No limit for some

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SO £2.2 million is to be spent on introducing a city-wide 20 mile an hour speed limit by a council who is strapped for cash, indeed in debt, is laying off workers and is unable to mend the many and large pot holes that are a key feature of Edinburgh streets!

Surely this is confirmation that the council has completely lost its senses! As for the low response to the consultation on the matter – that has more to do with the fact that very few folk knew there was a consultation. Edinburgh Council has discovered a brilliant ploy for being able to claim democratic legitimacy whilst actually doing whatever it wants. It announces measures like consultations on its website, which very few bother to look at except, perhaps, when in search of the number to call to complain about yet another pot hole.

If I had known about the consultation, I would certainly have written to object as I have done to previous consultations on this matter. We live in the pilot area and very few cars bother to observe the “20 is Plenty” speed limit on our street and there is no enforcement whatsoever. Indeed, only when a helpful graffiti artist spray-painted one of the “20” signs bright pink, did anyone really notice it was even there. Most car drivers will of course completely ignore the new limit – as they do on our road – and certainly people driving through the Meadows late at night are highly unlikely to crawl along at 20 miles per hour. Meanwhile, the many cyclists who zoom around, particularly down hills, will almost certainly break the new limit on a regular basis.

Another city which has introduced an across-the-city 20 limit is Bristol, which is so congested that for much of the time it is impossible to drive even at 20 mph. However, at those infrequent times when the roads are quiet, cars make absolutely no effort to observe the limit. The same will be true in Edinburgh. However, the buses will not have that option.

After the pilot scheme the council was asked how many accidents the new speed limit had prevented. The answer was that the numbers were so small as to have no statistical significance. This is a vanity project which may be fine when there is loads of money but not when it takes £2.2m out of a very stretched budget. Think on it as you fall down the next pot hole or, as I did last night, trip headfirst on a bad bit of pavement.

Judith Gillespie

Findhorn Place, Edinburgh

Case crumbles

This Tunnocks boycott really takes the biscuit. These people are accused of being “brainwashed” spongers, who will let muffin get in the way of their quest for a Breakaway from England and that most of them are crackers and spend too much time Hob-Nobbing with their mates on Facebook.

I think their ideas are pie in the sky because the economic case is a bit Rocky and Scotland can still play a roll in the UK as long as we use the loaf, or we could get toast oot.

I think it’s scone too far, it’s pasta joke. Am ah right or a meringue?

Allan Sutherland

Willow Row, Stonehaven

Resilience doubt

Responding to George Osborne’s gloom laden speech on the UK’s economic prospects the SNP’s spokesperson on the economy at Westminster, Stewart Hosie, said the Chancellor’s thinking lacked “resilience”. This is a favourite word of the SNP. There is the Scottish Government Resilience Room where SNP ministers can watch the Forth Road Bridge fall to pieces and large parts of Scotland disappear under water in safety and comfort. Mr Hosie was however short of detail by exactly what he meant by resilience in the economic context. Perhaps it involves not basing the economy of a new country on an oil price overestimated by more than 300 per cent or chasing away companies willing to invest in newer, cheaper forms of energy extraction by enforcing crowd pleasing policies with no scientific basis?

Dr SJ Clark

Easter Road, Edinburgh

New questions

The concerted, mass attacks on women in Germany by asylum seekers and immigrants in recent days were indeed most disturbing (Letters, 8 January).

In many ways the reaction of the German police in their reluctance to state the truth about the background of the attackers was similar to what happened recently in the UK. In northern England, men of mainly Pakistani origin or descent went untouched for long periods and carried out a series of horrific offences against vulnerable young girls.

Many of these could have been stopped if early action had been taken.

The reluctance of the UK authorities to act was mirrored by the German police and the Holy Grail of not upsetting the “balance” of racial relations in any way was paramount. The plight of the victims or future offences appears to have been the very last concern.

Political Correctness – no matter how good the intent – in many ways is a more insidious and anti-human measure than the worst forms of racism.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

The SNP’s support for the EU and free movement of people has been undermined by the mass sexual assault on Hogmanay, of more than 100 women in Cologne, by a gang of 1,000 men.

As Europeans, those 1,000 men are of course totally free to live in Scotland, regardless of their contempt for the dignity and rights of women already living here.

Why are open borders and the free movement of people more important to the SNP then protecting Scottish women from such undesirable males?

Jim Stewart

Oxgangs Avenue, Edinburgh

Noise levels

I note David Bone (8 January) describes the constant Nationalist expression of petty grievances as being experienced as background “low level white noise”.

Many will remember the attempts of YeSNP supporters to intimidate the BBC into abandoning its admirably neutral reporting of the 2014 referendum campaign presumably to adopt a more pro-independence stance.

What was really ominous however was the failure of the SNP leadership to condemn such anti-democratic tactics.

Even what is described by its supporters as “benign civic Nationalism” too readily demonstrates a darker aspect.

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive, Uddingston

Saints alive

Dame Sally Davies, CMO, NHS stridently condemns a little red wine being good for you as an old wife’s tale! Surely not! It was St Paul who wrote “Do not still drink water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thy frequent infirmities” in his excellent and well researched advice to Timothy (1Timothy 5.23). (Timothy, by the way, who completely abstained from wine, was here being cautioned against his excessive austerity because it might actually impair his health.)

As for the unit of wine the priest consumes daily as he consecrates and transforms wine at Mass, dare Dame Sally Davies condemn this too? Perhaps she should beware the wrath of God for her pseudo-science! 
Casting aside such politically correct nonsense, surely St Thomas Aquinas’ advice “Moderation in everything” (“In medio stat virtus”) is better to be heeded. Agnostic, as I am, I’m on the side of St Paul and St Thomas!

Tom Dolan

Brochroy Croft, Taynuilt, Argyll

Green shoots

Allowing the Green Lobby to chase Cluff Natural Resources from Scotland is a shameful day in our history. Underground coal gasification (UCG) had massive potential to drive down energy costs for industry, providing our country with a real competitive edge.

Like every evolving technology, UCG exhibited teething problems but Scotland has the engineering talent to make it work safely. If the Scottish Government placed more faith in that talent, and less credence in Green sensationalism, then our country would have reaped the benefit. Instead, the jobs and technological development will happen in England.

Leave energy policy to the Greens and there will be few workers left to worry about Tory trade union reform. Unchallenged they will push the deindustrialisation of Scotland further and faster than Lady Thatcher.

Calum Miller

Polwarth Terrace, Prestonpans

Sturgeon gamble

It’s almost inconceivable, but has canny political operator, Nicola Sturgeon, made a tactical error?

Reversing the decision she took at the October SNP conference, and by bringing the independence debate to the fore in the SNP’s campaign for May’s Holyrood elections, Ms Sturgeon takes a massive gamble.

Yes, the SNP rides high in opinion polls. The polls suggest as many as 10 per cent of voters, though opposed to Ms Sturgeon’s ambition to break-up the UK, could well vote SNP in the belief the party is competent in office.

If over the coming months the First Minister frightens away these crucially important voters with divisive rhetoric around another referendum during the next Holyrood term, she may just put at risk the significant majority she so desperately craves. Yet if a second referendum doesn’t form a significant part of the SNP’s campaign, then her right to attempt to demand one from Westminster is undoubtedly weakened. Rock and a hard place, eh Nicola?

Martin Redfern

Royal Circus, Edinburgh

Lines now open

Given the current oil price,perhaps Alex Salmond’s phone in programme should involve a premium rate number to help swell the depleted coffers?

Brian Petrie

Vivian Terrace, Edinburgh

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