Letters: We shouldn’t have to buy tickets to Edinburgh Book Festival to hear our politicians

The Scotsman readers have their say on the plethora of politicians who spoke at this year’s book festivals.

It must be nice for the First Minister to go to a grand ­country house and have a pleasant conversation (your report, 26 August), all in the name of good PR, just as it will have been for her at the ­Edinburgh Book Festival.

However, am I alone in wanting our politicians, whose salaries we pay, to be held accountable by giving interviews to the media, and in believing that we should have the right to see and hear such interviews without having to buy a ticket? - Andrew Anderson, Edinburgh

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Nicola Sturgeon speaking at the Edinburgh book festival. Picture: PA

I was surprised to read that Nicola Sturgeon had made a visit to the Beyond Borders Book Festival to be interviewed by Allan Little.

This was in addition to her three visits to the Edinburgh International Book Festival. While, I suppose, it is admirable that the First Minister supports ­literary events, it seems rather strange that she has time and gives priority to this, considering she is responsible for the myriad of acute, unresolved health, educational and ­economic problems facing her government today.

In general, book festivals are held to enable writers to discuss their books with attending book lovers rather than them being a forum specifically for political comment.

Consequently, it would appear inappropriate for Ms Sturgeon to hijack them as high-profile events for her favourite pursuit of criticising the UK government.

Thankfully for Scottish taxpayers, the First Minister’s visits down the road from Bute House to Charlotte Square do not cost them, unlike her grandstanding visits to European Union countries! - Sally Gordon-Walker, Edinburgh

Gordon Brown, speaking at the Edinburgh Book Festival, condemns what he calls “the anti-European Conservatism” of the Prime Minister.

Mr Brown misses the point about Europe and the EU. Being opposed to Brussels rule does not make one anti-European. Boris speaks French and Italian fluently, as well as getting by in Spanish and German, and knows Europe and Europeans far better than Mr Brown. There is no comparison in terms of personality either, one a dour, almost ­Calvinist pessimist, and the other a jovial optimist with a positive vision for Britain as a great country to live in. - William Loneskie Lauder, Borders

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