Letters: St James car park would kill two birds with one stone

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Have your say

It was with interest I read the article in which Essential Edinburgh was possibly looking to revive the underground car park plan for George Street (News February 13).

Having read the article, I was left with the distinct feeling that an opportunity would be missed if the plan were to go any further.

In this same article it was mentioned that kick-starting the stalled St James Centre rebuild was the key to rallying support behind the car park.

Would it not make more sense to combine the two projects and build the car park under the new centre?

Surely it’s time for the city centre to have some respite from further disruptive excavation and development work and let it have a chance to return to normality.

I’m also thinking if there are plans to close George Street at the Festival as reported in the News (February 2), would not plans to create the car park put an end to the Festival plan?

I doubt visitors and performers would like to compete with the noise and disruption of building works at the end of the street.

Jeremy Lewis, Durar Drive, Edinburgh

An isolationist agenda for UK

It is more than a little ironic that after Prime Minister David Cameron’s now infamous “Bloomberg address” on whether the would UK stay in the European Union or not, the EU and the United States will begin formal talks on a free-trade agreement, paving the way for the biggest trade deal in history.

Such a deal will bring down trading barriers between the two biggest economies in the world, with EU-US trade worth around £393 billion a year, combating the emergence of China as an economic power.

The EU estimates that a “comprehensive and ambitious agreement” will boost annual GDP growth by 0.5 per cent, which is clearly good news. And one aim of the free-trade agreement would be to eliminate or reduce tariffs.

For both the EU and US, average tariffs are already low, below three per cent on one measure.

But further reductions could nonetheless stimulate additional trade and there are some areas where tariffs are much higher, notably food.

Beyond that, the negotiations would try to reduce regulatory barriers to trade and while this is more complex, the experience of Europe’s internal market shows it is sometimes possible.

So, while the EU and the US will be talking about how barriers can be removed, the UK will be debating the possible re-erecting of barriers with the EU and embarking on an isolationist agenda.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Opportunity for change in Church

Now that Pope Benedict XVI, who took the Catholic Church to the Right, is retiring, Catholics need a new leader who will challenge his backward thinking.

Homophobia, sexism and bigotry must be relegated to the Vatican archives.

The new Pope must be progressive and be able stand up to a reactionary Church hierarchy.

Outdated celibacy rules, the lack of women priests, hatred of homosexuals, opposition to contraception and stem-cell research must be addressed.

Most of all the new Pope must ensure that there is absolute transparency when it comes to paedophilia within the Church.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Labour left us in 
a dreadful mess

LET’S get one thing straight, it was Gordon Brown who signed up to allow Bulgarians and Romanians to flood into the UK by 2014.

Labour opened the floodgates for an influx of migrants.

This can’t be right. We just have to look at the strain on our National Health Service, our schools, housing and our welfare benefits system.

We in the UK are facing cuts to Disability Living Allowance and family tax credits.

Our hospitals are bursting at the seams.

No wonder Gordon Brown did not give us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Labour made a mess of the country.

They built up a massive debt and we are all suffering – 
2.5 million people are out of work and it is getting harder to put bread on the table and pay our way.

So much for Labour’s promise of no more boom and bust.

J Hill, Stenhouse Avenue, Edinburgh