There are many in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh who will not find this at all surprising as it is not just in financial matters that autocracy prevails over compassion.
This approach characterises many of the cold diktats which issue from Archdiocesan HQ and will undoubtedly be found to resonate with the experiences of many, clerics and lay people alike. They will, assuredly, be grateful to the brave parish that raised its concerns and also appreciative of the advocate who considered the validity of these concerns serious enough to be shared in the public domain.
In highlighting this one issue they have opened the doors for light to be shed on the abuse of power in the Diocese that is manifest in so many other areas of church life. Dare it be said that they have given a glimmer of hope that some of the mercy and compassion advocated so strongly by Pope Francis may be allowed to at least begin to become evident in the Archdiocese?
Gail Keating, Bonnyrigg
Virtual visitor ban
I am one of thousands of short-term let (STL) operators in Edinburgh objecting to the council’s hastily-drafted, draconian planning controls. The proposed measures will result in a virtual ban on STLs in tenement type properties, translating into the loss of about 95 per cent of such stays in Edinburgh.
The Association of Scottish Self-Caterers estimates that the STL sector provides a £70 million annual boost to Edinburgh. The changes, if approved, will have a hugely detrimental impact on a city which relies so heavily on tourism, particularly in a time of recession.
If this goes ahead, visitors will be forced to stay in hotels, where profits tend to be concentrated in large corporate groups and end up mostly outside the city. Income from individuals operating short term lets is much more likely to be spent locally and provides an important livelihood for many independent businesses such as cafes, restaurants, laundrettes, cleaning companies, as well as accommodation providers.
Regulating the STL sector, however, is to be welcomed, and will ensure standards are met. Planning reform on top of this is excessive and disproportionate and we call on the council to urgently reconsider.
Emma Parker, Edinburgh
Asking how you qualify for a referendum is a fair question, but Nicola’s solution, using the next general election as one, has many problems. Firstly, who is she to tell us what to do? Elections are decided on many factors – how do we deal with this? Sometimes people vote on the quality of a candidate – how do you deal with this? What about tactical voting?
What if there is a low turnout – how do you decide what is a majority? Is it of those who voted, or is it of the entire electorate? Imagine there was one million of an electorate, there is 70 per cent turnout, pro-Indy vote is 360,000, that would be 36 per cent of the entire electorate, yet a majority of those who voted. On a single issue, hardly democratic. There must be safeguards.
William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian
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