LETTERS: SNP Government should convert rhetoric to reality

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LABOUR’S Neil Findlay may well have been wrong to call Nicola Sturgeon a ‘liar’, but dishonesty is at the heart of her politics.

She opposes Tory austerity, but backs the bigger cuts that would come with full fiscal autonomy.

She opposed George Osborne’s Budget but stands ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the Tories delivering it in Scotland.

She claims her council tax freeze is protecting household budgets, but her poverty adviser is clear that it is making inequality worse.

Worst of all, she promotes the idea that public services in Scotland can be revolutionised by tinkering at the edges and funded by cutting taxes. This is a Tory agenda.

After nine years of government, and an unprecedented majority, we have a First Minister who has offered Scotland nothing bold. Despite the breadth and depth of political capital she holds, she is happy simply to comment on issues as they arise rather than implement any of her progressive rhetoric.

If we are to keep our SNP government, let’s keep Nicola Sturgeon true to her word and at least expect her to make some of her rhetoric reality.

Dr Scott Arthur, Buckstone Gardens, Edinburgh

Why Britain will never get justice in the EU

Independent auditors have refused to sign off the EU’s latest financial accounts, saying that £4.5 billion of European taxpayers’ money was misspent and was “irregular and possibly illegal”.

This is now the 21st year that auditors have refused to give the EU accounts a clean bill of health.

Companies doing this would be struck off and not allowed to trade.

Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands refused to approve these accounts, but they were outvoted by the other 25 EU finance ministers.

David Cameron’s dream is to stay in the EU but to have the power of a ‘red card’ to block rules we do not like being imposed by Brussels.

This is highly unlikely since he would need 14 of the 28 nations in the EU to support him but we have repeatedly seen in the past how nations have ganged up against Britain on issues such as Human Rights, immigration, refugees and welfare caps on migrants.

Yet another reason to leave this corrupt, unaccountable, uncontrollable, dictatorial and mega-expensive colossus.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Playfair statue best placed on Calton Hill

COULD I suggest that the proposed statue of William Henry Playfair, scheduled to be sited in Chambers Street, be set up on Calton Hill?

The architect who designed the Royal Observatory and the National Monument must have climbed the hill many times to survey the city.

He died ten years before Chambers Street was built under the City Improvement Act of 1867.

One of his trainees, David Cousin, who was appointed city architect, worked on the 1867 redevelopment project. Although William Brodie sculpted the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, Cousin, who is buried in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, probably designed the drinking fountain which commemorates the world-famous terrier.

Stewart Wilson, Abbeyhill Crescent, Edinburgh

Future is not looking rosy for Greenpark

Following your article ‘Woodland Sale Sparks Anger’ (News, February 9), I must challenge some of the points made by the Greenbelt Group spokesperson and on their website.

They say residents were not informed of the woodland sale as it was private land located ‘outwith the development’. The Greenpark Residents Association disagree with this, as the woodland area is clearly marked on all our contract documents with the developers (Wimpey) and in the Scottish Land Registry as part of the amenity ground.

The website promises that open space within developments will be kept ‘safe and tidy and looked after long term’. Not at Greenpark, I’m afraid, where shrubs and bushes have, in the past, been allowed to grow up over people’s windows, causing much distress, particularly to older people, and the grass was often knee high.

This failure of the GG to live up to their promises of an acceptable standard of ground maintenance has led to a total lack of trust on the part of the residents in anything they say.

Many of us bought our houses and flats because of the green environment, and the woodland area was clearly marked as part of the amenity ground. In spite of GG’s promises about having regular meetings with residents, this has never happened. Residents have never been informed of any change in the status of any parts of the amenity ground nor of any intention to sell off part of it.

The residents have become increasingly concerned over the years that big trees have been almost totally neglected and although GG have been warned about their dangerous state, nothing was done until one of the trees was blown over in a gale, thankfully missing the flats. GG eventually came to clear the site.

Then again, after much reminding by the residents association and the local MP about the possibly dangerous condition of another tree, they eventually lopped off some of the branches.

The remainder of the big, old trees on the development have had no attention for 16 years and fallen branches in the area next to the Burdiehouse Burn have never been cleared.

As residents of Greenpark, we are now extremely worried. We fear that the intention to sell off this special and unique woodland could have long term environmental consequences, resulting in a loss to the residents of Greenpark and the people in the locality.

Margaret McGregor, Secretary, Greenpark Residents Association