I AM appalled - but honestly not surprised - at the latest cost cutting measures proposed by council officers which, if agreed, would be to the detriment of the people of Renton.

The latest one, which directly effects the education of our young people, is the proposed closure of St Martin’s Primary, which again is top of the cost cutting agenda from education as point EDC01.

This is in spite of these officers’ so called masters (councillors) agreeing the motion put forward by the SNP administration in February 2010 that the council instructs officers that “St Martin’s Primary school would no longer be accepted as a savings option allowing the school stability and an opportunity to increase the school roll”.

A subsequent amendment to this motion raised by the Labour group stated that the council “confirms its commitment to support St Martin’s Primary school on its present site for the foreseeable future, furthermore this council agrees that it could have handled the process in a more sensitive way and, without prejudice to any officer or elected member, apologises to the staff, parents and children of the school for being the cause of unnecessary stress and upset.” Seven months down the line here we are again with officers recommendations being the cause of unnecessary stress and upset to staff, parents and children of the school. It is alright for council leader Ronnie McColl assuring parents that this option will not be taken, but when is he and his administration going to take officers to task for repeatedly attacking services in Renton.

Before we hear the usual excuse that we need to make money go further, or the latest “sweat more out of services”, people of Renton don’t come with problems we come with solutions. One possible solution is to start talks with one of the most successful and renowned organisations in Scotland which has a proven track record in delivering new and innovative ways of solving problems.

If Cordale Housing Association had not come to the table with solutions then Renton would not have a healthy living centre, a shop, quality houses and a fantastic extra care facility all of which has and will continue to accrue surplus for the Renton community.

These services were all innovative solutions to problems that seemed insurmountable, but Cordale and the community of Renton came together and solved them.

So, my advice for councillors, council officers and the powers that be from Education, whose only solution to the schools question it seems is closure and/or amalgamation, is to approach Cordale and the people of Renton and ask them how they would solve this problem, you never know you might even be seen in the future as the “guru” that brought about a revolution in how schools are built and run, as long as you leave us to get on with it nobody from this village will care.

Jack McGougan, Renton Protest against bonuses WHILE the Tories think we will actually swallow their guff about “we are all in it together”, the think-tank Centre for Economic and Business Research, cut through all the nonsense by confirming bankers paid themselves £7bn in bonuses this year.

Let us remind ourselves how these parasites caused the crisis.

The crisis resulted from the long-term over accumulation of capital, combined with a sharp downward pressure on the share of income going to workers, temporarily overcome in terms of economic demand by the creation of bank credit.

It was speculation in poverty credit that precipitated the banking crisis. And the fundamental problems of income inequality and poverty remain.

They pay themselves billions in bonuses while workers face compulsory redundancies and services for the community are slashed. Protest at the special meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council on Thursday October 14 10am at Garshake when elected members consider cuts to services and join the STUC demonstration on Saturday October 23 in Edinburgh.

Tom Morrison, secretary Clydebank TUC Are red squirrels native?

AS The Scottish Wildlife Trust and its partners set about hosting Red Squirrel Week, it will be seen by many that the “native” red squirrel has become a focus for tourism and grey squirrels are paying the price with their lives.

But is the claim that the red squirrel is “native” to Scotland, or even the British Isles accurate?

According to Faunal Remains from Radiocarbon-dated soils within Landslip Debris from The Undercliff, Isle of Wight, Southern England (R C Preece 1985), the finding of a fragment of a young red squirrel on the island’s Binnell Point is the earliest and only securely dated British record at 4480bp (around 2500 BC).

Earlier cave finds have been criticised as based entirely on poorly stratified specimens and weak scientific methodology.

So, was this fragment that of a live inhabitant of the island or part of a carcass washed up in heavy seas along with debris of other carcasses at a coastal point facing the European mainland?

And what DNA evidence identifies it as the same species or sub-species as the present-day red squirrel?

Equally questionable is that pseudo scientists are using expanded boundaries of political states rather than the natural range of species to define “native” origins.

Examples of this are the Isle of Wight fragment qualifying the red squirrel to be regarded as native to the whole of the British Isles and the Alaskan polar bear regarded as “native to the United States of America”.

This is political spin masquerading as science.

Returning to Scotland there is no fossil evidence that the red squirrel species was ever “native” to this country.

A recent Freedom of Information request to Scottish Natural Heritage regarding its website claim that the red squirrel has been “part of Scottish fauna for thousands of years and has been present ever since” resulted in the astonishing admission that, “we can confirm we do not have on file the information which underpinned the original sentences supplied by the contractor” - un-named of course.

So the bottom line is that the foremost national heritage organisation in the country, Scottish Natural Heritage, cannot back up claims made in one of its own websites from any source whatsoever - but that’s not surprising as it is impossible to prove a myth.

In reality, rather than in the prejudiced world of pseudo science, all squirrels irrespective of their colour are as much native to where they are born as we are, and when an individual grey squirrel is clubbed to death for not being “native”, it is not a “species” that is being attacked but a real live animal undeserving of its fate.

Angus Macmillan, Meikle Boturich Be honest about ‘cull’ LEWIS Pate, of the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), would make a good politician.

In your article about squirrel control (Reporter 5/10/10), Mr Pate said: “I feel the word culled sensationalises things.” There is no chance of Mr Pate sensationalising things. Indeed, he sanitises the project by talking about trapping the grey squirrels and selectively controlling them - not once does he use the word kill.

Let us be perfectly clear about this.

The SWT want to trap and then kill as many grey squirrels as possible. My organisation and others oppose this project on both moral and ecological grounds.

At the very least we ask the SWT to be perfectly open and honest about what it is doing so the public can decide whether or not they want to support an organisation which is catching and killing grey squirrels in several different areas of Scotland.

John F Robins, Animal Concern Advice Line