AUDIT Scotland says estimated costs for the National Care Service are “likely to significantly understate” actual costs (“Watchdog warns cost of new national care service ‘significantly understated’”, The Herald, November 1). The bill was panned by the Chair of NHS Borders, Ralph Roberts, and even SNP MSP Kenny Gibson, Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee.
I watched a short Scottish Government video entitled “Our vision for the National Care Service: a statement of benefits”. It mixes mom and pop messages with scary numbers, such as 800,000 people over 18 in Scotland are unpaid carers, suggesting every fourth person in Scotland has a carer. Scariest of all, however, is the boast that the NCS will be “the most ambitious reform of public services since the creation of the NHS”.
I’m 67, by no means rich but comfortably off. The way things are going, by the time I might need home or residential care I’ll get no help from the Government; indeed my state pension might also be reduced.
According to a recent Ipsos MORI poll 44% of people would pay more taxes in return for better public services. Rishi Sunak, in his leadership campaign and “pitch rolling” for his upcoming Budget, is legitimising this idea, fortified by the Trussonomics debacle.
I’d gladly pay more taxes, and a chunk of what I’d otherwise leave for my children, if I thought I’d get decent care without the risk of losing my house and all my savings.
During my research for this letter I found the mobile number for the Scottish director of a well-known UK care agency. I dialled the number and amazingly got through, explained the above concerns and was heartened that this person agreed, and also agreed this whole situation should be removed from day-to-day politics. Real experts should design the system, detail the costs and how it should be funded and all parties and governments should adhere to its founding principles and processes. This is how the NHS was conceived and successfully delivered until the 1980s.
At the moment this whole initiative looks like another Police Scotland-style power grab by a political class that doesn’t have the brainpower, enthusiasm, leadership or political nous to deliver such a massive reform.
Regrettably I see no Scottish solution to this in my lifetime.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven
More bad cyclists than bad drivers
THE letter from Patricia Ford (November 2) whilst offering sympathy to Peter Bray (Letters, November 1) comes across as the usual message that cyclists are nearly perfect, big bad motorists are the issue.
Sauchiehall Street and other pedestrianised streets need some sort of separation to keep pedestrians and cyclists apart and that is probably a waste of time as both parties will probably ignore it
Recently in Glasgow I have noticed the incidences of cyclists ignoring rules of road so commonplace you are surprised when you see one actually stopping at a red light.
Last weekend I followed an older cyclist who should have known better riding from Springburn down to the Trongate through six or more sets of lights on red, and when our routes differed and I joined High Street from Springburn Road, guess who without a care in the world rode down High Street through the lights right across the nose of my car? I wonder who would be presumed guilty had we collided?
I agree there will be drivers out there causing issues for cyclists. But cyclists really need to look in mirror and ask if they are as good as they think they are before they start complaining about drivers. I reckon that in Glasgow anyway infringements by cyclists seem to vastly outnumber those of drivers.
Cyclists have the good fortune to be able to report any incident through a vehicle registration number. I sometimes wonder if the inability to report any cyclist is why so many ignore the rules of the road.
Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs
Do clothes really maketh the man?
I READ Mark Smith’s article (“Eddie Izzard and our strange attitudes on men and clothes, The Herald, October 31) and found it interesting that he would think that his comments could be embarrassing. It was good that he could share his preference when young for what was considered feminine attire.
He comments about the kilt being a skirt, but it is a unisex garment, as are trousers. I was not allowed to wear trousers until I was 14, which was hard in a Perthshire winter in knee-high socks when other girls were wearing cosy tartan trews. The fact I wanted to wear trousers didn’t make me trans. I wonder if unisex clothing, which has been the norm for several decades, makes it less likely for people to be scorned for sartorial choices. In the 1960s when both male and female wore the uniform of long hair and denim jeans, gender was difficult to assess .
Maybe instead of mislabelling those youngsters who prefer feminine garments, the word transient might be a truer definition during the passage of hormonal and emotional liability of youth.
Irene Munro, Conon Bridge
The vital role libraries play
REGARDING David Wilson’s article on the role of libraries in the structure of communities in Scotland (“When a community loses its library, it loses its soul”, The Herald, November 3), a man once wrote: “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the Earth as the free public library. It is a republic of letters, where neither rank, office nor wealth receives the slightest consideration. A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never-failing spring in the desert.”
He was a man who truly put his money where his mouth was. He backed up this principle with a gift that keeps giving. He was Andrew Carnegie.
Ronald H Oliver, Elie, Fife
Stars and a gloomy outlook
HAVING read and re-read today’s Page 8 headline (“Celebrating the stars of politics”, The Herald, November 3), I consoled myself with “If ever I saw an oxymoron, that’s it”.
English Olympic runner Doug Larson wrote that instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
David Miller, Milngavie
• I NOTE the nominations for Scottish Politician of the Year. The list doesn’t seem to include “None of the above”.
Michael Watson, Glasgow
Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.