Letters: Still making mistakes over a century on

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In the Calton new burial ground off Regent Road, as well as the used condoms, condom wrappers, cider cans and needles, there are two grave markers perhaps a hundred yards apart. One reads “Andrew Inglis, killed at Cabul 1841” (Kabul); the other reads “Nathaniel Spens, killed at Kabul 1879”.

We are still sending our young men to die in Afghanistan, and have been since 2001 – 160 and 122 years later.

The politicians and generals are incapable of learning from previous mistakes, and it is always the people and the squaddies who have to pay.

Isn’t it time we changed all that? No-one should be allowed to stand for public office without, say, 15 years adult experience in a real world, and all military officers to be sourced from the ranks.

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh

People not created to fight with each other

Muslims in Lothian and the city of Edinburgh condemn the brutal violence experienced in Kenya, Pakistan and Iraq in which scores of people have lost their lives.

In Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, many were killed – some fellow Britons – while others were being held hostage. In Pakistan, Pakistani Christians were killed in a bomb, in despicable attack outside a church, and in Bagdad, some 75 were killed in an attack at a funeral.

The utter carnage we have witnessed is sad and shocks us all. These are acts that have no basis in our faith, and no cause should condone the slaughter of innocents.

These people who perpetuate these murders have no regard for the sanctity of human life. We must stand together within faith and across faiths and not allow them to divide us. I can only reiterate the words of the Grand mufti of Bosnia which he made a few days ago on the occasion of International Peace ‘God did not create people to fight one another and shed blood’.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected.

Jalal Chaudry, leader of the Edinburgh Muslim community

Kirk does not speak for us all

TUESDAY saw the annual “Kirking of the Court” in Edinburgh where one denomination of one religion (Christianity) loudly proclaims its affiliation with our legal system.

The Church of Scotland holds very specific views on many social issues such as marriage, divorce and female and gay equality. If these attitudes were to influence our judiciary in any way, we could easily imagine a number of court cases where justice might be compromised. Unlike the law, the Kirk does not speak for us all.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive

Energy efficiency in our homes is vital

We fully support the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ (SFHA) call for an increase in the funding for home energy efficiency in John Swinney’s Budget for 2014-15.

Funding for home energy efficiency is a vital part of our efforts to tackle climate change and fuel poverty in Scotland. WWF Scotland’s analysis reveals a significant shortfall in the level of spending necessary to meet our climate emissions and fuel poverty targets. We are calling on the Scottish Government to increase investment in energy efficiency and fuel poverty in order to help to plug this gap.

The challenge that we face to shelter our housing stock from cold winters and volatile fuel prices and match the emissions reductions required by the Climate Change Act is tremendous. Over half our lofts have insufficient levels of insulation to stop heat escaping through the roof, one third of cavity walls still need to be insulated and there has been little more than a two per cent increase in solid wall insulation since 2007. Government funding should be commensurate to this challenge. Increasing the amount spent on home insulation schemes puts us on a path to create thousands of jobs, save millions in fuel bills, and help lift people out of fuel poverty.

The green economy is now a major factor in delivering jobs and investment into Scotland and will be key to building a thriving and resilient economy in the future. We call on the Parliament to ensure that this budget opens up these opportunities by increasing investment in the energy efficiency of our homes.

Lang Banks, director, WWF Scotland; Alan Ferguson, director, Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland; Norman Kerr, director, Energy Action Scotland; Trisha McAuley, director for Scotland, Consumer Futures

Accept the rules and blend in with country

THE controversial veil is very much in the news. When my grandparents from southern Italy emigrated to Edinburgh in 1897, they did not arrive wearing Italian national costume.

They gratefully accepted the rules, regulations and culture of their adopted country, and rightly so. They integrated slowly and surely by inter-marriage. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Sylvia M DeLuca, Baberton Park, Juniper Green, Edinburgh

Krakow is a cracking place for a city visit

To the lady who wrote about her inability to arrange a trip to Krakow in the News (Letters, September 23)

My husband and I visited Krakow a couple of years ago and organised our trip (accommodation as well) on the internet through EasyJet.

I had a little problem and had to phone the helpline. The lady I spoke to could not have been more helpful even convincing me that Auschwitz was worth visiting.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Surely there must be a travel agent in Edinburgh who could organise this as Krakow is a beautiful city to visit, with lots to see.

L Millar, Edinburgh