I was amazed to read in the Evening News (September 13) that Marilyne MacLaren is claiming to be “hugely disappointed” in Portobello Park Action Group raising a petition in the Court of Session against the council’s plan to build on Portobello Park.
She goes on to say that “this group has known about our plans for many years and have actively participated in the consultation and planning process, and yet they have waited until we’re just about to appoint a contractor before taking this action”.
She makes it sound like PPAG has been going along quite happily with the plan and, out of nowhere, have put a spanner in the works. She would be much more honest if she said “this group has known about our plans for many years and has actively opposed building on Portobello Park at every stage”.
Many months ago, PPAG asked the council to go to court together to clarify the position but the council refused, believing that PPAG would be unable to fund a legal battle. A substantial amount of money has now been raised by the many supporters of PPAG and the legal proceeding can finally commence.
It is very important to be clear that the council have always been told by PPAG that this challenge would happen. Fundraising will continue to ensure that any subsequent legal action can also be supported if it becomes necessary.
Alison Connelly, Duddingston Park
No sympathy for cynical protesters
Nobody likes to see our precious green spaces built on, but the majority of Portobello residents, whether they have school-age children or not, see the need to provide safe and sanitary facilites for our future citizens. Do PPAG think that people will find sympathy for their transparent attempt to preserve their property prices?
They accuse us supporters of the new school of bullying, but surely when a majority are outspoken to ensure the delivery of something of such obvious common good, that is democracy in action.
I hope they lose their silly game and I hope it costs them a lot of their own money, but the sad fact is the current Portobello P6s and 7s and the council taxpayer will be only losers, whatever the outcome of this cynical delaying tactic.
Neil Mitchard, Parsons Green Terrace
Construction jobs on shaky ground
Less widely reported than the headline that Scotland outperformed the rest of the UK, for the building industry the latest UK labour market statistics provide worrying evidence of worsening economic conditions as 10,000 Scottish construction workers lost their jobs between April and June this year – a 5.5 per cent reduction in Scotland’s construction workforce compared with a three per cent reduction for the UK.
Since March 2009, the Scottish construction industry has shed 30,000 jobs. Based on these figures, the longer-term trend in construction jobs remains downwards.
To reverse that trend, governments at Holyrood and Westminster need a strategy to protect and consolidate capital investment at the very heart of their economic recovery plans so the construction industry can start rebuilding employment, skills and capacity.
Michael Levack, chief executive, Scottish Building Federation, Crichton’s Close
Scots stronger for being in Union
In answer to Alex Orr (Interactive, September 13), the case for Scotland remaining in the UK is so strong that it is all too often taken for granted.
The Union has been a tremendous success morally, intellectually and economically. For example, our parliament in Westminster abolished slavery without a civil war and our industrial revolution was the first – achieved, incidentally, without foreign aid or advisors.
Also, Scotland and Scots have done disproportionately well out of the Union – five of the 21 prime ministers since 1900 were Scots by birth.
What has gone wrong has been the adoption of socialist and Keynesian economics, defeatist attitudes and the politics of grievance. All of this can and eventually will be put right, but not by separation.
Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove