Letters: Council compromised by Brunstane plan vote

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Brunstane Fields were acquired several years ago by EDI – the property development company of Edinburgh City Council – for the purposes of creating a golf course.

In the council’s latest Local Development Plan proposals the Brunstane Fields are now recommended to be re-designated from the green belt to allow 1330 houses to be built.

At a recent public meeting EDI’s chief officer admitted they had managed to ‘persuade’ the council (who also own EDI) to make this change.

As such a re-designation of land would make a lot of money for the council and its company, I doubt if this ‘persuasion’ took too long.

For the city council’s planning committee to make a decision that will financially benefit its own property development company seems to many of us to be a clear conflict of interest.

Michael McNulty, Chair, Craigmillar Labour, Mountcastle Drive South, Edinburgh

Salmond’s attitude smarts of dictatorship

So much for Alex Salmond announcing that the pen has written, so to speak, and a democratic decision made, so let’s now put differences and any animosity aside.

Now, according to the press, he is advocating (to my mind) doing an Ian Smith and declaring UDI (Ian Smith, Prime Minister Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia, as happened in 1965).

The suggestion is, if at the next Scottish Parliament election, the SNP gets an overwhelming majority, that would be seen as a mandate from the Scottish people to assume independence without any need for another referendum. We will just declare UDI and stuff Westminster and the 55 per cent of No voters.

In other words, completely ignoring the recognised procedures of democracy. This smarts of dictatorship.

And now Tommy Sheridan, out of expediency, is shelving his extreme form of socialism and advocating we ditch the Labour movement and join the SNP to accomplish the aims of independence. This is not addressing the problem that prompted the ‘No’ vote in the first place. Talk about flexible principles...

“I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – Voltaire

I truly believe in this mantra, but recent events have sorely tested it.

Frank Ferri, Newhaven Main Street, Edinburgh

Does boycotting small firms have any effect?

Having read M Chaplin’s letter about police surrounding a Palestinian group in Ocecan Terminal (News, September 19) I thought I’d add my thoughts.

I was in Oceal Terminal a couple of weeks ago and saw a pro-Palestinian group handing out leaflets at the top of the escalator on the first floor. The reason they were doing this was to try to persuade shoppers to boycott a stall based there which sells beauty products produced by an Israeli firm.

My experience of the situation was of feeling slightly uncomfortable but it seemed peaceful enough and there was no police presence. Perhaps the situation escalated since my visit, or perhaps the Israeli company felt intimidated enough to ask for police protection.

I have every sympathy for the Palestinian cause, the brutality, cruelty and unfairness of their situation has not passed me by. Not knowing anything about the Israeli firm which was trying to sell its products, I don’t feel qualified to comment fully on the situation, but I can’t help thinking that if it is a small firm (and they only have a stall, not a proper shop, within Ocean Terminal) then how does boycotting them help Palestine?

They are probably just innocent Israelis trying to make a living and by boycotting them we could possibly cause the firm to close and the only people that hurts is the people who work for that firm.

If boycotting Israeli firms is thought to make a difference or at least a political statement, surely it should be the big state-owned or corporate giants that operate in Israel which should be being targetted. Targetting the ordinary people probably only hurts them, causes more resentments and helps no one.

G Fraser, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Labour hypocritical over Iraq air strikes

Whether for or against proposed military action targeting Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, it is more than a little hypocritical for the Labour Party to attack the SNP for voting against the motion to lodge air strikes.

Some 23 Labour MPs also voted against the motion, including five Scottish MPs. Another 14 Labour MPs did not even bother to turn up to vote.

There are few opposed to taking military action on principle, especially when dealing with a reign of terror orchestrated by IS which has seen beheadings, including those of British citizens, rapes and crucifixions. There seems little idea however as to how the success of the campaign is to be measured, especially when there is limited ground support from the Iraqi army and there is no commitment to post-conflict resolution.

Mr Cameron has stated that military action must be part of a “comprehensive” political and humanitarian plan. What that is has not yet been made clear and more detail is required about how the campaign is envisaged to develop, with a clear timescale and identified outcomes.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh