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West Lothian NEWS - news as it happens in West Lothian

Relief that centre scare is a hoax
Thursday, 30 November 2006
SIR, I have been very worried re the terror scare which has recently came about.

I work at Almondvale Centre and would be in the middle of any scare which would occur there.
 
Now that it transpires to be that its a hoax, I feel more relieved.

Name and address supplied

Centre hoax is a classic urban myth
Thursday, 30 November 2006
SIR, The recent rumour of the bombing at the Almondvale Centre is a classic Urban Myth

Check out    http://www.snopes.com/rumors/warning.asp

Paul Sloan, West Lothian

A crime is a crime in anyone's book
Thursday, 30 November 2006
SIR, I would like to thank Mr lard again, he has shown that he spends a lot of time copying and pasting someone else's statements, while having the ability to delete and insert relevant names. Now this takes a lot from a so called educated man.

I don't know whether I admire him or pity him because; I don't really know what he is actually thinking when using copy and paste tactics.

So I think I will leave replying to any future comments made by him. I actually came on to see if readers have noticed the recent surge in reports about the failure of the legal system; to defend the victims of crime due to "technicalities".

The laws of this land are more geared to the perpetrators of crime rather than the victims, some of the recent reports have had cases dropped through, names spelt wrong, wrong house numbers on warrants, wrong street names, so on, so on.

I know that the people preparing these warrants should get the details right, but does that deflect from the fact that these criminals are not being punished through clerical errors.

I don't think we know to what extent this happens, as it is only the most serious of crimes that are being highlighted through miscarriage of justice, or the lack of it.

No doubt Mr lard will think it is uneducated people who are to blame for this too, maybe he thinks you should only have criminals punished by highly educated people.

A crime is a crime in anyone's book, whether you are educated or not, mistakes made on warrants, it doesn't escape the fact that the legal system is letting victims of crime down.
 
S.J   West Lothian

It's not all black and white
Thursday, 30 November 2006
SIR, I was interested in the recent letters concerning thoughts and words.

Obviously, if we claim to be a democratic society we believe in freedom of speech. The difficulty arises when some of the writers, especially SJ see everything as black and white, when in fact in most matters there are grey areas.

SJ is one of the hanging/flogging brigade who also want to withhold medical treatment to prisoners. Does this include people who shouldn't be in prison?

A survey done at Strangeways Prison in Manchester found out that more than half the prisoners shouldn't have been in prison, they were suffering from mental health problems and should have been receiving medical assistance. What about innocent people like the Guildford  4?

Many prisoners are in for petty crimes like shoplifting, Cornton Vale the women's prison is a prime example of this. Alternatives to prison are surely the answer in many cases.

Concerning the use of words, SJ obviously didn't have the pleasure of reading Charles Dicken's books when at school ( with its wonderful use of the English language ). Having stated he likes simple words a good Christmas gift for SJ would be "The Complete Plain Words" by Sir Ernest Gowers.

One final thought for SJ, the great Scottish tradition of striving for self improvement through education is still alive, buy yourself an English dictionary, or a Thesaurus, better still do a College course involving English, Philosophy, or Economics.

Come on SJ you know it will do you good.

William Kirkton, West Lothian

Fact is there's facts and facts
Wednesday, 29 November 2006
SIR, SJ believes that his writings are based on facts. This may be so. However it is wrong to assume that facts and education are inherently linked. In many case they are poles apart. The man who believes he knows a fact may in actual fact know nothing. Worse he may be so blinkered by the fact that he is closed to learning.

SJ, it is important to recognise that very little is as you see it black and white: some things on closer inspection are, grey (including that which looks factual). Let me try and explain.

You say it is a fact that you attended Bathgate Academy. Unless you are lying or making a joke then this fact is unchallengeable.

You say you left school to work with people who understand small common words. I think it's a fact that you were indicating that you left to work with the common man. However those who understand the small common words also include the great thinkers, artists, writers and poets etc.

However in terms of knowledge of self and understanding of sociological influences your reason for leaving school may not be a fact. I would ask you to take a step back and rethink that decision. In doing so consider family expectations, peer group pressure, economic and social pressures that might have influenced your decision to leave school and enter the work force with five o levels. Why did you leave school,?was it really as simple as you thought?

Is it a fact to say that over the last ten years most legislation has been about undermining Christian beliefs? Has legislation lead to a more intolerant society? Do you refer to Scottish, British, EU or local legislation? What do you mean factually by most? Is your assertion based on fact or is it on reflection just a gut reaction?

SJ consider whether the abolition of slavery made our country less tolerant? Did we have a sectarian problem in Scotland before anti-sectarian legislation? It may be a fact that more people are charged with sectarian offences now we have a law in place. But to say the law makes people intolerant is like saying we would have no murders if we made murder legal.

You also think that plain speaking is factually desirable. Please consider the great literary works that would not exist in your world. Remember also that we can dumb down so much that the meaning is lost. English is a rich language filled with nuance of meaning. Do you want to lose that? I don't think a world without words like liberal democracy, philosophy, moral and universal suffrage is a better place.

SJ don't switch of when working class people looking for proper debate question your facts. Don't expect working class people to blindly leave school to become economic fodder for the capitalist classes. Or if they don't fit your worldview accuse them of being elitist.

I'm not as suggested by Mr steward (intentionally anyway) a self-satisfied little twerp working in social work who would send criminals on holiday. Unsurprisingly, it would take intense politic discourse to make my mind up either way on that subject. After all there are many arguments for and against. Lets have a debate!

What I would recommend is that SJ considers a course organised by the Workers Education Association. This working class institution was set up to liberate the workers through education. Only through understanding the world and their place in it can the workers engage in the politics of liberation. Only through education can the conveyer belt of school leaver blindly leaving school to join the army, work down the pit (theoretically speaking) or in some other way prop up the system be challenged. A conveyer belt so good at what it does the people on it believe they chose it!

Capitalism-turkey-Christmas: QED. The answer is education in the form of philosophy, politics, history; and to a lesser extent sociology. SJ give it a go.

Kenny Lard, Bathgate

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