – Yours, etc.,

DANNY RANKIN

22 West High Street,

Buckhaven.

Home care spin

Sir, – I was interested to read in the papers a quote from Cllr Brett, the Lib Dem chair of the social work & health committee, in regard to home care charges saying, "...we have assessed over 2000 people and so far have adjusted the contribution to the cost of care for approximately 10 people".

Obviously this is untrue as we have read in other press statements that upwards of one third of people will have to pay the full amount for their care. As someone who has been closely involved in the issue of home care charges, I assume that what he is talking about is the number of people who have successfully appealed against their new charges.

The question is whether this is a carefully worded statement by Cllr Brett to try to deflect the public's perception of reality and thus try to bear out the SNP's accusation of false information and scaremongering during the by-election campaign, or has he just got it plain wrong.

I understand that because of all the bad press which the social work service has been receiving in relation to the numbers of disabled and older people they have plunged into poverty and misery because of the home care charges, a press worker has been seconded from the council's communication section.

She is working there four days per week, especially to try to do some damage limitation.

I have a few questions in regard to this. Firstly, was it her expertise in spin-doctoring which led to this very misleading quote attributed to Cllr Brett?

On the other hand, if it was just a wee mistake, how can this happen with such levels of expertise on hand?

And thirdly how much is this secondment costing the social work service and how can it be justified when they are pleading so much poverty that vulnerable people are required to pay for crucial care?

I take the view that as well as answering these questions, Cllr Brett should be forced to publish a retraction. – Yours, etc.,

MAUREEN CLOSS

Campaign Against Charges,

1 Barassie Drive,

Kirkcaldy KY2 6HL.

Forgotten pub

Sir, – I was wondering if any Mail readers could settle an argument for me?

We were reminiscing about Leven's old pubs and think the Royal Oak was either located in what became Dougie Miller's butcher shop or further along in what was Lightbody's tea room? Does anyone know? – Yours, etc.,

J. MARR

Queen Margaret Street,

St Monans.

l Owing to pressure on space this week, a number of letters have had to be held over. They will be given priority in next week's edition.

East Fife Mail Letters - November 19, 2008

Surgery threat

Sir, – I hope that all the patients registered at the Lundin Links Surgery return their questionnaires and express their feelings about the proposed closure of their surgery.

It is true that the surgery is in need of re-furbishment, but the adjacent premise, which were once a shop, are vacant. Why can't the surgery expand into there?

It is not for a lack of patients; there is usually a fair wait to get an appointment to see the doctor in Lundin Links.

The Largo area has a large proportion of retired people and statistically they need the services of their GPs more than the majority of the population. Some of these people may not be as mobile. The bus passes the Lundin Links surgery, but it is a fair walk to the Leven Health Centre from the 95 or X60 bus stop.

For those with cars, parking at the Health Centre is usually difficult – often impossible. The car park is not dedicated to the Health Centre and thus is used by town centre workers.

If the surgery closes, the Lundin Links pharmacy will surely be next under threat.

The health service will no longer be local.

If this closure goes ahead it must only be expected that there will be a need for many more house calls in the Largo area for the doctors in the practice.

Is this a sensible use of NHS resources?

Let's save the surgery. – Yours, etc.,

DAVID STACEY

The Roundel,

Lundin Links.

Euro beckons

Sir, – Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's latest comments on a run on the pound seem quite feasable.

Day after day it is losing value to other currencies in the world stage.

What a perfect time to drop the pound and turn to the Euro, before it drops further in value.– Yours, etc.,

BOB HARPER

63a Pittenweem Road,

Anstruther.

Poor relation

Sir, – I have said for some time now that Levenmouth was the poor relation of Glenrothes and lo and behold another prime example was apparent this week.

We in Levenmouth always had an advert informing us of the time, date and venue for our Local Forum meetings placed in our local paper, the East Fife Mail, but, in the past few weeks, this has been withdrawn.

I made enquiries as to why this was and was told it was to keep costs down.

You can therefore understand not only my confusion but anger when I saw in the Glenrothes Gazette an advert not only three times the size of the one usually displayed in our paper but offering transport to and from the venue for those who find it difficult to get there.

I don't know which imbecile chose to undertake this blatant lack of thought for the Levenmouth people but whoever he or she is should be taken in hand and explained what equality and fairness means and warned never to make such an obvious mistake again or it could mean a change in career.

I am angry not only because someone took us for granted but robbed our local paper of revenue and us of very important information.

I feel there is something underhand going on, perhaps hoping the lack of complaints may show favour to their management.

What it has done is stimulated me into attending said and finding out for myself, so if there are readers out there with what they consider a genuine complaint why not contact me and I will mention it to the meeting and await the response.

Of course, before I can attend someone will have to reverse that decision and get the advert back. – Yours, etc.,

RM SCOTT

13 Hawthorn Street,

Methil.

One man band

Sir, – With reference to your articles on the Christmas lights for Leven, Brucespeed is the company that is engaged in removing the existing cables and replacing them to the specified height as requested by Fife Council.

Contrary to popular belief, council tax is not paying for the lights, etc.

The Leven Business Association (LBA) provides funding for this and this money comes from subscriptions, donations and other fundraising activities. The Leven Environment Group has also been proactive with its support.

The LBA is an organisation of local businesses that pool together to help each other out and help provide a vibrant economic environment. At times like these it is all the more important that we encourage an organisation like the LBA.

The biggest problem with an organisation like the LBA is it requires people to attend and be proactive within the association.

At present Eddie Young is being left to do most, if not all, of the running of the LBA. There are others as well but, as it stands just now, Eddie is the LBA.

Please bear in mind that the time and effort put into the lights and other festivals during the year are for the benefit of everyone in the area and there is no admission fee.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, companies, organisations, groups and individuals for all their effort. I am sure it is greatly appreciated. Also a special thanks to the cherry picker operator/driver for his help and assistance.

By the way there is still a lot to do, so?

Season's greetings to everyone and let's look forward to 2009 with as much enthusiasm as our spirit desires. – Yours, etc.,

TOM V. RATCLIFFE

Managing Director,

Brucespeed Limited,

Unit 4,

Aberhill Industrial Park,

Methil.

Sunken ideals

Sir, – I may be a bit naive but over the last few months while the 'Iron Brig' road has been cut off, I've watched the trench and pipeline being sunk from the "purification plant" into the River Leven.

Lo and behold, Leven loses its Blue Flag beach status in the same week I jump the fence for a shortcut home and witness the "Methil Ming" spew its detritus into the River Leven.

Meanwhile the local worthies spew out more meaningless drivel for a seat in the 'Big House' knowing full well their promises mean nothing more than the other sunken ideals that went before.

I wish there was an answer. – Yours, etc.,

KENNY

(Name and adddress supplied)

Tax poser

Sir, – Although a Labour supporter I find the attitude towards abolition of the council tax puzzling. Attacking a proposal without a viable alternative is a bit dodgy.

Labour cites a family as paying more but fails to mention that mum and dad will pay a good deal less.

Surely it's clear that all members of the community benefit directly and indirectly from the services and facilities on offer so why shouldn't they make some contribution.

Providing they are not banking executives they will pay very little. For instance someone on minimum wage earns roughly 13,000 a year paying tax on approx 900 at three pence in the pound. This amounts to 270 a year about 50 pence a week.

Non-taxpayers who are amongst the poorest in the country will feel most benefit.

I may be wrong but I feel the local candidate did not teach maths. – Yours, etc.,

NEXOS

(Name and address supplied)

Musical treat

Sir, – I would like to take this opportunity to thank Buckhaven and Methil Miners Brass Band for its outstanding performance at Cupar Old Parish Church last Saturday evening.

Both the junior and senior band members provided a great night of entertainment, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.

Also, a big thank you to everyone involved for making this a most enjoyable evening.

I wish the band every success in the 2009 championships. – Yours, etc.,

MRS J. SCOTT

6 Oak Vale,

Cupar.

Nursing times

Sir, – I am seeking information and memories about my cousin, Brigadier Barbara Gordon.

She was a long term resident of St Andrews – as were her parents.

She lived at Lettoch, 31 Hepburn Gardens, and had an illustratious career as a military nurse.

She nursed all over the world, was made Matron-in-Chief of army nursing and was made Companion of the Order of the Bath by the Queen. I would be most grateful for any information or memories about her as I am writing a history of the Gordon family.

Thank you, – Yours, etc.,

ELEO GORDON

4 Royal Crescent,

London W11 4SL.

Grateful thanks

Sir, – We wish to convey our grateful thanks to the young man who helped to save my dog Kizzie from the sea at Elie harbour on Sunday, November 9.

Without you and everyone else who helped, she would surely have died.

Also thanks to Gaynor at East Neuk Vets. – Yours, etc.,

MARY SYDSERFF

43 Beechwood,

Linlithgow

Toilet priority

Sir, – The elegantly abbreviated report of the Crail Community Council (EFM 12/11/08) may have inadvertently given readers the wrong impression that toilet provision is regarded in Scotland as unimportant.

I referred at the meeting to a BBC news item that only 37 Westminster MPs had supported a proposal to make toilet provision statutory.

At present local authorities are 'empowered' to provide toilets, but do not legally have a duty to do so, although, of course, many publicly-funded toilets exist in various locations and states of repair throughout Fife.

Toilets are high on the agenda of the Lib Dem/SNP administration, however. Residents have told my colleagues and me times without number how essential it is to have good toilet facilities for our many visitors, on whom the local economy in large part depends and, of course, for locals as well.

As a tour guide and as a teacher I have taken many foreign groups to the East Neuk villages and know how important it is to them to have regular toilet stops in the programme.

At present Fife has a variety of types of toilet provision – some staffed toilets, a few automatic public conveniences (both of these very expensive to run even though a charge is made), unstaffed toilets (some of which suffer from vandalism and hence often need to be locked inconveniently early), and some in council-owned buildings (where access is not always easy).

Following a review of existing provision, a detailed report is to be brought in the near future to area committees for discussion and then taken to the central environment, economic and transportation committee for decision.

The report will examine all the existing types of provision and councillors will be asked also to consider if more toilets can be built, as well as the possibilties of partnership working and of a 'Comfort Scheme' (as used in some other parts of Scotland) whereby businesses are paid to provide free toilet facilities to the public.

It is hoped that all of the options examined, when combined, will provide high quality public convenience provision across Fife at an affordable cost. We certainly need it. – Yours, etc.,

DONALD MACGREGOR (Cllr)

East Neuk and Landward.

Lost confidence

Sir, – I would have respected the person who was so critical of me in last week's EFM if only they had had the courage to be identified.

If they care to visit or phone me I will tell them why I have not only lost confidence in the police but feel very bitter towards them after incidents in the last few weeks.

I am well aware of the disadvantages of being a policeman but the high wages and unbelievable perks that no other council employee enjoy more than make up.

I served on the community safety panel for years until I became too disabled to climb upstairs to the ivory tower at Sea Road.

Incidentally it was my suggestion that we applied successfully for urban aid money that enabled us to put the first CCTV camera on the roof of the swimming pool and, from Inspector Drummond's idea, neighbourhood alarms with the employment of two girls, one of whom was employed by the council after urban aid money ran out.

The two girls did a splendid job and I am sure gave many people an easier mind when going into hospital or on holiday, knowing intruders would be detected.

Despite all the service and assistance I gave police over 25 years, we now have a Chief Inspector who will not lower himself to speak to me.

Now, as far as police in Levenmouth are concerned, I will be like the three wise monkeys. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methilhill.

Public office

Sir, – Further to your coverage of the Glenrothes by-election in last week's Mail, I sincerely do hope Messrs Roy and Grant do work together for the benefit of Fife.

In fact, as they are both in public office, that is something so obvious it shouldn't need saying.

The obvious bitterness between the SNP and Labour does not come over as political differences but as personal dislike.

To have politicians behaving bairn like doesn't fill me with confidence that Fife really is their No1 priority. – Yours, etc.,

TS

Den Walk

Buckhaven

(Name and address supplied)

Fear campaign

Sir, – Having read quite a number of adverse criticisms of the Labour Party's conduct in the Glenrothes by-election, I felt I should add my criticisms to the list, and to send them to you also.

The two points I wish to make were, I think, the two most important ones, in this fiasco!

1. The Prince of Darkness (Mark 2) was sent up, by Westminster to spearhead, this dishonest campaign; not as clever a man as Mark 1; but cunning and cheap; namely our imposed new secretary of State for Scotland – Mr Murphy and his equally cunning and willing assistant, Mr Gray.

Anyone who listened to Mr Murphy's maiden speech in the House of Commons recently would be quick to notice his repeat of the same slanderous attack on Mr Salmond and the SNP at Glenrothes. Do we need a Secretary of State for Scotland in a devolved government? I don't think so, certainly not of his ilk.

2. Fife Council is run very well by Peter Grant and assisted by Liberal Elizabeth Riches. The poor showing of the Liberal Party in the polls, shows that it was also the target of Labour's ill-informed statistics and reports. In fact all the Labour Party did was to spread a rumour of fear, concentrated, mainly on health care, intimidating old ladies to vote for them by bombarding then with ill-informed and untrue information. This is no way to run a campaign when there is so much to discuss regarding our problems in a shrinking economy and making attempts to suggest and advise on how best we can help surmount these problems.

What good will the said anointed `Lindsay Roy' do for the area?

He'll sit on the back benches of the House of Commons, behind his master, polishing the seat of his breeks for a year or so?

Then after the next election he'll retire with an enhanced pension!

Was that the bait, Mr Roy? Shame on you Glenrothes; for you have been tricked into this situation, by a conman and his assistant, plus carried away by a spell in the limelight, seeking prominence, by being contrary.

I hope you can explain to the people of Levenmouth and even parts of Kirkcaldy (neglected for 25 odd years by Labour administration and councillors) what you have achieved? Zilch... save disrepute for the pride you often profess in the Kingdom of Fife. – Yours, etc.,

MORAG C BELL

The Birket,

11 North Street,

Elie.

Labour legacy

Sir, – Can I thank the East Fife Mail and staff for the fairest coverage of the (Glenrothes) election by any paper. You were professional throughout.

I have two wee points about the analysis.

I do not recognise the quote "SNP arrogance" and at no point was it ever going to be "a landslide".

The bookies "odds-on" tag was based on Glasgow East and the fact that no comprehensive opinion polling had been done here.

The local SNP are not naive people.

We were over 10,000 votes behind, even before the inclusion of Buckhaven, the Wemyss villages, Cardenden, Kinglassie, and 1000 houses in Kirkcaldy.

It was always a tough call but we raised our vote again by 13 per cent in the midst of some appalling and biased national coverage.

Most of the accusations made against us were false.

The new administration of Fife Council has nothing to be ashamed about. Social work suffered no cuts. Home care budgets were actually increased by 5.7 per cent and Fife now provides more quality care hours to more clients than ever before.

Labour's first Fife Council budget saw the closure of residential homes at Denend and Parkdale. We were faced with the same problem of care homes requiring major investment.

We took a different decision. We are investing 40 million into Fife's residential homes to make them the best in Britain.

No other local authority will be able to come near to the state-of-the-art facilities that will be built in Fife, or be able to invest these amounts.

Given the impression that some are trying to create about Fife, this fact needs reinforced.

For those who genuinely care about social services one thing slipped quietly by over the last two weeks – Labour-controlled Glasgow Council completed the privatisation of its care services. At a stroke 8000 employees have been hived off to a non-council body.

The undoubted intention is to reduce costs and employee conditions, with the potential impact on care itself.

Some Fife Labour councillors are whispering that Fife should do the same – we won't.

As someone who was at the count I can tell Rob Scott that the Methillhill vote was nothing like 80-20. We got the biggest ever SNP vote out of Methilhill and I thank you for that (I think Bob possibly knows that).

A final word on home care charges. There is one reason, and one reason only, behind the implementation of the new system. It was in the budget we inherited from the last Labour administration.

Labour put an additional 750,000 on to home care income in the budget for year 2007/08. The elections were in May 2007. When the new administration was formed the financial year had commenced, and Labour had emptied the reserves to such an extent that we commenced the year with a deficit of 1.7 million.

It was as cynical as you can get – until this by election.

Joyce Smith voted for that budget. She voted for the additional income to be recovered from home care.

I have asked her before in these pages how Labour intended to raise that cash. No answer was ever forthcoming.

I'm asking again, Joyce. (The answer is – Labour was going to do exactly the same). – Yours, etc.,

DAVID ALEXANDER (Cllr)

Kennoway.

Voters' verdict

Sir, – The Glenrothes by-election gave the voters of Central Fife the opportunity to give their verdict on the increases to care charges and the broken promises of the Liberal Democrat/SNP run Fife Council.

Speaking to local voters in North East Fife it is clear that they want the opportunity to do the same and will not forget the record of Fife Council at the next General Election.

Elderly voters across the constituency feel betrayed by Liberal Democrats and SNP Councillors running Fife Council who have presided over shocking increases in the cost of service to the elderly across Fife.

The increase in the home visit charge in Fife is a national scandal and has hit the most vulnerable in our society.

I have a feeling that the voters of North East Fife have had enough of the Liberal Democrats taking the area for granted and are going to send a message at the next General Election that we want change. – Yours, etc.,

MILES BRIGGS

Conservative MP Candidate,

North East Fife.

Fresh approach

Sir, – The worst Fife Council in living memory was the one Joyce Smith left 18 months ago.

It was Joyce herself who said she was ``the voice in the wilderness'' when it came to trying to get investment into Levenmouth.

The finances were in such a mess the independent external auditor described them as ``precarious.''

Teacher numbers were reduced and over two terms the council tax was increased by 80 per cent.

Levenmouth was left with the worst health record in the East of Scotland and social problems escalated.

In comparison, millions of pounds are now flowing into Levenmouth.

The new administration has given Levenmouth more power and influence than it has ever had with the area committee structure.

Two million pounds has been allocated for rail link infrastructure. Schools are being upgraded without the use of PFI. Joyce's cuts to the voluntary sector were reversed and libraries saved from closure.

The child care centre has been opened. Hundreds of thousands of pounds has been spent on Silverburn, the Prom, Letham Glen and Cotlands Park.

The new recycling centre is about to undergo construction.

Primary school teacher numbers have been increased and several weeks ago Fife Council's schools achieved their highest ever attainment levels.

Education and social work budgets were increased – not reduced as Labour said.

The council has been praised for its financial stewardship and has frozen the council tax. Huge capital investment in schools, leisure, and care homes has been announced.

The reduction in homeless applications is the highest in Scotland and crime levels have dropped at double the rate of any other local authority.

Council houses will be built once more.

Not bad for 18 months. – Yours, etc.,

OBSERVER

(Name and address supplied)

New voice

Sir, – Having been professed as the 'New Voice for Fife', I was interested to see our new Labour MP, Lindsay Roy, enjoying a day out at Holyrood just one day after being sworn in as an MP at Westminster!

Given the promises made by Mr Roy during the by-election to work hard for the people of the Glenrothes constituency, this does not bode well.

Perhaps 'No Voice for Fife' might be nearer the mark?

It is significant that last week the only candidate to thank the electorate via your newspaper was Peter Grant.

Not one word of thanks from Lindsay Roy. I hope for those who voted for him in good faith that our new MP has not, despite his protests during the campaign, taken the voters for granted?– Yours, etc.,

CRAIG WALKER

(Address supplied)

United front

Sir – It is a great honour and privilege to have been elected as Member of Parliament for all of the communities that make up the Glenrothes and Central Fife constituency.

I would like to thank all of the voters who participated in the election process, irrespective of their voting preferences.

In a democratic society, it is important that citizens exercise their right to vote.

In this by election, the Labour Party increased its share of the vote – and the total numbers supporting Labour actually increased from the general election. Thanks to the many voters who showed their confidence in Labour.

Immediately after the result was announced, I pledged again my commitment to work hard to represent the interests of all of the people in the constituency.

That work has already begun.

I also expressed my desire to work with politicians of other political parties, both at Holyrood and within Fife Council, to consider a range of issues that had emerged on the doorsteps during the election campaign.

That commitment remains, although some representatives of the party in power in the Scottish Parliament and Fife Council continue to snipe (ie SNP) about key issues raised.

I can understand that there may remain some hurt and disillusionment amongst the 'odds on favourites' who were soundly beaten at the polls.

I urge them to review their highly unpopular policies – cuts in school budgets, increases in charges for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and their plans to introduce a 'nationalist income tax'.

It was clearly evident on the doorsteps that there is no appetite throughout our communities for separation from the United Kingdom.

Indeed, voters made it clear that they did not support a candidate whose main objective is to break up the UK.

People in Fife are patriotic and proud to be Scots – and proud to be British.

They recognise that we are 'stronger together, and weaker apart'.

Fifers are only too aware that the Saltire belongs to all Scots – not just to one political party!

Labour listened carefully to the electorate and, on the basis of the issues raised, devised a positive action plan to address these: Dealing with Anti Social Behaviour; Providing more Opportunities for Youth; Tackling a Range of Transport Issues; Helping people through Tough Economic Times.

I will do my best to ensure that this plan will be delivered.

I hope sincerely that representatives from all political parties will consider these issues carefully and work with me to support our constituents. – Yours, etc.,

LINDSAY A ROY MP

Glenrothes and Central Fife.

Council appeal

Sir, – The Royal Burgh of Kilrenny, Anstruther and District Community Council currently has three vacancies for members. We want to hear from anyone on the voting roll that is willing to give up a bit of time for their community.

Community councils are statutory consultees on planning and licensing. They are consulted by many bodies including Fife Council, Fife Police, Fife NHS, Scottish water etc on a wide range of matters concerning the community.

The community council in Anstruther is also involved in providing the town's floral displays, there is representation on the community centre management committee , the town centre working group, Murray Library trustees, Anstruther Community regeneration project amongst others . We also address the more day to day issues such as lamp-posts, weeds, seaweed, and dog fouling!

We meet on the second Monday of the month in the Burgh Chambers in Anstruther Town Hall at 7.30pm. Please come along to any of our meetings, they are all held in public, and if you like what you see then please consider putting yourself forward. Alternatively contact any community council member for further details.

While we welcome anyone from Kilrenny, Cellardyke or Anstruther, we would especially like to see representation from Kilrenny, as currently there is none. – Yours, etc.,

MARTIN DIBLEY

Secretary,

Kilrenny, Anstruther and District Community Council,

56 High Street,

Anstruther.

Cruel burden

Sir, – I am writing to support Macmillan Cancer Support's campaign to freeze out fuel poverty for cancer patients.

Rising fuel prices have affected many of us, but for cancer patients the effects can be even more keenly felt.

Spending longer periods at home during recovery is just one of the reasons cancer patients have increased energy needs. Coupled with the effects of the treatment itself this means that cold really is colder with cancer.

In a recent Macmillan survey, two thirds of cancer patients struggling financially said paying fuel bills is their biggest money worry.

Cancer patients face higher bills at a time when their income has often decreased, but do not automatically qualify for help.

Nobody with cancer should be left in the cold this winter because they can't afford to heat their home. Macmillan is urging the Government to extend the winter fuel payment to cancer patients.

This annual payment is currently paid to everyone over 60, but could bring immediate help to cancer patients struggling with additional fuel costs.

If you're struggling to cope with the financial effects of cancer visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call 0800 500 800 to find out more and get hold of a copy of Macmillan's Help with the cost of cancer booklet and managing fuel costs fact sheet. – Yours, etc.,

BRIAN GILMARTIN

22 Cunningham Road,

Rosyth.

Suez shame

Sir, – I've written a book – Suez: The Hidden Truths – which details those turbulent years of the Suez emergency of the early 1950s when thousands of troops, many national servicemen were posted to defend the canal zone, often facing appalling conditions.

Indeed, at that time there were many `hot spots' of the Colonial Empire to be policed around the world – and one in particular was the gate-way to the East – the Suez Canal zone of Egypt, where by 1951 nationalism was becoming the new rising force around the region.

To contain this threat, many raw recruits were sent both by air and sea to defend a `strip of water' against both a hostile and barbaric foe, while living under canvas in camps along the canal with heat, flies, stench, disease and devious dangerous terrorists to contend with in quite an inhospitable land.

Even though many lads died – who were only in their teens – we were inexplicably denied a medal. However, after a long campaign, this miscarriage of justice has been righted after 50 years, against overwhelming odds.

Moreover, the Suez emergency lasted for three years and during that time the number of troops defending the region remained at around 80,000. All crammed into camps designed for just 10,000.

In addition, while many Suez veterans – now in their 70s – are delighted with the award of this belated medal, they are, at the same time, angry that it wasn't issued at the time, especially when the veterans look back to their comrades who lost their lives all those years ago and are buried in British military cemeteries in Egypt and other vets who have passed on over the years since.

My book costs 6, incl p&p (revised edition). Nostalgia abounds. – Yours, etc.,

JOHN HUNT

Suez Veteran,

14 Carrfield,

Bamber Bridge ,

Preston,

Lancs PR5 8BS.

East Fife Mail Letters - November 12, 2008

Unlevel field

Sir, – Could someone from Fife Council, Anstruther Community Council or Leven Community Council please explain why people wanting to play football on facilities at Waid Academy, Anstruther have to pay double what people in the Leven area have to pay at Kirkland?

I thought Fife Council and all the political parties were all for equality and social inclusion!

Just the other week I saw a letter in the media saying how great things were in Anstruther with a very vocal community council where as Leven was struggling to have a community council.

Maybe better without a talking body as things seem to be cheaper without it! – Yours, etc.,

ROY McINTOSH

9 Bankwell Road,

Anstruther.

Festive lights

Sir, – With reference to the article `Let There Be Lights' – the issue was wrongly reported in last week's paper.

The article implies that the lights are ready to be switched on, but that is not the case.

Much more work has to be done to the fixings and all the electrical fittings have to be altered.

We are working very hard to have as much prepared as possible but, at present, cannot guarantee a specific time or date for the switch on.

Also Dryburgh Associates is not installing the lights, but has generously donated 100. – Yours, etc.,

LEVEN BUSINESS ASSOC.

LEVEN ENVIRONMENT GROUP

c/o Motorfits,

11 Commercial Road,

Leven.

Police pressure

Sir, – I am very angry at former councillor Joyce Smith's comments last week.

These young policemen and women have to put up with despicable abuse from these intimidating youngsters.

Sometimes have to cancel holidays and days off to deal with court cases involving them – that the offenders often don't turn up for.

What Ms Smith has overlooked is that police officers have a home life just like everybody else.

We all know women fought for the right to vote but this is a new era and dissent is among us all.

I would add that when Ms Smith was a councillor we, the public, had to petition to get our own zebra crossing. – Yours, etc.,

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

(Name and address supplied).

Morning upset

Sir, – A thank you to Mr Lindsay Roy for the early morning wake up call.

After weeks of having propaganda stuffed through my door, it is still deemed necessary to distribute vote Labour leaflets at 6.30 in the morning.

Surely the hope was to catch voters before they left for work, but he did not care to think of those who might consider being disturbed that early, a major upset.

After being awake most of the night caring for my asthmatic and epileptic daughter, both my daughter and I managed to get to sleep around 5am, and enjoyed a full hour and a half's sleep before Mr Roy's rude awakening.

Another point I put to Mr Roy and most who stood in the Glenrothes by-election, is the amount of waste generated by these campaigns.

Why, if everyone cares so much about the environment, did almost every leaflet not come from recycled sources? – Yours, etc.,

disgruntled & tired

Wemyss.

(Name and address supplied)

Reckless stunt

Sir, – I was disgusted to see a political party stooping so low last week that they were canvassing votes outside a Leven primary school.

I have always taught my children to stay away from strangers and not accept gifts or approaches from people they do not know and I was appalled to see representatives from the Labour Party approaching primary one and two children at the school boundaries.

I don't know what the Labour Party thought it might achieve by encouraging children to accept gifts from strangers and causing a rammy of small children beside a busy road.

Surely the safety of our children is more important than a few cheap votes.

I have complained to the head of the education department and I hope I never witness this ill-advised gimmick again.– Yours, etc.,

VictoriA Hunter

Leven.

Canvass costs

Sir, – I am writing this letter before the result of the election is known so there is no hidden agenda behind it.

I was just wondering how much the canvassing for both SNP and Labour has cost?

A small fortune I bet because we have been bombarded for the last couple of months with phone calls, leaflets, knocks on the door and letters with constant regularity.

I was just thinking would the money not have been better spent giving our elderly that require it, free homecare rather than the ridiculous charging that has been imposed firstly by Labour – let's not forget that – but carried on in a different format by the SNP.

Can I also add that that if Labour had not taken this community for granted for years it would not have had to fight for the Glenrothes seat – it would have been a given.

I hope a lesson has been learned, but I doubt it. – Yours, etc.,

LEE McCOMISKIE

(Address supplied)

Clear message

Sir, – The defeat of the SNP at Thursday's by-election was resounding given the predictions of victory which the Nationalists had made from day one.

It is no secret that the Labour victory was very much won on local issues and, in particular, the home care charges which have been loathed by Fifers since they were announced in October last year.

The Campaign Against Charges group was out in force during the course of the by-election campaign holding street stalls throughout the constituency when people were queuing up to sign their petitions and letters to Peter Grant calling for the scrapping of the charges - there were 500 of these.

The group turned up at the SNP launch and forced a meeting with Alex Salmond and went as far as to stand at the polling stations reminding voters who was to blame for the charges.

I think Peter Grant and his party underestimated the mood of ordinary people in regard to the home care charges.

The bills have just begun to drop on the doormats of disabled and older people – ranging from 11 to 107 per week and people have been prepared to speak out against these.

During the campaign the SNP was forced to go on the defensive denying information made available by the CAC group at hustings about the nature and extent of the misery meted out by the charges, but clearly the experiences of disabled people unfolding in the press during the campaign negated the SNP protests.

The SNP has felt the wrath of decent people in the Glenrothes area and it surely must be time for this SNP/Lib Dem council to scrap these invidious charges.

We very much hope that Peter Grant and Tim Brett of the Lib Dems will now show some humility and listen to the people of Fife.

We are not out for blood but we would like to see justice done for the disabled and older people of Fife who are feeling the misery of these charges. – Yours, etc.,

MAUREEN CLOSS

Campaign Against Charges.

Huge slap

Sir, – I am sorry you thought not to print any of the two letters I submitted to you over the last month.

If you had chosen to print any of the two in question you will have concluded I predicted the outcome of last Thursday's by-election.

To reiterate, I said Mr Salmond could fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time, and the Fife folk proved they were not to be fooled for a second time with false promises.

We remember in Fife but never forget, so when the lack of extra police and the myth of smaller class sizes never materialised, we said, "Oh aye, another Walter Mitty."

The SNP said Labour fought a negative campaign – it fought on local issues, because that is what mattered to the people and the fact that the charges causing the heartache was initiated by one of the candidates did not require rocketscience to figure out what was yet to come.

I stood for 15 hours in Methil/Methilhill and I was proud to see the stalwarts turn out to give Lindsay a chance.

I know that the Methilhill School box was 80/20 and I thank you all for making the effort on what was a dreadful night, especially those pushing their zimmers up that hill to exercise their vote.

I think we would have had the same turnout at the other end of the town had the council placed a portable cabin in the valley, but that may have been a tactical move by the leadership not to do that.

All we heard all day was that it was in the bag for the SNP.

Let me tell you Mr First Minister, we Fifers are not that easily fooled. I am sure you were sitting somewhere in the wings waiting for the word so you could sweep in and take the plaudits. It must have been a huge slap across that smirk as you made your way homewards to think again. – Yours, etc.,

RM SCOTT

13 Hawthorn Street,

Methil.

Negative poll

Sir, – While I feel the media made every effort to turn the Glenrothes by-election into some form of circus – the main political parties didn't shy away from performing.

By and large the whinging and gloating that followed the result crowned a campaign that was built more on critcising others than selling the case of what any particular candidate could do for the area.

While the by-election behaviour reflected that of the parties nationally, it did nothing to improvethe public percpetion of politicians.

For such a supposed crucial vote, the insight must surely be that just over 50 per cent of the voters were bothered. – Yours, etc.,

DISILLUSIONED

Methil.

(Name and address supplied)

SNP success

Sir, – I would like to record my thanks to the people of Glenrothes constituency for their record breaking support for the SNP in last week's by-election.

Despite an avalanche of misinformation and negative campaigning from our opponents we got our highest ever vote, up by an astonishing 50 per cent since the last Westminster election in 2005.

This is a tribute to the volunteers who worked so hard for us and who were so generously welcomed by local residents wherever they went.

It is also evidence that people like what we have achieved in Fife during our 18 months in office.

In education we have increased the budget by 25 million, employed more teachers, seen attainment reach its highest ever levels, and embarked on a programme of building new schools without going down the road of privatisation.

We have also increased the social work budget by 25 million, we are providing more home care than Labour did, we are providing free care to 1000 people who had to pay under Labour, we were the first administration ever to clear the backlog of people in hospital waiting for a home care package, and we are replacing every one of our old folk's homes, again without privatising them.

Homelessness is down. Crime is down (Fife had Scotland's biggest reduction in crime last year). Fife Institute is being rebuilt, where Labour's plans might have seen it sold for housing.

It's not surprising that in a recent residents' survey the number of people who thought things had got better during our first year in charge was six times bigger than the number who thought things were getting worse.

Scotland and Fife have moved forward since last May. We'll continue to move forward under the SNP. – Yours, etc.,

Peter Grant

SNP candidate,

Glenrothes.

Key factors

Sir, – I would like to thank all my former constituents who voted Labour in last week's election.

Three factors helped us win. Firstly, Lindsay Roy was an outstanding candidate who will make a wonderful MP. Secondly, the management of Scottish Labour has changed and it organised a superb campaign with a lot of hard work and old style campaigning actually knocking on doors and meeting people. Lindsay also worked tirelessly meeting groups large or small. Finally, the 'Salmond factor'. Indeed I have sent him a card thanking him for visiting so often as it did make floating voters turn to Labour.

I was also delighted that the Lib-Dem partners with SNP on Fife Council came fourth and lost their deposit.

Although this was a Westminster election the voters were giving their verdict on the SNP/Lib Dem Council – the worst administration ever in Fife.

Sarah Brown also impressed a lot of people; she is such a down-to-earth, nice lady. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

(Address supplied)

Interest blow

Sir, – It's truly shocking that the Bank of England has slashed interests rates presaging a fall in the rates paid to savers by the High Street banks.

At a time when these banks are questionably solvent – surely savers investing their hard earned funds in these dodgy enterprises should receive an increased interest rate reflecting the risk involved?

Or does capitalism no longer work like that in Mr Brown's Britain? – Yours, etc.,

John Eoin Douglas

7 Spey Terrace,

Edinburgh.

East Fife Mail Letters - November 5, 2008

Poppy pride

Sir, – What has gone wrong with people's attitudes these days to Remembrance Sunday?

First we have rumours spread that parades have been cancelled, then we have to fill out eight-page application forms to satisfy the bureaucratic boffins, police officers having to waste time checking and then verifying that we have the correct insurance coverage.

Now we have the politically-correct brigade saying it could be offensive to foreign nationals living in this country, so what!

If it wasn't for the sacrifice made by these men and women they would not be free to live in this country, or any other, and our PC brigade would not be able to spout half the rubbish it does.

So turn out for your Remembrance Day parade on Sunday and honour and remember these men and women and, as the slogan says `wear your poppy with pride''. – Yours, etc.,

HUGH NISBET

(Address supplied)

Path problems

Sir, – In the current environment/health-focused age where we are encouraged to walk and leave the car at home, I would like to point out a long-standing local obstacle to this principle.

This concerns a main pedestrian route between the Broom area of Leven and Leven town centre via Broom Road and Waggon Road.

The state of the pavements on Broom Road on both sides between Park Drive and Scoonie House, particularly on the park side, is atrocious and has been such for a number of years.

Occasional attempts to patch up missing areas of tarmacadam over many years have been incomplete and futile due to their temporary nature.

It is sad to say that the safest place to walk is in the road itself (beware traffic!).

Surely the department responsible could prioritise the complete upgrade of these pavements before some pedestrian comes a cropper and lands up in hospital.

An additional help would be a pedestrian crossing over Windygates Road at the top of Waggon Road. This would complete the route to Leven town centre along with the recent new crossing over Victoria Road. – Yours, etc.,

BROOM RESIDENT

(Name and address supplied)

Secret society

Sir, – I was wakened at around 5.40 on Friday morning by the sound of heavy transport.

I was drawn to the window thinking I'd left it open the noise was so loud.

I saw a stationary light in the sky above Levenmouth with a beam directed downwards.

I sussed that it was a very large helicopter and telephoned the non-emergency police number to be told it was a helicopter but she could not comment on what it was doing or why it was there.

The machine seemed to hang in place for 10 to 15 minutes then flew around the area for another 10 minutes in a circle before flying off.

Question: do we, the public, not have a right to be told what is going on?

Was it it to do with the elections? Was it a police search (which it subsequently proved to be)?

Why had the police no prepared explanation for the public?

Surely we have a right to know what is going on over our heads?– Yours, etc.,

CM

Concerned Citizen.

(Name and address supplied)

Crime concern

Sir, – The increase in crimes of violence in Levenmouth in recent months is very worrying indeed.

What upsets me is that Chief Inspector Andy Morris would have you believe crime had fallen and everything was well.

Who is he trying to kid?

As long as we have young people out of their minds with drugs we will have problems.

On a happier note can I pay tribute to the workers who are re-roofing the houses in this area, mine included, who work extremely hard?

It is many a year since I have seen men who worked in inclement weather, eg wind and rain.

They were upon roofs working with very little breaks for tea and lunch.

Council workers take note!

Finally, can I appeal to every voter to go and vote tomorrow. Remember women gave their lives for the right to vote. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

Wind windfall

Sir, – I was interested to read the views of the opponents to the Methil wind turbine regarding the offer of two turbines at the top of Leven.

One contributor even advised the organisation of a petition to block the plan before it has even been fully discussed.

From what I gather, the two turbines are a lot smaller than the one planned for Methil and the people of Leven would have to make the case for the turbines to be positioned here.

While I have a certain degree of sympathy for the residents in Methil who do appear to have got a raw deal – especially over the distance from residential properties – the 'offer' for Leven is an entirely different project, and may bring some cash into the community with no strings attached.

It may be that the plan is not acceptable but, until we have all the details, the pluses and the minuses, to simply rule it out of hand would show a definite lack of open-mindedness. – Yours, etc.,

TA

Mountfleurie.

(Name and address supplied)

Hunger horror

Sir, – Oxfam's recent appeal on the World Food Crisis highlights how rising food prices are hitting the world's poorest people hardest and first.

Around 24,000 people are dying of hunger-related causes every day and, according to the World Bank, 119 million more throughout the world are being pushed into hunger.

We need an extra 15 million to assist those most in need, and I would like to ask your readers for their support.

The money they give will go towards our international development and humanitarian work on food and agriculture to help meet people's immediate needs for food, cash and water and to campaign for changes to the flawed trade and agriculture policies that have left poor farmers vulnerable.

To make a donation, please go to www.oxfam.org.uk or call 0300 200 1242 or send a cheque to Oxfam World Food Crisis Appeal, 207 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4HZ. – Yours, etc.,

JUDITH ROBERTSON

Head of Oxfam in Scotland,

207 Bath Street,

GLASGOW G2 4HZ.

Fife fare

Sir, – Regarding Fife Council's decision not to allow an allotment outside Upper Largo (EFM 29/10/08), I would have thought the local authority would be bending over backwards to help such schemes.

The council is very keen for us all to recycle and promotes its success rate.

Surely then an abundance of gardeners would and could produce organic community crops.

Local produce, grown on our doorstep, would surely help to reduce our carbon footprint.

Unsightly huts is a lame excuse. Come on Fife Council, make some land available! – Yours, etc.,

PUZZLED

Elie.

(Name and address supplied)

Poor politics

Sir, – I hope everyone turns out to vote this Thursday in the Glenrothes by-election.

But I will be surprised if there is a large turnout. I think this has been one of the most negative campaigns this area has ever seen.

Every party just seems to want to knock someone else without giving the voters a positive message.

For healthy politics, it has been a very poor showing. – Yours, etc.,

JS

Den Walk,

Buckhaven.

(Name and address supplied)

East Fife Mail Letters - October 29, 2008

Slow menace

Sir, – I am sick and tired of people flashing their lights to warn other drivers that there is a speed camera on that particular road.

In two days on the Standing Stane road, which is a 60mph road I believe, I was slowed down to between 35-40mph, which is stupid. At the end of the day if you don't speed you will not get caught.

Please have some consideration for other drivers and drive safely by all means, but do not hold up traffic which can equally be just as dangerous with some drivers getting frustrated and doing something stupid. – Yours, etc.,

LINDA McCUTCHEON

(Address supplied)

Via e-mail

Bus campaign

Sir, – I would like to make an appeal through your paper to every family who has had a child injured, or tragically killed leaving school transport to have the courage to contact me.

Figures for this type of accident are impossible to find.

It is treated as a pedestrian accident, which it is not. This is happening UK wide.

In Aberdeenshire two children were tragically killed a matter of weeks ago, one in Fife in 2006 and another in Wales.

My own grand daughter was left wheelchair bound & severely injured in 2004.

We know there are others, but we need to find them.

Accurate figures are required to help us progress a campaign for safer and highly visible school transport with an intention of a law to simply ensure vehicles stop when a coach is loading or unloading.

Please contact me at the address below. You could help save future lives. – Yours, etc.,

RON BEATY

15 Craigen Terrace,

Gardenstown,

Aberdeenshire AB45 3ZH.

Changed times

Sir, – After reading the article "Zero tolerance over bonfire bother" (EFM 22/10/08) it started me reminiscing on life when I was a lad in the 50s and 60s.

We would spend weeks before Guy Fawkes collecting wood, old three piece suites, paper, cardboard and anything else that would burn.

We would hide it all and, a day or two before the 5th of November, we would bring it out and build our bonfire, complete with the Guy on top, sitting on an old easy chair.

We had to guard it at all times as boys from other areas were liable to pinch fuel from our hard earned bonfire, as we would do to them given half a chance.

When the big night arrived and we lit the bonfire all the neighbours would be out to see the spectacle.

We were carrying on a tradition enjoyed by our fathers, grandfathers and their fathers before them.

It all ended years ago when my son came home upset that the fire brigade had arrived and turned the hoses on their bonfire – a wet end to a tradition that everyone who was young back then remembers with a smile.

And civilisation survived...

We managed not to burn down Methilhill (which might not please some) or anywhere else that I know of.

I can't remember losing any friends either, but I might be wrong. By the tone of your article, it seems if a bonfire is lit anywhere in the area this year, next year the army will be on the streets.

It's nice to reminisce on how safe life was back then.

We carried knives,when we were boys not just pen knives but sheath knives, the bigger the better. No one bothered, no one got stabbed; we used them to make bows and arrows.

Most of us had air guns. How did we manage to survive into adulthood?

In the winter we would make fire cans out of old syrup tins. We would punch holes in it to make a little brazier, fit a wire handle, put a coal fire in it and carry it around the streets. It was great for roasting tatties, no one bothered. Half a dozen or more of us would sit on the street corner with our fire cans, we were invisible, old women weren't afraid of us, they didn't see us – that was a time long ago before old women got mugged.

And when you reached 11 or 12 years old, the fire can was handy for lighting your fags.

It's great to reminisce of a time before political correctness, health and safety, the mind police and think tanks, when common sense and a clip round the ear if you didn't behave was all that was needed. – Yours, etc.,

DM

Methilhill.

(Name and address supplied)

Spare the rod...

Sir, – I refer to the genuine concerns and fears expressed in a number of letters (EFM 22/10/08) in connection with the vicious attack on a pregnant young woman.

The way to cut down on such violent crime is simple: corporal punishment.

Is it effective?

Several years back a 17 year old American on holiday with his parents in Singapore got drunk and went on a damage spree, scoring a number of parked cars with a sharp implement. He was caught by the police, arrested and sentenced to several lashes of a cane rod on his bare buttocks.

Despite his parents' protests the sentence was duly administered. Two years later a journalist traced the lad and interviewed him. He told the journalist that he hadn't broken the law since, nor ever would as the memory of his humiliation and the pain was a sufficient deterrent.

Case proven.

However, I can hear the howls of protest already.

So let me say three things to those liberal thinking so-called do-gooders.

Firstly, you know very little about human nature.

Secondly, humans aren't all that complicated. We are motivated by two major factors a) the pursuit of and experience of pleasure b) the avoidance of pain.

Thirdly, it is liberal "anything goes" thinking that is responsible in good measure for the breakdown in society.

To parents I say this : If you really love your child you will not turn a blind eye to their bad behaviour saying "..my darling child wouldn't do anyone any harm."

Frau Hitler said as much about her darling little Adolf. Wake up. Get real.

You'd be doing your child and society in general a great service on the occasion of your child badly behaving if you confirmed your love and told the child gently but firmly that the discipline you are about to administer is for their benefit. And then carry out your duty.

This may stop your child running with a bad crowd. You may even save the life of your child. No?

"He that spares the rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastens him."

Those aren't my words. Those words were spoken by Solomon, a King of Israel and regarded by many as the wisest of men. But those words were not of Solomon's own originality. Those are the words of the Holy Spirit.

So, if anyone is inclined to dispute with and/or reject his counsel I suggest they take the matter up with the Most High. – Yours, etc.,

WILL BROOKS

(Address supplied)

Good example

Sir, – I would like to say a massive thank you to Mrs Rogers and her daughter and the staff of Mad Hackers. On Saturday Mrs Rogers and her daughter found my mobile phone and handed it in to Mad Hackers, who then called my home to let me know that they had my phone.

Nowadays it is so easy for people to walk on by, not to bother getting involved, as to help others might be too time consuming.

This is just another instance that goes to prove that the people of Levenmouth are honest and decent. – Yours, etc.,

KEN HAIG

2 Martin Street,

Buckhaven.

Pier eyesore

Sir, – When recently the BBC required a unique East Neuk fishing harbour, as little changed as possible over the last 130 years, for their film of the building of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, they chose the B listed, conserved harbour of Cellardyke. This would not be possible today.

Virtually unchanged since the time of Stevenson, the harbour has been defaced overnight, without consultation, and without planning permission.

In a conservation area in which residents have to fight to double glaze their windows, Fife Council have erected the oversized steel barrier which Mr Martin Dibley of the local community council has correctly described as "unsightly and unwanted". It has indeed "caused an uproar", and when Fife Council does get around to applying to itself for permission to defile this conservation area, Cellardyke Residents Association will stand with Kilrenny and Anstruther Community Council in opposition to this eyesore.

It has apparently been installed to prevent boats launching from the slipway without paying harbour dues, which must be frustrating to our well-regarded harbourmaster who is charged with collecting them.

However, residents report very few boats actually using Cellardyke harbour in this way, so one must question both the cost effectiveness of this solution, and its impact on this historic harbour.

Moreover, there is above the harbour an overgrown grassy slope, once neatly trimmed, now inaccessible to grass cutters under health and safety legislation, according to Fife Council.

It has, above it, a wooden safety barrier, which, oddly enough, has been allowed to fall into disrepair, being broken in at least four places. Repairing this does not seem to be much of a priority, unlike the steel barrier below.

Rather than waiting to award itself permission to keep its incongruous steelwork, the council should remove the barrier as quickly as it erected it, and restore this conservation area to its proper condition. – Yours, etc.,

GLENN JONES

Secretary,

Cellardyke Residents Association.

Two rules

Sir, – I write with great annoyance as a resident of Levenmouth.

I made my protestations regarding the 81-metre high wind turbine being built on Methil No 3 Dock.

I, along with over 320 other residents, was ignored by the entire planning committee and the four councillors sitting on the planning committee.

I live well within the 500m buffer zone that the 81m turbine will occupy, as do many other residents of Lower Methil, Methil and Aberhill.

The 500m buffer zone will apply to the proposed two turbines that may achieve planning permission in the coming months. Why, can I ask, that the same consideration was not given to the residents that will be affected by the turbine at Methil?

Is it because there will be "Sweeteners" (whatever that means) or that 100,00 will be ploughed back into the community or because the residents of Lower Methil, Methil and Aberhill do not have the same equal rights as other residents of Levenmouth?

Surely it is inequal to apply one set of criteria to the land behind Diagio for two turbines with a 500m buffer zone, whilst at the same time imposing the 81m high turbine within 230 yards of residential property and a children's nursery.

If the residents have the same equal rights then the turbine at Methil must be stopped until a public enquiry can take place.

I will follow carefully any involvement of the local councillors, MPs and MSPs.

I as an individual, along with over 320 other residents, have been let down by the councillors and elected representatives who ignored our concerns and granted planning consent.

I hope the candidates in the forthcoming Glenrothes by-election take time to consider the residents' views regarding this. – Yours, etc.,

JANET KEWLEY-ADAM

(Address supplied)

Bought off

Sir, – With the news of the two (proposed) large wind-turbines to be erected behind Diageo in Leven, Aberhill residents are looking forward to hearing how Councillor David Alexander will spin that one.

When fellow residents complain to him about the dangers of living within 2km of such monstrosities, will he be able to use the argument that "profits will be ploughed straight back into the local community" (unlike Aberhill)?

The Statute, providing a 2km buffer-zone, was meant for the protection of residents from monstrous turbines. So why did he and his committee deny it for us? And will he find a way to use it for his community?

Will the people around CastleFleurie / Mountfleurie welcome what is being threatened in their backyard?

Being bought off for 100,00 a year might not seem such a good deal when set alongside their health and safety. – Yours, etc.,

Isobel G Drummond

(Address supplied)

Public reponse

Sir, – With reference to Jim Braid's attack on the Leven community (EFM 22/10/08) there was an article the Mail (EFM 24/09/08) about new community project meetings.

I tried in vain to get information on these. I phoned the police numbers given twice but no-one knew anything about such meetings. A friend mailed the e-mail address given, but there was still no information.

As a resident of Anderson Court I am interested in such meetings as I have witnessed more than my fair share of anti social behaviour living here.

The police are doing their utmost to sort this matter out as are Bield Housing.

I see from this week's edition (EFM 22/10/08) meetings are to be held in Adam Smith College on Wednesday, November 5 at 7pm.

I should think this information would see a large group attending such meetings.

Jim Braid has no right to attack the Leven community and tell us to get off our backsides. – Yours, etc.,

ELIZ JAMES

Anderson Court,

Leven.

East Fife Mail Letters - October 22, 2008

Parental duty

Sir, – Regarding your story about the attack on the mum-to-be, would the parents of these teenagers please like to explain why they were out at after 12 midnight, or do they not really care?

This young lady who was attacked could have lost her unborn child, have these parents apologised? I don't think so.

This truly is unacceptable for the decent people who live in this area, and have to put up with this loutish behaviour just about every weekend.

It is time these parents were made to be responsible for the actions of their children, name and shame them.

Please withhold my name as I would fear reprisal from some of these people. – Yours, etc.,

RESIDENT 1

(Name and address supplied)

Beyond control

Sir, – I write this on the understanding that you will not give out my name an address because the people involved wouldn't think twice about attacking my family.

While the behaviour of the young people involved in that attack on the pregnant woman is sickening, you have to remember they are even beyond parental control.

Most of the parents probably can't wait until their teenagers leave home and until then they don't care if they roam the streets.

There is no solution to this behaviour because the parents just don't care. – Yours, etc.,

RESIDENT 2

(Name and address supplied).

Curfew needed

Sir, – Regading your front page story last week about the attack on the pregnant woman – it's time to take some action.

In some places in England curfews have been put in place. We should have the same.

If any young troublemakers are caught out after the curfew, round them up, put them in a holding pen and make their parents pay to get them out.

After a couple of times of forking out 100 or 200, maybe these parents might start taking an interest in what their kids are doing.

Please don't publish my name and address.

RESIDENT 3

(Name and address supplied).

No respect

Sir, – The East Fife Mail last week urged residents to go along to the meetings to be held by the police and tell them what the issues are. And then what?

The only difference between the police and the residents who live in fear of these yobs is that the police are better able to take care of themselves. They still get sworn at, spat at and assaulted.

And then what?

The kids are back on the street!

The police hold no fear for these teenagers, they command no respect and they can't solve the situation until they are given some real power.

The pathetic children's hearing and court systems need to start serving the victims first. They are failing our communities.

JS Buckhaven.

(Name and address supplied).

Leven apathy

Sir, – The September meetings of the community council meetings in Leven, Largo and Crail, reported by the EFM (15/10/08) made interesting reading.

What was most interesting was that at the Largo meeting there were 11 attendees, in Crail there were eight and, in Leven, a town bigger than two of them put together, there were six, barely a quorum I would imagine?

This probably highlights more than anything else that there is a great deal of apathy in Leven and it is hardly surprising that the town is in decline.

If the community council members cannot be bothered attending, and the residents of the town cannot be bothered joining the community council, then these people have no right to complain about the town's decline. Thankfully, here in Anstruther, Cellardyke and Kilrenny, we have well attended community council meetings, always with one, sometimes two or even three Fife councillors in attendance, pro-active and enthusiastic members, and good input and support from the public.

The result is a thriving community with tourism numbers on the increase year on year and several new improvement projects in the pipeline.

Time for the good people of Leven to get off their backsides and do something I think. – Yours, etc.,

JIM BRAID

7 Farm Court,

Anstruther.

Turbine poser

Sir, – I read with interest your article about the two wind-turbines proposed for the site behind Diageo.

The sweetener of profits – 100,000 a year – being ploughed back into the community was mentioned. This raised the question of who got what over the Methil deal? The turbine proposed for there will be double the size of the ones going up behind Diageo. So what was the sweetener for that? And who got it?

It certainly was not the good folk of the Methil/Aberhill area and with the speed that Councillor Alexander rushed the proposal through at that meeting of his in June, allowing not a single objector to put a single point to the committee – despite a fellow-councillor protesting that this was wrong – could it perhaps be inferred he was anxious not to see this deal unravelled before his eyes?

We hear about wind-turbine groups up and down the land promising – to communities they are about to blight – the most trivial contributions of children's playgrounds, a floral roundabout or some such item. Trivial by comparison with the rake-off they get in terms of subsidies paid for by each and every one of us in our electricity bills in the first place followed by payments from the National Grid in the second place.

So what was the pay-off for Methil? And who got it?

It certainly wasn't free electricity for the folk of the area to be blighted.

Can we be told?

And if the turbines have, as the EFM puts it, to be placed `at least 500 metres from existing buildings', how come the monster proposed for Methil Dock 3, twice the size, was nodded through by both Fife Planning and the local councillors (out soliciting your votes right now) despite it being within 250 yards of the new Lower Methil nursery, and within 500 yards of hundreds of homes on High Street, Dubbieside and Whyterose Terrace?

Why was there not even a 500-metre buffer-zone for the Methil turbine, let alone the one the Scottish Executive provide in their statutes of 2km? Who saw to that?

Is it true what residents of Methil and Aberhill say: that there seems to be one law for Leven and another for Methil? – Yours, etc.,

GEORGE SMITH

Allen Cottage,

Mitchell Street,

Leven.

Failed duty

Sir, – Those councillors are again using the local press for their benefit over the proposed site for these two wind turbines (EFM 15/10/08).

They will, as usual, sit back and do nothing.

When local constituents go to them, they will hear these words: "I am on the planning committee so I cannot comment."

Well, you people of Leven and Kennoway would be better getting a petition going that will rid this area of these people as they did nothing, yes nothing,to protect the the local people in Lower Methil. They will mislead this application through the planning process.

They will do as they wish and not consider their constituents whom they promised to serve.

Every one to date has failed miserably.

Guidelines that were made by Fife Council and the Scottish Goverment were brushed aside to aid others to make money at our expense.

Get on your phones and ask them for yourselves. – Yours, etc.,

JOHN MILLAR

(Address supplied)

Brown's folly

Sir, – They say never to kick a man when he is down, but Gordon Brown has a lot to answer for in the current financial crisis.

Since ascending to Downing Street with New Labour, his policies in giving full fiscal autonomy to the Bank

of England by releasing government control over the banking Institution, London Stock exchange 'fraudsters' have had a field day and cashed in on the misery of those with modest pensions and investments.

After inheriting a fairly healthy economy, left by a disgraced Tory party, he pursued to bring the tax system up to date by collecting an extra year's tax (mostly from small businesses and the self employed) leaving nothing in reserve for the Treasury, were there to be a national crisis, to collect.

This extra tax was squandered on a sensless war in Iraq, with the result that has now left the Treasury coffers bare.

To add insult to injury our ex-Chancellor and Prime Minister has ordered a rein in on the banking system he set free, as the financial crisis deepens, with more of our hard earned money.

One can only hope that the electorate's often short memory is stirred into action when they realise the price to be paid for Mr Brown's folly, and the world leaders following suit, and think twice before voting for him or New Labour at the next election. – Yours, etc.,

BOB HARPER

63a Pittenweem Road,

Anstruther.

Negative stance

Sir, – I received a 'Free Newspaper' from the Labour Party with 10 stories.

All 10 stories were attacks on an opposition party and not one was about what Labour will do if elected.

I have voted Labour since I was first able to vote over 50 years ago and was drawn to the party on promises to make a real difference to the lives of the everyday person.

It seems as if the party I voted for has forgotten about winning over the public with ideas and is more concerned about bashing the opposition.

I am not – and I suspect like most of your readers – a huge fan of politics or politicians and don't like being bombarded with leaflets, phone calls or visits, but I do want to hear what the proposed candidates stand for and I do vote because it's important to get your voice heard.

I think this is the first time I will consider changing my vote because elections are an opportunity for our politicians to set out their stall. I wait to be convinced. – Yours, etc.,

JIM GILLESPIE

Wellesley Road,

Buckhaven.

Vital roles

Sir, – Two of the candidates in the field to become MP for Glenrothes have temporarily given up very important roles in Fife to campaign. Over the past year and a half Councillor Peter Grant has been an able leader of the SNP/LibDem administration of Fife Council, with Councillor Elizabeth Riches as his equally able Lib Dem deputy. Despite the continuing efforts of Labour councillors to derail and misrepresent practically everything the administration has achieved or proposed, the new administration is replacing decades of inertia with progress on many fronts.

After a long period as a successful head teacher in Inverkeithing, Mr Lindsay Roy was brought in as a `troubleshooter' at Kirkcaldy High School, a role in which he has also been very successful, but which he has abandoned for the period leading up to November 6.

To me it makes no sense at all for Fife to lose either of these people from the vital jobs they do in Fife.

The influence both have on the lives of residents of Fife – in the one case in Kirkcaldy, and in the other across the whole Kingdom – far outweighs any benefits they can bring to us by acting as lobby-fodder in Westminster.

I hope that voters in the widespread constituency known as `Glenrothes' will cast their ballots in the interests of Fife and keep Peter and Lindsay at home! – Yours, etc.,

'FIFE FIRST'

(Name and address supplied)

Inherited debt

Sir, – I am about to break the habit of a lifetime and respond to an anonymous letter (EFM 08/10/08).

The author went back to 1962 to talk of Buckhaven and Methil being bankrupt – apparently by the SNP.

He didn't need to go that far back. Labour did it to Fife 18 months ago.

It left the new coalition with a starting deficit of 1.6 million. It cleaned out our reserves, it gave us a budget that had millions cut from education, and not enough put into social work.

Significantly, it also added an additional 500,000 on to home care income each year, for the succeeding three years.

Labour has never publicly said how it intended to raise that cash but everyone knows had it been elected Labour would have introduced the same Scotland-wide system as the current administration – that's what makes its current attempts to demonise the council so hypocritical. Despite the problems, the new administration stabilised the finances, introduced a council tax freeze for the first time, and has put forward the biggest ever investment in schools, leisure facilities and care homes.

Some 2 million has been set aside for the infrastructure for the Levenmouth rail link and some of our local parks have seen major investment.

So, 1962 is not about to repeat itself, and it's quite encouraging that someone has to go back 46 years to try to score points. I'm not saying whether I was born then or not. – Yours, etc.,

DAVID ALEXANDER (Cllr)

39 Hill Road,

Kennoway.

Child poverty

Sir, – A recently published report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has shown that areas within central Fife have the highest instance of child poverty in the country.

According to the study up to 27 per cent of children are in families on out-of-work benefits.

Last month Mr Brown's Labour government repeated its pledge at its party conference to halve child poverty by 2010.

Mr Brown's government has failed to do anything about this problem for two decades yet it is still promising to solve it in under two years. Unbelievable! Far be it from me to offer the PM advice but I think he would be much better served spending time in these communities listening to people and seeking real solutions rather than grand standing on the world stage proclaiming himself saviour of the global economy.

Mr Brown's government should practice what it preaches – prudence and moral values!

This year the UK government looks set to borrow 70 billion (double last year's total) to deliver on it commitments.

It is incredible that Mr Brown has the cheek to preach about responsible borrowing and spending to the public when he is mortgaging this country to breaking point.

He can be very proud of telling us about a 37 billion bail out for private companies and yet we hear nothing but more empty promises for children living in poverty – a lesson for us all on New Labour values. – Yours, etc.,

ALISTAIR HUNTER

Turpie Road,

Leven.

Inviable policy

Sir, – Are electors aware that a vote for the Scottish National Party is a vote for independence and separation from the United Kingdom?

It is a romantic notion, but we live in the real world.

While small is beautiful, it is not economically viable.

The choice facing Scots is to be part of a small offshore island, or to be part of the world's fourth largest economy.

Alex Salmond refers to the apparent prosperity of Iceland and Ireland as the oft-quoted 'Arc of Prosperity', but Iceland is presently bankrupt and Ireland without EU grants is in recession and struggling for survival.

SNP spokesmen blame the Westminster government for failing to support families coping with the rising cost of living, but fail to mention the winter fuel allowance and child-support benefits which have taken thousands of children out of poverty.

Their vote-winning free school meals policy is in tatters because local councils cannot afford to meet costs out of their own budgets.

This policy has not yet been approved by Fife Council, although Peter Grant has apparently announced that Fife Council has in fact adopted the scheme.

As a tax-paying OAP, I object to subsidising free meals for well-off primary pupils.

The proposed abolition of the council tax is another misplaced policy that will hit working families hard, especially where more than one worker lives in a household.

Putting 3p on top of income tax will make Scotland the most highly taxed part of the UK and will deter inward investment.

Post Offices have been losing millions of pounds each year because people are not using them.

The SNP is fighting to save our POs, yet is not prepared to cover their losses.

The SNP promises to freeze council tax to 2011: this is an empty promise as it cannot forecast the rate of inflation that far ahead nor can it know if it will still be in power.

To meet all the cost of its promises the SNP is demanding a billion pounds from Westminster and Mr Salmond hopes to visit the Arab sheiks of Qatar to finance big projects – by so doing, he will be pawning our family silver as Harold Macmillan used to say.

In a global economy, independence for Scotland is an irrelevance and will put our future destiny and prosperity in danger. – Yours, etc., IVOR GIBSON (Rev)

(Address supplied)

Kindly deed

Sir, – I would like to pass on my thanks to the kind gentleman who rescued my box of shopping from the car park in Lidl, Leven, and handed it in at the store.

He didn't leave his name and I would just like to let him know that I am extremely grateful. – Yours, etc., LOCAL SHOPPER (Name and address supplied)

East Fife Mail Letters - October 15, 2008

Bus worries

Sir, – For the past fortnight I have had the misfortune to travel on the Aberhill Primary School bus with my two children in the morning.

I say 'misfortune' because, to be honest, I am apalled by what goes on aboard this bus and I am sure other school buses are the same.

Almost every day there are children being thrown about on this bus caused by the driver's lack of consideration for the children onboard. They are driving quite fast and braking hard, causing the children to be either thrown forward and banging into the seat in front, or being thrown sideways into the aisles.

Do these drivers have no sense?

Add to that the fact that there is no adult supervisor on these school buses and some very rude and unruly children run wild and the whole service is a joke!

I was also very angry to see that these so called "school buses" have no seat belts fitted and cannot understand the sense in it.

If we as parents were to have our children in our cars with no seatbelts on we would be breaking the law.

So can someone tell me why is it okay to have 20 or more children (bear in mind they are aged between four and 11) on buses with no seatbelts?

My friend and fellow parent actually went to the bus station to complain about this matter and the way the bus drivers drive with our children onboard.

We were basically told it was the parents' responsibility to ensure child safety on the bus, which is all very well apart from the fact that my friend and I are the only adults on board the bus.

I would like to see mandatory seatbelts fitted on puplic transport that is to be used for our children as well as some form of adult supervision on these buses. Surely our children deserve to be safe on the school bus? – Yours, etc.,

ANGRY PARENT

(Name and address supplied)

Insulting views

Sir, – I must take exception to the remarks made by an anonymous writer last week who, whilst not mentioning us by name, unleashed his venom against the Campaign Against Charges Group of which I am a member.

He refers to us as "extreme lefties" and "political opportunists" – there are between 10 and 14 people who regularly attend the CAC meetings and you would have to join us for only one of our meetings to see what a lot of twaddle this person is talking.

As a bunch of people we probably are as diverse as the population in general, ranging from right to left in our political persuasion. What we do all have in common is that we are all disabled people. Our impairments range across the spectrum and we all share an aversion to the unfair and unjust charges which this SNP/Lib Dem administration has reined down on disabled people.

We all pay our council tax which should finance vital services and, we are all capable of thinking for ourselves – anonymous seems to be suggesting that disabled people are being led by the nose because they're incapable of expressing their own views and thoughts – very insulting and a bit disabilist don't you think?

Your anonymous writer asks us to "tell us" what we would do and how we'd fund it.

To answer your question, we would get our priorities in local government right which is to look after people who are in your care not strip them of any small amount of spare cash they have. They need this to fund the extra heating, special diets, specialist equipment and to pay for other care that the your council does not provide and maybe even sometimes to go out and enjoy themselves.

The emphasis being placed right now on capital projects must mean that cash is being diverted from front line services and this is wrong. Disabled and older people are worth more than the way your party is treating them. – Yours, etc.,

OFFENDED

Leven

(Name and address supplied)

Memorial shame

Sir, – I wonder how many of next month's Remembrance Sunday services will be marred for those attending by the state of the war memorial around which they are gathered.

Typically now about 85 years old, many are falling into decay through weathering, structural damage, the effect of traffic or, worst of all, vandalism.

Organisations such as the War Memorials Trust and others should be praised for their efforts in restoration but surely what's needed is a fundamental re-think of how this part of our national heritage should be preserved.

I have some ideas about how this might be achieved.

Let's mark the Centenary of the Armistice, now just 10 years away, with a national collection of pristine, sound (or at the very least, readable) war memorials.

Anyone interested? Please contact me on ray56thompson@tiscali.co.uk – Yours, etc.,

RAY THOMPSON

(Name and address supplied)

Electoral folly

Sir, – Isn't it great to see democracy in action, with candidates from every point of the political spectrum vying for the seat knowing that if they under perform once elected they can be ousted just as quickly?

If only that was the case at local level where the lack of public support for community councils has led to these positions being hijacked by an unelected few who, in some cases, do not even live in the area over which they preside but have taken it upon themselves to remain in office indefinitely.

I agree with Joyce Smith when she says that the multi-member ward system is destroying local accountability.

A good local councillor would know the concerns of his/her constituents through holding regular surgeries and there would be no need to hand over the power of their position to what amounts to a mini-dictatorship. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Advice poser

Sir, – I am somewhat bemused at the situation facing many of our local authorities which invested in the Icelandic financial sector.

In Scotland, for example, more than 45m of taxpayers' money may be at risk as a result of the banking crisis.

However, earlier this year, a number of international agencies had cut the credit rating of Icelandic banks, and the growing risk of the Icelandic banking system was a situation that had been highlighted in some cases since early 2007.

Warnings were passed on to many local authority financial managers, prompting some of them to stop investing in Iceland.

For example, South Yorkshire police and fire authorities stopped investing in Icelandic banks in June, after a warning from its advisory service.

This therefore raises the question of whether our local authorities were given inappropriate advice, or whether they were given advice which they chose to ignore. – Yours, etc.,

ALEX ORR

Flat 8,

35 Bryson Road,

Edinburgh.

Spinning around

Sir, – I think the return of Peter Mandelson, the architect of New Labour, proves without doubt that Old Labour will never return. Those who were/are prepared to give Gordon Brown one last chance must be bitterly disappointed.

However, the "spin" Mandelson created never left. The "spin" is now more important than the truth.

Unfortunately, we had a prime example of it (EFM 01/10/08) when, for the umpteenth time, Iain Gray, new Labour leader, tried to "spin" the line that care charges in Fife had risen from 4 per week to 11 per hour.

The truth is the method of charging in Fife Council has changed from "net" to "gross less concessions".

It is like comparing apples and oranges. There is no direct comparison but Labour hopes if it repeats it often enough, people will believe it.

Clients will actually contribute to their care costs, depending on the level of their disposable income, no matter the number of hours of care they receive – not quite the 11 per hour story Labour are desperately hoping to "spin".

But the truly outrageous part is – it was the last Labour administration which imposed this change.

So, we have the blatantly hypocritical sight of a Labour leader trying to attack the new administration for a change his own party made.

However, taking it further, if, as Labour claim, the 11 per hour is an attack on the needy, Ian Gray and the rest of his pals have to explain why the equivalent charge in Labour-controlled Glasgow of 16.50 per hour is not.

He has to tell us why 1 per week for alarms in Fife is a disaster when his Labour colleagues in Glasgow charge 3 per week.

He needs to explain why his Labour colleagues in Glasgow charge their clients for food preparation while in Fife, the service is free.

One last point. We are in a Westminster by-election campaign. When is Labour going to talk about Westminster issues, like inflation, the economy, unemployment, house prices, energy costs, and fuel prices? – Yours, etc.,

Cllr DAVID ALEXANDER

39 Hill Road,

Kennoway.

Pure hypocrisy

Sir, – The newsletter from the Fife Elderly Forum has some statistics from the revised social work charging policy.

Between April and August 813 clients were assessed. Of them 567 (70%) will pay nothing. The remaining 246 were deemed eligible to pay, the average contribution being 14 per week.

The benefits check has resulted in 54 clients gaining additional income.

This information flies in the face of the `outrage' that some politicians are trying to create over the new policy.

In fact, the report to the last social work committee estimated that 1000 clients who are currently paying will pay nothing under the new scheme.

When financial systems change you always hear from the losers but rarely from the winners.

Last week, Mr Wright said he had to pay 22 per week but he didn't tell us what his income was. The new system is based on disposable income so we have to assume that his income was, on average, higher than other clients.

The new system is approved by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and operates in every local authority.

In fact, Mr Wright should be aware that if he stayed in Glasgow he would be paying 16.50 per hour. And if he had an alarm he would be paying 3 per week, not the 1 in Fife.

For some politicians to castigate Fife Council for doing what their own party colleagues already do elsewhere, at a higher cost, is bare faced hypocrisy. – Yours, etc.,

OBSERVER

(Name and address supplied).

Grim outlook

Sir – I would like to ask Hamish (Letters 01/10/08) what is New Labour all about?

We went to war because of weapons of mass destruction.

How many years have we been there, plus how many allied troops and civilians have been killed? Years later, still no weapons of mass destruction and no end to the troubles.

Also, Hamish says a vote for the SNP would let the Tories back into power. That's rubbish, and he knows it.

There are only 57 MPs in Scotland. There are hundreds of MPs in England, which means at the next election, whatever party is the most popular in England will form the next UK government.

The Labour government is deeply unpopular at the moment, so it doesn't look good for Gordon Brown. – Yours, etc.,

JAMES WEBSTER

2 Kirkland Gardens,

Methil.

Taxing matter

Sir, – It is now obvious the SNP don't know whether they are coming or going, why do I say this ?

On Saturday Mr Swinney was saying that due to the current economic situation we may have to reverse the freeze on council tax and ask the public to pay more. Then Mr Salmond and Mr Grant were telling the people of Glenrothes that council tax will remain frozen until 2011.

Who is telling the truth and who is vote hunting? I leave you to figure it out.

So what have we got so far, a u- turn on extra police, on classroom sizes, along with many others that are coming to the fore on a daily basis.

We are regressing so fast that within a short time we will be back on the sides of the hills with our faces painted blue and screaming "Freedom!"

There are still lots of surprises still to come. They boast nationalism yet will jump into bed with non-nationalists to hang on to power – so much for their Scottishness.

I think an SNP vote to Westminster will do nothing for our education, security and our welfare, the only way we will improve these important things is to vote for a man that will shout out for them. That man is Lindsay Roy. – Yours, etc.,

RM SCOTT

13 Hawthorn Street,

Methil.

Pointless abuse

Sir, – The SNP has done more to benefit the people of Levenmouth in 17 months than Labour have done in 17 years.

Throwing abuse at them will not change that fact. It only highlights the difference. – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road

Methil.

East Fife Mail Letters - October 8, 2008

Gym'll fix it

Sir, – While at Leven leisure pool on September 28, there was a gymnastic event, with youngsters (and parents) from most parts of Scotland.

It was absolutely stunning to see so many parents and youngsters involved in this activity.

It would be only basic justice for this event to be highlighted, wholly disputing recent headlines that taint all youths as being anti-social and of a miscreant nature.

In a fair world, these events warrant sensible headlines rather than some cheap, headline-grabbing story about ONE child allegedly having some vodka in a lemonade bottle.

Furthermore, politicians and councillors keep prattling on about Scots taking part in 2012/2014 events, yet we still have very few real `gyms', there being, of course, plenty of `keep fit as you go' establishments. Well, let's see some action!

(Keep fit establishments actually mistreat the word `gymnasium').

Talking to several parents from Motherwell and other parts of the country, they indicate, like Fife, they have to depend a great deal on school janitors at various schools to set up the equipment in the evenings, then remove for school purposes the next day, so that their children can train.

With an abundance of closed churches, and other possible sites, is there any reason why assets from drug raids, community fines, benefit cheat returns, possibly topped up with cash saved by reducing council bureaucracy, could not be redirected to provide proper training facilities for the youths and encouragement for parents to maintain their application? – Yours, etc.,

BILL LOGIE

East Wemyss

(Address supplied).

Non-political

Sir – I ought to respond to the anonymous writer who misrepresented Concillor Neil Crooks and myself in your Letters page (01/08/10).

Neil Crooks did not tell me Scoonie Golf Course and the Bowling Club are going to close. Cllr Crooks responded to my enquiry as to how SNP Cllr Brian Goodall voted in the matter concerning the land.

Cllr Crooks confirmed what I and many others suspected, namely, the "double-speaking" Cllr Goodall voted to retain the option to sell the land if he so deemed it.

Furthermore, I have no political agenda. I am only interested in seeing that land gifted to the people of Leven is not sold off. Therefore, it is evident to me that anonymous, who accuses certain people as being desperate in trying to score cheap political points, is in fact the desperate one.

So desperate, he doesn't present the facts but resorts to false accusations.

Finally, I'd like to conclude by making one point followed by a question to the desperate one.

He wrote, in connection with the sale of the land "...it is highly unlikely to happen..."

This is an admission that a sale is possible.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems as though the desperate one condones such a sell-out.

Therefore, let me ask him this question.

Would he deem it to be justice and honest if politicians snatched his property and sold it off against his will because politicians deemed it to be in the "best interests of the people?" – Yours, etc.,

WILL BROOKS

(Address supplied).

Not sporting

Sir, – Re the replacement sports facility for Kirkcaldy and surrounding area, it looks as though the decision to build a swimming pool on Tolbooth Street has been taken.

I just want to see what more can be done to reverse this crazy, ill-informed decision.

We can highlight the discrepancies or inaccuracies that have influenced the decision for Tolbooth Street, i.e. the weighting system used to choose it, and reference to the questionable huge loss of funds if the project was further delayed. Surely, we should wait and do the right thing regardless?

Additionally, I understand Tolbooth Street is at risk of flooding as our weather becomes more aggressive and unpredictable.

I would like to add weight to the representations made by sports other than swimmers.

I raise the question, is it fair how nearly ALL the 50 million is being invested in swimming. What about other sports?

Additionally, the unfair allocation of funds geographically between Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Glenrothes.

I appreciate the local community representatives have reluctantly accepted this is a done deal, but I would like to continually challenge this publicly, in a high-profile media setting (i.e. public demonstration).

Everything I have read, and the debate with community representatives, highlights Kirkcaldy as the main area of need for sports investment.

Therefore, how can it be that we receive the least investment?

I would like for the public to be made explicitly clear on the opportunity we are missing out on, not just people from Kirkcaldy, but from all of Fife – the option for the whole 50 million to be invested in one mega sports centre (suitably housed in central Fife).

Instead of residents of Fife frequently travelling out of Fife to Dundee, Stirling, Edinburgh, Perth, the Time Capsule etc., we could retain these customers and attract inward investment, bringing people to Fife.

We could encompass an ice rink there too, skate and swim (50m pool and leisure pool), also incorporate the much-needed investment in fitness facilities.

The sports strategy refers to Fife as having a significant shortage - no wonder we have the country's fattest kids.

Fitness facilities generate income, Fife encourages (or allows) the private sector to monopolise the market, charging fees that only those on a significant income can afford -fitness poverty!

Bannatynes has 180 work stations and swimming; they are raking in profits – how about the Fife Leisure Trust facilitate this and generate income?

The whole process needs to stop for a radical rethink.

We should air our views to the national media too, BBC, STV, local radio and newspapers. There should be more pressure to scrutinise the (what seems) prescriptive argument constructed for the Tollbooth Street site.

Is the driving force the Town Centre regeneration? If it is, it is very wrong.

I know the press and others have been lobbying as much as they can and it must feel like `arrgh ... we've said that 100 times and nobody is listening'.

If we can capitalise on the involvement of national media TV, a high-profile public demonstration, highlighting the flaws, misleading reports, who knows – someone may listen?

Surely, there will be more money available somewhere in the future if we have to accept the comparatively less 11 million.

The 2012 Olympics will furnish more public funds? We must have the area to expand for leisure users and sports competitors.

We must fight for them, for our children, for our future.

Give us something worth 50 million. Give us a future. Give us a sporting chance. – Yours, etc.,

METHIL SPORTSMAN

(Name and address supplied).

Cancelled

Sir, – On September 26 we had a person from the social work department come to our house to asses my wife, to see if they would have to increase the amount we were paying.

Having done that, she came up with the result that we would have to pay 11 per hour.

As we have the home help for two hours, this means we have to pay 22.

This is a huge jump in payments as it means we will be paying 1144 per year, now up from 208.

I think this diabolical. They seem to think it is easy money to get from old people on disability allowance.

I have now cancelled my payments. – Yours, etc.,

C. J. WRIGHT

71 Wellesley Road,

Methil.

Chasing votes

Sir, – Is history about to repeat itself?

In 1962, Buckhaven and Methil Burgh was controlled by the SNP and, within two years, the burgh was almost bankrupt.

Are we about to witness it again but on a much larger scale?

Mr Salmond is already finding it difficult to keep up with his pledges on an increase of 1000 policemen. Where are they?

The SNP candidates' team is telling us they are being trained now.

Rubbish. They may be training policemen but it's only to replace those who are on natural wastage, nothing extra.

Class sizes will be reduced, when? Again, they are saying it is in the pipeline.

Rubbish. They do not have the finance nor the classrooms to carry out such a promise. Pure duplicity.

What he has done is shown he will jump into any bed to remain in power, and at any cost.

For example, he has given a Muslim charity 400,000 lately; the charity just happens to be run by the SNP candidate at the next election.

The charity in question was not registered as a charity when the gift was given.

The Scottish Muslim Foundation said charity does not represent its or any other tolerant version of Islam.

The Islamic Foundation has lots of interesting things to say about this charity and not many of the comments are complimentary.

Mr Salmond has to side with people who will guarantee votes; it is the only way he can stay in power, and stay at any cost he must.

The Scottish people will eventually start to think with their heads and not their hearts, and realise this man could set a very dangerous path for our future.

When the election team hits your door, ask pertinent questions. Don't let them dominate your thinking and I guarantee you will catch them out.

That is why I was the only person in the street not to get a visit; they just walked past to the folk next door.

What would that 400,000 have done for some the schools and charities in this area? Let your mind race. – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

Cancelled

Sir, – On September 26 we had a person from the social work department come to our house to asses my wife, to see if they would have to increase the amount we were paying.

Having done that, she came up with the result that we would have to pay 11 per hour.

As we have the home help for two hours, this means we have to pay 22.

This is a huge jump in payments as it means we will be paying 1144 per year, now up from 208.

I think this diabolical. They seem to think it is easy money to get from old people on disability allowance.

I have now cancelled my payments. – Yours, etc.,

C. J. WRIGHT

71 Wellesley Road,

Methil.

Left behind

Sir, – There are a number of very able and professional groups who look after the interests of elderly and disabled people in Fife.

I would trust them before taking seriously the ramblings of the little group of extreme lefties who are using disabled people for their own political ends.

Would people who genuinely care about elderly and disabled people really try to persuade them not to pay care charges if they could – even just a pound a week? I don't know one person who would.

The noises are coming from the political opportunists, not the professional organisations whose job is to ensure the interests of elderly and disabled people are protected.

That tells me the situation is nothing like as grim as those politicians are shamefully making out.

So, stop scaremongering, and play your politics elsewhere.

In fact, instead of continually abusing others, tell us what you would do and how you would fund it. – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

Good news

Sir, – I'm not prepared to sit back and watch this rather crude but co-ordinated attack on Peter Grant and the SNP.

As the former chair of the Cameron Support Group, I know good news when I see it.

Levenmouth has an appalling health record. A lifetime of Labour control has actually made the situation worse.

The SNP has attacked this head on. Facilities have been greatly improved, with 4.5 million for Randolph Wemyss and hundreds of thousands spent on improving surgeries, some with new services.

Prescription charges are being reduced, eventually to zero. Levenmouth kids participated in the pilot for free school meals.

There is greater co-ordination between the NHS and Fife Council than ever before. Levenmouth now has a health plan.

This has all happened within 18 months. They've done well. – Yours, etc.,

ALISTAIR SUTTIE

7 Durie Vale, Windygates.

Selective style

Sir, – Hamish from Leven (Letters 01/10/08)must have a highly selective reading style, only registering what he wants to believe, or he would be aware that the programme for a referendum has been clearly laid out for 2010, regardless of who is in power in Westminster.

He also has an obvious problem with simple arithmetic. From 1979 to 2005, Scotland returned a large majority of `Labour' members to London and for 18 years we were stuck with a Tory government.

Now we have had the removal of the 10p tax rate, stealth taxes too many to list, and a financial crisis resulting from 11 years of uncontrolled borrowing, all from the man who claimed to banish `boom and bust', leading the `true, honest voice of Scotland'.

Truth and honesty would suggest Hamish's preference, and that of Labour, is to accept London Tory rule in preference to any shade of Scottish government.

If he wants to find tartan Tories, he need look no further than the member for Kirkcaldy and his predecessor in Downing Street, two of Thatcher's devoted admirers, who hijacked the Labour Party for their own political ambitions. – Yours, etc.,

MARGARET

Methil

(Full name and address supplied).

Money wasted

Sir, – The next time Fife Council says it is short of money, here is the sort of money-wasting that has caused the lack of funds.

There is a row of lock-ups in Springbank behind my home that are earmarked for demolition, to make way for additional on-street parking. Last week, a painter was sent out to undercoat them and I expect they will probably be displaying a nice coat of shiny new paint next week while they await the onset of the bulldozer.

Also, for the last two years, mothers in Springbank have had to walk their children along a busy main road because access to a footpath which was laid years ago is blocked by a six-foot fence.

I noticed in a Community Council minute this fence had reached their notice but the case was just referred to the local area manager.

With the approach of the winter weather and slippery conditions, this access needs to take priority over patting themselves on the back for stopping ship to ship transfers, for the sake of the children's safety. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank, Kennoway.

East Fife Mail Letters - October 1, 2008

True agenda

Sir, – What is the SNP's true agenda?

Not one word on independence. Could it be `wait till a Conservative Government is in power at Westminster before we ask the Scots to vote on a referendum for the break-up of the UK?'

So the choice is vote SNP and get the Tories back in power, or vote Labour, the true honest voice of Scotland, that will send a message to Alex Salmond and Peter Grant, the tartan Tories, to think again. – Yours, etc.,

HAMISH

Leven.

(full name and address supplied).

Desperation

Sir, – Will Brooks last week (Letters, 24/09/08) continued to peddle the myth that Scoonie Golf Club and Bowling Club are going to close.

After all, a Labour councillor, Neil Crooks, told him.

Firstly, believing a Labour councillor in a by-election that is not going well for them is just absurd.

Secondly, let us look at the Labour performance on this issue.

There is a review of council bowling greens and golf courses. That was agreed unanimously by all the parties on the committee, primarily because the subsidy is becoming excessive.

This decision was taken before the announcement of the by-election and included Cllr Crooks. Then the by-election was announced.

Labour, at the next meeting of the committee, then tried to change the terms of reference for the review by excluding the reference to closure, which they agreed to previously.

Does anyone really believe this sudden change of heart was based on a new found love for Scoonie? Or, as we all realise, an opportunity to score some cheap political points?

Closure is only one of a range of six or seven options. It is highly unlikely to happen and the local area committee has already said it would oppose it.

I have to say – the only closures in Levenmouth have been Labour inspired, from council sub-offices to post offices.

We would also have one less library in Levenmouth if the last Labour administration had its way – but the new administration over-turned Labour's plans.

So, people should relax. Resources are now flowing into Levenmouth, not the other way round, which is a change.

As this by-election becomes even more desperate for Labour, don't be surprised if the claims and accusations become even more desperate as well. – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

Astounded

Sir, – I sat through the social work and health committee a couple of weeks ago and was astounded by the totally disingenuous statements which came out in the report, in regard to the implementation of home care charges.

For example, the council say only 76 people have stopped their community alarm – by their own figures from October '07, this actually amounts to 1031. Similarly, they say only 120 people have dropped their home care service, when the real figure is 1626.

They also say the average home care charge for over-65s is 14 pw and under-65s is 20 pw.

Campaign Against Charges has been in touch with three people under 65 who are paying 25, 47 and 77 a week.

None of them have received the necessary needs assessments as set out by Community Care law.

None of these three people is rich – they are on benefits, which they are paid specifically to meet the extra needs their disabilities bring.

Two have occupational pensions from the jobs they had to take early retirement from because of their conditions, and now the council is stepping in to grab these.

The council also promised people would get benefit checks. For the people mentioned above, this did not happen.

All three have entitlement to extra benefits and it's CAC which is helping with this.

I think we could all respect the officers and politicians more if they were to admit their system, apart from being unjust and illegal, is just not working, and disabled and older people are having to cope with a new household bill at a time when food inflation is running at 13 per cent, energy inflation 50 per cent and general inflation 4.7 per cent.

We at CAC urge people to contact them or their councillor if they are experiencing difficulty on 01592 200597. – Yours, etc.,

RUDI VOGELS

Campaign Against Charges,

1 Barassie Drive, Kirkcaldy.

Hypocrisy

Sir, – It is rank hypocrisy of Peter Grant to use the current economic downturn as a political weapon when he personally is in the process of initiating a savage economic attack on some of Fife's most vulnerable people.

It would be hard to see a party more to the right of New Labour but, when the SNP wins, that is what we get.

The charges for home care are opposed by all except the SNP and their Libdem allies.

His attack upon the working class communities of Fife continues in the current wage negotiations. Here he is, working hand in hand with New Labour through COSLA, to ensure council employees are forced into accepting peanuts for a wage rise.

This at a time of horrendous inflation which is affecting the poorer members of society the most.

Mr Grant, with a household income of, let's say, 54280.21, of taxpayers' money, blames Labour with one face, works with them with another, and laughs all the way to the bank with a third.

Before election day, I shall do my utmost as a socialist to undermine the campaign of the two front runners in this by-election, for they do not have the interests of the needy at heart. – Yours, etc.,

JIM McLEAN

18 Wemysshaven Gardens,

East Wemyss.

Shock tactics

Sir, – The fall in road accidents in the region surely does not suit the bosses at Fife Council's roads department, because they seem hell bent on creating circumstances that will result in motorists crashing.

In the past, we have been confronted with 'nibs' in the Coaltown and, more recently, traffic islands in Kennoway that heavy lorries and buses could not negotiate and which have had to be removed at cost to the ratepayer.

We now have one of the most dangerous of all the council's follies positioned on the Standing Stane Road just before the turn-off at Wellsgreen on the way back from Kirkcaldy.

At night, motorists are being startled by bright lights from a slow down sign which appears from nowhere when a car gets to within feet from it. I was barely doing 50 mph when I got the shock of my life one night.

If the council persists in trying these shock tactics, it must surely need to set these signs for a distance that will not startle motorists and cause collisions. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank, Kennoway.

Care charges

Sir, – I have read about the plight of Billy Montgomery and offer him my support.

I have also read comments from Councillor Tim Brett, giving his word that everyone is receiving needs assessments.

I have to take issue with him on this. I too will be in Billy's situation at some time and am very anxious as to my fate.

I know of many people in Levenmouth who have done the same as me and are still waiting, but, sadly I know of others who have not been aware of their rights and have let them in or filled in the forms which we have all received by post, thereby forfeiting their right to these needs assessments.

It seems to me Cllr Brett is trying to justify a system which is in chaos.

I think he should recall all the bills which have gone out, and if he can't agree the charges should be scrapped, he should ensure the system is started again and done properly in compliance with the law. – Yours, etc.,

NICHOLAS BARBER MBE

Leven (full address supplied).

East Fife Mail Letters - September 24, 2008

Sky highlight

Sir, – Fife Shopmobility Limited attended Leuchars Airshow on Saturday, September 13.

All scooters and wheelchairs provided by the service were used by patrons with mobility difficulties to fully enjoy the event.

On behalf of Shopmobility, I would like to extend thanks and appreciation to RAF Leuchars Airshow management and personnel, St Andrews Local Office, Shopmobility staff and volunteers and to all the cadets whose efforts enabled people to make their way from the car parks to the disabled enclosure.

Our thanks also to the patrons who generously donated a total of 156 on the day. – Yours, etc.,

FRANCOISE MILNE

Fife Shopmobility Co-ordinator.

Rage for rent

Sir, – I am writing to publicise and hopefully shame the unscrupulous landlords trading on naive and desperate students in the town of St Andrews.

My son's had experience of over-inflated rents, properties that are not cleaned from one year to the next and furniture that is unfit for the purpose, probably bought for next to nothing at auction.

The furniture is invariably filthy, damp and stinking of smoke. And yet these landlords, and the rental agents in the town they are in cahoots with, are happy to take a massive deposit and three months' rental in advance.

We are well aware there is a dearth of rental accommodation and the landlord sharks take advantage. It is such a shame when the town is a lovely place to live.

From an outsiders' point of view, it spoils the town's reputation, but there seems to be little inclination on the part of the university or the local council or MP to clean up this abuse. – Yours, etc.,

ANGRY

(Name and address supplied)

Grave concern

Sir, – In 1927, Robert Christie of Durie intended to gift certain parcels of land to the people of Leven.

Included in his gifts was the land which is Scoonie Golf Course. Sadly, Robert died before his gifts were transferred to the people.

However, his relative, Ralph Christie, acted most honourably and saw to it that Robert's will was carried out.

In the burdens contained in the title deeds, Ralph made it most clear that the land was never to be sold and must be retained for recreational purposes only – specifically for golf.

On two occasions, Councillor Brian Goodall has been challenged to confirm that, whatever the outcome of his "review" concerning Scoonie Golf Course happens to be, he will not sell the land.

Instead of giving an unequivocal yes or no, Cllr Goodall tried to obscure his intentions by using political "double-speak." He fooled no-one.

Cllr Neil Crooks has confirmed to me what many of us suspected.

In a recent vote concerning the land, Cllr Goodall and his SNP colleagues voted to keep open the option to sell the land if they so deemed it. This amounts to grave-robbing.

The lesson is clear. If those Nationalists are prepared to rob the dead, they will rob the living. – Yours, etc.,

WILL BROOKS

(Address supplied)

Question time

Sir, – In light of the pending by-election, it may be useful to ask these questions of the candidates.

Do you, as a politician, realise you work for us and not the other way around?

In which case, there is a press report that we (being the UK) are giving Bangladesh 75 million pounds for climate change.

Let me propose that we use this for our own flood defences or on improving hospitals and schools. Even locally, this could fund the rail link between Leven and Thornton, or even retain the local golf courses.

And now there is 5 million pounds in food aid to Afghanistan, which poisons us with heroin, while our pensioners starve.

At which point does common sense enter politics?

As you work for us, can you please stop the spin and the brand `asylum seekers' and call these people what they are – namely `illegal aliens', and spend less time and funds on this to take care of our own?

On almost a daily basis, we hear of troops being killed in action. We get the standard MoD reply, with only name changes, which is totally disrespectful and impersonal to the families. When are we going to take proper care of the injured armed forces personnel?

The spin tries to advise us that immigration is good for the economy – try getting public support for that.

How many cars carrying Polish registration have UK road tax but they use the service of the roads, plus all other public services and child benefit?

The MP's job comes with excellent salary/benefits and holidays, along with first-class subsidised restaurant and bar. If you are unfortunate to be unemployed, the first three days are not paid. Is there an imbalance here?

For Labour who have held power for 10 years – as the Prime Minister and the former First Minister both had local seats, which should have been `sacred cows', what on earth have they done for Fife?

It is not alive with activity or wealth or improving services. – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

Food for thought

Sir, – I love food and think it's important that we think about what we eat – where it comes from and how it is produced.

Over 900 million animals are reared for food every year – that's a staggering number. If we want them all to enjoy a higher standard of welfare, we all need to do our bit.

September 22-28 is RSPCA Freedom Food Farm Animal Week. The charity wants us all to think more about where our meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products come from and persuade us to choose welfare-friendly products such as those labelled with their Freedom Food logo.

It seems unlikely, but if we all make a few small changes to the way we shop, we'll reward all those great British farmers who are raising their animals to high standards – and encourage more to do the same.

To find out whether you could do more – and how to go about it – visit www.farmanimalfootprint.com and see just how welfare-friendly you are when it comes to what you buy and what you eat. – yours, etc.,

ANTONY WORRALL THOMPSON

Not fair

Sir, – So the Tories are going to make ours a fairer country.

How? By raising the inheritance tax threshold to 1,000,000. Is that a joke? All that will do is to make ours an even more unequal and less fair country in each new generation.

An "aspirational measure", says George Osborne. Aspiration is a strong desire for high achievement, for something above one. Who does not aspire to accumulate assets of more than 1,000,000, whatever the rate of inheritance tax?

To have a fairer country, there must be not only aspiration but also (greater) equality of opportunity.

George Osborne does also call for "equality of opportunity". But where is the equality of opportunity between someone who inherits 1,000,000 and someone who inherits nothing?

"It is no good throwing money at people," he says. Another joke? Tell it to the heirs of the 1,000,000, or of hundreds or thousands of millions. Tell it to those who will inherit nothing.

If the Tories mean what they say about making ours a fairer country, they will have to go back to what Oliver Letwin said in 2005: "We will redistribute wealth" and "empower people".

The only practical way of redistributing wealth - as opposed to income - is to do so at the point of transfer from each generation to the next. – Yours, etc.,

DANE CLOUSTON

Director, Opportunity

PO Box 1148, Oxford OX44 7AT.

East Fife Mail Letters - September 17, 2008

Firing line

Sir, – Chief Inspector Andy Morris was quoted as saying "that is something we just have to deal with" in relation to your article about bricks being thrown at police officers during an operation.

As a serving police constable within Fife Constabulary, can anyone please tell me why we are "expected" to deal with this?

I don't think anyone goes to work and expects to be hit by a brick, unless that person works in a brick factory where the chance may be there, but I'm sure it's a much lower chance than Inspector Morris' officers have.

Fife Police are losing control – it's as simple as that.

In the Levenmouth area alone, I know of numerous officers who have been spat at in the face by confirmed hepatitis sufferers, bitten and assaulted.

Surely, while we still have the chance, we should be coming down harder than ever on anyone who assaults or restricts an officer in the execution of his or her job?

I can guarantee that every single one of your readers will agree with my comments.

We do not expect to be assaulted - we do however, demand support rather than being happily put in a very obvious firing line. – Yours, etc.,

PC JUSTICE

(via e-mail)

Foul actions

Sir, – I would like to say to the the owner of a dog to please stop opening your door and letting your dog walk itself!

Your dog has been fouling on neighbours' grasses and public areas for months, years, and we are getting fed up of it.

I wish I had a camera with me on Wednesday morning at 7.40 as your dog was spotted fouling on a resident's grass area in Linnwood gardens.

If you cannot be a responsible pet owner you should not have pets! – Yours, etc.,

ANGRY

Broom resident.

(Name and address supplied)

Field option

Sir, – I write with reference to the recent article regarding the controversial Leven housing plan re-surfacing.

Do landowners and housing companies never give up?

It states in the article that this is the fourth time this field has been proposed and has been subject to two public enquiries and one hearing already.

Surely the council should not even consider this field for outline planning permission for housing.

I would like to make a suggestion for this field.

I feel the council should approach the owner and look at buying this land from him to be used as a cemetery.

Scoonie cemetery is full and the council cannot, or will not, extend on to a section of the golf course next to it.

Surely this would make much better use of the land than turning it into yet another housing development, ruining this piece of land.

I'm sure residents of Coldstream and along Largo Road would much prefer a well kept cemetery to having new houses popping up under their noses.

If we keep building new houses there will soon be no countryside or green space left. – Yours, etc.,

Annoyed

Methil.

(Name and address supplied)

Rabbit problem

Sir, – My wife is buried in Scoonie Cemetery which is overrun with rabbits most of the year.

I have found it hard to maintain a constant display of flowers at her grave because each night the flowers are being eaten.

In an effort to keep out these rabbits I have been forced to erect a wicker fence around the flowers on my plot.

If Fife Council wants me to remove this wicker fence it will need to find a way to stop these rabbits from entering the cemetery.

Either that or it can pay daily to replace my flowers. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Poor example

Sir, – When Fife Council decides that someone's garden is in need of a tidy up, it doesn't hesitate to threaten an action plan – ``either tidy up or we will do it and present a bill''.

What a pity the roles can't be reversed when the council doesn't practice what it preaches.

Is it totally blind to the mess developing around the Station Park area and the stairs leading down to the old railway line? Several people have fallen down those rotten wooden steps and someone I know fell down them some time ago breaking her glasses and bruising her face quite badly.

Although she reported it, no action was ever taken and the steps continue to crumble.

Maybe the council will decide to do something when a serious or fatal injury occurs.

How many times do people complain about the `jungle' at the roundabout at Sainsbury's in Leven, yet still it continues to spring up due to our wet climate. Developers know what our climate is like so would it not be a good idea to put in low maintenance plants if they don't have the time or resources to maintain them.

In my opinion, the council should not be threatening people to keep their gardens tidy until it is prepared to lead by example. – Yours, etc.,

AILEEN GRAHAM

44 Station Park,

Lower Largo.

Shoddy service

Sir, – I was appalled on reading that the police were too busy to take statements from the victim of an attack and a parent.

I was not surprised though, because every time we have good community inspectors and sergeants here, they are quickly moved, fostering my disillusion.

I do not believe such misguided actions would have happened during the time of Chief Constables Bennet or Moodie who managed excellent forces.

Of course, that was in the time of Fife Regional Council and the police is not the only service that is going downhill, in my opinion.

In fact, only education appears to be the exception and I think that will be thanks to the work of excellent headteachers and staff – that's certainly the case in our local secondaries.

In contrast, housing repairs, allocations and processing of benefit claims are taking longer and longer.

It is the job of councillors to correct such errors. I wrote before that the ludicrous system of multi-member wards would destroy local accountability. Unfortunately, I have been proven correct and I cannot see a solution until my local area has a visible and locally resident councillor. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

Out of touch

Sir, – The recent energy measures announced by Gordon Brown can best be summed up as too little too late.

After hinting all summer that immediate help was on the way, Gordon Brown has delivered a chilly response to the one million Scots in fuel poverty.

And by failing to impose a windfall tax on energy companies, the Prime Minister has ruled out immediate help for the thousands of Scottish families facing a bleak winter.

The increase in insulation and other fuel efficiency measures are of course welcome in the longer term, but will do nothing to deal with the immediate problem.

Very few households will benefit in time to reduce bills this coming winter and the energy companies have won the battle with the UK government, with Mr Brown even failing to clarify how he will ensure that costs are not passed back to the consumer.

A government with an ounce of sense would impose more measures now, for example ensure a mandatory minimum tariff, real transparency in social tariffs, a speedy roll out of smart meters and introduction of social tariffs into the home fuel market, as well as ensuring that there is immediate help for those facing a tough winter.

Disconnections are rising rapidly, and many on pre-payment meters may self disconnect over the winter as they will be unable to pay escalating costs.

Mr Brown suggests customers cut their bills with direct debit but fails to realise many of the poorest energy users cannot pay their bills in this way, yet again proving he is completely out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Scots. – Yours, etc.,

ALEX ORR

Flat 8,

35 Bryson Road,

Edinburgh.

Path dangers

Sir, – Regarding your article on 'booby traps' on the Coastal Path (EFM 10/09/08), I feel there are great dangers on Fife's network of newly linked up paths (core path network).

It is very attractive to people who own off-road motorcycles and freely use them irresponsibly, mostly young people, who have no other places to enjoy this activity.

Previously many of the paths were either not advertised or had significant obstacles (styles) that rendered them unusable to the off road motorcyclist.

This is now not the case and if an irresponsible motorcyclist wanted to travel from Anstruther to Dunfermline they could. The changes to the paths have opened the flood gates and I wonder if sufficient consultation and risk assessment has been dome to minimise the impact of the inevitable.

Although it is against the law, and irresponsible for motorcyclists to use these paths, this alone will not deter them.

Indeed a "motorway" has been created between the Bing (motocross heaven) at Coaltown of Balgonie and various large towns.

I visited one particular path, where I witnessed an abundance of high risk accident areas.

With a few observations, myself and another discussed strategies and we identified several methods for reducing the risks.

One of my biggest fears is that (as stated in your article); some walkers and legitimate path users are taking the law into their own hands, they have their own strategies to reduce motorcyclists using the paths.

Examples witnessed in the Levenmouth area – barbed wire stretched across the path, nails been hammered through wood and facing upwards etc. Both parties are not considering that a fatality is imminent, as has happened in many other areas.

The policing and current approaches used are not effective long term. I would encourage authorities to further consult with motorcycle users specifically and explore an effective solution.

We have a network of paths for cyclists, walkers, horse riders who enjoy their pastimes. If there was a network of paths, wooded areas, tolerance zones, exclusively for those who enjoy their chosen leisure pursuits/sport of off road driving, (whether that be on four wheels or two wheels) there would be a significant reduction of risk and dangerous illegal incidents.

This would free up police time, allowing them to catch real criminals, as opposed to people wanting to enjoy their pastime. It would also make savings to the treasury, not reporting young people to the Children's Reporter, or adults to the court.

Furthermore, young people allowed to participate in exciting activities would reduce their involvement in youth crime, additionally, with a management system in place, there would be less serious accidents which have significant costs for the NHS. This approach works in other parts of the world, and authorities make money from it. – Yours, etc.,

DP

Methil

(Name and address supplied)

Unfair system

Sir, – I find the Scottish system of selling houses, wherein the estate agent has the sole agency for a house, quite unacceptable.

Houses should be advertised ''free of charge''. Well, we all know nothing is free, so the amount could be added on to the account for the estate agent that sells the house.

Competition is never a bad thing and if one was able to go into any estate agent, give one's house to them for re-sale, they erect a board.

If the householder felt he or she wanted to give it to more agents, then that would be their right... at no cost.

Advertising would be up to the different estate agents, after all they would get it back in the end.

I gave my house to an agent five months ago. The valuation was his and I went by what he said.

I have had just two people around to see it.

I have brought my house down twice in price, but still nothing has happened.

I offered to sell 50 per cent of my house and keep an interest in the remaining 50 per cent for +/-three years or whenever the purchasers within that time felt they could take a mortgage to buy the entire property. Still nothing.

The promises that were made, keeping in contact etc., have left me now wondering if he has gone on a round the world cruise.

I have now taken my house away from this agent, but now if I call in another agent it is costs to me again – for work that may well not be done.

I don't think this is a very fair system.

Bring in an open listing for all people in Scotland to sell their houses by any estate agent, with the estate agent selling then collecting the commission.

This is a fair and competitive way and these agents would get equal opportunities to sell properties, and may the best man or woman win – and the owner of the property would at least be happy. – Yours, etc.,

BERYL KORNER

47 Charles Street,

Pittenweem.

East Fife Mail Letters - September 10, 2008

Ideal candidate

Sir, – At last, after too many years, Labour has seen the light and chosen a candidate worthy of the voters in central Fife (Glenrothes constituency).

Last week Mr Lindsay Roy was selected to fight the corner for the Labour Party in the forthcoming by-election in the Glenrothes/ Levenmouth area.

We have had so many mediocre people in the past who have promised us this and that and none has come up to the mark but, at last, we have a candidate who will give his all for the area and more.

In the field of education Lindsay has, through his hard work and dedication, tried to give the young folk of Fife the chance to progress into life with the best that they deserve.

Lindsay took over at Inverkeithing and it was soon climbing the tables of excellence. On attaining his goal he moved to Kirkcaldy as rector and, again, the school rose up the ladder.

There are misconceptions about Lindsay, rumour has it (probably started by a frightened opposition) that he was parachuted in by Gordon Brown. I can assure you this is not true.

I have never been a great fan of 'Broon' and can say with hand on heart he, Lindsay, is no man's puppet. He knows what the people of this area need, nay demand, and he will give it his all to make sure you will get nothing but his best at all times.

We have a real breath of fresh air being blown into central Fife and I hope the loyal Labour voters of the past give this man the chance we have been waiting for.

I have said for many years there is nothing wrong with the Party it is the people representing it that we should take issue with.

I kid you not when I say mediocrity has gone with this selection it is up to us to give him the chance to prove it. – Yours, etc.,

R. M. SCOTT

Hawthorn Street,

Methil.

Worthy choice

Sir, – I am delighted that Lindsay Roy has been adopted as Labour's candidate to succeed the late John Macdougall.

I have not been so enthusiastic about a candidate for many a year.

After the late JackYuille left Kirkland High School for Lochgelly High, Lindsay was narrowly beaten, by just one vote, to become rector there. The reason was that Glenrothes councillors interviewing him did not want to lose him from Glenwood High.

He will fight tenaciously to assist the disadvantaged young and vulnerable elderly in Levenmouth.

As a postscript to the selection process, I am sure everyone has read of Lindsay's opponents in the competition.

Labour is being knocked very strongly in much of the media. However, none of the other parties appears to have told us how their candidates were chosen, or where, or when. The media has not asked and most probably does not know that although the constituency might be called 'Glenrothes', it includes most of Levenmouth, parts of Kirkcaldy, Cardenden and Kinglassie.

As I have done for every election, I again urge electors to be sure to vote. If you need help to arrange a Postal Vote, feel free to telephone me. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

Sorry campaign

Sir, – Although the date of the by-election has not yet been set, the campaiging is well under way, and what a sorry start.

The naked triumphalism of the Natonal Party as 'Wee Eck' gladly throws aside 20 years' commitment to social democracy with the sudden realisation that he can win Glenrothes without the working class.

"We didn't mind the economic side" he says of Thatcherism, bought and sold for Souter's gold says I.

Thankfully, we have Labour, honest open Labour, a fair and democratic selection process where every potential candidate had an equal chance, well except for those who could beat the winner, the NEC changed the list.

I'm sure the parachuted Lindsay will still campaign very well though and he was Labour's best man for the job but probably second choice.

Harry "small business first" Wills will do good enough for the Lib Dems and the Tories have, of course, put up a good candidate in an unwinnable seat. Dr Kris will quite rightly use the campaign to question the logic behind the EU.

I'll be out with my wee SSP badge campaigning for Morag Balfour, the legitimate voice of protest, and trying to persuade those under attack from the Labour government at Westminster, the SNP government at Holyrood and the SNP LibDem Fife Council not to act like turkeys and vote for Christmas. – Yours, etc.,

JIM McLEAN

18 Wemysshaven Gardens,

East Wemyss.

Slow response

Sir, – My son is a 17-year-old quiet lad who has never been in trouble in his life.

He was walking in Leven at the Shorehead on a Saturday night with his cousin at approx 10.45 when a group of yobs set about them.

His glasses were punched into his face causing a nasty cut below his eye. He was bleeding profusely and his cousin suffered a punch to his mouth.

I rushed down to pick him up and took him straight to Levenmouth police station to report this, only to be told that they were to busy too take a statement.

I was asked to take him to Victoria Hospital and then call in on my return.

At the hospital he was given three stiches and an x-ray in case he had suffered a fracture to his jaw. Luckily he is going to be okay.

I then returned to the police station at 2am and, again, was told that they were too busy but they would try and call the next day to our home.

The following night I called the police around tea time to ask if they were coming to take a statement.they said that they were still busy but would perhaps come later on.

I told them that he normally goes to bed at 10ish as he gets up at 5am for work. I received a call from them just before 10 to say that they were still busy but would try and contact him tthe next day (Monday).

The police then contacted him on Monday morning to arrange a visit and gain a statement.

I am furious that my boy has been beaten up for no reason whatsoever and feel very frustrated that no one seems to care but us.

As far as we know, the yobs then got on the No13 bus. This bus has cameras on it and there are cameras in the Shorehead area.

One of the yobs' photograph and info is on bebo!

Now, I'm not a detective but i've found all this information in two days and still nothing has been done as far as I'm aware.

Do we have to wait until someone is seriously injured before something is done about these clowns.

I do not wish to knock the police as normally they do a brilliant job but I'm just so mad that nobody seems to find the time to try

and find these idiots and sort them out. – Yours, etc.,

DEREK DAVIDSON

Levenmouth

(Full address supplied).

NHS miracles

Sir, – Our NHS – something for the nation to be proud of – yet it is constantly bombarded with bad publicity and heavy criticism.

Praise should be given where it is due and for those in critical, life threatening positions, the NHS really does save lives.

My grandpa was recently seriously ill after having a triple heart bypass operation and, at times, his survival chances seemed low.

However, a skilled team of surgeons, nurses and doctors did its best for him and, less than three weeks later, he is back home and well on the road to recovery.

Also, four years ago my grandma was critically ill with a brain aneurysm and, once again, the staff excelled to transform her from having very little memory to being her usual self again.

We wish that the media would not always focus on the negatives as my family owe the miracle of still having my grandma and grandpa, who both live in Methil, to the Edinburgh staff of the NHS. – Yours, etc.,

CALEEN WATSON

18 Orchard Street,

Aberdeen.

Taking the lead

Sir, – The Scottish Government is to be congratulated on the strength of its proposals to make it more difficult for young people to get their hands on alcohol – a pernicious drug which is at the root of so many social evils and immorality.

In the way in which we are currently winning the War Against Drugs, we can easily build this into a War Against Alcohol and make intoxication a thing of the past.

Why don't they also take the bold step of banning drink from official functions to set a good example?

I cannot tell you how embarrassed I have been attending civic receptions where free alcohol has been provided at public expense and attendees, some of them our elected representatives, have hardly been able to stand up straight at the end of the evening!

Whilst this modest proposal might not please the drinks industry, it would free up many thousands of pounds annually which could be diverted to alcohol education projects in schools and if it saved one child... – Yours, etc.,

JOHN EOIN DOUGLAS

7 Spey Terrace,

Edinburgh.

Heartless delay

Sir, – My elderly disabled neighbour had an iron ramp stolen from the end of her path, something which had cost her a great deal of money and allowed her access and a little independence to get out and about with her mobility scooter.

I took the opportunity at a local neighbourhood watch meeting, on March 28, to ask a local councillor if he would look into the possibility of the council giving this lady permission to lower the kerb to allow her continued freedom of access.

On April 23, as no information was forthcoming, I wrote to this councillor via Fife House and, on receiving my letter, he came out very quickly and assured my neighbour that he would do what he could, and as quickly as possible, as she had been confined to the house all winter.

In anticipation of this event she arranged for her scooter to be serviced and checked over.

She then received a letter telling her that the request was being granted and that the social services would arrange to have the work done.

As there was no sign of any workmen by the month of July I went into Forth House in Kirkcaldy to make enquiries on my neighbour's behalf.

The receptionist could not have been more helpful, she made several phone calls and I was told the person in charge of this exercise was on holiday and that an e-mail would inform her of the situation.

Last month the local councillor along with another man came out to see my neighbour and commiserated with her that the work should have been done but that she had to understand that it was the holidays!

We are now into September and still no movement.

What little good days we have had my neighbour could have been out and done her wee bit of shopping that helps to retain some form of independence, instead she has been confined to the house. She is very depressed and who could blame her?

Was it asking too much to drop a wee bit of kerb?

The elderly and disabled seem to be at the end of the queue in the scheme of things. There doesn't seem to be a shortage of money and workskills at the other end.

Maybe these people will have to rely on a mobility scooter themselves someday I only hope that they are shown more consideration than they have shown my neighbour. – Yours, etc.,

M. M. THOMAS

4 Wilkie Cottages,

Rose Terrace,

Leven.

Caring Awards

Sir, – Looking after a loved one who is sick, disabled or frail is not easy – it can be physically hard, emotionally draining and very isolating.

In a recent study up to 78.7% of unpaid family carers in Scotland say that their health and well-being is worse off as a result of caring.

Often the person that carers turn to for support is their GP. This support can vary greatly from practice to practice and yet it can make all the difference to carers.

The Simplyhealth Caring Awards (in partnership with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers) are looking to celebrate all the good work being done throughout the UK today to support carers. I'd like to draw your readers' attention specifically to the Simplyhealth Carers' Choice Award that looks to recognise all the fantastic work being carried out by individual GPs.

Carers in Scotland can now say thank you by nominating their GP for this award.

This year's prize is 250 each for the winning GP and for you. To nominate, all you need to do is write a letter about how your GP supports you as a carer. It is very important to focus on the support they give to you, not just the person you care for.

Please e-mail gpawards@carers.org or write to The Princess Royal Trust for Carers , Freepost RRRY-JLXK-GZCG, Unit 14, Bourne Court, Southend Road, Woodford Green, London IG8 8HD. You need to remember to include contact details for both yourselves and your GP.

The closing date for all the Awards is October 10 and more information can be found on www.carers.org. The winners will be announced at an event in November 2008. – Yours, etc.,

SHEILA HANCOCK

c/o The Princess Royal Trust for Carers,

London.

East Fife Mail Letters - September 3, 2008

Bypassed area

Sir, – Your feature on electoral boundary districts (EFM 27/08/08) confirms how extensively and inconsistently Levenmouth is carved up for every single democratic level – local, Scottish, UK and European parliaments.

Instead of having its interests represented by a single voice, Levenmouth's electorate are used as a makeweight to fill gaps in neighbouring constituencies.

No wonder our sizeable 34,000 population tends to be ignored and invisible in the bigger picture.

For instance in a current Fife Council survey just launched on town centres, Leven doesn't warrant a mention.

Expect the forthcoming UK by-election for `Glenrothes' to give barely a nod to Levenmouth's concerns.

And we can't blame the barely disguised `elitism' of the Largo secessionists. It's a failing primarily of Levenmouth's residents and their leadership who themselves seem reluctant to unite under one banner.

Perhaps as long as locals continue to identify ourselves primarily as residents of Denbeath or Aberhill or Kennoway or Methilhill instead of Levenmouth, then we'll be bypassed, punching way below our weight in the bigger struggle for recognition, representation and investment in this forgotten and messed-around corner of Fife. – Yours, etc.,

A. Armstrong

(Address supplied)

Differing needs

Sir, – Regarding your article on the Largo area and its boundaries, all of Levenmouth should support that community's case to remain within a 'north east Fife' sector.

Much is being made of what is in Largo's interests, and rightly so. But there are two sides to the coin.

As the main political parties find themselves separated by fewer and fewer votes, the Levenmouth area must focus on solutions to its own particular problems brought about by years of massive social deprivation – problems that haven't blighted Lundin Links and its environs.

As a result, Largo's priorities and its political leanings will be different and that could impact on what is best for Levenmouth.

Likewise, should Levenmouth ever find a voice, the needs of the Largo area community would be drowned out.

To weld two such diverse areas together is doing a disservice to both. – Yours, etc.,

JS

Den Walk,

Buckhaven.

(Full name and address supplied).

Largo issues

Sir, – I'd like to comment on your article (EFM 28/08/08) on the people of the Largo area being up in arms about the Boundary Commission's proposed changes.

To be as succinct as I possibly can, firstly, nobody knows – as yet – what the real reason for their anger is.

It makes me, for one, wonder about that.

I say to them: "Come on. Be open and frank about it instead of mealy-mouthed as you are at present."

I will describe my own attitude around 60 years ago when I was a Lundin Links-born snob whose cirumstances changed when I met and married a lass from 'further west'.

I rented a house there, got a job locally and was made welcome by the local community. I was, by now, a bus driver and got to know how hard working and decent most of the people were, and I realised that the sentiments of my erstwhile community tended to be 'holier than thou' with regards to those working people who came from further west!

I soon realised that 'Joe Bloggs' from Largo was, despite his beliefs, exactly the same as, guess who? Yes! None other than 'Joe Bloggs' from Methil, Buckhaven, Leven, or indeed, any other place in this wide world!

Is there some hidden agenda behind this controversy?

Until we find out, I'm afraid we will always be in doubt about the 'Largo Question'.

On another matter, that was an interesting photograph of the big 'lum' .

However , I would like to point out that it was not designed to annoy the good citizens of Leven by 'spewing' out ash over the community at large.

It was situated where it is because, at the time, it was considered thatwas the best spot taking into condideration all aspects of operation – prevailing winds , near a source of fuel , and also near a good docking facility...at that time!

It was also seen as an essential part of the National Grid!

Nobody foresaw at the time that it would soon be redundant due to everybody's hunger for electric power, which incidentally, was fuelled by coal.

No doubt we were glad to avail ourselves of that power 'at that time' so it is a bit too late to be wise after the event now. – Yours, etc.,

LESLIE GORDON

67 Rowan Crescent,

Methil.

SSPCA failing

Sir, – After reading this week's edition of the East Fife Mail I was angry when I read the story of the lurcher puppy found at the docks in Methil.

My boyfriend called the SSPCA only a week ago to tell them about the lurcher puppy (aka Skanky as we named him) as it was in quite a poor condition,. The SSPCA also said it would call us back with an update on the lurcher, which never happened!

The pup belonged to travellers who were parked up at the docks. It was left outside their caravan 24/7 for over a week in the pouring rain.

The SSPCA was not overly interested in the situation and the puppy continued to run the streets of Methil and the docks.

My understanding is that SSPCA meant Scotish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals – what a joke!

Maybe one of the staff from SSPCA would like to give me an explanation as I am disgusted beyond belief.

I look forward to a reply. – Yours, etc.,

AM

Glenrothes.

(Full name and address supplied)

'A girl thing'

Sir, – I'm writing to encourage your readers to support Cancer Research UK's "It's a girl thing" campaign which aims to raise awareness of breast cancer and funds for scientific research into the disease.

This cause is extremely close to my heart as my mum, Sue (56), was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. She had a mastectomy following her diagnosis after she went to her doctor to check out a lump she felt in her breast.

I always thought cancer happened to someone else – not your family. But, of course, it does, and when it does it hits so hard and all your family and friends have to deal with it.

Thankfully, my mum passed a personal milestone earlier this year of being free of cancer for five years.

While women of all ages are affected by breast cancer, eight out of 10 cases are in women over 50.

By supporting Cancer Research UK's "It's a girl thing" campaign, readers of this newspaper have a chance to help make a difference for the future.

There are lots of ways to get involved, including organising pink-themed fundraising events with friends, family or work colleagues. Cancer Research UK has put together a special fundraising pack, full of ideas, to help.

To find out more visit www.cancerresearchuk.org/breastcancer or call the Hotline on 08701 60 20 40. – Yours, etc.,

JOANNA PAGE

c/o Cancer Research UK,

PO Box 123,

London WC2A 3PX.

Wasp nuisance

Sir, – Yes folks, it's wasp season again, and Leven's precious summer visitors (Bob and Ina from Garthamlock) can enjoy the spectacle of our local answer to Morris dancing on the High Street, as punters flap and gyrate like dervishes to escape our vespiary plague.

The gardener's friends they may be, but most of us hate wasps with vengeance, and whether you're a rolled up newspaper fan, or a chemical weapons devotee, wasps are things to be exterminated. The message is always the same: ``Sorry pal, it's you or me.''

Of course you will always get the un-stung clowns who say, ``They're more afraid of us than we are of them.'' Cobblers pal, if I'm afraid of something I put some distance between it and me, I don't try to climb up its nose.

Every year wasps kill several people in the UK and land countless others in casualty, yet our town planners far from discourage the little bleeders, actually seem to contrive to make our town centres wasp friendly.

Hanging baskets and neglected landscaping are a source of delight, and open topped bins attract them like, well, wasps. That these are located beside every seating area gives them endless opportunities to say, ``Hello, can I have a bit?'' or, ``I won't drink much of the wean's juice, honest.''

If a baker's shop or cafe was infected with bluebottles, we would not eat there, but the same wasps which take advantage of open doors to crawl all over the Paris buns, were in a trash bin two minutes ago.

Wasps are dirty, dangerous and unpleasant. All it takes to deter them from town centres is common sense; flowers are for gardens, put lids on the bins, and remind shops selling unwrapped food of environmental health rules about keeping their doors closed.

Hardly rocket science is it? – Yours, etc.,

ERIC EUNSON

32 Letham Terrace,

Leven.

Selfish actions

Sir, – Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how many ignorant and selfish people are on the pavements walking in groups who won't move over and let you pass.

Take those dog owners with extending leads. When you nearly trip over one, guess what? It's your own fault. According to the dog owner you should watch where you are going.

There is also still too much dog dirt lying about and putting it in a wee coloured bag doesn't make it any better when its not binned. Shame on you dog owners.

Last, but not least, cycle lanes what a joke. It seems all pavements are cycle lanes. I have been nearly knocked down twice and recently a young man knocked a woman from the pavement on to the road on Scoonie Brae. She could have been killed, an older person would have been badly hurt.

These cycle lanes should be taken away, they are dangerous. This used to be an offence. Its just the thin edge of the wedge. It seems you get away with anything and everything now in Leven. – Yours, etc.,

ANNOYED

(Name and address supplied)

Moral outrage

Sir, – The Government has just recognised the need to outlaw age discrimination in its new Equalities Bill.

I congratulate the Government in taking this step forward and listening to the needs of its older citizens – but this legislation must be put into practice as a matter of urgency.

Recent research from Help the Aged shows that many people are worried about how society is going to treat them once they turn 65.

This is not surprising. Ageism is not just about being the butt of jokes and disparaging remarks – it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

While age discrimination is still legal, older people can be denied access to medical treatment simply because they're "too old".

This is a moral outrage in the 21st century.

It is simply unacceptable to imply that whilst every other form of discrimination is unacceptable, age discrimination "can wait".

What message does this send out to older people? Why should older people have to put up with discrimination a day longer, when lives and livelihoods are at stake?

This is now an historic opportunity to get ageism outlawed.

Please write to Gordon Brown demanding that legislation to ban age discrimination comes into practice as soon as possible at 10 Downing Street, London, SW1.

Let's make him live up to the promises today that he made in his 2007 Party Conference speech when he spoke about ending discrimination.

I would urge people of all ages to support the Help the Aged 'Just Equal Treatment' campaign by calling 020 7239 1982 or visiting www.helptheaged.org.uk/takeaction.

Time is running out. Please take action on behalf of all older people. – Yours, etc.,

WILLIAM McGIRR

9 Hill View,

Glenrothes.

Unique cards

Sir, – I would like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has so generously spent time designing and making unique cards in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care this year.

Each year Marie Curie Cancer Care runs the Create a Card for Cancer Care campaign in partnership with 'do crafts', the website and magazine for crafters.

We call upon our supporters to create one-off cards which are then sold in Marie Curie Cancer Care Shops across the UK for 1 each.

This year alone, we received a record-breaking 111,400 cards, and I would like to call on your readers to go along to their local Marie Curie Cancer Care Shop and buy one of these bespoke cards.

All the money raised will help Marie Curie Nurses like me care for terminally ill people in their own homes, allowing them to spend their final days with the people they love the most.

Thank you. – Yours, etc.,

MICHELLE CARROLL

Nursing Ambassador of the Year,

Marie Curie Cancer Care.

East Fife Mail Letters - August 27, 2008

Negative image

Sir, – There is hardly a day goes by that does not see young people chastised by the media, and yet the immensely positive contribution the vast majority of young people make to their communities is simply glossed over.

This month we launched our 'Change the Record' campaign to help change perceptions of young people, having discovered that 60 per cent of media coverage of young people was negative.

Of course there are challenges. Our recently produced report, 'The Culture of Youth Communities' reveals that almost a third (30 per cent) of young people in Scotland do not have a parent who they consider to be a role model.

In addition 62 per cent of young people claim that finding a sense of identity is a key reason for joining a gang and more than one in five (21 per cent) are looking for role models in gangs.

It is the aim of Trust programmes to help young people with positive role models, helping them to develop their confidence and skills for work.

However, to put these statistics in context, only nine per cent of young people across the UK have spent time as part of a gang, three per cent "regularly" take drugs and just two per cent carry a knife.

We look forward to working with our key partners over the next few months to ensure that the positive contribution young people make to our society is both acknowledged and respected. – Yours, etc.,

GERALDINE GAMMELL

Director,

The Prince's Trust Scotland,

1st Floor,

The Guildhall,

57 Queen Street,

Glasgow G1 3EN.

Cruel sport

Sir, – October marks the start of the British pheasant shooting season but please spare a thought for the oft-forgotten partridge.

For him a cruel death comes a month earlier on September 1.

Every year, five million partridges are bred specifically for sport killing in Britain. Because the partridge is monogamous, breeding pairs are held captive for their whole lives in small, galvanised boxes on huge game farms in conditions that would be illegal for chickens.

When one partner dies another is substituted.

Pheasant shooters often regard partridge shooting in September as an opportunity to 'get their eye in' for the main slaughter the following month.

Speak out against the breeding of game birds for pleasure shooting. Support the campaign to banish unnecessary cruelty to animals from the 21st century! – Yours, etc.,

KIT DAVIDSON

Animal Aid,

The Old Chapel,

Bradford Street,

Tonbridge TN9 1AW.

Closure blow

Sir, – The latest round of proposed Post Office closures is clearly a bitter blow for the communities concerned, and it is particularly disturbing that these closures will impact hardest on the most vulnerable.

Post Offices provide a lifeline local service, and if these closures go ahead it will undermine both the economic and, in many areas, the social heart of communities.

The consultation undertaken by Royal Mail on the closures was little more than a sham and it has simply failed to listen and act on the concerns of local people, the vast majority of whom opposed the closures.

Scottish Labour MPs consistently backed the UK Government's policy which has led to the butchering of these services, meaning it is more than a bit rich that they are now feigning outrage and concern.

The fact of the matter is that Labour MPs have let down their constituents, and now their constituents are paying the price. – Yours, etc.,

ALEX ORR

Flat 8,

35 Bryson Road,

Edinburgh EH11 1DY.

Tourism lures

Sir, – After reading comments about the sums spent on subsidising facilities like Scoonie Bowling club and Scoonie Golf Course I feel compelled to remind people that these were and can once again be great assets to the community.

Just because they are running at a loss at present it does not mean that we should concrete over them or build houses for rich out-of-towners on the land.

The decline in the usage of facilities like these must surely be linked to the reduced status of the town as a tourist location and any plans to regenerate the area have to consider these as part of the bigger picture.

The council spends thousands of pounds each year on consultations and studies to tell us what we already know, Leven has nothing to attract visitors!

We may have a Blue Flag beach but after walking along it a couple of times the attraction soon blends into the mundane experience of the rest of the town.

The council's only answer to the problem is to propose to have a 'Leven's got Talent' competition and a Highland Games, two events that will last less than a week at best.

To save the council from splashing out more money on studies here are a few suggestions that it can have for free, and I am sure that other readers would offer ideas if asked.

As Leven needs to establish an attraction that will compel tourists to visit the area, why not look at The Links Market which attracts thousands each year and suggests that if an amusement park was based in the area it would be a much used facility. I am sure that pleasure companies would be interested in setting up here if pursued as there are none on the east coast.

Also, why not put water in the paddling pool again? The fad for skateboards has long passed as the rusting ramp next to the paddling pool suggests.

There was once a cafe in the grounds of the paddling pool for people to enjoy whilst the children paddled, again why not re-instate this facility?.

I lived for a time in Peterborough next to a park called Ferry Meadows which had a miniature railway line running through it. I am sure that the Leven railway enthusiasts would love to get involved in a project, say, to run a miniature line along the seashore into Silverburn Park taking much needed visitors also into that location.

Now that we look to be getting back our rail link, we need to grasp the upcoming opportunity to re-establish the town and put money from tourists back into our shops, pubs, hotels and taxis. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank ,

Kennoway.

Hollow words

Sir, – That was an excellent letter by R.M. Scott (EFM 20/08/08) regarding his opinion about the calibre of world 'leaders'.

A further example came in the newspaper articles (August 20) in tribute to the latest brave Scottish soldier who was recently killed by a bomb blast in Southern Afghanistan with the resultant sadness for his grieving widow and family – it is just too difficult to fully comprehend.

Why does this continually have to happen, and for what justifiable reason, no matter what politicians state with their posthumous few words of sympathy?

Like all these wars it will eventually come to an end, but what will have been achieved?

Meanwhile the individual who thought that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars were the right thing to do, in agreement with his American colleague, is presently enjoying himself on holiday and has recently been posing for photos with his wife at the Beijing Olympic games.

This is another example of political leaders who approve these initial directives and then eventually move on to pastures new.

Very sad. – Yours, etc.,

HARRY LAWRIE

35 Abbots Mill,

Kirkcaldy.

Filter station

Sir, – Re your 'All those years ago' feature (EFM 13/08/08), I noted that you referred to the opening of sewage treatment works, which was indeed the Leven filters for the supply of water from Carhurlie resevoir.

It was opened over 100 years ago, and is still there but not used as filters as we purchased it many years ago and adapted it for grain storage. – Yours, etc.

GEORGE RUSSELL

Little Pilmuir,

Leven.

Kept in transit

Sir, – Why on earth does the UK government want Gary Glitter back into the country?

Would it not be more appropriate for all countries of the world to reject him leaving him to forever rove the nether world of VIP departure lounges - a milieu in which he is unlikely to find any children to befriend? – Yours, etc.,

John Eoin Douglas

(via e-mail)

Public failing

Sir, – Thanks go to Conservative candidate Miles Briggs for pointing out the disgraceful state of the public toilets in Lower Largo.

Not only are they unfit for human use and a disgrace to the area, but they are also not accessible to wheelchair users.

There are no wheelchair-accessible public toilets in any of the villages of Lower Largo, Lundin Links, and Upper Largo.

The local hotels in the area are also sadly lacking in adequate toilet facilities for disabled visitors.

In spite of recent renovations the Crusoe Hotel does not have a wheelchair-accessible toilet.

The Lundin Links Hotel's toilet is difficult to negotiate in a wheelchair. The Old Manor has two 'disabled toilets', with good access but the hotel is some distance from the main visitor attractions in the area and to get there requires crossing an extremely busy and dangerous main road unless arriving by car.

The message this gives to disabled visitors is obvious! – Yours, etc.,

KITTY WALKER

(via e-mail)

Shoddy cutting

Sir, – I watched in amazement as Fife Council workmen attempted to cut the grass in the former Greig Insitute in Leven on Saturday afternoon.

I say 'attempted' because it was more a ploughing exercise than a cutting one.

No matter how sodden the turf, it is inexcusable to see the top layer virtually liquidised.

As a former parks department employee, in the days of Willie Duncan, we'd have got our backsides kicked if we'd been that shoddy. – Yours, etc.,

FORMER GRASSCUTTER

(Name and address supplied).

Extra burden

Sir, – "A vote for the SNP sends a clear message to the Government in London – that they have to act on rising household bills."

These are the words of Cllr Peter Grant, the SNP candidate for the Westminister by-election in the Glenrothes constituency.

Has he no sense of irony? He is the man in whose name hundreds (and before long thousands) of bills are going out for the first time to disabled and older people, charging them for vital services such as personal and domestic care, shopping delivery and the community alarm.

I've met people who are being charged 25 pw, 11 pw, 54 pw and others who expect to pay over 100 pw, some of whom were paying nothing or at most 4 pw for home care.

No one has had to pay for the shopping delivery or community alarm service in Fife before.

There are hundreds of people who have given up their services because they fear the charges or feel degraded by the process of having to divulge their personal details to strangers from Fife Council.

Campaign Against Charges wrote to Peter Grant a couple of weeks ago, asking him to re-think the implementation of the charges in light of the rises in fuel, food and energy bills and were given short shrift by him.

The introduction of charges will undoubtedly be what this SNP/Lib Dem council will always be remembered for, regardless of what's to come. It's mean-spirited, immoral and illegal.

It'll be interesting to observe which one of these parties will want to blame the other in the coming by-election for this kiss of death policy.

So, Cllr Grant, you want the Westminister government to act on rising household bills – disabled and older people face all of these rises but the new bills for home care are just about going to be the undoing of them.

You have the power to do something brave – halt the implementation now before you're branded a hypocrite. – Yours, etc.,

MAUREEN CLOSS

Campaign Against Charges,

Barassie Drive,

Kirkcaldy.

Benefit cuts

Sir, – Nearly every one of your readers will know someone who has ME. They may even know someone who is so badly affected by the illness that they have lost their job and have to live on benefits.

Believe me, for them this is not a career choice. Without exception, people with ME are desperate to get well and live normal lives.

The benefits shake-up recently proposed by the Government has serious and far reaching implications for vulnerable people such as those affected by this chronic fluctuating illness.

It promises fairness for disabled people in what is a barely-disguised attempt to cut the benefits bill by forcing people back into work before they are well enough.

What next – will we be expected to send our old and sick to the workhouse?

Action for ME is urging everyone with ME and their carers to take part in the public consultation on the proposals, by completing the survey on our website, www.afme.org.uk.

The survey asks important questions about people's health, their experiences of the existing benefits system, their hopes and the strategies they have used to try to get back into work.

We will use the results to lobby Government. The Prime Minister must not be allowed to reduce his benefits bill at the cost of ruining the health of genuine claimants. – Yours, etc.,

SIR PETER SPENCER

Chief Executive,

Action for ME,

Canningford House

38 Victoria Street

Bristol BS1 6BY.

East Fife Mail Letters - August 20, 2008

Out of touch

Sir, – It must be something to do with the initial 'B', Blair, Broon, Bush.

Do they all live on another planet or do they think we are just stupid? The last two were on the box telling the world that Russia was wrong to go into Georgia and it should withdraw soonest.

Is that not the pot calling the kettle black?

I remember us going into another country about five years ago and, lo and behold, we are still there and still losing good men.

The conflict, or war, in question you will remember only lasted three weeks and that's where the other B comes in. It was Blair that took us there and there were demonstrations and parades to tell him to get our troops out. Are they out?

You can now understand why Russia is bursting its sides laughing at the leader of this little aircraft carrier we call Britain when he says Russia was wrong to do what it did, it is a bully and should listen to the rest of the super eight when we say 'withdraw immediately'.

Is it not about time we had our standards back again and not be seen to be exercising and condoning double standards?

What have we done about Zimbabwe and other bullying countries? Not a great deal have we?

Come back down to earth you guys and find out what the electorate think and act on it, or don't you know how? – Yours, etc.,

R M SCOTT

13 Hawthorn Street,

Methil.

Positive article

Sir, – I'm writing regarding the article you featured on the condition plagio (EFM 06/08/08).

I would like to thank you so much for helping raise awareness of this issue.

I'm from Nottingham but have family in Scotland who sent me the article.

This condition is awful for parents and children alike and we are being let down hugely by the health service.

My little boy was born at just 27 weeks into my pregnancy and this condition was made worse by this, yet I was never given advice on it.

By you covering the story of young Ryan you offer hope to other parents worrying over their baby's headshape.

Thanks again. – Yours, etc.,

K. MITCHELL

15 Moorlands Close,

Long Eaton.

Greens in red

Sir, – I think the response from the Scoonie Bowling Club committeee last week (EFM 13/08/08) was the wrong letter at the wrong time, and I'll tell you why.

It is obvious the subsidy to the council bowling greens is out of control. There is an expenditure of 180,000 and income of less than 9000.

In four years' time the loss will have grown by another 37,000. This is just unacceptable.

Does Scoonie Bowling Club committee accept there is a problem. It doesn't look like it. The final paragraph of the members' letter s stated, basically, that we've lost money for years – why is there a problem now?

Perhaps that's the attitude that comes with constant subsidy and not needing to balance the books.

I know in my club they haven't done themselves any favours with that at all.

Scoonie said that not having a bar has hindered it. The problem with that statement is some of the council-run clubs do have a bar and their losses are even greater than Scoonie's.

The council is quite right to carry out a review because the current funding strategy is obviously helping no-one and is unsustainable in the long term.

To their credit local councillors have stated that Scoonie should not close but there has to be a reduction in the council's subsidy.

Scoonie has to give local councillors something to work with. The letter, and the sentiments expressed, last week wasn't it. – Yours, etc.,

OBSERVER

(Name and address supplied)

Cutting corners

Sir, – I wonder if anyone else has an opinion on the state of Fife Council's grass cutting in the Levenmouth area?

There is obviously only one thing in mind – and that is to get the grass cut as quickly as possible and move on.

Loose grass is just left, and grass, earth and litter are scattered over adjacent pathways.

The paths on the main road at Dubbieside are an absolute disgrace, as are the Waverley steps at Toboggan Road.

If one complains, it is swept, but the same thing happens next time.

I am of the opinion these people do not have supervisors or, if they do, they do not care and are being paid for doing nothing. – Yours, etc.,

STREET PROUD

(Name and address supplied)

Free choice

Sir, – I refer to the letter of Rudi Vogels (EFM 06/08/08) slamming Labour and accusing it of being responsible for men in the east end of Glasgow of only having a life expectancy of 63 years.

How much of this is down to individual lifestyle choices?

I'm sure politicians can be blamed for many things but surely individuals need to take responsibility for personal choices that limit their life span? – Yours, etc.,

FAIR-MINDED

(Name and address supplied)

Nightclub plan

Sir, – This is being sent in total fear and disgust after reading the article in the Mail this week (EFM 13/08/08).

I stay directly behind the snooker hall in Parkhill Wynd and, while I'm not bothered about the noise such a nightclub would create, I am concerned about the trouble and damage that would happen .

At the moment we, in Leven, have gangs of drunken youths running around as they please and damaging what they want... and getting away with it.

This is the same for people leaving the pubs.

Parkhill is full of older and single parent families who are subjected to noise and damage every Friday and Saturday as people make their way to Brannigans.

Imagine the scale of this if a nightclub was to open on their door step.

If the council needs any proof of this being a disaster waiting to happen all they need do is look at the track record of Brannigans.

It should have the courage to say 'no' and not bury its head in the sand because it's not on its doorstep.

The evidence is there – Lighthouse, Beach Hotel, Oasis, Manhattans, Subway and Brannigans.

The council spends all its time promoting zero tolerance to anti social behaviour and, in the next breath, will consider a plan like this.

I ask myself why? Who's getting what out of it? Certainly not any of the neighbours.

Yes, Leven needs entertainment venues but not right on the public's doorstep.

There should be purpose-built areas made available.

Councillors should remember who put them in their position and start doing their job, protecting the public. – Yours, etc.,

PARKHILL RESIDENT

(Name and address supplied)

Worrying start

Sir, – East Fife's start to the new season has been disappointing to say the least.

The euphoria of that fantastic Championship winning season seems now only a distant memory. So what has happened?

Acknowledging that one or two new players had to be brought in to meet the challenge of the Second Division, I feel that too many sweeping changes have been made. I realise new players need a chance to gel but, saying that, the team had a busy pre-season schedule and even by now should be producing a better return.

Stalwart players from last season such as Greig McDonald and Paul McManus can't even be guaranteed to play 90 minutes a game. Those two, plus one or two others have been sacrificed when they were so vital to last season's success.

I would suggest that East Fife have arguably the best squad of players in the Second Division. So why aren't they delivering?

I feel you have to focus immediately on the manager whose – in my opinion – tactical ability is falling short.

Already this season we have faced teams with players no better than ours and we have been out-thought, outplayed and beaten.

I have said it before in the Moffat era, if only Dave Clarke could manage these players. Let's hope something happens before it is too late! – Yours, etc.,

KENNY McLEAN

Glenrothes .

(via e-mail)

East Fife Mail Letters - August 13, 2008

Town amenity

Sir, – I refer to recent reports in which Fife Council stated that the number of bowling members at Scoonie was 46 when, in actual fact, we have 73 fully subscribed members.

The fees allow us to play bowls from the middle of April until the end of September when the club closes until the following April – unlike the gentleman from Kennoway Bowling Club whose fees probably allow him to play bowls and have the use of his club on a social basis for the whole year.

It is also generally accepted that many private bowling clubs subsidise their bowling activities from the social activities associated with their bar. No such facilities exist at Scoonie.

It is unfortunate that we are drawn into such arguments as this suits the politicians who love diversions – the old `divide and rule' tactic.

Scoonie has its roots in the club formed in 1925 to formalise play on the green supplied as a local amenity in the town of Leven.

It would appear that public amenities are now something of a problem in the Levenmouth area. Like all clubs over the years Scoonie has had various levels of membership but even when it had low membership and a full-time greenkeeper over the bowling season, the local council never threatened to remove the amenity. – Yours, etc.,

ALISON M. HART (President)

JANET GRIEVE (Treasurer)

A. McANDREW (Secretary)

Scoonie Bowling Club,

Ladies Section.

Polling apathy

Sir, – 'Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter". The next line of this song is they wanted leaders and got gamblers instead.

And that is the message from Glasgow East, only slightly different from Comrade Vogels in his letter to the EFM.

Those of us who are excluded from the benefits of the free market have nothing to get out of bed for on polling day.

In Glasgow East the majority of those who would have naturally voted for Labour could not be bothered as they looked in despair at the record of the retiring MP who had basically filled his family's pockets with taxpayers' money.

Labour has now barred MPs and MSPs from employing their children, too little too late for the electorate of Glasgow East but they have got the message in that matter.

The Solidarity Tommy Sheridan vote fell, which may have been much to do with Comrade Tommy campaigning for the National Party while the civil war within Solidarity continues between Militant and the SWP.

Solidarity Councillor Ruth Black's defection to Labour also angered former Solidarity supporters.

As for the National Party, it was not to be seen much in the destitute areas as it carried out its campaign mostly in the posher and more affluent areas and was not allowed to promote independence.

As one observer stated, there was "a significant class differential in the turnout, with higher voting in the more affluent parts, such as Garrowhill, parts of Baillieston, Mt Vernon – which would be to the SNP's advantage".

The message from Glasgow East to the excluded people of Levenmouth is you can vote for Labour Tories, Tory Tories or Tartan Tories so "Get yer **** intae gear ur yous ill swap wan bunch o Tories fur anither". – Yours, etc.,

JIM McLEAN

SSP member,

18 Wemysshaven Gardens,

East Wemyss.

Tight operation

Sir, – If it was possible, I would put the owners of the Mercat Shopping Centre in Kirkcaldy in `Room 101'.

They are turning the place into a disaster zone.

First of all, they have allowed the Subway sandwich bar to fill a large area within the complex.

At one time, it was a pleasure to relax in BB's coffee shop and watch the world go by. Now, Subway is blocking everyone's view with its enormous servery which can't be very pleasant for the BB coffee shop staff as there is no view beyond the back of this monstrosity.

To add insult to injury, the car park has been sold to a firm which has the cheek to call itself `Pure Parking'.

It should be renamed `Pure Greed' because not only has it increased its prices, it has squeezed cars in to spaces which, if they are very lucky, may get out unscratched.

To add to this greed, it has asked Shopmobility to find other premises and has already squeezed another 13 spaces into the Shopmobility parking area.

The dedicated volunteers work timelessly, and with skill and care, providing an excellent service for their disabled customers. Again, the workers' cars are squeezed into tight spaces to enable more cars to be raked in..

Shopmobility customers suffer from a variety of disabilities but one thing is certain, anyone who needs to use this facility, needs to do so with space for wheelchairs, scooters etc and with peace of mind that they have freedom to move without the risk of being mown down in an already limited space.

The entire project is a disgrace. – Yours, etc.,

SQUEEZED OUT

(Name and address supplied)

Project probe

Sir, – In last week's EFM Alsherra is quoted as saying that despite six weeks' inactivity on the Hydrogen Office complex, it expected it to be built by December this year.

How can it be so sure? Is it all in its hands with an investigation from the Ombudsman's office going on currently into irregularities in Fife Council's handling of this whole application?

Last summer the developers promised to have the office and turbine up and running by March this year. They got it wrong. They told us objections were few and far between – and there were hundreds of us. That was wrong again.

So many objections came in that the entire application process was delayed till November and ploughing through all the objections took Fife Council till this June.

Alsherra handed out questionnaires at its last open day – and never rushed to print the results because far from proving we were a minority objecting to it all, it showed it had no support at all.

It usually rushes to print with every crumb of "news". Why did we never hear the results of that little survey?

So is Jim Keiller really saying that delays on that site were because they had given the workers six weeks' holiday? That it had nothing to do with them having to submit a second application for that office block when Fife Council found it to be in gross breach of the specifications it had given in the original application? And the delay has nothing to do with an open investigation by the Ombudsman?

I think when Alsherra parades one of its crystal-ball predictions, you really have to take it with a pinch of salt. Look at previous evidence. – Yours, etc.,

LEVEN RESIDENT

(Name and address supplied)

Planning issues

Sir, – We see Alsherra's Jim Keiller predicting in last week's EFM, that his Hydrogen Office will be built by the end of the year. He got all his previous predictions wrong. Why should this one be right?

His researcher told us back in June last year it would all be up and running by March this year. Was it? He also said it was only a minority that would be against their plans. And there were hundreds of us.

They said they would be world-leaders in the hydrogen field and, of course, that would be news to the researchers in Shetlands, Leicestershire, Strathclyde etc.

He does not admit now that the real reason this development has been delayed for nearly a year has nothing to do with giving the workers holidays. There have been serious problems with both Fife Council's and Alsherra's mishandling of this application.

Alsherra needed to re-submit its application because it had been found breaching the original specifications while Fife is currently being investigated by the Ombudsman. That investigation will run for some time yet.

Jim Keiller should study what happened earlier this year in the case of the wind-farm developers over at Auchtermuchty whose application for a wind farm on the outskirts was turned down. They appealed and it went to the Reporter, whose findings (February 19) should be read by anybody from the Levenmouth residential area. – Yours, etc.,

LEVENMOUTH RESIDENT

(Name and address supplied)

East Fife Mail Letters - August 6, 2008

Green policy

Sir, – I am a member of a private bowling club in Kennoway. I found the revelations about the funding of Fife Council's seven bowling greens fascinating (EFM 30/07/08).

I've no doubt we will have the usual personal abuse directed at the new councillors for highlighting the extent of the subsidies that the clubs receive.

I don't blame them. If I was a member of Scoonie and I was being subsidised by around 300 per year by council tax payers, I'd like to keep that going as well.

The reality is it is absolutely outrageous that Fife Council is paying 192,000 to upkeep its bowling greens and only receives 8500 in income.

It is equally outrageous that this is the first we have heard of this nonsense.

This situation must have been allowed to build up over many years. Those councillors responsible are no doubt safely retired with their large pay-offs.

Obviously, the current financial package is unsustainable. It is time the council greens come face to face with the real world.

Survival is possible but it means taking responsibility for the costs, as well as the income. – Yours, etc.,

ASTONISHED

(Name and address supplied).

Funding gap

Sir, – I was very surprised to see the sums regarding Fife Council-run bowling greens.

Much as I support making sport available for all ages – the gap between subscriptions and running costs does make you question whether pouring our council tax into this is sensible in the present financial climate. – Yours, etc.,

BOWLED OVER

(Name and address supplied)

Prize surprise

Sir, – This is just a note to say thank you very much for the Superbike Knockhill competition tickets my son won.

He entered the competition in a hope to win the tickets for an extra birthday present for his dad who is 50 on Monday.

It'll be a great boys' day out for dad and son.

Thank you very much. – Yours, etc.,

Nik Wilson and Graham(10)

(Address supplied)

Road hazard

Sir, – While shopping recently in Glenrothes, I noticed all the roundabouts were beautifully maintained, with lovely flowers adorning them.

In Levenmouth, roundabouts are left to become overgrown and unkempt.

For example, the roundabout at the Sainsbury's store in Leven is badly overgrown and, in fact, quite dangerous.

There are also no roadmarkings to indicate which lanes you should approach from.

I have seen many a near miss when cars try to leave by the same exit in different lanes. I have complained to the council with no reply. – Yours, etc.,

CHRISTINE WILSON

30 Greenfield View,

Leven.

Party betrayal

Sir, – I would like to say thank you to the people of the East End of Glasgow for dumping New Labour so spectacularly at the polls.

They have sent a clear message to the Labour party that they have had their needs ignored for too long.

Earlier this year we heard big promises from Gordon Brown that he was listening, but how can this ring true in the pockets of the East End of Glasgow, where the average life expectancy of men is 63, at a time when Brown's government is still proudly going ahead with their plans to scrap Incapacity Benefit later this year.

During the election campaign Labour also anounced that unemployed people will have to clean the streets if they want their jobseekers allowance.

To top it off the abolition of the 10p tax rate, and the call for pay cuts to public sector workers, ensures that the economic slump will affect the working poor even more harshly.

I was over in the constituency during the campaign and believe me, constituents there were as up in arms over these issues as they were about crime and the economy.

The feeling I got was that the East End had lost it with New Labour for good, as have most people in Scotland. Yes Gordon Brown has got to go but so does his whole party which has quite unashamedly betrayed its working class supporters in Scotland. – Yours, etc.,

RUDI VOGELS

Member of Solidarity.

(Address supplied).

Lengthy wait

Sir, – I would like to express my horror at the way social services are descending on the old people of our community under the guise of assessing them for home care charges.

A number of these old people have relied on doctors, nurses and care workers to help them with the paperwork when applying for these benefits. So being confronted by a stranger and being asked questions, the answers to which are being noted in a legal document, seems to me to contravene the old people's rights to have someone in attendance when these questions are being asked.

My mother is still waiting on a handrail being installed at her front door. Angelina Jolie has been able to conceive, go through a pregnancy, give birth and take the children home in less time than it has taken Fife Council's social services to erect a handrail on a single step in Methilhill. – Yours etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Anti ageism

Sir, – Recent research from Help the Aged shows many people are worried about how society is going to treat them once they turn 65.

I am not surprised by that. Older people are too often dismissed by the rest of society and are frequently the butt of jokes and disparaging remarks.

Ageism is more than jokes, though. The daily reality can be more sinister and can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

While age discrimination is still legal, older people can be denied access to medical treatment simply because they're "too old". This is a moral outrage in the 21st century.

The Government has proposed an Equality Bill in its next Queen's Speech. There's now a historic opportunity to get ageism outlawed.

Please write to Gordon Brown demanding legislation to ban age discrimination at 10 Downing Street, London, SW1.

Let's make him live up to the promises he made in his 2007 Party Conference speech when he spoke about ending discrimination.

Gordon Brown's Government now has the chance to end ageism once and for all.

I would urge people of all ages to support the Help the Aged 'Just Equal Treatment' campaign by calling 020 7239 1982 or visiting www.helptheaged.org.uk/takeaction

Time is running out. Please take action on behalf of all older people. – Yours etc.,

WILLIAM McGIRR

9 Hillview,

Glenrothes.

Trays please

Sir, – For over 25 years, I have been collecting old pre-war brewery items such as mirrors, adverts, matchstrikers, ashtrays, ceramic coasters, etc.

However, by far the biggest part of my collection is my brewery trays with well over 1000 - the biggest colection in Britain.

I am still searching for pre-war trays which are identified by having a black coloured back.

I know there are many Scottish brewers who produced such trays, many of which supplied the Fife area. Can any of your readers help?

Does anyone have any old Scottish trays, or other pre-war items for that matter?

I am due to visit Fife and specifically the East Neuk in a few weeks.

If anyone can help, Richard Percival can be contacted on 01664 464883 or at richard.percival@hotmail.co.uk

– Yours, etc.,

RICHARD PERCIVAL

Stoneleigh House,

High Street,

Waltham on the Wolds,

LE14 4AH.

East Fife Mail Letters - July 30, 2008

But of course

Sir, – Councillor Goodall (EFM Letters 23/07/08) continues his "double-speak", thereby ensuring continuing speculation over Scoonie Gof Course.

He writes: "I am happy to confirm there are no plans for alternative developments on these sites."

Hmm. Cllr Goodall wasn't asked to confirm in writing there are no plans for alternative developments. Politicians often say they have no plans in respect of certain projects, only to then proceed with those projects.

Cllr Goodall was asked if he would do the honourable thing and confirm in writing now that, irrespective of the outcome of his "review", the land gifted to the people of Leven by the Christies of Durie would not be sold off.

If he wishes to put an end to speculation – which he is clearly uncomfortable with – he can do so now by making such a commitment. If not, why not? – Yours, etc.,

WILL BROOKS

(Address supplied).

No revival

Sir, – In Leven Golf Clubhouse (once Innerleven Clubhouse), there is a painting from 1878 showing a group of golfers of the period, in traditional red jackets, golfing on a course where, today, Dubbieside power station sits.

The golf course, the Innerleven course, one of the oldest in the world, older than Leven and Lundin Links, ran from Dubbieside towards Methil, past where dock three is today.

In the painting behind the golfers is the rivermouth, the old Shorehead and, in the background, Largo Law.

Ironically then, when leisure and tourism pursuits bring in the greatest number of visitors, jobs and money to the Scottish economy, we have Levenmouth going one step forward and one step back.

We just get the Blue Flag status for the beach, then find our river poisoned and dead fish surfacing.

We just get the good news that the monstrous eyesore of the power station is scheduled to come down, raising hopes that maybe one day it could be a greenfield site again, when you hear the powers-that-be have decided to impose another monster on the area.

We could have made a whole lot more of our golfing history, instead of focusing on elements which do not draw in the tourists.

To look at the area now, I bet only golfers here know that all around Leven and Lundin Links (let alone Methil and Buckhaven) there were coal mines.

Golfers know the eighth hole on the Leven course is called The Bing because that is what lies alongside the hole. Here are the excavations from the pit under the municipal course.

And, to this day, there are ventilation shafts dotted about the course, releasing the gas from the pits below. The area was, you might say, regenerated, hiding the past under the fairways.

Dinosaurs once roamed the land and they are gone. Pits and docks were once major industries in Scotland, but are gone too. As is the horse-and-cart.

Golf, though, is still a huge draw, as anyone watching the crowds following the Open can see. Not just Donald Trump.

The Local Plan advocated investment in leisure and tourism for this area and that was right.

And, with the power station coming down, here was a chance to make it all happen, along with the Blue Flag status for the beach.

But we won't be seeing golfers restored to Dubbieside now. Or, for that matter, tourists either.

The revival of the leisure and tourism industry which this area was looking forward to, along with the regeneration that would have brought, won't be happening now, Blue Flag status or not. A pity. – Yours, etc.,

GEORGE SMITH

Allan Cottage,

Mitchell Street,

Leven.

Tired trawl

Sir, – The ability Peter McCulloch has for digging up data throughout the decades (EFM Letters 23/07/08) makes me wonder why no SNP MSP or MP has given him the dignity of employment as a resarch assistant.

Also, is not strange that Peter, who unsuccessfully stood against me time after time, when he did not have a chance of winning, was no longer the candidate when the SNP did have a chance of winning?

It is correct that I, as a member of Fife Region, with no experience on planning matters, did think objectors had right of appeal.

I was wrong. But we were successful in our opposition to East Fife building a new stadium at Ashgrove Farm.

You see, when I had constituents coming to my weekly surgeries, I did try, if possible, to accommodate their wishes, unless it was a few opposed to something that would enhance the area.

He mentions my involvement in health matters. All I can say is I make no apologies for campaigning for one acute hospital in a central location surrounded by community hospitals.

Wonderful as Randolph Wemyss and Cameron are, I am sure Levenmouth would have been better served with one new building.

It is the staff who make the care excellent; not the buildings that are bricks and mortar.

I don't need any lectures from someone who has made no contribution to the area, other than let himself be used as a puppet when Alexander and others in the SNP pull the strings. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

Gagging policy

Sir, – It was with disappointment and sadness that, at the conclusion of last week's Letters to the Editor , I read the comments from the editor, stating there would be no more letters re the wind turbine until the next stage of the process.

I don't accept the situation degenerated into a position of personal abuse and, if he considered this to be the case , letters in that category could have been withheld.

There were, no doubt, some angry comments made and no wonder, due to the way this whole situation has been dealt with. Local residents were bound to be angry and upset with the prospect of having to live in the shadow of this monster.

In conclusion, I would inform the editor I was not aware the East Fife Mail was adopting a policy of censorship and gagging the public and, in the old journalistic jargon, to publish this letter and be damned. – Yours, etc.,

BILL GUNNING

193 High Street,

Methil.

Shame on you

Sir, – On Sunday, July 27 around 1pm, some callous person hit a beautiful one-year-old dog on Holly Road, Leven, and drove off.

I was in my garden and heard screaming, like a pack of wild animals. The terrified dog somehow ran round into Forest Path, where it collapsed at my feet.

What I saw had me retching. Its front leg was sheared open from top to bottom, the bone fully exposed and blood pouring from it.

The dog's owner frantically came looking for it and saw us with it. We wrapped its leg in a dish towel, wrapped the dog in a blanket and it was rushed to an emergency vet.

I later learned it has a punctured lung, two broken ribs, front and back legs broken. It is touch and go for this poor, beautiful dog.

I hope the driver can sleep at night. You know who you are. Shame on you. – Yours, etc.,

L. WILSON,

Forest Path,

Leven.

Petrol poser

Sir, – Has anyone else noticed that the good people of Levenmouth pay 1p per litre more than our friends in Kirkcaldy?

On Saturday I checked the pump price of unleaded petrol in both areas.

In Kirkcaldy the price of petrol at Sainsbury's, Shell and Esso was 113.9p per litre.

In Leven the price at Sainsbury, Shell and Esso was 114.9p per litre.

Perhaps more people should do as I do, and fill up when in Kirkcaldy, then we might see market forces bring the price of fuel down to a uniform level for everyone. – Yours, etc.,

Ricky Jannetta

(Address supplied).

East Fife Mail Letters - July 23, 2008

Noise pollution

Sir, – With regard to the letter (EFM 09/07/08) re noise from car events at Crail Airfield, I endorse the sentiments experienced by your correspondent.

I am fortunate in that I reside at the extreme west end of Crail, which is approximately one and a half miles from the airfield, but the noise emanating from this event can be clearly heard here.

When these events coincide with an infrequent good day, I have, on several occasions, felt obliged to forego the pleasure of being in my garden due to the sheer din from the cars and retreat into the shelter of my house.

This type of sport, when adjacent to residential areas, is quite incompatible and I fail to see why the council cannot at least reduce the frequency of these events and give the Crail residents some respite from what must be one of the most anti-social of sports.

The events attract, in the main, young men, among whom are a fair number of idiots.

On previous dates of the events, I have been verbally abused by patrons en route to same, and witnessed passengers climbing out of sunroofs while the vehicles were moving. – Yours, etc.,

EXASPERATED

(Name and address supplied).

Course pledge

Sir, – I refer to recent correspondence in relation to the council's plans to review its provision of both golf courses and bowling greens, and particularly speculation surrounding Scoonie.

The focus of the review is to identify a sustainable future for public provision.

Given the changing environment for golf and bowls, declining patterns of play and future investment requirements, it is absolutely right that we take stock of the situation.

Through this review, working closely with clubs and users, we want to explore a range of options with a view to finding the best way to safeguard and deliver high quality sporting opportunities in Fife.

Given this, and your correspondent's speculation regarding the future of Scoonie (EFM Letters 09/07/08), I am happy to confirm there are no plans for alternative developments on these sites. – Yours, etc.,

Cllr BRIAN GOODALL

Chair of housing and communities committee.

Wemyss wary

Sir, – Before Randolph Wemyss Hospital renovation started, I attended the rehabilitation day unit and was looking forward to the new look for my appointment after the completion.

This was a big disappointment. I use a wheelchair and manipulate it on my own. The ambulance crew picked me up in the morning and they were so helpful, cheery.

We used the main entrance at the hospital and I was so pleased to see the original floor tiles in the foyer with the unique design, which had been left untouched.

On entering, the hall was bright and welcoming. I was pushed into the day room; again it was tastefully decorated but I noticed the large cupboards had gone and were replaced by much smaller ones. Far too small for patients' coats and all the equipment used for activities in the day room.

The staff greeted us warmly and with a smile – they are so caring and attentive. We (there were four other ladies) were offered coffee, tea, milk, juice and toast. Nothing is a bother, they are so keen to look after us.

On trying to steer myself into the room, it was almost impossible, as the wheels on my chair and the non-slip lino were not compatible and I needed help. The staff were equally at odds with this problem.

My next trip was for physio and again I needed help. The room was spacious and bright, the equipment new and impressive, but the decor was garish. One red wall, one orange, navy curtains with a design.

The physio staff are excellent. They can't do enough to help you on the way to recovery.

Then a visit to the toilet, which was not without trauma. The first door had a notice `out of order', which meant a trip along the corridor.

Nurse and I struggled to push the wheelchair. The toilet was large, airy and pristine with an invalid fitting on the toilet. Perfect? No way.

The flush push button was behind the toilet fitting and I couldn't get my hand in to push. Then, on to wash my hands, I could not reach the taps and, on looking around, the paper towel holder was fixed to the wall above the sinks, so I gave up, to find I could not open the door. It was too heavy.

However, help was at hand after my struggle. There was a very thoughtful nurse, with hand wipes for my hands and the strength to hold the door open for me to struggle out. In the `old building', I wheeled myself around everywhere. With the new renovations I've lost all my independence.

The architect/planners had not the disabled in mind when this area was designed for the day room. What will happen now? Where will the patients go for help? What happened to the previous equipment and furniture? Was it re-cycled? It would have brought in a tidy sum.

The day room was the only part of the building I was in and I cannot comment on any other area of Randolph Wemyss. Apart from all of this, I thoroughly enjoyed my day with the staff and a blether with the other ladies.

The lunch supplied was excellent, thanks to the catering staff.

Keep up the good work staff. You are an asset and Randolph Wemyss Hospital should be proud of you. – Yours, etc.,

GRATEFUL PATIENT

(Name and address supplied).

We're grateful

Sir, – Through your newspaper, we would like to thank the many people who contributed so generously to the Society's funds at our recent charitable collection in High Street, Leven, where we raised the sum of 468.06.

We are always looking for more volunteers to come along and help us with collections.

If you have an hour or two to spare and would like to join us, please contact Liz Reid at our office on 01592 583272.

These funds help us to run a variety of volunteer programmes including local social clubs, activity groups including rambling, swimming, curling and keep fit.

They help us to recruit, train and support volunteer drivers, home visitors and those who record information on to tape.

There are currently approximately 8000 blind and partially sighted people throughout Fife and we would encourage readers to contact us at the address below if they know of anyone who might benefit from our services.

A big thank you to all who supported us on the day. – Yours etc.,

ALAN SUTTIE

Chief Executive,

Fife Society for the Blind,

Wilson Avenue,

Kirkcaldy.

Fresh policies

Sir, – I would say to the people of Levenmouth who want planning advice to ignore former Labour councillor Joyce Smith.

I'm sure Joyce remembers when she thought objectors to planning applications actually had the right of appeal.

It took a while, I'm told, to dissuade her but I'm sure she knows now they don't.

Joyce was complaining about the SNP taking credit for projects that are now being brought forward. Yet, only a few weeks ago (EFM Letters 11/06/08), she was complaining about the lack of investment in Levenmouth by the last Labour administration and said: ``I was the lone voice in the wilderness''.

However, where I do agree with Joyce is the SNP has very different objectives to those of Labour. To begin with, the SNP isn't pursuing a Thatcherite policy agenda.

The SNP is against taxpayers being ripped off by Labour's Tory PFI/PPP policy, which sees our schools and hospitals handed over to the private sector, or the increased private sector involvement in the delivery of health service provision (as is increasingly happening in England).

Nor has the SNP ever attempted to force (financially blackmail) local authorities into disposing of their housing stock.

I don't recall any local SNP or activist politician who advocated the closure of our two local hospitals in Levenmouth (Randolph Wemyss Memorial and Cameron). This is exactly what Joyce Smith advocated, though!

What is also interesting is that not one single Labour politician or their apologists have anything to say about the recently published NHS report highlighting the level of deprivation which exists in 21st century Levenmouth.

But then, with decades of Labour control, the level of deprivation this area is suffering from is nothing for them to be proud of or boast about, is it? – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road,

Methil.

Missed chance

Sir, – I wish to comment on David Alexander's letter (EFM 09/07/08) in which he tried to justify his handling of the last local area meeting.

Knowing the meeting would attract a crowd, he changed to a different venue but never thought to install microphones and so let down everyone there.

Speakers could not be heard and their audience could not hear. When I asked him to speak up, or stand up and deliver his spiel, he claimed a bad back. Nothing was done to improve the situation.

Despite one of his councillors suggesting, in fairness, one from our side should be allowed the floor, he refused. Now he claims all he did was `procedurally correct'.

When there are precedents (which we knew about) for taking questions from the floor, letting someone have a limited say, he is wrong to imply there was no way he could have let us speak, being legally bound etc.

He gave the appearance of a man who was frightened to open the door to free speech. We, of course, can understand why. Councillors, himself included, had not done their homework, as one of your letter writers (EFM 09/07/08) claims they had.

If they had, they would have known all about all the other demonstration centres and research centres up and down the land. They would also have known jobs would never be created by such a thing. And the real jobs were being created at Kvaerner yard where this centre does not, strangely enough, want to go, despite the new roads and roundabout.

As for planners assessing applications, by taking account of local plans, development plans – what a joke! He certainly cannot have done his homework on that. Nor his fellow councillors.

This turbine would never have gotten off the ground had they taken account of the Levenmouth Local Area Plan with its emphasis on encouraging leisure and tourism pursuits on that site – and the site of the defunct power station (whose scheduled demise not one of them dared mention).

Elspeth Cook wanted that turbine to `fit right in' with that chimney stack and Kvaerner yard's pylons, never mentioning the day's headline (EFM 18/06/08) that the power station was on the way out.

She was the planner that had the EIA refused on totally false grounds, saying the area was `industrial' and local housing was `distant'. And had they read the Fife Structure Plan and the Supplementary Guidance on Wind Energy, that would also have shown them residential districts like that, with no industry in the residential area, were to be protected by a 2km buffer-zone. That was a `statutory guidance' these councillors chose to ignore.

So the councillors sitting alongside Elspeth Cook, planning officer (refusing any opposing view to correct their umpteen errors), were `procedurally' free to go on spouting about jobs that would come (when we all knew that to be false); about the research and prestige that would come, when we, who had done our homework, knew Methil was way behind in the list of places doing any kind of hydrogen research.

And the sad thing is they had a real chance to regenerate Levenmouth. If they had the guts to stand up for the people who voted them in, and not the developers whose spiel they swallowed hook, line and sinker, they could have helped tourism by barring such a monstrous industrial turbine from replacing the defunct power-station.

But they missed their chance. They failed the people of Levenmouth and they failed to give Levenmouth its one real chance to be regenerated through restoring tourism. – Yours, etc.,

FURIOUS

(Name and address supplied).

Chair guide

Sir, – I note with interest in Cllr Alexander's (first and last) letter (EFM 09/07/08), he states the conduct of the meeting was proceduraly correct and legal.

This may be the case in the way he handles things when chairing a meeting but it is my contention that proper procedure was not adhered to, due to the fact the proposal to pass the planning permission came from the chair.

It is my experience, as a former national vice-chairman of my union, that the chairman's job is to conduct the meeting and only have a say in the voting stage when a casting vote is required.

Normal parliamentary procedure was not adhered to in this case.

I offered Cllr Alexander my copy of Citrine's book on chairmanship, which is based on parliamentary procedure, but he didn't seem to understand what I was refering to.

Perhaps Fife Council should consider issuing this excellent guide to all chairs of committees. – Yours, etc.,

BILL GUNNING

193 High Street,

Lower Methil.

Fair and equal

Sir, – It's unfortunate the Letters page is being dominated by those who not only elevate their own opinions to absolute facts but can only respond to reasoned argument by personal abuse.

The turbine `warriors' are not the only culprits, but they are the worst.

Last week was shocking. The more contributions I read from these people, the more convinced I am that we do have good councillors in Levenmouth.

They refused to be intimidated. Having read the planning report, it is obvious they also made the correct decision.

Full marks, too, to the chair for explaining why they took the decision they did. He must have known the abuse that was going to come his way, but I think it was important that everyone in Levenmouth realises planning applications will be treated fairly and equally, free from external intimidation.

It was also a good reminder for objectors to future planning applications to see that there is a way to do things, and a way not.

Obviously, some contributors prefer `not'.

They are still griping about not being able to participate at the planning meeting despite the rules being crystal clear.

Why do they think they can? Because at a previous point in the meeting, a member of the public spoke.

A quick glance at the agenda explains that. It was not a planning application – it was a departure from the Development Plan Hearing. Different rules, different procedure, and different item on the agenda.

In response to my statement ``neither supporters not objectors can participate in the meeting'' it is said it's not true because Elspeth Cook spoke.

Elspeth Cook is neither an objector nor a supporter. She is the professional planner who wrote the report put in front of councillors. Of course she spoke and, of course, she answered questions.

If people who are supposedly serious about objecting to a planning application don't even understand the procedure, in fact get it totally wrong, then you can reasonably discount the rest of their case.

You cannot make it up. But, I can suggest a way forward. Complain to the chief executive of Fife Council about the handling of the meeting. Publish the response you get.

I, for one, can't wait to see the apologies to our elected members. – Yours, etc.,

OBSERVER

(Name and address supplied).

*Editor's note: The debate over the turbine decision taken at the June area committee meeting has raged on these pages for a full month. Unfortunately, contributions, covering claim and counter claim, have degenerated into personal abuse, editorial demands and harrassment of staff. The East Fife Mail has, therefore, been forced into a position of ending this topic, until the next stage of the process. No correspondence or communication will be entered into regarding this decision.

Jerzy T. Morkis

Editor

East Fife Mail Letters - July 16, 2008

Less hysteria

Sir, – Re the Methil wind turbine, how to put this opinion?

Maybe some facts would make it a more balanced overview of the whole controversy.

The people who are most vociferous in their objections must have a less hysterical and more constructive method of airing their views.

What, honestly, are all the reasons for their objections, besides the obvious ones of noise and problems with TV reception and other visual problems?

They should be aware that not having voiced much concern for the enviromental dangers which global warming has put our precious planet in, they would seem to have proved they are not concerned with that aspect of the controversy at all.

There must be a good few thousand local citizens who didn't see the neccessity of attending any meetings with the council representatives. That could be because they are not going to be directly affected by staying near the docks.

But I say quite a lot of those people could be concerned about the global threat to all communities caused by the use of fossil fuels and are broadly in favour of renewable resources getting priority over every other issue, no matter what that may be. – Yours, etc.,

LESLIE GORDON

67 Rowan Crescent,

Methil.

Ill wind

Sir, – Chicago is known as the `Windy City', not because of the gusting winds that sweeps through the city streets but because of the long-winded boasts from local politicians.

Here in Fife, we have our own windbags in the form of councillors.

Let's take an example. Cllr David Alexander (EFM Letters 09/87/08), wrote: "Councillors who sit on planning committees do not represent a political party."

In this respect, give the man his due, he is correct. The reality of the matter is the EU has set a target which requires Britain, within the next 12 years, to generate 38 per cent of our electricity from "renewable" sources.

In response to this directive from the EU oligarchs, the `Government' is going to publish plans to produce thousands more turbines at a cost of 100 billion!

Research shows it is utter folly to depend on electricity generated by wind power for various factors. Nonetheless, the Mad Hatters in EU Wonderland have decreed it be so.

Cllr Alexander goes on to write, in regard to planning applications : " ..must disregard considerations that are immaterial for planning purposes."

Cllr Alexander is again correct, give him his due, in that he and his fellow councillors have disregarded certain "considerations". They have no consideration for the wishes of local people.

This is the reality – the EU has ordered toady Gordon Brown to comply with its directive. Gordon Brown has passed on this directive down the line.

And the snivelling toadies on Fife Council, in order to benefit themselves, have tried to con people in to thinking they, the councillors, have researched, studied, given the matter great "consideration" and are operating in the best interests of the people. – Yours, etc.

WILL BROOKS

(address supplied).

More to come?

Sir, – I might not be a businessman but it does not seem a viable business proposition to spend money erecting a wind turbine tower to supply only two buildings and wait around for 20 years to recover the costs.

Unless the siting of this turbine and the subsequent gaining of planning permission is just part of a bigger picture that we are not privy to at this time?

We might find that, by allowing this turbine project to proceed, we are about to open a floodgate for other installations to follow.

Another issue I would like to comment on is the proposal to close Scoonie bowling club and sell off Scoonie golf course.

Of course, this administration will say it may not actually happen but watching the events unfold over recent issues, we know it is only a matter of time before councillors call a public meeting and literally stick two fingers up to the community saying ' Tough, we are going to do it anyway'.

It looks like regeneration plans for the area consist of acquiring and selling off as much land as possible to private developers to finance schemes like the new super town, with shops and a school that none of us will be able to send our children to unless we take out mortgages on their site.

It's not all bad news, though. For those that might miss using these facilities, the administration is proposing a 'Leven's Got Talent' contest and perhaps a Highland Games, which should keep you amused for at least a week of your miserable lives. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Right denied

Sir, – I should like to comment, as one of the first campaigners against the turbine, on the misunderstandings expressed in two of your correspondents' letters regarding what happened.

You would have thought Cllr Alexander, for one, would have got his facts straight. "Procedurally correct" is his refuge, his alibi. Let me make two points here:

a) the chair can allow comments/questions from the floor and, before the meeting, I indeed e-mailed him requesting this but was refused. One of his own councillors suggested at the meeting that this position was unfair but, despite having on previous occasions allowed speakers from the floor, he did not this time.

b) The last correspondent (anonymous, and well do we understand why) also made the point that "neither objectors nor supporters can speak at the committee" – again patently untrue. Elspeth Cook, proposing the report be adopted, spoke at interminable length, along with her tame "expert".

And we all know of cases when questions/comments have been taken "from the floor" at previous area meetings. We knew the procedure (I probably know PAN 81 better than any of the councillors there) and I recommend the unhappy correspondent gen up on it too.

One grievance we have long had with the councillors – apart from their not having done their homework or research, as we by contrast most assuredly had done – is that all of them disenfranchised us by all being on that planning committee (unlike in previous years when only one or two of them were), thereby ensuring none would talk to us, their constituents, about this most important project in the past 12 months to us, hiding behind this "code of conduct".

What Cllr Alexander does not mention is what is in the rest of PAN 81, (the statutory guidance about public involvement, as well as the involvement of councillors).

Let him read from page 26 onwards re "Community engagement in the pre-application process" and about the statutory duty of applicants on the one hand and the planning authority, Fife Council, on the other, which, I believe, had never been read by either councillors or planners.

The councillors were far from "having done their jobs professionally". None of them knew about the research establishments up and down the land carrying out hydrogen research/demonstrations etc. for many years, so that Methil will never be a leader as it tries to play catch up. Had they known, they would never have trotted out the line that Methil will be a world leader, etc.

Similarly, they all swallowed the developer's spiel that it would bring in jobs. Not even when we pointed out that the director himself, Derek Mitchell, said there would be only 10 jobs. Throughout the last 12 months these councillors regularly spouted this project (a demonstration project) would create "thousands of jobs".

Did they ever ask how? Did they ever research the other demonstration projects throughout the UK and the world and see how many jobs other demonstration centres brought in their wake? Of course they did not. Because at this final meeting, out came the same tired old spiel that this would be good for Methil by bringing in hundreds of jobs and leading research. Utter rubbish.

They even said it would help in regenerating Methil when anyone with half a brain knows there is not a single neighbourhood in the UK, in Europe, in the USA or Australia where having an industrial turbine imposed on the area lifted house values and brought prosperity. All the facts show the opposite.

Finally, picture Levenmouth struggling to restore tourism. We all know that tourism brings in more money and jobs to the Scottish economy than the whole of the energy industry.

But Blue Flag beaches or not, even with the power-station demolished (which they completely omitted to mention), there will be no tourists streaming into Levenmouth while an 81m high turbine whirls overhead. Tourist surveys show tourists stay away from them. – Yours, etc.

Isobel G Drummond

(Address supplied).

Measured reply

Sir, – Cllr Alexander must be living in cloud-cuckoo land if he thinks "counter-measures" will a) actually be put in place and b) then used by these developers to counter all the shadow-flicker, TV interference, noise pollution etc., that will affect us residents.

And who on earth does he think will be monitoring all this to see everything is running smoothly?

Are residents to sit up in shifts, 24 hours a day, to monitor all the deviations, the omissions, the irregularities etc? Or would it be the councillors themselves? The ones that thought these "counter-measures" would do the trick?

Another thing he got wrong at the meeting was to say human rights didn't come into it, like the writer (EFM Letters 09/07/08) who said "your view and the value of your property have no part to play in the planning process".

Well, if they had done their homework as they claimed, they would have known what the Human Rights Act (1998), especially Articles 1 and 8 say: "Diminution in value of property may be relevant".

The Environmental Pollution Act (Scotland) 2004 as well as the WHO Guidelines talk about the effects of "visual pollution" and the need to protect people's property and possessions (like our TVs). WHO Guidelines say that, as well as protecting communities from the health effect of noise pollution etc., "other impacts are important such as loss of property value".

So if Fife Council and local councillors allow some developer to build a thing like that turbine so close to our homes which then affects our health, our lifestyle, our property and possessions, with us and our property suffering as a result of them allowing this visual and noise pollution, they are liable.

I hope Cllr Alexander asked his lawyers about the Rylands case. Have he and the letter writer done any homework?

They should be embarrassed at exposing their ignorance in the press like this. We have done our research this past 12 months and what we don't know about Local Plans, development plans, wind energy guidance, SPP6, PAN 81, buffer-zones etc., could be put on the end of a pin.

They obviously haven't a clue what the planners got up to in Kirkcaldy, ignoring relevant statutory guidance (on the EIA) inventing imaginary locations like an "industrial" Lower Methil where local housing was "distant" and shoring up their case with irrelevant features like the decommissioned power station.

They all took residents like us for mugs and they got it wrong. – Yours, etc.

John Millar

(Address supplied).

Due credit

Sir, – If the application for the wind turbine had been placed before the former planning committee, I am confident Councillor Willie Aitken would have had a public hearing and perhaps led to a public enquiry.

Three hundred letters of objection should not have been treated lightly and should have at least allowed one spokesman to put forward objectors' point of view.

Of course, there could not have been debate with them.

Not having seen the paper work, I cannot comment on the rights or wrongs of the decision, as it is not just a simple thing to reject an application because people don't like it.

If the rejected applicant appeals successfully, costs are awarded against the council, as when masts on buildings were rejected.

No doubt I will again be accused of playing politics by Councillor Alexander. He was correct when he stated I had no love for the new administration (EFM Letters 18/06/08).

I will be Labour until the day I die and could not support another political party, unlike some rejects from the Labour party who join the SNP, which stands for entirely different objectives.

I do, however, respect a lot of genuine SNP members and councillors.

I am sure most of my political opponents, with perhaps the exception of David Alexander, who apparently thinks his administration is above criticism, will concede I am a fair-minded person.

Incidentally, did David include the Lib Dems when he referred to the last administration as the `last mob' in a newsletter someone forwarded to me, as they felt it was ignorance, to say the least?

He also in his newsletter claims credit for everything good, even though planned and started by the previous administration.

In fact, I think he would credit the SNP with the sunshine and blame Labour for the wind and rain. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

View u-turn

Sir, – I well remember a story from the old Glasgow Empire Theatre, when two young brothers, Mike and Bernie Winters, made their fateful first appearance at the "comics' graveyard'.

Mike started the act on stage alone playing clarinet and, after a few minutes, Bernie's face would peer through the centre curtains with that silly leer – "Heeee".

There was absolute silence from the audience, then a punter yelled: "Aw no, there's two of them!"

So now I ask the question `Councillor Alexander – could there be two of them?'

I ask because I read with interest the letter ( EFM 02/07/08) by a councillor called David Alexander to ask a chap called James to identify himself and "meet to have a debate".

Obviously, this can't be the same Councillor Alexander who was chairman at the Carlow Hall meeting, when no public debate was permitted and the Lower Methil turbine was approved!

Can someone confirm he is one and the same person or, heaven forbid, "Aw no, there's two of them"? – Yours, etc.,

RICKY JANNETTA

48 Wellesley Road,

Aberhill.

Worthy cause

Sir, – Through your letters page, I would like to put out a heartfelt plea for people to help collect vital funds for British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland.

I am looking for volunteers to help at a collection at your Argos store during the weekend of July 26-27.

I urgently need your readers to help me. Heart disease touches us all.

BHF Scotland it totally committed to preventing peoples lives being devastated by heart disease, which remains Scotland's biggest killer. That is why nearly 150 is spent every minute of every day on research.

I urgently need volunteers to help me with these collections. Just a couple of hours are all I am asking for.

If you are interested in helping to support this collection and improve the lives of people with heart disease, please phone me.

I would love to hear from you. Together we can beat heart disease. – Yours, etc.,

HEATHER GREGORY

Fund-raising volunteer manager,

01968 679767

email gregoryh@bhf.org.uk

Man's abuse

Sir, – I am addressing this letter to the person who assaulted my six-month-old puppy on Friday outside Leven Thistle Golf Club.

This person was asked politely by the young lady walking my dog to wait a second, till passing with his dog, until my puppy was put on his lead.

Not that he is vicious, but because he is a puppy and likes to play with other dogs.

This person chose to ignore this request and proceeded to punch my puppy in the head and kick him.

I hope he is totally ashamed of himself for abusing my dog who, thankfully, has suffered no lasting effects.

If he does that to a complete stranger's dog, in public, it makes you wonder what the treatment of his own dog is like.

People like him do not deserve to own an animal. – Yours, etc.,

VERY ANGRY DOG OWNER

(Name and address supplied).

Castle history

Sir, – I would like to know the history of Wemyss Castle and I wonder if any of your readers could supply this information.

The reason I am curious to gain this knowledge is because my father, James Baird from Kirkcaldy, met my mother, a Grimsby girl, Minnie Webb, while working there.

Dad was a chauffeur and my mother worked in the laundry. They emigrated to Australia in 1927.

If anyone has any information on the castle, I would appreciate it if they could contact me via my email address on

masterbaird@bigpond.com.au – Yours, etc.,

PHILIP ROSSLYN BAIRD

PO Box 325,

Cessnock,

Australia, NSW 2325.

East Fife Mail Letters - July 9, 2008

Generosity

Sir, – As chair of 'Friends of Balcurvie Primary School', I am writing to thank all parents, friends and local businesses who supported our recent parents' disco and quiz night at the Burns Tavern.

Thanks to their generosity, we succeeded in raising 540, which will be used towards buying an interactive whiteboard for the school. – Yours, etc.,

JULIE STRUTHERS

Bankhead Farm,

Windygates.

Not democratic

Sir, – Councillor Brian Goodall was very quick to respond in writing (EFM Letters 18/08/08) to what he considered were unfair speculative comments made by members of the public in connection with Scoonie golf course and the bowling green.

A letter (EFM 25/06/08) asked if he would do the honourable thing by making a commitment in writing right now that land gifted to the people of Leven would not be sold to any private entity – as set out in the burdens in the title deeds by Ralph Christie of Durie.

Conspicuous by its absence is Cllr Goodall's reply to that letter and his undertaking not to sell out.

What can we, the public, conclude from his non-reply? The clue is in his position in Fife Council.

He is chair of housing and community.

Given that Fife councillors, according to the evidence, e.g. the wind turbine project which the public does not want, couldn't care less about the community, it is reasonable to conclude Cllr Goodall has his eye on Scoonie golf course for property development, as published (EFM 04/06/08)when the story first came into the public domain.

These politicians are not interested in democracy – they are the new ruling oligarchs. And they will do whatever they so desire in order to benefit themselves – Yours, etc.

WILL BROOKS

(address supplied).

Address issues

Sir, – Perhaps it's time David Alexander (is that his real name?) slithered off to a quiet and darkened room, lay down,popped a couple of reality pills and found his way back to the world in which the rest of us live.

What is the problem with the man? He is obsessed by thoughts of political plots, driven by hidden meanings behind anonymity – and even when a name is voluntarily revealed, he refuses to believe it. He really should come out from behind his paranoia.

The tragedy, though, is he appears unable to face the issues. If any reader managed to stay awakethroughout the Alexander rant (EFM Letters 02/07/08), he or she would have noticed the complaints, the grievances – about littered streets, dog dirt, lack of amenities, no discernible plan for the future, visitor disappointment – were subsumed, not even addressed, as the fixated councillor, seeing dastardly political manoeuvres at every turn, "challenged" me to reveal my address.

Over a long career as a writer and journalist – I wrote, for example, the local best-selling book on East Fife FC `Something To Shout About', as well as being a radio and TV scriptwriter – I have never put my address in the public domain for reasons any intelligent person would understand.

In any case, my address, telephone number and e-mail addressare safely in the hands of this newspaper's editor. Surely the councillor from Kennoway is notsuggesting the editor is party to a diabolical plot?

I am not looking for a debate on the issues. They are evident for all to see. And there was no question of "slagging off" Leven, to use his own crude phrase.

By his actions and reactions, the same Mr Alexander demeans the town and the area byignoring genuine complaint and legitimate criticism.

If he looked in the news pages and other letters published by the Mail last week, he may have grasped a sense of public despair about the local democratic process.

My sole reason in jotting a few notes to the editor of the Mail, for which, incidentally, I was a reporter decades ago, was to discover if our local representatives, who sit in Glenrothes picking up theirfees, allowances and expenses bounty, were taking any steps to solve the unmistakable problems.

It would have been simple enough to respond by offering some thoughts on solutions, explaining any difficulties and simply addressing the questions raised.

But doing something simply, and sensibly, appears to be beyond the councillor clique – not least a certain Mr Alexander. – Yours, etc.,

JAMES HASTIE

(address supplied).

Noise annoys

Sir, – Once again, the scream of engines and screech of tyres has blighted our weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, motor racing on Crail Airfield made it quite unbearable for all who live on the edge of the burgh nearest the airfield. As I composed this, in a new, well insulated, double glazed house, the roar of engines filled the room.

It seems there is no limit to the number of race events sanctioned by the council's planning authority. Even the "noiseless" car boots sales have been cancelled to make way for yet more racing.

Some years ago, I received the details of the planning permission granted by the council and I observed that several of the limitations placed by the permit were ignored.

No-one seems to check whether the permit is being complied with. It is likely the permit has been replaced by a later one. If that is the case, it appears to have given greater freedom to pollute the village with noise.

These events attract parades of modified, ear-splitting cars and motor bikes through the village, many of whom ignore the danger of speeding on the narrow roads to the airfield.

These roads (Marketgate and Balcomie Road) are in an abominable state of neglect and are certainly a danger to cyclists. Moreover, the traffic, at times, is so dense that residents living off these roads find it difficult to manoeuvre on to them from their driveways or adjacent access roads.

There is little commercial gain for the businesses in Crail. The visitors pass through the burgh to and from the airfield and fail to patronise local businesses to any extent.

It is time to stop the racing at Crail airfield or, at least, make it a very infrequent event, so that local residents can have some noiseless, peaceful weekends.

I call upon the residents of Crail to join together to stop the abuse of our environment by car racers on Crail Airfield. – Yours, etc.,

ROBERT SMITH

87 Pinkerton Road,

Crail.

Get on track

Sir, – I was pleased to see common sense and the dire need for Levenmouth to have "it's already existing rail link re-opened" was highlighted in your excellent heading (EFM 02/07/08).

For such is the case: we must try and strengthen any successful business left in the area and, since they are known to be actively interested in the rail link revival, we must go for it now.

No more bureaucracy. Not 2015. Forget that – in position by 2010.

The line is still there but, if you procrastinate, the sleepers etc., will deteriorate and, ipso facto, push up the cost.

To bring up that `old chestnut' yet again as a secondary option – namely providing a bus service to Markinch station – is crazy! What resident of Levenmouth and the East Neuk wants to go back the way, when the railway runs straight from Leven via Thornton to Kirkcaldy, about five/six miles of track?

Come on, Fife Council, what's holding you back? We were told 2 million funding was already in place, so get on with it.

It is not just an economic necessity, it is a lifeline to the rest of Scotland. With fuel prices at a record level and a recession in the housing market, we must have an alternative mode of transport.

We must get it up and running by 2010, even 2009 for freight, to back and support these two large firms we still retain in the Leven area, to prosper and be able to increase their workforce.

I have a suspicion that some conglomerate in the area is blocking this project. It can't or shouldn't be political, for I was present when the bill was put to the Scottish Parliament by Tricia Marwick and all four parties agreed it should go ahead unhampered. So why?

The Alloa line, recently re-activitated, is up and running. It may have a link to the existing industrial companies but it is partly tourism and is in an area which still has a lot of semi-prosperity and many alternative modes of travel.

Someone I spoke to recently had been travelling on it and, apparently, it was so mobbed for access, they had to put four ticket collectors in the train to give out tickets.

So, to all these negative groups who keep putting up the question `who'd use it?', there is your answer.

So please – no more bureaucracy. No more feasibility studies. We are now at the 11th hour. Get on with it. – Yours, etc.,

MORAG C. BELL

The Birket,

11 North Street, Elie.

Like it, lump it

Sir, – Shame on you, James Hastie, wherever you are, for exercising your right to freedom of speech!

The councillor (EFM Letters 02/07/08) definitely seems desperate to find out where you live so he can come and 'sort you out' ... I mean, debate it with you.

This is yet another example of the 'We will do what we like' – like it or lump it' attitude of the new administration, which doesn't care what the people of the area think and sees the protests of the community as a nuisance to its plans.

I must admit, I had a chuckle at the piece in last week's paper where the councillor talked about selling turbines from Methil throughout the world.

A few years ago, we had a wind turbine company on our doorstep and it proved too expensive to manufacture and ship product from here. With the increased costs of power and fuel, it would be exceptionally more today.

The Government recently changed the number of proposed turbines by 2020 to 7000 units. That may sound like a lot of work, but over 12 years it is small pickings for a large well established company.

One of the market leaders has 20 manufacturing plants in Europe alone and has one factory that is capable of churning out 1800 turbine blades in one year.

The editor had a good suggestion about advertising on the blades of the turbine in Methil, only to be more realistic, the wording might need to read `Made 2000 miles up the road'.

Politically, I suspect councillors will get a lot of mileage out of this 20-year plan but, as we already know, administrations and governments come and go, so there is always going to be the likelihood these plans will be changed at some time in the future anyway. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Weakest link

Sir, – I wish to comment on the efforts to have rail links to points west and possibly beyond re-established.

To start with, I deeply resented the rail closures in the first place! Just imagine, if you will, somebody taking the trouble to determinedly ruin a perfectly useful piece of real estate in order to let somebody make huge profits from freight transport?

Oh, never mind the inconvenience caused to the general public having to take the bus to Edinburgh – about the worst possible method of travel to that fair city you could possibly have dreamed up.

Anyway, just to confound matters in the most spiteful way possible, a house was built right on the site of the railtrack only yards from the western end of the viaduct at Lower Largo, effectively sealing the fate of that part of the line for the forseeable future. How do you describe that kind of action? – Yours, etc.,

LESLIE GORDON

67 Rowan Crescent,

Methil.

Right decision

Sir, – This will be the first and last letter I will write on the turbine planning application.

I will briefly deal with the legal position and some issues specific to the turbine application. As chair of the committee, I can report to Levenmouth that the meeting was procedurally correct. If it wasn't, the lawyers would have intervened.

Councillors who sit on planning committees do not represent a political party, nor do they represent a particular ward.

They have a statutory responsibility to treat all planning applications in exactly the same way and "must disregard considerations that are immaterial for planning purposes". That is straight out of the councillors' code of conduct, which has to be signed on taking office.

The planning department assesses planning applications against the Development Plan. It takes into account valid objections and liaises with statutory consultees. A recommendation to the planning committee is made, based on the results of this consultation.

With regard to the turbine, the statutory consultees comprised Scottish Natural Heritage, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Civil Aviation Authority, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Forth Ports and Fife Council's environmental service. There were no objections.

By comparison, the Development Plan and National Guidance supported the development of renewable energy projects on brownfield sites.

Local concerns regarding noise, flicker and TV interference were dealt with in the report and recommendations. Counter-measures have to be put in place. If these prove ineffective, the developer would have to bear the cost of investigating and implementing effective measures.

Above is a brief summary of a 16-page report. The committee voted 5-2 in favour of the application, as recommended by the planning report. It was the correct decision. –

Yours, etc.,

Cllr DAVID ALEXANDER

Chair

Levenmouth Area Committee.

Border lines

Sir, – I reply to East Neuk resident MT's letter (02/07/08) which was, in turn, a response to my letter (18/06/08).

I am grateful to this earnest correspondent for putting my mind at ease over the rampant proliferation of signage on Leven's Windygates Road, which proclaims my home town is now the 'Gateway To The East Neuk'.

As MT suggests, this indeed must simply be a marketing ploy by the builder whose new houses are spreading behind the signs, and not a revolutionary attempt to bring about some Greater East Neuk, as I first suspected.

I have therefore taken steps to disband the underground resistance movement which I had only recently established to oppose what I perceived as a creeping Neukism.

And, it goes without saying, I have also called off the planned blockade of Anster chippers and stood-down and sent back to barracks the handpicked members of the Methil Coracle Squadron, who were due to execute that operation.

However, I would say MT is on shakier ground when seeking out a definition of the East Neuk in Wikipedia, an online information source which, while broadly reliable, does still contain many errors.

In fact, he maybe should have spent less time Googling away in search of dubious internet answers and more on getting an accurate handle on what I actually wrote in my first letter.

I did not say "nine out of 10 East Neuk dwellers fill their cars and bellies with product bought in Leven" - I referred to Lundin Links and Largo villagers only as travelling in these numbers to Leven for their shopping and fuel, and I would stand by that assessment.

Still labouring under his misreading of my letter and, wrongly, on the defensive, MT goes on to say: "It has even been known for East Neuk dwellers to travel to Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Dundee and beyond for goods."

This is not in dispute. I have often been in these far-flung places myself, for business or pleasure, and noticed groups of East Neukers flitting happily from shop to shop.

And, in my opinion, this is a practice that should long be allowed to continue, as long as the borders remain open and passport checks are relaxed.

Lastly, MT seems to fling some parting cod (or haddock) Latin insult in my general direction – Pompous Arrogantous, he says.

Sadly, it seems MT has not benefitted from a comprehensive Latin education, like wot I got at Buckhaven High.

In his youth, at Waid Academy, he was probably learning 'amo, amas, a mackerel', or 20 ways to say `herring'.

So let me help him out. The term he is striving towards should be something along the lines of Inflatus Superbia. – Yours, etc.,

PW

(name and address supplied).

Flawed protests

Sir, – As someone who has been part of several successful community campaigns against what was perceived as bad neighbour developments, I have watched the current furore over the Methil turbine with an increasing amount of incredulity.

In all honesty, for serious objectors to a planning application to turn up to the meeting without knowing procedure is unforgivable.

Neither objectors nor supporters can speak at the committee. It has always been that way.

What is even worse – the letters that have been published by the objectors since indicate other flaws. You do not need to be a planner to know your `view' and the `value of your property' have no part to play in the planning process. Yet that is exactly what some of the objectors are complaining about.

My biggest concern relates to the apparent tactic of intimidating or trying to bully councillors. That may work if you have weak councillors but, even if it did, the applicant appeal procedure would probably overturn the decision.

In summary, I would have been embarrassed to have had anything to do with the type of campaign that was run against the turbine.

The objectors chose the wrong targets, they did not do their homework, and now they are whingeing at all and sundry, rather than reviewing where they went wrong.

The only credit should go to the councillors. They refused to be intimated. They did their job professionally and that, to me, shows integrity. – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

East Fife Mail Letters - July 2, 2008

Outraged

Sir, – I want to express my outrage and disgust at the decision reached on June 18 by Fife Council's Levenmouth area committee.

I am disgusted by the elected representatives (with the exception of Cllr Rodger) and their utter contempt for the community of Methil in passing the application for an 81-metre high wind turbine at Methil Docks.

The chairman of the committee acted in a very undemocratic manner, disallowing any comments from the public – the public who pay their taxes only to find our hard-earned taxes are being squandered for a monolith that will cause the community of Methil a drastic fall in its quality of life.

There is no justification for granting a planning application for the wind turbine, which will cause noise, shadow flicker, interference with TV signals, affect people's health and infringe on the human rights of residents in the area.

It will have a long-term effect on tourism and, most worringly, will set a precedent for more wind turbines in the area.

Methil is not fortunate to attract this project, as there will be no benefit whatsoever for the community of Levenmouth in the short/long term.

Methil has a vast array of fantastic community groups who work tirelessy for all who live in the area. The area would have been better served by the extension of tourism, hotels, community facilities at the docks, and all the community could participate and enjoy a wonderful part of the Fife coast.

But no, we are given the excuse that the future of Levenmouth depends on renewable energy – absolute nonsense.

Democracy does not work in Fife, as demonstrated by the committee. Pay your taxes and keep quiet, do not complain, do not aspire to live in a community in which elected representatives listen to its residents.

Well, I for one will not keep quiet. I adore Methil, its people and community. The wind turbine monolith will destroy our quality of life for many years.

Fife Council should aspire to giving the community the respect it taxes all of us for – democracy and the right to be heard! – Yours, etc.,

JANET KEWLEY-ADAM

(Address supplied).

Narked in Neuk

Sir, – The East Neuk or East Neuk of Fife is, according to Wikipedia.org, "a geographically ill-defined area of the coast of Fife, Scotland, which nonetheless stirs local passions.

"Neuk is the Scots word for nook or corner and the East Neuk is generally accepted to comprise the fishing villages of the most northerly part of the Firth of Forth and the land and villages slightly inland therefrom. In effect, that part to the south of a line drawn parallel to the coast from just north of Earlsferry to just north of Crail.

"As such, it would include Earlsferry, Elie, Colinsburgh, St Monans, Pittenweem, Arncroach, Carnbee, Anstruther, Cellardyke, Kilrenny, Crail and Kingsbarns.

"The boundaries set by local government are the old wards. This means, according to this method, that Lundin Links to Crail are part of the East Neuk.

"Until someone can find indisputable historic reference to the area enclosed, or local government intervenes, it is unlikely that membership can be resolved."

I would like to point out to PW, Leven (EFM Letters 18/06/08), that the signs now erected in Leven opposite the Diageo site are, in my opinion, a marketing ploy by the builders of the new housing development there.

I believe it is generally accepted (rightly or wrongly) that the East Neuk is seen as a more desirable and affluent area, meaning therefore the dwellings in the East Neuk are potentially worth more than their equivalent in Leven.

The builders have seen this as an opportunity to make even more profit (as if they don't make enough) and have decided to advertise their dwellings as being in "The Gateway to the East Neuk", hoping this will generate additional profits from their sale.

I might also point out that, as an East Neuk dweller, I think we are quite happy with the size of the East Neuk and would not welcome additional members from the Levenmouth area – nor do we require any "gatekeepers".

I would also query the fact that nine out of 10 East Neuk dwellers fill their cars and bellies with product bought in Leven – where did these figures come from?

Most of the East Neuk villages do actually boast shops (not just Anstruther and Elie) and there are several garages selling fuel along the coast from Crail to Colinsburgh.

Besides the obvious fact that, as far as I am aware, our cash is as good as anyone else's, I would point out that many individuals travel to St Andrews for shopping and fuel – it has even been known for East Neuk dwellers to travel to Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Dundee and beyond for goods.

One last thing – this awful lurgy, which can severely afflict the mental faculties and cause much foaming at the mouth – Eastern Neukitis(?!) – is actually better known as Pompous Arrogantous and generally affects those who have lots to say and no-one to listen. – Yours, etc.,

MT

(Name and address supplied).

Democratic?

Sir, – Having read in the East Fife Mail about a controversial proposal to build an 81-metre high wind turbine in the vicinity of Methil Docks, further to an application by Scottish Enterprise Fife, apparently the decision has been approved, to the complete annoyance of local residents who had submitted 338 objections against and only one letter of support to council planning.

Of course, as usual, a planner and a handful of councillors consider they know best as 'democracy', now being an ever-decreasing word in this country, increasingly emanates from government.

Local residents have every right to be disgusted with this decision, especially as a result of the self-opinionated facts by a lead planning officer for the installation of a wind turbine.

It would appear the authorities' only solution to any potential progress is agreeing to a wind turbine but it is time they took cognisance of letter writers throughout the UK, where people have suffered owing to living adjacent to wind turbines.

But, as usual, decisions were, and are, imposed, with the resultant concerns, not only via stress on the residents' health and financial devaluation of their property but also the impact on their surroundings.

Surely the residents of Methil deserve more consideration regarding their justified protests but, of course, it could be worse.

The planner may have been all for a 'multi-turbine wind farm facility' as is now the norm.

Trust that the Methil community will continue to monitor the profound regeneration statement by a councillor 'that it could attract investment', i.e. by making the decision to install a large vertical steel column with a propeller on the top but which provides no benefit unless the wind speed conditions are suitable.

As usual, it will only turn out to be of financial benefit to a select few. – Yours, etc.

HARRY LAWRIE

35 Abbots Mill,

Kirkcaldy.

Fears realised

Sir, – I was one of the worried residents of Aberhill who attended the meeting in Carlow Hall.

All our fears came true when this project was passed. The councillors, who were elected by their constituents, did nothing. Yes, nothing. Every one of them hid behind `I am on planning, no comment, so go away'.

I was present in Markinch last year with Councillors Adams and Robertson when the manager of the Hydrogen Office stated that, as long as the turbine was no more than 29 miles from the plant, it would be OK.

Only two councillors saw fit to ask for it to be isolated and, as for the chairman of this so-called committee, he was more like a little tyrant. Where was our democratic right?

This councillor is in the local news, never for anything constructive to the area, only the opposite.

Cllr Whitehead tried along with Cllr Rodger but the other two Leven councillors sat like mutes, so time will tell.

They even know it will exceed noise levels but what do they care? They can't even aid their constituents, so gentlemen, do Levenmouth a massive favour – resign before you do any more damage and let people in who do care for the area.

This is going to make money for Alsherra but at whose expense? The largest thing a person will buy is a home. Did our councillors care? No, not one iota.

They were told it will exceed noise levels. It won't worry them, as none of them reside near it.

The Michelin turbines were erected when they threatened to close the said plant. There's no plant here, so why pick on a built-up area? Or was it a foregone conclusion? Money talks. – Yours, etc.,

JOHN MILLAR

79 Whyterose Terrace, Aberhill.

Have a debate

Sir, – First of all, we get the anonymous letters slagging Leven off. Now we are getting letters with names but no addresses.

How about a bit of courage, so we can have a debate where we all know who is participating? There's a concept for you.

The "outed" anonymous writer, the man with no address, James Hastie, is a case in point.

Here we have someone whose guest was apparently "disappointed " with Leven and the "James" reaction was to send in an anonymous letter to the local press slagging Leven off.

That's not something I would have done, would you? Did he pass on the complaints to the relevant authorities? Not that we know.

He decided to slag off Leven, at the start of the holiday season in the local press, for all to see. What exactly that was going to achieve is anyone's guess.

So, I feel my original hunch was right. The letter(s) were political and the tone backs that up as well.

However, I will debate this with James if he proves he really exists and provides an address.

In my opinion, more has been done to start the regeneration of Levenmouth in the last 12 months than in the last five years, possibly 10. Debate. – Yours, etc.,

Cllr DAVID ALEXANDER

39 Hill Road,

Kennoway.

No benefit

Sir, – I wish to protest at the actions of the councillors who voted through the resolution to allow this wind turbine to be placed at No3 Dock.

They have not done this for the good of the local neighbourhood.

I have no objections to renewable energies, but to place this turbine next to children's nurseries, football stadium, bakery and offices just does not make sense.

This area is NOT an industrial area, especially as they have an energy park not half a mile away.

They could just as easily site this one mile offshore in the Forth with no problem to anyone, or they could have used wave power or solar panels.

But, as usual, Fife Council has taken the easy option and disregarded the views of local residents.

As for creating jobs in the area, No3 Dock was supposed to be turned into a marina, which would have created jobs and brought visitors to the area, and also perhaps instilled some pride in the local populace. Who will be proud to live next to an 81-meter high wind turbine? – Yours, etc.,

BOB WESTWOOD

49 Whyterose Terrace,

Methil.

Change the law

Sir, – I am totally appalled that travelling people can take over the private property of East Fife Football Club and the police are powerless to act.

Does this apply to all private property? If so, the law is an ass.

It is just another example of the perpetrators of crime being protected while the victims are not.

It is high time this was changed the other way around. Let the criminal fight for and pay for their protection. – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

Misplaced faith

Sir, – Is it just me, or is there anyone else that thinks Fife Council's administration is in fear of losing the plot with its grandiose plans for Levenmouth?

They seem to be putting a lot of faith into the energy park being a success but this can quite easily turn into yet another Cannon fiasco if they cannot entice firms to use the facility.

Having worked in the wind turbine industry myself, I cannot see the major players, who all have well-established manufacturing plants on the continent and on the Isle of Wight, contemplating coming to Methil, and without them this could quickly turn out to be just another white elephant.

I'm all in favour of the rail link into Leven but I cannot see how we need to build a purpose-built new town with shops and school etc., on the back of the jobs that it may or may not bring into the area.

Levenmouth is not a high employment area, so where else are all these people, if they are not already here, going to work?

Is it not just a case of people living out their poverty in newer housing? Would we not be better to use this money to improve the infrastructure we already have, then – as Councillor Alexander puts it – people in Methil can dance in the street without fear of falling down a pot hole?

Another thing to bear in mind is that, in 20 years' time, most of us will probably be kicking up the daisies. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

We'll be heard

Sir, – I attended the farcical planning meeting at Carlow Hall to witness the approval of the proposed wind turbine in Methil docks.

I could only be a witness, as none of the objectors were permitted to say anything – so much for local democracy.

Three hundred and forty people objected to the proposal. One member of the public wrote in favour. Councillor David Alexander said many of the objections' were `not valid in planning terms'. I think he will find their objections in the form of votes against him at the next local elections will be extremely valid.

When politicians are voted into power by the majority of the people, they should represent the view of the majority of the electorate in their constituency or ward. The councillors who carried this vote made a serious political miscalculation.

Cllr Adams, who was in favour of the turbine, called it "an exciting project which will bring jobs to Lower Methil". If he thinks the people who may eventually work at this site are potential votes for him at the next local election, he also has seriously miscalculated.

We are told the project could provide up to 10 full-time jobs. In my experience, "up to" usually means "less than", so let's say eight jobs. Is that eight potential votes for Cllr Adams? I don't think so.

All eight workers might not actually live in the area, perhaps six, and as the turnout at local elections is usually less that 50 per cent, Mr Adams, at best, has won himself three votes.

Cllr Rodger, to his credit, was smart enough to see the way the political wind was blowing and proposed the siting of the turbine away from people's homes.

So now our councillors have approved this thing in our area, some 500 metres from the nearest houses, when national guidelines state wind turbines should be no closer than 1.5 kilometres. It is quite incredible that the noise emission and other safety statistics given to the councillors were the stats from "the latest and best type of turbine" but the approval they have given allows the developers to provide a different turbine if they wish, depending on what is available! There could also eventually more than one!

Had I been allowed to speak, I would have asked our councillors. apart from all the health and safety issues highlighted by all the local objectors, were they aware of recent reports from Denmark,USA, and the UK that houses in the vicinity of wind turbines lose 25 to 30 per cent of their value? Houses close to a wind turbine could be unsaleable.

At the beginning of the Carlow Hall meeting, some members of the public asked Cllr Alexander if he could stand up when he was speaking, as he could not be heard. His reply was "I can't stand as I have a bad back."

Well, without wishing him any physical discomfort, I wonder if he intends to stand at the next election?

A few hundred people from Methil can't wait, and then they will all be heard. – Yours, etc.,

RICKY JANNETTA

Methil resident

(address supplied).

Petrol prices

Sir, – I am glad to see everyone in the Leven area supporting the rail link, which I do hope we get.

It will surely help everyone including myself with travel, as I work in Edinburgh and, like every one else I know, am finding it tight, what with the rising fuel prices.

Talking about fuel prices, there is one petrol station where I have seen prices rise about three times in one week.

This station never seems to have reasonably priced fuel but what gets me is people still use it when there's cheaper petrol just down the road.

Whoever owns it is really abusing the situation. If everbody in the area started using the other stations, maybe he or she would get the word that they cannot abuse their customers by putting prices up whenever they feel like it.

I have already seen someone put a board out asking drivers to boycott this station but, as usual, it did not work and I have noticed its sister station is not too far behind, putting its prices up as well.

Well, I certainly won't be using either of them. – Yours, etc.,

GARY WESTWOOD

(Address supplied).

Not wanted

Sir – Re the front page story (EFM 25/06/08), this cannot be right.

They don't want their kids brought up around `smackheads'. Did Bayview want them on their pitch?

Why do so many things appear so one-sided these days? If Bayview doesn't get some help, it is always going to be easy game. – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

East Fife Mail Letters - June 25, 2008

No sell-out

Sir, – I'd like to respond to the letter (EFM 18/06/08) by Councillor Brian Goodall.

Does he think we're stupid? He writes: "I must stress the review is not financially driven and there are no savings that have to be met."

But in his next paragraph he goes on about "... the long term sustainability of many of these facilities ... in the current economic climate, increasing maintenance costs ... need for major capital investment ... map out a sustainable way forward."

If that's not about finance, what is the "review" about?

Cllr Goodall's words are "double-speak", straight out of George Orwell's novel `1984', in which a political "elite" rule – for the benefit of themselves.

Perhaps readers including Cllr Goodall and his colleagues will give consideration to the following facts.

Robert Christie of Durie intended to gift land, which included Scoonie Golf Course, to the community. But Robert died before any Feu Charter had been granted him in this matter.

However, Ralph Christie of Durie carried out Robert's will and gifted the land to the community. And Ralph was not only a man of honour, he was a man of foresight, as will become evident.

Here are certain extracts from the title deeds in the gifts made: "In respect, the said several subjects are being acquired by the Town Council for the purpose of being maintained and enjoyed as open spaces and to be used for golf courses and other recreation purposes only. No special provision or condition is herein made regarding the erection of buildings thereon, further than that it shall not be lawful, nor in the power of the Town Council or their foresaids, without the consent of me or my foresaids, to erect on the several subjects hereby disponed any houses or buildings or erections of any kind except clubhouses, shelters, or other buildings in connection with said purposes ..."

So that's clear and unequivocal: No sell out to a property developer.

Furthermore "...And if the Town Council or their foresaids shall contravene or fail to fulfil any of the conditions before written, or if at any time they shall allow ... then this present right ... shall be void and null ... and I and my foresaids shall instantly be at liberty to remove the Town Council ..."

Three cheers for the honourable Christies!

Without doubt, the Christies were men of honour. Given that politicians are a breed of people who tell lies for a living, e.g `There are weapons of mass destruction', `I promise a referendum', is Goodall surprised people don't believe what he says?

Will Cllr Goodall and his colleagues do the honourable thing and see the generosity and the will of the Christies is adhered to?

Will Cllr Goodall give an undertaking right now in writing that, no matter what the outcome of his "review" is, Scoonie Golf Course will not be sold to any private entity? – Yours, etc.,

WILL BROOKS

(Address supplied).

Not a plot

Sir, – Trust a politician – even a little local one – to put a wretched political spin on genuine protests and grievances, encompassed in David Alexander's shrill and untimely squeal (EFM Letters 18/06/08).

I was one of the "anonymous" letter writers he bleats about and my sole concern was to highlight the civic slum Leven has become, especially in the streets in and around the town shopping centre.

Naturally, like any politician – even a little local one – he throws statistics at us: X thousands spent on this, Y thousands spent on that.

And grandiose plans for the future. As with so many of his breed, he fails to understand, or even attempt to discover, the root of people's concerns.

We would like to see EVIDENCE of expenditure: for example,restoring Lethan Glen to the attractive facility it once was with a bird and animal sanctuary, well maintained walks, a family putting green, an open-air concert and entertainment area.

It might not be possible, given financial constraints, to do all this, but our elected representatives such as he, whosees a political plot on every corner, should be able to produce a fewaffordable ideas to make Leven amuch more attractive place, one in which local people can take a real pride.

Perhaps a re-adjustment, downwards, of councillors'generous allowances and expenses – there was a time, after all, when it was an unpaid honour to represent your town – might free up a few pounds for civic investment.

One of the reasons for my original letter was the comments made by some German friends on a recent visit, their first, to the area.

They were reluctant to comment but eventually admitted they were "disappointed" – I think they were being kind – to see the dirt and untidiness of the High Street, the piles of cigarette ends outside pubs and bookie shops (even the local authority agencies), the dog dirt and the gross impact of gaudy shop boards.

Mr Alexander might care to know, just in case he sees another plot in this letter,that I and my wife actually voted for his party last time but,given the mess they are making at national and local level, they can count us out next time. – Yours, etc.,

JAMES HASTIE

(Address supplied).

It isn't over

Sir, – Campaigners against the wind turbine being imposed on Levenmouth should not feel it is "all over", after local councillors supinely voted 6-2 to follow the planning officer's lead in pushing this monstrous project through.

It is NOT "all over". In March, when the director of Fife Council, Ronnie Hinds, wrote suggesting I get in touch with the ombudsman's office (SPSO), because I felt proper procedures, processes, statutory advice and guidance were not being followed, I did get in touch with SPSO, who immediately opened a file on the case.

They asked for copies of all reports, correspondence, emails coming out of the planning offices in Kirkcaldy and for subsequent letters, emails etc., to be copied over to them. So by now, they have a huge file of materials to be working on at this moment.

Obviously, until the final vote, they could not take an active role: the councillors could, at the 11th hour, have woken up to their responsibilities to their area and their constituents. But they did not.

My complaint about all the procedures that were not correctly followed includes, for example, the decision not to make an EIA (environmental impact assessment) of this area. There should be one whenever a structure over 15 metres high is being contemplated for the area.

The planners got round this by 'misinforming' the reader that the area was "industrial" (though unable to point to a single industry in the area, there being more in Leven and, of course, in Denbeath a mile away in the Kvaerner yard).

The area was renamed `Business Park' to attract offices, a bakery and a nursery – and there is no industry there.

Their other piece of misinformation to avoid giving us an EIAwas to declare "the nearest residential development is distant" from the site.

Distant? When there are hundreds of homes within metres of that dock? And, of course, they did not inform us that the power-station had, finally, got the go-ahead for demolition.

Why does that matter? Well, if they could get away with saying the area was "industrial" – why would it need protecting from an industrial turbine?

Why, in every document about the area, (including the agenda for that meeting) did they continually point out there is already an industrial power-station chimney 91 metres high – but not say it was scheduled to come down?

Only residential or "sensitive developments" – like housing, nurseries, offices etc., – qualify for a buffer zone, a stand-off between themselves and industrial turbines.

But if they have already smeared your area as "industrial" and air-brushed local housing – hundreds of homes in Innerleven and Aberhill – out of the picture, then where is the need for a buffer?

Now local councillors would have known what possibly planners away in Kirkcaldy would not have known (even if they live in nearby Lundin Links). The area is nnot any more industrial; local industry has been replaced by offices, a bakery and a nursery.

Local housing is not distant – it is right there up against the fence. But did they vote on Wednesday for their constituents?

Did they see themselves as heroes for "bringing in jobs", when everyone knows no wind turbine has ever created a single post, not even night watchman, and the Hydrogen Office is bringing in only 10?

All the jobs are away over in the Energy Park – where this project, this white elephant, does not want to be!

Or was it as "pioneers", promoting new technology – whatever the consequences for the whole of Levenmouth, whether in lifestyle, health, tourism?

From the far end of the Promenade to Denbeath, from Lower Methil to the outskirts of Methilhill and Mountfleurie, we all now must suffer the consequences of their vanity.

And all the while, the councillors perpetuated the myth that Methil in 2008 was an exact copy of the industrial Methil of the '50s, smearing the area as "industrial", thereby denying us not only an EIA but also the buffer zone intended as protection for residential areas like ours.

All this, remember, while also knowing – as they would have known long before we knew it for a fact and not a pipe-dream; how long exactly will be checked out – that the "industrial power-station chimney" they keep mentioning everywhere as a sign of "industrial Methil" was, in fact, going to go.

What a con. What tactics. What timing.

Don't let the voters of Levenmouth ever forget what they did in order to polish up their pseudo job-creating / technology-pioneering credentials – at the expense of the entire Levenmouth neighbourhood. – Yours, etc.,

ISOBEL DRUMMOND

(Address supplied).

Closed shop

Sir, – I write this letter after attending a meeting in the Carlow Hall on June 18, concerning the wind-turbine for Methil Business Park, only to be treated to a spectacle I have never witnessed before.

The meeting was more of a closed shop where one could not express a single opinion.

One councillor, Ms Whitehead, remarked it would be only fair for a spokesperson from our side to ask questions but the chair was adamant about refusing this.

Then the biggest insult to our intelligence was when Councillor Alexander, chair, wondered if our human rights would be affected. Surely one fundamental human right is freedom to express one's opinion.

Six councillors voted against, knowing full well a decision had been taken concerning the demise of Methil Power Station.

Of course, they would have all known long ago it was scheduled to come down – while we had to read about it in that day's paper. So even knowing Methil's old rusting industrial past was being swept away to make way for new, greener leisure, or tourism, or housing amenities, they still voted to blight our area with a new industrial eyesore, an 81metre high turbine that I will have to look out at daily and listen to, day and night.

My faith in local councillors and planning officers has been severely dented. – Yours, etc.,

BRIDGET WARD

125 Whyterose Terrace,

Leven.

Abundant talent

Sir, – I was privileged to be part of a very appreciative audience at the summer concert in Buckhaven High School last week.

We all enjoyed a wonderful evening of entertainment provided by the singers and musicians (staff and pupils) who make up the exceptional musical community of Buckhaven High School.

A plethora of very talented children, including a very confident orchestra from Kennoway Primary School, took to the stage exhibiting a wide range of styles in music and song.

It is obvious many hours of commitment and dedication from all concerned went into this excellent production.

Management, staff and pupils are to be congratulated on their success. Buckhaven High School has got talent. – Yours, etc.,

ENA MALCOLM

Janel,

Maitland Street, Leven.

Poor PR

Sir – On July 7 last year, I wrote to your paper that the `Wind of Change' was coming to Methil Business Park (nos. 3 Dock), Dubbieside, in the shape of an industrial-size wind turbine.

At that time, the planning application was to be submitted to Fife Council for August 2007. This did not happen, for reasons known only to Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise etc.

As a concerned local resident, I attended Fife Council's Levenmouth area committee meeting on June 18 and came away with the distinct impression it was merely a public relations excercise, and not a very good one at that!

The outcome of the planning application in favour to grant approval to erect the wind turbine was a foregone conclusion.

One had only to read an article contained in another paper of June 14, where it was spelt out in black and white.

Councillor Tom Adams, who seconded the motion to accept the wind turbine application, stated "we can't be short-sighted and say I don't want a wind tubine in my back yard".

"Very commendable" I say, but as he resides in West Wemyss, he won't have to look out his back yard, let alone listen to it gathering momentum in gale-force winds for the next 20-25 years!

In fact, most of the councillors, Fife Council officials and lead planning officer Elspeth Cook do not reside in this locality, otherwise the erection of this turbine would never have got off the ground!

Having attended Methilhill Community Forum meetings, where microphones are in place for councillors and members of the public to use to enable all concerned to hear exactly what is being discussed, I find it unacceptable that no provision was made or put in place at such an important planning decision.

Was this intentional? After all, there were members of the public of varying ages straining to hear the conversations. – Yours, etc.,

AVRIL BAYNE

113 Whyterose Terrace,

Aberhill.

Extravagance

Sir, – No political jargon here. Regarding Councillor David Alexander's letter (EFM 18/06/08), how he can justify spending 40,000 on flowers etc., for the Festival Gardens, to name one extravagance, and then consider closing our bowling green?

I am getting on in years and, after working all my life, I enjoy a game of bowls.

I certainly do not wish to spend the rest of my life sitting in the Festival Gardens or Letham Glen watching the daisies grow. I would be just as well pushing them up! – Yours, etc.,

Mrs P. BROWN

42 Greengates,

Leven.

Not finished

Sir, – The local councillors may think the Methil area residents involved in this dispute or campaign against the erection of the wind turbine are away healing their wounds, but I've got news for them, we're not finished yet and are not beaten by a long shot.

We are prepared to take all steps necessary and explore all avenues possible to us.

Just to keep everyone informed of the fact that, as construction and subsequent use of this turbine may go ahead, the disadvantages may concern everyone living in the 2km vicinity.

The blade noise is heard as a "thump" or "swish" but if we hear, hiss, whine, screech, hum, bang, click, clatter or similar, then the owner agrees to operate it lower than the agreed noise level (do you think they will listen to our complaints when we didn't want it in the first place?)

There will be higher noise levels at night than during the day (permitted), noise assessments have been carried out and were shown to be above the higher acceptable level at times but so slight it was classed as insignificant! (it obviously is not outside their bedroom window).

Shadow flicker will cause distraction and annoyance to residents. It has also been linked to illness in some people.

The 91m power station chimney (which is to be demolished in the near future) and the 85mlighting towers at the Energy Park will allow the 81m turbine to simply snuggle in with the rest of them unnoticed.

TVs and radios will definitely have inteference, the local coucillors do not care if it lowers the value of your property, again insignificant, and nobody is entitled to a view.

So why, in that case, has the hydrogen building/office been built with an additional storey which was not outlined in their original draft plan? For a better view?

This project has been unfair from the start, as have our local councillors. They will tell you their hands are tied but, in reality, our mouths are gagged! – Yours, etc.,

PAULINE HUME

(address supplied).

East Fife Mail Letters - June 18, 2008

Political ploy

Sir, – Re the golf course/bowling club rammy.

We can first discount the contributions from Cllr Andrew Rodger and Joyce Smith. Both have no love for the new administration of Fife Council and both were playing politics for all they were worth. The reasons for that will become apparent soon.

Most other contributions were genuine, but a review is only a review. All functions of Fife Council are under review. That's what a new administration does.

It doesn't mean the worst case scenario will happen but it would be unprofessional not to do the review.

I would urge those who think they are in the firing line to relax but, at the same time, do their homework.

We had a review of parking charges in Fife. Are there parking charges in Leven? No.

The golf club/bowling club report has still to to come to the Levenmouth area committee. Levenmouth's case will be put there.

Let's move on to the attack on the state of Leven as a tourist resort. We have had three anonymous letters in the East Fife Mail in as many weeks - they could all have been written by the same person; maybe they were.

Either way, the intention was clear - undermine. I smell politics, Again, the reason may become clear soon.

The realities are, over the last 12 months, Leven beach has just won the Blue Flag, Silverburn has had 150,000 spent on it, Letham Glen has had 40,000 investment, the skatepark has had 80,000 investment, the Festival Gardens are looking at a 40,000 spend, another 40,000 is in place for the Prom playpark and there are more projects with funding in place, organised by non-Fife Council groups.

That's just Leven - and it's just 12 months.

On top of that, we have broken the capital spend logjam and Leven's primary schools are going to benefit by millions, at least nine.

The under-investment of the last decade by previous administrations, which was admitted by Joyce Smith, will not be sorted in one year, but a huge start has been made. There will be more new and imaginative projects announced soon.

I can predict Leven, and Levenmouth, will see more ludicrous attacks over the next few weeks and they really should be ignored.

Levenmouth is a priority for the new administration of Fife Council. No-one should doubt that. Actions will speak louder than words. – Yours, etc.,

Cllr DAVID ALEXANDER

Chair,

Levenmouth area committee.

Club review

Sir, – As a member of Scoonie Bowling Club, I was most annoyed not to receive any information from Fife Council concerning the review which could threaten the club.

This is a well run club over 80 years old.

I will tell you this. Fife officials will have a real fight on with the members of Scoonie Bowling Club. – Yours, etc.,

LEVEN BOWLER

(Name and address supplied).

Cruel delay

Sir, – I totally agree with the letter from Joe Cochrane (EFM 28/05/08) about the elderly and disabled people of our community being put at risk from penny-pinching of the social services of Fife Council.

My mother was 69 years old when she was admitted to hospital last May with a stroke. She got home in the August but couldn't walk and was in a wheelchair.

We had an appointment with social services. It was agreed she would need a ramp for the front door, stair lift and also a wet floor shower.

Social services waited long enough that my mother died on December 11, 2007 and didn't receive anything from them.

I think it is terrible how the elderly get treated after what they have already done for our community throughout their lives.

I was also a home carer and witnessed personally how they get treated. – Yours, etc.,

ANGRY DAUGHTER

Colinsburgh

(Name and address supplied).

Way of life

Sir, – The review of our green at Scoonie has come as a shock to all of us.

I would ask Fife Council to give the issue serious consideration before making its decision.

Councillors may think it is only a piece of land for which a better use may be found – something they can turn into profit – but at whose expense? Ours!

If the council thinks of closing doors or putting a padlock on it, then the local authority can think again.

Scoonie Bowling Club has a history our councillors may not be aware of.

It was established in 1923 as the Burgh of Leven Club. A ladies' section was established in 1959 and in November 1966 it became Scoonie Bowling Club.

In December 1969 it became a member of Scottish Bowling Association

Let's fast forward to the present.

We have 70 members of whom at least 95 per cent are senior citizens who pay concession fees of 21 to the council.

We have a man of 95 years and a lady who is 88, who play in most competitions. There are a few others in the 80s group.

The category with the most members is 70 to 80 years.

We also have four men in their 60s and two ladies in their 50s.

Some of our members have been members for 30 years and many over 20 years.

We have one of the best greens in Fife, as many clubs who visit compliment us as to how it played. It is used regularly by our members for competitions and bounce games. The ladies play on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Some of the men play in the evenings.

We host Scottish and Fife ties in the early part of the season. Both codes play on Wednesday senior league game.

Weekends are spent playing domestic games or a friendly match with other clubs.

They are games we enjoy as, over the years, we have built up a lot of friendships.

Scoonie Bowling Club plays host during Leven Civic Week, when the ladies invite a rink from other clubs to join them. After the games are played and everyone has enjoyed tea, the Rose Queen and her attendants come from school to the green to present the trophy to the winners.

I think it has shown Scoonie Bowling Club has more going for it than merely throwing a bowl. It has become a way of life for most of us.

In the summer it becomes somewhere to go, play or just enjoy being part of it, watching your friends play.

We have people who are no longer able to play but love to come to see their friends and then have tea after games.

During the winter, the club still gets used by some members on Monday and Thursday evenings when funds are raised by playing bingo, carpet bowls and dominoes. The funds we make have helped maintain our club fees at a reasonable level.

Should the worst thing happen and we are forced to close, just think of the consequences. Some will be able to join another club but will probably have further to travel and pay twice as much.

There is no doubt most of our members would be lost to bowls forever. Their lives would be turned upside down because bowls had become a way of life for them.

We hope this gives the council something to chew over. It has a choice as to what is more important, money or people? – Yours, etc.,

DUNCAN DARGE

President,

Scoonie Bowling Club

Alison Hart

Ladies' Section President.

Neuklear fallout

Sir, – As a Leven dweller, born and bred, I've been kept amused for a number of years by the pretentiousness and confusion of Lundin Links/Largo folk who (I'm afraid a couple of fancy roadside signs and endless earnest self-proclamations at meetings, on petitions and in the press can't overturn a geographic impossibility).

However, recently the smile was wiped from my face by an alarming development.

It seems this virus, which can severely afflict the mental faculties and cause much foaming at the mouth - Eastern Neukitis - is something of a creeping lurgy and has apparently spread to my home town.

More specifically, there's been an outbreak on Windygates Road.

The latest phase of the new houses being constructed opposite Diageo is being trumpeted by the builders – again on roadside signs – as being part of 'The Gateway To The East Neuk'.

So Leven is now The Gateway To The East Neuk? What an honour for us, even if we can't quite have full membership of that hallowed bit of coast, like Lundin Links and Largo have – or think they have.

Of course, I may have missed the news of a referendum in the actual East Neuk which voted overwhelmingly that they should be invited to join the club. Initiation ceremony – three gentle slaps in the face from a raw haddock.

But, anyway, I guess we lesser mortals in Leven should be more than satisfied, in fact proud, of our more minor, but still important status as The Keepers Of 'The Gateway' - The Sentries At The Door; The Bouncers At The Entrance; nay The Tenders Of The Door Step; or perhaps The Scrubbers Of The Door Mat.

And really, I suppose, we'd better be thankful for small mercies and grab the title while we can, before Kirkcaldy or Glenrothes muscle in and adopt it themselves. After all, seeing Leven's new role, they'll surely be doing all they can to promote themselves from being mere satellite towns of The Gateway.

However, just to clarify things and not to put any noses out of joint elsewhere in Fife, we'd better amend the signs slightly.

It would be safer and more precise if, from now on, we refer to Leven as 'The Southern Gateway To The East Neuk'.

That will leave St Andrews to be the Northern Gateway, and Cupar to be The Western, not to mention North Berwick having a role to play as the Eastern, to service any trans-Firth swimmers, row-boat users and submariners who may be about to go into transit.

Of course, there will have to be some variations to the signage on the outskirts of Leven, depending on which approach road they are on.

For instance, people driving from Lundin Links into Leven could be greeted by a sign reading something like, 'Welcome To Leven - The Exit To The East Neuk'.

Oh, and just another couple of points for our fellow Largo Bay residents. The early transformation of Lundin Links and the Largos into little zones of affluence owed everything to the once-booming economy of Levenmouth and its overspill, and nothing to the East Neuk.

And even now, I would imagine few of the villagers do their shopping or buy their petrol in Anstruther or Elie. Nine out of 10 will fill their bellies with grub bought at Leven stores and buy their fuel from Leven filling stations.

Finally, just for the sake of argument, if the game of golf had never existed, I'm positive that, a century ago, houses would have been constructed in an unbroken line, right along the beach between Levenmouth and Lundin Links, etc, and both communities would have been one town, indivisible under God. – Yours, etc.,

PW

Leven.

(Name and address supplied)

Clear the air

Sir, – Cellardyke readers may have been either puzzled, alarmed or incredulous at last week's attack (EFM Letters 11/06/08) by Martin Dibley on Cellardyke Residents Association (CRA), headed `Work Together'.

This heading is ironic, for had the Community Council he represents followed its own suggestion of "working together", there would have been no controversy.

In short, Mr Dibley accused us bizarrely of planning a meeting, announcing in the Mail that the Community Council were to be invited to it, then deliberately not inviting them, thereby having denied locals the chance to participate.

An odd but interesting conspiracy theory but, sadly, untrue.

No meeting took place. One is in the process of planning by Fife Council transportation officials and it is intended to involve CRA, Councillors and Community Council to discuss solutions to Cellardyke's traffic problems.

CRA had been asked to suggest a suitable date and June 5 was accepted. This was announced in our recent press report.

Not being the organiser of the meeting, we thought others were being similarly invited.

Unfortunately, time passed, and publication of the report lagged behind events. Arrangements for the meeting were not complete, but we did not know this.

The meeting on June 5 was reduced to an informal discussion between officials and CRA to discuss points we had raised, then cancelled because of illness.

By the time this process became clear, our report, now out of date, was published later than expected and Mr Dibley had become alarmed at his apparent exclusion.

Unfortunately, the Community Council appear to have jumped to the conclusion that we were in some way trying to wrong foot them, for whatever reason, and wrote to the East Fife Mail to denounce our conduct.

Had they explained their concerns to us first, and asked for our comments, they would have understood we had acted in good faith andthe whole issue was a misunderstanding. Not a very exciting story, but true.

As for other issues, these are best discussed and resolved face to face. I am pleased to report the Community Council has agreed to our suggestion of a meeting to clear the air, and the controversies of Cellardyke will now be resolved where they should be: round a table. – Yours, etc.,

GLENN JONES

Secretary,

Cellardyke Residents' Association.

Guild protest

Sir, – Further to recent articles in the East Fife Mail regarding 500,000 insurance pay-out from the fire at Mountfleurie Centre in November 2005, we, the committee of the Leven Co-operative Guild, strongly object to the money being spent on Savoy Park.

The Co-operative Women's Guild supplies an important service to Leven.

We have a membership of over 100 ladies and, on average, over 60 attend each week during 10 months of the year. For many, this is the only social outing they have. This is the largest Guild in Scotland.

Since the fire, we have had great difficultly finding premises to suit our requirements. At present, we are hiring a hall in a local club but this is too small and the steep stair means some of our older or infirm members are unable to attend.

A large number of new houses for young families are being built in the Windygates Road area of the town and we feel a community centre will become a necessity to the area.

The Balmaise Centre is close to Mountfleurie but we understand every evening is booked, confirming the need for a new hall.

We were in contact with Fife Council after the fire but they were unable to assist us in our search for premises, nor did they keep us informed of the outcome. – Yours, etc.,

CHRYSTAL BEAVERS

Secretary,

64 Robertson Avenue,

Leven.

Review is set

Sir, – I refer to your recent coverage of the Council's decision to review its provision of both golf courses and bowling greens.

In response to some of the comments made in relation to the closure and disposal of facilities, I would stress the review is just about to start - it hasn't just concluded.

We'll be consulting with a range of stakeholders, not least the clubs who operate from these facilities and our wider customer base.

I must stress the review is not financially driven and there are no savings targets that have to be met.

It comes in response to a rapidly changing environment for golf and bowls, which is putting increasing pressure on the long term sustainability of many of these facilities.

Contributory factors include a growing imbalance in the supply and demand equation, a declining and ageing membership, changing patterns of play and, in the current economic climate, increasing maintenance costs.

Critically, there is also a need for major capital investment in all our golf courses and bowling greens, if they're to reach the standard we expect to provide to residents of and visitors to Fife.

It is absolutely right, therefore, that we undertake these reviews and use this opportunity to map out a sustainable way forward. – Yours, etc.,

Cllr BRIAN GOODALL

Chair,

Housing and Communities Committee.

Options open

Sir, – Re the article `Teed Off' (EFM 04/06/08), the clubs concerned may benefit from contacting the local sports council, who are there to help sports clubs develop, but also lobby the local authority, helping to highlight the needs of sport clubs and sport facilities.

A recent campaign `Give us a sporting chance' was launched and supported by the Fife Free Press.

The Kirkcaldy Area Sports Council represents and supports clubs in the Levenmouth area too.

The website can be viewed at www.kirkcaldyasc.co.uk – Yours, etc.,

(Name and address supplied).

Town forgotten

Sir, – Regarding the letter by Les Donaldson (EFM 11/06/08), I only hope the local powers that be read this letter and take it as a true fact regarding our town, as you only have to look around it to see how it is neglected.

The only place I can see which is now getting some attention is the local beach area, but don't understand the wire fences being erected on the piece of ground outside the caravan park. How long do they think such fences are going to last?

While on about fences and Leven – in the Mountfleurie area, where we lost our Neighbourhood Centre, we at last just got the ground sorted out and have also had a payout for the loss of the centre of 500,000.

Is the Mountfleurie area not going to get anything back for the loss of our hall from this payout?

We have a children's play park which has no fence round it and is used by motor bike riders etc., as it is open ground, and the swings etc., in it, I am sure, must have been used by the children's grandparents – they are as old as the town and look as neglected as it.

The footpaths in the Mountfleurie Crescent area are badly needing renewed, the grass in the park is left until it is too long before it gets cut, so piles of cut grass are left lying and blowing around.

Surely they can now afford a much-needed fence around the children's play area and give some of the 500,000 they got for the loss of the Centre back to the area which lost it, and get Leven looking as good as the other surrounding towns.

There are around five or six young football teams in the Leven area who can't use the King George V park for training as there are no lights in the park.

Go out to some of the small town's parks and they all have lights so training can go on during the dark nights.

Yes, Leven is the forgotten town. – Yours, etc.,

A. HERD

9 Mountfleurie Crescent,

Leven.

Going too far?

Sir, – Les Donaldson (EFM Letters 11/06/08) was right when he said Leven seemed to manage to maintain all our assets in the past.

The start of our downfall, as I have written before, was the amalgamation of our local councils and too much interference from outsiders who don't live in our individual towns and villages.

Nobody should be surprised that the insurance money paid out for the vandalism caused to the Neighbourhood Centre was directed to another cause that had nothing to do with Leven.

But what about all the other money obtained from the sell-off of property and land that was gifted to the people of Leven? Where did it all go and by what right had any council to sell it?

Also, when everything has been finally sold off and there is nothing left to sell, what then? Does Leven go bankrupt?

Some people think the sell-off of the golf links and bowling green has already taken place.

Surely no council would sink this low but, in the event of this possible transaction, and building works being allowed to take place, I would like to know just what safeguards will be put in place to respect and protect the boundary wall at Scoonie cemetery.

Will they be permitted to build right up against it? And if so, in the likelihood of it being dislodged, are we then going to witness a mass exodus of bones being scooped up on to a bulldozer?

For many years, people like myself have been writing to newspapers and attending meetings to speak out, not just for Leven, but where we feel there is an injustice being done because we care about people and places.

Our biggest obstacle has been public apathy, but selling of our golf links and bowling green? This council has finally gone a step too far. They have lost public confidence and it's time they slung their hook. – Yours, etc.,

M. M. THOMAS

4 Wilkie Cottages,

Rose Terrace,

Leven.

East Fife Mail Letters - June 11, 2008

Neglected town

Sir, – In the past, Leven had quite a lot going for it but successive local authorities seemed to have wiped Leven off the tourist map.

In the past few years, they have eliminated the putting greens in Letham Glen and on the Promenade.

They are now considering some solution which will deprive the populace of the town the right of a game of golf or bowls on the municipal golf course and bowling green.

Gone are the two cinemas and Beach Pavilion, which were always very popular venues with the summer visitors.

The High Street in Leven is a disgrace and is badly in need of some upgrade. The only places that seem to have substantial monies spent on any development are Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes.

Does Leven not qualify for the same level of investment or will we always remain the poor relation?

We can only put our trust in our local councillors to see that Leven can once again become a town of which we will be proud and which will attract the summer visitors in the numbers that it did in the past. – Yours, etc.,

LES DONALDSON

3 Mountfleurie Crescent,

Leven.

Answers needed

Sir, – Golfers and non-golfers are totally opposed to any proposed sell-out of Scoonie golf course and the bowling green.

According to your front page article (EFM 04/06/08), it looks like a case of a behind-doors "done deal".

This raises a number of pertinent questions that demand honest answers from those involved.

Who is involved in the decision to sell? What are their positions? Who is the buyer? What is the relationship between the sellers and the buyer?

What is the agreed price and how is it being paid? When the land was gifted to the community, were there any conditions related to a possible future sale? If so, what are those conditions?

If the sell-out of land gifted to the community goes ahead, the greenkeeping staff of four and both starters will lose their livelihoods.

This drop in the ocean won't solve the fiscal problems created by those who govern. But you can bet your life those involved in the sell-out won't take a reduction in wages.

Additionally, young kids will have to find somewhere else to play – that is, if they can afford to do so.

The local community needs to send a message to those who make sneaky decisions: You can't get away with it.

The purpose of the Council is to administer local assets for the benefit of the people. The people do not exist to enrich the Council. Come clean. – Yours, etc.,

WILL BROOKS

(address supplied).

Valuable asset

Sir, – It is very disappointing to read of possible changes to the municipal golf courses.

In a day when policies should be directed towards encouraging exercise and activity, we seem in danger of destroying a very valuable asset.

Golf should be made more accessible for all. The Council seems to be considering selling the courses to developers and thereby destroying the facility, or selling off to a private owner who will offer rounds at prices unaffordable to many people, especially the young.

Indeed, as the Scottish Government enters discussions with Mr Trump and others, should it not be insisting that the granting of any land for golf is accompanied by a promise that affordable golf will be made available, and that such developments are not aimed at corporate membership or the rich minority?

I enjoy playing Scoonie from time to time and would feel it a sad loss if it were no longer available. – Yours, etc.,

ALISTAIR MACLEOD

39 Lodge Walk,

Elie.

Too little to do

Sir, – It was with disbelief I read your front page article (EFM 04/06/08) regarding the threat to golf links and bowling green.

Fife Council spent 8000 on a consultant's report to see why visitors had stopped visiting Leven; the above is another example of the reason why. There is little for them to do or visit.

First they decimate Letham Glen and Silverburn, now a threat to another activity.

I know I was a member of the administration that took all animals from the Glen and Silverburn but believe you me, I did argue against that policy. I was a voice on the wilderness.

We hear a lot about the need for outdoor education, so why can't Council subsidise or even give free tuition in both sports to encourage young people to participate, rather than hang around street corners making a general nuisance of themselves, not to mention making elderly afraid to go out in the dark?

This is again like the refusal to employ a piping tutor in education in Levenmouth, as they do in west Fife. They would rather spend money repairing acts of vandalism than help responsible parents who encourage their offspring to participate in worthwhile activities.

I appeal to all councillors to break their vow of silence and oppose vigorously any other threat to tourism and young people's activities in Levenmouth.

I now realise perhaps I was too quiet after the advent of Fife Council. We should have protected more vigorously the facilities provided by Fife Region and Kirkcaldy District Councils. The present head of community services knows the cost of everything and value of nothing.

Also by breaking their vow of silence, I have not read one word of condemnation on the latest fiasco of inviting by postcard all tenants to drop in to Caledonian Hotel to a function that took place more than a week previously. I shudder to think of the cost of that and if it came out of council tax or rent accounts! – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove, Methil.

Stop tampering

Sir, – Thanks to the article by Maggie Millar (EFM 04/06/08) for providing another example of Fife authorities' inner circle activity regarding the investigation of whether to maintain Fife municipal golf courses and bowling clubs, or otherwise.

Obviously, it is important for Council officials to monitor expenditure on various facilities. But, all as per the norm, it is always done in a manner to alienate the public by not previously advising or discussing with the general public, in this case with respective golf and bowling club committees.

In addition, as always, expediency of producing a report of an assessment will be a prolonged activity with the resultant costs to the ratepayers.

How is it that many years ago in the '50s, '60s and '70s, local councils were able to maintain these facilities without having to close them down?

Of course, these were the days prior to central bureaucratic government.

Why is it in this present 'economic' age there is never any money to provide for proper sport facilities, but money is always found to pay for not exactly proficient public services, financial waste on an assorted amount of debatable projects, unjustified handouts, highly paid Fife House management and, of course, maintaining financial expenditure to pay for overstaffed employment to satisfy UNISON and COSLA?

There has been a lack of proper investment on sports facilities over the past 10 years and it is time the Council takes action to rectify the present situation.

Surely one item of the Council officials' responsibilities is to maintain public sport facilities for communities – in particular, to provide encouragement for youngsters to have a valid sport such as golf which provides a game of sportsmanship, etiquette and considerable talent they can enjoy throughout the years.

It is suggested the Council stops tampering with these existing municipal facilities unless they are going to be improved for the community. – Yours, etc.,

HARRY LAWRIE

35 Abbots Mill,

Kirkcaldy.

Changing rooms

Sir, – I have known Kerry and Stephen (EFM 04/06/08) for a very long time. I can tell you they are getting very depressed because of the situation they are in.

I have visited them on many occasions and can tell you that, although Kerry keeps a very clean house, she cannot keep it tidy. The kids' clothes and toys are stored wherever she can find a space, which is not a lot.

It's a crying shame that in this day and age, a family as big as this have to stay in a house far too small for their needs.

Kerry and Stephen are a very nice couple and live for their kids but, sometimes when they smile, it's out of politeness, as deep down they are fed up of living in the condition they are in.

The Council should be ashamed of themselves. Would they live like this? I think not. I remember Kerry telling me about the five-bedroom house in Scoonie, she was so excited about applying for it. How on earth the council could say it had been let when the keys had not even been handed in?

I was under the impression the people who were offered houses got the keys and had a look at the house before they accepted it. Also, the council would have to go and check if it needed repairs done. How did they do this with no keys? Kerry and Stephen were very bewildered and annoyed by this.

And Simon Crescent is OK if you have lived there all your life. It's more or less all the same families who live there; not a bad place to live, as I lived there and have family there.

Also, how the Council can build an extension for a large family in Leven but don't seem to care about eight people sharing two bedrooms beats me.

Stephen goes out to work to provide for his family and I know he feels inadequate because he can't change the situation they are in.

Even a three-bedroom house would give them a little bit more breathing space. So come on, Fife Council, get your finger out and get them what they are entitled to – a bigger house. – Yours, etc.,

A FRIEND

(Name and address supplied).

Work together

Sir, – On behalf of the Royal Burgh of Kilrenny, Anstruther and District Community Council, I wish to reply to some of the comments contained in the report of the Cellardyke Residents' Association in the (EFM 04/06/08).

The Association reported a meeting was to take place with Fife Council transportation on June 5 and Community Councillors would be present. Community Councillors were not present because the Residents' Association did not invite them. Even after the Residents' Association was aware it had not invited the Community Council, it did not send out an invite.

It is a shame we were excluded, as some of our members who have lived in Cellardyke for over 40 years have a great deal of practical experience in the transportation problems of the area.

The report goes on to say "the meeting agreed the Community Council should not have agreed to outline planning permission to Muir homes for the erection of 339 homes".

While the Community Council has never opposed redevelopment of this site in principle, the Residents' Association is well aware the Community Council was the main objector to the outline application at the departure hearing held in Cellardyke Town Hall in August 2006.

Also at the time, the outline application was for in excess of 200 houses at a density of at least 24 to the hectare. The number of 339 houses was never stated, even when the developer was asked a direct question for one of the Councillors.

The Community Council was also criticised for not realising the impact this development would have on Anstruther, i.e. parking, dentist, doctors and schools.

The Community Council, being the only democratically elected body that represents Anstruther, Cellardyke and Kilrenny, is fully aware of the impact of such a development on our community.

This is why these were the very concerns, with the addition of sewerage and infrastructure, we submitted to the departure hearing.

The Community Council has been an active critic of this development for over five years and will continue to work to represent the whole community on this and many other issues.

However, everyone has to realise outline planning permission has been given, meaning that redevelopment of this site will go ahead in one form or another, and everyone should be working together to secure the best outcome for our community. – Yours, etc.,

MARTIN DIBLEY

Communicy Council Secretary.

Expense anger

Sir, – I read with interest your article (EFM 04/06/08) regarding elected members' expenses.

I wonder how many people in the area reading this article are outraged to see Council representatives happily take cash from the region's coffers while the poorest of their constituents struggle with charges caused by a so-called budget deficit.

Probably not very many, as we have become a `sit back and take it' society.

That is why our cars are being wrecked negotiating lumps of tar in the street, we have maggots living in our overflowing bins and our pensioners wait seven months for a hand rail, etc.

We as a community need to remind our elected members, when they stand up at public meetings and figuratively give us a sign similar to that used by Winston Churchill and say we will do what we want, that they are not the omnipotent body they think they are and we are not like the figures on Fife Council's logo, which stand with their hands up in submission. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank, Kennoway.

Poor driving

Sir, – Pedestrians of Levenmouth please beware - drivers in the area seem to have forgotten their Highway Code.

As a mum with a child at a local nursery, my daughters and I often use the zebra crossing between Lidl's supermarket and Mitchell Street.

I have lost count of the number of times I have had to pull my buggy and child back off the crossing because drivers coming into Lidl's car park seem to be driving with their eyes shut and don't stop at the crossing.

Within five minutes of each other on Friday past, I was nearly hit by a female driver who refused to stop and another mum was narrowly missed by a driver who swerved round her as she was halfway across the crossing with two small children.

What is the point of teaching our children to use crossings if drivers are just going to ignore them? – Yours, etc.,

LILIAN BLYTH

Methil (address supplied).

Rural re-think

Sir, – With reference to your article "Parents Fight Staffing Cut" (EFM 04/06/08), it is extremely worrying to learn that Fife Council's rigid adherence to a region-wide, paper-based staffing formula means that, for small rural schools like Pittenweem, slight changes in pupil numbers are to have a disproportionately damaging effect on the quality of our children's education.

It is also concerning that the action proposed by Fife Council is entirely at odds with the Scottish Government's stated policy to reduce class sizes to 18 in P1-P3. How can the Council square its decision to remove up to two teachers from the school with its goal of meeting Scottish Government targets?

I have also been dismayed by the lack of consultation with either the Pittenweem Parent Council or the wider community on this issue. This is particularly baffling in a week where the Council has announced public consultations on matters ranging from the Fife Core Path Network to the meaning of the word 'culture' to Fife residents.

Does the Council consider our views on the quality of our children's education are of less value than our opinions on cycle path routes or cultural activities? In the circumstances, it seems difficult to conclude otherwise.

I would urge the Council to re-think this short-sighted and worrying decision, taking into account the complex issues which affect rural schools like Pittenweem, and the extremely damaging impact this decision will have on our community. – Yours, etc.,

PAUL MUTCH

Abbeywall Road, Pittenweem.

Goin' Quoin'

Sir, – Two years ago, with my husband, I managed to go to every Status Quo concert on the UK winter tour – a total of 31 concerts in six weeks.

I met so many people that had stories to tell about their experiences of seeing Status Quo and, as a result, I am compiling a book of people's memories for a book entitled 'Goin' Quoin' – Past and Present'.

I am interested in hearing from anyone who has seen Status Quo from the 1960s right up to the present day. As the band has been performing for more than 40 years now, this would be an ideal opportunity to record all those memories.

All the proceeds from the book are going to The Shona Smile Foundation (www.shonassmile.org)

I'd be very grateful for any contribution readers could send me, either at the address below or by email to yvonnehanvey@aol.com – Yours, etc.,

YVONNE HANVEY

West Lodge,

Balmoral Way, Rownhams.

East Fife Mail Letters - June 4, 2008

PO closures

Sir, – No one likes to see Post Offices closing but, as a society, we are using them a lot less as more and more services become available online.

Eight out of 10 pensioners, for example, now have their pension paid directly into a bank account and among new retirees the figure is nine out of 10.

One million people a month renew their road tax online – a service that didn't even exist a few years ago. And about three quarters of the population have one or more Direct Debits to pay bills.

As a result, the Post Office has been losing custom and losing money. There are now about four million fewer customers a week compared to a few years ago and the network is losing half a million pounds every single day.

In fact, if it wasn't for subsidies by the Government, thousands more branches would be under threat.

Across North East Scotland, Tayside and Fife 1.3m residents are currently served by 416 branches.

We propose to close 42 and replace a further 37 with an outreach service.

Under this proposal, 99.9 per cent of the population will see no change to the branch they currently use or will remain within one mile by road of an alternative outlet.

I know that no one wants to see any closures but it is important to remember that the vast majority of most Post Office branches will be unaffected – even after the closures are complete there will still be around 11,500 Post Offices.

The future for the Post Office network cannot be about turning the clock back and wishing away the changes in technology and communications that have taken place in recent years – changes that most of us have taken part in, in one way or another.

It must be about developing new products and services which attract custom and about ensuring the viability of the network which remains after the current closures. Yours, etc.,

PAT McFADDEN MP

Minister for Employment Relations

and Postal Affairs.

Poor impression

Sir, – I have just spent several weeks on holiday in Leven, staying in the Haughgate area of the town.

It appears to me that this part of Leven has acquired some unsavoury characters – drunkards, gaunt-faced druggies and the 'unwanted'.

If this isn't bad enough, they have attracted even more unscrupulous folk who insist on rushing around going no place, on bicycles with children in hand.

These folk openly discuss what they require and where they will meet to get it on their mobile phones.

I am afraid for the well-being of the decent, hard working and loyal people who have stayed in this area all their lives.

I'm not in a rush to return to what used to be a lovely Leven. – Yours, etc.,

LANCASHIRE VISITOR

(Name and address supplied).

Rough centre

Sir, – What is happening to Leven High Street?

I've just returned from the shops and found the town centre, quite frankly, an intimidating place to be.

I already consider it a no-go area after dark but now it seems during daylight hours it is simply a place to hang around, smoke, swear and generally behave in an aggressive and threatening manner.

I've often seen a police officer patrolling the Kingdom Centre in Glenrothes, which must be reassuring for shopkeepers and shoppers alike.

Could Leven High Street not have something similar? Something is needing done because the situation is getting worse. – Yours, etc.,

LEVEN SHOPPER

(Name and address supplied)

Race nuisance

Sir, – I am writing this somewhat irately having just attempted to drive down Wellesley Road in Methil in order to get home from Leven.

At 10.30am on a Sunday morning, this should not be a difficult task.

However, it would appear that some idiot has found it necessary to organise Methil's answer to the Tour de France (Tour de Farce perhaps?) in a residential street without informing residents.

These cyclists, unfortunately, had to use their cars to congest both Wellesley Road and Bayview Crescent by double-parking, blocking cars in and parking on grass verges.

As a regular Mail reader, I have to say that neither myself nor my husband noticed anything regarding this race in the Mail or in local shops, on lamp posts etc, and, having spoken to my neighbours, it would appear that nobody had any prior knowledge of this.

On contacting Fife Police, I was told that the community policeman had knowledge of the cycle race and that Wellesley Road would be closed off for five minutes in order that the race be run.

I was also informed that there was a police presence in Wellesley Road trying to rectify the situation.

Pardon my ignorance but I thought that the whole point of a community police officer was to make the community aware of issues – if not that, then some kind of liaison between the police and Fife Council, which, I was informed, gave permission for this race to take place.

My gripe is this – why run a race in a residential street where, for instance, Leven Prom, could have been used with minimum disruption?

Also, I was under the impression that the council had a duty to inform residents when there was disruption to the highway and surrounding areas?

Maybe these officials should do a Tebbit, and get on their bike themselves! – Yours, etc.,

IRATE METHIL RESIDENT

(via e-mail)

Postal pressure

Sir, – Your story on the efficiency of the Royal Mail (EFM 28/05/08) did not tell the whole story. Stark figures never do as was the case in for example school league tables.

The Royal Mail carries most of the mail generated by its so-called 'rivals'.

Look at the franking on your mail. On many occasions you will see for example, TNT, DHL, UK Mail, Fedex and others. The Postal Regulator dictates that Royal Mail delivers the mail for rivals to your doorstep.

When DHL tried end deliveries in London it gave up and began using Royal Mail again.

Figures for the past few years show us just how the accessing of Royal Mail by other mail companies has grown.

In 2005-2006 Royal Mail carried 1.2bn items of mail from others. This grew to nearly 2.5bn the next year and is still growing. Also, it is a well known secret that these other mail companies pay a fraction of what Joe Public does for the same service.

DHL and TNT are the German and Dutch postal services while FEDex is American. The Germans and Dutch have not opened their markets as we have to rivals. If they are so efficient why then do they not face competition in their own countries. It is only in the UK do we see markets opened up with not only postal services but also power supply through EDF and EoN.

Volumes of mail have greatly increased over the past few years as has the type of mail carried.

Gone are the days when the postie carried only letters.

Not only the volumes but the size mail handled by Royal Mail has increased. Look at the size of the magazines you now receive. Online shopping now accounts for growing volumes of mail and who brings most of it to your door?

Go on try the test; look at the franking on your mail next time. – Yours, etc.,

JOHN MONTGOMERY

24 March Crescent,

Cellardyke.

Overdue office

Sir, – Let me congratulate Claire Baker and John Park for showing commitment to Levenmouth by opening an office in Methil.

I have tried to get a Labour MP or MSP to do that for years. Well done!

I also pay tribute to Tricia Marwick for her regular surgeries in Leven and feel it is a great pity our councillors continue to only have one surgery per month at half hour per venue despite getting double the remuneration as in the past.

I found the latest list of payments very interesting indeed and hope they will be publicised as in the past.

I do feel that it is disgraceful that Councillor Andrew Rodger has no responsibility payment as he is chairman of the important licensing committee, which takes a lot of hard work and knowledge.

He is, by far, the hardest working one in Levenmouth. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

Pointless delay

Sir, – The article in this week's East Fife Mail regarding the Leven to Kirkcaldy via Thornton Rail Link, was most obtuse, and seen to be just an attempt to elicit yet more debate on a project which is already way overdue.

The bill to re-open the line was put to the Scottish Parliament about three weeks ago and there was no opposition from any of the political parties – so why this continual dithering? Get the funding in place. If the financial climate is difficult, phase the funding.

Get a portable cabin on the land behind the swimming pool. Get four experienced `rail line gangers' and take up any able bodied young men on the dole and get the scheme moving. Feed them, pay them the rate and a bonus if finished on schedule.

I don't see a need for yet another feasibility study to get the project the go-ahead. The only part requiring discussion and planning would be signalling and time tabling.

With two large firms seemingly interested in supporting what's the hold up?

To drag NE Fife into the equation is just another red herring. A lot of money was spent to improve Markinch which I never thought was wise because of parking space and room for expansion being in short supply.

The buses, the taxis, all do a good job and they would not lose out, rather their business would be boosted. This alternative rail travel to the capital from Levenmouth is crucial. No one wants to drive in Edinburgh, or to it, now and with the tram upset it'll get worse.

So, get wise, stop the squabbling and prevarication. Do something positive for once. – Yours, etc.,

MORAG C. BELL

11 North Street,

Elie.

Out of touch

Sir, – I attended the Fife Council's social work and health committee (SWH) on Tuesday, May 27, when the remit of the planned scrutiny committee was unveiled.

At the previous meeting of the SWH committee there had been a great deal of debate as to what this pilot would look at and it was agreed that three councillors would meet and decide this. Cllr Mark Hood took issue with the chair as to why the remit which had been agreed, ie "homecare - the customer's journey", had been switched to "aids and adaptations". He was adamant that this had not been the case and the dismay of members of the public was very real.

The irony of this whole situation was certainly not lost on us – for a service to agree to pilot a scheme which would open itself up to scrutiny seemed like a noble thing to do but it seems clear that there has been lots of gerrymandering going on to ensure that the issue of home care is kept well out of the limelight.

Indeed, at the last meeting, the coalition councillors wanted to conduct the meetings in private, which is a bit of a contradiction in terms – well done to those councillors who fought to have the meetings public.

Councillor Hood lost his motion to change the remit back to that which he considered had been agreed.

At the meeting councillors also considered a report on the Sutherland Review of Free Personal Care commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Cllr Andrew Rodger took the opportunity of asking for an update on what was happening with the assessments for home care charges which have been kept under wraps so far.

He was promptly put down by Stephen Moore, head of social work service, as "not being relevant". Cllr David Ross also requested information on home care charges and was given the same reply.

I think it is shameful that there is absolutely no information coming out from anywhere in the council and that officers can treat us in such a cavalier fashion.

There should a running agenda item on the SWH committee allowing for progress reports to be submitted.

People have no idea when they will be assessed and what and when they will have to pay.

To dismiss requests for information on these matters is shocking and this from a man who says he wants his service to be open to scrutiny. What is it that they're hiding – can it be the fact that no one has as yet been assessed and that not one penny has come into the council by way of revenue other than what it already charges?

I think these high ranking and highly paid officials are so far removed from real people that they no longer have any concept of why they are there.

Apart from anything, this is one of the most controversial policies this council has brought forward in many years and it makes operational and political sense that there should be robust reporting in the implementation. – Yours, etc.,

MAUREEN CLOSS

Campaign Against Charges,

1 Barassie Drive,

Kirkcaldy.

East Fife Mail Letters - May 28, 2008

Village concern

Sir, – I attended Muir Homes' public exhibition yesterday and have just read your copy in this (Wednesday) morning's paper – I did not find it helpful.

If I had been interested in buying a house or leasing a shop they could not have been more helpful but, when asked about the main items, such as the expansion of schools, medical services, police and the problem with the sewage system in the village, it was a matter of that has been worked out with the council and passed.

According to your paper and what we have heard, it is outline planning only.

Muir Homes and Fife Council have not addressed any of the major problems.

They are talking about 340 houses and we were shown a plan for a playground that would maybe hold 10-12 children.

Mr Muir and Mr Hamilton should clap themselves on the back for turning historic Fife villages into towns.

They have not even bothered to consider building shops so close to the old folk's home – one is to be a chemist with a consulting room. As in other chemists, this will be for addicts to get their methadone. Another is to be a grocers, which could mean an off-license.

The elderly do not need the trouble these could bring,, but maybe they do not count.

This development needs to be further inspected and reduced by at least one third.

As for the artist's impression you carried in your paper , I can read a plan and I never saw that part. – Yours, etc.,

MARGARET MELDRUM

37 Ariel Close,

Cellardyke.

Penny pinching

Sir, – I totally agree with the comments made by Mr Tom Ratcliffe of Brucespeed when he says that the old and disabled of our community are being put at risk from the penny-pinching of the social services.

My mother is 78 years old and not very good on her legs. She has been a virtual prisoner in her own home since last November after she had a bad fall whilst alighting from an older style bus in Methilhill.

I had a meeting at her home with social services the day after she got out of hospital and it was agreed to install a handrail at her front door but, six months later, there is still no handrail.

Maybe social services think if they wait long enough the need might go away.

I think it's deplorable how we treat our elderly who have already done their bit for our community.

I am sure there are old soldiers that fought for this country that would turn in their graves if they knew that pensioners' safety was being jeopardised through charging for home alarms and that we were forcing them to pay for home care. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

School priority

Sir - Re provision of Gaelic in schools, how can you expect Fife Council's education services to introduce Gaelic into the school curriculum when it can't even provide the teachers for the compulsory subjects, such as English.

My son and daughter are at a local high school and it has been a constant battle to ensure they get an English education due to staffing shortages.

So, in my opinion, your readers should be appealing to Fife Council for English teachers not the Gaelic language. – Yours, etc.,

ANNOYED MUM

(Name and address supplied)

Negative view

Sir, – In response to your article 'Beauty spot plagued by bikers' (EFM 14/05/08), to reduce the effect of illegal anti-social off-road motorcycling, the best tactic to use is the simplest – recognise this as a leisure pursuit/sport, as a positive activity (which is alluring to young and old).

It is exciting, addictive, it will not go away! No matter how many fences/barriers are erected, no matter how may ASBO vehicle seizures are made, no matter how many people are killed or maimed; It will not go away!

We have evidence of this. It has been a thorn in our side ever since the off-road motorcycle was invented. The reason it has endured is that we have not dealt with the issue effectively.

The collation of statistics is flawed and does not quantify the extent of the problem, hence a strategy and sufficient investment are not allocated.

The costs incurred in implementing the ill-effective approaches are phenomenal and they are costs to the tax payer.

Over 10 years ago it was estimated "a single youth crime is estimated to average 2100.

For every one motorcyclist caught and charged, we will have to dig deeper into our pockets; for every one young person caught and charged, we will have lost an opportunity to focus, channel and divert the young person away from alcohol, drugs and ively.

The collation of statistics is flawed and does not quantify the extent of the problem, hence a strategy and sufficient investment are not allocated.

The costs incurred in implementing the ill-effective approaches are phenomenal and they are costs to the tax payer.

Over 10 years ago it was estimated "a single youth crime is estimated to average 2100.

For every one motorcyclist caught and charged, we will have to dig deeper into our pockets; for every one young person caught and charged, we will have lost an opportunity to focus, channel and divert the young person away from alcohol, drugs and vandalism.

Communities should help empower the too often stigmatised motorcycle sports enthusiast and help to give them a voice and provision of sports facilities in Fife.

In Fife we have 15 swimming pools, 43 tennis courts, 36 rugby pitches, 320 grass football pitches with a further 45 synthetic pitches. We have only one, under-resourced, part-time off-road motorcycle track, which is run by dedicated volunteers.

The club can boast huge membership. Surly these members of the public, sports enthusiasts, should be recognised or at least considered in the provision of sports investment and development.

Well over a 1m has been the suggested capital investment required to enhance football facilities; as a minority sport, areas for motorcycling would require a pittance of this. Indeed land in-kind donation could go a long way to rid our communities of the negative impact of off-road motorcycles and quads.

Further reinforcing this argument, as a parent, I would much rather my kids get high on motorcycling than cannabis or alcohol; or be smashing school windows etc.

You can exercise access rights to the countryside but what activities are not covered?

Under the Land Reform Act, certain activities are excluded – the use of a motorised vehicle or vessel (except special vehicles for disabled people).

It seems again the motorcyclist is being discriminated against?

Give us somewhere to go!

Lastly, we are absent a driving force, in that there are limited local responses to the issues of off-road motorcycling, quads, mini bikes, pit bikes etc. A network or strategy driven by the local authority or police should be top of the agenda.

Failing this, motorcycles/quads will continue to use our beaches, parks and woodlands and the victims will continue to be victims. – Yours, etc.,

DAVE PATON

3 The Turnstiles,

Methil.

Sporting chance

Sir, – The power of sport for doing good is in danger of being sidelined.

While the Olympics are providing a high profile platform for the tensions between politics and sport, young people who are at risk of offending tell us sport transforms their lives.

It helps change their behaviour, channels their energies and helps them back into education, training and work.

In one of our projects, for example, sport helped cut youth crime in the neighbourhood by more than 40 per cent.

It's vital we don't lose sight of the powerful role sport can play in young people's lives and the importance it has on the ground in so many of our disadvantaged communities. – Yours, etc.,

CLARE CHECKSFIELD

Chief Executive,

Crime Concern,

1st floor,

Albert Embankment,

London SE1 7TP.

Shared subsidy

Sir, – So your correspondent John Douglas wants to carry through the unfinished work of those who perpetrated the Highland Clearances?

He calls those living in our rural areas 'selfish', as their mail service is subsidised.

Let me share a well-known secret. All our doorstep letter deliveries are subsidised. DHL, one of the so called efficient rivals to Royal Mail, tried carrying out end deliveries in the London area only to stop them as they were uneconomical.

Only Royal Mail carries out a universal service delivering all mail including that of DHL, TNT, UK Mail etc etc. Hence, even cities have subsidised mail services.

People live in areas such as he mentions because of historical issues. For example Ballachulish was a busy ferry crossing hence North and South Ballachulish. Thurso is a thriving fishing port.

If one looks at any rural community from an historical perspective then it becomes obvious why they were settled.

Also, taking Mr Douglas's argument further would he do way with places like Anstruther, Cupar or the like?

I do agree that, for example, individual houses, miles off the beaten track, should be uplifting their mail from a central point. It makes no sense for a mail van to travel miles with one letter.

Many of these far flung places pay over the odds for many everyday commodities. You will find petrol at near 1.30 a litre and diesel about 1.40. Groceries are the same.

So people living there do not need lectured on what things cost. So are they paying extra for their fuel to subsidise Mr Douglas?

What people like Mr Douglas should be campaigning about is the cost to rural communities of second homes. They are owned on the whole by city dwellers like Mr Douglas and contribute nothing to the local economies. So are all city dwellers selfish? – Yours, etc.,

JOHN MONTGOMERY

24 March Crescent,

Cellardyke.

Shoddy work

Sir, – Can someone please explain the mess around Savoy Park. The old fence looked 10 times better and at least it looked level. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to how this fence was fitted.

If a fence runs down hill then by all means step the fence down to the contour of the road or path but at least make the steps equal. Even on a straight stretch the fence goes up and down. Some is even buried in the ground.

How much did this cost the tax payer? Was it done by Fife Council? If so, it should be ashamed. If not, then there should be some recourse with the firm responsible to rectify this abomination and provide the community with a decent looking fence.

I cannot believe that this is the finished product. If Fife Council has signed this off as being complete, then those responsible for monitoring the works should be paid off as they must be incompetent to think this is alright. Any answers? – Yours, etc.,

MH

Methil.

Calculated act

Sir, – My, my I appear to have upset our Glenrothes Labour MP again. This time on the issue of abolishing the 10p starting rate of income tax.

Let me say that I don't buy for a single instant that Gordon Brown considered he had made a mistake in abolishing the 10p tax rate. He had Whitehall civil servants at the Treasury who would have advised him as to what the consequences were for the poorest paid in our society in abolishing the lowest starting rate of tax. So he knew exactly what he was doing!

The temporary measures put in place by Labour still leaves over one million people worse off, and those who didn't lose out in the first place are now even better off than they were before.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies also warns that when the temporary measures expire in April 2008 18 million families are going to be worse off.

I am not going to waste my time rebutting the garbage peddled by our Labour MP in regard to the 1978/9 era; it would make my letter overly long and require more space than would be permitted in a letters page of a newspaper.

However, as he has brought up the subject of the poll tax, would he care to remind me just exactly what actions/measures he took as leader of Fife Regional Council to defeat Thatcher's poll tax. – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road,

Methil.

Gregg roots

Sir, – I'm wondering if any of your readers could help me.

I'm trying to obtain information on my great grandfather, Robert Gregg, who may have been born in the area.

The information I have is he was born in 1827, he served in Indian in the early 1860s, married Emma Jane Hockham, April 13, 1857, at St John Sutton-on-Plym, Plymouth.

They had three daughters, Margaret (1862), Mary (1866), Emma Lavinia (1867), two sons Thomas (1876) and David William (1879) – my grandfather.

On the marriage record of Robert Jnr, his father, also Robert Gregg, his occupation was an attorney in Scotland. Mother's name unknown.

The three girls were born in India.

The boys in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

If any descendants or anyone that maybe able to help please phone James on 0191 242 0322. Robert died Newcastle 1890, Emma Jane 1905 (both Newcastle). – Yours, etc.,

JAMES E. GREGG

7 Chessar Avenue,

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE5 3RE

East Fife Mail Letters - May 21, 2008

SWACS snub

Sir, – I read with some concern, the report (EFM 14/05/08), re visit of Scottish Culture Minister Linda Fabiani to the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther. This was most commendable and the visit appreciated by everyone.

I am, however, more concerned that the Culture Minister visited East Wemyss Caves with no indication of even a courtesy call to Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS), which has had worldwide acclaim for the voluntary endeavour to preserve these Scottish monuments of days gone by.

The society would have been delighted to have a representative of SWACS present at this momentous occasion. Who better to explain the situation to the Culture Minister, than SWACS?

SWACS has had visitations from MPs of several persuasions and other VIPs including a four-day workout by television's Time Team and Tony Robinson in 2004.

The BBC/ITV have covered the site of the caves on several occasions. There have been visits to the caves by ex pats from all over the world and books on the caves have been snapped up worldwide since the society was formed over 20 years ago.

For certainty, Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society is very much alive to the preservation of these Scottish ancient monuments and is an entirely voluntary organisation. – Yours, etc.,

BILL BARKER

Chairman,

SWACS.

Bizarre ruling

Sir, – It seems that OAPs and the disabled have a choice to make.

When applying to social services for handrails to make access in and out of their homes easier they can have handrails at the front or rear but not both.

I can only assume this is down to costs as it is only common sense that if you need a handrail at the front to go up and down steps then you also need a handrail at the rear to go up and down steps.

What they are actually saying here, from a safety point of view, is that if you have handrails at the rear and this access is blocked, due to fire for example, then make your way to the front door and fall out.

Social services need to look into this as a matter of urgency and act expeditiously in their responsibility for providing safe homes for those vulnerable and most in need. – Yours, etc.,

TOM V. RATCLIFFE

Managing Director ,

Brucespeed Limited,

Unit 4,

Aberhill Industrial Park,

Methil.

Postal paradox

Sir, – Postcomm is to be congratulated for its report that Royal Mail should begin the approach to privatisation.

Nobody can deny the improvements in pricing and increases in standards of customer service that have been made by previously nationalised communication services like telecommunications, railways and buses since they were liberated from the clammy hands of the Civil Service.

Royal Mail should also be free to charge more to deliver to the rural wilds of the country.

After all, when it is now illegal for bus operators to cross-subsidise their routes so that busy city routes keep costs down in the rural hinterlands, why should I have to pay more for my city centre postal service in order to subsidise deliveries to people selfish enough to live in places like Thurso, Ballachulish or worse? – Yours, etc.,

JOHN EOIN DOUGLAS

7 Spey Terrace,

Edinburgh EH7 4PX

Tax errors

Sir, – Last week's latest tartan-tinged contribution by Peter McCulloch's in the EFM will come as no surprise to regular readers. On this occasion I feel that I must respond.

Mr McCulloch could have contacted my office to find out my views about the removal of the 10p tax band. He did not. Many other constituents did so and I made their views and my own known to my government.

I am surprised that Mr McCulloch expects to find out my thoughts through newspapers, where there is no guarantee of coverage.

To suggest, as he does, that a Labour government would set out to disadvantage the low-paid is to ignore decades of history and the economic success of the last 11 years.

The Prime Minister has accepted that errors were made in removing the 10p tax band. For the vast majority of people solutions have been put in place.

Mistakes do happen: it takes a brave politician to admit them.

Now that the Labour government has apologised for this mistake, will Mr McCulloch ask for the leaders of the SNP to publicly apologise for what was surely the greatest error ever made by a UK political party?

I refer, of course, to the SNP decision to vote with the Tories in 1979 and to bring down the Labour government. No-one in this area will forget the devastation of the Thatcher years that followed.

Mr McCulloch should remember the assault on our mining communities, mass unemployment and the Poll Tax, to mention but a few of the dreadful acts of 'government' which resulted from the SNP support for the Tories. – Yours, etc.,

JOHN MacDOUGALL MP

Glenrothes Constituency

Labour cons

Sir, – Last week the Labour Party announced its latest u-turn – not on the issue of a referendum on independence but on the 10p tax and compersation for those hardest hit.

First we got the tax con – and now we get the compensation con.

The Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, made it clear that Conservatives support any effort to compensate those hit by Gordon Brown's axing of the 10p tax rate, but the fact that Labour has failed to address the root cause of the problem demonstrates how out of touch it really is.

The help which the Labour Party announced is for one year only. It is a one-off payment, a one-off solution for tax rises that will hit families every single year.

Alistair Darling and the Labour Party have not put in place a long-term plan to compensate people, and it would seem Labour has only acted to "save its skin". Would that be because of a pending by-election in Crewe and Nantwich?

This is a panic emergency Budget from a divided, dithering and disintegrating government that has completely lost control of events.

What the Labour Party and Alistair Darling fail to point out is the fact that 1.1 million low-earners across the UK, many in North East Fife, on incomes between 6635 and 13,355, will still lose out by up to 112 a year. – Yours, etc.,

MILES E BRIGGS

Conservative MP Candidate,

North East Fife

Water charges

Sir, – We would like to thank all those from across Scotland who signed the petition to the Scottish Parliament, marking the culmination of our successful campaign to continue water charge exemptions and reliefs for charities and churches beyond 2010.

Over 2300 signatures were gathered from charities, churches and individuals, making it one of the largest petitions lodged with the Scottish Parliament.

While the Scottish Government is now minded to have the exemptions and reliefs from these charges extended, the challenge now is to ensure that any new scheme put forward is broader, less costly and less bureaucratic in scope than the current arrangements.

Since the introduction of exemptions and reliefs more than half a century ago it has been recognised that charities and churches play a vital social role, a situation even more strongly relevant now with the increasing reliance placed by the Scottish Government on these bodies to deliver and supplement social services.

We look forward to continue to deliver these services and to work with the Scottish Government on ensuring an appropriate water charges scheme is implemented. – Yours, etc.,

Lucy McTernan

Director of Corporate Affairs,

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Peter Kearney

Spokesman,

Scottish Catholic Church

The Rev Jock Stein

Dunfermline Presbytery,

Church of Scotland.

East Fife Mail Letters - May 14, 2008

Simple task

Sir, – Mr Neil Watson clearly did not read how to send the questionnaire re SEStran, as it states at the bottom how to send the electronic version.

As he has email all he had to do was what I did and copy and paste his questionnaire into an email.

After I did this I was sent an email saying 'received with thanks', not really a difficult task if he had taken time to read it.

The questionnaire was not difficult to complete and all the questions were pertinent and gave the person completing it every opportunity to give their reasons for bringing a much needed rail link to East Fife. – Yours, etc.,

FRANCES E JOHNSTONE

Buckhaven.

(Full address supplied)

Council inaction

Sir, – The letter from Mr Andrew Dougal of SEStran (EFM 07/05/08) raises a very interesting issue.

He makes it clear that the Transport Study – now central to the rail link debate – is being carried out "in partnership with Fife Council".

Other than SEStran's efforts, our SNP/Lib Dem council doesn't seem to have been particularly proactive in seeking out people's views.

Should the questionnaire not be published within Fifelife – the council's own newspaper to the community?

Should the consultation not feature among those listed on the Fife Direct website?

If there are details online then I apologise but I have been unable to find any.

However, the People's Panel Survey from July 2007 – nearly a year ago – still takes prominence!

Am I alone in thinking it odd that our own local authority, always keen to push its own self-congratulatory messages, is making no effort to engage with the local population on an issue so crucial to the economic revival of Levenmouth?

Instead, it is left to SEStran, an organisation most of the Levenmouth public is not even aware of or knows what it does, to issue a press release and place a "full colour advertisement" which, incredibly, makes no reference at all to the rail issue. It doesn't even to put it into the context of the wider transport network, which is the core aim of an exercise so obviously planned before the rail issue surfaced.

No doubt SEStran and Fife Council will believe they have 'officially' done enough to qualify as making a sincere effort to engage with our community but I am somewhat cynical of that.

I sincerely hope to be proved wrong but Levenmouth should prepare to be disappointed at the end of a campaign that has probably only embarrassed the decison-makers. – Yours, etc.,

KN

Leven.

(Name and address supplied)

Cost analysis

Sir, – Re the proposed re-opening of the rail link from Leven to points west, I don't remember being asked through any questionnaire if I approved 40 years ago when Beeching abruptly closed the very popular and well-used link – whether the population liked it or not!

I hope that all you voters out there will remember that, and the poll tax disgrace that caused we Scots to be classed as guinea pigs for the rest of Britain!

It did not cost a penny to close the link, but it will cost a lot to re-open it.

That is the reason for the questionnaire – to see if it will be cost-effective!

So get filling that form in! – Yours, etc.,

LESLIE GORDON

67 Rowan Crescent,

Methil.

Unfair line

Sir, – My family and I are all in favour of a rail link but guess what? Only those who are online, or have access, are able to vote! What an oversight!

In a democratic society all members have the right to a say in how their country is run and especially in local community matters, like this one.

Increasingly we are being pushed down the online way, because it suits the organisation concerned – competitions are a prime example – and those of us who either choose not to, or cannot afford to, are gradually becoming invisible.

If the campaigners truly want a good representative figure, then as many forms of communication as possible should be included.

Letter writing may be a dying art, but there are still plenty of people who do, and all of us can put a cross or a tick in a box when asked. After all, we do at election time.

In the meantime good luck with the campaign. – Yours, etc.,

S. CRAMB

2 Dundee Place,

Windygates.

Editor's note – Copies of the questionnaire are available from council offices across Levenmouth and from Kennoway Library.

Building control

Sir, – It appears Muir Homes can't sell the houses being built at Castlefleurie and has halted building for the time being.

So why do we have a planning application lodged for more to be built by Campion Homes to the west of Mountfleurie? Site plans show they are to be built down as far as the railway line.

I am also informed there could be more to be built on the south side of the river by other companies.

I know the Mountfleurie area was once used as a dump/tip/landfill and this would normally make bad ground to build on but, with the council rejecting plans for a new school, surely more homes being built would create an influx of more children to schools already nearing capacity?

The children at Mountfleurie School use this area for their outdoor walking and nature appreciation and will most definitely miss this when they leave the classroom on warm summer days.

Local residents and concerned parents can comment online at www.ukplanning.com Application Number 08/01146/CFULL – Yours, etc.,

MR G

(Name and address supplied)

Vital services

Sir, – As the parent of a child with autism I am very worried about what will happen as thes children get older.

Autism is a lifelong condition, yet as 'I Exist', the new report from The National Autistic Society (NAS) has found, many adults with the disability struggle to get the help they so desperately need.

Many feel isolated and ignored and are entirely dependent on their families for support.

I want to see the right services and support in place so people with autism can reach their true potential – the right help at the right time can have a profound effect.

That is why I'm supporting the NAS 'think differently about autism' campaign.

I urge readers to visit www.think-differently.org.uk and help put pressure on local and national government to do more to transform the lives of adults with autism. – Yours, etc.,

ALYSON NICOLL

5 Calder Court,

Anstrurther.

Tax penalty

Sir, – I see that our Glenrothes Labour MP is maintaining his silence over the issue of the scrapping of 10p starting rate of income tax, which had doubled the tax for the poorest in our society.

It really makes you wonder just exactly whose interests our Labour MP actually looking after at Westminster, because it doesn't appear to those who are working for low wages does it?

What we are witnessing now is the ludicrous situation where those on low pay are now going to have to apply for a means tested benefit, – that's if they qualify for it in the first place – (Brown's chaotic tax credit system) in an attempt to recoup some or all of the money that has been taken from them by this tax increase.

This, remember, when it's been reported that the mega rich who not only have seen their wealth quadrupled under Labour, and despite the abolition of the 10p tax band will still be quids' in, as will our Labour MP, unlike many of his constituents. – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road,

Methil.

Gael force

Sir, – While this issue may not be in the forefront of people's minds at present, I thought you might be interested to know that, currently, there is not a single school in Fife that offers pupils the chance to learn Gaelic.

Now, one could be excused for thinking that this is no big deal in Fife, where speaking of Gaelic has not been widespread for many centuries (if, indeed, it ever was) but, as a parent, it has not escaped my notice that the Gaelic language is currently receiving far more official recognition than was the case, say, half a century ago.

This means that it is likely, very shortly, to be expected that every public body in Scotland should have some ability to deal with people in Gaelic. Indeed, this is laid down in the Gaelic Language Act passed by Holyrood under the previous administration.

Thus, I am anxious that our schoolchildren should not miss out on the undoubted employment opportunities that this will present to those with some proficiency in Gaelic.

However, Fife Council's education policy is, of course, demand-driven – as, indeed, it should be. The official line is that, while it would in principle support Gaelic education, there is currently insufficient demand to justify its provision.

So, I am appealing to your readers – particularly those with children of school age – to get in touch with Fife education department and ask for the provision of Gaelic in Fife. If demand is sufficient, I understand that the costs involved in hiring the necessary staff can be largely met by grants from the Scottish Government. – Yours, etc.,

JOHN MORTON

3 Bow Butts,

Markinch.

MSP openness

Sir, – Congratulations to Tricia Marwick on her efforts to re-establish the much-needed rail link in Leven.

We should all get behind her on this issue by submitting as many of our our signatures and questionnaires as possible before the new deadline.

Another characteristic of her leadership is her openness and desire to make herself available to her constituents, an attribute which badly needs to rub off on members of Fife Council.

When voters step into the polling booth and put their cross on a ballot paper they expect their chosen candidate to be available to listen to their concerns.

I am sure the electorate did not expect their councillors to hand over the reins of their position to an elite self-elected few.

If we are now paying our councillors to act on our behalf we need to disband these out of tune committees and get back to decisions made in council chambers not church halls. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

'Parked' policy

Sir, – What is the SNP for anymore?

You used to vote SNP for independence. Then you were asked to vote SNP for a referendum on independence.

And now when Labour are offering the votes to get a referendum passed through the Scottish Parliament rather than biting Labour's hand off the SNP is playing hard to get.

Independence has been 'parked' while the SNP has been sucked in to administering devolution in Edinburgh for London.

The suspicion has to be that the leadership of the SNP is not sure if it wants independence now that it has a taste of power.

In 2010, how will it get enough votes to get a referendum bill through?

The unionists are currently inept but why give them three years to regroup? Why give the UK Parliament this time to mess Scotland about? Call Alexander and Labour's bluff.

On the broader issue of 'Independence in Europe', what kind of independence does this meaningless soundbite slogan mean?

You can not be independent in the European Union, there is a clue in the second word in the EU's name and that is Union! Where is the logic in wanting to leave one small union (the UK) but at the same time wanting to be part of an even bigger union (the EU)?

The Free Scotland Party is committed to a fully independent Scotland outwith the European Union. Scottish solutions to Scottish problems do not come from London. Scottish solutions to Scottish problems do not come from Brussels. Scottish solutions to Scottish problems will come from a government elected by and answerable only to voters in Scotland.

Independence is too important to be left to a party that does not know what it is for anymore. – Yours, etc.,

Brian Nugent

Free Scotland Party,

Schoolhouse,

Hamnavoe,

Burra,

Shetland ZE2 9LA.

East Fife Mail Letters - May 7, 2008

Transport study

Sir, – I am writing in response to the article in the East Fife Mail "Seven days to have your say", reporting on the Levenmouth Transport Study. This is being carried out by Scott Wilson Ltd, on behalf of SEStran in partnership with Fife Council.

The report says that "few people were aware" of the study. This is of great concern to SEStran as we are eager to ensure that those with an interest in transportation in Levenmouth have a chance to make their views known. In order to facilitate this, we have so far extended the deadline for return of the questionnaires twice; to April 30 and, at the request of the East Fife Mail, to May 7.

SEStran issued a press release about the study to the media on March 19, which included full details on where to obtain the questionnaires. In fact the story was carried by the East Fife Mail with the full details contained in our press release under the headline "Views sought on transport network" in the edition for week ending March 28. The story may still be viewed on the Fife Today website at http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/east-fife-mail-news/Views-sought-on-transport-network.3911578.jp

However, in view of the comments made, SEStran agrees that a more high profile approach towards advertising the study is required.

Accordingly, a full colour advertisement will be placed in the East Fife Mail, St Andrew's Citizen, Fife Leader North and on the Fife Today website and we are extending the deadline for return of questionnaires to May 31, 2008.

We will also issue a further press release to the media, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be aware of the existence of the study and of the extended deadline for submissions.

SEStran would like to thank the East Fife Mail and Tricia Marwick MSP for their interest and efforts in ensuring a wider awareness of this issue. – Yours, etc.,

ANDREW DOUGAL

Communications Officer,

SEStran,

8b McDonald Road,

Edinburgh EH7 4LZ

Difficult process

Sir, – Many thanks for your front page article. I have just completed the SEStran questionnaire, printed it off for delivery to Carberry House, Leven, as there seems no way of simply sending it online.

The process of accessing and completing the questionnaire is so cumbersome I began to wonder whether SEStran really does want a response from the public.

I was one of those who attended the debate in the Parliament last Thursday and would be greatly annoyed if others missed the opportunity to respond to SEStran or found that it simply ignored the responses. – Yours, etc.,

NEIL WATSON

(via e-mail)

Town neglect

Sir, – The authors of `Grimy Town' and `Civic Slum' (EFM 23/04/08) don't miss and hit the wall with their remarks about Leven.

Well done for articulating the views and frustration of the majority of citizens of this neglected and run down community.

In fairness we cannot yet be too critical of our new trio of councillors who have only had a few months to prove their worth since the elections.

This said, all party politicians try to serve two conflicting masters, the electorate and the party. The best interests of Scotland in general would be best served by throwing party politics out of local government entirely, in favour of competence and merit.

Continuing with the theme of maladministration at grass roots level. For as long as I can remember apathy has been Leven's biggest enemy. This has allowed a coterie of professional committee sitters to dominate the community council, and form a plethora of sub-committees.

Neither elected, nor representative, of this predominantly working class community, these wealthy people from the posh end of town have turned Leven into their own little fiefdom. All these committees need to be disbanded, in favour of a single democratically chosen, accountable body to represent our will and best interests.

As a historian I relish Leven's past, but our administrators are living in it.

Seaside resorts like Leven are as dead as the ministry industry. It's time to stop fretting about the tourists we have nothing to offer, and move on. Money poured into our obsession with Leven's tourist past has detracted from local services for decades. Time to forget the Prom and concentrate on improving the lives of local folk in the dreary and deprived council estates.

Neglect of our town centre is destroying the one function we do have, a service centre for a wider area.

We'll never attract investment with the town in its present state. Acres of yuppie commuter homes on our green belt, miles of hedgerow destroyed and productive farmland wasted forever, are not my vision of regeneration. Just more Council Tax for Fife House to squander, and more pressure on roads, schools and healthcare that are already unsatisfactory.

What we've had for years in Leven are frills and fantasies, in the form of hanging baskets, tatty bunting, and a useless, ugly bus station.

What we need is common sense, like paint for the kids' play areas, a pedestrian crossing at the nursery, and a bus service to Cupar.

There's a very long list of improvements which might be made at comparatively small cost if only someone would listen. – Yours ,etc.,

ERIC EUNSON

32 Letham Terrace,

Leven.

Historic sites

Sir, – While I am delighted to see that Historic Scotland has proposed to protect Scotland's battlefields by making such sites a material consideration during the planning process, it is disappointing to note that this stops short of full legal protection.

The proposed "inventory of battlefields" will not provide local authorities with the power to block planning applications, as the policy will be non-statutory, and as such battlefields will still face the cultural vandalism that currently marks many such sites.

For example, the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, where a Covenanting army was defeated in 1679, is buried under a housing development, with a small memorial to the rebel dead all that remains.

Developments also continue to threaten the likes of Bannockburn, where Robert the Bruce famously defeated the English, and the Jacobite battle of Sheriffmuir.

For a country with such a rich history we take an astonishingly cavalier attitude to our past, and in the likes of the US, for example, battlefields are held as sacred.

What is required is automatic government protection for our battlefields, and as such an SNP Government would be shooting an open goal as it looks to promote greater awareness of Scottish history in our schools.

Key battlefields should be listed and have the same status as historic buildings, to lose them would be little short of criminal. – Yours, etc.,

ALEX ORR

Flat 8,

35 Bryson Road,

Edinburgh EH11 1DY.

Press freedom

Sir, I read (EFM 30/04/08) that a local politician disapproved of the coverage that your paper gave to a recent police drugs raid, saying that the paper "had a role to play".

The role the East Fife Mail has to play in the community is to publish newsworthy stories containing relevant facts of interest to the public.

Given that the East Fife Mail is part of a privately-owned group of companies and not state owned (let's rue the day that happens), it is up to the editor to decide which stories are given greater or lesser coverage – and he ought be be able to make those decisions free from political influence or pressure.

The political system is highly flawed to put it mildly and the public are entitled to the press and other branches of the media to report matters as they see fit and not to "play a role" in disseminating political propaganda. – Yours, etc.,

WILL BROOKS

(Address supplied)

Buffer zones

Sir, – There was a small report (EFM 23/04/08) informing us that the Planning Guidance on Wind Energy (which previously we had in the form of a draft document for January 2007) had now been approved.

I spoke to one of the authors, (Fife Planning in Glenrothes) and he sent me a copy of this on CD so I am now in a position to reassure your Levenmouth residents – campaigning against the colossal wind-turbine – about the final position on stand-off/buffer-zones.

The developer, you might remember, tried to tell visitors to an open day last year, and in a leaflet, that these buffer-zones of 1.5km – to keep wind-turbines from looming over nearby housing etc – were "mere guidelines" with no teeth and, in effect, could be set aside.

That is not what the finalised version tells us. Section 7.10, "Proximity to Sensitive Properties", for example, sets it out clearly: "The issue of the proximity of turbines to settlements, occupied residential and institutional properties will be evaluated when applications are being determined."

And it goes on to say: "Fife Council has adopted the Guidance in SPP6 (the Scottish Executive's advice) which sets a stand-off distance at 2 kilometres (more than the 1.5 previously used as a measure) and advises that every proposal should be considered on its own merits."

So if, say, a proposed turbine was 2km or less from a single dwelling or office, but nothing else in sight, it probably would be possible to get it approved. The case for Levenmouth is quite different. Here we have "Sensitive Properties" galore – hundreds of homes; dozens of offices and businesses, as well as several nursery and primary schools, all well within 2km from this proposed colossal industrial turbine.

Over and over again in the Guidance, this point is emphasised: "A small buffer around settlements of around 2km is a common policy approach to protect settlements from the direct impact of turbine noise."

And again: "It is only appropriate to include a 2.0km buffer as this protects settlements from a definitive potential negative impact". (Note the description: "definitive potential negative impact"). The document even includes figures/diagrams with the buffer-zones shown clearly around areas like Kirkcaldy and the Levenmouth area.

In this finalised version, too, the factors listed which are required to be taken into consideration – as well as this 2km buffer-zone – include all the grounds that we have campaigned against: the visual and noise pollution that would blight the Levenmouth area; shadow-flicker – and the effects on driving; TV interference; the dangers of ice thrown from blades; and the knock-on effects on the tourist industry.

Section after section on all these points and others we raised about infra-noise; the harm to birds, animals and people; the damage to the shoreline, leisure and tourism in the area – all are covered in great detail.

Those drawing up this final version describe how people they have consulted: "...considered that turbines should be sited in uninhabited areas and high on hillsides. In view of the importance of tourism to the Fife Economy, the potential impact of proposals must be evaluated." (para 3.21)

So the message is clear. In future no developer dreaming of setting up an industrial turbine in our neighbourhood will get off the starting-blocks because this finalised Guidance will spell it out for him: that people/communities come first. – Yours, etc.,

ISOBEL DRUMMOND

Aberhill.

(Full address supplied)

Cash incentive

Sir, – Over the past few months we have been treated in 'The Mail' and its sister papers to claims and counter-claims from all sides of the political spectrum that the 500,000 added on to the home care income was the fault of the outgoing administration, a number of whom took a one-off golden handshake prior to the last locla government election.

That may be the case, but there are still quite a few of the councillors who participated in that vote among the ranks of Fife Council's new administration.

Those councillors, and in particular those councillors at the top of the administration tree, now also share in a nest egg gifted to them under The Local Government (Allowances and Expenses) (Scotland) Regulations 2007.

Whilst the sick and needy of our community struggle with new charges for care, our top councillors take away through salaries and expenses a sum which is probably well in excess of the deficit.

I can remember when there used to be a public outcry each year when councillors' expenses were published. Now each councillor – and for most being a councillor is a part time vocation – is entitled to a minimum salary of 15,500 plus expenses.

I don't think we will ever hear of anyone on the council adopting paragraph 4 of the above mentioned act which reads 'Any councillor, regardless of level of payment, will be able to renounce receipt of all or any part of his or her salary if he or she chooses to do so'.

Gone are the days when people stood up just for the sake of the community – it's the cash that's the incentive now. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

East Fife Mail Letters - April 30, 2008

Sour grapes

Sir, – I wish to draw your attention – once again – to the following facts: It is now almost exactly 70 years ago that East Fife won the Scottish Cup – the one and only time that a team from a lower division has ever done so, before or since!

If it had been any team from the west of Scotland, especially a fancied team and/or even a team from closer to home, then we would have been reminded of the occasion ad infinitum, just like England in ' 66.

I maintain that "sour grapes" have withheld the slightest chance of praise for East Fife from the press locally, or in the west.

I can just imagine the Dundee and Kirkcaldy papers praising wee, lowly East Fife FC when their own more fancied teams never ever got even remotely close to achieving what East Fife did that day in 1938.

Admit it, what other reason could exist for deliberately ignoring such a praisworthy event?

Even now, the media go on and on about the current Scottish Cup contenders and quite rightly so. However, how is it that such an attractive event nowadays has, so far, not elicited one syllable about East Fife in '38?

All praise to East Fife for their efforts this year; no doubt that will have a veil drawn over it as soon as possible. – Yours, etc.,

LESLIE GORDON

67 Rowan Crescent,

Methil KY8 2HE..

Foul play

Sir – This is a letter to all the dog owners who walk their dogs in and around Centenary Court in Mountflurie.

When you are walking your dogs and they do their mess, is it so hard to pick it up?

I am sick and tired of having to clean your dogs' mess, and when I say "clean" I mean clean it off of my kids' clothes, shoes and even hands.

My son came in tonight while in the middle of an innocent game of football with a group of kids out the front of my house with dog mess all over his hands and my husband and I were disgusted.

How would these dog owners feel if I left my kids' soiled nappies on their doorsteps for them to step in?

As far as my husband and I are concerned, the law needs to be tighter when it comes to dog fouling as it is ridiculous that you have to watch where your kids are playing as everywhere you look there is mess.

Come on dog owners think about the amount of kids that play in Centenary Court. – Yours, etc.,

KERRY SMITH

Centenary Court,

Mountflurie.

Kind gesture

Sir, – As a WRVS volunteer driver I often take frail, elderly and disabled people places.

Usually it is just shopping or the hospital but, now and again, to nights out.

The other Saturday I took two ladies to a theatre for an evening of Irish dancing.

There were no tickets left and I was quite prepared to sit and read a book in the foyer, but a young girl came up to me, asked if I wanted a ticket.

She then gave me a ticket and I thanked her but she disappeared before I could offer her the price.

I'd like to send a warm "thank you" to that young girl and also to the ladies, young and not so young, who danced for us and made it a truly delightful evening. – Yours, etc.,

LINDA McCUTCHEON

5 Baird Crescent,

Leven.

Litter problem

Sir, – You carried an article (EFM 23/04/08) claiming that there is a downward trend in the amount of litter blighting our streets (Fife starts to clean up its act on littering).

I am afraid I cannot agree with this statement, seeing the amount of trash lining the country roads: plastic bottles, drink cans, plastic bags hanging in the trees and bushes, etc.

It is particularly bad close to villages and towns, but the litter is everywhere.

My husband and I regularly pick up bags full of other people's litter on the stretch of road our house is on.

We need more campaigns against littering, to educate people not to dump their trash on the street. In addition, the roads need to be cleaned up, not only in towns, but also in the countryside.

Is someone responsible for this? – Yours, etc.,

TANJA VAN MOURIK

Lundin Links.

(Full address supplied)

Plan on track

Sir, – Having campaigned for about 16 years, to see this rail link being put forward on a Member's Bill to the Scottish Parliament by Tricia Marwick gave me great pleasure and hope that I might see it become a reality.

Tricia Marwick put her case very succinctly and didn't miss any points in its favour...viz: availability – no legal litigation problems; two docks (number one and two) available for freight transfers – a station and ground available close to centre of the town for cross servicing bus to rail and vice-versa. With two large businesses in the town area Diageo and Silberline – anything which helps prosper these large firms will, in turn, help a much needed regeneration of Levenmouth and be of great assistance to its neighbouring East Neuk villages.

All the parties agreed that it was a viable and necessary rail link for a population now reaching nearly 80,000.

I should like to thank Tricia Marwick for inviting me but also for enabling me to be present at the debate along with 17 others.

Thanks to her efforts Mobus was more than helpful by taking us there and back with consummate ease, thanks to an excellent driver.

I would give him a medal, having negotiated us through the thick of Edinburgh traffic between 4pm. and 5 pm Thank you both. – Yours, etc.,

MORAG C. BELL

The Birket,

11 North Street,

Common ground

Sir, - It was encouraging to read last week's detailed letter 'Shameful deal' by David A. Brown (EFM 23/04/08)) regarding Lundin Links Common.

If the gentleman's letter is an example of many local residents' concerns, and that they are prepared to stand up for their community in order to defend the protection of the common ground, we wish them every success in their quest.

Mr Brown refers to my letter of the previous week where I used the word 'disappointment' coming nowhere near the outrage of the vast majority of local residents.

Upon reflection, perhaps I was being too diplomatic.

However, please let me assure Mr Brown that I am equally concerned about the Common having known and appreciated the tranquility of the area over many years.

Council officials must be fully aware of the local residents' stressful concerns and, therefore, should have the consideration and authority to resolve the present situation on behalf of the community without further bureaucratic delay by confirming that the area will remain free from any property developer application, or similar. – Yours, etc.,

HARRY LAWRIE

Abbots Mill,

Kirkcaldy.

United front

Sir, – Through your columns I would like to take the opportunity to respond to the criticism of Largo Area Community Council (LACC) by Mr David Brown.

The proposed development by Lundin Bowling Club (LBC) is one of eight possible sites identified in the 'Issues and Options' document published by Fife Council.

Fife Council has not yet identified which (if any) of these eight sites are to be allocated for housing in the draft East Area and St Andrews Local Plan. It follows, therefore, that the site proposed for development by LBC has not been allocated in the Local Plan for housing.

LACC held two public meetings which were well attended by local residents. The first, attended by around 120 residents, dealt exclusively with the site adjacent to LBC when the public voted overwhelmingly that the site should remain as "open space".

The second of these was attended by around 140 residents and dealt with the eight sites identified for possible development (including the site adjacent to LBC) when the public voted overwhelmingly that no development should be permitted on any of the eight sites (including the site adjacent to LBC).

Detailed representations were then made by LACC on behalf of the community to Fife Council in support of the wishes of the local residents. The outcome of these representations is still awaited in December 2008.

The Memorandum for Opinion of the Professor of Conveyancing on the legal issues (as opposed to the planning issues) was prepared by me last year and submitted (with supporting documents) to the Professor for opinion. Despite repeated requests by LACC, the Opinion has not been issued to date but the Professor has now undertaken to come to Fife in May to prepare the Opinion.

Nothing would assist the developers of the site adjacent to LBC more than for the community to be "split" over this issue. I would therefore call upon residents to unite in support of their community council in their opposition to this development on behalf of the community.

I would remind Mr Brown that the members of LACC are unpaid volunteers who give up their own time to help their community. LACC meets in public on the third Monday of each month and these issues have been debated at each meeting over the last year.

I invite Mr Brown and any other residents to attend the monthly meetings when regular progress reports are given.

In response to the allegation that LACC is "unfit for purpose", LACC is happy to stand by its record of service to the community over the years. For instance, were it not for LACC there would now be a methane gas field at Keilsden Wood, Lundin Links. – Yours, etc.,

PETER M AITKEN

Chairman,

Largo Area Community Council.

Speed poser

Sir, – I was driving through Bonnybank the other day and noticed that, other than for the 40mph speed reduction coming in off the Cupar Road, there does not seem to be the same level of motoring restriction that we see in Kennoway.

In fact, the side streets do not have any speed reduction markings and are not subject to the now customary mountain of tar at their entrance and so, technically, the speed on these streets is still 40mph.

Then I realised that I was passing by the homes of members of the community council who look to be quite happy to subject the people of Kennoway to their decision process, as long as it doesn't happen in their back yard.

Driving on through Kennoway I also noticed that the traffic situation on New Road looks to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous with the introduction of lane markings and chevrons.

I wonder if the community council is deliberately trying to close down the Little Frier by siting a traffic island right outside, making it nearly impossible for cars to stop, and now it looks to be concentrating its litter strategy on the area next to his chip shop.

Maybe it's time the councillors stopped wearing away the backs of their jackets from the constant back slapping for stopping the possible pollution from ship-to-ship transfers – a senario which would take a natural disaster on the scale of a tsunami to affect Kennoway – and make some changes that will actually benefit the residents. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Futile task

Sir, – With regard to the letters criticising the deplorable condition of the Levenmouth area (EFM 23/04/08), part of the problem is apathy.

People are tired of complaining to the authorities to do something about the vandalism, terrorism, dog fouling, drunkenness and fly-tipping that everyone sees going on.

When caught, those responsible are let off with a telling off or a small fine.

These people should be severely punished, they are unravelling the fabric of our society.

I do not blame the councillors, because if they come up with thingss to improve the area these are very soon vandalised or burnt down.

I know how I would feel, what's the point of bothering?

Do not have any compassion for these anti-social people, they don't give a damn about us. – Yours, etc.,

DISILLUSIONED

(Name and address supplied)

Schools' failure

Sir, – The interesting point about last week's letter in under 'Kirkland credit' from three Labour councillors was what was missing.

While they wanted to applaud Kirkland High School for its "excellent progress report" – its links to Africa, its arts festival and new auditorium facilities – there was not a reference anwhere to what a school is primarily about – providing a good education so that pupils, of all abilities, can enter "the jobs' market" with qualifications that will help them succeed.

But that is not surprising when you remember the performance tables last year for Standard and Higher Levels (which the Scottish Education establishment itself, unlike its English counterpart, is reluctant to publish nowadays).

Of 359 state secondary schools in Scotland, doing Standards and Highers, Fife schools, apart from Madras College and Waid Academy, all fell into the lower half of this "league". And right down at the very bottom (=351) was Kirkland High, even lower than the year before when it was 348.. So between 2006-7 it was certainly not "progressing".

Sadly our other local high schools were in similar straits.

Fifty years ago Buckhaven High and Kirkcaldy High matched results with schools like Waid and Madras, up there in the premier league of Scottish high schools but have now fallen down into the lower divisions in the qualifications' tables. Out of 360, in the Standards table, Buckhaven High is now down at 253, while Kirkcaldy High has sunk even lower to 305 (with Kirkland down even further at =351).

As for the Highers, while Madras (at 20) Waid (at =64) and Bell Baxter in Cupar (at =81) come into the top 100 of Scotland's 350 schools doing Highers, Kirkcaldy High has slumped to =314 ; Buckhaven High is lower still at =323; while Kirkland is again in the bottom group at =335 with only five per cent of pupils taking three or more Highers (A-C grades).

If councillors call being at the bottom of the qualifications tables "excellent" then what term do they use for schools that are 300 places higher? How devalued has the word "excellent" become?

Having new curtains, or new computers or new auditorium equipment is all well and good. But what Scottish school children need even more is a decent education that will, at the end of four or six years, provide them with decent qualifications to get a toehold in the jobs' market.

Schools should be rated "excellent" for their primary duty of providing a good education, turning out a majority of their children with worthwhile qualifications – not just a minority. So, as long as Kirkland has only five per cent and Buckhaven High only seven per cent of their pupils achieving decent Highers results, a tiny minority, these local schools are certainly not ensuring the children of this area "reach their potential".

As a former Buckhaven High pupil, and one who has worked in the education field for over 40 years – including training teachers – I feel despondent at what Scottish Education is not doing for Scottish children. – Yours, etc.,

ISOBEL G DRUMMOND

Aberhill.

(Full address supplied)

Public jewel

Sir, – In response to letter from the irate resident complaining about poor service from his GP practice, the answer is obvious – change to another one.

For all the problems with the NHS it is still the jewel in the crown of public services.

I have reason to be grateful both to the medical and surgical consultants in Fife and we are fortunate to have high calibre consultants – I do not think they can be surpassed anywhere else.

I also consider that I am fortunate to be a patient in an excellent GP practice which does work as a team, not only with very good doctors and nurses but also reception and other staff led by a practice manager who do their utmost to accommodate their patients' needs.

At all times I have been treated in a civil and professional and sympathetic manner. I think my doctor would have more to complain about me as a patient than I could complain about him a a doctor!

I would ask your reader to think what a visit to surgery or home visit would cost if GPs went private.

The NHS is the best public service we have and the only one where we have a choice. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

Lime Grove,

Methil.

East Fife Mail Letters - April 23, 2008

Caring Carlow

Sir, – In response to your article of April 16 I have to say that I did not recognise your description of Carlow Court as the place I live in.

I have had no problems using the lift and I am a resident on the second floor and need to use a mobility scooter.

The people who have had difficulties are the staff who have been running up and down the stairs to call the lift for tenants. They have been absolutely fantastic.

As to the problems being `chronic for five months' this is not the case. There has only been the odd day where a problem has arisen and it is fixed always on the same day.

I have to say I have not been inconvenienced to any great extent and I really enjoy living here. – Yours, etc.,

MRS P MELVILLE, C. YOUNG, E. ROBERTSON, E. WARDLAW, J. MCLAREN, M. FALCONER, M. PATERSON, J. PETTIGREW, J. STEVENSON

Carlow Court,

Aitken Street,

Leven.

Grimy town

Sir, – For over 40 years my wife and I have holidayed in Leven but our latest Easter break will, regrettably, be our last.

In the last 10 years the town has been transformed from being an unpretentious jewel into the dreariest, dirtiest, most intimidating place I have ever visited.

There seems to be more dog mess than dogs, and litter everywhere.

The town centre is worse than the most grim corner of Leith for beggars, drunks and other assorted ne'er-do-wells... and not a policeman in sight.

I'm a smoker, for my sins, and made the mistake of lighting up on the High Street. I was approached four times in 10 minutes by beggars asking for a cigarette!

Speaking to the other visitors in the restaurant at the caravan park, all agreed the town was horrible and that they were unlikely to return.

What a shame such a pretty little town has allowed itself to become so unsavoury. – Yours, etc.,

ANDREW CARSTAIRS

48 Polworth Terrace,

Edinburgh EH10 4NQ.

Civic slum

Sir, – Leven today is a mess – and getting worse.

From its gum-spattered and litter-strewn streets in and around the principal shopping area to the neglected and downgraded precincts of Letham Glen, the town is fast becoming a civic slum.

And it appears nobody gives a damn. At least, nobody with any authority to stem the bleak tide of filth and futility which seems to have engulfed the area.

Regional councillors – there are three of them representing Leven, I believe – and the almost-anonymous Leven Community Council give a fine impression of living not only on another planet but inhabiting a faraway galaxy.

Not one of them, councillors or council, has raised a word of protest or criticism. Nor have they offered ideas, programmes, efforts to put things right.

They should feel ashamed of themselves.

Most of them claim they take on council jobs to serve the community. For most of them, it seems, the task is beyond their capabilities.

To list the problems of Leven as a shopping, social and leisure hub would need far more space than the editor of this newspaper would allow, but they are only too evident to anyone – including councillors – who cares to take a walk around the town.

But then Leven's disease is a national disease. It takes leadership, and an ability to make things happen, to stop and reverse the trend. And that, at all levels, has disappeared into a black hole of political correctness, ineptitude and sheer incompetence. Yours, etc.,

JH

(Name and address supplied)

Shameful deal

Sir, – Your last two publications have covered the vexed issue of a potential housing development on part of Lundin Links Common.

On April 9 your report informed your readership that Sir John Gilmour "has vowed to fight to halt houses being built on Lundin Links Common".

The Gilmour Estate donated the Common to the village in 1922 for leisure and recreational purposes; as Feudal Superior, the Estate had the right to put conditions on how the gifted land could be used.

In 2005 a change in the law resulted in the rights of the Feudal Superior being forfeited, so any constraining conditions on the use of the land fell.

Lundin Bowling Club (LBC) then took the view that the land was its to use as it wished; the club has subsequently decided to sell part of the land for possible housing development.

Unsurprisingly, a great deal of heat has been generated locally by this issue, but it would perhaps be more useful if that heat could be replaced by some light. Some very important questions require to be addressed by the various relevant parties:

1) It is my understanding that prior to the change in the law in 2005, the Feudal Superior concerned had an option of "retaining the inhibitions over the Bowling Club land"; had this option been taken then the land in question would have remained "burdened", and would not have transferred unconditionally (as claimed by LBC) to its ownership.

The Gilmour Estate, for whatever reason, did not apparently take up this option, so Sir John Gilmour's reported "fury over the potential land deal" seems to be a case of, initially, inaction and then a reaction that is too little and way too late.

2) In February 2007 a record turnout of Lundin Links and Largo residents attended a special Largo Community Council meeting called specifically to discuss the "potential" sale of some of the LBC's "surplus" land. The overwhelming view was that any development on the Common should be prohibited. It was agreed that the legality or otherwise of LBC's intention should be tested, by seeking counsel from a professor of conveyancing and, to this end, over 600 in contributions were collected at the end of the meeting to allow this work to be commissioned.

Some 14 months have now elapsed since that meeting and the community is still awaiting a legal viewpoint. The inability of the community council to deliver on this potentially important element of the defence of the Common is exceedingly disappointing, to say the very least.

Since the February 2007 meeting the Largo Community Council has done very little in terms of taking the initiative in opposing the possible sale of this land, and nothing at all, to my knowledge, in communicating with the local residents.

Ex-councillor John Bell caused a furore in February 2007 when he claimed that the Largo Community Council was "seriously unfit for purpose".

Its performance to date on this very critical issue for the community inclines me to support John Bell's view. I hope I am ultimately proved wrong.

3) In last week's issue one of your letter contributors (Harry Lawrie from Kirkcaldy) generously noted "the reasons why the LBC sees the opportunity to improve its club", but he then went on to suggest that "for several members of the community to "strike a deal", must be disappointing for the majority of local residents".

I'm afraid that "disappointment" comes nowhere near to describing the outrage of the vast majority of local residents, and their views of those members of LBC who have voted in support of the sale of the "community's" land. Some of those LBC members voting on this crucial issue for Lundin Links and Largo are not even resident within these communities, so there's a whiff of carpetbagging too.

The majority of local residents are appalled that members of the LBC are acting in such an amoral and immoral way, in taking this step of selling off a community asset for their own, narrow self-interest and personal financial benefit.

If the LBC decided that some of the land bequeathed to it for community use was indeed "surplus to their requirements", then, in the spirit of the generous original donation by the Gilmour Estate, that parcel of land should have been passed back to the community at large. This it has failed to do, and the majority of its members have clearly been subject to successful, combined conscience and integrity bypass operations, and are quite prepared to blight Lundin Links, in perpetuity, in order to enjoy their bit of sport, as freeloaders on this community.

With a projected 200,000 in "reserve for future maintenance" on a 300,000 new build clubhouse, one wonders which "cowboy architects and builders" will be contracted to require that financial back-up for ongoing maintenance. Or perhaps I could suggest a more likely use for that significant reserve: zero annual subscriptions for all current members who raised their hand in the appropriate way and secured their 30 pieces of silver? – Yours, etc.,

DAVID A. BROWN

3 Victoria Road,

Lundin Links.

Interesting tale

Sir, – Congratulations on your scoop (EFM 09/04/08) concerning Henri Paul and his parents.

I found it a very interesting and entertaining read, and my condolences go to Mme Paul and her family.

Also three big cheers to Mrs Rhea Sheddon for communicating bilingually with Mme Paul.

Each week the East Fife Mail just gets better and better. – Yours, etc.,

LORRAINE McALLISTER

(Address supplied)

Kirkland credit

Sir, – Allow us to bring to the attention of the local community the excellent progress report of Kirkland High School and Community College under the 'Schools of Ambition' initiative.

This is a three-year initiative, which has seen the school engage in such areas as deployment of leadership, confidence in the 21st century, learning, teaching, enhancing the community image, and has seen the school establish an annual arts festival and upgrade the auditorium facilities which will benefit both the school and community.

The school has also developed skills for work courses which are tailored to suit the needs of pupils and will no doubt help them in the jobs' market.

The school has also built links with educational establishments in South Africa and Uganda and has received visitors from both countries.

These projects have been well received by the people that matter – the pupils – and uptake of these courses remain popular.

These achievements have been closely monitored by education service officers who have also noted a reduction in exclusion and unauthorised absences.

All of these achievements have, according to the report, been in accordance within the stated timescales.

Let us congratulate the rector, Mr Ross, his staff and pupils on this report and wish them every success for the future. We are sure that, at the end of the three years, Levenmouth will truly have a 'School of Ambition'. – Yours, etc.,

Cllrs TOM ADAMS

CHARLES HAFFEY

JIM YOUNG

Labour Group,

Wards 22 and 23,

Levenmouth.

Bump bother

Sir, – `Speed bumps' – they are the frustration of the century, adding to the stress and strain of the responsible drivers!

All the effect that they have is to increase the buzz for those who are racing across them, the ones that they were meant to deter in the first place.

Maybe if those who introduced these obstacles, or maybe even their relatives, were lying in the back of an ambulance with broken bones or a life-threatening illness where seconds could mean the difference between life and death, they would start listening to the public.

On another issue, nobody deserves abuse for following orders from higher up but one thing is still allowable although (God knows for how long) and that is our right to voice our concerns, anonymous or otherwise, in the letters' page of newspapers and if it is the only way that makes them listen and, hopefully, right a wrong. Why not? – Yours, etc.,

M. M. THOMAS

4 Wilkie Cottages,

Rose Terrace,

Leven.

Poor service

Sir, – I phoned my doctors' surgery in Leven on Tuesday to get an appointment for a member of my family. It's not a critical problem so I was in no great hurry for an appointment.

I asked for one any day, as long as it was after 4pm, only to be told there was none that week.

I asked for the next week; again there was nothing up until Wednesday so I said, "What about Friday?"

The reply was, "They haven't been released yet".

So it seems that unless I'm willing to take time off my work to call every day between 8.30am and 9am I can't get an appointment.

Every week I pay a small fortune in National Health contributions for a service which I can't get and the doctors get paid a vast fortune for not providing me with that service.

I may be a bit nave here but I think it's called fraud when I pay National Insurance contributions, council tax etc for services that the local authorities have no intension of providing me with. – Yours, etc.,

IRATE RESIDENT

(Name and address supplied)

Relative search

Sir, – I am shortly coming to Fife for a holiday and would love to contact any of my living relatives of the Paterson family of St Andrews, and the descendants of James Paterson and Elizabeth Anderson of Elie.

Known relatives include Allan W Paterson (b 1954, married Elizabeth Cushley 1975. Their daughter was Jennifer L Paterson (b 1976).

Also the family of Robert Paterson (b 1883) – married Margaret Thomson Scott around 1902 and lived at High Street, Kirkliston.

I'm also interested in tracing the descendants of James Paterson (b 1886), a professional golfer, and Thomas Paterson (b 1888), a club-maker.

I am also interested in the Anderson family of Elie.

I'd like to contact descendants of Robert Anderson and Margaret Lees.

Their known relatives include Robert Anderson (c 1847) married Janet Rattray;

David Anderson (c 1849) married Janet Kidd;

John Anderson (b 1855) married Janet Sparks; Isabella Anderson (b 1857) married David Livingston; Margaret Anderson (c 1860) married Thomas McRae.

Any information would be most eagerly received. – Yours, etc.,

VICTORIA JAYDE

5-7 Abermere Ave,

Mt Stuart,

Tasmania,

Australia, 7000.

victoriajayde@netspace.net.au

East Fife Mail Letters - April 16, 2008

Common good

Sir, - Thanks for the article by Maggie Millar in last week's East Fife Mail highlighting the justifiable concern by residents with respect to Lundin Links Common.

If this small area of land becomes another building development site it will be a sad day for the village of Lundin Links.

Surely property developers must consider the background history and nostalgia of local villages as opposed to monetary aspects.

Also where is Fife planning department in relation to this subject as it is quite clear that as far back as 1922 Lundie Estate donated the Common to the village for leisure and a restful environment ?

The reasons why Lundin Bowling Club see the opportunity to improve their club is noted but for several members of the community to 'strike a deal' must be a disappointment to the majority of local residents.

With the influential concern by Sir John Gilmour, hopefully sensibility will prevail and that any interest by a property developer will accept an early rejection. – Yours, etc.,

HARRY LAWRIE,

Abbots Mill,

Kirkcaldy.

(Full address supplied)

Culture gap

Sir, – Ben MacFarlane's letter in last week's East Fife Mail intrigues me.

He says he's not aware of Largo's cultural ties to the East Neuk. If these are not apparent then perhaps he could tell us what Largo's cultural ties are to Leven/Mid Fife/Glenrothes.

He then takes a swipe at Largo's "two weeks per year" residents.

Ben isn't the only person uncomfortable with this trend in Largo and East Neuk villages but Councillor Whitehead has already pointed to the fact that the number of Lower Largo/Upper Largo/Lundin Links residents who signed the petition equates almost exactly to the number of people who actually vote in the three villages.

The two-week residents are very unlikely to vote locally so the hostile reaction to the proposal comes from the heart and soul of the communities.

His final comment about Largo "declaring UDI and leaving the great unwashed living west of Silverburn to get on with it" is unfortunate to put it mildly.

Leven (and Kennoway) used to be part of the old East Fife (pre-North East Fife) Westminister constituency and this leads me to ask Ben a final question: what benefits does he think the gravitation of authority to Central/Mid Fife/Glenrothes has brought to Leven as a town and to its residents if he chooses to refer to them in such a derogatory manner? – Yours, etc.,

ANDREW DUNCAN

4 South Feus ,

Upper Largo.

Rural takeover

Sir, – Ben MacFarlane hints at the real problem facing Levenmouth, the 'Doughnut effect' or pattern.

This is not to be confused with looking at the elected representitives that make up the ruling coalition in Fife, the 'dough ba' effect'.

The 'doughnut effect' is where the middle classes abandon the urban areas and move to the surrounding rural areas, forcing up property prices so that the rural working class are forced out of their homes for generations by weekenders and white settlers from the Capital and further afield.

When combined with Gerrymandering we can see how the urban areas are left behind as those with the cash protect their assets by manipulating borders so that their properties are classed as being within a desirable postcode and in a "good" school catchment area. There are no cultural ties between Largo and the East Neuk, unless, of course, we are simply discussng a generic bourgoise identity. Cllr Whitehead, I fear, is just protecting her political friends. Then again, that's politics, sad to say. – Yours, etc.,

JIM McLEAN

18 Wemysshaven Gardens,

East Wemyss.

Unique view

Sir, – It is always interesting to read Mr L. Bell's unique views (EFM 09/04/08) although his recollection of the local community council's action during the Elie House planning enquiry are somewhat different from the facts.

However, his suggestion that new houses built in gardens during the last 40 years be bulldozed is perhaps extreme.

Since his own house falls into that category no doubt he will be arranging for the demolition shortly. – Yours, etc.,

BEMUSED

(Name and address supplied)

Slow response

Sir, – I am writing this letter in disgust at local community officers and police who fail to help a local organisation.

I currently use the Mad for Kids club, within my local community of Buckhaven.

This provides a valuable service to the community's parents of school age children.

At its present location in Buckhaven, the kids' club seems to have trouble with youths hanging about the place.

Of the examples I have seen, they were kicking a football at the building, plus the local church building which sits next to it. Another was them consuming alcohol, Buckfast, which they should not be drinking as most are under 18.

When either of these instances occur, neither the local community wardens/officers seem to take an interest.

When contacted, they slowly come along to the building – I assume from their office as I barely see them walking the local area – and the youths give them verbal abuse, which is not good for the children inside the building.

The youths move for 10 minutes then return, creating the same mayhem. This requires the wardens to be contacted again, with the same delay.

The local police are just as disinterested.

I know this is maybe not a major crime, but they should be protecting the local community from this behaviour.

If they ever arrive, as in one instance when the youths were trying to break into the shed next to the club .

When contacted, the local police never turned up, even though they had been contacted one hour previously.

The police send officers who usually inform the kids to move on and pour out their alcohol.

I have yet to see them arrest the youths for drinking under age .The local police and wardens should be assisting in stopping this unacceptable behaviour,by making their presence known and by trying to find the source of where they get their alcohol.

The local people know where they get it , but both the wardens and police seem uninterested in stopping this. – Yours, etc.,

ANGRY

(Name and address supplied)

Lost uncle

Sir, – I am looking for relatives of, or anyone who knew, my uncle.

He was born in Saltburn on July 1, 1926 as Neville Brian Mitchell but known as Brian Munro when he was brought up by one of his uncles.

He lived in Anstruther until his death, registered in the East Neuk in 2002.

I believe he had two daughters who married local fishermen – I suppose they would be in their 60s now.

His mother used to visit him most years from England but our family didn't know of him for many years.

I would love to complete this branch on my family tree.

Thank you for your help. – Yours, etc.,

HILARY HILL

Unit 4,

28 Bignell Drive,

Busselton 6280,

Western Australia.

hilaryhill@westnet.com.au

Forth tunnel

Sir, – With reference to the on-going debate on a replacement for the Forth road bridge, it has been proved once more that the suitability for a bridge across the Forth is useless, with high winds culminating in disruption and chaos, resulting in traffic congestion and increased travelling costs to hauliers etc.

This also impacts heavily on the environment with higher CO2 emissions.

The obvious and more sensible solution would be to construct a tunnel.

More costly and with a longer timescale for completion, it makes more sense to go for this option. The government should also look at the option of combining both road and rail in a project of this magnitude.

All sources of funding should be investigated, from the Scottish Parliament, the Westminster Government etc.

Considering all the projects that have had vast amounts of public money invested in them in England, and especially around or with relevance to London, I would expect significant investment from Westminster.

Maybe Gordon Brown should phone Alex Salmond re the above.

They are leaders of two governments that rule on our behalf.

They know what needs to be done and any political differences should be put aside so they can both show their total support for Scotland and in a project of this magnitude. – Yours, etc.,

TOM V. RATCLIFFE

Managing Director,

Brucespeed Limited,

Unit 4,

Aberhill Industrial Park,

Methil.

Public forum

Sir, – Re the letter 'Active role' (EFM 09/04/08), I thank Mr O'Brien for his invitation to join Kennoway Commmunity Council.

I would be glad to, if I thought that my participation would help the town.

However, as long as Fife Council continues to project the same 'we will do what we like attitude' that it has in the past over subjects like refuse collections and homecare charges, I consider raising opinion through a public viewpoint to carry more weight.

For example, here is a quote from an article regarding the condition of the access road behind Bishops Court in a recent issue of the Mail.

Councillor David Alexander said: "It's not as big an issue as Kennoway Community Council is making it out to be. And, if money was to be spent on roads in Kennoway, I can think of many other main roads where it should be spent."

Bishops Court is the commercial centre and the hub of the town, it is a dropping off and stopping point for visitors.

What kind of message does it project of Kennoway if people cannot walk along its streets without fear of falling into holes?

Fife Council is probably delighted to sit back and let local people make decisions on mundane issues like floral baskets and the colour of the curtains in the church hall but, at the end of the day, it holds the purse strings and ultimately as the elected representatives of all of the constituents it is they who will have the final say.

I would also like to thank Mrs Smith for correcting me for mistakingly calling community councils quangos; having the ability to act independently on any local matter is obviously one circumstance that would never be allowed.

I hope that David Sands was also grateful for the free advertising. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Tax shame

Sir, – It is interesting that our Glenrothes constituency Labour MP hasn't mentioned anything about the scrapping of the 10p income tax band in Gordon Brown's Budget.

This is rather strange as he's never been slow to issue press statements about the impact of Labour budgets, particularly when they've contained good news stories.

Could it be that he's embarrassed about the effect of this tax change that will see the low paid and those who are earning less than 18,500 a year being worse off, while the rich and those, like our Labour MP, will actually be financially better off.

This coming on top of Labour and Tory MPs fighting tooth and nail to prevent the detailed publication of their expenses but they also want a 35 per cent pay increase while restricting everyone else to rate of inflation increases. – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road,

Methil.

Extra burden

Sir, – On April 6, the income tax rise for the lowest paid which Gordon Brown announced in his 2007 Budget came into force.

Many hard-working people – like cleaners, waiters, and shop assistants – will have seen their tax rate double overnight, on top of an already rising cost of living.

The Treasury has confirmed that 5.3 million families will lose out in total – even when the changes to tax credits are taken into account. One in every five families will be worse off – by anything up to 464.

Here in North East Fife, hard-working people like nursery nurses will have to pay an extra 154 in tax on average – and home carers an extra 157.

Labour has over-spent and over-borrowed and, as a result, the public finances are in a mess. That is why Gordon Brown is putting up taxes, and kicking people when they are down.

Conservatives have specific proposals to help hard-working families. We will oppose Labour's plans to double the 10p tax rate, and raise the threshold for inheritance tax, taking 98 per cent of family homes out of it altogether.

That's the sort of help hard-working families deserve. – Yours, etc.,

MILES E BRIGGS

Conservative MP Candidate,

North East Fife.

Closed doors

Sir, – As you know Campaign Against Charges has been vigorously fighting the increase in and imposition of charges on social work services.

In the course of this we have been pointing out inconsistencies, errors and illegalities which have existed in Fife Council's approach to these charges.

In particular, we have been harping on and on at the council about the lack of appropriate impact assessments on its policy whilst the council continues to maintain that it has complied with the law.

At the full council meeting a couple of weeks ago, the administration was asked to produce a report on the legal advice it purported to have taken in regard to impact assessments.

This was denied on the grounds of confidentiality.

We find this absurd.

Either the council did not seek independent legal advice or it has failed to abide by it – if neither is the case, what does it have to hide and what is it frightened of?

Another example of lack of accountability – at the very well attended public meeting which CAC hosted on February 1 – Cllr Peter Grant offered to give written answers to the questions which, due to time constraints, were not dealt with.

I sent these to him in February and, despite reminding him of this, he has failed to respond. Why? I can only surmise that the questions pose too many difficulties for him.

Similar behaviour is experienced from senior officers of the social work department who seem to think it is acceptable to ignore perfectly reasonable questions which CAC has posed.

Why can't Stephen Moore, head of social work, answer an easy question asking for the history of home care charges from their inception to date? It's not that long ago. What is he hiding?

Fife Council appears to think that it is accountable to no one and refuses to make itself subject to scrutiny.

The truth is it is in a mire over home care and other charges and, rather than abandon them, it seems quite content to dig itself even deeper into the you-know-what, whilst their clients cannot sleep for worrying what's in store for them. – Yours, etc.,

MAUREEN CLOSS

Campaign Against Charges,

c/o 1 Barassie Drive, Kirkcaldy KY2 6HL.

Sensible move

Sir, – I would like to congratulate Fife Council for improving the choice on how people can pay their council tax; the recently issued bills for 2008 now include a bar code to facilitate payment at inter-alia any post office, simply by taking the bill along to the counter.

This move is exactly the sort of practical help that post offices need from their local authorities.

It also provides everyone with more choice and an opportunity for people to support their local post office.

This is a good start and, perhaps, other public bodies could take a leaf out of Fife Council's book and make more use of post offices; for example the courts could use post offices for the collection of fixed penalty notice payments and other fines.

If a 'can-do' approach were adopted rather than the 'no can-do' attitude which seems to prevail, many more post offices would return to viability and consumer choice would be improved.

By the way, Fife Council business rates can also be paid at local post offices along with many other bills. – Yours, etc.,

GRAHAM MEACHER

Elie Post Office,

Links Place,

Elie KY9 1AX.

East Fife Mail Letters - April 9, 2008

Great divide

Sir, – Not being an architect I'm at somewhat of a loss to see how "the character of the area changes as soon as you enter Lundin Links after leaving Leven", as observed by Councillor Marilyn Whitehead.

What can she mean?

Nor for that mattter am I aware of Largo's "cultural ties with the East Neuk".

In view of the public enquiry, perhaps the community council may wish to engage the services of those legal and other professionals resident in Largo for around two weeks per year.

Alternatively, Largo can declare UDI leaving the great unwashed (that's anyone living to the west of Silverburn) to get on with it. –Yours, etc.,

BEN MacFARLANE

(via e-mail)

Buried charm

Sir, – Yes Elie has certainly lost much of its charm beneath quite recent building development.

Tourism must have suffered. The inappropriate buildings and extensions began nearly 40 years ago with the infamous `house on stilts' in Earlsferry. Since then the lovely gardens and walls have disappeared one by one under a grossly over-intensified litter of `second homes'.

All of the local organisations and the planning department have been guilty of an apathetic `walking by on the other side'. We have reached the situation of complete saturation.

When I was a member of the Elie Community Council – Morag Bell in the chair – we tried to curb the development of Elie House and surrounds. We partially succeeded but it was tough going.

What we now need urgently is to attract the attention of Fife Council's planning committee to step in with some authority, and try belatedly to clear up the mess.

The use of a bulldozer comes to mind. – Yours, etc.,

LAWRIE BELL

11 North Street,

Elie.

Active role

Sir, – I just had to reply to Mr Cochrane's letter in last week's paper.

I have not spent all my life, only 42 years, in Kennoway and can agree that some changes in the village have not been for the good but I did not sit back and write to the papers complaining of this.

I decided to join Kennoway Community Council and see for myself what was discussed and what could be done to better the community.

I would suggest that Mr Cochrane attends the monthly meetings and puts forward his views to allow the members to understand what the Kennoway community would like to see being done to better our village.

I would also like to point out to Mr Cochrane that there are places available on the community council and the members would welcome him to join if he feels so stongly about making Kennoway a better place. – Yours, etc.,

H. O'BRIEN

Kennoway Community Council

(via e-mail)

Late interest

Sir, – Running scared or what?

One week we have Wendy trying to convince us that New Labour is a socialist party and now Gordon is trying to show an interest in Kirkcaldy.

Maybe if he and his colleagues had shown such concern 10 years ago the new administration in Fife House wouldn't be in the position of having to replace three major sports facilities at the same time.

Despite his successor's "comprehensive spending review" and the tightest budget settlement for years, the mechanism has been put in place to fund 50m of investment in Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and Dunfermline.

If Gordon Brown wants Olympic standard multi-purpose facilities in Kirkcaldy he has two choices:

1. Come up with a satisfactory way of telling the people of Glenrothes and Dunfermline why they can't have their centres. or

2. Provide funds to build what we would all like, but not at the expense of any of the smaller but much needed facilities in the rest of Fife.

He might find a number of problems with both approaches so what about alternatives?

Maybe Lottery funding? As most of us now know, GB's funding package for 2012 is estimated to cost Fife about 12.8m in grants, which will threaten all kinds of worthwhile projects, not just sports, so not much chance of extra help there.

What about CRT funds? Renewed by the Scottish Government, 4.76m for the next three years which, however carefully allocated, has to be shared with all of Scotland's former mining areas.

When you consider the huge sums plundered from the Miners' Pension Funds by the Treasury, (started by the Tories) continued during GB's tenure as Chancellor and is still going on (forecast to be about 8bn in the 25 years from 1994), his refusal to renegotiate the terms of the agreement with the pension fund trustees, the amounts given for CRT funding UK wide is an insult to his own and every other former mining constituency.

It is just another stealth tax hitting only ex miners and their families. (socialism?)

Just one per cent of the above excess would treble CRT funding to every mining area (the people it rightly belongs to), would help fill some of the hole created by his London ego trip and make it possible to salvage some of the at risk sports and other projects throughout Fife.

This "concern" is nothing more than political posturing. If Mr Brown has anything to contribute he should be talking to the administration at Fife House along with the head of community services and the Sports & Leisure Trust in a planned and constructive way.

Instead of that he issues a press statement in advance of a "summons" to Kirkcaldy area committee at short notice during Easter holidays, and then runs off back to London to welcome the Olympic Torch.

Sorry Gordon, your lot have had a lifetime in control of most of Fife and you have had 10 years in control of the UK purse strings so you will not be surprised that we are less than impressed by your sudden show of interest. – Yours, etc.,

Mrs MARGARET WRIGHT

116 Keir Hardie Street,

Methil KY8 3BZ.

Rent scare

Sir, – I wonder how many old age pensioners, ill people and tenants on Housing Benefit got a shock when they opened their post last week and were confronted with a letter from Fife Council stating: "Your fortnightly rent is xxx.xx payable from April 7, 2008."

This is yet another sign of the incompetence of our caring council as it knows which tenants are receiving housing benefit and these tenants could have been flagged on the computer and removed from the mail merge. Old people in particular will have panicked to receive such a letter.

It is barely a week since the council sent out details about paying Council Tax and a lot of tenants who paid their bill using a payment card were told that they couldn't use cards any more and were to cut them up.

As a lot of people already had cards to pay their Council Tax would it not have made more sense to let people keep using them instead of taking bits of paper to the Post Office.

If it is possible to pay rent using a card why did they scrap the Council Tax payment card?

It's another sign of council efficiency at its best. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Personal views

Sir, – Just because I have retired it does not mean I cannot take an interest in the community and the welfare of my former constituents, especially when nobody else is taking too much notice.

Chief Inspector Morris is always trying to impress upon us the tough stand he is taking on law and order.

Try telling that to residents in Birch Grove and Lomond Gardens where, despite a great police presence, not a lot of action appears to be taken that leads to peace for the long suffering neighbours.

I say come to the next community forum at Methilhill Primary School where some of the councillors will grace us by their presence, although you have a better chance of seeing Lord Lucan than the one who actually resides in Methil.

Mr Cochrane should look up the dictionary before he refers to a quango instead of statutory organisations like community councils who do a good job.

If David Alexander and I want to spar with each other it is nothing to do with Mr Cochrane.

I was really pleased that the application by Sands went through as the residents will have access to a really well organised shop offering some outstanding bargains.

Surely with the provision of car parking spaces it will be no busier than when I used to get my petrol and cars from Nicol's.

I share David Alexander's opinion that vibrant letters page is a sign of a good local paper. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

Top quality

Sir, – As a lifelong East Fife supporter, this season has given me great delight both in the results and the quality of football that has made them possible.

My earliest football memory is of being passed down to the front of the crowd at the old Bayview to watch teams such as Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibs etc., and I am old enough to remember the last team who won a trophy for East Fife.

I have spent most of my life in England and have made it my task, through constant nagging, to ensure a small band of `East Fife' has grown up wherever I have been.

So, throughout the south east of England, there are little groups of English who, for reasons they still don't fully understand, look for the East Fife results every Saturday.

I live just outside Aberdeen now but I still have relations in Windygates and every time I visit, I go to New Bayview, and I also take the trips to Elgin, Montrose, Arbroath and Forfar as my `home' games.

I also get down to Fife for some of Kevin Anderson's fights, as I am chairman of the Commonwealth Boxing Council, so I would encourage Kevin to keep fighting and I wish him every success. – Yours, etc.,

ERIC ARMIT

Aberdeen

(via e-mail)

Unfair wait

Sir, – I am bemused.

A statement by Fife Council on its website on March 4, 2008, said "the new charges for home care and shopping delivery will not come into effect until April 7" and "will be subject to financial assessment".

With days to go, thousands still await with anxiety the knock on the door.

Are we about to see yet another postponement of this iniquitous policy which is causing so much concern to the elderly and disabled of Fife? – Yours, etc.,

Bemused Service User

(Name and address supplied)

Hash Brownies

Sir, – The Prime Minister is to be congratulated for ignoring the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and rolling ahead with plans to reclassify cannabis as a class B drug.

Having seen its sad effect on so many unfortunate colleagues in his Cabinet (even if taken only once many years ago and not inhaled), Mr Brown must be only too well aware that use of this pernicious drug leads inexorably to immorality, psychosis and worse. – yours, etc.,

JOHN EOIN DOUGLAS

7 Spey Terrace,

Edinburgh EH7 4PX.

Proud history

Sir, – April 1 marked the 90th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force.

I feel at this time of celebration that it is important that North East Fife's role in this great story is recognised.

We are proud to have RAF Leuchars, the Royal Air Force's principal operational fighter station and one of the busiest air bases in Strike Command.

Aviation at Leuchars dates back to 1911 with a balloon squadron of the Royal Engineers setting up a training camp in Tentsmuir Forest. They were soon joined in the skies by the 'string and sealing wax' aircraft of the embryo Royal Flying Corps.

My collague Ted Brocklebank MSP has tabled a Motion in the Scottish Parliament celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the professionalism of our armed forces men and women especially those based at RAF Leuchars.

I know how much the local community takes pride in their past achievements whilst, at the same time, looking towards a future in which air power will play an ever more important role in world security.

As a nation we can, therefore, be justifiably proud of the Royal Air Force, both past and present. – Yours, etc.,

MILES E BRIGGS

Conservative MP candidate,

North East Fife.

Cruel act

Sir, – With the opening to competition of Scotland's 340 million non-domestic water market on April 1, we should spare a thought for the charities and churches, who, after 2010, will lose their current exemption from paying water charges.

This simply is not right, and I want to see the Scottish Government put a stop to this by continuing exemptions and reliefs on water and sewerage charges for these bodies.

There can surely be no greater contribution to our society than the vital support provided by charities and churches. Why then would the Scottish Government want to put the services provided by these at risk by seeking to end this exemption?

But this will be the reality under proposals to abolish exemptions and reliefs for water and sewerage charges from 2010.

While the opening of the water market to competition may provide a good deal for the business community, the proposal to end water charge exemptions from churches and charities after 2010 is a cruel joke to play. – Yours, etc.,

The Rev JOCK STEIN

Tulliallan and Kincardine Manse,

62 Toll Rd,

Alloa FK10 4QZ.

East Fife Mail Letters - April 2, 2008

Woeful changes

Sir, – I was brought up and have spent most of my life in Kennoway.

Over the past few years I have noticed that constrictions and ill-founded decision-making by the council and its quango, Kennoway Community Council, have created, in my opinion, changes which are detrimental to the people of the town.

For example, I wonder what geniuses were responsible for creating Kennoway's own slalom track on New Road? Installing islands in the middle of the road has forced traffic travelling in the Windygates direction to weave between the concrete blocks and parked cars.

Residents on New Road have also been forced to park their cars on the pavement to avoid being hit by passing traffic and this in itself must pose a problem for pedestrians, prams and wheelchair users.

These were probably the same brains who decided to install a surveillance camera behind the tree in Bishops Court rendering it useless when the leaves are in bloom.

There also seems to be no shortage of material available when it comes to creating the ever increasing amount of badly positioned speed cushions which are a blight on the town but the access road behind Bishops Court has had what can only be described as a tank trap on it for a number of years now.

I read in the paper recently that arrangements were being made to instal floral baskets in Bishops Court. I think if they want to change the ambience of the shopping centre it will take more than a few flowers.

Paris has its Eiffel tower, Pisa has its leaning tower and Kennoway has its squint railings

In these days of high-tech measuring devices and laser levels all it would have taken was someone with a length of string to get the five railings between the convenience store and the chemist's shop pointing in the same direction, but it looks like someone left the string at home that day.

Never mind, it matches in amicably with the boarded-up toilets etc.

Maybe the local councillor would be better to stop feuding in your paper with the retired Labour councillor – who seems to be posturing to re-challenge for her seat – and get things sorted out in Kennoway. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank,

Kennoway.

Naked apes

Sir, – `Racial abuse' (EFM 19/03/08) on page three elicits the following: The natives, if white, of these sceptred isles, exhibit ex-empire-itis; this sad chronic psycho pathology, if exhibited by the semi-educated, gives a Nazi-type superiority, used to undermine the `foreigner'.

`Education, education, education' would be a fine thing. We are all only `naked apes'; 98 per cent of our chromosomes are identical to the chimpanzee.

This promising Nathan Austin must show strength of character and maintain good physical, mental, emotional health plus support to cope. – Yours, etc.,

DR RHEA SHEDDON

8 Castle Crescent,

Kennoway.

Timely help

Sir, – As the parent of a child with autism I am very worried about what will happen in my child's later life.

Autism is a lifelong condition, yet as 'I Exist', the new report from The National Autistic Society (NAS), has found, many adults with the disability struggle to get the help they so desperately need.

Many feel isolated and ignored and are entirely dependent on their families for support.

I want to see the right services and support in place so people with autism in Leven can reach their true potential – the right help at the right time can have a profound effect.

That is why I'm supporting the NAS 'think differently about autism' campaign. I urge people in Leven to visit www.think-differently.org.uk and help put pressure on local and national government to do more to transform the lives of adults with autism. – Yours, etc.,

TRACEY-ANNE HENRY

Leven.

(via e-mail)

Conscience vote

Sir, – I note with interest that Labour MPs are to have a free vote in regard to embryo research when it comes before the House of Commons because this is regarded as a matter of conscience.

Looking back five years to the vote on whether to invade Iraq, I find it ironic that going to war was not regarded as a matter of conscience, with Labour whips coercing MPs to vote in favour.

Many of these were moved by their conscience and by the millions of people who took to the streets protesting against the instigation of war some defied the whips, some abstained and others voted against their conscience for the war.

Now five years on and there was no free vote for Labour MPs when it came to the matter of an inquiry into the basis on which Blair argued for the invasion of Iraq. The evidence is coming out thick and fast that dossiers briefing MPs were indeed 'sexed up' and that the reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were bogus.

This evidence was trumped up in order to support Bush and Blair's pre-determination to take us to a war which would yield America control over Iraq's oil and give them a strategic base in the Middle East.

What would a genuine inquiry show up? Undoubtedly that Bush and Blair are war criminals responsible for the deaths of a reported one million Iraqis and the deaths and maiming of our soldiers.

And what role did our current prime minister, Gordon Brown, play? He was the man who, as Chancellor, wrote the cheques and, when asked how much the war would cost, replied "whatever it takes".

Estimates of what "it takes" show this to be in the region of 3 billion per year. This in a country which says it can't afford to provide free home care for disabled and older people. – Yours, etc.,

RUDI VOGELS

Fife Stop the War Coalition,

1 Barassie Drive,

Kirkcaldy KY2 6HL.

Junk food

Sir, – Childhood obesity and diet-related health problems are a growing issue and it's getting too close for comfort.

Figures show a steady rise in obesity levels in Scottish children and parents are fighting a losing battle to get their children to eat healthily.

From breakfast to bedtime, children are being bombarded with a range of increasingly sophisticated marketing tactics encouraging them to eat foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

In some cases, parents may be totally unaware that their children are even being targeted. Junk food marketing ploys are scarily clever – fast food brands using online games and tie-ins with popular films to promote their products and sugary drinks sponsoring playgrounds.

The need for action has never been greater with a recent report warning that by 2050 obesity will cost the economy 45 billion a year. All too often people want to do something to stop this but feel helpless. Well, now there is a simple way to make a big difference and here's how to do it.

Former Consumer Minister Nigel Griffiths MP has tabled a Private Member's Bill to introduce restrictions on junk food marketing to children.

It's vital that at least 100 MPs support the Bill and attend the Parliamentary debate on April 25 to ensure it passes to the next stage.

We also need as many MPs as possible to sign a petition in Parliament (called an Early Day Motion) that supports the need for tougher restrictions.

You can email your MP today and show that you care, by visiting the following link: www.which.co.uk/kidsfoodaction – it's simple and takes just a few moments and don't worry if you don't know who your MP is – you just need to type in your postcode.

Do your bit and help to stop the marketing of unhealthy food to kids. – Yours, etc.,

LOUISE HANSON

Head of Campaigns,

Which?

(via e-mail)

Mincing around

Sir, – The attempt by Eurocrats to ban traditional Scottish mince could sound the death knell for many local butchers in this area.

New health rules from Brussels, if they come into force, will see meat used to make mince cut less than six days after an animal's slaughter. Traditionally Scottish butchers hang carcasses from between two weeks and a month to increase flavour.

This situation further reinforces what happens when a UK organisation speaks on Scotland's behalf in the European Union, and it is obviously disappointing to see the Food Standards Agency surrender to Brussels bureaucrats as soon as the going gets tough.

The ban would not only be unworkable, but impossible to enforce, and what we need is a full exemption for Scotland on this matter.

I do not believe that the European Union has an axe to grind against Scotland, and am sure with the support of the Scottish Government, Scotland's traditional fare of mince and tatties will be saved. – Yours, etc.,

ALEX ORR

Flat 8,

35 Bryson Road,

Edinburgh EH11 1DY.

Bully hotspot

Sir, – Many of your readers will be familiar with the issue of bullying in schools and the impact which it has on victims.

School toilets are recognised as a hotspot for bullies. A recent survey from the UK Youth Parliament showed that 40 per cent of pupils feared the behaviour of other students in school toilets.

Many people believe that it is possible to "design out" bullying from school toilets. I have just written a free factsheet which brings together the specialist knowledge which has been developed and help schools to make the right decisions when planning new school toilets and washrooms.

The factsheet is aimed at pupils, parents, teachers and governors - all of whom are likely to read your newspaper.

Entitled "Reducing the impact of bullying and anti-social behaviour in school toilets and washrooms", the factsheet can be obtained by e-mailing Wallgate Limited at: schooltoilets@wallgate.com or by writing to: "School Toilets" Factsheet, Wallgate Limited, Crow Lane, Wilton, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 0HB. – Yours, etc.,

JEAN DONOVAN

c/o Wallgate Limited,

Wilton.

'Grey power'

Sir, –The UK Government is currently drawing up a Single Equalities Bill, which is set to be made law within the next few months.

This Bill will bring together current legislation against discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief and age.

At present, apart from in the workplace, discrimination based on age is still legal in the UK. Within the letter of the law, older people can be denied access to the marketplace, insurance and banking facilities – even medical treatment because they are deemed 'too old'.

So it is vital that pressure is kept on the UK Government to ensure that age discrimination is not omitted from the Single Equalities Bill.

Westminster, however, has shown little interest in ending age discrimination; this is incredibly short-sighted given the power of the 'grey vote' and the number of older people across the UK battling ageism on a daily basis.

I would like to ask your readers to take five minutes of their time to e-mail Harriet Harman, Secretary of State for Equalities, to express their outrage that age discrimination is still legal when all other forms of discrimination are outlawed.

It couldn't be simpler – they can email Harriet Harman by visiting the Help the Aged website, www.helptheaged.org.uk click 'Campaigns and Issues', then click 'Just Equal Treatment' and finally click 'Take action now'.

If they don't have access to e-mail, they can contact Help the Aged in Scotland directly on 0131 551 6331 to request information about how to write to their local MP on this important subject. – Yours, etc.,

LIZ DUNCAN

Director,

Help the Aged in Scotland,

11 Granton Square,

Edinburgh EH5 1HX.

Binge drinking

Sir, – With the issue of binge drinking still high on the news agenda, it would be refreshing to see some discussion of why young people drink and what can be done about it.

Our young people say they started drinking because their friends drank, they wanted to experiment and they were following the example of family and friends. They also say their parents condoned or didn't care about their drinking.

We believe it's time to find solutions to teenage binge drinking by challenging the problem at the earliest opportunity and giving young people reasons to be responsible.

This approach works and will reduce teenage drinking. – Yours, etc.,

CLARE CHECKSFIELD

Chief Executive,

Crime Concern,

First Floor,

89 Albert Embankment,

London SE1 7TP.

East Fife Mail Letters - March 26, 2008

Bin benefits

Sir, - In response to the letter entitled `Bin bother` (EFM 19/3/08), I would encourage the writer, Mrs Calder, to stick with her home compost bin.

Home composting is increasingly being used by householders with medium to large gardens to dispose of their garden and some kitchen waste. As a professional waste manager, the problem with vermin being attracted to the bin is caused by all food waste being put in the composter.

Home composters are only suitable for the disposal of garden waste and some food waste, such as raw fruit and vegetables, peelings, teabags and eggshells.

The risk of vermin, along with insects and odours especially in warmer weather, means home composters are not suitable for meat, fish, dairy products, bones, bread, pasta and cooked vegetables.

This food waste should be sealed in poly bags and put in the grey bin until such time as the council is able to offer special collections of food waste.

So, Mrs Calder, don`t dispose of your composter! You are diverting a significant fraction of your biodegradable household waste from landfill and helping to protect the environment by adopting a sustainable method of waste disposal. - Yours, etc.,

DAVID WILSON

Buckhaven.

(Full address supplied)

Old classmates

Sir, – I have lived in Australia for 42 years now.

Before emigrating I lived in Commercial Street Methil – Methil Ex-Servicemen's Club now sits on this site.

When I have come home for past visits I have always wished that I could catch up with some of my school mates, but was never sure where to start.

I am hoping that maybe you could help me by publishing this.

My school was Aberhill Secondary, I left in 1960/61 although I do believe the latter of those dates.

I can remember the names of a few of my class mates – Eilleen Douglas, Janice Gardiner, Margaret Marks, Jean Houston and Vilma Slaven. I am coming home for a holiday this year, late June and July, and would love to catch up.

If any of these people or any other classmates are interested in a reunion my details are below. – Yours, etc.

PAT FRASER

102 Darren Rd,

Keysborough,

Victoria,

Australia 3173.

jockieboy@optusnet.com.au

Rot at the top

Sir – The other week in a Leven pub, one of the customers "worse for wear" turned nasty and made threats of violence against a female customer and the bar manager.

