THIS week, our readers wrote to us about council tax, the Holocaust Memorial and a charity half-marathon for meningitis and septicaemia. Here's what they said...


Raising council tax

Dear Editor, 
Well, it was only a question of time before local councils decided that enough was enough and rather than continually cut services and reduce staff, both courses of action that badly affect those they serve, have decided to consider raising the council tax. 
Of course the SNP government who came up with the tax freeze in the first place as a vote-catching measure would deny that there was anything wrong, and any problems were the fault of the individual councils concerned and not them and sadly Westminster, much as the SNP would like to, could not be blamed this time.  
The council tax freeze was an unfair measure cynically intended shore up the vote from middle income families who would reap the greatest reward from it, those on lower incomes would not and could not gain from the freeze, but they were never intended to. 
It seems that the wheels are starting to come off the SNP wagon, but it will takes a few more years before the public finally wakes up to the fact that the Nationalists (the clue is in the name) are a one-issue party whose sole aim is the break-up of the highly successful UK and, once the oil finally runs out, and it will, condemn Scotland to a backwater country reliant on the EU for handouts. Scots wha hae indeed. 
Brian Allan, Kincardine-on-Forth


Charity half marathon

Dear Editor,
Runners wishing to be part of Meningitis Now’s team at this year’s Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon need to ‘get their skates on’ to secure one of our guaranteed places.
On Sunday, October 9, over 16,000 participants will gather in Hyde Park to set their pace through Central London, taking in breathtaking sights of some of the most famous attractions in the world and the stunning Royal Parks.
 Our places in the 13.1 mile route are running out fast and those wanting to join in the fun have until the end of April to sign up.
By running for us you’ll be helping to fight meningitis with every stride and move us one step closer to our vision of a future where no one in the UK dies from meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.
Sadly, meningitis and septicaemia continue to affect thousands of people in the UK and kill more under-fives than any other infectious disease. Help us fight back on all fronts by funding research to eradicate the disease, raising awareness and supporting survivors.
To find out more and sign up e-mail
Yours faithfully
Lydia Reed, Meningitis Now


Holocaust memorial

Dear Editor,
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday, January 27 is ‘Don’t stand by’.
At over 3,500 events across the country, hundreds of thousands of people will hear about bystanders, those whose silence and indifference allowed dreadful persecution, and ultimately genocides to take place. And we will honour the rescuers and resisters, people who not only saved individuals, but who took action against bigotry and hatred.
We know that silence and indifference in the face of discrimination and hatred allows persecution to take root, so we want to encourage people to stand up and speak out, in the way many brave souls have in the past.
As well as taking a stand in our own communities here in the UK today, we also need to be mindful of the fact that genocide is continuing in Darfur, where thousands of people have been murdered and millions have been forced to flee to makeshift refugee camps. We all need to reflect on the fact that the path to genocide begins with exclusion and discrimination, and that standing by allows hatred to take hold.
In our film for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016, Susan Pollack, a survivor of the Holocaust, tells for the first time a surprising and unique story of surviving genocide.  
Please visit, share the film using social media, and sign up to our Thunderclap, so that Susan’s story is shared as widely as possible at 1pm on January 27. 
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Holocaust Memorial Day Trust


Windows to our souls

Dear Editor,
Has the world ever been in such a state? The children trapped in conflicts, worldwide, are suffering life changing experiences. 
If the eyes are the “windows to our souls”, then through the media of television, we see the bewilderment, and apprehension, reflected in their faces almost on a daily basis. The latest tragedy of a group of refugees, drowning at sea, 17 of which were children, seeking a safe haven from war zones.
The proxy wars, now years old, make a mockery of the so called United Nations and European Union. 
Hence my wee poem, the second of a trilogy:

‘A lonely child’

A lonely child stood, and looked around,
It could not believe what it had found.
A World of conflict, a World of pain,
What had humankind thought to gain?
To blunt the innocence that came,
That it should unveil, and expose the blame,
That is shared by the whole of humanity.

The shock of naked reality, of the innocence
That day, when that child looked around.
The pain and hunger that it would feel,
Abandoned to find life, and maybe survive.
The struggle, even to stay alive.
A lonely child stood, and looked around.
This World, Oh humanity! Where are we?

R C Imrie.