Letters: Councillor’s card’s been marked and he must pay

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Councillor Jeremy Balfour? What a farce. If this brass-necked joke of a “councillor” can brazenly indulge in computer games whilst in the full glare of a committee meeting, it surely gives us an insight into what he might get up to when no-one is watching, in the privacy of his own office.

Is he working hard on constituency affairs? I suggest he might be. But only after he finishes reading the Broons book. Such blatant disdain for his post would be considered gross misconduct if he were employed in the private sector. He would be dismissed in a heartbeat.

This man can have no excuse. It can be compared to a judge in a court case being caught out doing a Rubik’s Cube instead of listening to the closing arguments of an important case.

He should be removed from office, fined £20,000, and barred from 
holding any future public position.

Alan Hunter, Morningside, Edinburgh

By that rate, we’ll have trams in 2050

After reading Marianna Clyde’s informative article about the Battle of Flodden (News, September 10), my partner and I could not help laughing at her description of the Flodden wall being “rapidly built”.

Construction began in 1514 and continued for some 46 years.

If that is anything to go by, we can perhaps be travelling on trams by 2050.

John A Stewart, Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh

Equality campaigners should open minds

There is something faintly absurd about the Equality Network’s evidence to Holyrood’s equal opportunities committee that organists and choristers should be allowed to opt out from involvement in same-sex weddings, but that chauffeurs and photographers should not (News, September 6).

Who do they think they are, advising who should be allowed freedom of conscience and association, and who will not?

It reminds me of being back in school, when life was regimented and you were told when to be where and what to do there. Is nobody to be allowed to be a grown-up and make up their own mind these days?

If one chauffeur or photographer avoids gay weddings then that is more business for others. If, when the legislation is passed, one church and its staff are unwelcoming, then go to another.

The central flaw of equal opportunities is that its supporters do not trust people to make their own decisions. Equality activists insist on using the law and the public sector to force their views on everyone. In their world view, there is no place for diversity of opinion.

Rather than extending discrimination law, we should simply adopt a live-and-let-live attitude.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

Vile hostage-takers deserve to be jailed

It’s welcome news that vile criminals Russell Irvine and Helen Paterson have been sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment (News, September 10).

The wicked hostage-takers held a Royal Mile pharmacy shopkeeper and five other people, including a pregnant woman, at knifepoint during a stand-off on May 15, below.

Royal Mile shopkeeper Peter Tinkler feared he would die during the three-hour siege and he applauded the decision to jail the pair.

Police were forced to break into the Royal Mile Pharmacy and stun Irvine using two tasers to end the horrific ordeal. The wicked scumbags truly deserve to be caged for this most heinous crime.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Rewarding diamonds who are a cut above

Royal Voluntary Service’s Diamond Champions campaign, sponsored by McCarthy & Stone and supported by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in her capacity as president of the 
charity, aims to recognise the many older volunteers in Scotland who do amazing, but often under-recognised, work helping others in the community.

Sixty Diamond Champions will be chosen including ten from Scotland. Twelve people from across Britain will be invited to a reception in the autumn.

The closing date for nominations is tomorrow and we want people in Scotland to nominate their volunteer hero and celebrate the difference they make to the lives of others. Nominations can be made at royalvoluntary service.org.uk/diamondchampions.

Make sure your Diamond 
Champion is in with a chance!

Margaret Paterson, Royal Voluntary Service head of operations for Scotland, Beck Court, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff

Powerful case to boost energy reserves

Britain is heading into winter with gas reserves lower than last year.

Politicians are delusional by calling on the EU to halve its greenhouse gas output by 2030 since no other country is interested.

Estonia is the world’s first country to meet all its power needs from shale. Lithuania has given Chevron the go-ahead to explore for shale gas. The Spanish government has decided to help companies exploring for shale gas under the Iberian Peninsula by giving them legal protection. The Dutch government has just released a report finding that any environmental risks of fracking can be managed, thus opening a previously closed-door policy.

Countries are intent on reducing their dependence on foreign energy supplies. The potential shale gas basins in Europe are enormous.

Even the EU energy commissioner says Europe should abandon climate policy and develop shale.

What are you waiting for Dave?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow