Letters: Make a clean break from poor hygiene practices

Have your say

It is hard to believe that in this day and age of advanced medicine and miracle cures that hospital staff are still spreading germs by not washing their hands properly (News, September 11). And these germs are not mild infections – they are seriously life threatening.

Perhaps hand washing is seen as such an obvious way to remove germs that its importance is not hammered home at medical school. But you’d think that after having to cope with outbreaks of norovirus last year that the message would’ve got through.

I have a lot of sympathy for the over-worked doctors and nurses in our hospitals and I know that they are only human and will inevitably make mistakes from time to time. But washing your hands is so simple and something everyone can take the trouble to do and make it such a part of the daily routine that it becomes second nature.

Perhaps the staff who are not doing it properly should imagine it is their own loved ones who are in hospital, relying on the staff there to keep them safe, and that might shock them into taking the due care and attention 
necessary to eradicate this epidemic.

Helen K Gray, Murrayburn, Edinburgh

Cycling lobby should have higher standards

Ian Maxwell (Spokes) hopes that tough policing of cyclists breaking the law would not become a regular occurrence (News, September 12)! As a spokesman for the cycling lobby I would have expected a condemnation from him of anyone who puts the safety of other road users at risk – how naïve of me.

Mr Maxwell’s response is, however, an indication of the arrogance of this lobby and their utter disregard for those who choose not to cycle. Until such times as Spokes, and cyclists in general, are able demonstrate that they are responsible road users, they will continue to be a voice in the wilderness. Rather than seeking a reduction of police activity in regard to blatant law breaking by Edinburgh cyclists, I would ask them to extend that activity wider and in particular across the south side of the city where pedestrian lights and one-way streets are ignored daily by cyclists and the concept of lights on a bike seems an alien one.

James McNeill, Gilmerton Dykes Crescent, Edinburgh.

‘Racism’ label used wrongly too often

Well done to G Fraser for the letter condemning the use of the word “racism” in cases of mere prejudice (News, September 11). I too am sick of hearing people misuse this term and belittle the horrendous reality behind real racism.

There was a story in this paper recently about a Glaswegian who thought it was racist to make him pay for tomato ketchup in a chip shop because that chip shop was in Edinburgh, where most people eat brown sauce (News, August 26). To cry racism at an issue such as this is not only technically wrong (as G Fraser points out, the indigenous people of Edinburgh and Glasgow are all white Europeans) but also completely missing the point about racism as opposed to a more general prejudice.

Where will it stop? Scotland and England; Glasgow and Edinburgh; North and South Edinburgh? Perhaps people who live in Morningside Road will become “racist” towards people who live in Morningside Crescent? Then people who live on one side of the road will be “racist” to those on the other? We are all the same – white Europeans – and our petty prejudices pale in comparison to the suffering of real racial hatred. We need to get things into perspective.

Joan Graham, Morningside, Edinburgh

Tartan Army benefits from immigration

The Tartan Army has a new hero in Ikechi Anya who on Tuesday played brilliantly for Scotland’s national football team, against Macedodnia, and scored a 
wonderful goal.

It should surely put an end once and for all to all the surly, lounge bar ranting of those who oppose immigration, as without welcoming those from abroad to our country, he would never have been eligible to represent our nation, something he does remarkably well.

In his Scotland debut, Anya displayed the best argument against this type of narrow British nationalism.

Gavin Fleming, Websters Land, Grassmarket, Edinburgh

Struggle for equality is in names and symbols

Speaking to the Equal Opportunities Committee (Sept 12), David Robertson and other religious spokesmen criticised the bill which will allow 
marriage equality in Scotland.

Over and over they repeated that unlike civil partnerships, “marriage is a religious union”. This is simply not the case for many people already married.

When they were asked by Marco Biagi MSP how they reconciled their support for marriage with seeking to limit the types of people who could participate in it, David Robertson explained that it is “absurd” to suggest that marriage was simply the union of two people who loved each other. “Where would that lead?” they ask, in the well-trodden and offensive idea that same sex marriage is a precedent to license further socially destructive unions such as polygamy and incest.

The struggle for equality is exactly in names and symbols, so the view held by some religious believers that civil partnership should be enough for gay people would be tantamount to saying to civil rights activist Rosa Parks, “What’s your problem? Your black seat is still on the bus and will get you there just the same.”

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive

Out of perspective

Did Alan Lough (Letters, September 11) really compare the “suffering” of the British people to that of the bombed and gassed people of Syria?

David Johnson, Edinburgh