Montrose – a crisis caused by decades of inaction

Having had long-term contacts in Montrose, I found the article regarding the erosion of golf courses (The Herald on Sunday, January 26) very interesting. This natural phenomenon should not surprise anyone.

I believe that in the early 1920s there was a quarter of a mile to walk from the road to the beach and shoreline, and I have an old postcard from around 1929 which shows the coastguard station and changing huts before one reached level sand. In the immediate post-war years, the children’s playground had to be moved back from the dunes to the other side of the road and a concrete platform built further up the dunes for the changing huts.

Now, even the much later steps down to the sand are partially under water at high tide and the original curve of road is realigned further back. This process has been happening for at least a century.

Even during the war, those families who dug and reinforced their own shelters in the gardens of the houses inland from the golf course, at the first air-raid warning, found themselves up to their knees in water as the tide was in.

I believe that one of the greens on the golf course which runs nearer the dunes has already, in fairly recent years, twice had to be remade further inland and the original is now under water with every high tide.

It is a great pity that the problem was not acknowledged at least 50 years ago and a lasting solution found before we reached this emergency situation. I hope it is not too late.

L McGregor


Is this the best you can do, Nicola?

The angry hiss of six years’ worth – or 2,584 words – of hot air escaping from Nicola Sturgeon’s over-inflated indy balloon became a sharp intake of breath at word 254, with her momentous observation that the SNP’s task now is to ... wait for it ... “persuade a majority of people on Scotland to back independence”.

Then 700 words later she said: “We mustn’t let the Tories turn a positive, persuasive and invigorating discussion about the best future for our country, into an arid and bitter argument about process and procedure” – then proceeded to do do just that.

Legal challenges, citizens’ assemblies, material changes in circumstances, mandates, wildcat referendums, claims of rights and constitutional assemblies were the acne spots that punctuated the rest of her “statement on Scotland’s future”.

No word of using her devolved powers in education, housing, health, social care and local government to halt the decline and get Scotland in shape for the 21st century, never mind independence.

If ever there was a busted flush it’s Nicola Sturgeon. Don’t take my word for it – ask the AUOB diehards who have trudged the streets in your honour for the past three years. The game’s a bogey, Joanna Cherry’s in the lobby.

Allan Sutherland


The trouble with flags

May I point out to Margaret Johnston (The Herald on Sunday Letters, January 26) that nowhere in my letter did I write that “the sight of thousands of saltires” gives me “a warm fuzzy feeling”, those are entirely her words.

However, I must admit to feeling irritated when I see goods for sale stamped “Made in England” alongside a Union flag, and as someone who is part English, I am pleased that England fans increasingly fly the St George’s Cross at sports events, although Union flags are often to be seen erroneously too.

Ms Johnson declares that the Union flag is “the flag of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of which Scotland is a constituent part”. As “a constituent part” Scotland gets governments we never voted for imposed upon us, and as “a constituent part” Scotland has been taken out of the European Union against our will.

That is why I don’t want Scotland to be “a constituent part” and why I do want Scotland’s future to be in Scotland’s hands as an independent nation.

Ruth Marr


It has been interesting to listen to the growing consternation over whether or not the “European” flag should be flown at Holyrood. It has also been depressing that in all the to-ing and fro-ing, a basic reality seems to have been ignored ... even when it has been brought up.

The flag in question is that of the Council of Europe, an international organisation founded in 1949 to promote peace and welfare.

Every country in Europe is a member of the Council of Europe, except for Belarus, a dictatorship which still carries out executions. Countries which have never been in the EU or the common market fly the blue flag with the ring of stars. The EU only uses it by agreement.

Tim Cox

Bern, Switzerland

Who has the right to choose?

It’s amusing how Nicola Sturgeon and the rest of the SNP establishment repeatedly tell Scottish voters that we should be so indignant at Boris Johnson refusing her request to hold indyref2, that we’ll spontaneously decide to back independence.

Isn’t the supposed thinking behind this that we decide by ourselves to change sides – of our own volition? And not because Sturgeon tells us to be outraged.

Martin Redfern


Real indictment of Tory morality

I READ today with sadness, if not surprise, about another victim of the cuts made by the Tory party. After Jodey Whiting (a woman who missed a benefits appointment because she had pneumonia and killed herself after her benefits were stopped) and Steve Smith (who was denied benefits despite having multiple disabilities and so died weighing only six stones), we now hear about Errol Graham (a grandfather with disabilities who literally starved to death after he was “sanctioned” and lost his benefits).

Yes that’s right, here in Britain, this very week, a man has starved to death because his welfare was cut.

Of course, the Tories who have installed these murderous cuts to the welfare state know what to do. Their morality, their true sense of right and wrong, will guide them.

Let’s have a think where their conscience leads them, shall we? Do they apologise to the families of the dead? Do they change their wicked policies? Do they take a bit more tax from the rich bankers to help vulnerable people?

Or do they give tax handouts to the bankers and a knighthood to Iain Duncan Smith, the chief designer of the savage attacks on our poor, sick and disabled?

No prizes for guessing which option the Tories prefer. Truly sickening.

Karen Heath

Cortachy, Kirriemuir

The roots of Doomsday

Our stewardship of our planet has been nothing short of disastrous. Every one of us could produce a catalogue of the areas where we have put our life support system seriously at risk.

It is fairly clear that our planet is becoming less habitable, and tinkering round the edges will not be anything more than cosmetic.

That has not been the intention of those who have unthinkingly driven us into the situation we now find ourselves in – and we have blindly for the most part acquiesced.

It almost looks as though the planet itself is trying to take its revenge for our mismanagement.

So where did it all go wrong? When we put economic growth ahead of sustainability, we set ourselves on a downward path.

The push for profit took precedence over environmental protection, the results of which are all around us.

That is why we are now at a minute to midnight on the Doomsday Clock.

Denis Bruce


The carbon offset con

Celebrities, the rich, the famous and the green zealots are quick to say that their privileged lifestyles – flying hither and thither, travelling in limousines, attending every global gathering imaginable, music event, the Baftas, Grammy awards, fashion shoots, Glastonbury and similar events – are carbon neutral because they offset their emissions.

A look at the web shows numerous sites willing to take their guilt away by “funding sustainable projects” and providing “carbon finance to reduce their overall carbon footprint and environmental impact”.

So the rich and famous, for a miserly £5 a tonne, can claim they are “saving the planet”. They should be paying at least £1,000 a tonne.

The owners of these sites claim to be offering this service for the environment but as with many so-called green initiatives, the driving force is financial gain. They are on a “nice little earner”.

I doubt if any of the 90,000 people creating additional emissions by attending COP26 in Glasgow in November will pay to “reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact”.

Clark Cross


Well-deserved recognition

I WAS interested to see the inclusion of Maud Sulter in your article “The women who defined our nation” (The Herald on Sunday, January 26).

II had never heard of her until I saw one of her photographs in the exhibition, Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers, in London’s Somerset House last August.

Although it was mainly about the contribution of black creative artists in England, it was good to see the inclusion of work by someone from Scotland (along with an exhibit of the lyrics of Edinburgh’s Young Fathers).

Hugh Clark