Letters: Public need the facts for debate, not propaganda

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Edinburgh City Council’s public announcement in the News (November 7) is one of the most shamelessly biased and misleading excuses for public information we have seen for many a year.

A public debate on selling off environment services is welcome, if at least 18 months overdue, but surely the public were entitled to the real facts, not an advert for the private bid.

To assist the debate, here are the facts.

Firstly, the private bid will not save £72 million. The contract only promises £51 million, the rest is wishful thinking.

“Workforce reductions” is made to look like it’s the same for the in-house and private bid. It is not.

While existing workers will stay in the Lothian pension scheme, this will not apply to new starts. Over time this will affect the whole pension scheme.

And as for councillors being “democratically accountable for delivery”, please wake up. What say will councillors have over a contract handed out for seven years, no matter which party Edinburgh elects next year?

At least the notice has the decency to point out councillors could change the in-house delivery but would have to “negotiate” for any changes needed in the private contract. We know all about that with the trams, don’t we? Bring on the debate. But let’s have the facts, not the propaganda.

John Stevenson, branch president, Unison city of Edinburgh branch

Running the risk of hypocrisy

MARTIN Hannan laments that unionists “have to resort to yah-boo name calling out of the playground” (News, November 8).

In the same column, he suggests people who think that the SNP have a bullying, totalitarian ethos should “Awa and bile yer heids, ya mugs” and later describes the Scottish legal community as a “docile mob”.

Can I suggest to Mr Hannan that he starts practising what he preaches, otherwise he runs the risk of being labelled a hypocrite.

Rob Miller, Bracken Avenue, Falkirk

University is not best way for all

I AGREE with much of what Robin Drummond says regarding choosing university or going straight into employment (News, November 8).

I often suggest to young people that when they go on “work experience” they should ask senior management how they got to their present position. They might be surprised.

Quite a number of top management have got to where they are by working up from the shop floor.

Another alternative to university is after being in employment for a few years is to take an Open University degree course. It shows your employers real commitment and is affordable at around £90 a month over three to four years depending on degree.

Sometimes the employer will subsidise the fees. I recently completed an Open University degree at the ripe old age of 66. I hope it will improve my employability prospects when I leave the council next year.

Stuart Roy MacIvor, SNP vice convener, education, children & families

Show the exit to suicide event

THE principle of Margo MacDonald’s assisted suicide Bill was rejected last year.

Like little children, some people think that if they keep on about it (suicide) then we might just give in. But we’re not called Scotland the Brave for nothing. Let’s give Exit and its seminar (News, November 8) short shrift.

Lynn Murray, Templeland Road, Edinburgh

Ticket to the 21st century, please

THE First Group Edinburgh/South Queensferry service 43 has improved but both the evening frequencies and the Sunday morning are poor.

With only one bus an hour how are workers expected to get to Edinburgh to work a Sunday shift? How are shoppers to get into Edinburgh other than use their car?

Please bring Queensferry into the 21st century.

Colin C Maclean, Hillpark Avenue, Edinburgh

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