Letters: Salmond makes me a mug for paying poll tax

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Thanks to our dear leader in Holyrood I have just realised that during the many years I wasted believing I was an honest, council tax-paying, law-abiding citizen, I was actually just a mug who should have joined the Scottish National Party and the ‘kin pay-winnae pay’ poll tax protest group.

Apparently I would have saved my family thousands of pounds by breaking the law and not paying the council tax, yet escaped jail thanks to a forthcoming Presidential pardon, recently announced by the soon to be redundant, worst loser in the Scottish Parliament. What a fool I was.

I now intend to atone to the party for my past misdeeds by demanding under the Human Rights Act to be treated equally by the local council and the Scottish Government, like those faithful non-payers of the SNP.

I will seek full repayment of the council tax I stupidly paid but now realise I did not have to pay.

As executor for my late aunt, I am also duty-bound to reclaim the poll tax payments for the estate of that frail old lady, yet another mug who struggled needlessly to pay her taxes to the day she died at the age of 92.

Of course, I will presumably require to pursue these cases through the courts, but I am sure I will receive Legal Aid, paid for by the other tax-paying mugs of Scotland.

If the millions of other mugs like me who stupidly paid their taxes also convert to the cause and raise a reclaim class action, we would surely have the full support of the SNP Government would we not?

If we don’t get our refunds we can simply refuse to pay our existing and any future taxes we do not like, without fear of any future penalty. The precedent will have been set.

Nice one Wee Eck and Nicky! Long may they reign over us . . . Aye right!

Ralph Fusco, Woodfield Avenue, Colinton, Edinburgh

Keep your cat home at night to help save birds

I recently read an article by Steve Backshall, a BBC wildlife presenter, and was horrified to learn that thousands of our favourite birds are slaughtered every year when the migrate here from Africa.

They are shot out of the sky by hunters (aka thugs with guns) over Malta and Sicily, where there are no laws to protect the birds.

Reading on I learned that “hundreds of millions” more are killed by domestic cats.

There are eight million cats in Britain.

Why do the animal rights campaigners and bird charities never highlight this mass slaughter?

Are they afraid to upset the cat brigade?

Steve Backshall states that we could halve the number of bird fatalities and importantly save many species, simply by keeping cats in at night. This would also protect the small mammals that cats ‘play with’ before killing.

What are you waiting for cat lovers?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Portobello street needs proper surfacing

I understand that a decision is soon to be made following a public consultation on what type of surface will be installed on Brighton Place in Portobello.

This street, which must have the worst stone setts in Edinburgh, is the main route into Portobello High Street from the south for all vehicles.

The proposal favoured by conservation groups and some locals is to use stone setts, which in my opinion would be a complete waste of money for the following reason.

A considerable amount of money has been spent over the years on the present cobble surface, which is like travelling over a battlefield for any passengers, whether in a bus, ambulance or car.

This type of surface is just not suitable for a main road, which should have an asphalt/bitumen-type of surface.

In the same conservation area residential streets Brighton Crescent and Lee Crescent were recently resurfaced with an asphalt/bitumen-type surface, surely they were more appropriate for a stone sett finish.

I would urge anyone who agrees to contact their local councillor and community council.

John M Tulloch, Duddingston Park South, Edinburgh

Free advice for payday loan customers

This week many readers who have taken out a Wonga loan will be hoping to receive a letter from the payday lender notifying them that their debts are to be written off (News, October 2).

While it is good news that Wonga is taking this step and changing the affordability criteria it will use in lending decisions in the future, we know that there will remain many people with payday loans who are struggling to cope with their debts.

I would urge anyone in and around Edinburgh who is worried about their ability to repay debts of any kind to seek free advice from a charity-run service such as National Debtline (0808-808 4000 or www.nationaldebtline.org) as soon as possible.

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive, Money Advice Trust

Lesley Hinds should resign over report

Your Page 7 in the Evening News, (October 6) ‘Report tells how Capital roads went to pot’ sits next to a picture of a smug transport convener Lesley Hinds.

Given this report, Ms Hinds has surely no grounds nor excuse for remaining in her city council position.

Tom Reilly, Esslemont Road, Edinburgh