I READ with great interest the Hamish Morrison article on the “fireworks disturbances” referred to perhaps more accurately as a riot (“Support needed for teens behind Bonfire Night riot”, Nov 8).

Whilst I agree with most of the points made, I fear that Hamish does not go far enough.

Please consider, if you will, this fictitious scenario. Imagine that there is a dangerous cliff adjacent to a heavily populated housing development and that many youngsters have been hurt, some seriously, by playing on the cliff and subsequently falling.

Two possible solutions have been proposed.

1) Build an expensive wall around the top of the cliff to prevent children playing in that area. This is considered an expensive option.

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2) Place a first aid kit at the bottom of the cliff to allow injured fallers to be given rudimentary treatment.

If you were to live on the housing estate in question, which would you choose? A rhetorical question since of course you would go for the wall regardless of the expense.

Now consider the recent riots and possible sources of the problem.

Undoubtedly, the lack of effective policing and youth facilities and activities are significant contributors to the problem, and poverty has a big part to play, but they do not address the source of the problem (they are a bit like the first aid kit at the bottom of the cliff). I would consider the most important factor here to be inequality of opportunity within our society. Inequality, for example, in education, health, careers and housing.

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I wonder what proportion of the rioting young people would give much of their time to seriously consider which university or college course they will embark on, or whether they will consider a career in, for example, law, medicine, engineering, education, because you can be sure that conversations along these lines figure prominently in the lives of many groups of young people and their families. The groups who feel confident of future success.

Unless we can open up these opportunities to all, giving our young people a genuine sense that they have a stake in our society, a society worth working for and not against, then I fear we are going to have regular repetitions of disturbances such as those which we have just witnessed.

It will certainly not be an easy or cheap move for politicians and society in general to improve the inequality situation but the alternative, I believe inevitably, will be more civil disturbance.

We are worth better, are we not?

Alex Leggatt

THE current boundary change proposals for the Westminster constituencies in Scotland need to be looked at again if they are to embrace the principles of the Boundary Commission.

Principles include special geographical considerations including particular size, shape and accessibility of a constituency. Local government boundaries are also a consideration under the principles. Local ties that could become endangered as a result of boundary changes are also embraced in the principles.

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My own area of Falkirk, a historic town, is effectively having a cut through the local authority, with some parts of Falkirk being moved and joining parts of Clackmannan, and other parts moved over to be in the new Bathgate and Linlithgow constituency. With few transport links, it makes no geographical sense and splits communities.

Falkirk Westminster seat should embrace the boundaries of Falkirk Council for numerous reasons and practical operations.

The Boundary Commission needs to embrace communities ties going forward, not splitting!

Catriona C Clark

IT seems to be a regular feature on the political calendar that up jumps the infamous Boundary Commission to exercise its will on which constituency we shall require to get our heads round at the next Westminster election.

A quick glance in my own area suggests that Clackmannanshire and Forth Valley constituency will link Denny with Auchterarder, which will now be lumped together to stretch the bounds of imagination. Auchterarder, just down the road from Perth; Denny, just down the road from Stirling; Falkirk and most of mid central Scotland.

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Apparently, the Boundary Commission brief is to balance constituency numbers, so what changes numbers if not demolition and reconstruction or new development? The areas stay the same, the local problems relative to Westminster influence remain the same, so why reshuffle the boundaries as a consequence of a few hundred more houses being demolished or developed in a particular area?

Furthermore, when we see the proposal that the constituencies currently held by two of Scotland’s most outstanding MPs should be no more, it’s not stretching the imagination to wonder what is going on here.

Perhaps a re-think on the brief of the Boundary Commission would serve us better.

Tom Gray