Letters: Leader not living up to manifesto

Andrew Burns. Picture: Kenny Smith
Andrew Burns. Picture: Kenny Smith
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Have your say

GINA Davidson (News, June 13) rightly scorns the Council Director of Corporate Governance’s proposal that the handling of whistle-blowing reports should remain with the authority’s senior officials alone and suggests that councillors may “have forgotten that they are the masters and the officials the servants”.

It’s worse: they seem to have forgotten that, at least in theory, it is the public who are masters and the councillors and officials our servants and that we demand from them all competence, honesty and integrity.

In the 2012 local election, Labour rousingly promised, “A council where fairness, accountability and responsibility really matter”, but it is unfair that a council employee who, in choosing to blow the whistle on genuine instances of council mismanagement or malpractice, could still risk facing disciplinary action.

Officials, whose conduct could bring disgrace and sometimes enormous cost to the council, may still not be held accountable; and councillors who obstinately refuse to make effective changes, insisting that whistle-blowing is an “operational matter” in which they cannot intervene, would demonstrate a woeful lack of responsibility for the adverse situations which can arise in the implementation of their own policies.

It is also disappointing that Unison seems so toothless or complacent that it is actually supporting the council’s proposed policy and the potential for penalisation of justified whistle-blowers.

In Labour’s 2012 manifesto, Councillor Burns promised that, as leader, he would “set out to change the way the council works”, “not shrink from real city leadership”, and “make officials accountable to the city’s needs, not to rules made to suit them or the Government”.

However, in administration, his procrastination, or perhaps downright refusal, to introduce an effective “whistle-blower hotline”, which could avert future disasters by the exercise of more independent scrutiny by senior councillors, smacks of hypocrisy, weakness, or a desire to maintain the status quo whereby an administration can demand that its policies be implemented, regardless of risks or consequences, whilst still being able to blame officials (but never hold them accountable) when things go wrong.

A Bourne, Groathill Road South, Edinburgh

Time to put a ranger up on beauty spot

Having enjoyed many a relaxing ramble over Corstorphine Hill and through the woods it comes as no real surprise that this wild and rugged beauty spot has been the location of two recent grim discoveries.

Perhaps the time has come to deploy some sort of ranger service to monitor and patrol the many beauty spots dotted around Edinburgh.

In these troubled and chaotic times such a service would not only help to deter anti-social behaviour but it would also give the various users of untamed nature spots some peace of mind.

Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh

How Mr Salmond can really save the planet

Experts have forecast that the world’s population may reach 11 billion by 2100.

According to website WorldOmeters the population today is 7.123 billion and this year so far has grown by 34 million.

So here we have the greens and politicians insisting that we must reduce CO2 emissions whilst choosing to ignore population growth and the fact that people cause pollution.

Scotland only has 5.2 million people and 0.15 per cent of global emissions yet Alex Salmond continues to boast that he is a world leader on emission reduction targets.

Mr Salmond consistently overturns planning department decisions and local democracy to give the go-ahead for even more wind farms.

He is bankrupting Scottish companies with inflated energy prices and creating fuel poverty.

Instead of forcing through his beloved wind farms he could take a sabbatical and go on a world tour handing out free contraceptives and thus reduce the unsustainable future population growth and CO2 emissions.

Then he could accurately claim to be “saving the planet”.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Secular organisation cagey about numbers

I NOTICE many letters in your newspaper from a few secular activists at Edinburgh Secular Society about their views on ending churches’ privileges in the public square and telling us about their petition to end religious observance in Edinburgh non- denominational state schools .

However, what I cannot find out from their website is now many members they currently have.

Edinburgh has more than 400,000 inhabitants and Scotland has more than five million in its population. How many members does ESS have? I have asked this question several times but have had now a reply where this society of strident secular activists still fails to tell me how many members it has. ESS seems cagey for some reason about revealing how many members it has.

Gus Logan , Coates Gardens , Edinburgh

Power system ought to be used in Capital

It is true that I don’t know much about UK trams (Letter from V Breac, News, June 14).

I only know what I read on the internet, which tells me that the ground-level power system (APS) was ‘invented for the Bordeaux tramway’ and, until 2011, this was the only place it was used. Since then it has been adopted in Reims and Angers. Why is it not being used in Edinburgh?

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh