Letters: Nothing’s simple with Euro leaders

Jose Manuel Barroso's office couldn't offer a straight answer. Picture: Getty
Jose Manuel Barroso's office couldn't offer a straight answer. Picture: Getty
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On European Union membership, Margo MacDonald (Evening News, December 4) said that there’s been a fair amount of legal opinion exchanged on whether Scotland has the same rights as England, Northern Ireland and Wales after it is independent. Indeed there has.

Bewildered, early this year I sought information directly from the office of EU president Juan Manuel Barroso as to why, after independence, England and its attached principality and province, as a new political entity with a new name, would not also be required to seek EU re-admission. No EU legislation I could find referred specifically to this situation, so I also asked for information as to where exactly it was set down.

The answer from the European Commission Secretariat-General office in Brussels was: “The ongoing democratic process is a matter for the UK and Scottish governments and the Scottish people.

“It is not for the European Commission to express a position on questions of internal organisation related to the constitutional arrangements of any particular Member State.

“ . . . concerning certain scenarios such as the separation of one part of a Member State or the creation of a new State, these would not be neutral as regards the EU Treaties.

“The Commission would express its opinion on the legal consequences under EU law, on request from a Member State detailing a precise scenario. Concerning the general question of the accession of States to the European Union, the Commission recalls that this must be fully in line with the rules and procedures foreseen by the EU Treaties.”

Am I any the wiser?

Mrs C S Lincoln, Edinburgh

Why won’t cyclists put their safety first?

I HAVE in my lifetime driven lorries, JCBs, motorcycles and bicycles across the length and breadth of the UK, but it really puzzles me when I see cyclists using the main road, the A89, between Bathgate and Edinburgh when there is a cycle track which has been provided at very great expense by the taxpayer.

When I stopped at the traffic lights and asked two of them why they didn’t use the track provided, all I got was a mouthful of swearwords and told to f*** off. So much for the safety provided. Police take note.

J Muir, Broxburn, West Lothian

Dish out dignity by handing over benefit

Dundedin Canmore Housing Association is currently taking part in a pilot project in Edinburgh which pays housing benefit direct to the tenants.

Payment of housing benefit direct to tenants is an excellent idea and it should be extended nationwide to all recipients as it empowers tenants and restores their dignity.

Tenants in Edinburgh could legally withhold rent if housing associations or the city council do not meet their statutory obligations to repair homes or deal with antisocial or criminal behaviour.

Tenants who deliberately do not pay their rent can be evicted and much-needed taxpayer-funded social housing made available to those who value such housing.

Jim Stewart, Oxgangs Avenue, Edinburgh

Celebration of Yule began long time ago

Karen Keil (Letters, December 3) is quite wrong to imagine that because I am a secularist, my Christmas will be “mean-spirited, two-dimensional and hollow”.

It is the darkest part of the year and the psychological inevitability of a festival at this time has meant Yule being celebrated for hundreds of years before Christianity attached its nativity myth.

I delight in Christmas. I love the scented candles, the sentimental music, the holly and the ivy, the promise of returning light and the rejoicing in love shared as we huddle around the fire with family, friends and neighbours.

Merry Christmas to you too, Ms Keil. I hope your religious beliefs won’t distract you from its real meaning.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive

Good reason to enjoy a festive makeover

I AM writing to ask your readers to support a nationwide fundraising initiative taking place in The Body Shop stores.

Branches up and down the country are celebrating the end of term early by holding a School Disco this weekend. Staff will be donning their best fancy dress outfits and boogying to festive tunes to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust. Customers will be offered dazzling makeovers for a donation as well as being invited to add 10p to their purchase.

Teenage Cancer Trust and The Body Shop are encouraging your readers to also get involved from the comfort of their homes.

All they need to do is tell us who their favourite teacher was and why using “#schoolmemories” on Twitter and they’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a hamper of goodies. The Body Shop will donate £1 to Teenage Cancer Trust for every entry.

Last year, The Body Shop selected Teenage Cancer Trust as its charity partner for 2013.

The Body Shop has raised £430,000 so far this year for Teenage Cancer Trust, and hope this weekend’s fundraising will bring it closer to its £500,000 target.

Shree Rajani, media relations manager, Teenage Cancer Trust