Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.
Glad he walked
Dear Ed, – Last month I supported an event in Lanark highlighting the range of support available to victims of domestic abuse in Clydesdale.
The event, organised by Police Scotland, sent out the clear message to women that they should never suffer in silence – help is available and reports will be treated with the seriousness and sensitivity that they deserve.
However, this positive message of support risked being seriously undermined by the continued presence in the Scottish Parliament of disgraced MSP, Bill Walker.
In August, Mr Walker was found guilty of 23 charges of assault and one breach of the peace over a period spanning 28 years. His victims – three former wives and a step-daughter – were subject to attacks from a man described by prosecutors as violent, domineering, controlling and relentless.
His conduct was condemned in the strongest possible terms by MSPs from all sides of the Chamber and last week I joined with MSPs, members of the public and a range of organisations at a rally calling on Mr Walker to resign.
I am pleased that over the weekend, Mr Walker finally decided to do the right thing and stand down. His position was untenable – how could victims of domestic abuse trust Parliament to take action to tackle this most serious of crimes when one of its Members had been convicted of a string of such offences?
Mr Walker’s constituents in Dunfermline deserved better from a person elected to represent them in Parliament and they will now have the chance to elect a new MSP in the coming months.
Despite overwhelming condemnation from MSPs, this sorry episode reflects poorly on the Scottish Parliament whose only course of action was to explore withholding Mr Walker’s salary.
Mr Walker could not be compelled to stand down as the maximum sentence he can receive for his crimes is below the threshold set out under Parliamentary rules.
Looking to the future, I firmly believe that we must now revisit the rules to ensure that should a similar situation arise in the future, Parliament is able to take effective action quickly to restore public trust.
In the meantime, I will continue to work with colleagues across the Chamber, with the police and with the wonderful organisations who work to support women (and men) affected by domestic abuse. I will be taking this agenda forward as Deputy Convener of the Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Men’s Violence Against Women.
We must redouble our efforts to send a message to victims of domestic abuse that support is available and that they must never feel they have to suffer in silence. – Yours etc.,
MSP South Scotland.
surface to say:
No water issue
Dear Ed, – It was with complete and utter disdain that I read the article in the Lanark Gazette of August 28 with regards to South Lanarkshire Council’s explanation as to why a developer has been allowed to vandalise and destroy a historic and ancient pathway under the guise of improving surface drainage.
I have lived in Castlegate for close on 30 years and this pathway has never had a problem with surface water. Yes there has been a problem within the park with drainage (ever since the sewer was installed to serve the housing development in Hyndford Road, around 20 years ago) but that is further up the park.
What effective drainage work has been carried out on the path? No drain has been installed so that surface water can enter the so called drainage work that has been carried out.
The obvious work/damage/vandalism has been to dig away the banking of the path to widen it so that it is wide enough for vehicles to access the proposed development.
This developer, aided and abetted by South Lanarkshire Council, has left an ugly scar where the historic and ancient pathway once was.
This has been done for one reason and one reason only – to create an access track to the proposed development for construction traffic.
The questions that I and many other residents of Lanark have regarding this whole debacle is when will officials of South Lanarkshire Council stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes and enlighten us as to WHO within South Lanarkshire Council is bending over backwards to ensure that this developer gains access to their development down this newly created track via a public park? – Yours etc.,
Free to disagree
Dear Ed, – Arthur Grainger writes that he is ‘baffled’ by the actions of religious groups toward proposals to redefine marriage to include the union of two people of the same gender (Letters, August 28, 2013).
While I agree with Mr Grainger’s thoughts on religious hypocrisy because it presents the greatest barrier to evangelisation, he should note that opposition to the redefinition of marriage extends to include some who identify as gay and lesbian, and those who profess no particular religious affiliation. This would appear to counter his assertion that such opposition reveals a disguised prejudice.
I would disagree with Mr Grainger’s understanding of tolerance. From a Christian perspective tolerance is grounded in the intrinsic dignity of every human being, made in the image and likeness of God. As such, tolerance means that we are free to agree or disagree with an idea or action without fear of insult or injury.
I would therefore encourage Mr Grainger to take a closer look at what the Church teaches regarding morals – I’m sure he will see nothing that condemns the person, only the idea or action. – Yours etc.,
greatest of all
Just one failure
Dear Ed, – He had wonderful powers of mind, an unconquerable magnanimity and abundant generosity”.
These words of Eramus were written about an almost forgotten Scottish king. Unjustly spun out of history by both the English and Scottish. Why? After all James IV was the greatest of all Scottish kings.
Because of one failure: Flodden, September 9, 1513. James IV was a true visionary at home and abroad. A committed European, he saw Scotland as a player on the international scene. At home, as a patron of the Sciences and Arts, rapid progress was made in the fields of medicine, printing, education, architecture, literature, justice and defence.
A devout Christian, between March and September 1507 he spent six weeks on pilgrimages throughout Scotland, much of it on foot, passing through Crawford en route to the shrine of St Ninian at Whithorn.
He also succeeded in uniting Scotland by assembling what amounted to a national army to honour the Auld Alliance. Even by marrying Margaret Tudor in 1502 achieving a short lived Treaty of Perpetual Peace between England and Scotland.
After five hundred years what is missing? A National Memorial! Recent calls for such seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Yes Flodden was a catastrophe but as Sir Walter Scott said: “All was lost but our honour”.
Is not now the time to put right a grievous injustice? A Memorial. – Yours etc.,
time to nominate
Dear Ed, – Royal Voluntary Service’s Diamond Champions campaign aims to recognise older volunteers in Scotland who do amazing work helping others.
Sixty Diamond Champions will be chosen including 10 from Scotland.
The closing date for nominations is Sunday, September 15, and we want people in Scotland to nominate their volunteer hero and celebrate the difference they make.
Nominate at royalvoluntary service.org.uk/diamond champions. – Yours etc.,
Royal Voluntary Service.