Letters: Council is talking rubbish while covering its ears

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As Oscar Wilde might have said, “to dig up Princes Street once is unfortunate, but to dig it up twice is careless”.

Having been eaten alive in the tram dispute you might think the council would hesitate before venturing into the world of commercial contracts.

Once bitten, twice shy? Apparently not. The council is about to parcel up thousands of jobs and services and pass them to private companies.

Of course the council has a euphemism officer or spin doctor who insists we don’t call this “privatisation”. Too many negative associations with job losses, pay cuts, and dreadful services. In Edinburgh-doublespeak the council is following an “alternative business models programme” to select a “strategic partnership” with a “specialist provider”. Staff won’t be dismissed, rather they will be “transitioned”.

You don’t need to have read 1984 to recognise the manipulation in these weasel words.

The Orwellian undertone doesn’t rest there. When the unions complained about the absence of public consultation the council did what it always does when it is in a pickle – hired an expensive consultant.

The public told the MORI pollsters that they don’t like private companies making profits from their council tax.

So the word went out in the Ministry of Truth – bury the report. The people of Edinburgh spoke truth, but the powers that be won’t listen.

The first in line for “transitioning” are the refuse collectors. The private contractor is offering to save a fortune by scrapping the multi-bin recycle system.

Fewer bins equals fewer trucks equals fewer workers.

If you’re undecided about the case for privatisation, join us at Appleton Tower, 7pm on Monday and hear both sides.

Peter Hunter, regional organiser, Unison Scotland

Shifting elderly is not the answer

A report from the Intergenerational Foundation talks about older people “bed blocking” the housing supply for younger people.

This level of social engineering is not, in my opinion, the way to ensure people are living happy, healthy and comfortable lives. A home is about far more than bricks and mortar and no-one should be made to feel they have a sell-by date.

Most elderly people will have worked hard to buy their home and may have been settled for a number of years.

When you consider people with dementia, often familiar faces and places can make a real difference, forcing people to move could have a very detrimental effect on their standard and quality of life

There are hundreds of new-build developments with vacant properties and half-built developments. It is difficult for first-time buyers to get on the ladder due to mortgage availability.

There is potentially a plentiful supply of housing without making older people feel they need to give up their homes.

Lianne Lodge, associate, Pagan Osborne and member of Solicitors for the Elderly, Queen Street, Edinburgh

Don’t make Gaels the scapegoats

IN complaining about the plan to set up a Gaelic school in Edinburgh (News, October 20), Gina Davidson talks of how “a bad policy is being driven through ... regardless of the damage it might do”.

Does that not sound like the tram fiasco that has eviscerated Edinburgh financially?

If we did not have to pay hundreds of millions of pounds for a badly-run project that was neither needed nor wanted by most, there would have been plenty of money to comfortably pay for education for all, including those who wish to be taught in Gaelic.

Charles Anderson, East Craigs, Edinburgh

Not a bright idea from the council

WAS it Edinburgh’s councillors who came up with the “bright idea” to light up Edinburgh’s grand buildings and landmarks when we lesser mortals have to face hardship and are told to cut back with our energy bills?

Not only for the cost, but to help save the planet.

Why don’t our councillors take some responsible decisions and not think up ways to spend, spend and spend on unnecessary expenditure for once?

R Glanville, Rathbone Place