Letters: City’s headstone policy is wrecking cemeteries

Headstones have been toppled in Morningside Cemetery. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Headstones have been toppled in Morningside Cemetery. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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Are the people of Edinburgh aware of the “institutional vandalism” occuring in increasing regularity 
 in the city’s cemeteries?

Following the centenary year of the First World War, headstones of our war dead are amongst the randomly destroyed monuments to our ancestors. This devastation is not the result of mindless or drunken youths but the deliberate action of Edinburgh council in the name of health and safety.

How do other less rich towns and villages throughout Scotland manage to respectfully maintain the history and memory of their community cemeteries?

In recent years the ombudsman for planning in Scotland declared maladministration against Edinburgh council for allowing pieces of cemetery land to be sold off and built on.

Now magnificent Celtic crosses and beautifully carved Victorian headstones lie higgledy piggledy (many face down) amongst much newer, modern marble and granite monuments. Many have been removed/stolen.

I would urge anyone with an interest in our city’s history or heritage to visit their local cemetery to check out if it is in the same kind of shambles as Morningside Cemetery. It now resembles the background of some futuristic horror movie.

Rona Robertson, Morningside Drive, Edinburgh

Blair’s insults show he belongs in Tory Party

Breathing a breath of fresh air into a stale Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn must have rekindled the interest of many lapsed supporters. So, how does a struggling Labour Party react? Of course, it gives a discredited Tony Blair a platform to push his right-wing views and insulting behaviour.

Suggesting that people who have Corbyn’s politics in their hearts should “have a transplant”, Blair went on to insult SNP supporters by accusing their party of behaving like “cavemen”. Mr Corbyn’s supporters were also branded as “dumb” and “morons” by Blair and his acolytes. When former Labour Party leader Margaret Becket was asked on a radio programme if she was a moron for nominating Jeremy Corbyn, she admitted she was. Unbelievable!

So, why should ex-Labour supporters listen to Tony Blair, a politician who came to power on fighting privatisation by renationalising the railways and no tuition fees? Blair broke his promises, extended privatisation, even in the NHS, left councils in debt due to PFI and took Britain into an illegal and immoral war in Iraq based on lies and deceit.

Shouldn’t Tony Blair and his followers leave decent Labour supporters alone and at least show some dignity by applying for memberships of the Conservative Party where they really belong?

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

It’s not all positive with electric cars

The green brigade delight in the announcement that 14,500 electric cars were sold in the UK compared to under 5000 the previous year.

Electric cars are expensive, take up to eight hours to recharge the batteries and only have a range of 100 miles.

The global warming followers monotonously point out that electric cars reduce CO2 emissions.

To put their “delight” into context there are over 35 million vehicles on UK roads of which 29 million were cars. There are 1.2 billion vehicles in the world and the number is expected to rise to 2 billion by 2035.

Green zealots do not have an ounce of common sense, with their varied and expensive proposals to save the planet, ignoring that the UK has only 1.5 per cent of global emissions.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Skills shortage holds construction back

The latest figures from the Insolvency Service are encouraging, showing a 20 per cent decline in the number of Scottish building companies forced into compulsory liquidation during the 12 months to June 2015. In total, 119 Scottish construction businesses failed during that period, down from 148 over the previous 12 months and a peak of 228 over the 12 months to June 2012.

These results suggest the industry is more or less on track with the rest of the economy, with insolvencies across all industries down 22 per cent over the past year. They provide further evidence of the tentative recovery being experienced by the industry. At the same time, with more than one in five Scottish business bankruptcies being construction-based, there is absolutely no cause for 
complacency.

There are also some potential headwinds to future growth in construction, not least a growing shortage of skills. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular need support to invest more in skills and apprenticeships.

With apprenticeship registrations in Scotland still 44 per cent below where they were prior to the recession, rebuilding the industry’s skills base is now a critical priority.

Vaughan Hart, managing director, Scottish Building Federation, Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh

Obama should stay out of UK’s EU debate

President Obama has stated that he believes the UK should remain part of the European Union.

This reminded me of an occasion some years ago when I met an American who was with a group campaigning for Britain to adopt the euro as its currency. I asked her if America would give up its currency. She was outraged at my question and said America would never give up the dollar.

I feel President Obama has adopted the same arrogant attitude as he is proposing that the UK continues to accept the present situation when he would never consider America joining a similar type of group of nations.

William W Scott, St Baldred’s Road, North Berwick