Letters: Give public a referendum on ending waste of money

What a great idea from the SNP councillors - let's have a referendum to decide the fate of the Edinburgh tram project (News, June 28).

Why not go one further and in future have a referendum before starting any major project, allowing the taxpayers to decide what our money should be spent on? That way we wouldn't need to pay for all the councillors and politicians who have been elected to represent our interests.

I wonder if a referendum had been held, would we have had the five miles of motorway recently opened in Glasgow at a cost of 692 million?

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Perhaps if we are to have a referendum we could add a box to vote on whether anyone wants to spend 1 billion-plus on an additional road bridge over the Forth to allow commuters at busy times to drive into Edinburgh?

And while we are at it, how about one for doing away with the Scottish Parliament and all its ongoing costs?

Alastair Murray, Elliot Road, Edinburgh

Thin end of the green belt wedge I AM deeply concerned about the implications of the Scottish Government's decision to side with the developer against the council and allow 100 properties and associated parking on the greenbelt site at Burdiehouse Road (News, June 24).

The planning system is not working if the elected council can be overturned by a persistent developer who plays the system to the detriment of the local community.

What's the point in a five- year Local Plan process if it can be disregarded at the first application from a developer?

We are now on the back foot with proposals for other sites in South Edinburgh, including the proposed development at Winton Drive. This is the thin end of the wedge and something must be done.

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I would suggest a moratorium on applications for sites for a period of time after a Local Plan is adopted. That way, local communities can have confidence that when decisions are made they are adhered to.

Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South

Services are part of our way of life

CONTRARY to the article by Margo MacDonald (News, June 29), there is a very strong case for the defence.

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Anyone who, like myself, has been in the forces, learns the value of the training, which when people leave the forces is much in demand in industry.

It may have escaped the attention of the parties but there are many young people who want to join up and wear uniform and get used to service discipline.

If youths want to serve their country, at least we know where they are, and that they are not taking drugs or drink.

Let's make all three services wanted, they are important to the British way of life. CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

SNP must put its housing in order

THE SNP's Scottish election manifesto clearly states that if returned to power it would build 6000 socially-rented houses each year.

However, when challenged on this promise in the Scottish Parliament this week, Housing Minister Keith Brown clearly stated that the Scottish Government had no plans to deliver on that manifesto commitment.

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If the money can't be found to fund this commitment, it will come as a devastating blow to the 160,000 households across Scotland stuck on council waiting lists. Scotland's housing crisis needs long-term sustained investment.

Less than two months into a new majority government, it is too early to be reneging on manifesto commitments.

Graeme Brown, director, Shelter Scotland, Edinburgh

Worshipping by another name

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JEHOVAH (Yahweh) was certainly the god of the Jews and was the god Jesus worshipped.

But if Donald Jack (Interactive, June 28) is claiming that Christians ('Gentiles'?) worship him under another name, he is mistaken. Christians worship a trinity of gods, none of whom is Jehovah.

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh