Great deliberations about the proposed extension of our laughable tram system. I couldn’t help thinking about my reply to a tourist and his child when they needed the toilet to be told by me that the heritage city of Edinburgh couldn’t afford to keep its toilets open but the council was considering spending nearly £200 million on an unwanted tram extension!
I went to the opticians last week because I can never see more than a handful of passengers on our trams – contrary to our beloved officials who tell us how busy and economically thriving things are. Yet on the other hand we may be inflicted with bus fare increases to subsidise our baby. As we all know, we have the best bus system in Britain and that’s the way we want it to stay. May I remind Councillor Sandy Howatt of his words on being elected council SNP leader, that he was an advocate of local community-based decision making. This surely is an extremely important decision.
Professor Harvie, of Tubingen University, pointed out that the cost per kilometre of a German tram system extension was a quarter of ours and the Casablanca tram network was less than a half. And yet we are, as usual, being fed a lot of frightening cost estimates by what has been proved to be an extraordinarily inept council which has presided over not only the trams fiasco but also the corruption in the property repairs department and now the fraud inquiry linked to Cameron House.
The cost of the pitiful existing tram line was approximately £776m but of course it is now established that interest of approximately £200m on the loan should be added, making the total nearly a billion. The latest figure for the new extension of £144m will also have interest to add which, in total, will come to a little short of £200m for 4km! Only the advocates of this scheme could irresponsibly add yet more debt to our depleted resources. If good housekeeping takes over in a new administration and our finances improve, then, and only if the people agree, we can take a fresh look but not now.
If we don’t get a referendum on this matter then I’m sure many will support a demonstration against the will of the majority being flouted yet again.
Douglas Thomson, Moray Place, Edinburgh
Independent Scotland would retain allies
Stephen Midgley (Letters, November 18) calls on the SNP to “declare that its campaign for independence is over” in the light of the IS atrocities in Paris.
So, in the light of terrorist threats, he believes that all principles should be abandoned and the party which now represents more than 50 per cent of the electorate should cringe in the face of such threats. Funny how other small countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden or Ireland don’t feel the need to give up their independence and cower in fear when bad things happen. They just co-operate with friends and allies to overcome the problems.
An independent Scotland will be just the same and England will find that we are their best friend when troubles arrive, and that we will defend civilised values with them.
We would just like the chance to have our opinions considered for a change.
James Duncan, Rattray Grove, Edinburgh
Not all Scottish MPs are members of SNP
I was intrigued by the reports of a conversation between the Queen and Sir Simon Hughes, as reported by the latter.
Her Majesty commented on the increase in the “number of Scots” at Westminster. This is curious as the number of Scottish MPs has in fact decreased from 71 to 59 since she came to the throne. Sir Simon then peculiarly equates a “rise” in the number of Scots with the success of the SNP, which captured 56 of the 59 seats at the last Westminster general election.
Far be it for me to criticise the good Sir Simon, but there have been Scottish MPs in the House of Commons for some time, most of them from parties other than the SNP. And as highlighted, this number has fallen over recent years.
It is clearly disappointing to see such narrow nationalism from a former Liberal Democrat MP who equates Scottish MPs to being SNP. It is maybe now the case that Scottish MPs, as identified by both Her Majesty and Sir Simon, are at last being noticed and standing up for Scotland.
Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
Only joint action with Russia will crush IS
This latest terrorist massacre in Paris shows that a piecemeal approach to tackling the Islamic State (IS) is not working.
Where will they strike next? London, Berlin, Barcelona, Rome or even America?
Europe imposed sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, egged on by America. Now countries want to ban Russia from athletics over an alleged doping scandal.
These tantrums are irrelevant in today’s terrorist climate where Muslim zealots are determined to conquer the West and impose their barbaric and Medieval doctrines.
America and Europe must swallow their inflated egos, stop talking of removing Assad, and agree with Russia on a joint military action against IS in Syria and Iraq and crush them. This will require “boots on the ground” so a joint American/Russian approach is essential.
A leaked German intelligence document warned Angela Merkel, “We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism and national and ethnic conflicts”.
Merkel will go down in history as the person who encouraged this 800,000 migrant tsunami and allowed a Trojan horse into Europe.
Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow