Lost skills are leaving us incapable of action

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wITH the Forth Road Bridge closed, send for Christian Salvesen, who would have had multiple ferries from Grangemouth, Rosyth, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy making their way forth to Leith or Granton every day, full of passengers.

It’s amazing how a few generations of lost knowledge and expertise can render a society so incompetent and useless.

Wha’s like us, damn few and they’re a’ deid, as it were.

The report ‘Political inaction could sink latest Forth crossing plans’ by maritime professor Alf Baird in the Evening News back in April 2014 confirms that our politicians of all colours and more especially Forth Ports plc are not fit for purpose, essentially for not even considering or attempting what the public should reasonably expect of them, but of which they are obviously incapable.

The Forth was formerly seen as a waterway highway of ferry crossings, but now is an embarrassment of ignorance. How times change.

Kenneth Manson, Brighouse Park Cross, Edinburgh

Tough health issues for the long-term jobless

DOCTORS throughout the country report that cases of severe clinical depression among long-term unemployed men have long reached epidemic proportions, many, they think, resulting in suicide.

To the Department of Employment, long-term unemployment means a term of 52 consecutive weeks, while employers never consider job applications from anyone out of work for more than 26 weeks because they believe such applicants will be out of the habit of getting out of bed in the morning and would be unreliable. I have experienced this myself.

When an advert appears in this newspaper for a driver wanted in the Edinburgh area, it could attract 20 or more applicants.

Employers respond only to the most promising three or four to invite them to an interview and all the other letters are binned, with no response.

Hence, a person may apply for ten jobs every month and never get a response.

Staff at Job Centres are instructed to demand that long-term unemployed people bring letters of response to their applications at one-on-one meetings with an employment adviser and warned that failure to do so will lead to the loss of Jobseeker’s Allowance, despite the fact that the staff are well aware that no letters of response 

Every unemployed person thinks that they alone get no response, when in fact this is the experience of all long-term employed and leads to unwarranted feelings of incompetence, helplessness and depression, which in many cases does result in suicide.

Gordon Lothian, Restalrig Gardens, Edinburgh

2015 has been a good year for Scots tourism

As 2014 came to a close, I wondered how long it would be until Scotland felt a draught. No, I’m not talking about the whistling of Storm Abigail through your door, I’m talking about the tumbleweed silence that comes after a country hosts a major sporting events and media attention moves on.

At the start of 2015, the outlook was worrying. However, with true Scottish determination our industry worked hard to achieve success. The results speak for themselves with latest figures noting an increase in visits and spend for the first six months of the year, more direct air routes to Scotland than ever before, literally billions of pounds in investment rolling out across the country and success in securing a stellar line up of global events and conferences for the next five years.

Most importantly, we proved that when we pull together and work hard in this industry we can stop that icy draft developing into a cold for Scottish tourism.

For me, it’s the Scottish people that have made the ultimate difference with our warmth, passion and spirit. Scotland is seen across the world as a welcoming nation.

I would like to pay tribute to everyone in Edinburgh for their role in turning 2015 into a tourism success, from making warm pots of soup for cold sightseers to giving directions to organising interesting and exciting events and activities for our visitors.

Next year, we welcome the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design – a world first – and with that a host of new ideas and events within Scottish tourism.

I wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Mike Cantlay, chairman, VisitScotland

Street of Light sponsors are very welcome

So, Lesley Riddoch denounces on Facebook Edinburgh’s Street of Light Christmas extravaganza as “tacky” because it’s branded Virgin Money –presumably the funder of the free show.

As thousands enjoy the performance every night, often in appalling weather, what gives Ms Riddoch the right to appoint herself the taste police?

Instead of celebrating the performance of volunteers from diverse community choirs such as Edinburgh Gay Men’s Choir and Edinburgh Police Choir, she whines about the choral accompaniment being “taped”.

These guys have day jobs – it’ll be impractical for them to turn up twice a night to perform.

And Ms Riddoch seems to find commercial sponsorship distasteful. Silly me, Edinburgh council has such an enormous amount of spare cash, of course the event should be funded by council taxpayers from the public purse!

But then Ms Riddoch is a nationalist sympathiser and the SNP is the party of universal state benefits.

Her elitist attitude suggests she is out of touch with today’s reality.

Martin Redfern, Royal Circus, Edinburgh