Letters: Don’t let service go off the rails due to thirst for profit

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Having recently travelled with East Coast Rail from Edinburgh to York and back I was most interested to read the piece by Sarah Boyack (News, July 17) in particular the proposal that “the UK Government has decided it wants to turn the service back over to the private sector”.

Am I alone in finding this baffling? For years, under a variety of private operators, the service had been appalling, or to use Sarah Boyack’s words “had its fair share of troubles” culminating in National Express having to default on its contract, with the result that the service was nationalised.

Since then, under public ownership the East Coast service has flourished, passenger satisfaction levels have improved dramatically and as far as I am aware it delivers good value for money.

And if there are any profits at least they can be reinvested in the service instead of doling out dividends to dubious 

To use a favourite expression of my late father’s: “If it ain’t broke why fix it?”

Hopefully Sarah Boyack’s lobbying for the service to remain in public ownership will prove to be successful, otherwise I fear the pleasant and efficient East Coast travelling experience will only deteriorate at the expense of the thirst for private profit.

David M Steel, Springfield Terrace, South Queensferry

Degree of fun in this graduation

In response to Irene Armstrong’s letter of July 16 and as a parent of a “graduating” child in last Wednesday’s Evening News pull-out special, I strongly disagree with her comments. Many of these children have been together for four years.

The graduation was a fun bit of dressing up for them and was a great way to celebrate their moving on to the next stage in their journeys, as well as a formal goodbye before the children go on their separate ways to schools across the city.

My son thoroughly enjoyed himself, as did the rest of the family.

The staff put a lot of time and effort in teaching the children the songs they sang, but this was no different to the children participating in an advent play, for example.

There was no pressure put on the children in any way. My son is thoroughly proud of his participation and so are we.

Gill Christie, Allan Park Road, Edinburgh

Alex should beam back to real job

OVER the last month, Alex Salmond has beamed from the second row of the Royal Box at Wimbledon, swung a golf club at the tournament at Castle Stuart, paraded with stars on a Holyrood red carpet for a film premiere and attended the Jubilee church service in Westminster Abbey with the royal family.

Are there no other government ministers in the appropriate departments able to attend these events so Mr Salmond may attend to his duties as First Minister?

It is evident Mr Salmond is not overly concerned about the serious financial stagnation in Scotland, the dire state of the NHS and care for the elderly, and the sliding educational standards in our schools.

However, he does find the time to endlessly contemplate the wording and number of questions for the referendum in two years and to continually move the goalposts for what independence will actually mean for us in Scotland.

Jane Greene, Great King Street, Edinburgh

Shame on driver who killed a cat

On Tuesday morning a friendly and sociable grey cat which lived with my neighbours met a motor vehicle on Calton Road, with the inevitable 

No-one would blame a motorist for an accident with a free-running cat or dog: vehicle and urban animal are almost the archetypal culture clash.

Sadly, one person’s road kill (in a city) is often another’s family member, so what I can blame that particular motorist for is putting their keeping up to their personal schedule before the common humanity of stopping, to at least try to discover whose pet they had killed.

So for that reason I curse that motorist, from the bottom of my black heart, with as lonely and as discarded a death.

Before someone writes in to point out that such a demand for retribution is not Christian, well then – neither am I.

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh