Letters: Excluding councillors from bridges board is wise move

I read with interest the story about the Scottish Government refusing to allow Edinburgh city councillors on the board of the advisory body for the Forth bridges. Frankly, I think they have made a wise decision.

Our city councillors have a disgraceful track record, not limited to, but in particular to do with, transport – of course I’m referring to the trams project – and as the Forth bridges are Scottish icons and not just associated with Edinburgh, I agree wholeheartedly with Alex Salmond’s decision.

I couldn’t help laughing at the quote from city transport convener Lesley Hinds, who said that councillors should be represented on the board to ensure local people had a democratic voice. Would that be the same democratic voice that was ignored in order to push through the ill-fated trams project?

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While I believe the people of Edinburgh probably should have an elected representative on the Forth Bridges board, I would prefer it was someone trustworthy who hadn’t made a complete hash of another transport project and who would actually represent the views of the people rather than follow their own agenda.

A decision well made, Mr Salmond!

Veronica Noble, Morningside, Edinburgh

People of all faiths can enjoy festivals

Helen Martin in her discussion of the Veronica Wikman /Edinburgh Secular Society petition to remove statutory religious observance from schools (Monday, February 25) wheels out the old and silly notion that secularists want to ban Christmas.

There were solstice and spring festivals for many hundreds of years before Christianity, which are rightly celebrated in school communities. The mythology of Christianity has recently imposed itself as part of the infrastructure of these events but it is not the sole 
custodian of our spiritual 

Ms Martin concludes with the equally tired canard that “evangelical atheists” are trying to impose atheism in place of religion. She should be reminded that secularism is not the same as atheism. We wish only for religion to be a private matter with nothing imposed on anyone.

She reveals much about her own imagination in her nervous and entirely irrational description of atheists’ “rather sad and despairing lack of faith.”

The saddest thing is Ms Martin’s fear that despair is the only alternative to belief in the supernatural.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall drive

Conman deserves a longer sentence

Absolute shame on the deplorable postal worker who stole more than £33,000 from an 89-year-old pensioner’s savings account (News, February 27).

Vulnerable Marjorie Mills had placed thousands of pounds of cash into the care of the Post Office after being attacked in her home in Edinburgh years back. Amateur fighter Nadeem Amjid, aged 26, stole thousands of pounds from the vulnerable old lady’s money while he worked at the city’s Colinton Mains Post Office. His scam only came to light after Marjorie’s daughter checked her mother’s statements in May 2012 and discovered the OAP’s nest egg had been depleted. The pensioner told worried relatives that she had only been withdrawing £50 at a time. Detectives discovered vile Amjid had been accessing her account in which he helped himself to £33,646 and stole the money to fund a gambling problem.

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No doubt this heinous scumbag deserved to be caged, but should have been jailed for longer than 20 months for this despicable crime he committed which was so callous indeed.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh

Bed tax won’t put visitors off Capital

Re George Street Festival (News, February 2), hotels, bars and restaurants will make a fortune during the festival, so surely it is reasonable to charge a bed tax which would go to Edinburgh council and which would offset the cost of administrating the festival. Why should we be different from other European cities which charge two or three euros per person per night?

It doesn’t put us off paying this charge abroad so it will not deter visitors. It’s high time Edinburgh citizens got some benefit from the vast profits made by the hospitality sector at this time of the year.

A Forrest, Bellevue Road, Edinburgh