Letters: Labour is back-tracking on Trident issue already

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: AP
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: AP
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HAVING listened to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reaffirm his opposition to Trident, it was rather bemusing to note his Labour Party quietly vote to continue their support for the renewal of Trident without any debate on the issue.

Labour delegates at the conference in Brighton reaffirmed the party’s Britain in the World policy document, which makes clear the party’s “commitment to a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a continuous at-sea deterrent”.

This revelation is really rather confusing, especially given the fact that Jeremy Corbyn, in his keynote speech, said that Britain should not “spend £100 billion renewing weapons of mass destruction”. It is also particularly surprising given that the party’s widely anticipated conference debate on Trident renewal did not take place.

This is yet the latest U-turn by Mr Corbyn since his election and it is clear that he has no control of his party. Labour are quickly changing Corbyn, rather than Corbyn changing Labour.

The Labour Party continues to be bitterly divided and lacking credibility, reaffirming its commitment to Trident one day, while its leader opposes it the next.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

The history behind hospital gate house

In reply to Rob King’s letter (News, September 30) I am able to give some more information on the particular building he is worried about. Mr King used to live in the cantilever gate house, which was a porter’s lodge and is the main entrance into the Royal Victoria Hospital complex.

This building is B-listed and still owned by the NHS. The house was used by RVH staff as offices but they were advised some time ago not to use them as it was unsafe.

Probably nothing was done to preserve the building because of the pending closure of the whole complex because it was no longer suitable for the elderly patients or staff, and as such the NHS had acquired funding to create a “state of the art” building to treat the elderly at the Western General Hospital in 2013 and named it the Royal Victoria Building.

The complex was then going to be sold and plans were made, in consultation with the Edinburgh City Planning Dept for the RVH grounds, which are extensive and were shown to local residents in the Craigleith area, and the B-listed cantilever entrance gate along with the B-listed administrative block were the only two buildings to be retained. Unfortunately the need for hospital beds in the winter of 2014 required the NHS to refurbish six of the wards for “community discharged patients” as a temporary measure, so the selling of the complex was put on hold.

The complex is now expected to continue for a short term and the NHS hopes in the coming months the site will close and they will move to dispose of it.

So let’s hope it’s not too long before a developer takes over the RVH site and the two listed buildings made secure for the future.

Both the buildings are described in detail and both made possible by the efforts of Dr R Philips, the Edinburgh pioneer in the treatment of tuberculosis. Much more information can be found in www.craigleithhill.co.uk in which there is a full history of the Royal Victoria Hospital from 1894, which was the first TB sanatorium created for the treatment of tuberculosis.

Alan Ross, Craigleith Hill Gardens, Edinburgh

Putting record straight on Scottish pet charity

Fiona Caine’s advice column (‘Should I rehome my cats’, News, September 28), referenced the RSPCA, its Home for Life service and leaving a legacy.

We must stress that the RSPCA only work in England and Wales. Donations and legacy gifts to the RSPCA will not help animals in Scotland.

The Scottish SPCA is a separate charity which rescues and rehomes animals in Scotland. We operate a free Forever Care service for people concerned about who will look after their pets should they pass away. 
Unfortunately there is still confusion among the Scottish public about which charity to donate to and call in Scotland.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn, Scottish SPCA, Halbeath, Dunfermline

India finally moving with modern times

This week Christian Aid Headquarters is focusing attention on the use of manual toilet scavengers in as many as 256 districts in India.

It is understood that government legislation is in place throughout India prohibiting this practice. An activist, Beswada Wilson, is at present in Edinburgh highlighting this continuing situation in India.

Evacuated for several years during the Second World War to the village of Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire, the outside toilet and adjoining “midden” seems quite sophisticated on reflection.

Bert McCall, John Street, Portobello

Heart attack unit deserves our praise

The performance of the Resuscitation Rapid Response Unit team in managing cardiac arrests (‘Why Edinburgh leads way in treating heart attacks’, News, October 1) is commendable, and the rollout of the programme to other areas of the country long overdue.

But to be strictly accurate, although a heart attack (or myocardial infarction, where a coronary artery becomes blocked) may be complicated by a cardiac arrest (where the heart stops beating completely) this is not inevitable. Not all cardiac arrests are due to a heart attack; and not all heart attacks result in a cardiac arrest.

Dr Alistair Maddock, Auldhouse Road, Glasgow