Letters: Name Capital park after Lawrie, secret rugby star

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WITH naming a street after Lawrie Reilly at risk of being rejected by the city council, I can think of a more appropriate place that could be named after him – Harrison Park.

Lawrie played there for North Merchiston boys club, the YM, along with Douglas Armstrong of Hearts, Sinclair Mackie of Hibs and Dunfermline, Eric Bakie of Aberdeen and St Johnstone and many others moving up to Ormiston, Tranent and Gala Fairydean.

The name of Lawrie Reilly Park would feature every week in the city’s football fixtures.

A youth teams game could be arranged with the lord provost opening the park in honour of Lawrie.

I lived in the same close as Lawrie in Bryson Road, and went to North Merchiston Primary School with him and then Boroughmuir. There Lawrie, at 14, became the youngest to play rugby for the first XV, scoring two tries and two penalties.

Sandy Forsyth, Ball Lane, Tackley, Oxford

Union has done little to benefit Scotland

CLARK Cross (Letters, January 11) takes a very short-term view of independence revolving mainly around personalities and trivia.

After 300 years of Union, Scotland is still a country that people mostly leave rather than one people come to. Many of us have dozens of relatives outside Scotland, including in England itself.

Scots left, and still leave, because of the dismal work opportunities the Union has given us. The Scots who got rich often did so through shameful industries such as slave trading, colonialism and militarism.

Areas such as Midlothian and Fife have little to show for the massive coal wealth that was extracted from them.

The Union has also wreaked havoc with Scottish culture. Some of our languages are virtually extinct and are the subject of derision, thanks to years of British education, government and broadcasting.

Scotland can do better, much better. That’s why I’m voting Yes.

Ray Bell, Gogarloch Haugh, Edinburgh

MSPs burying their heads in the sand

I REFER to the article about the Portobello Park bill (News January 10) and the opinion piece (January 15).

The distortion that families have been waiting over seven years (2596 days) for a new school since plans were approved goes beyond all reason. The claim overlooks the fact that the council only gave itself planning permission in 2011 and has still not got the legal right to build on Portobello Park.

It also overlooks the plans proposed and accepted in 2003 for a re-build on site which were not followed through on because other schools were given priority over Portobello High. There are no villains now or in the past, only the failure of the city council in managing this project.

No emphasis is given to the real concern that this bill, if approved, will set a precedent. Whilst each new bill is considered on its merit, how previous bills have been considered, and the decision reached, has a bearing on their successful passage through parliament. MSPs are burying their heads in the sand if they think otherwise, similar to how the council refused to accept that they had no power to build on the park.

Other councils are keen to develop parks and more private bills are likely to be introduced at Holyrood to deal with local issues rather than the modernisation of public legislation.

Stephen Hawkins, West Brighton Crescent, Edinburgh

Be very cautious in coming off regime

Hussein Almasharqah, 14, was not fasting (News, January 15). True fasting is water only.

He was on a fruit juice and milk diet – quite different, and less dangerous than people imagine. The first couple of days are the hardest – after that it is relative cruising. As someone who has, for therapeutic purposes, properly fasted on water only for 30 days on three separate occasions, I should warn that it is the coming off the “fast” that should be handled with caution.

He should avoid rich foods like meat and just eat whole fruits only for a day or two then slowly integrate other foods, before returning to normal eating.

Dave Warren, Morningside, Edinburgh

Important to stand up for what you believe

Religionist is a term favoured by one of the more militant Scottish secular lobby groups, interestingly enough, for anyone who dares to disagree with it.

The trouble is that it is the supposed secularists who confuse the secular and atheist causes.

Anyone studying some of the secular pressure groups’ online comments, posts and literature will quickly see that many secular activists pretend to be furthering secularism while in reality showing an intolerant, mocking and marked dislike of faith-based communities.

Most atheists are not intolerant, and I know some lovely examples of such people. It just seems unfortunate that small secular groups in Scotland appear to have attracted a handful of activists currently who are less than tolerant of dissenting viewpoints to their own and probably would be termed militant in their views by many observers.

Meanwhile, it is important that those of us who disagree with secularism, whether militant or more reasonable, continue to stand up and try reasonably to oppose their views.

Gus Logan, York Road, North Berwick