He was told to leave. He did so but, nonetheless, remained outside the premises. The female and the manager remained concerned that he would return and carry out his threats.

So, the manager phoned the police, told them what happened, and expressed his concerns. He was told officers would attend the scene.

He had to make two further calls before the police eventually showed.

After "dealing with the matter" the officers left. They did not visit the pub at any time, nor did they interview the bar manager and they did not even bother to inform him of the outcome.

To find out what action the police had taken, he had to visit Levenmouth Police Station the following day when he was told that no action was taken – despite the obvious worse-for-wear state of the aggressor and his threats of violence.

What use are our police? They are as much use as a car with no engine and no wheels.

How have things come to be so bad?

When a business gets into difficulties, the cause is usually to be found at the top. Similarly, we don't need to look much further than the top to identify the cause of our national sickness.

The politicians who 'govern' (what a laugh) our country have been found out – yet again – with their 'John Lewis shopping list' to live handsomely at the expense of the taxpayers whom they supposedly represent.

It's no wonder that our politicians tried desperately to keep the matter of their 'expenses' secret by demanding they ought to be able to live without interference. Attempting to conceal such matters is a strong indicator of their knowledge that what they are doing is unconscionable.

Unconcionable, selfish, me first attitude, and greed at the top spreads throughout all levels of government and institutions and has a corrupting debilitating influence and effect in all walks of life, including the police.

The mighty Roman Empire was never overthrown. It declined and ceased to exist due to excesses and decadence. And the same thing has happened to Britain. The British Empire is gone. The glory days are over. It wasn't defeated from without – Hitler failed to overthrow it. It has happened from within.

Our politicians no longer truly govern – that's now done from Brussels which makes our laws and decides on policy. This country has drowned in a sea of corruption, pornography, materialism, drugs, alcohol, mass immigration with loss of border control, illiteracy and apathy. And the rot started at the top.

That's the bad news, but there's more. It's not going to get better, it's going to get worse. – Yours, etc.,

WILL BROOKS

(Address supplied)

Crowning glory

Sir, – I'm still finding it hard to believe that we are champions.

I've supported East Fife for years now, and I would go as far as saying it was the best day of my life the day we were crowned.

I think it was well deserved for everyone connected with the club.

For every one of us who stood on the mound in the freezing cold whilst Derrick Brown was in charge. For every one of us who travelled down to Gretna to see us get beat 5-0 or up to Elgin to watch us be defeated. We deserve it.

I just want to say a big thank you to Willie Gray, Davie Baikie for bringing this success to the club.

I also want to say a big thank you to the 'Burger Boys and Girl', who have made so many games memorable.

Roll on April 19 to see us lift the trophy! – Yours, etc.,

LEE GILLIES

Glenrothes.

(via e-mail)

Dram disgrace

Sir, – Through the columns of your newspaper, I wish to register my disappointment at the recent UK Labour government budget. Specifically, what is concerning is the Chancellor of the Exchequer's decision to slap a 59p super-tax on whisky.

Alistair Darling needs to be told that he does not speak for Scotland. His proposals to super-tax whisky could be devastating to the industry.

By the Chancellor's own data, the new tax will not even raise any more tax revenue, an admittance that he will be responsible for threatening sales and jobs.

Fife has a great whisky distilling tradition, which forms a major part of our local economy.

In recent times, the Scotch whisky industry has been a good news story for Scotland and, indeed, there are ambitious plans for future investment.

However, instead of supporting the industry and the 65,000 jobs which depend on it, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has put their future at risk with the largest tax grab in a generation.

All he is doing is kicking one of Scotland's premier industries and most prized assets for a nil return. – Yours, etc.,

MILES E BRIGGS

Conservative MP candidate,

North East Fife.

(via e-mail)

Reckless gamble

Sir, – I would just like to add a comment about the caption you published last week on the overturned lorry on the Forth road Bridge.

The reference to a "freak" gust of wind causing the lorry to overturn was somewhat inaccurate as anyone who was out and about that day didn't need a weather forecast or news bulletin to tell them that dangerously high winds persisted most of that day.

So why was the lorry on the bridge in the first place?

Despite warnings and instructions from authorities and the media that high sided vehicles were prohibited from crossing both the Forth and Tay bridges, considerable numbers of drivers decided to ignore this information and selfishly continue to cross at considerable danger not only to themselves, but to other road users as well as the risk of structural damage to the bridge itself.

Their actions could be described at best as foolish and selfish but, more accurately, as downright criminally negligent.

If the bridge structure had been damaged and weakened, the resultant long term closure would have massive and unthinkable consequences to the roads network.

Danger aside, even the temporary closure of the bridge, which has happened about three or four times in the last year because of similar events, causes absolute chaos and disruption to the central Scotland road network.

Many thousands of drivers were caught up in the resultant gridlock for several hours, causing personal inconvenience and stress, plus the loss of millions of pounds to the economy.

The removal of the tollbooths following Mr Salmond's popularity crusade was not one of his better thought-out schemes as it has removed an essential means of stopping maverick lorry drivers who disregard the law .

I hope the authorities throw the book at such irresponsible and stupid drivers to deter any repeat episodes.

All goods vehicle drivers are responsible and accountable for the safe condition of their vehicles and deciding whether there is a risk to continue to drive in adverse weather conditions.

They and their employers should remember that before they recklessly gamble with other lives. – Yours, etc.,

DM

(Name and address supplied)

(via e-mail)

Unfair charge

Sir, – There can be no greater contribution to our society than the vital support provided by charities and churches.

They remain a beacon of hope for many, offering vital services, assistance and friendship.

Why then would the Scottish Government want to put the services provided by charities and churches at risk?

But this will be the reality under proposals to abolish exemptions and reliefs for water and sewerage charges from 2010, meaning that charities and churches across Scotland will be treated like businesses and face the additional burden of having to pay the full amount of non-domestic water charges.

The removal of such exemptions and reliefs will have a crippling impact on these bodies, and that is why we recently launched a campaign on behalf of charities and churches to fight the introduction of these potentially damaging water charges. And we are urging people to show support by adding their names to our petition on the Scottish Parliament website (http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/list_petitions.asp).

At a time when voluntary organisations are being required to deliver more of the Scottish Government's social justice agenda, we are urging the Government to show real support for the essential work they carry out by maintaining the current exemptions and reliefs and we would welcome your support on this issue. – Yours, etc.,

The Rev JOCK STEIN

Tulliallan and Kincardine Manse,

62 Toll Road,

Alloa FK10 4QZ.

Dental shame

Sir, – While sitting in a dentist's waiting room on the Thursday morning of February 28, I, among others, bore witness to a horrendous tirade of verbal abuse towards a young woman from the head practitioner of the surgery – who was not even the dentist's own patient by the exchange of words overheard.

To say the poor woman on the receiving end of this was mortified would be an understatement. I don't think she noticed how full the waiting room actually was on her speedy exit.

The people among me heard every word said in that consultation room as the dentist didn't even close the door – surely a breach of the patient's confidentiality.

My wife has received treatment at the said surgery for many years and has often remarked about the practitioner's attitude towards the patients. But what can one do? Dentists are few and far between, so there is no chance of being accepted on to the ever-growing waiting lists elsewhere.

If dental surgeons like this are too harassed to provide the suitable care and empathy the patients require, then they should not be allowed to practice.

I hope the woman, who stood up for herself, lodges an official complaint regarding the matter and, if reading this, gets in touch. I am more than willing to assist with regards to bearing witness and help is also available by contacting the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman.

If any other readers have received such 'patient care' from these premises or any other, then get in touch via email please at All correspondence will be given the strictest confidentiality. – Yours, etc.,

PW

avid-walker@blueyonder.co.uk.

(Name and address supplied)

East Fife Mail Letters - March 19, 2008

Local issue

Sir, – My heart leapt with joy when I read the article headed, "East Neuk MP supports disabilities campaign" (EFM 12/03/08).

Then I read the article and found that Menzies Campbell, my local MP, and past leader of the Liberal Democrats, was not speaking about our local campaign, 'Campaign Against Charges', but a motion in the Westminster Parliament supporting a Leonard Cheshire report that states "disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people".

I had to ask myself why is he supporting a UK Parliamentary motion, but doing nothing for the disabled folk in his own constituency?

Does the saying "charity begins at home" mean nothing in the 21st century? – Yours, etc.,

NICK BARBER

Campaign Against Charges,

Levenmouth.

Funds' transfer

Sir, – The mass transfer of funds from working class areas to the benefit of the Nationalist middle class continues.

The cessation of the 'School for Ambition' funds in relation to Kirkland does not end stigmatisation but reinforces the growing concerns of the Nationalist Party's commitment to inclusion.

David Alexander's subsidy junkies of Methil may be surprised to know that as his Party ends the extra support their children have been recieving towards their education, 22m of their taxes have been transferred to subsidise ferries in SNP areas so as to help the sitting MP and MSP.

Those islands that voted Liberal are ignored.

Last week in Stirling, the Tories and SNP formed a loose alliance, in Holyrood the same happened. These are Tartan Tories and nothing more. I feel sorry for Social Democrats in the Party who have been told "haud yer wheesht" while they are taken down the New Labour road.

One thing does surprise me, Kirkland is in Ward 23. Surely it should have been Cllr Arthur Robertson that defended this slap in the face for working class kids of Methil.

Within the next year there will be a General Election and, in all honesty, as things are, abstention may well be the best option. – Yours, etc.,

JIM McLEAN

18 Wemysshaven Gardens,

East Wemyss.

Bin bother

Sir, – As a responsible, retired member of the public, I always try and stay aware of the need to look after our environment.

So two years ago, when leaflets came through the door from the Scottish Executive urging us to "Get it sorted" with lots of good reasons to compost your kitchen and garden waste, I dutifully bought my first compost bin.

Today (on my request) a man called from the environment department, as I am now plagued with rats.

He went straight to my compost bin and, after inspection, put poison inside and told me, "compost bins are like hotels for rats".

Now I will be left with a compost bin no one will help me to dispose of – unless at a cost.

The council said it would uplift the bin – after I empty the contents – for 10.

The compost awareness group, which delivers the bins, told me it was my responsibility.

I think the council should have made householders aware of the dangers of having a compost bin.

I have lived here for 25 years and never been plagued with rats before now! – Yours, etc.,

Mrs M. CALDER

52 Station Park,

Lower Largo.

Combat yobs

Sir, – In relation to the recent stories in the EFM relating to the gangs of youths at Savoy Park and also the ongoing problems in Methil with youths, what chance does society have?

What responsibilities are the parents taking in relation to their children?

How many know where their children are, or what they are up to?

How many actually care?

These little cherubs don't care what they damage or who they upset, but as soon as someone confronts them or takes them to task in relation to their actions, all hell is let loose, as "it's against their human rights".

Human rights? What about the rights of the public to go about their daily business without having to put up with constant abuse or fear of having their property damaged? It's about time the parents took some responsibility for their children.

Do they, the parents, really think buying their children a motorbike or allowing them to ride these machines around the area is a responsible action?

Or to allow them to wander the streets aimlessly night upon night, causing anti-social behaviour, not knowing where they are? I suppose they must.

When these troublemakers are caught and taken home to the parents, by the police, some of these parents couldn't care less.

As soon as the police have left, the kids are back out on the streets again.

Then, when the kids are reported to the Children's Panel, what happens to them? Nothing, maybe a slap on the wrist or, if they are lucky, the social work will take them go-karting or to some other fantastic outdoor experience. What a deterrent that is.

What has happened to this country? No backbone anymore. Bring back National Service, then all of these youths who want to fight can trot off to Afghanistan or Iraq and fight the various enemies there until their hearts are content.

It's about time society stood up to these louts and their families.

The rights of the good law-abiding citizens should come before the rights of these anti-social individuals.

Don't give me "But there's nothing for them to do".

Whenever someone takes the time or effort to arrange activities for them, the kids either don't bother going or when they do, these anti-social individuals cause trouble and disruption.

Let's get tough and get this country back on its feet. – Yours, etc.,

PLAIN TALKING

(Name and address supplied)

Valuable lessons

Sir, – It has been a great couple of weeks for Scottish education.

Two major announcements from the Scottish Government have helped ensure further education is based on the ability to learn and not the ability to pay.

Firstly, the Scottish Parliament has approved the Graduate Endowment Abolition (Scotland) Bill, which restores free education and means that all current and future students, as well as those who graduated on or after April 1, 2007 will not have to pay the charge.

No more students will have to pay the 2289 graduate endowment fee, with 50,000 students benefiting immediately.

The removal of the graduate endowment fee is great news for current and future students and last year's graduates, helping to reduce their debt burden significantly.

The fear of debt can be a real deterrent and can actually prevent some young people going to university. This is the first step that shows the government's commitment to relieving the debt burden on Scottish students.

The endowment fee is a one-off payment on successful completion of a higher education course of three years or more. The first students became liable to pay the fee - currently 2289 - on April 1, 2005.

At present, students could pay the fee in cash, add it to their loan or use a mixture of both.

Around 70 per cent of graduates have been adding fees to loans each year and it is estimated that only around 12.7 million has been paid back in cash from the three cohorts of graduates liable to pay the fee, with 26.3 million being added to loans. Of this, 26.3 million, only 57,000 has been returned to the taxpayer.

Secondly, I am very pleased to see our local colleges and universities benefit from their share of a new 20 million investment.

The investment package includes 10 million for universities to assist them meet current pressures and 10m for colleges to allow further strategic investment in key priority areas.

For Scotland's colleges, this will provide additional funding for priorities, such as supporting young people who need more choices and more chances; articulation; and innovative approaches to learning delivery.

Learning institutions are at the heart of this government's efforts to build a smarter, more prosperous Scotland. I look forward for more of the same from our ministers who are giving opportunities back to the many instead of the few.

. – Yours, etc.,

Cllr ALISTAIR HUNTER

(from e-mail)

Mass exodus

Sir, – I must once again take issue with David Alexander.

His excuse that the school of ambition award stigmatised Levenmouth is absolute nonsense.

Buckhaven and Kirkland results fell when a lot of parents lost confidence in the schools and sent their children to Waid and Bell Baxter.

As the parents, rightly so, had to pay transport costs it was obvious it was wealthier families who were making the mass exodus from the local secondaries in the eighties.

Edinburgh University's department of sociology produced evidence that showed quite clearly that deprivation in families showed an adverse attainment level on individual children. Waid results drastically improved and our schools' fell. Before parental choice of schools, the results between Kirkland, Buckhaven and Waid were similar.

In fact I recall the Liberals actually wanted to close Kirkland but, of course, Labour, particularly Levenmouth councillors, protected the school by putting in the college and making a considerable investment – helping school and college alike.

Unfortunately, the Tories took colleges out of local authority control making it more difficult to deliver courses.

I well remember how proud I was of Kirkland when I saw a 16-year-old boy who beat every school and college in Scotland to lift the top award in Scotland for technical studies.

I do agree with David that both schools do now have excellent rectors and other promoted staff so, if children have ability, they will succeed at Kirkland and Buckhaven, as well as at Waid.

It was the change in local government that badly affected education in Fife.

Under Fife Region, Fife was always in the top three in Scotland but, sadly, we again lost a lot of good officers who took jobs in the West. I am more confident that with officers with the calibre of Ken Greer and Bryan Kirkcaldy at the helm results in Fife will improve. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

(Former Chair Education),

4 Lime Grove,

Methil

Project hazards

Sir, – How ironic, that whilst staying anonymous herself, Aberhill Resident – scornful of those criticising the Hydrogen Office – demands to know, 'Who are these people?'

We have put names and addresses to our letters over the past months; why couldn't she?

How many are we? There are dozens of us in Whyterose Terrace alone. To verify this, she should go online where she'll find our letters of objection, along with hundreds more residents from Lundin Links to Buckhaven, all with names and addresses.

Meetings? We have held meetings with like-minded residents, with councillors, Tricia Marwick MSP, Scott Harper (Scottish Enterprise), Derek Mitchell (Hydrogen Office), but not with LCRG, obviously.

Months ago, Scottish Enterprise and Alsherra also tried to portray us as a minority, "a small group". Wrong. Can she match our numbers? The majority here (Lower Methil, Aberhill etc) is against this project.

And if it is "selfish" to want your neighbourhood to be free from the blight a wind-turbine brings (which WHO, the EU and National Governments – including the Scottish Executive – say should not be built nearer than 2km to housing) then true, we are. Moreover, we shall continue to campaign against it, for we have researched it thoroughly and know (as do WHO, the EU and Scottish Executive) how "serious" it is to plant such a monster in our midst.

"It may never be approved". Right, not as long as we have breath in our bodies.

"An asset to the area". This Aberhill Resident really needs to do her homework and not swallow whole the Hydrogen project propaganda. This office block will be just that, a block of offices, not an asset, nor a pioneer in hydrogen research, because that has been going on for years, all over the world, in the UK – and Scotland. The Lothians threw it out; Fife lets it in.

We know the hazards such projects bring. Let her do her own research – and not trust propaganda. And we don't want something to happen before we start "griping". Look what happened to the Dundee folk who left it too late. We want it stopped in its tracks now. – Yours, etc.,

ISOBEL G DRUMMOND

Whyterose Terrace,

Aberhill.

Ban Buckfast

Sir, – While I sympathise with the ordeal of the Methilhill shopkeeper threatened with a machete (EFM 05/03/08), I'm afraid the incident was largely his own fault for stocking Buckfast in the first place.

Both the David Sands chain and Leven's Hut Shop refuse to stock this muck.

Staff in both report a massive reduction in the number of underagers attempting to buy alcohol and consequent abuse to staff.

Buckfast and cheap strong cider are not social drinks, they are just intoxicants.

Buckfast has been a social problem in the west of Scotland for decades, and like Old Firm sectarianism, it has now taken a firm hold in Fife and other areas.

In Levenmouth, we are paying a high price for turning a blind eye to alcohol abuse among the young, with the delusion that just because it is legal, it is a lesser evil than drugs.

Our precious Scottish Parliament reprieved Buckfast from an EEC ban some months back, when Europe sought to ban drink claiming false health benefits.

However, this does not prevent local shopkeepers imposing a voluntary ban, as has been successfully done with solvents.

Local residents can play their part, by boycotting Buckfast stockists and giving the trade to those who don't.

It is naive and fatalistic to suggest youngsters will just drink other things; alcopops are relatively expensive, beer is bitter and most young palettes are repelled by neat spirits.

Most of the drunkenness and consequent mayhem in our communities can be traced to a handful of corner shops. Police initiatives have accomplished nothing.

We need tighter control on the granting of licences and tougher penalties for shopkeepers who sell to under-agers, including mandatory and permanent revoking of licences, and custodial sentences.

Buckfast stockists inflict more harm in Levenmouth than any drug dealer. Let's make Buckfast history, and cheap blue bottle cider with it. – Yours, etc.,

REALIST

(Name and address supplied)

East Fife Mail Letters - March 12, 2008

Wrong focus

Sir, – It was, to put it mildly, galling to read about Fife Constabulary's motoring division extolling their success rates in apprehending speeding motorists at Crail the other week.

If not cars at Crail, then they usually talk about motorcyclists as they leave Knockhill. Of course, it has nothing to do with generating income in the way of speeding tickets, has it?

Now we read there is to be a clampdown on those who commit the heinous offence of having the incorrect spacing on their number plates!

Of course, absolutely nothing has been done concerning the number of vehicles that abound with faulty lights. Anyway, the lighter nights are coming back and hey! who would use their lights anyway, except perhaps those who want to advertise their presence by having their fog lights on in any weather?

To the residents of Methilhill who have to put up with the continual noise and nuisance from unregistered motorbikes and quads on the roads and pavements, and all along the open ground behind the houses and the River Leven, all the way from Methil Brae to Cameron Bridge, I can only ask – when is something going to be done about this?

The names of the perpetrators are well enough known but literally for years, this problem has been allowed to continue.

Perhaps Fife Police may want to advertise their success rate on this matter after years of complaint? – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

Leisure industry

Sir,– When you published my letter about the wind turbine affecting Levenmouth (EFM 20/02/08), there was a letter from a Lower Methil resident claiming Methil is and always has been an industrial town.

But this is absolutely not true.

Another writer earlier had claimed the Methil Docks area was always a working facility and the area around always reliant on energy such as coal.

If he knew his local history – checked old photographs and references – he'd know this was also untrue.

As a keen golfer, I have taken an interest in the history of golf in Fife, the home of golf.

It might interest your readers to know the whole coast from Dubbieside/Innerleven through Lower Methil right up to the ex-Kvaerner yard, along to Buckhaven and Wemyss, was covered with golf courses.

The Dubbieside course (where the power station now is) was one of the oldest golf courses in the world and Mary Queen of Scots is said to have golfed on the course by Wemyss Castle in 1565.

So up to the early 1900s, the area was devoted – not to energy, coal or otherwise, for there wasn't a single pit on that stretch of coast – but to leisure, like Leven and Lundin Links today.

Not only were there no pits there, no sooty industry, there weren't any docks either. That was where the Methil golf course was – right up to where the ex-Kvaerner Yard now is and members of Methil Golf Club are still around.

It is also ironic that this resident thinks if it had not been for the Forth Bridge, we would still be trying to cross into Edinburgh by ferry.

Yet that is what residents are hoping will happen as they are trying to bring back these very crossings with the hovercraft ferry service. Does he call that progress or nostalgia?

Why shouldn't Methil residents want to recreate the green past they had back in the 1890s and make their environment again one they can enjoy? Will Fife Council keep plans to go for leisure and tourism facilities (like a marina) on the power station and Methil Docks sites, as previously intended?

Maybe to reinstate the chain of golf courses from Lundin Links to Wemyss is now out of the question, but it is surely negative of Lower Methil residents to aspire only to replacing one lot of grimy industry with an industrial turbine – when they should be inspired by centuries of leisure all along the Levenmouth coast.

They should link up with Levenmouth Area Committee, which has been planning improvements to the promenade, play park and skate park.

In fact the whole coastline (once the power station is demolished) could be, as in the Fife Structure Plan, restored to a leisure and tourism economy. – Yours, etc.,

GEORGE SMITH

Allan Cottage

Mitchell Street

Leven.

Humour of war

Sir, – I am researching wartime humour from World War I to the present from all events, i.e. military religious, political, anecdotes, etc.

I am looking for cartoons/stories/speeches etc., that are funny, satirical, ironic etc., for my research and possible publication in a book.

I would appreciate any help from readers. – Yours, etc.,

GEORGE KORANKYE

36 Steele Avenue,

Midlothian

EH22 5LR.

Well served

Sir, – On behalf of Fife Child Poverty Action Group, I would like to say how pleased we are by the announcement last week that the free school meals pilot for all children in P1-3 in Fife schools will continue until the end of the school year.

We would also hope the scheme can be rolled out to all school students in Scotland because the benefits of universal free, nutritious school meals are well proven.

For example, Finland has had universal free school meals for over 25 years and since they were introduced, there the rate of heart disease has reduced significantly.

Eating healthily has also been proven to improve children's performance at school, and learning young will inform their eating habits in adulthood which will impact on generations to come.

Fife Council's preliminary results seem to be impressive in that 70 per cent of children involved have opted for the free nutritious meals and it is hoped this could rise even higher as more parents become convinced of the benefits.

It is a great pity that the pilot will stop in the summer to await the results of the evaluation by the Scottish Government and will ultimately be in the hands of politicians there, who will decide whether free school meals becomes the right of every child in Scotland.

It is to be hoped Fife MSPs will not play party politics with this issue and vote for the benefit of our future generations. – Yours, etc.,

RUDI VOGELS

Fife CPAG, Kirkcaldy.

Don't develop

Sir, – I took photographs of some of the animals at Silverburn Park on a recent visit.

A bird in the bush showed no fear of the camera and half a dozen squirrels came up close and took biscuits out of my hand.

There were ducks on the pond and dozens of white doves.

What is going to happen to all these creatures if the developers move in?

I didn't get a questionnaire to fill in but I can't help wondering, is this yet another costly, cosmetic exercise when, at the end of the day, the council will do what it wants anyway?

Our fellow creatures can't speak out, we must speak out for them.

We all know it costs money to preserve and protect grounds and property.

There is not a bottomless purse but I am led to believe the Russell family kindly donated Silverburn Park to the people of Leven, and I ask, would it not be in all our interests to invite the National Trust for Scotland to take over Silverburn Park and preserve it for all time?

If we don't succeed, at least future generations will know the people of Leven stood up to be counted and tried our best.

Let the developers in, and our park at Silverburn is gone! – Yours, etc.,

M. M THOMAS

4 Wilkie Cottages,

Rose Street, Leven.

Bags of thanks

Sir, – I would like to say a huge thank you to the kind lady who handed in my handbag to the Anstruther Co-op on Friday morning, March 7, when I had unbelievably stupidly left it hanging in a trolley.

Her thoughtfulness and honesty is matched only by my own stupidity and carelessness.

My faith in mankind in general and the people of Anstruther in particular has been fully restored.

If this wonderful person would like to leave her name and contact details at the info desk in the shop, I would like to thank her in a more tangible way. – Yours, etc.,

GRIZELDA COWAN

Easter Grange, Earlsferry.

Largo law

Sir, – The Boundary Commission for Scotland is undertaking a review of Scottish Parliament constituencies. The Commission is proposing changes to the Lundin Links and Lower and Upper Largo area which we believe are not in the best interests of the area, in terms of maintaining effective representation in the Scottish Parliament, Westminster Parliament and on Fife Council.

The Commission proposes to remove the communities of Lundin Links, Upper Largo and Lower Largo from the North East Fife Scottish Parliament constituency and place them in the Central Fife Scottish Parliament constituency.

We believe these communities should not be removed from the North East Fife constituency because a) The needs of Glenrothes and Lundin Links, Upper Largo and Lower Largo are significantly different, with the former focused on industrial expansion and the latter on rural affairs

b) The famous East Neuk coastal strip, which stretches from Lundin Links to Boarhills, is a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike, and Lundin Links, Upper and Lower Largo have many historic ties to this area. Lundin Links and Lower Largo create a picturesque, natural gateway into the East Neuk villages.

c) There are over 200 children from the Largo and Lundin Links area currently educated at Waid Academy in Anstruther.

d) At the last local government Boundary Review, objections came from many organisations and a 630-strong petition: North East Fife Conservative & Unionist Association, The East Neuk Communities Group and Largo Area Community Council all united against the move.

If you share our views, it is vital that as many local people as possible lodge objections with the Commission if we are to persuade it to think again.

Objections must be lodged with the Boundary Commission by March 14.

– Yours, etc.,

TED BROCKLEBANK MSP

MILES BRIGGS MP candidate.

Wider support

Sir, – As country manager for the Parkinson's Disease Society in Scotland, I'm writing to inform your readers of plans to improve support for the 12,000 people living with Parkinson's in Scotland.

Parkinson's is an individual and unpredictable condition and people depend on regular advice and support from professionals.

Unfortunately, this is not always the reality for people with Parkinson's in Scotland.

At the Parkinson's Disease Society we want everybody to have access to the help they need.

We have ambitious plans to step up all of our work in the region so that we can help improve even more people's lives.

We are expanding the PDS team working with people with Parkinson's, their families and healthcare professionals. Our ultimate goal is to provide one-to-one support for and advice to more people about Parkinson's, strengthen local support networks, educate more professionals working in Scotland and promote and campaign locally for better health and social care services.

Of course, our goal cannot be reached without increased financial support and so a new fundraiser has also joined the team.

The PDS relies entirely on voluntary donations to carry out its work, and so if you, or any of your readers would like to get involved or lend your support, please get in touch with us at our Scotland Office. You can contact Denise McNiven, Fundraiser for Scotland on 0844 225 3731 or e-mail dmcniven@parkinsons.org.uk

You can find out more about the work of the PDS from our website www.parkinsons.org.uk or you can contact our national Helpline on 0808 800 0303.

Together we can make a real difference to the lives of those affected by Parkinson's across Scotland. – Yours, etc.,

ANDREW SIM

Country Manager (Scotland),

Parkinson's Disease Society,

Stirling FK9 4TU.

People power

Sir, – As chair of the Scottish independence Convention I recently had great delight in launching, at the Scottish Parliament, a so-called 'People's Petition' to hold a referendum on Scottish independence (www.scottishindependenceconvention.com).

Under the banner of 'Let Scotland Decide', this was a truly historic occasion, pulling together the likes of Margo MacDonald and First Minister, Alex Salmond, who were naturally happy to add their signatures to our petition.

The Scottish Independence Convention is an umbrella grouping for supporters of Scotland's independence and its aims are to create a forum for those of all political persuasions, and none, who support independence, and to be a catalyst for independence.

While we believe in independence for Scotland, we do not believe that this is something that should be imposed on our nation, and should only come after a referendum of the Scottish people.

As you may be aware, this is something the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour Party are unwilling to let us, the people, vote on.

Many people, I know, are frustrated with politics and the political process in general. And, like most of you, I believe the constitutional issue is not an issue to be decided on by politicians but by us, the people.

More than 10 years after the referendum that set up the Scottish Parliament, I believe the establishment of this petition is a genuine opportunity to give power back to the people, and the Parliament would be wise to heed our voice. – Yours etc.,

ELAINE C SMITH

Chair,

Scottish Independence Convention,

PO Box 21159, Alloa FK10 2DY.

East Fife Mail Letters - March 5, 2008

Budget poser

Sir,– A thriving letters page in the local paper is a sign of a community that is starting to grow in confidence. We are certainly getting that in the East Fife Mail.

I would, however, like to respond to a couple of points raised in Joyce Smith's letter last week.

This first I put to every former member of the previous Labour administration who criticises the new system of home care charges in Fife.

So far, none has answered. Joyce might.

The budget the new administration is working with was voted through by Labour councillors, like Joyce, last February.

That budget had an extra 500,000 added to home care income. However, nothing was put in place to recover that money.

Surely, there must have been some discussion about this. How did the previous Labour administration intend to raise this 500,000?

The second point refers to Alan Bowman, a previous head of social work in Fife, who Joyce described as an "exceptionally good officer".

I first came across Alan Bowman when he tried to put a Labour sticker on my coat outside Glenrothes shopping centre. I thought at the time that it just didn't seem right that such a senior officer was involved in a national election, though it wasn't illegal at the time.

Today, Fife Council is suffering badly from some of the initiatives carried out in Alan's time.

In particular the decision to close all Fife's children's homes is now seen to be a social and financial disaster, unmitigated financial disaster would not understate that decision given what is being paid today.

It is not impossible that this decision will have to be reversed, but it will take a lot of money and difficulties in site selection.

These two points aside, I welcome Joyce's letter and the tone in which it was written.– Yours, etc.,

DAVID ALEXANDER (Cllr)

39 Hill Road,

Kennoway.

Golden age

Sir, – With regard to the possible return of the rail link with Edinburgh, I would like to see it happen.

I still am fond of trains, having used them going to school from Methil, `The Puffer' we called it.

Then, later in life, I travelled on trains in Canada, Panama, West Australia and South Africa. They were all spectacular journeys; some over two days.

And back in 1965 there were 10 trains every day from Leven – the population has increased here since then. – Yours, etc.,

G. TURNBULL

26 Toll Avenue,

KY8 2EH.

Labour mess

Sir, – I am sure there are many people who will be able to reminisce about the standard of services which they perceived to be better 20, 30, 40 or 50 years ago than today.

However, we are dealing with the state of public services as they are today.

Anyone with a modicum of common sense knows that the new incoming SNP-led administration on Fife Council has inherited a financial mess left by the previous Labour administration and that has seen it having to make difficult decisions, like increasing home care charges.

The new administration has also, on numerous occasions, given assurances that people who genuinely cannot afford to pay the care charges will not have services they need withdrawn from them.

While Labour, never loses an opportunity to boast about the record level of investment and funding it has provided for public services.

It isn't keen after all this investment/funding to explain why, after 11 years of Labour governing at Westminster and eight years of a Lib/Lab coalition at Holyrood, public services are still in such a mess?

What's happened to all the money which people paid in taxes so that the public services they need can be improved? – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road,

Methil.

Invisible party

Sir, – Last Tuesday evening in the House of Commons, the SNP brought forward an amendment to the European Union (Amendment) Bill that would return responsibility for fisheries and marine conservation to national control.

The amendment received industry backing and the support of the Conservative Westminster Group. And what did the Liberal Democrat MPs do you may ask? Abstained as they did with the recent Scottish Government Budget. The Liberal Democrats have become the invisible men and women of Scottish politics.

Scotland's fishing communities deserve so much more. What a disappointment that Liberal Democrat MPs trot through the divisions with their Labour masters.

It's just a shame the Liberal Democrats have given up on Scotland's fishing industry and Scotland's fishing communities, such as Pittenweem. – Yours, etc.,

MILES E BRIGGS

Conservative MP candidate,

North East Fife.

Extra burden

Sir, – Who do Fife Council think we are?

It has already taken 20 from us by reducing the number of taxi vouchers we receive and, if I'm correct, we will have to pay a extra 1144 per year through increased charges.

I would like to know which department 'home care' actually comes under? If it is social work, then what exactly is that department going to do with a nice windfall of around 18m? Give themselves a big pay rise?

I am 72 years old, my wife is 65 and we are on limited pensions.

Where does the council suggest we get this extra money from?

May I suggest the campaigners against the increased charges take this issue to the Scottish government in Edinburgh. – Yours, etc.,

ANGRY OAP

Wellesley Road,

Methil.

(Full address supplied)

Kirk talent

Sir, – Methil Parish Church Concert. Thank you ladies, pianist and helpers for a very enjoyable evening at your yearly musical show Upstairs/Downstairs – the Methil Parish Church Concert.

The sing-along to old fashioned songs spread a lot of happiness and the costumes were stunning.

At the interval we were served a lovely supper with home-baked goodies. To think all this talent is local and voluntary. Not only that, but the ladies also take part in some way with the production and serving the weekly Tuesday lunches.

Keep up the good work girls. Where do you get the energy? – Yours, etc.,

CHRISTINE ROUGVIE

5 East Brae,

East Wemyss.

Soft option

Sir, – Gordon Brown was forced to admit that 300,000 people are on incapacity benefit because they're addicted to drugs.

The public have been funding not only the lifestyle of those who lie around all day taking illicit substances but actually paying for those substances too.

What is it going to take for us to realise that paying people to take drugs or indeed indulge in any form of anti-social behaviour is going to land this society in an even worse mess than it is already.

Is it any wonder when, faced with some addled junkie, the state doesn't force him to accept the consequences of what he's done but actually pays for him to continue with his degenerate life.

If the result of years of drug abuse actually was homelessness, illness and death in the gutter it might put a few people off venturing down that route. As it is, it's a council flat and an income for life. – Yours, etc.,

REALIST

(Name and address supplied)

Unfair levy

Sir, – Kenny MacAskill's call for an additional tax on the gambling industry is misplaced and could undermine the good work already being done to tackle the issue of problem gambling.

At Carlton Bingo we have always taken our duty of care towards our patrons seriously.

We already contribute significantly to both the Responsibility in Gambling Trust and GamCare. We were the first bingo company in the UK to be awarded a GamCare certificate of Social Responsibility.

Should we stop supporting the good work already being done and pay this new tax instead and if so will someone else pick up the work already under way?

Bingo operator are adjusting to life after the smoking ban and the new gambling laws.

We are also up against an unfair tax regime which subjects bingo participation fees to both 17.5 per cent VAT and 15 per cent gross profits tax.

This compares to the 15 per cent paid by bookmakers and casinos where the opportunity and propensity for heavy gambling is much more prevalent.

Bingo is an important part of the lives of over three million people across the UK.

At a time when the costs of regulation and tax are forcing clubs to close Mr MacAskill should be putting pressure on the Treasury to reduce the burden instead of increasing it. – Yours, etc.,

PETER PERRINS

Managing Director,

Carlton Clubs plc,

23/25 Huntly Street,

Inverness IV1 1LA.

Selfish stance

Sir, – With regard to the continuous criticism of the Hydrogen Office at the docks by the `Whyterose Terrace residents – who are these people?

How many are there?

Where do they have their meetings to formulate their criticisms?

The main criticism, initially, was the erection of a wind turbine, which may never be approved.

Now it is petty-minded sniping at the initial stages of what may become an asset to the area.

It seems to me a small group of people are doing this for selfish reasons.

Wait until you have something serious to gripe about! – Yours, etc.,

ABERHILL RESIDENT

(Name and address supplied)

Cash transfer

Sir, – Now that Northern Rock has been nationalised, surely all who abhor the capitalist banking system should be moving their savings to this publicly-owned body?

If at any time in the future the Government should seek to again privatise the Rock, a threat of a withdrawal of funds in protest would soon make the Chancellor think again! – Yours, etc.,

JOHN EOIN DOUGLAS

7 Spey Terrace,

Edinburgh EH7 4PX.

Skills gap

Sir, – In recent days politicians on both sides of the border have talked about their support for more apprenticeships.

However, not everyone appears to be talking about the same thing and the differences between apprenticeships and vocational training are in danger of getting lost in the arguments over numbers and targets.

Apprenticeships are the 'Rolls Royce' of vocational training. They work because they provide on-the-job training which immerses the trainee in the workplace.

Here they can learn from experienced professionals, which is supplemented with academic study within a college environment.

For the construction industry in Scotland, a craft apprenticeship means a minimum standard of four years, whilst in employment.

Vocational training has a place but it will not solve the skills gap which exists in the construction sector and others.

In recent years we have seen far too many short term training initiatives that do not provide the individuals with the skills and training to pursue a lifelong career in the industry. These training initiatives have been funded by the public purse and in many cases give a false expectation to the participants.

The Scottish Government must be ready to expand the funding for comprehensive apprenticeship training, including adults. Additionally, while there are a large number of opportunities for skilled professionals in the construction industry, some people are put off by attitudes which fail to value vocational professions.

A new approach which prioritises quality skills training is crucial.

Every youngster should be able to choose an apprenticeship in the same way they can choose to go to university or college. Hopefully Scotland's political parties can find the common ground which can make this a reality. – Yours, etc.,

MICHAEL LEVACK

Chief Executive,

Scottish Building Federation,

Carron Grange,

Carrongrange Avenue,

Stenhousemuir FK5 3BQ.

Heart checks

Sir, – The tragic and sudden death of Motherwell football star Phil O'Donnell from heart failure has, once again, highlighted the need for proper heart screening checks to be carried out on all young people taking part in sporting activities in this country.

Scottish Heart at Risk Testing (Scottish HART) is a charity based in Scotland which has been campaigning for many years to raise funds to provide a mobile screening facility for use at schools and sports events involving youngsters.

Now the charity has launched a Scottish wide petition to ask the Scottish Government to review current levels of screening and to introduce a national screening programme for all young people in Scotland taking part in sport.

We also wish the Scottish Government to undertake a review of the benefits such a programme would bring not only to the youngsters themselves but also other family members who may be at risk from heart disease.

We would appeal to people the length and breadth of Scotland to contact us at the address below and obtain a copy of the petition for your own local area.

Scottish HART hopes that the Scottish Government will look favourably upon our requests and we hope that the petition will be the start of a process of change that may help save lives.

To obtain a copy of the petition please e-mail us at: info@scottishhart.com or write to us at the address below. – Yours, etc.,

WILMA GUNN

Founder and chairperson,

Scottish HART,

10 Halliday's Park,

Selkirk TD7 4LA.

East Fife Mail Letters - February 27, 2008

Overdue link

Sir, – I was delighted to see your front page headlines (EFM 20/02/08).

It is 16 years since I started campaigning for this rail link to be re-opened. I was sure it remained untouched on the structure plan and hope springs eternal!

Oh! I would receive sneers from the road lobby; and the expected rejoinders from them. Who would use it? Well, I for one would, and so would a great many from this neck of the woods.

When the bridge is out of bounds to lorries and heavy vehicles, much of our hard-fought attempts are to create real business and jobs that make something which leads to increased exports will go to the wall.

Only approx six miles of track exists – no bridge, no viaducts, – the main cost would come from signalling and track maintenance. I believe at that time they quoted a mere 5m! Somewhat less than the 350m for the Edinburgh link to Galashiels.

I even raised a petition for this purpose from the East Neuk (of 2000 names) which I handed to Tricia Marwick MSP at a meeting of the Fife Council at Glenrothes about five years ago. It was a shambles of a meeting. When the subject of the rail link came up the then chairman banged his gavel and said `not to be discussed at this meeting'.

Nevertheless I kept writing and I received a courteous visit from Leven's Deputy Provost thanking me for the support given by me and the East Neuk people. He gave the great hope that something was moving at last. Again – stalemate.

Has Fife Council no vision! They are building homes in Leven and the surrounding villages, as if there was no tomorrow. So, to have an urban settlement with hugely increased population, with no rail link to the main line, is a disgrace, and especially one, that has to include the crossing of the River Forth.

This past week the news on TV was pleased to announce that the new paintings or sealant, being put on the rail bridge across the Forth has proved excellent and should last up to at least 20 years.

I do have vision! in spite of so many setbacks and delays, and I knew the day would come when the sneerers (with three or four cars or large four by fours) would have to go the long way round to the capital, or stay at home when the bridge is out of commission.

So come on Fife Council get moving – get on track. Better late than never, before we in East Fife have some roads left whose surfaces are still capable of any road travel! – Yours, etc.,

MORAG C. BELL

The Birket,

11 North Street,

Elie

Flooded path

Sir, – I refer to your story about the flooding of the path at St Agatha's school.

It was like that 14 years ago; my children had to wear wellies up to school when it was heavy rain.

Surely it will not be another 14 years until someone else is writing to your paper again? Council and drainage take note – 14 years. – Yours, etc.,

P. LAWSON

(Address withheld)

Swallows' tale

Sir, – It was really interesting to me to read your centre page piece on St Monans Swallows (February 6).

I know that David Hunter in the 1920s and David Parker (Parker was in the 60s and had his career finished with a broken leg) went senior with East Fife but wondered if any other players made the step up? – Yours, etc.,

ANDREW WILKIE

34 Main Street,

Kingskettle.

Vibrant roles

Sir, In response to the letter in last week's East Fife Mail from Janet Kewley-Adam, I have to express my utter despair and disappointment at her lack of local knowledge.

There are many local residents who have been "off their backsides" and playing a very vibrant role within this community for the last 30 years.

As chairperson for the Lower Methil Community Association, I have to point out that there are many things that we have instigated, for instance, the Sailors Rest Centre and the many groups within that support the needs in the community from the young to the elderly, the Lower Methil Gala – a successful community event, the Heritage Centre – devised and developed through the Association, and we attracted regeneration funding for an outdoor facility, a thrift shop and a gym to name but a few.

The Association constantly has regeneration, shopping facilities and the cleanliness of the area on its agenda. Social Housing is currently under construction in Fisher Street.

I would respectfully suggest that Janet Kewley-Adam gets off her backside and attends our next meeting on Monday, March 17 at 1.30pm in the Sailors Rest Centre. – Yours, etc.,

MOIRA GIRVAN

Chairperson,

Lower Methil Community Association.

Water rates

Sir, – Through the columns of your newspaper, may I urge all members of North East Fife community councils, church sessions and village hall committees to consider responding to the consultation process regarding the impending changes to the charges for water rates.

The Government's proposals, as they stand just now, will mean that the exemption enjoyed by churches, charitable and voluntary organisations will end in 2010, thereby adding substantially to the running costs of these organisations.

This is an issue which I believe is extremely important, given the damaging implications for our local communities, many of whom have already seen their local post offices, village schools and tourist amenities under threat.

Many people have already made representations to me on this issue but, as the consultation process is due to close at the end of February, I would urge any local groups in North East Fife wanting to make their views known to do so as soon as possible. For further information please consult the website www.scotland.gov.uk/publications/2007/11/22142050/0 – Yours, etc.,

MILES E BRIGGS

Conservative MP candidate,

North East Fife.

Major asset

Sir, – I wish to give support to the possibility of a rail link for Levenmouth with Thornton and the main line.

As a resident of Leven for only nine years I have been disappointed at how difficult it can be to travel to Edinburgh and the south.

I think that the traffic management on the Forth bridge has been very poor: hopefully it may improve with the removal of the toll charge.

However, the rail link would be a major asset in the industrial/commercial development of the area, both for inward investment and employee outward travel.

The area has undoubtedly suffered because of the structural changes of the recent past. – Yours, etc.,

NEIL WATSON

14 Sillerhole Road,

Leven.

Crazy option

Sir, – First and foremost, I, along with many others, welcome investment in the local area but to try and erect an 81-metre turbine in the midst of a comunity is crazy while there are vast tracts of land uninhabited in the region of Fife.

We have waited many years on the power station chimney coming down so for those to call objectors to this turbine NIMBYs is mad.

Let them read the facts; it will only serve one purpose and that will be to make money for some person who would probaly not even reside in the local area. – Yours, etc.,

JOHN MILLAR

(Address supplied)

Changing times

Sir, – The letter in the EFM from Peter McCulloch, comparing Fife with Glasgow, cuts no ice with me.

Under Fife Region's Labour administrations in the '80s, Fifers enjoyed the best social work services in the United Kingdom, thanks only to the commitment of the Labour group with councillors like Bert Gough, Pat Gemmill and Tom Dair – really experienced members who taught me a lot.

Of course we did have exceptionally good officers like Alan Bowman and John Markland and Bill Taylor. It is a black day when we lose officers of their calibre. It is unquestionable we were better served with Fife Region and Kirkcaldy District Council and with the change in local government we lost a lot of good officers and finance.

I do have some sympathy with Fife Council as caring services are costly and I believe people in receipt of DLA should pay something towards the cost of service provision, but some people want to have their cake and eat it.

I have some disability benefit and I use it to pay towards housework and gardening etc. I think it is the scale of charges that is upsetting people. They have gone from being the cheapest under Labour to one of the most expensive under SNP/Lib Dems.

I would, however, question the people who are stopping the community alarms because of 1 per week. Did you really need one in the first place?

Can I welcome the fact that Clare Baker is opening an office in Methil and also pay tribute to Tricia Marwick MSP for holding a surgery in Leven every two weeks. I only wish other elected members representing my former constituents would do the same.

When I represented Methilhill, Kirkland and Mountfleurie I held a surgery every week and, before retiring, had an open door for three hours most days so people could drop in to see me.

At the moment one of our hard working councillors, Andrew Rodger, cannot be contacted unless going through the new dreadful telephone system Fife Council has introduced. I think it is designed to stop you reaching officers and councillors. It's a sad state of affairs when a resident can try for 20 minutes to reach an officer and hang up in disgust, not to say temper, when failed to be put through. – Yours, etc.,

JOYCE SMITH

4 Lime Grove,

Methil.

Fly tipping

Sir, – I go every week to the recycling bank at Greengates, Leven, with my plastic and glass.

Today I was disgusted when I went to find someone had dumped a pine headboard, a bath and wash-hand basin.

Does nobody care anymore where they dump their rubbish. – Yours, etc.,

DISGUSTED

(Name and address supplied)

Pros and cons

Sir, – In response to `Levenmouth Residents' and any other interested parties, I would just like to add the following.

Other suggestions have been put forward re the siting of the proposed wind turbine. Siting the turbine offshore is a possibility but the implicated disturbance to the flight path of migratory birds was an objection to this. Another suggestion was to place the turbine within the boundaries of the Fife Energy Park, but this had extra cost implications.

As for job creation, this, by its nature, is a demonstration facility to show how electricity from a wind turbine can be stored using hydrogen. There will be limited jobs created by this facility and any major jobs resulting from this facility will be created in other areas of the country where wind farms are situated. Some fabrication jobs may come to Fife.

There is concern that a hydrogen storage facility is being proposed next door to a child care centre, let alone a football stadium. Hydrogen is very dangerous, as science has proven. Fife Energy Park is based at the old Kaeverner yard and I am at odds to understand the reasoning for siting the hydrogen facility at Methil docks. A wind turbine within the boundaries of an energy park seems more logical.

There will be no benefits to local residences from the electricity created. This power will be used to run the hydrogen facility itself and any spare capacity will be used to power the proposed industrial units at Methil docks.

There are a lot of pros and cons to be considered with a development of this kind. Name calling and insinuation etc should play no part in any constructive debate about this project. The advantages and disadvantages have to be weighed up and a decision made. Whether it will be the right decision only time will tell.

A word of warning must be stressed.

In this ever-increasing climate of litigation it would be folly for any elected representative to sanction public money on any project that does not have planning consent and may not get consent, or at least on a development that could be delayed through various appeal procedures. – Yours, etc.,

TOM V. RATCLIFFE

Managing Director

Brucespeed Limited

Unit 4 Aberhill Industrial Park

Methil.

Vital support

Sir, – We would like to thank the many people who contributed so generously to the Society's funds at our recent charitable collection in the Scottish Co-op store in Leven where we raised the grand sum of 539.63.

We are always looking for more volunteers to come along and help us with collections.

If you have an hour or two to spare and would like to join us please contact Liz Reid at our office on 01592 583272.

These funds help us to run a variety of volunteer programmes including local social clubs, activity groups including rambling, swimming, curling and keep fit. They help us to recruit, train and support volunteer drivers, home visitors and those who record information on to tape.

There are currently approximately 8,000 blind and partially sighted people throughout Fife and we would encourage readers to contact us at the address below if they know of anyone who might benefit from our services.

A big thank you to all who supported us on the day. – Yours, etc.,

ALAN SUTTIE

Chief Executive,

Fife Society for the Blind,

Fife Sensory Impairment Centre,

Wilson Avenue,

Kirkcaldy KY2 5EF.

Calendar cash

Sir, – May I through the columns of the East Fife Mail convey to all the marvellous people of the Levenmouth area who supported the calendar project for 2008 in respect of children in Malawi, Romania and India, a very warm thanks for purchasing copies of same.

Your giving has brought about 6,010 and lots of children in orphanages will benefit from your kindness.

To all the advertisers who gave so generously, Tullis Russell of Markinch and Printbeyond of Banbeath Industrial Estate, as well as Silberline of Leven, and Stuart's of Buckhaven who were amazing, a heartfelt thanks. So many folk are happy to give to where there is extreme poverty in the world.

I met a lot of nice folks out there and will, hopefully, see you again soon when the main theme for 2009 will be past times of local collieries. Best wishes to everyone. – Yours, etc.,

FAY WILL

9 Gilmour Avenue,

Leven.

No to numpties

Sir, – I have recently spent some time in your lovely little seaside town of Leven, enjoying the golf and other amenities in the companionship of some wonderful and generous Scottish people.

I have to say the majority of Scots are very welcoming and good sports. However, there are a few that can - in the local colloquialism - be appropriately described as numpties.

Those to whom I refer only need to hear an English accent and they cough, splutter and spill their beer. No true Scotsman would spill his beer. Strange people, those ones. Some of them, I heard them say, work on occasion in England to earn a living and yet they detest the English.

A very good Scottish friend told me those numpties haven't yet got over Culloden and they desperately want independence.

My friend, a historian, related the facts to me about the main motivator for Scotland joining the Union with England - something I did not know.

Evidently, one William Paterson, a brilliant entrepreneur and businessman who played a major part in establishing the Bank of England, was the driving force behind the doomed Darien Project that was to bring enormous wealth to Scotland.

But it was a disaster and Scotland was nearly bankrupt and, to avoid penury, had to beg England for financial assistance - which was forthcoming.

So, huge numbers of Scottish investors and ordinary people were rescued by England. And we've been carrying you ever since. Not that we mind - we are neighbours.

We English really do love you Scots and warmly welcome you south of the border. Please keep coming.

However, it would have been really wonderful if our national teams had met on the hallowed turf at Wembley and, yet again, given your best a good thrashing. Does anyone remember 1963?

But, unfortunately, it seems your new manager hasn't quite got the stomach for such an encounter and was perhaps afraid of being sent homewards tae think again.

I look forward to my next visit to Bonny Scotland. – Yours, etc.,

WILLIAM BUNTER

191 Kilmorie Road,

London SE23 3SL.

Altered plans

Sir, – Work on the hydrogen project has been stopped. It has been reported for building higher than was agreed – by nearly 20 per cent – in a breach of planning specifications.

Altering the plans, so much, constitutes a "material breach" They have therefore been warned to proceed "at their own risk" and ordered to submit a new application.

Had it been one of us, building an extension or garage and we'd increased the height by 20 per cent, planning officers would have been down on us like a ton of bricks, ordering us then and there to knock it down, brick by brick to the original specs.

Here, they are asked to submit a second application – no doubt incorporating the extra metres. When that application goes in, if it gets five objections or more, it will go straight back to the planning committee made up of our councillors who approved it last time round.

What are the chances they will say to the developers: "You did not keep to the specifications we approved for you; so strip it right back to the original specifications instead of expecting us to nod through, retrospectively, your extra metres?"

Would any one of us get away with such a large 'oversight'? Will the Hydrogen Office?

Would they not have known – pretty early on – they were way out? And yet, floor by floor went up, before Fife Council stopped them – and that was only when we asked them to check up.

Should they be allowed to keep this extra 20 per cent – rewarded for taking those extra metres? Or, as with us, be asked to take it down and follow exactly the original specifications? – Yours, etc.,

WHYTEROSE TERRACE RESIDENTS

(Names and addresses supplied)

East Fife Mail Letters - February 20, 2008

Higher view

Sir, – I was amused to read the letter from a small group of Levenmouth residents claiming to be irritated by Lower Methil residents `determined to oppose the Hydrogen Office'.

Those opposed to the Hydrogen Office's plan to impose a huge industrial turbine in our midst number in the hundreds, from Lundin Links to Buckhaven.

We are also far from having `wild and unfounded fears over the wind turbine'.

An 81m wind turbine, both a noise and visual pollutant, inside a residential area is a non-starter and that is because research evidence has convinced governments, the EU and WHO, that there needs to be a buffer-zone of at least 2km to keep their most harmful effects as far from human beings as possible.

Anyone who has really moved with the times would know that developers cannot, at their whim, simply impose what they want on unsuspecting neighbourhoods. That is why we now have Environmental Acts. So nobody, developer or council, can replace one environmental pollutant with another – power station with wind-turbine.

And while it is fair that people can take a different view of renewables, those who are for inefficient renewables, like wind-turbines and hydrogen projects (which incidentally are not new technology at all, having been worked on for years) should not tar the rest of us with having no green credentials. Everyone I have talked to that is opposed to this project is quite happy to have the turbines contribute their tiny mite, where they can safely do so; and we would all welcome more use of renewable energy – such as solar panels on south-facing properties as Fife has been promoting in other parts of the county.

Taxpayers' money subsiding lost causes, however, bothers me, when so many really new and worthwhile renewables are emerging – like wave-farms, tidal turbines, bio-diesel – using plants that can thrive in marginal land – but especially CCS, (carbon capture and storage) which would transform coal-and-gas-fired plants. I hope that is constructive enough.

The Hydrogen Office, sadly, is not revolutionary enough to be `at the forefront' of anything, nor can it create jobs the way a really new technology could. The Energy Park, though, is attracting work and creating jobs, because it is working with renewables (eg wave turbines) that can do that.

Incidentally, we who are opposed to this white elephant, have a far higher view of what Methil can be, than simply returning it to its industrial past.

Industrial grime can be replaced with businesses, offices, nursery schools or bakeries, which don't cause environmental pollution and grief to residents. Businesses for the business park; industry and energy projects for the Kvaerner/Energy Yard. What is wrong with that? Why didn't the Hydrogen Office want to go there? – Yours, etc.,

GEORGE SMITH

Allan Cottage,

Mitchell Street,

Leven.

Methil renewed

Sir, I am an active Levenmouth resident who is passionate about the entire Levenmouth area.

In reply to the letter (EFM13/02/2008) I want to make it clear that residents in Methil are neither blinkered, petty-minded or, indeed, deafeatist in the attitude to the Hydrogen Office or the 81-metre high wind turbine.

The technology pertaining to hydrogen has been proven by many world-leading organisations. The siting of an 81m high turbine is against Fife Council guidelines. In fact, three major car manufacturers are now using the hydrogen cell battery in car production, so why do we need a demonstration plant to show how wind can be turned into hydrogen cell batteries?.

I do not want a 81m turbine and 450 people in Levenmouth also have objected. As an individual and a proactive resident, I have written to councillors, MPs, MSP and the leader of Fife Council with many suggestions as to how the area can be regenerated.

I would like to regenerate the Methil Community Council and have already made representations to Fife Council. How many "fair minded" Methil residents will get up off their backsides and play an acitive and vibrant role in their community?

What can be done realistically to Lower Methil to regenerate shopping and leisure facilities? What about the social housing that is needed? What needs to be done to curb anti-social behaviour? What about cleaning up litter from our streets and beach areas to invite more tourism and the use of local facilities?

So many questions and there are answers but the people of Methil/Levenmouth have to take responsibility and make change happen and ensure that the changes are the best for people who live in Levenmouth.

Finally, no-one is holding anyone to ransom. We live in a democratic society and have the right to express our views.

I would like to encourage people to be proud of Methil and create a new reputaion for a beautiful vibrant part of Fife where residents can enjoy a good quality of life. – Yours, etc.,

Janet Kewley-adam

77 Whyterose Terrace,

Methil.

No purpose

Sir, – In response to last week's `Held to Ransom' letter, may I ask where in Levenmouth they live as it is a very large area?

Nobody is objecting to the future regeneration of Methil Docks or to a Hydrogen Office or any other project as long as it brought work to the area.

The main objection, and the only one I have, is to the 81m high wind-turbine which serves no purpose to the area as it would produce only a small amount of energy, and that is only for the building itself. It also creates no jobs at all.

As for the power station chimney, the only good thing about it is that it does not make any noise, cause TV interference or produce shadow-flicker which the turbine would.

All of us who live here were looking forward to the day the power station and its chimney were to come down but we did not think they would replace them with a monster turbine that caused us more environmental problems.

I think it should not be forgotten that this not only affects the `NIMBYs' in Methil; it will affect a very large area. Remember if you can see the power station chimney from wherever you live, you will also be in direct contact with shadow flicker/strobe, no matter where you stay. – Yours, etc.,

MISS B. WARD

Aberhill.

(Full address supplied)

Safety issues

Sir, – As a member of the so-called 'NIMBY' group, I feel compelled to inform the Levenmouth Residents of last week's letter, 'Held to ransom', that, firstly, when attending the meetings with the councillors, Scott Harper (Scottish Enterprise) and Derek Mitchell (Hydrogen Office), there were many alternative suggestions put before them, geo-thermal, wave power, smaller wind turbines etc, but they were all too expensive!

The argument is not that we don't want jobs, opportunities and further investments coming into our area, it is that the Hydrogen Office does not need a 81m high wind turbine – it can work sufficiently on a much smaller one. The only reason for a 81m turbine is profit and, may I add, it will be higher than the standing chimney stack.

Secondly, safety is my main issue. There is a day care/nursery building opposite the Hydrogen Office and wind turbines have been around long enough for evidence to show how hazardous they really are.

