SO Alex Orr thinks we should just let councils get on with taxing us more, ignoring that every solution to our failing councils and local government is deemed by politicians to be simply giving them more money (Letters, February 11)?

When councils can’t even collect bins, when they squander money on unaffordable pet projects (£4 million for Edinburgh’s guided busway, for example), spend millions on unworkable and substantially ignored 20mph speed areas and millions on a politically correct cycling fraternity that doesn’t pay specifically for its infrastructure like other road users, the problem for underfunded services isn’t money, it’s the woeful priorities councils set that divert cash from them.

READ MORE: Councils must be trusted to decide about local taxes

Twenty years into devolution, yet the Scottish Government hasn’t conducted a root-and-branch review of local government. Devolution added an expensive tier of democracy rather than improving it. Scotland deserves more.

We’re a small country with a big country’s local government structure. Do we really need 32 different licensing authorities, legal departments, HR, housing, education and all the other departments with 32 replicated administrations draining council funding that should be spent on frontline services rather than bureaucracy?

Why not trim back councils, establish technology-assisted central services agencies and use the money saved to fund what citizens need, rather than waste it on replicating functions that technology can better serve? Why don’t we create a new administrative services centre and locate it in Dundee, a commercially scarred city crying out to be given purpose in our hopefully soon to be independent Scotland?

Devolution stopped in Edinburgh. Let’s move it on, cut administration costs, and save money for frontline services instead of more unfair taxes on those can least afford it.

Jim Taylor

I TEND to agree with Simon Taylor (Website comments, February 9) when he says “stop getting so exasperated by the BBC”. But I disagree that the BBC is an “irrelevance”.

When programmes such as BBC Question Time go out, when we see the blatant disregard for Scotland (eg lack of the logo on the Newsnight set), when our elected MPs are dropped from live reporting of parliamentary debates, the message going out across rUK and abroad is neither positive nor reflective of Scotland today.

Scotland has not featured post-EU referendum in the media as we should have: voting as a nation to Remain, majority pro-indy MPs representing us in Westminster, and the constructive role the Scottish Government and the FM have played subsequent to the EU referendum. We appear either as an afterthought or more the moaning neighbour, uppity, speaking out of turn, a one-trick pony with only independence on our mind.

We cannot afford to overlook the pro-Union stranglehold that forms the base of the majority of press, TV and media both in Scotland and across rUK.

If I lived in, say, Belfast, and was now considering a change in my political beliefs regarding a united Ireland, I could find and weigh up “alternative” views just by reading and tuning into information from Eire in the first instance. But we have a very limited and localised pool of pro-indy material.

That doesn’t matter to me and I suspect Simon Taylor and very many more. But it does matter if all you hear, see on screen and read in print is pro-Union and anti-indy.

Thank goodness then there is more emerging in the way of podcasts, local TV and radio. The Scottish Government continues to do the day job here and abroad, all carrying constructive messages, and challenging the downright unfit-for-purpose UK Government (ferry contracts anyone?) And this as we’re witnessing the collapse of two-party ding-dong politics across rUK. Both major parties, Tory and Labour, are being driven apart internally over their lack of vision and planning for the future.

I just hope that once the indyref2 date is finally announced, if not before, our strategy is secure and ready to go to combat the type of social media blitz we saw in the run-up to the EU referendum. A stream of negativity is bound to come our way. Slogans may seem “cheesy” and by their nature, downright repetitive. Get them right and they’re great; get them wrong and you’re lumbered with a red face. Cambridge Analytica Mark II, or by any other name, is out there somewhere, being primed, ready in the wings.

Let’s face it: post-Brexit, deal or no deal, rUK will need us, will look to us, to brand our products, sell our oil and gas, repatriate powers to Westminster, and maybe even make a move on our parliament, all in an effort to keep them afloat a little longer. So we need to be ready to take every advantage we’re offered.

Calling out the BBC and promoting Scotland the Brand are just two examples of what we can do as individuals. But the vision of independence that unites us – cross-party, no party, and across the population – makes it that wee bit easier!

Selma Rahman