Letters: Selfish cyclists swerving round safety and the law

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EVERY day I read more nonsense with a slant to sympathy to the worst group of road users imaginable – cyclists.

No insurance, no road tax, no MOT, no health checks. No road or common sense.

It’s all “me, me, me!” every day in central Edinburgh, some cyclists bombing through pedestrians at speed on a pavement.

They crash red lights, swerve here, there and everywhere, all with no concerns regarding the law or anyone’s safety.

My own incidents and near misses with such idiots cannot be counted or printed.

The proposal to change the law whereby the motorists is responsible for the behaviour of these idiots is unacceptable.

N Lyell, Colinton, Edinburgh

Workers and OAPs should use power

THE Government is laying the ground for further attacks on pensions and pensioners’ benefits.

First, it has to divide any opposition, for example saying it wishes to be fair by stopping the wealthy getting the winter heating allowance. That sounds fine, but does that mean the introduction of a means test to qualify? And who sets the level?

Other benefits such as travel passes, television licence and free medicine prescriptions to help pensioners maintain some quality of life are threatened; the Government is looking to see if the nation can afford them.

The campaign of setting one section of people against another is well prepared with millions of words and pictures, every person working or retired is the target.

Thirty-one per cent of the population are of retiring age, but not all get a full pension – many qualifying conditions apply.

The Government is raising the age of retirement for women from 60 to 65 by 2018, and for both women and men to 66 in 2020, with increases to 67 and 68 later on.

The “full” state pension is only approximately one sixth of the average wage.

The amount paid out in pensions from the total wealth produced in one year is approximately five per cent, yet the percentage of the pensioner population is 31 per cent, and most have contributed to a pension scheme throughout their lives.

Today’s working population who now produce all the nation’s wealth were raised, loved and cared for by our pensioners.

Today’s working population and pensioners combined have massive voting power. They should use it.

A Delahoy, Silverknowes Gardens, Edinburgh

Body should check turbine subsidies

Wind-farm protesters and many others have real concerns about turbines and claim that they are not cost- effective and do not reduce CO2.

Turbines would never be commercially viable without the monstrous subsidies which are bleeding electricity consumers dry.

The extraction of the raw materials and energy needed to produce steel and other components, construction of the turbines, transport, site preparation, roads, erection and eventually decommissioning and site restoration create CO2.

Another huge CO2 footprint is caused by the power lines and pylons specifically needed to bring far-off electricity to the grid.

The industry chooses to ignore all these factors in its calculations. The death of birds and bats and the well documented health hazards in China make even less environmental sense.

We need a truly independent body to examine the subsidies paid and whether there is any environmental benefit.

This body needs to include those who are knowledgeably against wind turbines such as the John Muir Trust and the Scientific Alliance.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Trades unions behind social improvements

THE Tory leader David Cameron has said that our trade union movement is corrupt. Was this his reason for demanding that unions should be banned from lobbying at Parliament?

This is a typical reaction from a Tory party that believes in the free market.

The Conservatives have always believed that any problems that arise at the workplace should be dealt with by the management.

Millions of workers in the UK are on low rates of pay, with poor levels of training and inadequate benefits.

It was the trades union movement that dealt with those problems over the years and improved our employment rights and conditions, which also improved the social conditions of ordinary people’s lives.

Chas Dennis, Niddrie Marischal Road, Edinburgh

Public engagement is body’s main concern

Your article “Homeopathy allies pledge to fight axe” (News, June 27)states that “Health board sources claimed the Scottish Health Council has advised that the removal of homeopathy would not constitute a ‘major service change’ and that NHS Lothian was therefore entitled to take the decision.”

It is not the role of the Scottish Health Council to decide if changes proposed by an NHS Board are major or not. Our primary role is to support NHS Boards to meet the required standards for engaging with service users and communities. While we agree with NHS Lothian’s assessment that the proposed changes to homeopathy services should not be considered as a major change, the final judgement on what constitutes a major service change rests with the Scottish Government.

Our priority remains ensuring all NHS Boards involve patients and the public in the design and delivery of the services they provide.

Richard Norris, director, Scottish Health Council