Letters: Whole of UK should be given referendum vote

Alex Salmond dons a kilt for the Tartan Day parade in New York. Picture: PA
Alex Salmond dons a kilt for the Tartan Day parade in New York. Picture: PA
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I was born in Scotland in 1947 and am proud to be a Scot. I have, however, lived most of my life in various other parts of the UK. I joined the RAF and spent most of my time at units in England with one tour of duty in Scotland and one tour in Germany, plus a detachment to the South Atlantic during the Falklands war.

When I retired from the RAF my best job opportunities were in England. I am British and can choose to live where I like in the country.

During the devolution debate I discovered that I had effectively been disenfranchised by my country of origin. They had pulled up the drawbridge and people like me were unable to vote on the process. However, when I thought about it, I realised that it should not just be people like me who should be allowed to vote, but the whole of the UK. After all, we had all agreed to be one country.

I also realised that my ex-wife, who is French, can vote because she lives in Dundee, whereas I can’t because I live in Devon.

It also strikes me as ludicrous that they lowered the voting age to give the least experienced citizens a vote which could potentially eradicade 300 years of successful joint enterprise between our countries.

Lastly, although I am totally against independence, allowing the UK to vote as a whole would have been the best chance of it being successful as the rest of the UK are fed up watching a part of the country that they had previously been immensely proud of acting in such an immature manner, under the direction of a man who manages to look unusually ridiculous in a kilt.

Brian Young, Springfield, Coryton Lane, Kilmington, Axminster, Devon

Postal competitors put USO at risk

Residents may be aware that TNT is planning to deliver mail in the Edinburgh area. The company is looking to expand nationally from 3000 employees to 20,000 by 2017.

This is very worrying for me as a postman because of the knock-on affect this unregulated growth will have on Royal Mail’s ability to deliver the universal service obligation (USO). The USO is vital because it doesn’t discriminate between urban and rural areas – it’s the same price to send a letter for everyone.

We’re not shy about competition but TNT can pick and choose when, where and what they deliver. Unsurprisingly, that is why TNT is 
choosing big cities like ours, where they can maximise their profits. TNT is not introducing new jobs, they are just replacing decent and well-paid Royal Mail jobs with zero-hours contracts at minimum wage and supporting the growth of a low-pay insecure job market.

We need to make our elected representatives aware of this race to the bottom and ask them to help save the USO for us and for future generations.

Willie Marshall, postal worker, Communication Workers Union

Fix Porty toilets before sprucing up the beach

I read about the new bins with motifs thereon for Portobello Beach and power supply to Portobello Promenade and Brighton Park (News, July 26). Before the council starts this latest idea, I think they should renovate the toilets in Bath Street. I went in and came straight out, the toilets were atrocious, the smell (you can guess).

I found; two wash hand basins missing; something sticking to walls all round; one urinal covered with black plastic bag (I assume not working); a broken lock plate and dispenser hanging off the wall; the floor littered with toilet paper.

I can only assume there are no attendants in situ, as like in the “old days”, when the toilets were spotless.

G Wallace, Portobello, Edinburgh

Raise letting standards by licensing agencies

It is welcome news private tenants are happier with their accommodation than a year ago (News, July 26), with 84 per cent stating they are 
satisfied with their housing. However, this is not a time for letting agents to be resting on their laurels.

We need to look at ways at increasing this figure and in order to do so, we need to have a robust rental sector in place – one which is well-regulated, with good housing stock and broad enough to offer genuine tenant choice.

But I also believe the industry needs to have formal qualifications and there needs to be a benchmark for good governance, including the handling of client money. There also needs to be a licence to operate, with penalties for those who fall short of the required standards.

If not, rogue letting agents will remain, poor practices will continue and the reputation of the industry will not be improved.

Malcolm Cannon, CEO, Braemore, North Charlotte Street, Edinburgh

Claims of emigration are empty threats

I am struck by the poll indicating that one in six (17 per cent) would think about leaving if Scotland becomes independent, with five per cent considering emigration if there is a No vote (28th July).

If replicated this would mean that up to 700,000 would go in the event of a Yes vote and 200,000 if independence is rejected.

This reminded me of campaigning back in 1997 when friends, colleagues and others indicated that should Scots vote for the return of a Scottish Parliament they would leave as this would result in investment drying up and companies fleeing the country.

As with independence, none of these dire warnings came to pass and those who said that they would leave are, curiously, still here.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh