I am disgusted to hear that Tory Jeremy Balfour has been caught playing a card game on an iPad during a council meeting, (News, September 7).
Firstly, a councillor’s main duty is to represent his constituents. If he is playing games on an iPad during council business then he is certainly not fulfilling his duties. If Cllr Balfour is unable or unwilling to do this then he should resign his seat with immediate effect and allow someone who is to take up his position.
Regardless of what happens, I certainly hope he faces a severe reprimand. It appears to be council issued equipment he was using at the time. I am almost certain if this had been an ordinary council worker they would have been on a disciplinary for misappropriation of council equipment.
I would certainly have to question if the issuing of expensive electronic devices to councillors is the best use of taxpayers’ money. If they are 100 per cent used in the correct manner then this would not be an issue, however what Jeremy has done has proven our councillors are not to be trusted. Perhaps the money spent on these devices could have gone to help city residents who are struggling to cope with the Bedroom Tax imposed by the same party which Jeremy represents.
Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife
Obama’s Syria stance is laced with hypocrisy
For Obama to declare a “red line” over chemical weapons, backed with the intention of punishing whomever he believes responsible, is rank arrogance laced with hypocrisy.
The US has enthusiastically embraced all manner of inhuman weaponry, from chemicals to napalm and flame-throwers, without concern for innocent victims (routinely camouflaged as inanimate “collateral damage”).
Even accepting the improbably accurate figures quoted, a clear inference can be drawn from the fact that this push for “retaliatory” action erupted over a mere one per cent of the number already killed over two years by conventional weapons.
Obama has seized this opportunity to intervene without risking American troops, though seemingly in no hurry. That’s partly because Syria is not the true target.
The intention is to frighten Iran into halting development of nuclear capability, which would be the ultimate dishonesty: the first country required to abandon all nuclear weapons should surely be the only one which has actually used them.
How the likes of Obama can talk about “innocent victims” without choking on the words is beyond me.
Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent
Bridge plans will boost tourism and economy
I was surprised to read the anonymous letter (September 6) complaining about the plan to turn the Forth Bridge into a major tourist attraction. It seems a great idea to me to encourage people to marvel at this wonderful feat of engineering.
Imagine being able to stand on the top of it! And what a boost to our economy in these hard financial times.
Sylvia Wilson, Maxwell Street, Edinburgh
North Sea contains oil not ‘revenues’
In his letter of September 6, Alex Orr accuses George Osborne of misleading us about North Sea Revenues. The boot is on the other foot.
His letter is plainly wrong, as he talks of £1.5 trillions of “revenues” in the North Sea. There is no such thing as revenue lying in the North Sea. There are reserves of oil, of which, according to the report he quotes, around 15 to 24 billion barrels are still available. Assuming a price of $100 a barrel, that is worth around the figure he quotes, but this is NOT revenue for the UK or Scottish Government. It is revenue for the oil companies.
The revenue for the government will derive from royalty payments.
Donald McBride, Craigleith Hill Crescent, Edinburgh
Society’s secular claim hides atheist beliefs
It is common to read letters from Neil Barber of the local secular society in your pages, this time insisting that morality is possible without religion (News, September 7).
This is not very controversial. What would be more interesting would be if Mr Barber were to explain to us why his small society does not admit to being a club for atheists and agnostics and not really particularly about secularism. I doubt if a single member is a religious believer. He certainly, from his writings about “superstition”, can be classed as an atheist.
It would be much more honest of his society if they would admit that they are too.
Angus Logan, York Road, North Berwick
Beautiful tapestry does us proud
Having recently been to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland at the Scottish Parliament, I would like to say what a privilege it was to see a piece of history in the making, displayed for all to see and appreciate.
This was a mammoth task from its conception to completion, involving so many talented people, all of whom deserve the highest accolade; from the 1000 stitchers who sewed the 160 panels, no doubt with blood, sweat and tears, as well as love, to the extremely talented artist, Andrew Crummy, historian Alistair Moffat, and to Alexander McCall Smith, whose idea it was to produce a masterpiece of the history of Scotland as a legacy for this and future generations to admire.
Well done to all concerned. You have done us proud.
Rosemary Wilson, Goff Avenue, Edinburgh