Cutting religious input on schools is a truly divisive move – John McLellan

It’s hard to imagine Morningside being the scene of an anti-Catholic riot as recently as 1935, and bar one or two morons at football, in the 26 years I’ve lived in Edinburgh sectarianism has never reared its head.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 6:00 am
Green Councillor Mary Campbell

Indeed being from the West, it is one of the joys of life in the East that my children have grown up without religious division ever being a factor, disproving claims that Catholic schools are the root of sectarianism.

But it’s against a background of historic discrimination in which Edinburgh played that shameful part, and understanding the key role Catholic schools play in Catholic identity, that the Church has reacted so strongly to the Green Party’s plan to strip voting rights from the three religious representatives on the city’s education committee – one Church of Scotland, one Catholic and one other, currently Rabbi David Rose.

Their roles have been guaranteed by law since 1918 but no-one on the current council can remember them affecting any decisions and they have wisely kept out of matters which don’t directly affect them. Only by raising it has Green Councillor Mary Campbell, who has written about her desire to rid education committees of religious representation, made it an issue.

It is ironic that for a party which purports to champion diversity and inclusiveness – she has lodged a motion for today’s council meeting about celebrating Bisexuality Day – she and her party have created division and fear in a religious community which didn’t previously exist.

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30-year taxi wait

Now Network Rail has made taxi access to Waverley Station down the purpose-built ramps from Waverley Bridge impossible, there are no ideal solutions to the daily traffic mayhem on Market Street.

The idea of moving the stance to the south side of East Market Street beyond Jeffrey Street, forcing the elderly and disabled to walk even further looks like desperation, but isn’t the answer a route through the car park and a new rank next to Platform 8? There is even a handy ramp in front of the Council headquarters.

But the suggestion that the proposal could just be temporary until a new masterplan is in place in 2048 is the most astounding. 2048? Temporary? Thirty years from now most of the people who need easy taxi access right now will have made their final journey lying down.

Indy doesn’t add up

Interesting figures from the Scottish Government’s revenue and spending

report out yesterday: Scottish public spending per person is £13,854, £1661 more than the UK average, up £91, compared to tax revenue of £11,531 per person, £307 lower than the UK average.

The total deficit is £12.6bn, 7 per cent of GDP compared to the UK’s 1.1 per cent. EU countries should have a deficit of no more than 3 per cent, so an independent Scotland in Europe would need to narrow the gap by £5.4bn, approximately £1,000 per person. And that’s without the cost of establishing an entirely new system of government.

It would make Brexit look like changing your power supplier.

Home total lower

A five-storey block of flats in Marionville was recently rejected and now the design team behind the Council’s masterplan for the Meadowbank Stadium site has knocked a floor off plans for flats facing Wishaw Terrace.

Collective Architects proposed seven-storey blocks and were set to submit indicative plans to the housing committee, but a meeting of the Meadowbank Sounding Board on Monday heard there has been a rethink and the total number of new homes to be built on the site is now below 600.