Letters: Department needs to clean act up for city to improve

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Whilst agreeing with Councillor Lesley Hinds’ statement that it is a minority of people who do not dispose of their litter properly (Letters, March 30), the basic problem is the cleansing department itself.

The entire working practice is flawed. As opposed to three or four of a crew driving around in vans, split them up, give them a barrow and brush and a designated area to cleanse.

Friday was a perfect example of this, a crew of five men walked around the Jock’s Lodge area cleansing various streets. This work used to be done by one “scaffie”, and the end result was exactly the same. Surely that is an inefficient use of manpower. If that area does not incorporate grass or shrub land, then they should not even have a litter pick. That way they would have to sweep the street.

Cllr Hinds also mentions local cleansing initiatives. That again is fine if the cleansing department maintained that level of cleanliness. I can give another example, a spring clean for London Road Gardens. After the clean they were perfect, a few weeks on and they are back to square one, because the cleansing department has failed to maintain that level of cleanliness.

David Black, Kenmure Avenue, Edinburgh

Give us a poll on EU membership

“After independence, we intend to remain part of the European family.” Thus ended Nicola Sturgeon’s address to European Policy Centre members in Brussels on February 26. The crux of her claim is the identity of the “we” to whom she refers.

If she means the Scottish people, who were never afforded the democratic courtesy of being asked their intentions, that would be arrogance, compounded by naive complacency if based solely on opinion polls. She also seems to 
prejudge the result of the Scottish election.

Presumably she would expect to win a referendum on continued EU membership, so let’s have one, say three months before the independence vote.

That would partially redress our being taken into the original Common Market on a raft of government lies about retaining sovereignty. Being eventually subsumed into a European super-state under planned central control was also covered up. Where stands “independence within Europe” in such a future?

Any referendum should in any case proceed from public petition, not political dogma.

Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent

Separate state would be fairer

Julia Gordon (letters, March 29) may wish to remain in the fourth most unequal country in the world with an economy based on a volatile stock exchange but I would rather live in a fairer independent Scotland which would be one of the richest nations in the world.

The difference between the Cyprus and Scottish economy is like night and day. For example, Scotland produces 60 per cent of all EU oil output, is the second largest EU producer of gas and has 25 per cent of the EU’s total offshore renewable capacity. Oil revenues of 
£1500 billion remain to be extracted, more than enough collateral to support any future bank bailout. In any event RBS and HBOS were UK banks with 90 per cent of their business outside Scotland before they collapsed under the UK system, and is Julia seriously suggesting that after independence a UK Government would not help their own taxpayers?

Scottish taxpayers currently pay our share of the bank bail-out which is factored into the latest Government’s GERS figures that show Scotland would be financially better off than the remainder of the UK, thus better placed to pay for future pensions and become a social democratic country.

Janice Thompson, Walter Scott Avenue, Edinburgh

MEP’s energy claim outrageous

It’s outrageous for Struan Stevenson (Letters, March 29) to suggest that the Scottish Government or the renewable energy industry is responsible for fuel poverty, far less deaths.

Energy bills have risen due to wholesale price of gas which reached a record high in March and the greed of British Gas whose profits rose 11 per cent this year, five times more than the cost of inflation, and generated £600 million in profits.

Renewables have not caused any deaths, which is more than can be said for nuclear power stations.

Calum Stewart, Montague Street, Edinburgh