Letters: Community service is fine but not at the cost of jobs

Have your say

Ihave mixed views regarding community service (‘Community service rate doubles in just two years’, Evening News, April 6.)

If an offender causes damage, then I certainly agree that they should put this right. For example, if someone is caught spraying graffiti on the walls of a building, then I have no problem with the offender being made to remove it without pay on a Saturday morning. However, I fear community service is being used as a cheap form of labour.

I was out for a walk last Saturday in Aberdour in Fife when I noticed the council bedding schemes on the shore front had been tidied up, fresh bark laid and some nice wooden edging put in.

I thought what a nice job the council had made until I a little further I saw a notice saying this work had been carried out by the offenders community pay back scheme.

Community service must not be used at the expense of normal paid labour. I am a qualified gardener to SVQ level 2 and have 17 years of experience in horticulture. However, I am having severe difficulty in finding secure full time employment within the industry.

The local council have recently announced that they are looking to make cuts to the level of staffing within the parks service.

If there is work needing to be done, then people should be recruited to do the work and paid a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work and only then, if there is still a need for further labour, should the option of using community service groups and the like be considered.

It certainly makes me very angry when I see offenders digging gardens while I struggle to find full time work and it makes me wonder if I wasted my time and money going to college to train in my trade.

I also have some disabilities but get very little help or support, compared with all the help and support that the offenders will get to help them back on the straight and narrow.

Mr Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

Stop MPs transferring between parties

Regarding pleas for a proportional representation electoral system, the UK uses first past the post because MPs and MSPs are not returned as party representatives. They are all independent, regardless of party sponsorship and, therefore, allowed to transfer to other parties - or none - during service. That applies even to the existing PR element, the extra ‘list’ members appointed by parties in the Scottish parliament.

This crazy arrangement can not only destroy its own purpose but even cause a change of government, if enough changed sides tactically.

It’s typically shoddy of UK politics that no-one seems to have foreseen the possibility of a party being denied its legal entitlement in this new system. Any such party should have the right to appoint a successor for anyone ‘jumping ship’, while equally no other party should be allowed to increase its allocation by providing a landing mat.

A prime condition for the adoption of PR would be a requirement for all candidates to remain tied to the parties they represent or else resign their seats.

It’s interesting also to ponder the case of voters being denied their preferred choice in a system of voting for specific parties. Would there be a case for insisting that parties must contest all seats?

At all events, we mustn’t allow politicians to decide on any replacement system.

Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent

Rebranding of Jim Murphy will not wash

The recent Labour Party conference was dominated by attempts to re-brand Jim Murphy.

Now we are told he is in favour of all things Scottish, including more powers for the Scottish Parliament. But let us not forget that up to now he has been a Westminster career politician, a disciple of Tony Blair, a strong supporter and voter for the Iraq war, renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons systems and supporter of the London Labour-controlled system that caused Joanne Lamont to quit so dramatically the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party, citing Labour in Scotland as being treated like a branch office.

Many Labour voters in two of Scotland’s largest cities, Glasgow and Dundee voted ‘Yes’ in the referendum, the outcome being that both cities voted in favour of independence for Scotland.

Many throughout Scotland were angered to see the Labour Party campaign hand in hand with the rejected Tories, something that will never be forgotten in their lifetime.

Current opinion polls show no signs of voters changing back to Labour, despite a series of Murphy gimmicks.

John S Jappy, Moy Bridge, Muir of Ord

Bus service cut is a blow to Porty fans

Summer is coming and Portobello beach is where the children want to be. But if you want to go from Leith you have to walk or get a bus to London Road, then another bus to Porty.

Why is this, when we have the best bus service, because the number 12 bus, which used to take you right to Bath Street, now stops at Seafield?

Can anyone at Lothian Buses tell me why they curtailed this bus?

Andrew Forrest, Duke Street, Leith

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