Letters: Bridging the credibility gap will be a difficult task

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IT is absolutely incredible that the new Forth bridge deal is to be drafted by the same bunch of lawyers who “Tied” us up and got us taken for a ride (News, November 21).

We have been “Bilfingered” and we are set to be thoroughly “Bergered” up to the billion pound mark. These lawyers did not serve the best interests of the public who were supposed to be their clients and who had to pay their exorbitant fees.

Honest mistakes might have been made by people such as Councillor Mackenzie, who has excused himself as a naive former social worker hopelessly unqualified for making big-money decisions, but I can’t help but hear the sound of hard, bitter, cynical laughter resounding round the city.

Alan Murphy, Learmonth Grove, Edinburgh

Crags the place to display symbol

A GREAT deal of indignation has, rightfully, been raised over the suggestion that the Olympic rings be displayed from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle.

As one who is completely uninterested where or when the Olympics or any similar sporting event takes place I do feel strongly the suggestion of using our castle as a giant advertising hoarding for an event that is taking place 400 miles away reached a new low in absurdity.

However. if these stupid rings have to be displayed in the Edinburgh area then why not drape them from Salisbury Crags? With a couple of high-powered torches placed on the roof of the Evening News offices directed on to the rings we would then have a new tourist attraction for the city, and it would be seen over a much wider area than can be seen from the Castle.

J Thom, Edinburgh

Structures of UK and EU different

OTTO Inglis sadly equates the current constitutional set-up of Scotland within the UK, with the situation that an independent Scotland would face within the European Union (Letters, November 24).

Nobody, except Mr Inglis, would seriously say that EU states such as Finland or Italy are not independent countries. But as part of the UK, Scotland has no independence. There is no comparison between the centralist structures of the UK, and those of the EU, where member states co-operate but retain their sovereignty.

For instance, the Scottish Parliament, even were it to use all the tax powers available to it, would still only control five per cent of its revenues. If we were an independent country, we would control 99 per cent of them – everything except our EU receipts. There is clearly no comparison between these two kinds of union.

Independence in Europe means accepting the role and responsibilities of a member state of the European Union, in which independent states have pooled certain of their sovereign rights for the common advantage.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Much to ponder over zoo pandas

WHAT’S happening on Corstorphine Hill? The postponed arrival of pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guan at Edinburgh Zoo is yet another mysterious twist in this long drawn-out saga.

In a recent report the annual leasing fee Edinburgh Zoo has to pay China for each bear was given as £700,000. That matches the £1.4 million deficit the Zoo suffered in 2010.

The zoo took out a £2m loan with Lloyds TSB to help pay operational costs and to create the facilities needed for the pandas.

The new enclosure for the pandas cost £300,000.

It is going to cost £70,000 a year to import bamboo from the Netherlands to feed the bears.

Could Edinburgh Zoo be having problems raising the cash to fly the pandas to Scotland or have the Chinese authorities asked for an up-front deposit before granting an export licence allowing the pandas out of the country?

John F Robins, Animal Concern

Get tougher with the public sector

WHY is this government not being tougher with the public sector and telling them that the country and taxpayers cannot afford the gold-plated index linked pensions, the employers contributions and the early retirement packages?

Let them strike and lose pay until they see sense.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow