LETTERS: Odeon sale welcome after 12 years of slow progress

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The sale of the Clerk Street Odeon by DHP (Duddingston House Properties) to G1 of Glasgow is certainly welcome news (Evening News, October 31).

But the Odeon could have been back in public use years ago. There is a clue in G1’s statement that it first expressed interest in 2007. But it was not the only one; there have been several credible buyers over the years, including one (Elim Trust Corporation) so doggedly determined that it spent several years trying to buy the Odeon.

Whatever its motives, DHP is responsible for the blight caused to Edinburgh Southside by the Odeon’s 12-year closure.

This should be remembered when the council planning committee meets in December to consider DHP’s damaging proposals for the A-listed former Royal High School buildings on Calton Hill.

Edinburgh owes DHP no favours. DHP’s Royal High School application should be refused.

Tom Pate, Save the Odeon Campaign, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

SNP government in denial over oil prices

Once again the news in Scotland is dominated by further crushing blows to the oil industry in the North Sea.

One major company after another announces job losses, shutting down unprofitable rigs and imposing pay cuts. The revenue from the North Sea – predicted to be £38 billion during the referendum by the SNP – is now coming in at a loss.

As the oil price remains on or below $50, the very future of the oil industry is in doubt as we move toward getting the last of the oil out of the sea.

Meanwhile, the First Minister tweets silly references to a spelling mistake, takes selfies of herself everywhere and pretends the mass austerity Scotland would be facing under her plans for full fiscal autonomy don’t exist.

Truly we are living in interesting times.

Michelle Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh

LEAP still doing great work after eight years

Best wishes and congratulations to all involved with Lothian Edinburgh Abstinence Project. The education and enjoyment I got from attending the reunion on Saturday was priceless, and as it was the eighth annual reunion, LEAP is no flash in the pan.

Great to hear that the LEAP message, method and practice is going strong, addicts and alcoholics can and do recover. And it would seem, once in recovery, they carry the message of recovery to others throughout Edinburgh and beyond.

Fair play to the inspiring and uplifting speakers, music, poetry and theatre/spoken word. I love that ‘family recovery’ is getting promoted at LEAP and to hear of it spreading and developing is great news.

All power to all at LEAP and those who work with and alongside them.

Andrew Shaw, Royston Mains Gardens, Edinburgh

Remember animals on Remembrance Day

As Remembrance Day approaches, it is important to remember that war is not just a human catastrophe. Millions of animals have also been killed and maimed in human conflicts.

On the frontline, animals such as dolphins have been used to detect mines and dogs have been parachuted into enemy territory where many of them died.

Animals also suffer in laboratories across the globe – including the notorious Porton Down facility in Wiltshire. Here, animals such as monkeys, rats and guinea pigs are used to test weaponry and made to suffer the devastating effects of chemical warfare agents.

Farm and companion animals are also victims of war – when the bombs start to fall, and people flee, the animals are left to take the brunt of the bombing.

Animals do not start wars and they do not create weaponry, yet because humans do, they are made to suffer in war zones and in laboratories. The very least we do can do for them is to remember those animals for what they truly are: victims not heroes.

To order an ‘Animals in War’ pack, contact Animal Aid on 01732-364546.

Tod Bradbury, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent

Scotland Bill can help powers to aid poor

JAMES HILL (Letters, October 19), complains that the recommendations of the Smith Commission are not being fully implemented. This complaint is premature, as the legislative process involved has not yet been completed at Westminster.

Initially the Scottish Parliament was given control over several key areas, such as education and law. This was clearly appropriate, as Scotland has a long, distinguished and distinctive reputation in these areas.

Subsequently, the Scottish Parliament was given limited tax-raising powers. As is well known, these powers were never used by the SNP, thus creating the illusion that we had no such powers.

The Scotland Bill is currently at the Committee stage and the Labour Party has submitted several important amendments which are aimed at ensuring the Scottish Parliament has significantly more devolved power over the benefit system. When this is combined with our additional new tax raising powers, we will be in a strong position to help the poor in our society.

It is surely time to stop talking about a possible future utopia and for all political parties to debate how we are going to use our new powers as we approach the election in May 2016. Let the debate begin.

John Higinbotham, Bruntsfield Gardens, Edinburgh