Litterbug capital

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David Roche (Letters, 24 September) makes timely comment on litter-strewn Edinburgh. Not so long ago town and burgh by-laws placed responsibility on householders and businesses to keep the pavement and road in front of their premises clean, and for most it was a matter of civic pride that they did so.

Then, about half a century ago local politicians in Britain, anxious to increase their fiefdoms and spend other people’s money, employed street-sweepers (“scaffies” in most of Scotland).

The innovation was not universally popular and throwing down litter came to be seen as a sign of approval, of solidarity with the workers, by people of a certain political persuasion.

There certainly seems to be a sizeable majority of them in present-day Edinburgh, the once proud city where most of its citizens do not even seem to know the meaning of “civic pride”.

Irvine Inglis



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