Letters: Fringe venue to resurrect Edinburgh music scene

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Regarding the declining Edinburgh music scene, what Summerhall has decided to do by hosting a series of gigs by up-and-coming artists with the proviso that a local band is on the bill is a step in the right direction.

For many years Edinburgh has prided itself on being a world-class centre for culture with its reputation built on the many festivals hosted by the city attracting all types of artists.

You would think it would make an ideal place for aspiring musicians, full of opportunities to develop, grow and reach an audience, yet despite Edinburgh’s rich cultural façade, the music scene is in decline, partly as a result of the council’s licensing policy and how it deals with noise complaints from residents.

In terms of entertainment and the arts, Edinburgh has become a world class importer of culture, which is shameful as there is an abundance of diverse and high quality local musical talent that doesn’t receive any support and struggles against the decline in the number of music venues in the 
Capital.

In contrast, Glasgow council is in discussion with its musical community over plans to stage its own version of the famous South by Southwest festival held in Austin, Texas.

If Edinburgh council is really serious about helping to turn around the fortunes of the city’s music scene, it should sponsor a month-long series of showcase gigs for local bands and artists during the month of August, using the festival platform to show off the fine music which comes out of Edinburgh, when given the chance.

This should be free to the public and promoted by the council as part of the festival programme.

It seems only fair that the resident artistic community should also benefit from the city’s standing as an entertainment capital.

Julian Vaughan, Director, Tonegarden Studios, Edinburgh

Mike’s missing the point on Cammo plan

What I thought was a newspaper, popped through my letter box today, but it is actually campaigning material for Mike Crockhart, the LibDem MP, who accuses the SNP of pressing ahead with unwanted development in ‘a monstrous betrayal’ of the local people, particularly the residents of Barnton and Cammo.

I can only assume that Mike Crockhart doesn’t read the Evening News, which last week confirmed that the city’s SNP councillors had taken a stance in support of residents by demanding removal of the Cammo development from the Local Development Plan (‘Planners blasted over key development vote failure, February 19) and that the Scottish Government did not ‘intervene’ in the way he suggests, but it was virtually handed it on a plate by the tardiness and indecisive behaviour of the Labour members of city planning in abdicating their local authority responsibility of making a decision on the matter. (‘Use the power that you have been granted’, editorial, February 18).

One understands the mounting pressure faced by the local MP, both in the current polls and, dare I say, some annoyance at the opening of the SNP’s new constituency office next door to his – but that should not drive him to the extent of misleading the public in such a blatant 
fashion.

Angus J Stewart, Echline Drive, South Queensferry

TTIP deal would not impact on the NHS

RECENT claims that the NHS is facing a threat from a US/EU trade deal by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon refers to legal advice given to Unite, that public health providers could be exposed to private “cherry picking” under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated.

As the Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, has said, the EU will make sure governments do not have to open up any of their public services markets (such as publicly-funded health services) to private operators if they do not want to, and that should they choose to do so, there is nothing to prevent them reversing this decision in 
future.

It makes no difference whether a member state already allows some services to be outsourced to private providers, or not.

An Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in TTIP could not prevent a service being brought back in to the public sector or force the payment of compensation for such an 
action.

Authorities retain the right to open or close a particular public service to competition should they choose to in the future. A decision not to renew a contract would not give grounds for an ISDS claim.

Graham Blythe, Head of Office, 
European Commission in Scotland

SNP on strong ground at Grangemouth

Michelle Smythe (Letters, February 16) is on very shaky ground when she introduces Grangemouth to her political points scoring.

It was the escalation of a fractious dispute between Blairites, supported by Jim Murphy, and the Unite union over Labour candidate selection that gave INEOS the excuse to hold the Scottish and UK governments to ransom over Grangemouth, and Alex Salmond won universal praise for his handling of the matter, thus saving the 800 jobs that were put at 
risk.

On gas fracking it should be noted that the local Labour MP for Grangemouth didn’t turn up for the recent debate at Westminster where Labour MPs refused to back an SNP call for a UK-wide moratorium.

Calum Stewart, Montague Street, Edinburgh