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Evening News, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AS
WITH reference to your article on chewing gum deposits on the footway (Stamping down on chewing gum blight, News 9 June). Yesterday in Edinburgh, seeing the men endeavouring to remove the mess in George Street and Charlotte Square (a boring, thankless and expensive job, no doubt), reminded me of a visit to Singapore more than 20 years ago.
Buying, selling and using chewing gum was banned there, with a very healthy penalty being imposed. This city appeared spotless. I saw a group of teenagers gathered in a circle in the main square next to Raffles. Three or four of them were smoking, one of whom was holding an empty juice can where they all deposited their ash. On the same day I observed two males wearing bright orange boiler suits, sweeping the streets for apparently some minor infringement.
I was also pleased to see on TV yesterday, again in Singapore, that an arrest warrant was in force for a Brit for defacing and spray-painting a tube train, and that the penalty for this vandalism was a fine of 800, three years in prison or three to six strokes of the cane. Our paltry fines are obviously not working, surely there must be a solution here.
LW Nichol, Clerwood Park, Edinburgh
Important to keep track of the truth
Once more it would appear that some people are playing fast and loose with the facts surrounding Labour's tram project.
For the record: Since 2006 on three separate occasions the SNP group on the council has tabled motions at full council to end this farce and on each occasion all the other parties have voted to keep it going.
Secondly Steve Cardownie has never been the "Trams Champion". Indeed a letter to this effect was published in the Evening News by the council's chief executive, Tom Aitchison some time ago in an attempt to dispel this particular myth.
The SNP group has never supported the trams project and is awaiting the outcome of the recent ultimatum to Bilfinger Berger. If the consortium loses the contract it will take some time before a new one can be appointed to finish the work. That time could be put to good use by letting the people of the city have their say on whether they want it to continue with this tram line or stop it now.
Remember, any overrun on the budget will have to be made up by the council borrowing money to do so and we are not talking pennies!
Councillor Deidre Brock, group secretary, SNP group
City has a proud Gaelic heritage
Your editorial of 9 June says this city has "no historic Gaelic culture". I beg to differ. What about suburbs with names like Balerno, Dalry, Gilmerton and Inverleith? All with some Gaelic origin and dating back almost 1,000 years. Or the steady stream of Highland migrants?
One of the greatest Scottish poets in any language, Duncan Ban McIntyre, spent most of his life here, as have the contemporary Gaelic novelist Martin MacIntyre and poet Meg Bateman. Gaels may have been written out of the city's history, but they're still part of it.
Raymond Bell, Gogarloch Haugh, Edinburgh
Government must lead by example
The government has made it clear that the pain of financial cuts will be felt by everyone, right down to those existing on benefits. Fair enough, but they must lead by example by reducing parliamentary over-manning.
The cumbersome House of Lords should be dissolved as it is largely duplication of effort and expense. All MPs' salaries and expenses should be reduced by 10 per cent and all allowances on stepping down withdrawn.
Members representing other than English constituencies should be declared redundant, giving England a de facto devolved parliament. Representatives of the four separate governments would require convening only on matters affecting the whole UK. This would avoid the extravagance of Secretaries of State with their offices and staffs, for which there is no justifiable function even now.
Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent