Letters: Cycle shambles just latest blunder on Leith Walk

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Living as I do in Leith Walk, I was interested to read Paris Gourtsoyannis’s report in Saturday’s News regarding the ‘shambles’ for cyclists under the dedicated bike route.

Of course, this latest show of incompetence is only a part of the Transport Committee’s plan to install the tramline down the Walk, regardless of the costs or the wishes of the local residents.

It should be axiomatic that no further plans for extending the tramlines should be considered, let alone implemented, before the Hardie inquiry reaches its conclusions.

I very much hope that Lord Hardie can/will order a moratorium to this effect, to put a stop to Lesley Hinds’ committee’s wanton waste of public money – remember the £400,000 plan to survey the possible extension at the same time as tearful contrition about financial waste?

Another sign of ineptitude includes the unnecessary widening of the pavement down the Walk, which is not justified by the average footfall, and its extension out into the road which reduces parking space, long a part of the Walk’s amenities for shoppers.

I seem to remember that the SNP was against the introduction of trams from the outset and I hope that the impending influx of SNP MSPs will serve to put a check on the council’s wilful blindness to the implications of what it has already done, and to what it plans to do to Leith Walk in the future.

Christopher Frew, Leith Walk, Edinburgh

Ed’s refusal to work with SNP is big error

My, how the narrative has changed! As one who was raised in a Labour household where the prevailing mantra was ‘vote Labour to keep the Tories out’, I can’t believe Ed Miliband would rather see a Tory government than work with the SNP.

Citing nationalism as a stumbling block to any deal, Labour’s dismissive rejection of Nicola Sturgeon’s attempt to unite Scotland against the Tories’ unfair austerity programme defies belief and displays a serious lack of understanding of Scotland’s changing political landscape.

Mr Miliband just refuses to get his head around the fact that Scotland will only win independence if it is the democratic will of the Scottish electorate.

Seeing Labour running scared of democracy is not a pretty sight, in my opinion.

Personally, I have always thought that the SNP’s meteoric rise to power was because Labour abandoned its founding left-leaning social democratic principles to the SNP.

When Labour joined in the ‘No’ campaign’s crass attempts to equate progressive Scottish nationalism with extreme nationalism and even fascism the writing was on the wall.

It is now in capital letters after Gordon Brown plumbed new depths when he recently tried to draw parallels between the rise of xenophobic parties, anti-European parties and anti-immigrant parties like the National Front and UKIP with the rise of the SNP.

These moronic accusations are dangerous. Not only do they insult SNP supporters, they insult every decent one of us who believe in our democratic system.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Cameron has changed his tune on Scotland

A few short months ago David Cameron begged supporters of the SNP to stay with the Union ‘as equal partners in the most successful democracy the world has ever known’.

Now he views the prospect of the SNP contributing meaningfully to the Westminster system as ‘frightening’.

So what contribution does Mr Cameron deem acceptable? The weekly antics at Prime Minister’s and Scottish Questions might provide an answer.

When Angus Robertson asks for reassurances concerning closures of Moray airbases he is told instead that ‘the only thing flying in an independent Scotland would be a kite’.

A week or two later a Tory with similar concerns over the fate of RAF Marham, is treated to a considered and courteous reply.

It would seem for Unionists that, ideally, the role of the SNP in Westminster is to supply a small number of members who each week can be subjected to the sneers and jibes of Tory toffs and Labour’s dinosaurs. How they crowd in to enjoy the sport!

The invitation to join the Westminster bus clearly has unspoken limitations. First six only – move right to the back – keep your hands off the bell – do not distract the driver.

To ‘it’s events dear boy, events’ Mr Cameron might wish to add ‘it’s also unintended consequences’.

Archie Davidson, Caroline Terrace, Edinburgh

Nicola extends the hand of friendship

It’s good to see Nicola Sturgeon has promised to represent the interests of voters across the UK if they win influence at Westminster.

Of course, the SNP ultimately wants independence for Scotland, but this is a UK general election and although the Tories in particular would spread fear in their attempt to scare voters in the rest of the UK, the positive ‘hand of friendship’ offered by Ms Sturgeon should, I hope, allay any fears they might have.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh

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