Letters – week 31

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Beautifully kept forestry

Sir,

On behalf of local walkers I would like to thank the Forestry Commission for mowing the path between the Mealdarroch water tank track and The Kintyre Way.

It is a beautiful forest walk and one of the least muddy in the area during the wet weather.

Ann Thomas, Tarbert

Tax hikes

Thanks to the separatist’s tax hikes, Scotland has seen a 12 per cent rise in personal insolvencies.

There were 3,208 bankruptcies and protected trust deeds from April to June this year, up from 2,869 in the same period last year.

More and more Scots are struggling with debt yet the SNP has chosen to hammer families with higher income taxes.

While taxes continue to rise in Scotland the revenue generated is being wasted – a recent bullying claim probe into a police chief has wasted almost £100,000 of public money. The Scottish Police Authority disclosed the money spent on lawyers during the probe.

Taxpayers have footed the legal fees of investigating the claims against former police chief Phil Gormley, who quit earlier this year amid multiple bullying allegations.

The public was angry enough at how this case has been handled by the SNP Government and SPA, so it is even more frustrating to find out that tens of thousands were wasted on this fruitless task.

It seems that the separatist’s wastefulness and incompetence which we have seen so much of in their mishandling of our economy also extends to their mismanagement of Police Scotland matters.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Isle of Islay

Fringe Tradition

Sir,

With the Edinburgh Festivals about to start, can I remind your readers to helpfully inform visitors to our city that, unlike the made-up and damaging ‘tradition’ of rubbing Greyfriars Bobby’s nose, it is a genuine Edinburgh tradition to pause for a moment in the Royal Mile beside St Giles to lick the Heart of Midlothian.

John Hein, Edinburgh

World Tea Party

Sir,

I am writing to invite your readers to join me in hosting a World Tea Party this summer in support of working animal charity SPANA.

Holding a Moroccan, Indian, British, Kenyan, or another world-themed party, is the perfect way to get together with friends and try out exciting and exotic new recipes, while also raising vital funds to help the world’s most hardworking animals.

In many developing countries, working animals transport food, water, goods and people, and make it possible for millions of the poorest families to earn a small income. However, they often endure short, painful lives without the most basic requirements.

This is where SPANA makes such a huge difference, ensuring animals have access to the free veterinary treatment they urgently need when they are sick or injured.

Actors Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley are throwing their support behind this year’s event, and we hope your readers will be inspired to take part and help transform the lives of working animals around the world.

The SPANA World Tea Party fundraising pack, full of free recipes, is available from www.spana.org/teaparty or by calling 020 7831 3999.

SPANA World Tea Party Host, Tom Horsfield

Water smart

Sir,

It only takes one person to put a stop to the accidental loss of life to drowning.

With recent headlines being filled with tragic stories of people losing their lives to drowning, Lesley Laird, Shadow Scottish Secretary and the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) urge the public to be that ‘one person’: take some simple precautions and get ‘water smart’, before cooling off this summer.

For more information on the issue, the statistics involved and interview opportunities, please contact Claire Huggins on 0300 323 0096 or email clairehuggins@rlss.org.uk

Senior Communications Executive, Claire Huggins

Insta home woes

Sir,

There are more people using Instagram for interiors inspiration than ever before, but 70 percent of Scottish Instagram users feel dissatisfied with their homes after looking at images of other people’s houses on social media, a study has found.

Researchers who polled 1,500 UK adults using social media for inspiration with their homes, found that a whopping 66 percent of those are displeased with their home. They admit to feeling this way once a month or more after scrolling through other properties on Instagram, with 25-34-year-olds feeling dissatisfied most frequently.

The findings describe people having an unrealistic idea of what their home should look like, spending time worrying about flaws which would be unnoticeable to others, whilst feeling pressure to maintain a certain appearance in their home and being self-conscious of it in front of visitors. This mindset has been described by Chartered Psychologist, Dr David Lewis, as ‘Home Dysmorphic Disorder’ (HDD).

energypr representative, Beth Reynolds

Memory of a mouse

Sir,

Researchers at the University of St Andrews have shown for the first time that some of the standard measures of memory in rodents and humans are likely based on the same cognitive process which could have implications for development of treatments for memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the most widely used memory tests for rodents is the novel object recognition test, in which animals explore two objects; one of which is new and the other they have seen before.

The results of new research showed that their participants object recognition scores were far more associated with their memory abilities than their preferences for newness.

One of the research team, Dr James Ainge, of the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at St Andrews said: ‘This is important as it provides some of the first evidence that the standard memory tests in humans and rats are testing the same cognitive process. If we want to find a treatment or cure for disorders of memory like Alzheimer’s disease then we need to have a test of memory in animals that is analogous to human memory tests.’

Steve Bargeton, St Andrews