Readers' letters: Farmers market shows how to do it

After my recent visit to the Christmas Market I found it over-priced and for the most part, tasteless and repetitive tat, most of it almost certainly cheaply produced overseas and sold here at extortionate prices to fleece the tourists.

Why tourists? Because surely no local would go near the place. The same furry hats etc can be found in any of the “Scottish” shops littering the High Street.

My experience was of too many stallholders sitting absent-mindedly staring at phones and certainly not engaging with passers-by or customers.

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When I visited the farmers’ market last Saturday, a bitterly cold day with rain and a biting wind, what did I find? A keen, engaging, friendly and eager-to-help stalwart collective of local traders and producers doing their best to make a living by promoting high-quality local farm or other produce, housed in stalls which are neither warm nor fully weatherproof.

From those contrasting experiences, I come to the conclusion that the city council needs to wake up and smell the coffee (there is a rather nice one done at the farmers’ market) and extract itself from Underbelly’s hip pocket.

They should then take 40 or so of the rather nice cabins from the Christmas Market and set them up in another section of George Street or North Castle Street where they would make a natural extension to the atmosphere created by the ice rink.

Who knows, the local populace may take to buying locally produced food and goods in a more pleasant environment from producers who weren’t struggling to stay warm and cheerfully smiling through the grim reality of their trading environment and help promote good food and support employment in the nearby region.

Neil Robertson, Edinburgh.

A Scottish currency could work easily

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Jane Lax doesn’t seem to understand how currency operates in other recently independent countries (letters 7 December).

Upon independence, all banks and other mortgage providers doing business in Scotland would have to register an HQ in Scotland and offer accounts in whatever currency is adopted by the Scottish government. They would also be under an obligation to offer the same terms and conditions for a minimum period.

In the first few months following independence, the Scottish government should peg the value of the Scottish pound whereby one Scottish pound would be guaranteed to be worth a pound sterling.

During this period everyone in Scotland would be given the option to switch their sterling bank accounts into Scottish pounds, but no one would be forced to do so, although since Brexit the value of the pound sterling has fluctuated widely.

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As Scotland has a strong financial sector, a stable democracy, a balance of trade surplus and a massive amount of Europe’s total renewable energy potential, its credit rating would be very good.

The UK has the worst state pension in Western Europe and if Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Ireland can all afford to pay much better state pensions than the UK, then so could Scotland.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

Nice idea John, but how does it work?

The latest brainwave from Deputy First Minister John Swinney of the SNP is for every one to get a lateral flow test every time they go out, or meet someone, as he does.

With a population of over five million, do we have enough test kits?

Sounds like another great idea not properly thought through!

William Ballantine, Bo'ness.

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