Readers’ letters

Crawfordjohn looking west by Sarah Peters
Crawfordjohn looking west by Sarah Peters

Find out what our readers think about the news making the headlines in the Gazette.

Freedom plea

No authority

Dear Ed, – Having watched the Freedom of Information proceedings in the Supreme Court in London between South Lanarkshire Council and the Information Commissioner in relation to the equal pay claims of the woman workers of South Lanarkshire Council, I was amazed at the lack of authority in the evidence South Lanarkshire presented to the court.

Seemingly, spending one million pounds of taxpayers money on high-paid lawyers produced very little in the way of a viable case.

Indeed, in my opinion, the arguments put forward by South Lanarkshire’s Advocate showed all the legal and moral authority of a ransom note.

The lack of any gravity put forward in the council’s case was not missed by the Supreme Justices, with, I believe, Lord Wilson describing the case as “dancing on the head of a pin” and “Alice in Wonderland”.

The Advocate for the Information Commissioner argued the law is about proportionality and I would agree. The argument should be about the growing thousands of low-paid South Lanarkshire workers who feel that they have been badly treated, and not about a few employees who could, maybe, be identified if the information is released. – Yours etc.,

COUNCILLOR PETER CRAIG,

Ward 20 Larkhall.

no maintenance

Stand up for us

Dear Ed, – The various articles in the Gazette of July 3 highlighted the lack of maintenance by South Lanarkshire Council as regards properties under its control with the toilet block at the Loch being the latest on its destruction list.

I believe it is not a council’s responsibility to provide toilets but I am sure these would have been replaced in the parks around Hamilton, East Kilbride and Rutherglen areas so why not at one of the best recreational facilities in South Lanarkshire?

After allowing groups/individuals to fundraise to provide excellent play facilities for children there is now no toilets for these same children but they may use, with the kind consent of the owners, the toilets in a licensed premises.

What is it about SLC mentality that it is prepared to spend millions on new or renovated buildings but will not spend minor sums on maintenance of existing buildings?

According to the convenor of this resource, a Clydesdale councillor, there is a policy of no further repairs to halls so these will eventually go the way of the toilets and another facility is lost to the communities.

As you look around Clydesdale it is not difficult to tot up the lost facilities and lack of maintenance when, for a reasonable sum, these properties could have been in use for years to come.

It is time for ALL Clydesdale councillors, whatever their persuasion, to stand up and fight for the retention and replacement of these public facilities. Otherwise, why are they elected? – Yours etc.,

TOM MITCHELL,

Hillview Street,

Symington.

gay christian

Where is love?

Dear Ed, – I am writing in response to the recent debate on the subject of gay marriage.

Sometimes it is difficult being a gay Christian.

Every time the “right wing” of the Church, or the “left wing”, makes a pronouncement on my theology and alleged lifestyle I cringe inwardly. My main thought is “Why don’t they all just leave us alone?”.

In the Gospels, Jesus said very little about sex. Perhaps in some of the other Gospels He says more, in Thomas’s Gospel, or the Gospel of Mary Magdelene for example.

But these gospels were “deselected” at the Council of Nice a very long time ago and are thus not part of the “official” Bible.

Makes nonsense of a literal reading of the Bible I rather think. In the gospels in the “official” Bible, there are some mentions of adultery and divorce, but little else.

St Paul makes a number of statements about homosexuality, but then he’s also keen on criticising women for talking in Church, and that’s it for the New Testament. Sex is not a high profile issue in the New Testament. Justice and the need for compassion are.

For Christians, Jesus is the New Covenant and therefore surely the references to sexuality in the Old Testament should be understood in that context.

Jesus came to liberate, to exhort us to look after the poor and the vulnerable, and to teach us to love one another.

Where’s the love in this debate? How are we depriving people of their civil liberties by wanting the same as everyone else?

I recently read this in the Independent “If you don’t agree with same sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex”.

What really puzzles me is why Christians would want to air the issues in the media at all. “They will know that we are Christians by our love.” Oh really? – Yours etc.,

LESLEY CRAISE,

High Street,

Biggar.

priory history

Please secure it

Dear Ed, – I read with interest the article about Lesmahagow Priory.

The Priory excavations did not come about through the discovery of coins but actually part of the 12th century doorway of the Priory – I found this in a heap of rubble.

The next stage was that I contacted Glasgow University and subsequent to that an excavation took place through the Job Creation scheme at the time.

The discoveries that we made were of great importance. In particular we found the graves of two Culdee monks dating back to 900 AD. The Culdee (Servants of God) Monks were members of a Celtic monastery which predated the Tironesian Priory founded by David I.

The other interesting discoveries included part of the cloisters, of which the most significant section was the cellarium where the monks stored their beer and wine as well as food.

A tap from one of the beer barrels was found during the dig.

Also readers might be interested to know that in 1336 John of Eltham, brother of Edward III of England, stole a Missal (a church service book) from the Priory.

This was written c.1240 and is the oldest surviving Mediaeval Missal in Scotland. It is now in the National Library of Scotland, bought at auction in London in the early 1950s for £150.

Another interesting part of the priory story is that Lesmahagow is called after St Machutius (St Malouc – Celtic version of his name). Lesmahagow is derived from two words ‘Ecles Machute’, meaning the church of St Machutius.

Carluke’s name has a similar origin to Lesmahagow, its name comes from Eglis malouc – again the church of St Malouc/Machutius.

So Carluke and Lesmahagow share the same saint!

The monks of Lesmahagow also played a very important part in the local community. They ran the first care home in the area.

However, it was only available to those with money or land to give to the church.

Finally readers might like to know that the so called ‘John Knox’s House’ in Edinburgh belonged to a famous Catholic jeweller, John Mossman.

He had a Lesmahagow connection as he made a gilt reliquary to contain an arm bone of Lesmahagow’s St Machutius/Malouc.

Given that the priory is the centre of so much history it does need to be preserved and the remains respected. I hope that efforts to secure its future are successful. – Yours etc.,

COUNCILLOR ED ARCHER,

Lanark.

shame on them

Grave cost fear

Dear Ed, – I am not pleased to pay £800-£900 to dig a hole when I pass.

Whoever is concerned with this should think real shame of themselves.

I paid for a lair 30 years ago and the headstone was erected nine years ago.

I had everything done in order; I don’t know who is being landed with this debt. I’ve never had debt in my life.

I am going to be away quicker than I expected.

A 76-year-old shouldn’t be worried like this. – Yours etc.,

MRS MCLAUGHLIN,

Bankhead Road,

Lesmahagow.