Letters: We’re paying price for council tax freeze

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Have your say

So further loos in Edinburgh are to close due to a black hole in the budget. It was unrealistic in the first place for council tax not to be increased and just demonstrates how common sense goes out the window when politicians

would do anything to woo the electorate.

Services have been cut to the minimum and cannot be cut any more. All this has a knock-on effect and I know of a lady of 90 whose husband has been bed blocking and could have left hospital some two months ago but due to a shortage of carers it is unknown how long he will remain there.

Of course, we are governed by a party who think it is in order for the law to be disobeyed and non-payers of Poll Tax are not to be pursued.

Need I say any more?

Mrs Flora Rutherford, Edinburgh

Patient care comes before religious fears

I have some sympathy with the two Catholic midwives whose exemption from taking part even in indirect roles associated with pregnancy termination has been overturned by the Supreme Court. It seems unfair to suggest that ‘they shouldn’t have taken the job in the first place’ if we are to understand that their job description did not originally involve such duties.

No one should be forced to do something they don’t want, but the issue is where we draw the line when we discuss ‘participation’ in a medical procedure. Might a cleaner in that department be similarly allowed exemption from their duties?

Refusing even to supervise and support colleagues involved or to care for the stressed women who wish pregnancy terminations is a step too far and allows religious politics to trump patient care.

Everyone’s job description evolves. Medical professionals should leave their religions in the changing room.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive

Gordon Brown’s legacy did not suit everyone

THE retiring Gordon Brown recently said he was “pressing the reset button” because he thought it was time to move on from two years of talk on constitutional change.

Good for Mr Brown, but it is not that simple for people effected by his right-wing politics.

As Prime Minister he supported the Iraq war and introduced the 42-day detention plan for suspected terrorists against advice that internment was the biggest recruiting agent for terrorists.

He also raided pension funds, sold off gold reserves cheaply and appeared to have no idea that Labour politicians were fleecing the taxpayer with fraudulent expenses claims.

Supporting bank deregulation, he let unelected bankers set interest rates and after the economic crash he nationalised the banks’ debt, kept profits in private hands and supported bankers’ obscene salaries and bonuses.

To me, his legacy is that of a man who was on the wrong side in the referendum, who now rides off into the sunset having helped to further weaken a Labour Party which was once held in high regard by Britain’s working class, many of whom, will have to work until they are nearly 70 because of his regressive policies.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Elgin Marbles loan raises political issues

The loan of one of the so-called Elgin Marbles by the British Museum to Russia’s Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg raises a number of issues.

The loan of one of these disputed artefacts, the headless statue of the Greek river god Ilissos, is at odds with the increasing ostracism of the West by Russia over the Ukraine conflict and a range of other East-West disputes.

The UK is, therefore, being more than a little hypocritical in this respect, condemning Russia for its actions on the one hand, yet seeing fit to loan them one of these controversial sculptures.

The return of the sculptures, originally housed in the Parthenon and removed by Lord Elgin in 1801, has been sought by Greeks ever since they won their independence. But one of Britain’s longstanding arguments for keeping the works - that they are too delicate to be moved - has been contradicted by the loan to Russia.

There is also now a new state-of-the-art museum at the Acropolis designed to display the Marbles, instead of replicas. This is in part to undercut the other argument against their return, which was that Greece had polluted air and no facilities to protect them.

It is clearly time for a measured and rational debate between the UK and Greek governments to establish what the future is for these wonderful objects.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

In-flight instructions are there for a purpose

On our holiday flight back from Malaga there was a large party of fifty-somethings and older, who failed to grasp that when staff asked that electronic devices be switched off at take-off and landing, there are safety reasons for these restrictions.

The lady in front of us was passing her phone round the cabin, showing her friends pictures of family and friends, despite being instructed not to do so.

Then nearing Edinburgh, the lady across the aisle kept switching her e-book back on as soon as the stewardess moved further down the cabin. She was told off three times.

As soon as the plane touched down, the cabin lit up like Blackpool illuminations as lots of people switched on their mobile phones, despite being told not to do so before the plane had fully stopped and the plane doors were opened.

No one would get away with smoking on a plane these days, so why do they think it is OK to breach the rules with their electronic toys? Perhaps on the spot fines should be introduced or flight bans for these thoughtless passengers.

Alun Thomas, Sinclair Close, Edinburgh