August 20, 2006

He Has Tomb Much Time On His Hands

A few days after I arrived home last month, I got a letter from my local MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament, for those of you not familiar with the Byzantine political system in this country). It was, to put it mildly, something of a non sequitur.
Dear Mr Ladd,

Eventually, after some considerable time, I have heard from the office of the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland. The extremely good news is that the Keeper has identified that the garden and tomb do not form part of the legal title of the property and has taken the decision to rectify the registered title for 1 Chamberlain Road to remove from the title that area of ground. In short, this means that after the rectification application has been agreed John Livingstone's Tomb and the memorial garden will revert to its previous public status . . .

I know from the large number of residents who have contacted myself and Councillor Sue Tritton, that this will be very welcome news and we would both like to thank you for all your support and help . . .

The Council's legal department has assured me that it will write to the solicitor acting for the owners of 1 Chamberlain Road asking them to completely reinstate the tomb area.

As you can imagine both Sue and I are delighted and again thank all local residents for their support and encouragement.

Yours sincerely,
Mike Pringle MSP
At the time I was still fairly jetlagged and sleep-deprived, and wasn't really sure why my MSP was writing to tell me all this— so I befuddledly cast the letter into the mountain of papers on my desk and forgot all about it.

Then, today, another piece of Scottish Parliament stationary landed in my mailbox:
Dear Mr Ladd,

The saga of John Livingston's Tomb continues.
Oh no!
After writing to you last week when I believed that the decision of the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland was final and that the Council would be taking possession of their ground I am now informed that the owners of 1 Chamberlain Road have a right of appeal.

This latest chapter is, I have to say, very regrettable. The consequences will probably be that all local residents are denied the use of a recreational space over the entire summer.

My colleague Councillor Sue Tritton arranged a meeting with the Council's solicitor which I attended at which the solicitor advised that an interdict preventing the Council from re-occupying the tomb area has been served on the Council . . . Sue Tritton and I have urged the Council to make all necessary efforts to resist the interdicts and re-take possession of the tomb area as soon as possible.

The Council has agreed to inform both myself and Councillor Tritton of any further developments which we well then be in a position to pass on to local residents.

Yours sincerely,
Mike Pringle MSP
What do you think is worse? That some fool with a chip on his shoulder and a mail merge function on his computer can waste public money by sending the same letter to every registered voter in his constituency, regardless of whether or not they even know what the hell he is talking about? Or that somebody thinks the tomb of a long-dead puritanical pastor (thanks, Google!) is a recreational space to which summer vacationers should want to flock?

Needless to say, I will keep you updated on further developments in the saga of John Livingstone's tomb.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I should hope he's long dead, being in a tomb and whatnot.

-Dye! (heh.)

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