Bicycle tax would weed out rogue two-wheelers

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It is tragic that yet another cyclist has died on Scottish roads (News, July 23). I would be more than willing to have a surcharge on my road tax to be used solely for improvements to the infrastructure to make cycling safer.

However, in return I would expect legislation to introduce a bicycle tax, compulsory insurance and number plates for all cyclists over 16.

The bicycle tax could be administered by the DVLA and they would also be able to check insurance details.

I would expect the police to act on irresponsible cyclists and number plates would make this possible.

Rumour has it that the Scottish Government told the police to go easy on cyclists, and certainly no cyclist has ever been charged with dangerous or careless cycling.

Despite it happening every day in every town in Scotland, no-one has been fined £500 for cycling on the pavement.

The police need to brush up on the Highway Code and in particular Regulations 64 and 69.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Imperial units make it worth the weight

It has been most gratifying and appropriate to see the BBC announce the 8lb 6oz weight of the royal baby in imperial units.

Sadly, the BBC seems to have such a love affair with metric units that they are normally used even when public safety is at stake – as with the recent warnings of over-hot weather given repeatedly in Celsius when those most likely to be affected better understand Fahrenheit.

If the royal birth has made the BBC reconsider their position on this, then it may well be time for cynical republicans like myself to reconsider our stance on the monarchy.

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh

Matter of faith to be considered

The arrival of a new-born child, third in line of succession to the throne, is a justly celebrated event.

But this innocent and privileged baby will be shaped by the questionable features of current laws which not only exclude Roman Catholics and those not in communion with the Church of England from succession to the throne but which also require a new monarch, according to the Act of Union of 1707, to profess the “True Protestant religion” and “to preserve and maintain the Presbyterian form of Church government in Scotland”.

In addition, if he comes to the throne, he will, like his great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth, unless current laws are changed, have to declare his Protestant faith and repudiate the doctrines and authority of the Roman Catholic Church before the UK Parliament or at the coronation, according to the Accession Declaration Act of 1910, and swear, at the coronation, according to the Coronation Oath Act of 1688, to be Christian and uphold the privileges of the Church of England.

Those who proclaim that they are against religious sectarianism need to seek to change the several laws that sustain these unacceptable discriminatory arrangements for the monarchy and not just focus on the streets and football terraces.

Norman Bonney, Edinburgh Secular Society, Palmerston Place

Mail privatisation will have stamp of success

Your readers may be interested to understand what the recent announcement by the UK Government on the privatisation of Royal Mail means for our customers, our business and our people.

The UK Government has acknowledged it is not a good owner of large businesses. Private ownership will enable Royal Mail to become more flexible and fleet of foot in the fiercely competitive markets in which we operate. We will also have long-term access to capital when we need it. The Government has made clear it doesn’t have the money to allocate to Royal Mail ahead of schools and hospitals.

We aim to combine the best of the public and private sectors. The six-day-a-week, one-price-goes-anywhere, affordable Universal Service will remain unchanged. It is protected by law – enshrined in the Postal Services Act 2011.

The Quality of Service regime that applies to Royal Mail under public ownership will continue to apply under private ownership. Ofcom has already specified the minimum standards under regulation. Royal Mail will continue to offer good value for money. UK stamp prices are among the best value in the EU.

Our people are at the heart of Royal Mail. The current position is that all terms and conditions that apply now to Royal Mail employees would remain in place, on the same basis, were the company to be sold.

To provide further reassurance, we will create a legally-binding and enforceable contract with the CWU. Pay and protections could not be changed for the period of the contract without CWU agreement.

Approximately 150,000 eligible UK employees will receive free shares giving them a 10 per cent stake in the business. This is a larger free stake than in any other major UK privatisation for almost 30 years.

Many previously Government-owned companies – such as Rolls Royce and British Airways – have flourished under private ownership. We believe privatisation will equip Royal Mail for similar success.

Paul Kelly, Royal Mail delivery director, Cultins Road, Edinburgh

All guns should be given the bullet

I WAS appalled to read Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has insisted that the Scottish Government will press ahead with a law to license airguns despite a huge majority opposing the move (News, July 20).

This is grossly wrong. All airguns or any kinds of guns should be banned for good. They serve no purpose except to cause harm.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh