Letters: Young people should be encouraged into politics

MP Mhairi Black makes her maiden speech at Westminster. Picture: Contributed
MP Mhairi Black makes her maiden speech at Westminster. Picture: Contributed
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How churlish of Michelle Smythe (letters, July 17) to attack the maiden speech by the youngest MP for 350 years.

With her message of hope over fear, 20-year-old Mhairi Black should be an inspiration for all tongue-tied young Scots and it’s just a pity that BBC Reporting Scotland failed to let viewers hear any of her historic speech and encourage young people to get interested in politics.

Mhairi was appealing for co-operation and extolling former Labour values which have been abandoned by the interim Labour Party leader who supports all the Tory welfare measures. And Michelle forgets that Gordon Brown twice reduced Corporation Tax.

Scotland has enough wealth and resources to survive as an independent nation without any oil revenues and wouldn’t need to pay for nuclear weapons or other wasteful expenditure.

It’s encouraging that young people like Mhairi Black have the ambition and confidence in the abilities of fellow Scots to run our own affairs, just like other normal countries.

Mary Thomas, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

Lib Dem leader Farron shows less liberal side

I despaired to watch Tim Farron, the new Christian leader of the Liberal Democrats, discussing homosexuality with Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News.

Having already abstained from the marriage equality vote, he three times refused to deny that gay sex was a sin, according to his biblical beliefs, offering instead the weasel spin of “we’re all sinners”.

Whether or not you have voted for them, the Lib Dems always seemed to stand for a bit of common sense.

This is a sad blow to the party’s liberal credentials and I fear another nail in their electoral coffin.

Neil Barber, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh

Housing growth needs a city transport plan

There is one policy the main political parties agree on, it is the need for more housing.

In Edinburgh, with its expanding population, there is not enough brownfield land available similar to the old brewery site at Fountainbridge, with easy access to the city centre. Inevitably houses will have to be built on the green belt, which means more cars adding to the thousands travelling into the city centre each day.

An expanded integrated public transport system (IPT) will be needed or congestion in the city will be very serious. Fortunately Edinburgh’s IPT has proved very popular with the travelling public and extensions to the system in the first instance to Leith (Newhaven) is the start.

Funding a future IPT will be a challenge for the council. Road pricing, tourist tax and a council tax increase are unlikely and the SNP government is ideologically opposed to light rail transport and has committed billions of the transport budget to the new Forth crossing and road widening projects in the Highlands.

But with the proposed developments in the south-east of the city and recently in Fife, it is a challenge that our elected officials face.

The houses will be built despite local opposition, e.g Cammo, and elsewhere. Obviously no-one wants the houses in their area and the council’s decision on transport funding and minimising the development in the green belt will be controversial.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh

Lack of action shows SNP true line on trolls

It was admirable for Alex Salmond to call for online trolls to be identified. However, what is interesting was the SNP response to Labour claims that no action has been taken against any of the 50 so-called cybernat trolls it identified as being SNP members.

The quoted SNP response was: “As the First Minister has made clear, the SNP will take appropriate action on those whose behaviour falls below the standards we expect.”

Can we assume, then, that as no action has been taken, these identified members have been behaving to a standard expected by the SNP?

Paul Lewis, Guardwell Crescent, Edinburgh

Police fears should end Named Person Scheme

With the appeal by NO2NP upcoming, we should all be aware that Police Scotland have now raised serious concerns about the Named Person Scheme’s negative impact on child abuse cases.

According to the police, Named Persons, not being professionals in the field, are likely when acting in accordance with their responsibilities under the scheme to unintentionally warn abusers of possible criminal investigation, enabling them to destroy evidence that might otherwise have secured a conviction.

Given that the entire point of the scheme was supposedly to prevent child abuse, this important intervention by the police must demand that the SNP in Holyrood think again.

It is bad enough to trample on our civil liberties in order to protect vulnerable children; when such well-intentioned authoritarianism has the opposite effect, it is surely time to re-assess and repeal such evident failure.

As CS Lewis said: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” It is time that this particular tyranny was deposed.

Alan G Melville, Shaw’s Street, Edinburgh