Letters: How Labour lost touch with reality

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Labour’s disastrous general election results both north and south of the Border had been coming for a long time, because the party that once represented the working classes has lost touch with reality.

Scotland doesn’t need the same old party that for years just made up the numbers in Westminster, but new, strong and resilient champions that will fight for every man woman and child throughout our country

Considering he has failed miserably as Scottish Labour leader I am astounded that, unlike Ed Miliband, Jim Murphy took so long to resign when his position became untenable.

He maintains that his short term as leader of the Scottish Labour party was insufficient time for him to make a difference.

I think a lot of Labour supporters might disagree with Jim Murphy on this one because, in such a short space of time, he has somehow managed to press what can only be described as Scottish Labour’s nuclear self-destruct button.

Throughout the whole election campaign both he and Miliband were naively orchestrating their own demise by spending more time consistently demonising the SNP than listening to what the people of Scotland wanted and unless they begin to understand why disenchanted former Labour supporters like myself have chosen to listen to the SNP, their party will never recover.

Nicola Sturgeon has been pivotal in the SNP’s landslide success and as leader of her party has been both dignified and articulate, despite attacks from all quarters, and has shown her quality of leadership is one that Scottish Labour should mirror if they ever hope to recover from this wipeout.

The Labour Party’s Scottish executive committee must now realise that it’s not a football pundit they need but an injection of new blood and fresh ideas that are in tune with today’s electorate, and if they can’t take that on board then Scottish Labour deserves to be relegated to the second division forever.

Gerald Grainger, Mucklets Drive, Musselburgh

Bus shelter renewal was poorly scheduled

When work started recently on the Princes Street bus shelter renewal programme there was no provision made for temporary bus stops. In fact, you had to walk from Castle Street to beyond Hanover Street before a stop was available.

This has now been rectified by temporaty notices being attached to the cage enclosures surrounding the work sites. Princes Street now has no bus shelters on the shop side along the whole length from the West End to Register House at the East End. The whole area looks like a battlefield with caged enclosures.

Taking into account the present wet weather, surely the work could have been staged so that pehaps only three at a time were removed so at least some shelter was available.

I wonder if anyone in the city council takes responsibility for programming this type of work or if it is just left to the contractors to do as they please.

John M Tulloch, Duddingston Park South, Edinburgh

PPP legacy helped sink Labour challenge

Jim Hill was so right to point out that we are paying a heavy price for Labour PFI contracts, (Letters, May 15).

First trialled on the NHS by the Tories, PFI was opposed by Labour in opposition until it became a flagship policy of New Labour under Tony Blair.

Now known as PPP, the theory behind it was simple, if gross. Private business funds projects up front and the government repays the money at astronomical rates of interest over 30 years.

A typical example of the perfidy of PPP was the closure of the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in the centre of town and its replacement built by a private business consortium on the outskirts. Edinburgh got a new hospital, the consortium got enormous rewards, but the people of Edinburgh a new hospital with sinister strings attached.

Investigation exposed serious flaws in PPP. The extra cost of borrowing and clauses which gave the consortium the right to increase prices uncovered a massive gap between the cost of the new hospital under PPP and the cost if it had been built under the old system of public funding.

Some extra cost was met by cutting beds and staff and extortionate car parking charges. Under the public sector, the new hospital would have cost under £200 million. Under PPP, it cost almost £1000 million.

How Labour Labour politicians could buy into this Tory system of injustice escapes me. PPP was a monster out of control leaving councils all over Scotland in debt for years to come.

It may not have been the final nail in Labour’s coffin, but PPP was certainly one of many.

Jack Fraser , Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Coalition leaves Lib Dems in wilderness

As Nick Clegg returns to the opposition back benches, no doubt reflecting on the mauling his party took at the election, will history judge him as the man who presided over the demise of the Liberal Democratic party or as one who saw it his duty in government to limit the excesses of the Conservatives?

Perhaps he did not understand the tribal nature of politics in this country as there are thousands of (now former) Lib Dem voters who never forgave him for going into coalition with the Tories.

Politics can be a cruel, unforgiving profession as many have experienced. Personally I think it will be decades if ever for the party to recover, now that the political landscape has changed beyond all recondition.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh