Letters to the Editor

Thatcher death party

Since the death of Maggie Thatcher we have heard a sickening amount of hypocrisy and lies about how great a Leader and what a wonderful person she was.

The establishment then rub salt in the wounds by giving her a ceremonial funeral and demanding that the nation respect the occasion.

You have to earn respect and Thatcher did nothing to deserve it from working-class communities.

She treated hard working families with nothing but contempt, and there will be no tears shed in mining communities throughout the country on the day of her funeral.

If this fancy funeral and its £10 million price tag turns your stomach and you wish to join like-minded folk in an alternative celebration then get yourself to Danderhall Miners’ Club on Wednesday, April 17 where the party will be starting at 1pm.

Then you will hear the REAL truth about Thatcher from the people she tried to destroy as we have a very different kind of party.

Danderhall/Newton NUM Retired Members Branch

Unity is strength

It has been heartening to see the campaigns springing up in opposition to Midlothian Council’s proposal to close eight public buildings in the communities of Gorebridge, Mayfield and Easthouses and Newtongrange.

People are standing up and fighting back. Surely Midlothian Council now sees that we are more than just digits on a balance sheet but are real people who care passionately about our communities.

The case for services staying where they are is now overwhelming. Local shopkeepers have said to me that their businesses would suffer because of the loss of passing trade, whilst pensioners have told me that it is not feasible for them to travel to another town to use a centralised library.

Meanwhile, young people have indicated that they are unlikely to attend youth clubs if they are held in the school at night.

I now believe that Midlothian Council can no longer get away with closing our services.

Yet from what I gather, and my sources within the council have hinted at this, the council will now attempt to play us off against each other. Some groups might be promised that their building is saved or advised to focus on their building alone.

This is part of the council’s overall strategy to close public buildings and sell off the land; maybe not all eight as they initially planned but closures nonetheless.

Now is the time when we must stand firm and defend all of our services in the community. We need to ensure that a tidal wave of community opposition heads in the direction of Midlothian Council.

This is why Midlothian Campaign against the Cuts is facilitating a public meeting to discuss uniting the groups under one banner. We are not here to play party politics – in fact many people in our group are not members of any political party. Our role is simple – to provide a platform for local people to say no to the closure of eight public buildings which are at the heart of our community.

Willie Duncan

Midlothian Campaign against the Cuts

Closure plans

Having signed several petitions locally, I am now writing to express my outrage at the utter contempt with which Midlothian Council have gone about a planned programme of closures of local public services in Newtongrange and surrounding communities.

My family and I moved to Newtongrange a year ago. We chose Newtongrange for a number of reasons; not least because it was a welcoming community with a strong community spirit that offered a great range of local public services in the centre of the village within walking distance.

I now discover that the swimming pool, the leisure centre, community learning centre and the library are planned for demolition with a view to providing these public services through a new build for Newbattle Community High School!

This was all unearthed in council documents while council representatives pretend they are engaged in a public consultation on the future of services in the area.

Councillor Lisa Beattie reassures us in ‘Midlothian News’ that the public consultation is to ‘find a solution that is great for our children and great for our communities’, while announcing that the next phase to finalise services moving to the school is already under way. The consultation closes May 30, 2013.

The entire programme of closure has been decided by the council in advance without a proper public consultation.

This goes somewhat against the council’s top Corporate Policy: ‘Supporting healthy, caring and diverse communities where local needs are met’ (Midlothian Corporate Strategy 2012-13).

This community does not want all its local public services removed from the heart of the village to a remote school facility.

It would leave a huge hole in the village, both physically and emotionally, dilute services and leave a vast stretch of land derelict. The only place left for the community to meet would be the pub. Is this really the message the council, the Scottish and UK Government want to send to people?

With education as a priority and health key to an aging Scottish population facing issues of wellness, and chronic health problems like diabetes, surely this goes against every message emanating from the Governments of Scotland and the UK.

Newtongrange and the surrounding villages have a great sense of pride in their communities, and rightly so, having managed to emerge from many challenges, in