The effort by DONALD Trump to persuade officials in the U.S. state of Georgia to reverse the outcome of the election he lost (“Trump put pressure on Georgia election officials to “find” him votes,” The, Jan. 5) is outrageous, but reveals what a shockingly poor president he was. As if we needed some more proof.
If angry Republicans boycotted today’s Georgia Senate election and let the two Democratic candidates sneak home, preferably with 11,779 votes, it would be poetic justice. In the Senate, the upper house of the U.S., that would result in a 50-50 split. Congress, in the hands of Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, with a decisive vote.
The control of both houses is just as critical as the presidency, considering the three-way separation of power between the two houses of Congress and the president. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Georgia’s Democrats win, because then we could see America reclaiming its position as a world-renowned country, not as the humiliating pariah that President Trump has attempted to turn it into.
“Mr. President, you’re a loser!”Mr. President, you’re a loser!
Doug Maughan, Dunblane. Dunblane.
TIME TO COUNCIL TAX ABOLISH.
Some important points are posed by MARTIN Williamson (‘Council tax timebomb in coronavirus aftermath,’ Jan. 2). One argument he does not answer is the fact that it will never be enough, no matter how much money councils have. They are a typical example of the Rule of Parkinson, which states that expenditures rise to meet revenues. For companies that do not have to increase the money they spend but rely on taxes, this is not unusual. Almost all of the revenues of the city government comes from taxation, either direct grants from the government, corporate taxes, and local taxes. Some are raised by parking fees, but we are assured that this is not actual revenue and just covers the expense of parking attendants and the like.
The government had the bright idea a few years ago of raising the top four levels of council tax by another £ 100 to £ 400. This money was aimed at supporting pupils in deprived communities and was generously given to head teachers. In each classroom, much of the money was used to promote and increase the salaries of a few chosen teachers. It was never clarified how this benefited marginalized kids. We have learned nothing else about this curriculum, but there are still paying students in grades E through H.
There is still a lot of indignation, as well as the generous severance packages and pension plans, about the wages paid to senior council workers. The existing scheme does not take into account the ability to pay, and as the government provides much of the council’s funding, why not go all the way, remove the council tax, increase the income tax by a few pence, and let all council spending be funded by the government? This will mean that everybody contributes to local services by receiving more than a certain amount. By removing the need for each individual council to provide its own collection service, it would allow the council to save money, and it would avoid bad debts and the related collection costs.
Kirkintilloch, JS Morrison.
POIGNANT PUBLIC ISSUE
Due to the lack of road salt, YOUR report on the added risks of winter frost (‘Covid and ice falls: Concerns Scots hospitals will be overrun,’ The, Jan. 5) was timely, exposing the pitfalls of many of our sidewalks. It was heartening to see a photo at work on Argyle Street in Glasgow of a gritting machine.
Let’s hope that devices like that are a symbol of things to come in every borough. They will certainly be worth the expense, not only in terms of the cost of falls on the NHS, but also in terms of the overall well-being of those who during such winter periods are limited. (I’m referring to when we are not subject to constraints from Covid).
It is also important to remember that during icy weather, it is not just the elderly and infirm that are at risk of falling.
Paisley, Rev. Alexander Macdonald.
LOCH LOMOND IS Holding IN A VIRGIN STATE.
The opinion of SIR Tom Hunter on the planned development on the shores of Loch Lomond (Letters, January 5) is clearly clouded by the fact that he finds the development to be a “outstanding world-class development.”