Letters: Statue would be fitting city tribute to Mandela

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There is little doubt that a fitting memorial should be created for Nelson Mandela in Edinburgh. The suggestion that Festival Square be renamed has its merits.

However, we are a bit late to do so. Glasgow were the leaders and deserve full credit for being way ahead of the game in all respects for the recognition of Mandela. To rename Festival Square looks like playing catch-up and is clichéd.

Sure, it could be done quickly and at minimal cost – the council might like that, but for all the wrong reasons. Not the best idea for a long-term memorial.

Consider instead a well-designed statue by a Scottish sculptor, preferably local, to be sited in the square along with interpretation panels on his life, struggles and mores.

Just one idea and I’m sure there are even better ones that folk have.

Forget renaming Festival Square, it’s not good enough.

Graham Davidson, Edinburgh

Don’t take the park life for granted, John

After reading McLellan’s Edinburgh (News, December 6) it amazed me that on one hand he wasn’t concerned about the future of Portobello Park but was concerned when Harrison Park, which his home overlooks, had been mentioned in relation to being built on.

He then stated that because Harrison Park was used by a football club, it was in constant use. He implied that this would be a reason why Harrison Park would not be built on.

The same thing could have been said about Portobello Park before the council decided that they wanted to build on it. For generations, local football clubs used Portobello Park before being asked to leave.

Keep looking over Harrison Park while you can, John. When the football clubs disappear, goal posts are taken down, changing rooms close, grass stops being cut, fences and benches stop being maintained and litter stops being picked up, alarm bells will start to ring.

D Bruce, Duddingston, Edinburgh

Now is the time to move over, Darling

As a staunch supporter of the Union and opponent of independence, I have welcomed the recent criticisms of Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign.

Sources within the government have called Mr Darling “comatose” and “useless”, while even those within his own Labour Party call him “lazy”.

The truth is the man once dubbed the country’s “most boring politician” is just not up to the job. Mr Darling is a backbench opposition MP and therefore should never have been considered an adequate spokesman for David Cameron in the first place.

Worse still, Mr Darling presided over the biggest financial disaster to hit this country, and yet someone decided he was the best man to articulate the financial cost of separatism.

I believe that Better Together needs new leadership, and quickly, someone who will take the fight to the nationalists and put real fear into the Scottish public about the effects of independence. Speculation has linked cabinet ministers Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove as likely replacements. Both would be a huge improvement but perhaps the answer lies in another direction.

Last week saw the entrance into the referendum debate of the former Prime Minister John Major. Perhaps this elder statesman would relish fully re-entering the political arena and the lead role in saving the UK.

E Billingham, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh

There’s no difference between two parties

I WAS intrigued to read the letter by Ian Hunter of Penicuik (News, December 13) when he posed the following dilemma: “I support the Labour party and I detest the Tories.”

I also have a dilemma. How can he support one and detest the other when it is virtually impossible to tell the difference? I too was a Labour supporter until, particularly following the demise of John Smith, they progressively abandoned their socialist principles and, to use his own expression, “got into bed with the Tories”.

D McBain, Edinburgh

Members should call for union boss to quit

After the mauling they received at Grangemouth I would have thought that the Unite union, led by Len McCluskey, would have tried to keep out of the headlines.

Not so. The union is offering to teach unemployed Romanians and Bulgarians how to claim housing and welfare benefits in Britain.

Unite is offering this advice in return for joining the union.

This union gave bad advice to their members at Grangemouth and only a total climb-down by the union saved the Ineos plant from closure.

Existing Unite members should be very concerned that their jobs could be at risk from these migrant workers.

They should call for McCluskey’s resignation and if this fails then they should resign from the union.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Council must share blame for costly fair

THE News is to be commended for highlighting the ludicrous cost of participating in events at the Christmas Fair.

The price of taking a family along is obscene and Edinburgh City Council is as culpable as Underbelly since it endorses these charges when issuing the licence.

Perhaps next year the News could publish in advance a full list of the charges then the public could decide whether to partake in this event.

George Fairgrieve, Stapeley Avenue, Edinburgh