Letters: Dragging smokers to black market traders

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I noticed a large advert in the Evening News on January 24 warning about illegal tobacco. I have to question if adverts like this are now necessary as a result of Scottish and Westminster government policy on tobacco in recent years?

As an adult, I am currently unable to go into a supermarket and other large shops and see the make of tobacco that I wish to buy as it is all covered up by large screens or hidden below the counter.

Small newsagents will be next to be forced to hide tobacco from public view. There is also a lobby calling for plain packaging, which I also fear is not too far away.

Perhaps this problem is of the governments’ own making? The harder it becomes for people to purchase what is essentially a legal product, the more likely it will become that they will resort to extreme measures or go underground to obtain these products.

There is also talk of banning flavoured tobaccos and banning packs of ten cigarettes and smaller packs of rolling tobacco.

If the shops won’t sell these legal products, then of course it is going to lead to the possibilities of black markets opening up.

Whilst I would not encourage people to buy from black market sources and there are possible health risks in doing so, I can certainly understand why some people might be tempted in doing so and I certainly don’t have much sympathy for the authorities if this is now happening on a larger scale.

Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth

Too much done to appease cyclists

I HAVE recently been travelling back and forth from Craigleith to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary both during the day and in the dark.

I am amazed that there are not more accidents involving cyclists.

The main concern is with visibility – their small lights are totally inadequate, and all I have come across have dark clothing, which makes them almost invisible in the dark.

Most of the problems come from cyclists who try to pass cars on the inside of slow-moving traffic.

In my travels during the recent wet weather, over a distance of about 14 miles, I am only aware of about a dozen cyclists. Is it not possible we are catering for a very small percentage of the road-users and trying to integrate them with faster road-users is not feasible. It’s interesting that there seems to be fewer cyclists on the road in inclement weather and an increase in cars.

Alan Ross, Edinburgh

Parly’s pigeon policy is cruel and reckless

I WAS appalled to read that Holyrood bosses who want to rid the Scottish Parliament building of pigeons must consider moving from a policy of deterrence to killing the birds, as contractors have said (News, January 24).

Animal welfare campaigners are right to brand the idea reckless, cruel and irresponsible. The taking of any animal’s life is grossly wrong.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh

Can we track down conductor?

I HAVE attached a copy of a ticket from one of the last trams in Edinburgh, inset. You will see from the signature the conductor is an ‘A Chisholm’ and his number was ‘4323’.

I was a young lad at the time and my aunt took my friend and me into town to travel on one of the last trams. I was wondering if anyone knew of this gentleman?

You will see from the date on the ticket (November 16, 1956) this was the final night the trams were running.

I am not sure if this will be of interest to any of your readers, however, there may be some family of Mr Chisholm or a friend that may remember him.

Jim Pitkethly, Edinburgh

Repeating the same old tired falsehoods

It was intriguing to see unelected Conservative peer, Lord Lang, claim that Scottish independence could lead to a flight of jobs and investment from the nation.

I cast my mind back to 1997 when his fellow Tory and the then leader of the party, William Hague, said that devolution would leave Scots “disappointed, disillusioned and depressed, living in a high-tax ghetto”.

He also commented that he was convinced the Scottish Parliament would be a “flop”, with a future Tory administration seeking to abolish it due to its failures and interestingly that it would lead to “a flight of jobs and investment from the nation”.

This view was echoed by the chairman of the Scottish Tories, Raymond Robertson, who warned that a devolved Scottish parliament could cost Scots nearly £1600 in taxes over its first four-year term, impoverishing the nation and turning Scotland into a high-tax ghetto.

Lord Lang and his Tory colleagues are using many of the same tired old arguments deployed against devolution to oppose independence.

They were wrong then and they are wrong now.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Scots can bank on currency confusion

An independent Scotland will have to have a currency of its own, or not be really independent.

Now they have to decide what they would call it. The Scottish Florin? The Scottish Shilling?

Maybe the Scottish dollar or franc. Sterling, the name the pound is styled as, refers to silver.

The Gaelic name for silver is airgead. Then they have to decide how many airgeads to the pound Sterling and set up money exchange points on the Borders.

Sue Doughty, Verey Close, Twyford, Berks