Readers' letters: Tory philosophy fails the equality test

"The ideology of the party is Neo-liberalism after all, so what can one expect but 'laisser faire' and a hatred of anything that seems socialist or woke?”

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 7:00 am
Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to take part in Prime Minister's Questions

Tory philosophy fails the equality test

Inconsistencies and poor messaging by the government are bringing the pingdemic to a store or pub near you.

They bode ill for our future. The Tory party has its libertarians who want small government and free enterprise. They see herd immunity as the answer. They are demanding total freedom, even opposing nightclub vaccine passports.

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There is also the fiscally conservative who hate pandemic 'war socialism' and want to kick people back on their feet and cut debts as soon as possible.

But the desire for ideological purity means government can only ever address our future problems with soundbites and finessing. Neo-liberalism can not level up or manage environmental disasters.

Why? Governments have to commit to big spending, big plans and cooperation between countries if we are to address the environmental decline which has become all too obvious across China, the USA and Europe.

The same is true of levelling up, social care problems and safety standards in food, flood preparations and housing.

Dom Cummings is right to suggest we need a new premier but wrong if he suggests it should be another Conservative one.

Andrew Vass, Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh.

More power to NIMBYs’ elbows

I applaud Celia Hobbs for being a NIMBY and having fought with great success to save her area of the Pentland Hills from wind farm development (Letters, July 21).

The phrase “serial wind farm objector” has been used by aggressive lawyers acting for developers at public inquiries for many years in an attempt to discredit a witness on a personal basis in the hope of having their opinions and evidence ignored by decision makers.

Many bona-fide people, trying to give of their best in the local interest, feel they cannot cope with the psychological strain of such a combative and unequal process and withdraw their representation.

This acts as a barrier to effective public engagement in the planning process - the opposite result to that which the Scottish government is seeking to achieve.

Scotland Against Spin’s current public petition to the Scottish Parliament seeks to address this situation by requesting, among other things, an independent advocate is appointed to ensure that “local participants are not bullied and intimidated during public inquiries and that their voices are heard.”

Not everyone has a Celia Hobbs in their area. When it comes to wind farm development we should all be more NIABY (not in anyone’s back yard) because no-one should be forced to live beside these environmentally destructive and soul-destroying beasts.

Aileen Jackson, Uplawmoor.

Protecting rights is proving costly

In an unnerving echo of a similar event in Edinburgh, Blackpool borough council has been fined £109,000 and forced to make a grovelling public apology after being found guilty of 'discriminating on grounds of religion' by removing bus adverts for an evangelical Christian event.

The event had featured evangelist Franklin Graham who is well known for his LGBT+ hate-views. Religious fundamentalists are entitled to their opinions but let us not forget that LGBT+ people are also protected by equality legislation.

Which side should Blackpool council have taken? As we compare the protected characteristics of LGBT+ identity and religious belief, let us not forget which one is a choice.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive.