Letters: Labour did themselves absolutely No favours

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Johann Lamont is citing among her reasons for giving up the Scottish Labour leadership the facts that the Scottish Labour Party is treated by London Labour as a “branch office”, and that she has not been kept “in the loop” on matters affecting the Scottish party.

If only she had voted Yes in the referendum and persuaded her members to do the same, we would now have been on the way to independence.

This would have been the making of Scottish Labour. No longer tied to the apron-strings of the London party and having to get approval from London before they could do or say anything of importance, Scottish Labour would have been able to make their own decisions, free from outside interference, and given a new lease of life.

Instead, they are still tied to what their London masters tell them and they appear to have condemned themselves to a considerable period in the political wilderness.

Why should I worry about this, as an SNP member? Well, it’s good for democracy to have an effective opposition rather than one that simply has to do what it’s told.

Peter Swain, Innerwick, Dunbar

City’s cobbled streets are a dwindling asset

I fervently agree with Alex Wilson, chairman of the Leith Business Association, that cobbled streets should be revived, not covered with Tarmac (News, October 25).

As a visitor to Edinburgh, I appreciate the character of these historic streets.

In my hometown of Champaign, Illinois, some of our older streets are paved with red brick. They are beautiful and durable, like cobblestone. They will last a long time if given proper care.

The effort to maintain the road surface involves skill and time. No paving machine can do this kind of work. The area of red brick recedes from time to time as the city uses a quick fix. Another lovely stretch of red brick is lost, never to be seen again, except perhaps by future archaeologists.

Martin Beberman, Inveresk Village, Musselburgh

Street entertainers add to shopping pleasure

I’M loving the little jazzy band playing outside Marks and Spencer on Princes Street just now. They are putting a smile on every face passing by; long may they continue.

Moira McDonald, Featherhall Crescent South, Corstorphine

A big thank you to Edinburgh passengers

As we marked World Polio Day on Friday, October 24, new Unicef statistics show that every day, around 1000 children have been protected from disability during a 26-year global effort to eradicate polio.

There is still more to do to tackle this devastating disease and Unicef is working with easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, to raise money to help with the fight against polio.

From July-September, 841,959 passengers travelled with easyJet to and from Edinburgh airport and gave generously to our Change for Good partnership.

As the world’s gaze falls on polio, I want to extend a huge thank you to all the easyJet passengers across its network, who donated a massive £903,000 over the summer to support Unicef’s work.

The generosity of easyJet’s passengers is helping us to vaccinate and protect children in danger from this deadly threat.

David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK

No one ever answers for financial waste

I see that the health service is to go £23 million over budget for a new technology system; this we have to add to a huge overspend on the trams, also the Scottish Parliament, as well as the banks bail-out. This is money we all need to get our country, towns and health service back on track, yet do we ever see anyone getting the sack, never mind that some of them should be throw in jail? No, we just let them say they are really sorry. Big deal, we are all really sorry – sorry that these people continue to get away with bringing our services to their knees.

It’s time we stepped up to the plate and took these people to task before they ruin us altogether.

Raymond Ross, Hutchison Avenue Edinburgh

Youth vote should be offered in all elections

I WAS very impressed by the quality of the questions and arguments being presented by the Scottish youth to the politicians on the stand in the recent referendum.

I would like to ask whether, after this landmark decision to allow 16 to 18-year-olds to vote on the matter of Scottish independence, will they be allowed to vote in all general elections in the future?

For years, 16 to 18-year-olds have been denied access to voting on national matters because they are still legally classed as children and viewed as not competent through immaturity.

Now they have had access to this massive decision regarding Scottish independence, the question is were they being used as pawns to try to swell the percentage swing either way, or are they being genuinely recognised as being capable of making nationally critical decisions?

I commend the youngsters who put forward their questions with flair and eloquence, while the politicians resorted to mud slinging, and would like to know whether the 16 to 18-year-olds of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will now be given access to voting rights.

Of course, if Scottish youth is not given access to general election voting it would tend to indicate they were used as unwitting pawns.

Digby Eade, address supplied