LETTERS: Osborne’s hidden threat to future of BBC Alba

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As often with budgetary matters such as the autumn statement spending review, the devil is in the 
 detail and its repercussions only become clearer later.

Tucked away in the small print is the scrapping of £1 million in funding from the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport for BBC Alba, the Gaelic television channel.

This means that BBC Alba will become entirely reliant on its two other sources of financial support – the BBC and Scottish Government.

The decision to remove all funding from Gaelic broadcasting is nothing short of cultural vandalism.

This fantastic TV station serves an audience of 700,000 people across the country, far outstripping the number of Gaelic speakers north of the Border.

And its output includes a wide mixture of news, current affairs, drama, entertainment and children’s programming. It has also provided a great boost to Scottish rugby and football through the televising of matches.

This decision further illustrates how under-served Scotland currently is when it comes to public service broadcasting. TV licence payers, for example, currently pay in £335m every year – but just £35m is spent on Scottish TV production.

These misguided plans, which will be detrimental to the development of the language and the Scottish creative sector, should be abandoned and the decision reversed.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Failing taxis need a new checking system

YOUR report on taxi test failures makes shocking reading (‘Third of taxis fail vehicle tests’, News, November 30).

If, as reported, up to 42 per cent of these vehicles are failing, then there is obviously something badly wrong, either with the testing procedure or with the test preparation work.

Taxis are not prepared for test by multi-marque garages, they are prepared by specialist taxi garages. The garage prepares the cab for inspection, it fails and there is no recourse to appeal or to have the failure independently appraised; it is a fait 
accompli.

A garage does not hold a written standard to adhere to when preparing a cab for inspection, as would an ordinary MOT station, consequently it can come down to interpretation.

Would it not make sense for the council to provide a pre-inspection service (and charge for it) which would provide a detailed list of all the faults requiring repair or replacement? This list would be taken to the garage where the necessary work would be carried out. Should the taxi then fail, the cabbie would have a claim against the garage.

The city’s cab inspector is now under the wing of the council. I wonder what the percentage of failures are with the council’s fleet of cleansing vehicles. Certainly not up to 42%.

George Fairgrieve, retired taxi driver, Edinburgh

Electorate won’t fall for tram delay plan

Does Edinburgh City Council really believe that by shelving the tram extension decision until after the May elections, the people of Edinburgh are going to forget about the total waste of our money on this white elephant of a project or the cuts to our essential services and loss of jobs?

Then our leaders really are living in a dream world that they will wake from with a bang when we get the chance to show them how we feel when we have our vote on how they have performed for us.

Raymond Ross, Hutchison Avenue, Edinburgh

Bombing campaign will only add to misery

DEAR SYRIANS. I just wanted to let you know that our politicians are voting to bomb your country. This is to get rid of Islamic State.

I know you will be used to this by now since loads of others are bombing you every day and have been doing this for years. Obviously they are hopeless at it, as Islamic State has advanced.

We won’t be sending anyone to help you, as Islamic State will shoot at us and bomb us. We like to shoot and bomb people from a great distance, but don’t worry, our bombers are morally superior to your bombers.

I’m sorry that your buildings, roads, schools, hospitals and loads of other things will be flattened, but once we get rid of Islamic State we will send some money to rebuild them.

I appreciate that bombing you and sending over drones might not be very efficient and will miss loads of times and kill innocent people, but our politicians love to think that they are doing something.

When we bomb Islamic State and sometimes manage to kill some of them, this will make them afraid to come over here and they will understand that we like to live the same way as Islamic State – spread terror and killing.

I trust Islamic State or MI5 don’t read this letter and come to visit me.

Brian McKenna, Overtoun Avenue, Dumbarton

Paris climate talks just adding more hot air

The UN climate talks in Paris have started. Over 50,000 politicians, activists, lobbyists and journalists travel by air, car and train for the 12-day 
conference.

When the presidential motorcades, taxis, hotel stays and food are factored in this conference will create 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

The cost, borne of course by taxpayers, is estimated to be £119 million.

A clear case of don’t do as we do, do as we tell you.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow