Readers' Letters: We need bigger, better Christmas festivities in Edinburgh

Whilst every major city in Europe welcomes and promotes a Christmas market it seems the snobbery of Edinburgh does everything to thwart and repel a successful event.
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The popularity of the Edinburgh Christmas market is without question yet the event has been shrunk and downgraded whilst the majority of Princes Street Gardens West lies completely unused, unvisited and desolate.

The most valuable real estate in Scotland – filled with billions of pounds of treasures owned by the people – the National Gallery of Scotland, does nothing to attract in the common folks who visit the Christmas market, no doubt thinking the gallery is above their status.

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Even the gallery cafe toilets are deemed out of bounds to the commoners despite the fact they are paid for by the same taxpayer. It’s time Edinburgh embraced the Christmas spirit and made this annual event a spectacular one for Edinburgh folk and visitors alike, which brings much-needed revenue to shops and hotels. To those who don’t like it: don’t go.

Is the problem with the Christmas market that it’s not big enough?Is the problem with the Christmas market that it’s not big enough?
Is the problem with the Christmas market that it’s not big enough?

Stephanie Davidson, Musselburgh

Freeports in a storm

Conservative Cllr Iain Whyte (News, 19 December) boasts of being a proud Leither. Really? He wasn't to be seen last year when on the chicken run looking for a safe seat. It really is a bit rich of him now to criticise the Labour, Green and SNP councillors who were successful and oppose not only the Forth Ports bid but the tax-dodging structures of freeports per se.

He needs to look beyond his prejudices against what he calls left-wing tribal voting. Meanwhile PM Sunak on taking office immediately scrapped PM Truss’s proposals for enterprise zones, a business model not dissimilar to freeports. The Edinburgh Council Conservative leader extolled what he sees as the benefits of freeports but ignores the downsides. The RMT, working all out for their members at this difficult time, supports green job creation but fears freeports could result in workers in our poorest communities signing away their rights.

The RMT says that without strong employment rights, automatic trade union recognition and tax laws that make international owners of UK ports contribute, freeports are doomed to fail the communities they are supposed to help. The TUC hit the nail on the head when they pointed to freeports encouraging tax avoidance/ tax havens. Simply put, this means less money for our NHS and schools.

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Bridget Phillipson MP, Labour shadow education secretary, no bastion of Labour's left, wrote in a similar fashion last year concluding freeports were inconsistent with Labour values, not least around taxation. I am befuddled as to why the council's Labour Group supported the bid.

Douglas McBean, Edinburgh

Talking turkey

Lamenting the proposed end of what he calls “historic and enduring links between the Crown, Church, and Parliament” the bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, has shrilly condemned Labour’s call for The House of Lords, complete with its unelected bishop’s bench, to be replaced with an elected second chamber.

He forgets the Church of England represents one sect of one minority religion in one country of the UK which is now attended by fewer than two per cent of English people.

The nearest country to the UK to have unelected clerics sitting in government is Iran and the C of E knows its jacket is on a shooglie peg. What a seasonal time of year to coin the old adage: “Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.”

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society

Write to the Edinburgh Evening News

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