Please check all the facts for yourselves; it's as easy as looking up the internet or going to the library. – Yours, etc.,

Pauline Hume

(Address supplied)

Methil, no more!

Sir, – I live in Lower Methil and have not been approached at any time with regards to my views on the Hydrogen Office/wind turbine project.

Methil is, and always has been, an industrial town and is not, and is never likely to be, a tourist hot spot or a picturesque village. It is what it is so why do we not make the most of it?

I fully appreciate that this project is unlikely to create many jobs but, at the very least, it will take Methil into the 21st century and should both attract other investors into the town and set a positive example to the negative elements of all ages in our community.

Unfortunately, this will not happen if we gain the stigma of being hostile and unwelcoming to any progress.We should be proud of our town and its attempts to move on and be innovative.

If only the people campaigning against the project could channel their time and energy into something worthwhile, such as securing the demolition of the power station or opposing boundary changes which will take Methil out of Levenmouth, then they will get support from others who wish to improve their environment. Who knows they may even get some support from our most recently-elected councillors.

If it wasn't for positive forward thinkers we would not have the Forth Bridge we have today and would still be trying to cross into Edinburgh by ferry. Come on folks, move on - you can do it. – Yours etc

Lower Methil Resident

(Name and address supplied)

East Fife Mail Letters - February 13, 2008

On tractor trail

Sir,- Baseball cap off to Maggie Millar for her stance (EFM 06/02/08) on tractors. Half of Fife, or east and central anyway, must think the same.

Big up to her for having the guts to say it, I feel exactly the same.

They trundle along quite happily with up to 30 cars at times behind them (I`ve counted), with their trailers with smashed rear lights and incorrect number plates.

I sometimes drive a JCB and, whenever I can, I pull in and let the traffic past. I find they really appreciate it as I always get lots of peeps and waves.

I think it was two years ago there was an article in the Mail that Fife Constabulary's traffic police were going to be running a campaign about this issue; tractors not pulling in for traffic and the mud on the road that starts at field entrances and runs splattered all over the road for a few miles (this mud could well be the death of a motorcyclist).

But I saw no significant difference that year or for any year after that.

My other point is that if you passed your driving test after January 1, 1997 you can only drive a vehicle up 3.5 tons with a 750kg trailer. If before that date, 7.5t with a 750 kg trailer.

Even with a class two HGV licence, you can only drive a rigid lorry with a 750kg trailer.

To pull any trailer over 750kg, you need a class or 1 or C+E licence, which is for articultaed lorries. Do these 16-year-old boys driving tractors with massive trailers possess these?

So come on, people, let's try and get something done about this. – Yours, etc.,

GUNNY

(Name and address supplied).

Short changed

Sir, - The council may indeed consider it necessary to inflict financial hardship on the vulnerable members of society.

The question is not, whether or not the costs are valid but whether or not the council can provide the service?

Adequate and sustainable provision of a service for which a charge is made, is paramount.

In my experience Fife Council is all too keen to offer such services but has spectacularly failed to provide.

The councillors should be advised that where a charge is paid for the provision of a service then the council is legally obliged to provide that service, without fail. Failure to provide the service in full is a breach of contract.

As an example I refer to the council's gardening scheme to which my father subscribes. The council's contract states that the grass would be cut and raked 12 times/year, edged six times/year, hedges cut twice and weedkiller applied once. To date February 9, the grass has been cut five times, rear hedge twice, front hedge once, edging and weed control nil. The likelihood of this contract being honoured is zero, in fact, I will be writing to the Chief Executive demanding a refund of 60 per cent.

I wonder how many other elderly citizens have paid for this service, and other services, and have been short changed. – Yours, etc.,

WILLIAM L. CLUNIE

32 Martin Street,

Buckhaven.

Held to ransom

Sir, - As Levenmouth residents, we are increasingly irritated by the arguments mounted by a small group of Lower Methil residents determined to oppose the Hydrogen Office.

Last week's letter `Methil Fairytale' is an example – they've moved beyond expressing wild and unfounded fears over the proposed wind turbine to challenging the basic need or value for the Hydrogen Office at all.

As the global energy crisis increases, renewables such as wind, hydrogen and others are already starting to play a key role in ensuring an improved energy mix.

Since the sector is relatively new and the technology developing, subsidies are inevitable.

It seems the letter writers are luddites as well as NIMBYs who seem to be objecting to Levenmouth deriving ANY benefit from the mini-industrial revolution already under way. They offer no constructive suggestion for alternatives.

Local people understand some people may dislike the prospect of a wind turbine nearby (even though it will be smaller than the current power station chimney) and wish to express objections.

However, it is not reasonable that the wider community (of 33,000+), in a socially and economically deprived area according to all indicators (SIMD), should be denied the boost the Hydrogen Office will bring to the area?

We should be delighted that Methil has been chosen as the site for this modest but significant initiative, which will complement the Energy Park.

Having a demonstration facility can only encourage other employers and investors to establish here.

Methil Docks has always been a working facility and the area's economy always reliant on energy such as coal, and offshore oil, so no-one can see any sensible reason why the Hydrogen Office should not proceed.

As long as basic safety and planning requirements are met, Levenmouth should welcome this development with open arms – we will not receive many other opportunities to be in the forefront of any economic sector.

Let the NIMBYs lodge their objections but the whole community should not be held to ransom to serve their own narrow interests or spurious fears.

Methil and Methil Docks need further good investment in employment and its reputation, such as this. – Yours, etc.,

LEVENMOUTH RESIDENTS

(Names and addresses supplied).

Defeatist view

Sir, - I was both astonished and annoyed with the letter 'Methil Fairytale' (EFM 06/02/08) which, basically, said Methil should just roll over and die.

To dismiss the entire idea of the Hydrogen Office, before it is even built, as essentially doomed to fail or so far behind it could never contribute is such a blinkered, petty and defeatist viewpoint, and one the majority of fair-minded, forward looking 'Levenmouth Residents' could well do without. – Yours, etc.,

FAIR MINDED

(Name and address supplied)

SNH objection

Sir, - Wonderful news emerged this week for campaigners against the Scottish Enterprise/Hydrogen Office's grandiose scheme to erect an 80m industrial-sized turbine in Levenmouth.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has now sent in its objection-letter voicing several strongly-worded objections. And it also warns Fife Council of the requirement to notify the Scottish Ministers "if your Council is minded to approve planning consent against our advice in this case".

This letter is online along with a sample of the hundreds from our fellow-objectors. There is also a letter from the RSPB, voicing a few of its concerns.

The main reason SNH objects to the proposal is the sheer inadequacy of the information from Scottish Enterprise (SE) and co. SE, apparently, was less than rigorous in providing "raw data". SNH accuses it of offering an 'interpretation' of the situation (we might call that 'spin') rather than actual facts.

But SNH has seen through this tactic... now it wants the facts, and nothing but the facts, regarding any bird surveys.

Specifically, far more evidence and examples of how it arrived at its calculations which show hardly any collision-risk to birds.

The RSPB letter describes how – when it ran the collision-risk model, using SNH avoidance rates – the results were alarming.

Had SE used the SNH model, the standard generally used, it would have shown a predicted collision-risk 25 times higher than SE figures.

Finally SNH noted that "the addition of a turbine of this scale with its moving blades, will affect local and residential visual amenity." (SE has always ignored "residential visual amenity", but not SNH).

And unless and until several more thorough trials are conducted, from dawn to dusk, over a wider area, with all the raw data, maps and flight-lines provided next time round, this proposal cannot go forward. Indeed SNH warns Fife Council, through regulations 48 and 49, that Scottish Ministers will be involved if it dares to give consent against its advice.

Is it too much to hope that SE will now dismantle the girders and scaffolding for its mammoth Hydrogen Building, fold up its tents and disappear? Back in the summer that is what it said: without the 80m wind-turbine it would not proceed with its plans. Well, what now? – Yours, etc.,

ISOBEL G DRUMMOND

Whyterose Terrace,

Aberhill.

Hard line

Sir, - It was no great shock to read in last week's paper that Fife Council refuses to be swayed by public opinion regarding home care charges, as it took the same hard-line stance regarding the controversial changes to the weekly refuse collections.

It is about time these overpaid bureaucrats realise they were voted into the positions they occupy by the same public they stand against, and they can be voted out of office just as quickly –

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank

Kennoway

East Fife Mail Letters - February 6, 2008

NHS 24/7

Sir, - I read the 'Disabled carer's' letter (EFM 30/01/08) regarding NHS 24 and have to say that my experience was quite the opposite.

I, too, had an infection after an operation. Three days after coming home I telephoned NHS 24 at 1.30am.

I first spoke to a receptionist and then to a nurse who said that a doctor would be with me shortly.

In under an hour from making that call in the middle of the night a doctor came and did all that was necessary.

I thought the service from NHS 24 was exemplary; I doubt if I would have had any better service under the old system of calling out one's own doctor. – Yours, etc.,

IMPRESSED

(Name and address supplied)

Glen menace

Sir, - Regarding Letham Glen, the council is still not doing enough.

I live right next to it and nearly every night I have to listen to younsters drinking and driving – no, racing! – their cars around the top car park. This has a sign up saying that it will be locked up after 9pm, but this never happens so the kids in their cars use it as a skid pan.

I also know some people do not like to walk their dogs at night round the glen as they are concerned that they might be abused by the kids hanging around.

Most of the residents around the glen are elderly and don't need this. They feel frightened. Someone needs to take the council by the hand and show it what is happening to our parks. – Yours, etc.,

GARRY WESTWOOD

(Full address supplied).

Money wasted

Sir, - It was revealed last year by a 'whistleblower' in the employment of Fife Council that "some" Council staff had work to occupy them for only two to three days per week. It would be most interesting to know how many were included in the "some", would it not?

It doesn't require the IQ of Einstein to figure that hard pressed taxpayers are footing the bill for superfluous office staff, does it?

Given that the Council is overstaffed with admin workers you'd think they'd provide a really efficient service, wouldn't you?

Last week I received a letter concerning a particular matter from the council. And then a copy letter. And yet another copy letter.

Maybe with the council being overstaffed three different employees, in their zeal to provide a great service, took it upon themselves to each deal with this matter. Or maybe three employees out of boredom with the need to do something each sent letters. I jest!

So, we have a situation in which taxpayers' money is being wasted on unnecessary staffing levels and triplication of work. I am curious to find out how much this waste equates to in money. Perhaps our 'whistleblower' friend could help out with this information. I can't see councillors coming clean, can you?

This isn't a moan for the sake of it. There are areas in which this wasted money could be usefully allocated.

Look at Leven High Street. What a litter strewn dump. And I don't think anyone would complain about real policemen patrolling our streets.

And if this waste of money was eliminated perhaps those public sector workers with their secure, cushy jobs and inflation proof pensions would not have to hammer retailers and publicans with massive tax hikes. – Yours, etc

WILL BROOKS

(Address supplied)

Early credit

Sir, I read with dismay daily in the local tabloids about the crisis people are in due to bad credit and debt and the stories of children as young as six being taught money management.

I was recently in Woolworth's with my four-year-old grand daughter for a toy. She opted for a shop till and accessories.

This included plastic coins and, guess what, yes, two plastic credit cards.

Where are we going? – Yours, etc.,

HANNAH COOK

(via e-mail)

Alarming costs

Sir, - So the list Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife claims, in regard to charging for the home care service, that ``Fife Council has choices and has chosen to ignore the needs of the vulnerable''.

Of course she still conveniently hasn't stated which service budgets she would cut to fund the home care service!

Also, Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council had choices to make as well and, using her own words, ``obviously chose to ignore the needs of the vulnerable people living in that city by charging them over 13 a month for their community alarm system''.

So, if she is as concerned as she professes to be about vulnerable people in our communities, why have we not heard one word of condemnation from her about Labour councils, such as Glasgow City, that charge over 13 a month for their community alarms?

Would she also like to tell us just how many questions she has tabled in Holyrood about vulnerable people in Glasgow having to pay such a large amount for their community alarms? Also how many people in that city have handed back their community alarms? – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road,

Methil.

Methil fairytale

Sir, - Yet again Scottish Enterprise is promoting the hydrogen project as research so revolutionary that it will influence others to follow in its footsteps and learn at its feet, so to speak. We have pointed out before what nonsense this is – as can be easily verified on umpteen websites.

Listen to this: The Hydrogen Office "will become key to Europe's renewables' future"; "it aims to become a vital testing site for renewable energy options"; "it is hoped the project will become a catalyst for new start-ups across Scotland"; "nationally, it is forecast this could generate up to 1350 jobs over the next 25 years... its potential in development and storage is seen as most important to Scotland's, and even Europe's economy."

In what hermit's cave has Willie Johnston been cocooned? Surely he is not making himself out to be totally ignorant of all the research over several decades, since the hydrogen bomb itself, by scientists from Japan to the USA, all over Europe and indeed all over the UK – Oxford, Cambridge, Newcastle, Liverpool and Strathclyde Universities included – that have all been working on hydrogen and the problems associated with storing and transporting it?

So why on earth does he expect us to believe that research companies and scientists will flock to Methil? Attracted by what Methil can offer? When they are already ensconced in Oxfordshire or Cambridge – or here already in Scotland at the University of Strathclyde?

Why not mention that Strathclyde (already researching this very field) could be the magnet to attract all such investment to Scotland?

Why should Methil hold the key to Europe's future – and not Strathclyde, or any other research establishment, in Denmark, Germany, the UK – all of them with a head start of decades over Methil's Hydrogen Office, which is still to get going?

Storing wind-power? It's been done. Take for example, the HARI Project in Leicestershire.

Extracting hydrogen from water? Done too – all over the world (and so expensive a process is it, that not one company on earth wants to pursue it when there are cheaper options available).

But what have wind-power and hydrogen research both got in common? Massive handouts – subsidies from the EU/UK government to do research – however costly – as long as they can claim to be seeking a greener replacement to coal.

And when the Hydrogen Office's website spreads the old wind-energy propaganda that it is a 'cheap source of power', because the 'wind is free' you really have to laugh at them. Don't they know Levenmouth residents have learned how mightily expensive to taxpayers it is, installing these monstrous machines in the Highlands or out at sea, in return for tiny driblets of wind-energy? And how none of these turbines would get built, were it not for the massive subsidy behind each and every one of them?

Remember Michael Jefferson, chairman of the World Renewable Energy Network, who created a furore in the summer when he admitted in the press that wind-energy claims were exaggerated by companies keen to receive subsidies? How despite the wind-turbine industry receiving bn in government subsidies, companies have not managed to deliver even 0. 5 per cent of Britain's electricity needs? Cheap energy?

So why is Scottish Enterprise spreading the myth that Methil alone, in Europe, will be the beacon luring company after company up to Methil? Why, with all the evidence to the contrary, do they claim Methil will be 'vital', 'the key' to the rejuvenation, not just of Methil – not just of Fife, but also "catalyst for new start-ups across Scotland", and "key to Europe's renewables' future"? Newsflash for all European – (Danish, German, English) – and University of Strathclyde scientists, who have been researching hydrogen for decades: Methil is the answer!

Could it be, that Methil is getting a Hydrogen Office (well one floor at least) just to acquire a subsidy?

Somebody then with a crystal ball can forecast that Methil will manage what no universities – Newcastle, Liverpool, Strathclyde, Oxford, Cambridge, with all their scientists and years of research – could manage, become the 'key'/'the catalyst'/ the-bringer-of-thousands-of-jobs? Some fairytale! Some forecast! – Yours, etc.,

LEVENMOUTH RESIDENTS

(Names and addresses supplied)

East Fife Mail Letters - January 30, 2008

Costly viewing

Sir, - Perhaps your short or long sighted readers should take a closer look at this letter. It may even save them some money.

In 2005 I bought a pair of specs from a well-know national outlet in Kirkcaldy. The salesperson advised me that it would be better to have the plastic lenses hard coated for protection from chipping or scratching. This I did, at an extra charge of course.

In 2007 I noticed that the coating was wearing off one lens. On returning to the shop in January 2008 I was advised that lenses were only guaranteed for two years.

I would need to purchase a new lens at 129 but since I had complained I could have this for 50. However, they suggested that as they were out of date I should have both lenses replaced.

So from expecting to renew a coating it was now going to cost me 50 or 179.

I would suggest that your readers should think carefully on the so called added benefits when purchasing new specs. – Yours, etc.,

BLEARY EYED

Coldstream Crescent,

Leven.

(Name and full address supplied)

Bin challenge

Sir, - From Monday, March 3, the East Neuk and Landward area will be changing over, along with other parts of North East Fife, to the alternate week three-bin waste collection system, which has been very successful in other parts of Fife.

Additional bins required, plus information packs, will be delivered throughout February, and public information meetings are to be held at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, February 6, in St Andrews Town Hall, and on Thursday, February 7, in the Erskine Hall, Anstruther, as well as one on Friday, February 15, at Lundin Links.

At these meetings, residents can have all their questions answered, and information is also available on the Recycling Hotline (08451 550022), in the Recycling and Waste Guide, or at www.fifedirect.org.uk/wasteaware

It cannot be over-stressed how important recycling of waste materials is to us all.

Fife Council has made it one of the main targets of the new administration's Council Plan.

This is for two main reasons: Firstly, to reduce our impact on the environment, especially on climate change, by cutting down on waste sent to landfill sites. And, secondly, because the European Union and the Scottish Government have set tough targets to cut down on the amount of waste sent to landfill.

If Fife does not meet the legislative targets set by the EU we, in Fife (and this would affect every one of us!), could face fines of 2m - 10m in 2008/9, rising incrementally to up to 27m by 2019/20.

And these huge sums would have to come, in the last resort, from the people of Fife!

Fife residents are reacting increasingly positively to this vast challenge.

Recycling rates Fife-wide had risen to 33 per cent by the end of 2006, and have continued to rise steadily.

The rate for the East area is already 40 per cent, even before the extra bins are 'rolled-out'.

We are confident the people of the East Neuk and Landward, whose past record under North East Fife District Council was so good, will rise to the opportunity to recycle even more waste.

In conclusion, we urge residents to use the various recycling centres and recycling points and where, as in one or two villages, it has not yet been possible to agree on a site for a recycling point, to work with the council to ensure the network is completed as soon as possible. – Yours, etc.,

ELIZABETH RICHES

'Seafield',

Bankwell Road,

Anstruther KY10 3DA.

DONALD MacGREGOR

15 Kinkell Terrace,

St Andrews KY16 8DS.

(Councillors,

East Neuk and Landward)

Shoddy service

Sir, - Recently I had `misfortune' to phone NHS 24 as my wife was very ill three days after she had been discharged from hospital.

It looked to me like a very bad infection which has kept recurring. She was actually drenched in sweat and with no control of her arms and legs.

When I phoned NHS 24, three different people asked me exactly the same questions.

Then I was told it was not life threatening.

I then asked if I would get a doctor and I was told it would be within three hours.

By this time I was so frustrated I told NHS 24 not to bother and I would phone an ambulance which I did.

She received instant care and was admitted to hospital.

How can anyone say they are satisfied with NHS 24 treatment. – Yours, etc.,

DISABLED CARER

(Name and address supplied)

National shame

Sir, - Since the publication of Maggie Miller's article relating to the treatment of miners' families, I have done a little research which points to a national scandal and a betrayal of mining communities throughout the UK.

One family were offered, and refused, 7.13, the son of the Fife miner stating in the Times: "It was an absolute insult. I would rather someone had spat at me."

The law firm which handled the claim earned over 41 million in fees, which was minuscule compared to the two law firms that raked in over 100 million.

Some 166,000 miners were paid less than 2000, which is less than the minimum handling fee paid to the lawyers per individual claim – the average lawyer's fee being just short of 4000.

As one lawyer who had concerns over the scandal stated: "How can the DTI justify spending 15 million to deliver less than 100 each to 3,949 respiratory claimants?"

This scandal must be laid at the door of Blair and Brown who refused to work with the unions and called in an alliance of lawyers to draw up and run the scheme with the DTI.

Such was the money-raking avarice of the lawyers, the Law Society of England had to reel in their more greedy members.

Last April Blair and Brown ordered an inquiry into the scandal but only relating to the actions of individual firms.

The mining community can expect little as Tony Blair is now off raking in millions from American Bankers, and Gordon Brown is looking for a paddle to get out of the particular creek he is up. As for Mr Hain, who was nominally in charge, he is too busy explaining that 100,000.

What's a miner's life worth to New Labour? As one miner's daughter said, referring to the foot and mouth outbreak: "There is more money paid out for a dead cow than a dead miner." – Yours, etc.,

JIM McLEAN

18 Wemysshaven Gardens,

East Wemyss.

Cashing in

Sir, - It's touching to see the local councillors writing into your newspaper offering advice to constituents worried about new home care charges.

Maybe it is genuinely out of concern for the poor souls who are going to have to suffer from the implementation of these changes, or maybe it is out of guilt for accepting remunerations at the same time as the vulnerable people in their constituencies are being penalised for shortfalls in the council's budget.

No wonder people are clambering to get on to the council when it is handing out 'golden handshakes' to retiring councillors and forking huge sums to top councillors with other councillors taking away pre-expense sums of 15,452.

There seems to be no shortage of cash when it comes to administration in the area when there are old sick and infirm people that can be charged to make up the shortfall.

There is also the question of where the hundreds of thousands being generated by all of the recycling is going.

The council surely doesn't think we are gullible enough to think it is giving the materials back to manufacturers for free. – Yours, etc.,

JOE COCHRANE

62 Springbank.

Kennoway.

Nuclear folly

Sir, - The Scottish Government setting out its clear opposition to Nuclear power has the potential to leave a substantial legacy for Scotland and Levenmouth for decades to come.

Nuclear power is regarded as uneconomically viable, of interest only to emerging nations like China and Iran with strategic ambitions. Nobody has built a nuclear plant in Europe for over 10 years.

As little as four years ago the Westminster Labour government's energy white paper ruled out nuclear power as uneconomic and irrelevant to tackling climate change – so why the change of heart?

The Nuclear Decommissioning Agency is spending 100 billion dismantling the last generation of nuclear power stations, and still doesn't have a long-term solution to disposing of nuclear waste.

There are also new cost implications, coastal defences to keep storage sites dry, increased security onsite and during transport.

Against a backdrop of rising energy prices and global warming we all must play our part in making sure our leaders focus their thoughts on energy resources that are as safe, clean and sustainable as possible.

Scotland's natural resource base for renewables is extraordinary by European, and even global standards.

In addition to an existing installed capacity of 1.3 Gigawatts (GW) of hydro-electric schemes, Scotland has an estimated potential of 36.5 GW of wind and 7.5 GW of tidal power, 25 per cent of the estimated total capacity for the European Union and up to 14 GW of wave power potential, 10 per cent of EU capacity

The Scottish government's commitment to renewable energy above nuclear power has direct implications for Levenmouth.

In Fife Energy Park ,based in Methil, we have a massive project that has national importance in the development and manufacture of renewable energy technology and the prospect of many hundreds of skilled engineering, supply industries and research jobs.

I am glad to see that my personal optimism for the future is being matched by the government's commitment to the best interests of Scotland and her people. – Yours, etc.,

Cllr ALISTAIR HUNTER

Ward 22,

SNP Group,

Fife Council.

Right to decide

Sir, - The Scottish Parliament witnessed a historic event in Scotland's constitutional development with the launch of a People's Petition to hold a referendum on Scottish independence.

Following the launch of the National Conversation, the Scottish Government-led debate on Scotland's constitutional future, the Scottish Independence Convention (www.scottishindependenceconvention.com) aims to take the independence initiative forward through the launch of a national petition for the holding of a referendum, under the banner 'Let Scotland Decide'.

Given the current parliamentary arithmetic and because the majority of members oppose the right of the Scottish people to choose their constitutional future, the time has come to take this issue out of the hands of the politicians, who have failed to get their act together, and pass it to the people.

The launch of a petition to hold a referendum on Scottish independence reinforces the principle that the people of Scotland are sovereign, and aims to put pressure on the Scottish Parliament to hold such a plebiscite, persuading MSPs to acknowledge the basic right of popular self-determination.

Such an initiative will not only serve to 'Let Scotland Decide', but tackle voter apathy and cynicism towards the political system, with the potential to revitalise democracy, re-engage people in the political process and make politics work for people, a valuable prize indeed. – Yours, etc.,

ALEX ORR

Flat 8,

35 Bryson Road,

Edinburgh EH11 1DY.

Heavy duty

Sir, -The price of oil on the world market is going up and down like a yo-yo. Mostly up.

In January 2007 a barrel of oil cost $54 and by the end of December it was up to $100.

Not surprisingly the impact of this increase has been felt by all car drivers and by the UK transport industry, which delivers the goods which sustain all of us every day of the year.

UK road users pay the highest rates of fuel duty in Europe – 50p per litre in fuel duty and then VAT on top of the whole price. So for a pump price of 1.05 for petrol or diesel, the breakdown is 39p for the fuel, 50p for the duty and 16p for the VAT – the Chancellor gets 66p tax out of 1.05.

Clearly the Chancellor can have little influence on the world price of oil. But, equally clearly, he can do something about the tax take – a massive 63 per cent.

Sadly, he presently plans to increase his take by adding a further 2p per litre to the duty level on April 1.

With the economy in some difficulty and inflation threatening, the prospect of higher fuel prices in the spring should worry us all.

Given that everything needs to be delivered and that diesel fuels those deliveries, then a fuel duty rise is itself adding to the inflationary problem.

The Freight Transport Association says that the Chancellor should scrap his proposed 2p fuel duty increase. Perhaps you do too? – Yours, etc.,

GAVIN SCOTT

Head of Policy (Scotland),

Freight Transport Association,

Melville Terrace,

Stirling FK8 2ND.

Vital help

Sir, - As a local Marie Curie Cancer Care Nurse, I am calling on people from Central Scotland, Tayside and Fife to give up just two hours of their time during March to help raise vital funds for the charity's annual Great Daffodil Appeal, supported by Yellow Pages.

By donating a little of your spare time to collect in the street, distribute daffodil boxes or help out with other fundraising, you will help make it possible for Marie Curie Nurses to carry on making a difference to the lives of people with terminal illnesses nationwide.

Marie Curie cancer care provides free high quality nursing to give terminally ill people the choice of dying at home supported by their families.

This year the charity expects to provide free care to around 27,000 terminally ill patients in the community and its 10 hospices but, unfortunately, there is an ever increasing demand for the service. With your help we can continue to give people in your community free specialist end-of-life nursing care.

Every donation for a daffodil will help the charity towards its appeal target of 5.5 million so, if you can help with fundraising in March, please contact Dee Orme, Community Fundraiser for Marie Curie Cancer Care on 0131 456 3727.

Thank you in advance for your support. Your help will make a difference to thousands of people. – Yours, etc.,

CHRISTINE ALLARDYCE

Marie Curie Nurse of the Year,

c/o Marie Curie Cancer Care,

29 Albany Street,

Edinburgh EH1 3QN.

Store support

Sir,– I am writing on behalf of the Meningitis Trust to thank members of staff at Focus in Leven who held their annual fun day in aid of the Trust.

A thank you also goes to customers who supported the store and purchased our Red Arrows pin badges as well as making a donation.

A total of 1000 was raised over the duration of the weekend at the store.

Focus held a number of themed fun days across its network of stores to support the Trust's 21st anniversary and raised a total of 126,313 for the charity – the highest amount raised by the company in just one weekend!

Monies raised will help fund the Trust's services including professional counselling, a financial grants scheme and our 24-hour nurse-led helpline 0800 028 18 28.

With no government funding the Meningitis Trust is reliant on donations, from individuals and companies like Focus, to continue our vital work in rebuilding lives shattered by meningitis.

There is still no vaccine available to protect against the meningococcal group B bacteria, the most common cause of the disease in the UK, so we would encourage readers to visit our website to help recognise the disease's signs and symptoms.

Have a happy and healthy New Year. – Yours, etc.,

ANNE CURRIE

Fundraising Manager (Scotland),

The Meningitis Trust,

Regional Office,

Centrum Offices Ltd,

38 Queen Street,

Glasgow G1 3DX.

Turbine danger

Sir, – Levenmouth residents who have not yet objected to the 80-metre wind turbine proposed for our area, might be encouraged to do so when reminded of the spate of wind turbine accidents that have occurred in the past few weeks, here in the UK alone. (Denmark, Germany, the USA themselves have had scores).

In mid-November in her letter to the EFM, a reader referred to press reports and photos of the devastating collapse of a 200-foot wind-tower in Argyll, in winds of 50mph. It had snapped in half, the ruins strewn over a wide area. Fortunately, not in a built-up area, like ours.

Then, on the night of December 29/30, in Cumbria, a wind turbine collapsed. Photos show how the scattered blades, weighing around 11 tonnes, and other debris were left blocking a country road.

A neighbour said it was fortunate it was not busy and no-one was injured. But picture if it happened in our built-up area, with the roads and housing, cars and people we have here.

On January 14 the Western Morning News (Cornwall) reported that a chunk of a wind-turbine blade, 18 metres long (59 feet) and weighing more than half a ton, snapped off and crashed into a field on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, during high winds.

As a witness reported: "It was lying a fair way from the wind-turbine so it must have flown quite a way after it snapped off."

Where would a bigger blade – like those for this proposed turbine – land? And what damage would it do in a built-up area like ours? Landing on the new nursery school? The new Hydrogen Centre? Or on the crowds streaming into – or out of – East Fife's football ground?

Then on January 15, in the north east of Fife, a 10-metre high domestic turbine was brought crashing down in howling winds but, again, luckily, according to the property owner, nobody was then at the house and the turbine crashed on a fence and barn, causing no other damage. Would we be so lucky in our area, with houses, offices, roads and people all around?

Apart from blades shearing off and towers collapsing, the most common accidents to turbines are fires – such as happened at the Nissan Motor works in Sunderland in 2005 (to a much smaller turbine than the one intended for here). All three of the 75-foot blades burned through crashing on to the site, which is why there are implications for turbines being sited in forestry, near homes – near petrol or gas stations – even hydrogen centres.

The wind lobby says (repeatedly) after each accident: "It was a one-off."

All of them?

I've listed four in the past eight weeks (that I know of). These are, by no means, one-off accidents.

Hundreds have already sent in their objections to this proposed turbine. If you haven't sent in your letter yet, think about it.

Should such a massive turbine be sited inside that stand-off zone of 2km, with the potential to cause havoc to offices and housing, a school, roads and many, many lives? – Yours, etc.,

ISOBEL G DRUMMOND

(Address withheld)

Secret army

Sir, – I'm researching a unit formed during the early days of WW2 named Auxiliary Units, which was a cover name for a Resistance network that covered the whole of the UK, mainly in east coast areas.

Recruited locally and sworn to secrecy by the Official Secrets Act of the time, training consisted of weapon handling, navigation, demolitions, as well as other skills.

Members wore civilian clothes during those early days but as they grew in numbers they were given battledress uniforms and wore Home Guard shoulder titles; they were also given battalion status.

Three battalions were formed with 201 battalion covering Scotland down into Northumberland.

Most members were in a reserved occupation and came from a wide and varied background.

Operating from underground hides known as Operational Bases (OBs) they would work in six or eight-man cells and be tasked with causing as much mayhem as possible to the movement of the German occupation force.

Life expectancy for an auxiliary member during the occupation would be approximately two weeks; they were all too aware of this as the threat of invasion got closer by the day in those summer months of 1940.

The units in Scotland covered areas from as far north as the Shetlands down to the Borders.

Commanded at the time by Eustace Maxwell, who had an HQ near Stirling, he was tasked to set up and organise training for the Scottish units.

The east coast was one route that the enemy would likely come from and, a few miles inland, Auxiliary Units were going about their normal lives, working the fields etc, and would be stood to by another network of runners and contacts spreading the word.

Wives, girlfriends and mothers would not be aware of the task that lay ahead for their loved one, as they were not told what they were involved in.

Auxiliary Units were stood down in 1944, and many of those involved went on to volunteer and work with Special Forces as was the extent of the training they received. Some died during those months with Special Forces' units in the European theatre, prior to Normandy and after.

My research into this is focusing on the part played by Scotland and I would like to be able to record the unknown work done by this organisation.

Any information, no matter how trivial it may be to you, could be the missing piece of the jigsaw. Many thanks. – Yours, etc.,

DAVID BLAIR

54 Younger Gardens,

St Andrews KY16 8AB.

Organ donors

Sir, – The Prime Minister is to be congratulated on his firm backing for a presumed consent system for organ donations.

Already the moaners are moaning – it's sad that so many people would rather that their organs rotted in the ground or went up the chimney of a crematorium than sharing them with others after their death.

Perhaps the PM would also look into the pernicious ability of next of kin to deny the living the organs of the dead?

As far as I'm concerned, what I want done with my organs after my death is no business of my next of kin! – Yours, etc.,

JOHN HEIN

78 Montgomery Street

EdinburghEH7 5JA.

Holiday scheme

Sir, – May I take this opportunity to thank families from the area for supporting a child through the Glasgow Children's Holiday Scheme, by being hosts for a week during the school summer holidays last year.

These families shared a week of their holidays with a child from an inner city housing scheme who may not otherwise have a holiday.

The children experience the freedom and wonders of the countryside and ordinary rural family life through their generosity of spirit.

These simple experiences often have amazing and lasting influences; helping to develop confidence, opening up new horizons and understanding. This realisation often improves the child's attitude to education and helps them to develop ambitions for the future. This is why we liaise with three head teachers from primary schools in Glasgow. They are able to refer children most likely to benefit from the scheme and whose parents or carers want them to benefit from the opportunity.

Host families may live in a small village, town or farm, with young or grown up children or with none. All have in common a love of children and a realisation that the ordinary experiences and beauties of their life can be extraordinary to a child from the city. Some remember less fortunate times and childhoods.

Hosts usually say they and their children have gained as much from the experience; finding anew the wonder and enjoyment of a beach, woodland, wildlife or outing and forming new friendships which sometimes continue for years or may only be for one year.

We always need new volunteer hosts, as family and work commitments change from year to year.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a host family or the work of GCHS, I would be delighted to hear from you. – Yours, etc.,

ANN PERT

Coordinator,

The Glasgow Children's Holiday Scheme,

Fifth Floor,

30 George Square,

Glasgow G2 1EG.

Phone/Fax: 0141 248 7255

Email: gchs@talktalkbusiness.n

East Fife Mail Letters - January 23, 2008

Slow thinking

Sir, – Well said D.K. Davidson (EFM 16/01/08).

I have always held the same view that speed reducing methods should be restricted to the schools only.

I find that drivers would be more likely to slow down with the flashing signs and in a smaller restricted area.

I cannot for the life of me understand what possessed the council to impose a 20mph limit on a village with fields and a cemetery at one side and not even houses next to the road on the other.

Let's hope a bit of common sense prevails for future calming methods. – Yours, etc.,

CHRISTINE WILSON

30 Greenfield View,

Leven.

Scare tactic

Sir, – While the leader of the Labour opposition on Fife Council is continuing with his scaremongering in regard to the increase in charges for the home care service (EFM 16/1/08) it's noticeable that he still hasn't stated what alternative solution he has to solving the home care funding problem.

Doesn't he think he owes it to the people he is attempting to scare, to inform them as to where he would find the money to fund the home care service without any need to increase charges? – Yours, etc.,

PETER McCULLOCH

72 Memorial Road,

Methil.

Upset clients

Sir, – I felt I had to reply to the letter in last week's EFM regarding homecare charges.

Councillors are glossing over the facts with regard to charges claiming that they are means tested which they will be but shopping charges, which came into force on January 7, 2008, are not.

I work with the shopping delivery service and if those people who brought these charges into force could see the worry that their policy has brought to the old and vulnerable, they would hang their heads in shame.

There are currently over 1500 clients on the shopping service and if they wish to continue with it they will have to pay 7 per delivery.

I would like to ask one of the councillors in question to come to work one day with me to see exactly what the service entails and come face to face with the clients who are upset and tearful and explain their new policy to them instead of hiding behind office doors and telephones. – Yours, etc.,

JEAN JEFFREY

(Address supplied)

Unfair fares

Sir, – Has anyone else noticed a difference in Stagecoach bus fare charges?

I travel the same journey every day from Anstruther shore bus stop to Elie and this last week my bus fare has been three different prices, ranging from 1.90 to 2.50.

I telephoned St Andrews bus station and was informed the fare for this journey is 1.90.

The explanation I was given was the driver is not rectifying his computerised ticket machine to the stop, so I am being charged the fare from the last time he changed his machine.

This is a difference of 60p times that by five journeys, this adds an extra 3 to my bus fares over a week. Imagine Stagecoach profits if this is happening to every passenger! – Yours, etc.,

NOT CHUFFED

(Name and address supplied).

Labour midden

Sir, – Last week in the EFM we witnessed some incredibly hypocritical statements from Cllr Alex Rowley, current Labour leader on Fife Council.

In fact, the word seems to have gone out to all Labour people to be as outrageous as possible on the new home care charging policy.

Possibly, they realise that the truth is slowly seeping out. The scare-mongering is being seen for what it is.

In addition, Labour's culpability on this whole issue is becoming an open book.

Cllr Rowley was actually the Labour Leader who introduced home care charges to Fife in 97/98. The budgeted income then was 2.2 million, equivalent to over 3 million today – more than six times the income that has to be generated with the current changes.

Why does an extra 500,000 have to be raised? Because the last Labour administration included it in its budget that was approved in February. That is the budget the new Fife Council is working to.

Could this cash have been absorbed and the new charges not implemented? Yes, if there were reserves, but the last administration spent the lot and the new council started life with a deficit of 1.6 million.

There is no financial room to manouevre in the financial midden that has been inherited.

The difference between the last Labour administration and the new administration is this – it planned to implement the charges if re-elected , the new administration has been forced to. – Yours, etc.,

DAVID ALEXANDER (Cllr)

39 Hill Road,

Kennoway.

Worrying time

Sir, – I would like to say something about the accusations of scaremongering which we hear from the councillors who support the charges on social work services.

Firstly, it's a fact that all service users will have to pay for their community alarm and shopping delivery service.

It's true that you will hear Cllrs Brett, Grant and Riches saying no one will have to pay if they can't afford to.

There are, however, no criteria saying how this will be decided.

People will have to go cap in hand to Stephen Moore, head of social work service, who will decide whether they're poor enough.

In regard to home care, can I just remind those councillors that over 6000 leaflets were sent by Fife Council to all its clients spelling out to them how home care charges would be calculated. From that people sat down with calculators and were able to come out with a figure based on the information in the leaflet.

We now know that the leaflet is defunct because there must be more than seven very serious pieces of misinformation. (Or maybe it's just that the council was forced to climb down on some of its meaner proposals?)

Nothing official has yet come from the council to the 6000 people who still have their leaflet – we say this is wrong and leaves people worried and confused.

I would venture to suggest that had it not been for the massive work of CAC and the support it galvanised for disabled and older people all over Fife, the concessions that we know about would not have been won.

We don't want to stop here, we want to put a halt to the charges completely because they're wrong and because the council has failed badly in its duty to complete an impact study before bringing the charges in.

We want to invite everyone to come along to the public meeting to discuss the issues on Friday, February 1 at 2pm in the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes. We are assured that people's views will be listened to. – Yours, etc.,

LOUISE McLEARY

Campaign Against Charges,

5 Laproach Court,

Kirkcaldy.

Safety panel

Sir, – The East Neuk Community Safety Panel was formed in October 2003 and quickly established itself as a good working committee, dedicated to putting forward proposals and initiatives to help make the East Neuk a safer place to live for young and old alike.

The group purchased and sold personal and shed alarms to raise funds, as well as assisting the police in a project to permanently mark mobile phones at the Waid Academy.

The group also asked for the implementation of a "boozebusters" campaign and, in 2006, the group ran a very successful women's safety course.

It was hoped we could re-run the women's safety course this year and look at a project to encourage those on bicycles to wear reflective clothes and use lights.

It was also hoped that we could assist in some way with either street football or a Bluelight disco for the young people.

However, at the AGM at the end of last year so few people turned up that there is a real possibility that the safety panel will have to fold.

The next committee meeting – and hopefully not the last – is being held in the Burgh Chambers, Anstruther Town Hall, on Tuesday, January 29, at 7.30pm.

Anyone who lives in the East Neuk and can give some time and enthusiasm to the safety panel is very welcome to attend. – Yours, etc.,

MARTIN DIBLEY

Vice chair/treasurer,

East Neuk Community Safety Panel.

East Fife Mail Letters - January 16, 2007

Needless worry

Sir, – I can probably pass on information to the two letter writers (EFM 09/01/08) last week who were concerned about home care charges.

The system has changed. Whilst there will be people who will see an increase in their charges, there will also be people who will see a reduction, and many will pay nothing.

The new system is based on income. It is not based on the hours of care you receive times 11.

This is the message that some mischief makers have been trying to spread for various reasons, mostly political. It is, absolutely, not based on that.

My best advice is to wait for the assessment.

However, C J Wright provided sufficient details for an example to be given.

A couple over 60 years of age have a minimum income guarantee of 211.68 per week.

If their assessed income is less than that figure they will pay nothing at all. If their assessed income is over that figure they will be asked to contribute 50 per cent of the difference towards their home care costs.

Their assessed income is calculated after deducting rent or mortgage payments, council tax payments, housing benefit, DLA mobility component, social fund payments, and a number of other "disregards".

It is complicated, which is why I suggest people wait for their assessment rather than worrying needlessly.

If you can't pay, your care will not be stopped. – Yours, etc.,

DAVID ALEXANDER (Cllr)

39 Hill Road,

Kennoway.

Costly decision

Sir, – At last! Mr Ian Smith (EFM, 02/01/2008) admits `nibs' were a totally flawed, ill-conceived idea. Well I assume that he accepts this, as he is now saying, that `pillows' will give better control.

I don't happen to agree with any of these measures, a point I vigorously made known to Mr Smith at the local presentations, late last year, when he was still defending the `status quo'.

I think the American model of zealously controlled zones at the school only, is much superior.

However, I suppose after two years of stressful, pollution-creating queues, accidents at the `nibs', increased traffic flow on Standing Stane road (contributory factor in the increased MTAs on this road?), we should be grateful for any change of heart.

Of course, the question now is, how much has this absurdity of construction/de-construction/re-construction cost us?

The taxpayer, once again, having to pick up the tab for bad decision by a transport manager paid for his knowledge, and elected officials who seem to have trouble with joined-up thinking. – Yours, etc.,

D. K. DAVIDSON

7 Plantation Row,

Coaltown of Wemyss.

Vile playtime

Sir, – I recently took my three-year-old son to play in the already controversial playpark in the Vettriano Vale development.

On initial observation I was impressed by the apparent cleanliness of the area and the fact that no empty alcohol bottles were lying around!

The two small `baby' swings have been finally removed. They have been vandalised to the point of being dangerous.

My son played happily for a short while and went over to the small chute and climbing frame. He likes the `hide hole' under it where a steering wheel is attached to the frame wall. He emerged with his hand held out and told me there was `lots of mud'. On wiping his hand it was, in fact, dog mess – and lots of it.

How dogs get into the park is strange as the two entrances to the area have grids fitted to stop animals gaining access.

It is disgusting to think that a pet owner knowingly leaves dog mess on pavements but it is worse to know that your dog has `done its business' in a children's play area and then just leave it.

I will not go to that park again. What could be found next hidden in a children's area of play and adventure? – Yours, etc.,

SEANAID MCQUEEN

14 Turpie Road,

Leven.

Motor menace

Sir, – I felt I had to reply to the resident who stays in Oakvale Road who seems to think it's okay for these youths on motorbikes to drive on the grass as long as its not one o'clock in the morning (EFM 09/01/08).

I've just witnessed (Sunday morning) three people on motorbikes churning up all the grass in front of my house.

It is now a quagmire and then there's been the noise of three motorcycles for the last hour, plus the young lady who could not take her dog for a walk as these youths just kept on racing.

It is unacceptable for motorbikes of any sort to be driving like that; they are a danger and menace to everyone.

As usual the police turned up an hour after it happened.

Do we have to wait till a child or youth is killed before anything serious is done?

It is against the law and the police should act accordingly. – Yours, etc.,

ANGRY FATHER

Methil.

(Name and address supplied)

Spiteful actions

Sir, – I was interested to read the article (EFM 09/01/08) on the clampdown of hate crime.

My husband and I have been subjected to a form of abuse from a neighbour for the past year because we dared to add an extension on to our house.

On bin emptying day, our neighbour takes delight in being a good neighbour to everyone by putting their bins away. Where does he put ours? Directly behind our car, obviously hoping that i'll forget about it and reverse the car on to it. Before the extension was built he put ours away too.

If we go out for the day, we return to find the bins blocking the driveway so that I have to get out of the car to remove it. This would be bad enough under normal circumstances, but my husband is physically handicapped with breathing problems and has to carry oxygen with him at all times.

This type of behaviour is beyond my comprehension and I would put it under the category of hate crime.

I often wonder what passes through this man's mind as he performs his weekly ritual but I do know that no one is benefiting from it, least of all him because he looks far from happy.

He is well into his sixties and is at a time in life where he should be relaxed and happy instead of trying to cause misery.

Nor do we deserve to be treated in such a hostile manner, nobody does. – Yours, etc.,

EXASPERATED

Name and address supplied)

Old classmates

Sir, – I was born in Methilhill in 1921 and brought up in Grieve Street.

I attended Buckhaven High School from 1932 to 1936, and I can recollect the following people being in my class.

I must apologise for forgetting some of the Christian names but it would be good to know if they are still around, and I would be delighted to hear from them.

I shall name them, ladies first: Mary Rollo and Etta Burns from Coaltown of Wemyss, Mary Wynn and Jessie Wynn (cousins) from Wemyss and Buckhaven, Mary Munro (Barrie Street) and Mary Johnstone from Methil.

James Petrie, Alec Braid and ? McGregor from Windygates – McGregor`s father was a policeman. David Henderson and Eddie Murray from Kennoway and Alex Eadie (later to become an MP), ? Renfrew and myself.

If any others recognise the class I would be delighted to hear from them.

I spent 45 years of my life in the Merchant Navy, retiring in 1984.

In the book Levenmouth at War, I noticed the name of James Petrie is on Windygates War Memorial, and wonder if this is the same person who was in our class.

Anyone wishing to contact me can do so at the address below. – Yours, etc.,

Capt. WILLIAM GIBSON

16 Hunters Grove,

Dunoon,

Argyll PA23 8LQ .

(e-mail w.gibson383@btinternet.com)

East Fife Mail Letters - January 9, 2008

Paying out

Sir, – When I read the article on care charges I had to write to you.

My wife and I pay 5 a week at the moment and we had a letter saying we were going to be re-assesed.

We also had a letter about the 11 which we think is a lot – it is more than double what we pay now.

Also I would like to point out, when we go away and if it is on the day the home carer should come, we still have to pay.

When the council is short of carers and we do not get one, we still have to pay.

This is bad because we are old age pensioners and our pension increase does not cover it.

I am 72 and my wife is 65. – Yours, etc.,

C J WRIGHT

71 Wellesley Road,

Methil.

Unfair system

Sir, – Surely, the current way society is conducted requires questioning.

A disabled OAP has had hundreds of pounds stolen from him; which he didn't have; he must live more minimally than normal.

The thief? Oh, he has his flat paid for – he's on `the dole' and can buy cigarettes and magazines (occasionally).

Can you see the `fairness' in this situation?

Even a time in prison would have a heavy toll on the taxpayer. – Yours, etc.,

Name and address supplied.

Heavy increase

Sir, – I am 88 years of age and suffer from arthritis, which reduces my ability to cope.

I get one hour per week help with heavy housework from Fife Council, for which I pay 4.

I understand that this could be increased to 11 per hour.

I know prices have to rise but an increase of 175 per cent is certainly very unfair. – Yours, etc.,

CONCERNED

(Name and address supplied)

Bike nuisance

Sir, – I see some parents thought it was a good idea to get their kids new dirt bikes for their Christmas, and so I looked out on Christmas morning with dread.

But I thought to myself: "It's Christmas, let them have fun," but l quickly realised how wrong I was.

At 1.30 in the morning I am being woken up by these half wits, flying up and down the grassy area at the Poplar Road area of Methil.

So this letter is to the parents of said kids who live in Oakvale Road and who got their kids dirt bikes for Christmas.

If they use the bikes through the day and keep to the grass, I'll not inform the police of your address.

If the disturbance continues at anti-social hours then, sorry to spoil your fun, but I will give your address to the police.

Lets hope you are decent parents and will see sense. – Yours, etc.,

IRATE RESIDENT

(Name and address supplied)

Bit of banter

Sir, – Re John E. Douglas' letter (EFM 19/12/07), I laughed on reading it, accepting that it was a bit of banter – maybe a wee sting at `Maggie's Bully Boys'.

But sadly J. McNab's letter (EFM 19/12/07) did not agree.

I then looked for a reply from J. E. Douglas the following week in the East Fife Mail, but none came.

Perhaps he is treating J. McNab's letter with the contempt it so richly deserves. After all we do live in a free country and have a free press. – Yours, etc.,

C. NICHOLLS

9 Midlaw Crescent,

Leven.

Oil wealth

Sir, – With the price of oil at a new record high of over $100, due to worse than expected US oil stocks, a weak dollar and recent geopolitical troubles, this has clearly reinforced the argument for a Norwegian-style oil fund for Scotland.

Norway's oil fund is now worth 170 billion, and is expected to rise to 250 billion by 2010.

By investing their wealth, the Norwegians have safeguarded their financial future, and Scotland can and must learn from independent Norway's success.

The benefits of our vast oil wealth will allow us to invest in the future of our nation, rather than seeing it being squandered by a succession of UK governments.

The irony is that while Scotland is one of the world's biggest producers it is hard hit by high fuel prices as our haulage industry is the most vulnerable to high pump prices.

If we are to benefit from oil as Norway has, then we must make our own future as an independent country and not allow this golden opportunity to continue to pass us by. – Yours, etc.,

ALEX ORR

Flat 8,

35 Bryson Road,

Edinburgh.

Elder abuse

Sir, – Last year started badly for some older people.

There were reports of an 82-year-old man being evicted from a care home after his family had complaints upheld by the Scottish Care Commission; a care worker in Cumbria found guilty of stealing over 400 from residents in another home (and yet another of stealing 1500 over five years); a councillor in the Midlands admitting that not all sex abuse cases concerning older people were reported to the police; concerns about the misuse of anti-psychotic drugs to keep people docile and quiet; and three older people found dead from neglect, one of whom had a broken leg untreated for five days.

And this was just January!

The year continued with research that suggested over 342,000 older people were being abused by their families each year, with the register of abusers (the POVA list) being deemed by courts to be in part 'unfair' on workers, and with the bodies of a number of older people being exhumed for forensic investigations following concerns about how they died.

And, of course, it ended with the horrific story of 75-year-old Rosemary Pagett who died 10 days after being sexually abused by a 12-year-old schoolboy; and a horrendous report by the Commission for Social Care Inspection, which indicated that 'levels of restraint are much higher than those recorded by staff in care homes'.

The reality is that elder abuse is becoming an accepted fact in today's Britain, but it still is not receiving the level of urgency that it merits.

We have protective systems in place, regulators in place, and a developing level of care provision that is becoming more sophisticated.

But, as a society, we lack the passion and anger about the abuse of our older generations that we display when our children suffer the same experiences.

We express outrage today, but discuss the weather tomorrow. And yet, sooner or later, it will be our turn.

So, if you are considering New Year resolutions, can I beg you to add one that says you will do one thing to end elder abuse?

Whether it is to check on an elderly relative, write to your local councillor or MP to add your support to our campaign, challenge the behaviour of an abusive colleague, or make a collection for our work, please do that one thing.

There's no excuse for elder abuse. – Yours, etc.,

GARY FITZGERALD

Chief Executive,

Action on Elder Abuse,

Astral House,

1268 London Road

London.

Like mother...

Sir, – I'd like to ask your readers if they have ever been told that they said or did something 'just like their mother'?

Can you see your daughter slowly becoming more and more like you every day? In some cases this can be mortifying and yet in others something of a comfort.

But are there other things mothers and daughters might share besides certain phrases and physical traits? What else might be passed from mother to daughter?

I'm a research student at Aberystwyth University and am interested in how mothers and daughters may have shared their feelings about film stars and passed on an admiration for a specific star. Or how they might have very different opinions from each other about what makes someone a 'star'.

I've created an online questionnaire where pairs of mothers and daughters can tell me about their experiences of film stars.

If you and your mother or daughter would like to take part together, please visit my website at www.watchingwithmother.co.uk to complete a questionnaire.

I look forward to hearing from you. – Yours, etc.,

SARAH RALPH

Dept of Theatre, Film and Television Studies,

Parry-Williams Building,

University of Wales,

Aberystwyth Penglais Campus,

Aberystwyth,

Ceredigion SY23 3AJ.

East Fife Mail Letters - January 2, 2008

Good and bad

Sir, – It is with some amusement that I read the letter `Neuk Disdain' (EFM 26/12/07).

There are good and bad in all areas and the good shouldn't be condemned just because they don't live in Elie.

We don't all have the wealth, or maybe even the inclination, to live in Elie and the complainer should beware.

Elie area is ripe for developers to move in and, by the law of averages, how many misfits or reprobates will move in with them?

We all left our doors open at one time, we had no control over what happened to our villages.

People predict that it has to get worse, before it can get any better; how much worse does it have to get?

The residents of Elie are a very good example of what every area should be, but so were the people of St Monans, Pittenweem, Anstruther etc at one time and did I not hear about gang culture, erupting there?

If you take a block of flats for instance, all spotlessly clean and place one dirty, lazy tenant in beside them, there is no way that they will change that tenant's ways but, bit by bit, that dirty tenant will drag them all down to the same level... and that is what is happening to our country.

All these stupid and daft rules protecting the rights of the guilty and penalising the innocent are making people subservient to what's happening.

Elie may be a better place to live but for how long? – Yours, etc.,

M. M. THOMAS

4 Wilkie Cottages,

Rose Terrace,

Leven.

Neuk gangs

Sir, – In reply to the letter from the 'Former Elie resident', titled 'Neuk Disdain' (EFM 26/12/07), I would like to say the following:

I, too, am a former resident of the East Neuk, having been born in the area 50 years ago.

During my late teens, I suffered two unprovoked physical assaults from local teenage gangs, once in St Monans and once in Elie.

I have also witnessed first hand the frequent violent assaults carried out by East Neuk gangs on visitors to the area.

On more than one occasion I was threatened with violence from the same gangs because I refused to join in with the said assaults on innocent people.

Obviously, the incidents to which I refer took place a very long time ago, but, on a recent visit to Elie, my wife and I had water poured over us by a gang of youths hiding in the churchyard as we waited at the 'bus stop.

As for the "Leven/Methil social reprobates" referred to in such a demeaning manner, I must point out that my own grown-up children have lived all their lives in Leven and have not once been involved with or suffered at the hands of the local "gang culture" to which the 'Former Elie resident' refers. – Yours, etc.,

FORMER EAST NEUK RESIDENT

(Name and address supplied)

Part-time locals

Sir, – There were quite a few inflammatory statements from 'Former Elie resident' (EFM 26/12/07) and the comments certainly provide an insight into the writer's thinking.

My former boss owns a holiday home in Elie and I once overheard him advising a group of people to seriously consider investing in a holiday home there.

However, he warned them not to be tempted by the other Neuk villages as they were "a bit rough with quite a lot of riff-raff".

I wonder how widely held that view is among the new, Elie part-time Neuk residents? – Yours, etc.,

INDIGNANT

(Name and address supplied)

Insulting views

Sir, – I write in response to 'Neuk disdain' (EFM 26/12/07) and, as a Leven resident, I concede that I'm struggling to find a community I relate to less than present-day Elie.

The views expressed, however, are insulting and nonsense.

First off, I would be surprised if Elie is typical of all the East Neuk burghs.

Nevertheless, the writer suggests an area from Kingsbarns to Colinsburgh, free of underage drinking, vandalism, substance misuse, boy racers, crime, etc.

Is it the fact that these Brigadoon communities have no 'mediocre properties' that has eliminated all anti-social behaviour? – Yours, etc.,

LIVID OF LEVEN

(Name and address supplied)

Inflicting debt

Sir, – The recent actions of Labour and Tory MSPs in voting against the abolition of the 2289 Graduate Endowment is disgraceful.

At a time when the Scottish Parliament should be taking the first step to reducing student debt, Tory and Labour MSPs have abandoned Scotland's students in what amounted to a cheap political move.

Students have spent the last decade under a Labour administration being pushed further and further into debt, and, despite losing the election, it seems Labour is refusing to change its ways.

It was astonishing to read that Richard Baker voted against the Bill. As a former president of the NUS, who called for free education himself, he should have supported the current NUS president in welcoming the Bill.

Yet again we see politicians who benefited from free education trying to inflict debt on the next generation.

Students and their families will look at the actions of Labour and the Tories in disbelief and, at the end of the day, one hopes there will be a parliamentary majority for abolishing the graduate endowment, and not abandoning Scotland's students. – Yours, etc.,

ALEX ORR

Flat 8,

35 Bryson Road,

Edinburgh EH11 1DY.

Vital support

Sir, – On behalf of The Prince's Trust in Scotland, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those volunteers, staff, supporters, charities and ambassadors that have worked locally for the charity, and have in 2007 helped over 4,000 of Scotland's disadvantaged young people.

The Trust gives practical and financial support to those aged 14 to 25 who are struggling at school, been in care, are long-term unemployed or been in trouble with the law, helping them overcome barriers and get their lives working.

And our programmes lead to over 70% of those supported moving into employment, education or training.

The challenge we face is a significant one, with one in five of Scotland's young people aged between 16 and 24 not in education, employment or training, a tremendous waste of human potential, and one we at The Trust aim to tackle.

Each person The Trust seeks to help has his or her own talents, strengths, aspirations, problems and barriers, and through the right on-the-ground support locally, The Trust has helped many of them transform their lives.

It is organisations such as The Trust, working with the Scottish Government, local authorities and the private sector, that are key to tackling Scotland's disengaged young people, and we hope we can build on and surpass this year's achievements in the forthcoming year. – Yours, etc.,

GARALDINE GAMMELL

Director,

The Prince's Trust-Scotland,

1st Floor,

The Guildhall,

57 Queen Street,

Glasgow G1 3EN.

Great champion

Sir, – I have to write to you about one of your letters from 'Ashamed' (EFM 26/12/07).

One instance that gets my back up is the UK Sports Personality of the Year.

On the 50th year they went through previous winners and other great sports people.

But, to my amazement, one great sports person was ignored – the former Formula One world champion Jim Clark.

He might not have won enough votes to win the competition but surely he deserved a mention.

Not only was it an insult to his memory but to Scotland and his supporters. – Yours, etc.,

JIM WEBSTER

10 Braid Crescent,

St Andrews.'

 
 
 

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