Letters: Dugdale right on schools charity status

Kezia Dugdale MSP. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Kezia Dugdale MSP. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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My wife (a retired state school teacher) and I were appalled to read Martin Hannan’s impassioned defence of private education and critique of aspiring Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in his Evening News column of June 30.

The SNP, of which Hannan is a vocal supporter, purport to be in favour of fairness and equality. Hannan, in the meantime, is an apologist for a system which is elitist and perpetuates social inequalities and old school tie nepotism.

Other, successful, European countries, such as Germany, seem to manage to have good education systems without having to rely on our strange social class divided system.

Interestingly, the page facing Hannan’s column featured a piece by Cllr Melanie Main on the gulf in attainment between better off and disadvantaged children.

Some people may see no connection between these two pieces, but surely it must be obvious that the perpetuation of class-based advantages in education must contribute to this gap in attainment and to inequality in general.

I wonder how many of the supposed army of left-leaning new SNP supporters and members will support views such as Hannan’s. Is this just another example of the gap between SNP rhetoric and action?

All power to your elbow, Kezia.

Henry Kinloch, Campbell Park Crescent, Edinburgh

Weed-covered streets disgrace our Capital

It is a disgrace to see many city streets covered in weeds (‘The wrong kind of weather’, News June 30).

I would expect the streets in Scotland’s capital city to be in pristine condition and well maintained, however, it would appear that the opposite is true.

I don’t understand how the council can use the excuse of the wrong kind of weather. I am a gardener myself and for the best part, while it may have been rather cool, June has been very dry. I have certainly not had any delays in my work in recent weeks due to weather conditions.

I certainly think the problem of excess weeds and untidy streets is the result of cutbacks.

I have worked with several Scottish local authorities within parks and grounds maintenance. I know for a fact that many councils are cutting back on staff and when full-time staff leave they are not being replaced.

I am actively seeking better paid employment, however I noticed this year that many councils are not even advertising seasonal positions, and of those that were, several were doing it through agencies which often pay less and have poorer terms and conditions.

If councils continue to cut back and fail to replace staff, then it is inevitable over time that the level and standard of service in our streets and parks will decline and anything such as bad weather could exacerbate the problem.

I suggest the planned extension of the trams on Leith Walk is cancelled and the money saved is channelled in to parks and street maintenance instead.

Mr Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

No more shopping at Fort Kinnaird for me

Well, that’s definite now, no more shopping at Fort Kinnaird for me, knowing my money is going straight to Westminster (‘Fort Kinnaird turned into Treasury island - revenue from mall will continue to boost UK’s coffers’, News, June 26).

There is a lovely shopping area out by Ikea, and Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh and Livingston have great shops.

Andrew Forrest, Bellevue Road, Edinburgh

Edinburgh grows more shabby each year

No, it’s not just the overgrown weeds and grass that’s turning our city of Edinburgh, which has world heritage status, into a shabby mess (Evening News, June 30).

I recently had a stroll through my boyhood haunts on the south side, namely Drummond Street, Roxburgh Street and Adam Street, and what a filthy mess.

I counted approximately 30+ street bins, most of them overflowing and the majority of them stinking.

Two years ago I wrote to the News regarding the same problem and also saying that the pavement on the lower part of Drummond Street had almost as many holes as the Somme battlefield, and what a poor impression it must have been for the Festival tourists who were visiting a show at the Pleasance.

Part of the pavement, I admit, has had some attention but the lower half is just the same as it was then. When will someone on the city council take responsibility and have our beautiful city cleaned up as it should be?

John Lawrie, Crewe Road West, Edinburgh

Uncaring parents risk their children’s health

I CAN understand why police don’t want to waste time charging parents who smoke in the car with their children present.

If the parents don’t care that they are putting their own bad habits before their children’s health, they are not going to care if they get into trouble for it.

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar

Same-sex marriage vote boosts equality

How wonderful that the US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States.

We cannot hope that hearts and minds will embrace equality when the law itself enshrines discrimination.

Neil Barber, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh