Letters to the Editor - December 15, 2010

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READERS have their say...

Call for MP to resign

I WONDER when she was trooping through the "Aye" lobby in the House of Commons in favour of introducing tuition fees if Jo Swinson Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire spared a thought for the students staging a sit in at the London School of Economics against the policy.

Ms Swinson makes much of her degree from that excellent university. but her vote ensured that only the most affluent of young Scots will be able to follow her.

I never doubted that she would abandon any principles she has left and vote in favour of introducing tuition fees of up to 9000 a year, after all she is now on the ConDem government's payroll vote as parliamentary secretary to the Secretary of State for Trade, Vince Cable himself. Ms Swinson also has form as she's now in favour of increasing VAT to 20 per cent next month despite campaigning against that as well in the General Election earlier this year.

Liberal Democrats like Jo Swinson are political opportunists, saying one thing to get elected then abandoning the promises made to those who voted for them all for the sake of power.

Talented youngsters in East Dunbartonshire who may have thought of going to university in England will not now do so and even worse students from England, wanting to escape sky high tuition fees, will flood Scottish universities with applications making it even harder to gain a place north of the border.

Ms Swinson will no doubt trot out her usual excuses about the new scheme being "fair."

What would be fair would be for her to resign her seat and try fighting it again on her new ConDem manifesto, but I won't hold my breath. She knows what the outcome would be.

David Whitton MSP, Strathkelvin and Bearsden.

Great effort

I AM writing to put on record my thanks to all those in the community who have gone beyond the call of duty to help others during the horrendous weather conditions of the last two weeks.

I have been hearing of many examples of members of the emergency services, health professionals, council staff and ordinary members of the public who have done amazing work to keep local services and communities working as near to normal as possible.

It has been particularly heartening to hear about ordinary folk who have helped neighbours clearing paths or drives, helped fetch messages or helped in emergency situations when they have been in very difficult situations themselves.

Stuart McMillan MSP

Thank you

I WOULD like to send out a very heart-felt and warm thank you to the team at Mobility Scotland Ltd, based in the Regent Centre, Kirkintilloch.

At the height of the snowy whiteout in Kirkintilloch recently, which saw many elderly and infirm housebound for over a week with no access to shops for essentials such as milk, bread, these guys stopped work and took time to phone their local customers in Lenzie and Kirkintilloch to ask if they required provisons to be delivered.

What a very thoughtful and kind gesture. It was very much appreciated and sends out a real caring message.

In unexpected and challenging circumstances it's nice to see a local business put their customers needs before profit.

Well Done guys, you all deserve a big pat on the back.

Margaret Hughes


Grieving daughter hits out

ON Thursday afternoon, November 11, just as St Agatha's and Gartconner Primary School pupils were being picked up by their family "taxis" an ambulance tried to make its way from Gartshore Road onto Waterside Road. Did you see it, those of you who kept on driving in from the Waterside Road and would not let it through? Did you, by any chance, take time to put your brains into gear and wonder whether that ambulance might be taking someone to hospital? Were you in such a hurry just so you could pick up your kids to take them home for tea, or did you just want to make sure you bagged a parking space?

I know that YOU all know who you are - and I hope you are all proud of yourselves.

I am aware the police have spoken to a number of you on numerous occasions about your inconsiderate parking and usage of the road, but you seem to be impervious to their advice. Can I just remind all of you who use these two schools that Gartshore Road is actually a ROAD. It is not - and never has been - a carpark. Free access to Gartshore from the Waterside Road is absolutely vital for those who live there. You drivers have no right to assume priority over the emergency services.

By the way, just so you know, I was in that ambulance with my 97 year old, much-loved Dad. He was in great pain and had already waited almost two hours for the ambulance. He died in hospital four days later. It is unlikely that any of you will ever be in a similar situation to the one in which I found myself with my lovely Dad, but if you ever are, then perhaps you will understand the frustration and anger I felt in that ambulance when I witnessed first hand your unbelievably selfish and inconsiderate behaviour.

Christine Barrie, Kirkintilloch.


THE pavements and roads in and around Waterside have not been touched since the start of the bad weather and my family and I have been trapped in.

We live across from the bus terminus in the village and the snow plough only came round once. Cars were abandoned everywhere.

It is not just my family that is having to struggle to get out - plenty of residents in the village are facing the same battle. Also, for safety reasons, there is no way I will let my kids try and walk to and from school due to the condition of the place.

Why is the council not doing more? We don't have a shop in the village now,which makes it more difficult, especially for the vulnerable people in our village.

Lorriane Stirling,

Bankhead Road,


Under fire

I have to agree with the comments in last week's Kirky Herald - the council has been sadly lacking in ensuring the roads and pavements in the area have been cleared and gritted.

I live off Waterside Road and can accept that on Monday it was not possible to clear the roads due to the volume of traffic. But the snow stopped before 2pm on Monday and on Tuesday the road had neither been cleared or gritted.

I wonder if this is one of the reasons First were finding it difficult to send buses onto routes, as Waterside Road is a main route for buses coming from the Cumbernauld depot.

It is now Wednesday and I have seen one plough on Waterside Road, but looking at the road surface it was not being used.

There was a gritter out today, it was gritting the car park of the high school at 6.30am.My husband saw it on the way to work, why it was gritting the car park of a school, which was closed, I don't know.

I left the house to go into Kirkintilloch at 8.45am, the gitter was still there parked up doing nothing. Still Waterside Road wsa ungritted.

The neighbours and ourselves have been trying to keep or road managable for cars to come and go. We went down the treacherous stairs to Iona Way to get grit from the grit box at the bottom, guess what - it was empty. So much for all the grit boxes being filled.

When I was in Kirkintilloch town centre I slipped and landed on my back, the pavement outside the Regent Centre was a sheet of compacted snow, which had turned to ice. Thank goodness it was someone robust like myself and not some frail pensioner who fell.

There was a council lorry with a couple of guys tossing grit around the pavement on the other side of the street, which was pretty clear, then they disappeared. I am sure many people are wondering what we are paying our coungil tax for. I know the council will come up with some excuses to wriggle out of their responsibility as usual, but after the winter we endured at the end of last year they should have been better organised.

Anne Robertson,

Morven Way,


Praise for workforce

The recent severe weather has put a significant strain on all public services, including social work services.

However, the homecare workforce and our independent sector partners have responded magnificently in making sure the needs of our elderly and vulnerable customers received support.

On the worst day of adverse weather so far on Monday, December 6, 132 homecarers out of a total workforce shift of 136 made it to their workstation and then out in the freezing conditions to support their customers.

It would be wrong of me to single out any one individual as deserving of praise; they know who they are and quietly go about organising a very complex response behind the scenes to ensure safety and welfare matters are addressed or reported.

Equally they cannot do this alone, as they need the support of our call centre staff to relay urgent messages and facilities staff to prepare meals etc.

Many social work staff who worked in other settings such as Kelvinbank and Outlook, which was closed due to the severe weather, were also drafted in to help by visiting the elderly, delivering meals on wheels and in general lending their skills to support as many elderly and vulnerable people as possible.

As convener of social work I would like to thank all our social work staff for their commitment and dedication to our constituents at this challenging time.

I'm proud to represent the council's social work service and am delighted at the consistently high standards set by the service not only in times of severe weather conditions, but throughout the year.

Hopefully we may all experience some well earned respite from the severe weather over the festive period.

Cllr Michael O'Donnell,

Convener of East

Dunbartonshire Council's social work committee

Roundabout concerns

In the past few weeks our local authority in their infinite wisdom – for reasons only known to themselves – have installed a roundabout just after the Lenzie railway bridge, on the main road, at the entrance to the Millersneuk Shopping Centre.

The siting of this roundabout creates an unacceptable danger as drivers coming from the Kirkintilloch direction in particular are totally unaware of its existence until they round the bend under the bridge and then this is virtually on top of them.

On three occasions since the roundabout has been put in place, I have attempted to negotiate this by turning right into the shopping centre.

On all these occasions I have had to brake sharply to avoid being wiped out by oncoming traffic coming from the Kirkintilloch direction, who have obliviously driven through this roundabout.

In my opinion this will be the location of a serious accident/possible fatality, in the near future.

This appears to have been a decision taken for no justifiable reason and without any apparent consultation, which is indicative of the way East Dunbarton Council continues to behave.

Surely the finances wasted on creating this safety hazard could have been more sensibly utilised by reducing existing safety hazards, such as repairing potholes, etc, which continue to remain a significant problem for all drivers in this area.

Alan Hughes,

(via e-mail).