Letters: Threat to Pomegranate should be off the menu

Pomegranate restaurant. Picture: Jane Barlow
Pomegranate restaurant. Picture: Jane Barlow
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I was annoyed to read that the Pomegranate restaurant on Antigua Street has been threatened with closure after the council served an enforcement notice concerning “inappropriate alterations” to its façade made by others years before the current owner took the lease.

However, I am never surprised to read of the council’s unyielding and often insane bureaucracy.

Tian Tian in her enclosure. 'Picture: Neil Hanna

Tian Tian in her enclosure. 'Picture: Neil Hanna

Where are the councillors who trumpet their belief in helping small businesses when you really need them?

Justice must be seen to be delivered, which in this case demands that if the façade of the restaurant simply has to be modified (and it doesn’t – there’s nothing wrong with it) that the council commissions the work, and sends the bill to the restaurateur who committed the offences several years ago – not the current owner.

Pomegranate serves a fine menu at sensible prices, and is so popular that prior booking for a table is essential; Leave Pomegranate alone; it revitalised the dining desert that the top of Leith Walk had become.

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Chase tax avoiders instead of the poor

SEEING as how the economy is in such great shape, can David Cameron explain to us why millions of people are facing fuel and food poverty this Christmas?

If Mr Cameron spent less time attacking disabled people and the working class and more time going after filthy rich tax avoider, then perhaps people who live in the real world wouldn’t have to choose between a warm house or a full stomach.

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar

Zoos are just prisons with living exhibits

The news regarding the pregnancy of Edinburgh Zoo’s captive panda Tian Tian, right, while London Zoo’s two-week-old Sumatran tiger was found dead in his swimming pool, should be a wake-up call for anyone who still harbours the illusion that zoos serve any purpose beyond incarcerating intelligent animals and sentencing them to a lifetime of frustration.

Had their lives not been cut short, these babies would have been besieged by a constant onslaught of visitors, separated from their mothers, shunted from one zoo to another, artificially inseminated and treated as mere commodities.

Jazzy, public relations–oriented breeding programmes serve no conservation purpose whatsoever because no panda, tiger or any other animal born in a zoo gets released to the wild. They are bred for the strict purpose of having more babies as visitor attractions in a zoo’s swap-and-shop programme while giving the public a false sense that something meaningful is actually being done to help threatened animals.

We urge everyone who genuinely cares about tigers, pandas and all the other individuals who are serving life sentences in zoos to recognise these institutions for what they are – prisons with living exhibits. Let’s refuse to patronise them and instead donate to campaigns that actually protect animals in their native habitats.

Ben Williamson, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), London

If only parties had worked together

Well-intentioned sponsored events to raise money for poor, starving children in Scotland may help in the short term, but could this in the long term just be exacerbating a situation that is a national disgrace?

I would argue that our ever-increasing reliance on charity is de-politicising the people of Scotland when the only solution is a political one.

New Labour politicians can only campaign for food banks reminiscent of Dickensian times.

Meanwhile Westminster is forcing through austerity cuts that see one in five children in Scotland living in poverty. This is not good enough.

If only Labour could have worked with, instead of against the SNP, it would be more than possible to have a Scottish society where organisations such as Cancer Research, Help the Aged, Save the Children and others were funded through proper taxation while obscenities and expensive irrelevances would have to rely on charity.

Then those who felt the need to do their bit for charity could do their sponsored events for Trident, unelected royals and the rest.

Surely anyone with a modicum of humanity must know that as long as some of us have to rely on charity, unfairness will never be addressed and the amount of poor, starving children could even increase.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Why we all have to wait for the debate

Helen Martin, obviously committed to the SNP cause, says: “The standard of debate is dire. Alex Salmond puts up his plans and ideas and Better Together knock them down.” In my book that is debate (News, October 14).

So far Alex Salmond has spent £20,000 of taxpayers’ hard-earned money paying for lawyers to ask the EU whether or not Scotland would be automatically a member, following the referendum. Only he hadn’t actually asked the EU the question.

So when the Better Together campaign questions that, Helen Martin calls it “combative and nasty”, I would say that there will be no proper debate until the SNP’s white paper is launched, when the electorate can then question the politicians on it. Until then, she like the rest of us, has to wait.

As for David Cameron leading the debate, she should have realised he doesn’t have a vote.

Alistair Darling, as perhaps the most senior politician and my MP, is more than capable of debating with Alex Salmond.

Mike Sanders, Caiyside, Edinburgh