Letters: Council’s excuses for our filthy Capital are rubbish

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It really is a disgrace that so many areas throughout the city, none more so than the city centre, cannot even achieve a basic standard of street cleanliness ( News, March 14).

Add to that the quite insulting excuses given out by Councillor Lesley Hinds. In this day and age, in this country’s capital, we have to choose between gritting and street cleansing. How stupid is that?

This city has had a serious problem with street cleansing for many years. In addition, the city has had the same director in office for years, the same management in office for years and the same working practices in place for years.

Not one thing has changed for as long as I can remember. They have been talking about introducing “zero-based resourcing” for the last six months. In plain English, what is that?

In my own ward of Craigentinny/Duddingston, consistently one of the worst wards in the city, the cleansing department has yet again failed to achieve the basic standard.

This is ironic given that our three councillors consist of two Labour and one SNP, the two parties responsible more than a year ago for voting down the motion to privatise the cleansing department.

David Black, Kenmure Avenue, Edinburgh

Defence policies are stuck in past

I WAS amused by Colin Keir MSP’s letter concerning defence (March 14). Whilst he made perfectly valid criticisms of the Coalition’s defence policy and of the last Labour government’s merger of the Scottish regiments, he did not advance any arguments at all for separate Scottish armed forces.

In essence, the SNP’s position appears to be: “Our defence policy: It’s nae worse than the others.”

The established parties are all very weak on defence, because their thinking is stuck in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Our politicians and their advisers seem to treat Professor Francis Fukuyama’s book The End of History as gospel.

They appear to believe that we have no substantial enemies and face no serious threats.

They neglect the rise of China towards superpower status. They meddle in the Middle East, overthrowing relatively stable regimes with all the adverse consequences including genocide and bringing religious fanatics to power.

At the same time they down play the nuclear ambitions of the brutal theocracy in Tehran and continue an unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

We should substantially increase our defence spending and at the same time adopt an adult foreign policy that doesn’t meddle recklessly in the outside world.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

Don’t sacrifice nation with SNP

THE SNP under Alex Salmond’s leadership is prepared to sacrifice Scotland’s future for a “Yes” vote.

Scotland is working well under a progressive devolution process, and gaining momentum for more powers to control Scottish affairs as each year goes by.

So why break up something that is working progressively well under the solidarity of devolution and the Scottish infrastructure? Devolution has strengthened Scotland’s way of life for the foreseeable future and has won future concessions to further strengthen the economy and protect our pensions, our rights, the development of our industrial base and our NHS.

Under a “Yes” vote this would certainly not happen.

Chas Dennis, Niddrie Marischal Road, Edinburgh

Iconic building needs lick of paint

WHEN walking down Regent Road it is very noticeable how neglected the old Royal High School building looks.

A coat of paint on the doors would make a tremendous difference.

The state of them at the moment must give tourists a very bad impression of this iconic building.

Morris Tulloch, Goff Avenue, Edinburgh

Best wishes to the new pontiff

IT’S grand news that a new Pope has now been elected.

Cardinals surprised the world by choosing Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

He is the first to take the name Francis after Saint Francis of Assisi. Very best wishes to Pope Francis.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh