Letters: Vibrant Capital needs new housing agreement

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Your report “Plan ‘protects communities’ from unwanted extra homes” (News, June 20) highlights the contradiction between a generally accepted desire for Edinburgh to be a dynamic, prosperous and economically vibrant capital city and the opposition to the building of the new homes of all tenures that are required to support this ambition.

Councillor talk of “leaving the door open for developers to build on the green belt” and putting “developer greed above housing need” is, at best, ill-informed and misrepresents efforts to provide the housing Edinburgh desperately needs, serving only to fuel fear and mistrust when such investment and the economic, social and environmental benefits offered by home building should be welcomed and encouraged.

Edinburgh’s housing needs are based on Government population and household projections that inform the demand assessments carried out through the Strategic Development Plan process and have been approved by all six councils in the plan area. With councillors signed up to this, the focus must now be on delivery and achieving a vision of long-term sustainable growth.

Blair Melville, Head of Planning Strategy, Homes for Scotland, New Mart Place, Edinburgh

Trident is a deterrent to plain speaking

It is delightfully appropriate that the Monty Python team is having a rerun of their classic ‘dead parrot’ routine in London while the MoD is assuring us that the nuclear deterrent is vital, but just resting.

It never deterred 9/11 in America, the 7th July 2005 bombing in London, the 2007 attack in Glasgow airport, the many IRA attacks on UK, Galtieri in the Falklands or Saddam Hussein from invading Kuwait. In truth, it has never deterred anybody from doing anything.

The trick is to keep to keep using the word ‘deterrent’. This weasel word automatically justifies the object it denotes. It is nukespeak’s most successful euphemism, up there with collateral damage, demographic targeting, flexible response and countervailing strategies. The spoken word is itself the lie.

The world’s most powerful machine for the mass extinction of life does not have an honest name. It’s Trident and it’s just a deterrent.

Brian M Quail, Hyndland Avenue, Glasgow

Staff shortages show in city litter problem

With the tourist season now upon us and judging by previous years, it is going to be very interesting to see how Edinburgh council copes with street cleansing, especially in the city centre.

Anyone travelling about the centre cannot help but notice that littering is a problem already. To give a few examples, The Bridges, London Road and the adjoining gardens, Leith Walk and various locations around Abbeyhill.

So if it is a problem now, just what is it going to be like during August?

We all know what the fundamental problems are within the cleansing department - not having enough front line staff.

Then we have the lauded Environmental Wardens. Where are they when all this litter is being dropped by the public?

It will be interesting to see what report the council receive from Keep Scotland Beautiful, but as one of my MSPs once said to me, he who pays the piper, calls the tune and Edinburgh council are Keep Scotland Beautiful’s biggest client.

David Black, Kenmure Avenue, Edinburgh

Barbaric practice of FMG should be ended

The Commons Home Affairs committee has said that the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is a ‘national scandal’.

This butchery has been outlawed in Britain since 1985 but the first prosecution only took place this year, nearly 30 years on. Where have politicians been hiding?

It is estimated that 170,000 women and girls in the UK have suffered FGM.

The committee said “One reason behind the UK’s poor record (of convictions) is that the police and Crown Prosecution Service have been too passive”.

That is wrong, since the police and social workers have been held back by politicians, rampant political correctness and the fear of being called racist.

FGM is inflicted on girls and women from Africa and the Middle East, so the solution is to regularly medically examine these at-risk girls from ethnic minority groups and severely punish the offenders.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Union has worked well for Scotland

MALCOLM BROWN, (Letters, 27 June), is unrealistically critical of our 300-year Union.

The benefits to Scotland are as long as the Union itself, starting with England rescuing Scotland from the financial disaster caused by the Darien venture in 1700.

Since then there have been continual benefits to Scotland, including the creation of Enterprise Zones and the transfer of Civil Service jobs from London to Glasgow. More recently, several major Scottish banks were rescued from collapse due to the wordwide banking crisis in 2008.

Most importantly, Scotland has continuously benefited from the Union in terms of freedom of trade and freedom of movement of people throughout the whole of the UK.

Clearly the present structure, like all political structures, is not perfect, but the Union certainly has worked well for Scotland.

John Higinbotham, Bruntsfield Gardens, Edinburgh