Letters: Volunteer squad an attempt to run parks on the cheap

Volunteers would keep order in parks
Volunteers would keep order in parks
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THE intention of Edinburgh parks managers to recruit members of the public to act as park rangers hardly represents a satisfactory state of affairs (News, September 20). It is an attempt to run the city’s open spaces on the cheap.

The parks staff have suffered more than most other council departments with them taking the brunt of any cutbacks to preserve the budgets of essential services such as education and housing.

In the first half of the 20th century there was a park keeper for nearly every open space of any consequence, a very different story from today.

In 1992 the park patrol underwent its first major re-organisation. A number of the posts were abolished, which set in motion the decline of this organisation. Most of the seasonal park officers posts were done away with, followed by the run-down of the mobile patrol.

The role of picking up litter was handed over to the Cleansing Department and the park officer was no longer responsible for keeping his own park clean.

Mobile patrols were done away with and the remaining staff, now retitled park rangers, were left to carry out their duties on foot.

With the increase in outdoor activities in recent years one would have thought it may have been more logical to employ more full-time rangers to enforce the park regulations than leave it to volunteers from the general public.

Malcolm Fife, Fountainhall Road,Edinburgh

Marching for a stronger Scotland

I MARCHED with the “Yes Campaign” on Saturday, because wherever there are undevolved powers, we have problems.

In Westminster, there is an absence of any economic policies which look beyond next week, and we anticipate a UK deficit of £1.4 trillion; we have had a well-publicised illegal war without anyone being taken to account, and a series of military interventions which have aggravated rather than mitigated; we suffered creative accounting in MPs’ expenses claims; we have arrogant cabinet ministers, who are not fit for purpose and to add insult to injury, suffer the continual elevation of incompetent numpties to the House of Lords.

We continue to cosset weapons of mass destruction, and those, for some reason, based only in Scotland. Is this the UK dividend?

I would rather see the Trident money spent on education and medicine, in both of which, we once led the world, and, instead of loopholes for widespread tax avoidance, I hope for war avoidance via loopholes for peace.

I want to see Scotland not as a broken-down pauper and mendicant, as depicted by the Unionists, but as a strong, individual partner in the advancement of peaceful civilisation and that is why I will continue to march for this cause.

Joseph G Miller, Gardeners Street, Dunfermline

SNP is driving for 1960s transport

Transport Minister Keith Brown has said that the SNP are committed to public transport. He seems to forget that it was his party that cancelled the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link (EARL) and the Glasgow 
Airport Rail Link. The money from EARL went towards the M74 extension and the Ballinluig interchange on the A9.

The SNP is now committed to spending billions on another bridge over the Forth, and extensive road projects in the Highlands.

This 1960s approach to public transport is out of step with the rest of Europe. Even the right wing-led UK government are spending billions on main line and light rail projects as the days of massive road building spending are over.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace Edinburgh

Stag staggerer or a prince of wails?

I LIVE not far from Holyrood Palace in a development with an open car park.

I was awoken at 2am yesterday by an animal-like keening noise, and when I looked out of the window beheld a naked man dancing, howling, staggering in circles, laughing and talking to himself.

He soon climbed over the fence, onto the road, and disappeared in the direction of the palace.

I first thought that he was the victim of a typical Old Town stag night, but proximity to the palace has caused me to reconsider: was it a rare sighting of just another younger member of the Windsor family?

David Fiddimore, Calton Road, Edinburgh