Letters: Caution is key until we know truth about Syria

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Although Ed Miliband came late to his position and hasn’t exactly ruled out supporting the bombing of Syria, his decision to exercise caution is to be applauded.

Now that it is being suggested by some Middle East correspondents that Saudis could be behind the chemical attacks on the people of Syria, we need to know the truth before we go gung-ho into another illegal war. We need to know if the Assad regime has used chemicals and we need to know if Britain has played any part in 
supplying these obscenities.

While our politicians argued and still argue, there is no doubt in my mind that the great British public has led the way on opposing the bombing of Syria. We want the truth, not a repeat of Tony Blair’s lies on Iraq.

It was a pity that just after Labour’s historic vote on Syria, Alistair Darling chose to try to make political capital for the No to Independence campaign by suggesting that an independent Scotland could not be a world leader like Britain.

What a ridiculous idea. Given that an independent Scotland would never have supported the illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and would not bomb Syria, I think Alistair Darling should say sorry to democrats who support an independent Scotland.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Over-65s are digging deep for charities

It is heartwarming that another survey has highlighted that the over-65s are the most generous in supporting charities, despite not earning a wage and seeing pension pots squeezed. Recent reports also say that the retired generation dedicates more time to 
volunteering.

Giving to a good cause is something we can all do, but not everyone makes the most of all the tax incentives available for charitable giving. Gift Aid or Give As You Earn mean that a favourite charity can reclaim the tax paid on the donation and adds to the amount given.

When charities are themselves under so much pressure, going that extra step can add up to a lot.

Alan Innes, Partner, Pagan Osborne, George Street, Edinburgh

Overhead lane signs would stop confusion

I totally agree with the sentiments of Kevin Currie (Nightmare of one-hour trip between stations, News, 
September 2).

There are many lane markings in the Capital which are either faded or the traffic is so heavy that the markings are obscured by the vehicles. I have lived here all my life and even I am not sure the correct lane to be in at times.

Why do we not copy the USA and have the lane arrow indicators on a thin wire above the streets? They would be always visible, no maintenance required and you can see from afar which lane you should be in, in plenty of time.

Seems like common sense but I will not hold my breath.

John Gray, Stenhouse, Edinburgh.

Forces could show Hinds how to clean city

If Councillor Hinds wants to see how Edinburgh can be cleaned up, I suggest she inspects any MoD property, Royal Navy, Army or RAF, which are spotless. This is achieved by the personnel themselves with regular daily and weekly inspections.

She may even have noticed that all the equipment, before it left Afghanistan, was sent back spotless, ready for action. The castle esplanade is a classic example.

I should add that streets and drains do not clean themselves.

CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

We need to take fresh look at war on drugs

I read your story about legal highs becoming more common with a heavy heart. It seems that legislation cannot keep up with the drug “cooks”. As soon as one substance is banned, another slightly different but just as dangerous drug appears on the market. It is clear that legislation is no longer the answer. In fact, it has 
probably never been the answer.

Banning drugs has not stopped them from being easily available. It has not stopped people from taking them, and it has not stopped people dying from them. The quote from Crew 2000 in your story which said its research had shown that 31 per cent of users surveyed admitted using a “mystery white powder”, meaning they did not know what they were taking, is a very worrying statistic.

Young people often seem to think they are immortal. They possibly see drug taking as a rite of passage. They never think they will be the statistic who ends up dead.

I have no answers. All I know is that making drugs illegal doesn’t seem to be doing any good, and we need a proper, open debate about how to stop these needless deaths from substances we are powerless to control.

Brian Armstrong, Cramond, Edinburgh

‘Special relationship’ with US is insulting

It is insulting and tedious when President Obama says Britain has a “special relationship” with the US. Because the only time the US gives a jot about Britain is when they want us to join them in one of their illegal, ill-fated wars. And to say otherwise is complete tripe.

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar, East Lothian

Thanks to Gardens staff

Compliments are due to the many city council staff who keep Princes Street Gardens such an attractive venue for locals and visitors alike.

Retiring member, West End Community Council, Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh