what a shambles! The question of whether to leave the EU is the biggest decision we face this century, so far. The EU is our biggest trade partner, responsible for millions of jobs.
A decision to leave the EU would lead to the break-up of the UK, since the SNP want Scotland to leave the UK in order to remain in the EU.
And leaving the EU would destabilise the peace process in Northern Ireland, since the delicate balance there depends on Ulster having ‘nested identities’ as part of a country which (like Southern Ireland) is also a member of the EU, not a stand-alone country with no links to the South.
On the other hand, leaving the EU could give us more control over immigration – although equally, EU countries would be equally free to send the millions of British citizens over there back home to take jobs and houses here.
Whatever your position on the issue, it’s clear that any serious British Government must have a position one way or the other. Yet the Conservative Party is so divided over Europe, and David Cameron’s position is so weak as a lightweight opportunist who is more interested in office than principle, that he has been forced to allow his own ministers to campaign against him while retaining their jobs.
Rather than fighting for the national interest, he is engaged simply in the short-term management of his divided party in order to be allowed to leave Downing Street at a time of his own choosing rather than being forced out by the warring factions.
And the SNP just say ‘bring it on’; they are not the least bothered about any of the problems. In reality they would be quite pleased if the referendum lead to an exit from the EU, as all they care about is independence, no matter the cost.
Phil Tate, Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh
Narrow escape from a nightmare future
As the oil price collapses to $32 a barrel, the run on the new Scottish currency has cost taxpayers billions of Groats to try to support the new currency that started on March 24, 2016.
Interest rates have rocketed to ten per cent in the new independent Scotland to try to support the currency, yet inflation continues to grow toward 20 per cent – a figure not seen since Argentina’s currency was separated from the US dollar.
The cutting of public sector salaries by 20 per cent, mirroring what happened in Ireland in 2008 when the Celtic Tiger collapsed, has caused intense anguish, together with the raising of VAT to 25 per cent to match Norway Denmark and Iceland.
Oh wait a minute, we voted No. Phew.
Michelle Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh
Online shoppers miss out on high street fun
It has been reported that more than threequarters of Scots said they would look to switch to shopping with an alternative online retailer next Christmas as a result of poor online Christmas shopping experiences (‘Net loss for online retail at Christmas’, January 13).
At the Newkirkgate Shopping Centre in Leith we experienced one of our busiest Christmas periods, with over a quarter of a million people visiting our retailers throughout December.
This proves that there are many people who still support their local shopping centres and value the convenience and services they offer.
Our shoppers’ experience also included being serenaded by more than 300 local primary pupils singing Christmas carols, which provided a real sense of community. It’s this type of experience that shoppers miss out on when only buying online.
Emma Mackenzie, Director, NewRiver Retail, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
Caring for elderly in tough financial times
I would like to respond to your article highlighting unmet social care (‘Who cares?’, News, January 13).
It is the council’s duty to provide care and support to those who need it, and local authorities are given funding to carry out this vital task.
There is growing pressure affecting the ability to provide care and support to those who need it in Edinburgh and across the country, which is increasing demand.
It is a sad fact that government funding for councils is decreasing. We have to deliver more services to more people (more than 12,000 in the Capital alone) with less money. This means those with the greatest need must be prioritised, meaning a longer wait for others.
Staff recruitment can be challenging, which is why we pay staff the highest wage in the country.
We’re also working closely with NHS Lothian, charities and voluntary groups to find ways of increasing home care, and some parts of service will be going out to tender soon, which should also help.
This story again highlights the many issues that are affecting council’s ability to supply social care, and I very much welcome that.
Cllr Ricky Henderson, Health, Social Care and Housing Convener, Edinburgh City Council
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