Letters: Time for the Capital to move into modern era

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THE fact that red tape could stop a city street being named after someone unless they have been dead for at least ten years shows what a stuffy, living-in-the-past city Edinburgh can sometimes, unfortunately, be.

I’m not up in arms about the possibility of the late footballer Lawrie Reilly not being honoured in such a way (News, January 2), not being a fan of the round ball game, though by all accounts he seems to have been a nice, modest man as well as a successful footballer.

I’m thinking more about how renaming Festival Square after the late, great Nelson Mandela could be stymied by petty bureaucracy. I don’t think there should be many arguments whether the great South African deserved such a tribute or not, and I’m sure he will be honoured in such a fashion by many cities around the globe.

In 1986 our rival city Glasgow named a square after the then imprisoned Mr Mandela in an effort to help free him. It is deeply embarrassing that nearly three decades after that, there are still council officials here not ready to deign to considering whether a great figure of history is worthy of marking in Edinburgh.

And it seems ridiculous that we should question whether an individual should be worthy of the distinction of having a street named after them in an era where there are two knights pedalling around after winning bicycle races, and neither man yet out of his thirties.

Please, Edinburgh, emerge into the 21st century. Move with the times rather than acting like we are still in the Victorian age.

A Barker, Albion Road, Edinburgh

If only Lesley had been planning chief

THERE may be tram good reasons why Lesley Hinds, pictured, deserves her top citizen accolade (News, December 30).

Nevertheless, I wish she had been planning convener rather than transport convener in 2013.

As an Inverleith councillor, she urged the planning committee to listen to the local community objections to the Accies development proposals.

But planning convener Ian Perry ignored this advice. He simply informed his committee that he had managed to overcome his own concerns about the height and scale of the stadium complex. And now he could see no reason to turn down the planning application.

Such breathtaking political arrogance surely merits some kind of award – not first, but worst local politician I would suggest.

Alan Murphy, Learmonth Grove, Edinburgh

Mobile ban is a bright idea from the Tories

I NEVER thought this day would come, but the Tories have had an idea I agree with.

They want school pupils to be forced to give up their mobile phones when they enter the class (News, December 31).

Teachers these days have enough difficulty in controlling a class without children zoning out through the distraction of their mobiles.

I can understand why parents want their children to have mobiles – it is a way they can keep track of their children, with the reassuring knowledge that they are safe.

That is why it is important that pupils should be given access to their phones at break times and for leaving school at the end of the day.

But when they are not being used for communication with parents, in the hands of young children they become nothing more than toys which can easily disrupt the class.

We don’t let children take their toys into the class with them. Why should mobile phones be any different?

Len James, Musselburgh

Secularism provides the freedom of all

Gus Logan wrongly assumes that secularism is “anti-belief” (letters, January 2). Secularism makes no judgement whatsoever of private beliefs as long they are not imposed in state schools, granted exemption from equality laws or given unelected access to local and national government.

Of course some secularists are not religious, but many are and we unite in the concern that no one religion should be advantaged.

Secularism protects the freedom of all. My own personal life philosophy is entirely irrelevant.

Might it be that Mr Logan’s conviction as to the truthfulness of his own belief makes him see any challenge to its privilege as an attack on its substance?

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh

Better chance given to equal nations

BARRY Turner says, as an Englishman living in Scotland, that the nationalist cause is self-indulgent and inward-looking (Letters, December 23).

In other words, we are selfish and greedy for wanting to keep our own harvest and ring our own till.

Westminster has always opposed home rule or self government for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, or a federal system for the United Kingdom, because it knows it would lead to independence.

But the former colonies of the British Empire have fared better as equal members of the British Commonwealth whether big or small, and they have stayed in good relations with England.

Colin Smail, Viewforth Gardens, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh