CAMPBELL Anderson exhorting us to bring back the old three-tier system of local government sent shivers of horror down my spine (Letters, Feb 15). The very reason why that system was reformed was precisely because it was bureaucratic, expensive and failed to meet the needs of citizens at all levels.

While those reforms were welcome, the reason why the system now seems to be failing is because those reforms didn’t go far enough. They replaced one bureaucratic system with another, the expense wasn’t reduced and we’re worse off.

There are two things to consider. Cities and territories with our population size have much less local government than us and it’s more efficient too.

Modern information-processing systems should be reducing the burden through rationalisation of common services. These new bodies could be devolved to anywhere in the country, where living costs are lower and standards higher. This would fuel enterprise and commercial activity in those areas while sensibly spreading infrastructure burdens and removing expensive hotspots.

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Secondly, more representation doesn’t necessarily mean better representation – just more wee cliques of influence through people playing at exercising meaningless, ineffectual power.

We introduced the third, higher tier of government and one would have thought the Scottish Parliament’s first job would have been to restructure.

But the power play of Cosla stopped it. Indeed, on assuming power, the new SNP government signed a concordat to re-assure the body its domain wouldn’t be interfered with.

And doesn’t the turnout at local elections show the public don’t care about the representation levels Campbell Anderson boldly claims they want?

Perhaps they should want more. In reality, I suggest they just want representation that listens, stops wasting money on puerile pet schemes, prioritises election policies promises without deviation and forgets its own bandwagon agendas.

We need better cost-controlled representation, not just more with its army of failing pseudo politicians feeding off a gravy train we can’t afford.

Jim Taylor


I disagree with Ni Holmes’s interpretation of what it takes to be working class. He says it is not determined by income. That depends on how you earn that income and what it takes and where you come from that enables you to have an income.

I am retired and have been for almost 16 years. I live comfortably in a bungalow with my state pension and modest work pension. I have no mortgage. I may have some savings that might possibly go to my offspring unless I decide to spend them myself.

However, what Ni Holmes doesn’t discuss is what makes me a working-class person and, for that matter, a good many others. I grew up in a modest council house, on a council housing estate full of ragged-arsed-trouser-wearing tearaways like myself. There were six of us in the same house with me and my single mother.

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When she remarried, we moved out into a Victorian terraced house without a bathroom. The lavatory was outside, down the backyard. In the brick-walled brew house excuse for a kitchen, there was a fire-heated, bricked-in metal tub for hot water provision for a bath, laundry washing and anything else due to a lack of any piped hot water.

My so-called education ended in a secondary modern school at the age of 15, when I left to work as factory fodder. Fortunately, I was in work for the next 50 years. I worked my way up the ladder, in manual employment, including a few years re-educating myself in further and higher education. This eventually saw me working in a job for the last 20 years until retirement which paid me my work pension.

Oh, and I also became a trade union representative during those remaining years, trying to help others gain equality and respect in my workplace. That, for me, regardless of how I finished up in my comfortable retirement, still makes me working class, and nothing and nobody can take that away from me.

Alan Magnus-Bennett