Letters: Easy to blame others

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Paul Godzik (News, September 18) has a cheek blaming the council tax freeze for his education budget cuts as he stood as candidate in the last Scottish Parliament elections on Labour’s promise to freeze the council tax.

As he well knows, the Scottish Government’s budget has been savaged, so local authorities have to take their share of Westminster’s cuts.

But councils have full discretion over where to apply any savings and it seems he has lost the council’s internal budget battle.

The Scottish Government has improved the council’s finances by scrapping Labour’s previous funding format and this gives Edinburgh an extra £23 million a year.

Edinburgh’s finances would be transformed for the better if we voted Yes next year and made Edinburgh a proper capital city of our nation rather than relying on Westminster to waste £100 billion of our taxes on Trident nuclear weapons and £80bn on London-centric transport projects with no pro rata Scottish funding.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Who will follow in footsteps of leader?

Alex Orr (Letters, September 16) is fulsome as always in his praise of the First Minister, Alex Salmond; but does it occur to him that his hero is a mere mortal?

If Scottish independence is achieved, all will presumably go well for a while thanks to the wisdom of Mr Salmond, but what if he – like many of us – becomes less capable in his declining years, and a replacement is needed, perhaps in short order?

The first duty of any chief executive is to identify and train his or her successor, and Mr Salmond shows no sign of having done that.

Is it too much to suggest that Mr Orr himself might be able to assist with that vital task?

Malcolm Parkin, Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross

Balance slips on vote support

The normally balanced Prof John Curtice let his standards slip in his comments on independence support across Edinburgh (City leans towards UK union, News, September 18).

It is simply wrong for Prof Curtice to compare SNP support in the second list vote in the 2011 Holyrood elections with support for independence. The figure quoted may be correct but it ignores two things.

Firstly, if he must compare independence support to the SNP share of the vote he would do well to reflect on the SNP’s success in winning five out of the six Edinburgh constituencies. Secondly, he is ignoring the people who supported other parties at that election but who will vote Yes in September 2014.

That includes not just Green and SSP supporters, but also Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem supporters. It also includes people who have had a habit of not voting in the past. All are united in recognising the benefits and opportunities to the people of Scotland of independence.

Rob Munn Yes Edinburgh North & Leith, Ryehill Terrace, Leith

A travel card would lure tram passengers

Taking into account the astronomical cost of the trams project, it is little wonder that it will not be cheap to travel on one.

Before they are finally up and running though, and to encourage more people to travel by both bus and tram, perhaps some sort of favourable travel scheme could be introduced, maybe along the lines of the London Oyster Card.

Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh

Questions raised over monarch’s succession

This Saturday sees the consecration ceremony in Edinburgh for the new Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews.

This, of course, will be of significance to substantial elements of the local population, many of whom identify with the Roman Catholic Church even if they do not all closely follow some of its advice on personal life and morality. However, it is important to appreciate that bishops and Archbishops of that Church are appointed by the Vatican, a foreign state with official standing at the United Nations.

Unlike most Catholic citizens, the hierarchy of the Church owes fundamental loyalty to Rome – indeed as in the case of the former incumbent of the position, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who is now exiled and in seclusion following recent publicity, even though he would prefer to live in Dunbar, demonstrates.

Their future careers and the perquisites of personal life depend on them being in the favour of their superiors in Rome.

The control exercised by the Pope and his advisers over the bishops of the Church is one reason why, at various times and in various countries, governments have, in order to protect their independence from foreign control, demanded control over the appointment of the bishops.

And it is fear over the potential control exercised over a UK monarch by that Church that the monarch cannot be a Roman Catholic and that the monarch is required to swear, as the Queen did on November 4, 1952 before the UK Parliament, to reject the authority and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Accession Declaration Act of 1910 still binds the likely next monarch, Prince Charles, to do the same and no major political party is currently proposing at present to change the laws in this respect whatever the outcome of the referendum in a year’s time.

Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh