Hogmanay’s changed a lot since days of the Tron

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I was interested in your piece about Hogmanay celebrations through the ages (News, January 2). Today’s Edinburgh Hogmanay attracts visitors from throughout the world and is a welcome source of revenue for the city.

There are those who remember the old New Year celebrations at the Tron Church with happy memories and wish it was still a part of the celebrations. Around 1958 I celebrated New Year at the dancing, and armed with a half bottle of Abbot’s Choice whisky got the bus with two friends to the foot of Leith Walk where we were told a party was being held.

It was a false alarm but we managed to get a bus back to Clermiston, about two miles from my house. It was freezing cold and wet and my shoes got stuck in the mud and I was sick a couple of times (not used to whisky). Eventually we staggered home and went straight to bed, but I forgot to take my socks off and the sheets the next morning were filthy. My mother went bananas.

I escaped to the Hearts/ Hibs New Year’s football game and to make matters worse Hibs won (they occasionally did then) and then the girl I met at the dancing did not turn up for our arranged date.

My hangover seemed to last forever, almost till I went back to work, but with the rest of the apprentices I said what a great New Year I had. It was almost the done thing to get drunk then.

The Edinburgh winter festival is a revelation compared to the old days (of course not many were like mine) and I learned my lesson the hard way.

Edinburgh’s many attractions are family friendly and don’t require the “Devils Brew” to be enjoyed. An old saying, nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation, but not whisky!

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh

Star Wars is no place for feminist agenda

The all action combative omni-competent female lead in the new Star Wars film ticks all of the boxes for feminist campaigners. This agenda is perhaps most apparent when young newcomer Rey advises the vastly more experienced (male) owner of the Millennium Falcon on its technical operation, and, surprise surprise, turns out to be right.

Anyone familiar with Bob the Builder will recall the overt perpetual technical superiority of Wendy, Bob’s boss. I expect this sort of feminist influence in children’s programmes on the BBC, but not in a Star Wars film.

The solution to the “problem” of fewer women opting to pursue studies and careers in engineering is not to engineer fictional characters portraying the female wonder-technicians that the hoards of feminist academics, bloggers and campaigners decided not to become.

We should just accept that men and women tend to have different inclinations and interests, and not try to steer people away from what they want to do. Even in the most “enlightened” Scandinavian countries, gender divisions in career sectors are still clear.

I urge everyone to choose a career path that fits their personal aptitudes, values and ambitions. Others want to steer people into certain careers in order to fulfill the feminist dream of an androgynous statistical utopia.

Richard Lucas, Broomyknowe, Colinton, Edinburgh

SNP must spend more on flood defences

The Scottish Government’s Infrastructure Investment Plan 2015, published with other Budget documents, has 163 pages of the SNP’s investment plans for the next 20 years, their vision for a prosperous, fair and well connected Scotland.

Climate change objectives have their place, as they should given the global warming we are experiencing, but when it comes to flood defences, £170 million is to be invested in reducing the risk of flooding from sewers – apart from that, nothing.

There is annual funding through the local government settlement, so that local authorities can invest in flood protection, but this is simply outsourcing the problem, not a strategic, co-ordinated, long-term plan.

South of the border, the Tories continue to promise whatever it takes, whilst cutting spending on flood defences at the same time. It looks like the SNP intends to follow their example. There is a crying need for more long-term investment in flood protection, but what is the point of the SNP government if, like the Tories, they refuse to spend money in order to protect their citizens?

Phil Tate, Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh

Emission reductions not legally binding

Gina Davidson says “Climate Change is with us” (News, December 31). She then states “the Paris climate agreement saw governments pledging to cut greenhouse gases to keep the global temperature rise down to below 2C”.

Oh no they didn’t.

The Paris conference allowed countries to create their own voluntary plans and be self-monitoring.

The emission reduction promises are not legally binding, and as they stand, will only cut greenhouse gas emissions by about half of what is considered essential.

China and India are responsible for 30 per cent of global emissions and they have stated that they will not reduce their emissions until after 2030. China has 2363 coal-fired electricity plants with another 1171 planned. India has 589 with 446 planned. None have carbon capture and storage so their emissions will increase.

Developing countries will never abandon cheap fossil fuels for expensive renewable energy.

It was reported in The Scotsman that the US space agency Nasa said that the effects of the current El Nino weather phenomenon were responsible for the worst floods seen in 50 years in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil and was a factor in the UK floods.

Not a mention of global warming, Ms Davidson.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow