Letters: Council would be quaking if the people had legal redress

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THE worst aspect of the whole sorry tram project mess is the lack of any meaningful level of professional ability shown by council staff overseeing the project.

If the council’s roads department does not understand how Edinburgh traffic flows and the effect of road changes and closures then who does? Most council staff seem to have no idea that the actions of those responsible for traffic pass in law to all council departments and staff. In simple terms, the blame lies with the council.

The reason for these failures is the level of protection offered to them in law. Universally they hold themselves liable only when the PC brigade within choose to use the “we will be sued” mantra.

But it is virtually impossible to sue a council unless you are fairly wealthy, so whilst businesses, shopkeepers and motorists cannot do anything as individuals, the council pays no heed. Ask yourself why would the council close your school and spend the money on taxis; fine you for parking in a deserted West End side street but allow tram contractors to park all day for months or even years by simply coning off the area they want for parking.

The cure lies with the Scottish Parliament and requires changes to legislation to allow challenges to such injustice to be made in the Sheriff Courts.

Should anyone wish to take action they would have to fund hearings in the Supreme Court, hardly surprising then that those who should be working to defend the incomes and rights of ordinary people simply disregard any thought of anything but the grand prize – TRAMS.

John Byrn, Seventh Street, Newtongrange

Only Greens have gender balance

Ian Swanson points out the woeful gender imbalance in the Edinburgh City Council and in Holyrood (“Where are all the women?”, News, April 2). The Scottish Labour Party was able to gender balance in 1999 but lost that high ground. Only the Scottish Green Party can promise gender equality because of its systems which ensure that outcome. Far from being tokenistic, such measures encourage women to stand.

Tory talk of “merit” reveals sad but determined ignorance of the realities of women’s and men’s lives that have led to our current electoral imbalances. If the Greens can do it with such a small membership base, there cannot be any excuse for the bigger parties.

Moira Dunworth, Scottish Green Party candidate, Almond ward

Working together gets more results

I was surprised at the tone of Gavin Corbett’s letter (Letters, March 27) and astonished at the inaccuracy. His reference to me, for example, was simply supposition and misinformation.

In these days of multi- member wards and coalition administrations I believe that, more than ever, politicians need to work together to get the best results for their communities. Clearly an essential ingredient is a mutual collegiate respect. If Gavin aspires to be an effective, modern politician then I think he needs to do much better in this regard.

David Key, SNP candidate, Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart ward