I HAVE now attended two public meetings on the council’s consultation on a private bill to enable the building of a new Portobello High School on Portobello Park. At both I was impressed by two things.
Firstly, the clarity and inclusiveness of the consultation process, and the dedication and patience of council officials in giving honest and clear answers to all questions.
Secondly, the wide range of questions and the (mostly) respectful way in which they were asked and responded to.
There is ample opportunity in consultation and if the Bill goes ahead, there will be ample opportunity in parliament for both sides to air their views.
Further recourse to the courts is thus unnecessary and would only prolong the agony for all concerned, especially the children.
So I would like to see both campaigns, Portobello Park Action Group and Portobello for a New School, make a public commitment that they will pursue their aims through the city council and parliament and not through the courts. Come on PPAG and PFANS, what do you say?
Charles Marriott, James Street, Portobello
Godless society is out of touch
Neil Barber of the Secular Society claims “the church is increasingly out of touch with the society it claims to serve” (letters, January 23).
Is it not the case that a godless and self-indulgent society is out of touch with the Church? The Church is not out of touch with God and his plan for all his children.
The term “equal marriage” is a misnomer as the lifelong union of one man and one woman is very different to a same-sex union, so they can never truly be called equal.
Furthermore, same-sex couples already have equality. All the legal rights of marriage are already available to same-sex couples through civil partnerships. Equality doesn’t mean bland uniformity or state-imposed sameness. Same-sex couples have equal rights through civil partnerships, but they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else. The Church understands the true meaning of marriage but it is far too often dismissed and ignored.
Martin Conroy, Oldhamstocks, East Lothian
Is religion just a confidence trick?
The Evening News reported (January 23) that an unfortunate woman was defrauded by people alleging to have the powers to bless her jewellery.
But is not this just an extreme version of the regular deceptions undertaken by representatives of various religious groups who claim to be able to “bless” their flocks and sometimes their possessions? Is not all religion a confidence trick?
Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh
Taliban have not harmed Britain
How many lives has Prince Harry put in jeopardy by his blunt remarks about “taking enemy fighters ‘out of the game’”?
He makes reference to the Taliban. I feel it incumbent on me to ask: “Of whom are they the enemy?”
Can one person in the British Isles tell me what wrong the Taliban have done to this country? What I do know is they were making great strides to control the poppy fields in Afghanistan before Britain and America intervened to oust them. This led to the export of drugs seven-fold.
Trying to justify why British and American invaders inflicted the atrocities on the Afghanistan people is a futile exercise, but if Prince Harry is sticking his neck out, looking for enemies, perhaps he should look closer to home and consider, more appropriately, the deplorable people who sent the British troops to these wretched, victimised countries to begin with.
William Burns, Pennywell Road, Edinburgh
No help for old folk on their own
THE city council appears not to care about the welfare of lonely elderly people.
I recently approached the council with an idea to create a service which was intended to befriend and visit isolated elderly people in Edinburgh, offering company and a connection with the wider community.
It was dismissed by the council immediately. I was told there was “nowhere to go” with such a scheme.
Yet the city slogan reads “Inspiring Capital”. For whom? Not isolated elderly people.
Trevor Swistchew, Victor Park Terrace, Edinburgh