Letters: Carrying on Margo’s fine work for Parkinson’s

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BY a sad coincidence, respected politician and Parkinson’s sufferer Margo MacDonald died during Parkinson’s Awareness Week last Friday.

We’re constantly told by a hysterical media that we should worry about our health – the latest alarming study or a new epidemic – leaving the less ‘sensational’ health issues pushed to the side lines.

Parkinson’s is largely a forgotten condition. It isn’t seen as dramatic or frightening, it doesn’t lead to instant death – and so people just don’t know much about it.

This not only leaves many people living with Parkinson’s feeling unseen or misunderstood but, because people simply don’t know what Parkinson’s is, early symptoms are often missed.

Diagnosing Parkinson’s can be tricky, but it’s important to catch the condition as soon as it starts to develop. Early symptoms – like problems with walking or balancing, tremor or moving more slowly – can easily be dismissed, so people put off going to see their doctor.

I know from watching my dear father that being told you have Parkinson’s is tough, but many people can keep living a full and active life with the right treatment and support. And those who are hit hard need medical advice as soon as possible to help keep this complex condition at bay.

Please take a moment following Parkinson’s Awareness Week to find out more, get to know the symptoms, and help bring this misunderstood condition into the spotlight.

Graham Norton, Parkinson’s UK, Vauxhall Bridge Road, London

The Fountainbridge community show way

The former brewery site at Fountainbridge is probably the most exciting opportunity in Edinburgh just now. Over the last two years and more there has been real and active community engagement – as much led by the community, through Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative, as by the developer. And the result, so far, has been in marked contrast to what has sprung up elsewhere in the city.

What could have been – indeed in earlier masterplans was – a glass ‘n’ steel extension of the financial district with a couple of hotels and more buy-to-let thrown in, now looks mixed and varied, with opportunities for family life, for small businesses and social enterprises, and to enhance the cultural life of the city.

I’m particularly enthusiastic about the opportunities to show how a sustainable development – use of water, waste, energy – can also be one which is even more attractive to live and work in, as our best northern European neighbours have shown us.

A large scale district heating system in itself can drive down carbon emissions by over a quarter - all the better for household budgets.

Now all we need is the neighbouring landowners to follow suit and we will really see Fountainbridge lead the way!

Gavin Corbett, Green Councillor for Fountainbridge - Craiglockhart

Bring back RPI to stop exploitation

EVERYBODY welcomes a price freeze, especially for those who have to struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis, and that means the majority of us.

But price freezing is only a temporary measure. What we really need is some sort of price regulation formula to control excessive profiteering and a regulated retail price index to prevent privatised monopolies such as the energy industries randomly increasing prices.

A regulated RPI system would help to stop price discrimination and consumer exploitation.

Chas Dennis, Niddrie Marischal Road, Edinburgh

Tax-free savings not a real choice for most

POP open the champagne and get out the caviar - the good times are back.

The ConDems have been celebrating that anyone can now save up to £15,000 a year in ISAs, tax free, and pensioners with savings of their own don’t need to worry about paying tax.

The vast majority of pensioners are worrying about making choices in winter between freezing to death or starving to death.

Most people I know doubt whether they could save a fiver a week, never mind £1250 a month.

For many Scots, this is a bag of tricks played out on the poor by a sick and patronising Westminster government and worse is still to come.

The benefits crackdown kicks in in April and shows single-parent families will lose £260 a year.

It is single parents and their children who are bearing the brunt.

J Hill, Stenhouse Avenue, Edinburgh

The bad guys have all moved to Shieldinch

what on earth have BBC Scotland done to our only Scottish ‘soap’, River City? It has become a den of iniquity, with gangsters, violence, drugs and guns at the ready. The scriptwriters responsible for such dark images of Glasgow should be held responsible for destroying the true image of a beautiful and decent city - I should know, I spent 23 years to and fro there on 

This ‘soap’ used to be full of believable story-lines, sadly not any more. Apart from the wonderful Eileen McCallum (pictured) and the superb Johnny Beattie, the rest of the cast speak so badly I can’t understand a word they say.

Coupled with intrusive and irritating background music, the last episode I watched was so bad and gruesome, I switched off - doubt if I will ever watch again.

If I lived in Glasgow I would sue the producers of River City for defamation of character.

Mrs Sylvia M De Luca, Baberton Park, Juniper Green