Letters: Leave steam trains and dirty smoke in the past

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Dear Alex,

Your backing for steam tourist trains (News, August 22) is not met with joy by everyone, especially those who live on the line. Residents have had a very stressful year due to the contract work going on and this is until 2015 and beyond.

Now steam trains are to return and this is too much to contemplate.

It is not just steam that is created but thick, black smoke, noise and probably hooters. The line will be just ten feet away from my back fence. I like to garden and sit in the garden and hang out my washing. A pall of black smoke wafting about fills me and others with horror.

Newtongrange years ago was very polluted due to the mining and steam trains. The village is now clean, a resurgence of smoke pollution should not be tolerated. We should be getting brand new, up-to-date trains, not harping back to the past.

You do not live on the railway. I think you should swap houses with me and I’ll live in your mansion as you seem to be “delighted” with the idea.

Name and address supplied

Republican status could lead to unrest

Although the SNP say the monarchy would be retained in the event of an independent Scotland, would the country in fact become the equivalent of a republic and if so could this lead to social unrest?

I’m not suggesting that Scotland would endure the same sectarian troubles that continue to flare up in Northern Ireland, but the Scottish electorate should think very carefully about the potential social and religious ramifications before casting their vote on 

Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh

Parliament has power to keep Walker away

It has been intriguing to note the belief that the Scottish Parliament can do nothing to prevent disgraced Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker from returning to the parliament and collecting his salary, as he can only be sentenced to the maximum of a year in prison.

However, the Scotland Act permits MSPs to withdraw a member’s “rights and privileges” if a complaint is upheld by the Standards Committee and this is backed by the Scottish Parliament. The Code of Conduct for MSPs sets out the sanctions available in such circumstances which include “withdrawal of a member’s allowances or salary” and “withdrawal of a right of access as a member to the 
parliamentary complex.”

The Scottish Parliament, it must be remembered, banned four SSP MSPs from the building for a month and stopped their wages after they staged an in-house protest in 2005 over access by protesters to the G8 summit at Gleneagles.

While Walker can only be sentenced for the maximum of a year in prison, not automatically triggering expulsion, the parliament does have extensive powers which can be used here and now to prevent his return.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Capital’s rubbish not confined to Royal Mile

with regards to the article re rubbish (News, August 31), it certainly is not just the Royal Mile which is a disgrace. The city centre – Princes Street and surrounding streets – are filled and overflowing most weekend days which looks terrible and attracts seagulls and surely other vermin.

I actually wrote to the council last year about it and got... an automated response that the e-mail had been received and no more!

Pictured, left, is a photo I took at Teviot last 

Surely the council could do extra uplifts in the city at weekends, August too. I’ve never seen any other city so dirty.

Maureen Fish, Edinburgh

Mela director’s words are disappointing

Reading an article regarding the Edinburgh Mela, published on a national news site, I was saddened to read the final part of director Chris Purnell’s comment about the geographic regions which visitors to the event come from.

“We’re the people’s festival. We’re the end of the season party. People come down here from all over the city and Scotland, and dare I say it, south of the Border.”

The last part of the final sentence is difficult to accept. It may be a throw-away comment, but to me it indicates more. When did this kind of insipid racism become okay? Why has it been allowed to creep into our public conversation and our culture so much that it is published without a blink of an eye? Was this Mr Purnell’s attempt at humour, is this racism the 
fashionable thing now?

Free speech is a basic right of this country, but with that comes responsibility and this kind of remark demonstrates a complete lack of consciousness of the impact our communications have on the way this nation is perceived.

Mr Purnell tries to portray an image of a people’s festival, to which thousands of people from, dare I say it, south of the Border attend and enjoy every year.

Yet, his words tell of a different viewpoint, a very disappointing one.

Joe Logan, Edinburgh

Butterfly’s resurgence is a natural delight

I was delighted to read that a butterfly which was once in danger of being wiped out in Scotland is now looking set to populate the entire country (News, August 31).

The speckled wood had survived only in areas around the Moray Firth due to the rest of the country becoming too cold. But the grand news is there has been a rapid spread of this lovely species in the Lothians which will no doubt delight nature lovers like myself.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh