Letters: Fining thugs and thieves will leave public counting the cost

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IF THE Scottish Government paper recommending that fixed penalty notices be extended to include minor assaults, minor thefts and use and possession of cannabis is adopted ("Outrageous" bid to extend no-court fines, News, 27 November), wouldn't this be just another example of our parliament getting things half-right?

Why should miscreants be allowed to buy their way out of the criminal record they deserve and which helps to moderate their future behaviour and protect us, the public?

Why should an assault be ignored when those individuals could slip through a vetting process and end up in a position working with the vulnerable and the potential of inflicting even more serious harm?

And why should dishonest individuals be allowed to slip through the vetting process that could offer them opportunities, within financial services for example, where the potential exists for their dishonesty to inflict even more serious harm on unsuspecting others?

We can all sympathise with the increasing burden on our police and legal services, but the answer to that is to properly fund them to do their job.

The public deserves that those who transgress are properly held to account and a proper record is kept to protect us all through the vetting process already in place.

Instead of this partial "solution", shouldn't parliament be addressing why incidences of these "petty" crimes are increasing so much?

Jim Taylor, The Murrays Brae, Edinburgh

The right time to go it alone?

OUR First Minister Alex Salmond is producing a white paper which, he hopes, will open the way for an independence vote for the Scottish people.

Is this the right way for our country to go at a time when the markets are failing and the money markets are needing to be rebalanced? And why are we willing to pull away from Westminster yet sign up fully with Europe? Over the years Britain has seen its industrial base and jobs being farmed out to other countries, and what Scotland was once famed for has long gone. Is this the right time for Scotland going it alone and is it what the people of this country really want at this moment in time?

Would it not be like starting all over again when we have a system in place that looks after and protects everyone on these islands, and what will be achieved by pulling away from the rest of the United Kingdom?

Would this not just cause more uncertainty in a world that is already changing fast?

Andrew Murphy, Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Bus situation is simply not fare

THE Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson has, at a stroke, been able to reduce London fares by up to a third from 1 January, with tickets interchangeable.

We in Davidson's Mains, Barnton and Blackhall are still having to buy up to six separate bus fares for all our local buses. Lothian to the city; Fife to the bus station; First to the city boundary; Horsburgh to the Western General; Edinburgh Coach Lines to Murrayfield Golf Course and Nordi to the Kirkliston part of the city.

Why is this? Council tax payers in Granton or Leith don't need to purchase six tickets to get about their part of the city. Do our councillors really show any interest in us council tax payers? If they did I'm sure they would have sorted out this botched scheme by now.

Colin C Maclean, Hillpark Avenue, Edinburgh

Reel good time was had a ceilidh

AS A parent of Prestonfield Primary School I would like to say thank you to James Thomson and his team from Prestonfield House Hotel. They hosted a wonderful Homecoming Ceildh for the children from P4 to P7.

The children were greeted by a piper and red carpet and were then treated like kings and queens for the rest of the night. A special thank you to Mrs Gillis, who had trained the children so well in their Scottish dancing.

It was truly a night that all the children will never forget and the parents will not forget Mr Thomson's very kind generosity.

A special thank you to Mrs Richardson and all her staff from the school for their hard work and support.

Clare Clarkson, Cameron Toll Gardens, Edinburgh