Big Freeze chaos - 'We expect better results for our money'

ANY childlike flicker of joy that some of us felt when the first snow flakes fell on Lothian has long been extinguished.

The Big Freeze has dominated everything for the last three weeks - every news report, every plan we make, every conversation had when two or more are gathered together, shivering in the pub or by the water cooler.

Unfortunately, it is worse than boring - thousands of Britons have had their festive journeys ruined, many more of us have had to shelve our Christmas shopping, and every day is a dangerous lottery for those with no choice other than to travel.

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The authorities say they are doing all they can. But, frankly, it is unacceptable that some of Edinburgh's busiest roads still had slippery slush on them this morning, 36 hours after the last snow fell.

It is a poor show, too, that - as we report today - some residents have been waiting for four weeks to have rubbish collected, with no guarantee of an uplift before Christmas.

We applaud the work of individual council workers and managers who are doing what they can, plus extra efforts such as placing skips for dumping.

But after almost a month of snow and ice we would expect better results for our money - council tax freeze or no council tax freeze.

Don't snub Jack

THE "Establishment's" disdain for Jack Vettriano is a mystery to the thousands of people with his prints hanging in their homes - to say nothing of those with originals worth a small fortune.

The Fifer's supporters think that success breeds jealousy, while he faces snobbery for not being trained at art school.

Those who thought when Alex Salmond chose a new Vettriano for his official Christmas card it might open doors for the artist have been proven wrong. The Scottish Parliament is the latest to reject him.

While the last thing we need right now is Holyrood lashing out thousands of pounds to purchase a painting, it is a shame the parliament's arts advisors can't see the logic in getting a work on loan.

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For it matters not a jot whether or not MSPs like Vettriano or judge him to be a great artist. What matters is that he is loved like few modern artists. As such he deserves to be represented on parliament's walls, alongside the likes of John Lowrie Morrison, Peter Howson and our own John Bellany.