LETTERS: Charity begins with an undignified shop scrum

Have your say

I read with interest and faint disgust your piece on January 5 about the so-called January Sale in the Shelter charity shop in Stockbridge (‘Shelter shop sale sparks scramble for designer gear’). Does this shop withhold all these exclusive and designer donations throughout the year so it can hold this sale? As an avid and commited charity shop user over the years I feel this is all wrong. Part of the enjoyment and satisfaction of using charity shops is finding something different and maybe designer at any given time. 
Albeit paying more than usual!

When I read about people pushing and shoving to get at items and queuing to get in I was saddened. What next? Black Friday sales in charity shops? I remember the days when charity shops were cheap and cheerful. Not vintage and flash!

Aileen Gordon, Edinburgh

Trust our children, 
no detectors needed

I have to agree with your editorial, when it describes Cameron Buchanan MSP’s call for metal detectors in schools as an overreaction (January 5). The haul of 46 weapons seized from pupils in Lothian schools during the 2014-15 academic year represents on average significantly less than one item per school. No teacher should need a metal detector to work out that a youngster is armed with a baseball bat – five were seized during the year.

The list of contraband also includes a paper knife, two butter knives and three penknives. Before the infantilisation of childhood, nobody would have considered a boy carrying a penknife to be anything sinister.

In leadership and management terms human problems seldom have technological solutions. Metal detectors in schools is just another example of the failed approach that seeks to replace the natural and spontaneous order of a free society with risk-averse technological and bureaucratic solutions. If we want to make schools safer, we should demand the authority of teachers is re-established. No longer should Education Scotland undermine the ability of schools to discipline pupils.

This proposal communicates that we don’t trust our children; we must trust our young people and reject it.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove,


Cameron a hypocrite over EU vote

This week’s announcement by the Prime Minister that UK Government ministers will be able to campaign on both sides in the forthcoming referendum on EU membership is quite remarkable. Whatever the outcome of the renegotiation the UK Government will not be making a unified case for remaining in the European Union. Not only does this move the UK that one step closer to the EU exit door, but it witnesses the end of the concept of collective cabinet responsibility.

It clearly smacks more than a little of hypocrisy for the Prime Minister to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for having a divided Shadow Cabinet when it came to the debate on military intervention in Syria, but now be happy to have those inside his own Cabinet campaigning against the UK Government line.

We also have the spectre of UK Ministers calling for EU withdrawal from the EU attending and speaking at Council of Minister meetings, a scarcely credible position and one that will significantly weaken the UK position in such talks. Exit from the EU would pose a direct threat to jobs, investment and international influence. It is therefore more important than ever that those who support the UK’s continued EU membership stand up and make the case as strongly as 

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Noise annoys so do something about it

MANY sufferers will view with outrage the news that Edinburgh City Council is discontinuing its anti-noise department (‘Don’t call us with noise complaints’, 4 January).

In my own experience, once an official has called, the problem goes straight to the community policeman anyway. When a group of noisy, workshy youths moved next door, we were for a year subjected to nightly shouting, cheering, screams of mindless laughter and a strong smell of “pot” drifting across the stairwell. Complaints to the authorities, although received with sympathy, met with absolutely no improvement at all, in fact – incredibly – one young copper actually sympathised with the youths. I wish I’d told him that as soon as he left, they cat-called and sniggered about him for ten minutes. In the end we had to install a soundproofed wall in order to try and get more than three hours of sleep a night.

In a tenemental city like Edinburgh (said buildings having very thin internal walls), the noise problem should be looked at far more seriously – not less seriously – than ever.

Name and address withheld by request

Tram extension would wreck coast

THERE can be no doubt that the planned tramline extension to Leith is a serious matter that will antagonise not just Leithers and Granton, but also many Edinburgh people who have never been on one of the new-fangled, half-filled, holding-up-traffic trams.

The application, if passed, would create pressure to pass an application to infill Granton Harbour, which would destroy Edinburgh’s coastline, and Granton Road, Lower Granton Road and Ferry Road would become deathtraps. I have no doubt Leith people will organise and strongly object.

Dr Clifford C Lutton, Boswell Road, Trinity, Edinburgh