Right to Buy is wrong in today's world

GAVIN BROWN (Mouthpiece, News, October 25) is quick to say that Right to Buy has been a success . . . for some people.

The trouble is that success has come at a cost. As a result of Right to Buy there are far fewer lets available for people who cannot afford to or do not want to buy.

There are difficulties in getting common repairs carried out. There is a problem of former Right to Buy properties being taken on by private landlords and poorly managed.

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These problems are more acute in some areas than others. But the trouble with Right to Buy is it assumes "one size fits all": with very little heed of the different market circumstances.

That is why I believe it is right to reform the policy for the twenty-first century. The Scottish Government was right in its manifesto to talk about the need for greater local flexibility and it is right to open up consultation on ending Right to Buy for newly-built homes.

It does Mr Brown no credit to misrepresent the proposal as scrapping the Right to Buy in its entirety. It is also no credit to the Scottish Conservatives that they refuse to countenance any change to a policy that is almost 30 years old. Surely we need to take account of the current climate and the housing supply crisis we face in Edinburgh, the Lothians and across Scotland?

James Jopling, head of campaigns, Shelter Scotland, Scotiabank House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

Are we in line for more tram shocks?

IT was a serious blow to read that many householders are likely to be charged to get their homes safely earthed following the preparatory work for the tram system (Trams spark electricity shocker, News, October 25). This was never mentioned in the preliminary information released about the scheme.

How many more nasty surprises lie in store for us? In fact there has been little REAL information released so far. For instance, an artist's impression released the other day in The Scotsman showed trams in Princes Street and it was a real shock to note that a tram was immediately beside an extended pavement, while another vehicle heading in the opposite direction was close to the stationary tram.

Is this, in fact, to be the case? From this drawing it is clear that there would be no room for buses or any other traffic. If this is indeed the case then I am certain many people would raise serious objections. A service with only one stop in Princes Street would be entirely unacceptable.

We have now reached a stage where it is essential that a fully detailed description of the service proposed is released. After all, if there were no buses in Princes Street, many areas of the town would have no simple access to the main shopping street.

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Since this is a very large scheme, costing many millions, it is appropriate that council tax payers have a say in whether it should go ahead in a referendum such as scuttled the congestion charge scheme - a better scheme than this one.

JR Hall, Colinton Grove, Edinburgh

You must be kidding over Hitler teaching

I REFER to your article "Pupils: who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?" (News, October 25). I don't understand why the teachers of Dalkeith High School thought it useful to teach children about Hitler by using manipulative measures.

They used deception, which if used upon me as a child would teach me not to trust teachers and what they told me.

If this really happened, did they inform the parents about their "methods", and did they get their consent? I as a parent would be outraged to find the school tried to teach my child about German history before they were born in this highly-questionable manner.

And for far more important history lessons these children could be taught about the bad part of British history, as this they are actually part of, and how to deal with the legacy of these mistakes and cruel colonial behaviour, as I still find this is not covered enough in the educational history books of Great Britain.

Vroni Holzmann, Lauriston Street, Edinburgh

Our ballot papers ticked right boxes

I FAIL to see why the inclusion of "Alex Salmond for First Minister" on the list ballot paper in May should have caused problems to voters.

Alex Salmond is probably Scotland's best-known politician and everyone knows which party he leads. The voting paper also included the SNP logo which is a nationally known emblem. As a first-time voter I had no problem in marking my cross so I cannot see why more experienced voters could be confused.

Sophie L Anderson, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

Unforgivable to damage war graves

SEEING the desecration of war memorials in tonight's News (October 24). I felt anger at anyone who would do such an evil act.

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Even if you disagree with war - and most people do - you have to respect those who serve and who give their lives. Wars are usually political, and the men and women who serve are not to blame for politicians failing or being unwilling to try negotiating for peace.

Until mankind finally learns to live in peace, such things will occur. Whoever did these acts needs to wake up.

Trevor Swistchew, The Paddockholm, Edinburgh

Swan death puzzle must be solved

IT is deeply sad 14 swans have been poisoned in Holyrood Park ("Poisoned loch killing swans," News, October 20) and St Margaret's Loch is set to be drained due to a major investigation by animal welfare inspectors. It's an absolute must that the cause of the poisoning of these beautiful birds be found very soon.

It's such a terrible shame two of the swans had to be put down and blood tests on the others confirmed they had been poisoned by lead. The quicker the cause is found the better.

Mrs June Fleming, Redburn Road, Prestonpans, East Lothian