Letters to the Editor

Further clarification

Councillor Margot Russell states in last week’s Letters to the Editor that she wished to correct some inaccurate statements made both by Councillor De Vink and by correspondents .

Specifically one correspondent who repeated Cllr De Vink’s claim that there are only four male toilets in Midlothian House.The correspondent she refers to ’tis I.

Whilst I thank Margot Russell for enlightening me with her updated total of 12 male, 12 female and one disabled, my observations and comments were not stated as a given fact, but prefaced an enquiry that given this fact to be the case, I would be interested to hear from building control and Health and Safety.

Ironically enough, not having been to a council meeting before, and in view of their constant shenanigans we now read about virtually every week in the Advertiser, I had intended to attend one before the year end.

I telephoned the council and got a most helpful young lady who talked me through the remaining meetings for the year, recommending which ones would be as dry as dust and what promised to be a much more interesting one on Tuesday, December 18.

I put this in my diary, and even contacted a friend to join me for some free entertainment. Unfortunately, however, as my epithelium tissue is not as good as it used to be, I had intended to pop in to the council buildings a few days before to do a recce. Sadly, time did not permit this and I reluctantly postponed the visit which had promised some fine jousting.

In the meantime, perhaps Councillor Russell could arrange some time in what I appreciate is her busy schedule in order to take me a grand tour of the council buildings, or indeed deputise another official, so that I can see the toilet provisions for myself, to examine such things as sufficient signage, accessibility, restricted use or otherwise and so on. And, if you will excuse the pun, I would be delighted to meet with them at their convenience.

The next part of this letter comprises yet more thanks to Margot Russell for joining the furore emanating from Councillor De Vink’s misdemeanour after being “caught short” which has certainly galvanised public debate as to the decision by our esteemed Council to close all the loos in Midlothian.

For this alone I’d have thought Councillor De Vink should be praised, not scolded.

Derek Cowan

Burnbank, Straiton

When crunch comes

Having read the letters from councillors Owen Thomson and Ian Baxter trying to justify the SNP/Independent/Green coalition’s budget proposals I would like to make the following comments.

The main thread of their argument seems to be that the Labour Group did not offer any alternatives regarding the Council budget.

We could produce alternative budget proposals which would avoid the closure of public toilets, cutting child protection, charging for telecare for the elderly, stopping the cleaning of bus shelters and street cleaning and grass cutting but Labour in Midlothian is crystal clear that we will put forward our budget when we are the administration, not before.

At least Councillor de Vink allied himself with the Nationalists on day one after the election in May 2012, unlike Councillor Baxter who pontificates on his impartiality when it suits him.

Councillor Baxter voted the SNP into power following the election and every farcical change to the council leadership and cabinet positions since then has seen his wee green hand up in support.

True, he has voted with Labour on a few occasions but to use a football analogy – he is like a biased referee who gives your team the same number of free kicks as your opponents – the only difference being that yours are on the half way line or in your own half while those awarded to your opponent are all in the penalty box.

Even at the first council meeting of 2013 Councillor Baxter (remember – he of the GREEN party!) voted against the Labour proposal to introduce food waste recycling with immediate effect – instead he supported the Administration’s decision to postpone it for years.

Whether he admits it or not Councillor Baxter has thrown his lot in with the Nationalists and it is obvious to anyone at council meetings that they know they can rely on him when it comes to the crunch.

Councillor Adam Montgomery

What about us?

I am shocked to read that our local council take the time to pat each other on the back when it comes to looking after the cleaning of the council property in Midlothian - Midlothian won the public service excellence awards in Blackpool for the secound year running.

This is judged on performance reports – cost per square meter, staff absence and meters cleaned per hour. This explains why we never see any improvement in the services within Midlothian – take a good look at the streets of Midlothian it’s a disgrace the lack of maintence provided by our local authority.

Midlothian council spend too much money on their property and fail to meet the needs of the public. It’s about time you got out and asked the public about the service provided to the community.

You made us proud when you found that old tin of paint in the back of one of your council office and painted Dalkeith Library – what a colour.

The council office overheads are too costly this needs reduced and the money