Letters: Police museum remains worthy of investigation

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I was disappointed to read (News, January 25) that the Police Museum in the Royal Mile is to close on March 3. It was popular with visitors and made the most of its very limited space.

There has to be scope for a much larger Police Museum. As for “deciding where the stuff will go”, the most appropriate place must surely be some premises in Riddle’s Close in the Lawnmarket, for its was here, just over 200 years ago, that the Capital’s modern policing had its beginnings. The Police Court and first main police station operated in Riddle’s Close from 1805 to 1812, presided over by Judge and Superintendant (sic) of Police John Tait, a top legal man who was also a poet.

He dealt summary justice to the disorderly and petty criminals, with punishment of fines, imprisonment and, for repeated vagrancy, public whipping – “not exceeding twenty lashes” – by the city hangman.

During the terrible Hogmanay Riots of 1811, when for a few hours, organised cudgel-wielding gangs of youths took control of the city, it was to the Riddle’s Close Police Office that the savagely-beaten Police Watchman Dugald Campbell was brought, before being taken to the Infirmary where he died. For their leading part in the Riots three young boys were hanged, the three for robbery, one of them, Hugh McIntosh, for murder.

While all three accepted the justice of their High Court sentences, McIntosh, to the end, protested his innocence of the policeman’s murder.

So much interesting police history: surely new, larger museum premises can be found for it all. I, for one, would be happy to pay an entrance fee.

There’s little point in Edinburgh having new hotel after new hotel if there aren’t central places of interest for visitors to go.

Mrs CS Lincoln, Pentland Drive, Edinburgh

‘Time for reflection’ just sweetens the pill

The Church of Scotland in conjunction with Humanist Society Scotland, responding to growing debate about compulsory religious observance in nondenominational schools, have proposed to rebrand RO as “Time for Reflection”.

Despite that they claim this name change will engender a new “spirit of compromise” and “inclusiveness” the Church has not proposed to lay down its privileged right to lead such reflections, only to talk about God a bit less when it does.

A headteacher, if so minded, is still free to invite religious outsiders to fulfil her school’s statutory RO remit and there is no shortage of evangelising groups eager to take up that invitation, as we have seen from recent scandals with creationists in schools.

Can we really believe that someone who has already concluded a religious answer to life’s “bigger questions” is qualified to lead young people in reflection in a neutral way?

“Time for Reflection” may aspire to sweeten the pill but the religious medicine is still the same.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh

Wayne’s world is divorced from reality

Wayne Rooney, pictured above, is close to signing a new deal with Manchester United, expected to be worth £300,000 a week!

Ignoring inflation or tax, it would take someone earning an average wage of £500 per week, 40 YEARS, to earn £1m. Wayne Rooney? Just over three weeks!

Obscene does not even come close.

Alan Hunter, Morningside, Edinburgh

We’re worlds apart on a political level

A NUMBER of recent polls have indicated the increasing threat that a rejection by the Scots of independence presents. While south of the Border Ukip is set to win the most number of MEPs at the forthcoming European Parliamentary election, in Scotland the party of Nigel Farage is confined to just seven per cent of the vote, according to recent polling, and is set to secure no MEPs in Scotland. This is in keeping with its abysmal performance at the recent Cowdenbeath by-election where it lost its deposit.

Wth Tory backbenchers and Ukip at his back, Mr Cameron intends to hold a referendum on continued UK membership of the EU in 2017 and the Labour Party will undoubtedly follow suit as it continues to try and out-Tory the Tories. While just under half of Scots, according to recent polling, want to remain in the EU with a third looking to leave, these figures are reversed south of the Border. The threat posed to Scotland is that we are left out of the EU, not through our own volition, but due to English votes.

It is not that Scots are better or worse than the English, we are the same, but it is our political cultures that are worlds apart.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

People never do as they say on doorstep

Politicians must think the public are idiots when in order to make a political point they use the term “that’s what people are telling me on the doorstep”.

Over the years I have heard it said countless times, more recently by the Labour and SNP candidates at the Cowdenbeath by-election.

My experience having canvassed for a political party is what people say (on the doorstep) and what they do is entirely a different thing, particularly as they often tell the canvasser what they want to hear just to get rid of him/her.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh