LETTERS: Chinese steel helps to sink Scottish industry

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Have your say

Once again we are hearing of another nail in the coffin of Scottish industry – steel producers Tata are closing the last two Scottish plants.

On hearing of this, Nicola Sturgeon said she “would immediately establish a taskforce”; John Swinney said the workers at the plants were “part of the very deep, skilled tradition of industrial activity within Scotland” and then promised that the SNP government would do everything in its power to secure their future.

Well, that’s cute coming from that pair when, as far as I’m concerned, they are partly responsible for these poor souls losing their jobs.

When the SNP decided to build a new crossing over the Forth, did they go to Tata for the steel? No, they ordered it from China.

Before I have the usual suspects and apologists reminding me that the SNP saved the Scottish people X amount of cash by ordering Chinese steel, think back to the great vote-catching exercise that is Prestwick and the millions squandered on that white elephant.

My advice to those folk losing their jobs would be apply to the SNP Government for a resettlement payment of up to £60,000; also ask for at least six months of paid leave for therapy and retraining.

Once that exercise is complete, and if you are fortunate enough to get a new job, apply once again to the SNP for a three to four-night stay in a five-star hotel to help you settle in to your new surroundings.

I’m sure the SNP can afford it; after all, they are sitting on nearly £400 million of underspend, or do they only hand out cash to millionaire consortiums and SNP ministers going on jollies worldwide? The hypocrisy is startling.

Jim Taylor, Essendean Place, Edinburgh

Charities must pay right rate for bosses

Helen Martin’s article, (‘Charity salaries are barking mad’, News, October 19) was certainly impassioned and there is little doubt that her views will be shared by many.

But before we condemn every director in a not-for-profit organisation for having a salary above £50k, I think we should draw breath.

The demands on large-scale charities and their management boards can be considerable and top appointments must be made in the public 
interest

Increasingly charities have to operate as businesses. While this may seem clinical to some, it can often be the only way of increasing the impact of the charity. A business mindset may deliver greater efficiencies or provide services more effectively. When it comes to individuals, there also needs to be a balance between cost and value.

Therefore, charities need to look at what is right for them. If securing the right person for the job comes at a cost, then it may be acceptable; if paying a large salary simply because it is ‘the done thing’ then very possibly not.

Charities must pay what is right and reasonable and there can be many 
factors that influence that decision.

Lianne Lodge, Associate, Gillespie Macandrew, Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh

Cancer screening is a pointless exercise

Your article ‘Third of women ignore cervical cancer checks’ (News, October 20) makes no mention of the following statistics:

n In the NHS cervical screening programme, around 1000 women need to be screened for 35 years to prevent one death (and a nurse performing 200 smears every year will save one woman every 45 years or so).

n Over 80 per cent of women with high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia will not develop invasive cancer, but all need to be treated.

n For each death prevented, over 150 women have an abnormal result, over 80 are referred for investigation, and over 50 have treatment.

In the UK, the approximate lifetime risk of developing this cancer is around 0.7 per cent but there is a 65 per cent probability that a woman participating in the screening programme will be recalled at least once between the ages of 20 and 60 for colposcopy and biopsy.

In ten years’ time, this completely untargeted and inefficient screening campaign will have been consigned to the ideological dust heap where it belongs.

We will look back with incredulity at this shameful 30-year period in our history where women were bullied, frightened and coerced into participating on the basis of such unconvincing evidence regarding the risks and such a cover-up surrounding the potential harms.

In the meantime, women are simply choosing not to participate, in ever-greater numbers.

Mrs Caroline Roussot, Edinburgh

Stores turn Christmas into Holiday time

Imagine my horror in TK Maxx at Meadowbank when their Christmas gifts said: “Have a Merry Holiday.”

What are we coming to when shops try to stop us calling December 25 Christmas Day? This has always been a Christian country, so why is TK Maxx trying to change us?

Andrew Forrest, Bellevue Road, Edinburgh

I have a cunning plan to thwart referendum

Well, now we know. Nicola Sturgeon will only call another vote on independence if polls show she will win.

What everyone should do now, if approached by pollsters, is to say you will vote Yes.

Once Nicola has squandered another £13.3 million of our money on another drawn out campaign, we then vote No. What a wheeze!

Nicola looks foolish, as the SNP loses again and maybe this time they will stop saying they want yet another referendum. Result!

Alun Thomas, Sinclair Close, Edinburgh