LETTERS: More than one solution for Royal High School

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The New Town and Broughton Community Council, which represents local residents, are unanimous in our opposition to the proposal to turn the old Royal High School into a luxury hotel.

Thomas Hamilton took full cognisance of the Calton Hill setting for his magnificent Greek revival temple of learning. The resultant stunning set piece, topped by the unfinished National Monument, is a work of art as fine as any Turner or Constable.

We disagree with Professor Murray (Letters, September 23) that the proposed accommodation blocks would “become part of that landscape”.

Far taller than the school, and in a massive ‘Inca’ style, they would dominate the approach from Waterloo Place and irrevocably mar the views from the Canongate graveyard and Holyrood Park, which, more than any other, realise Edinburgh’s ambition to be the Athens of the North. Edinburgh can and should do better.

Waiting in the wings is a credible proposal, backed by the Dunard Fund, to relocate St Mary’s Music School to the site and renovate the Hamilton building as a teaching and performance space, more befitting for a former school building, but to which the public will be able to enjoy access for concerts.

Given this, no-one need hold back from objecting to the hotel scheme in the belief that it offers the only solution to preserve Thomas Hamilton’s masterpiece for posterity.

Ian Mowat, Chair, New Town and Broughton Community Council, Eyre Place Lane, Edinburgh

The Named Person Act should be supported

Anent the concerns about the Named Person Act. In his judgment rejecting the judicial review of the legislation, Lord Pentland made the following remarks.

“The advantages of the new service are not difficult to discern: increased scope for early intervention; improved integration and coordination across the public services landscape; reduction in the risk that the needs of vulnerable children will be inadvertently overlooked due to communication difficulties between service providers; and the introduction of a single focal point to ensure that children and their families receive the support and services that they need.”

If that does not make it clear to those middle class correspondents agitating against the legislation that it is there to try to protect the most vulnerable children in Scotland nothing will.

It will not gain their sympathy, of course.

Samuel McComb, Friarsbank Terrace, Dunbar

Education chief must do better on diction

IT is excruciating to hear the coarse, vulgar and slovenly speech from a Holyrood minister whose province it is to guide and monitor education in Scotland.

Angela Constance, at present in that role, appears to have a diminished appreciation of correct speech intended for the electorate, yet eminently requires leave of absence from the front row of the SNP at Holyrood to engage in speech training and in language skills appropriate to a member of the Government charged with assisting students of all age groups.

I heard her address the chamber yesterday when she abused the noun ‘attitude’ to ‘ah-itewd’ and earlier this year noted her comment ‘Scawish students who I talked to the other day might be gonnae leave Scawlinn to study abroad and then come back tae Scawlinn.” Glottal stops are not allowed.

A more erudite individual is clearly required to fill the post; another task for the First Minister. Be it soon.

Captain John S Colman, Ardentinny, Argyll

Biblical parables have no relevance here

Gerry Farrell, in his column, reported how his wife upbraided a Hungarian bishop about his attitude to refugees, citing the example of the story of the Good Samaritan ‘despite the fact that the Jews and the Samaritans traditionally despised each other’ (News, September 23). In fact, both Jews and Samaritans were Israelites, only differing in certain beliefs and practices within Judaism. Jesus even preached in Samaria and may have told the story to encourage rapprochement between the two tribes.

It is foolish to interpret this incident as encouraging neighbourliness worldwide. Jesus was not speaking to Gentiles and declared that he was only concerned with ‘the house of Israel’ (Matthew 15:24).

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Sleight of hand helped skew Indy referendum

The public may recollect that those in favour of independence originally wished for three questions on the ballot paper, the third question to be “Do you want additional powers for Scotland?”.

However, the Westminster government refused to sanction a third question, insisting on a straight Yes or No to Scotland becoming an independent country.

Polls taken, prior to this decision showed 20-30 per cent were keen on the more powers option. Then, when campaigning was in its final throes, we had the Vow, whereby more powers, “akin to federalism” were added to the No vote (“Don’t think a No vote will mean the status quo!”).

So the No vote neatly hoovered up those who were against independence, and, those who wanted more powers.

This ingenious and unscrupulous political sleight of hand created an advantage that would prove decisive.

However, ironically, the Scottish Labour MPs who so enthusiastically supported the No campaign in order to save their jobs, were not long in getting their comeuppance.

Joseph G Miller, Gardeners Street, Dunfermline