I WAS interested in Eric Melvin’s letter (March 11) about the lack of progress on the tourist tax in Scotland, I decided to look at Edinburgh City Council’s relevant webpage.

It appears that after almost a year of informal consultation with various groups, there will be a formal public consultation this Spring.

Such consultation will look at, among other things, “how the levy might be invested to benefit the city, residents and visitors”.

As Edinburgh residents, we already have one practical suggestion that would benefit tourists and residents alike.

Approximately four million people a year visit Edinburgh, a large proportion being for the International Festival and Fringe.

Last summer we went into the City Centre to attend two or three shows and enjoy the atmosphere downtown. By the end of the evenings, the refuse bins are usually overflowing and on breezy nights, the litter invariably gets blown around the streets.

We’re aware that much of this litter is created by tourists visiting the tattoo and festival/fringe shows and disposing of their take-away and drinks packaging. So why not have the tourist tax contribute to the clear-up costs?

Brian Watt, Edinburgh


Jefferson’s wise words
IT  is pleasing to note that so many readers have their danders up over linguistic irritants.
I wince when told that ‘Alistair has invited Joan and I to dinner’. Is there an element of snobbery in substituting “I” for “ me”?. Having lived in Milngavie for not quite as long as Gordon Fisher’s (former) friend, I have decided that that is the reason.
Why, too, does almost everyone talk about PIN numbers when the N stands for number, and ATM machines when the M stands for machine? 
“The most valuable of talents is that of never using two words when one will do” - Thomas Jefferson.
David Miller, Milngavie.


No arguing with the man in black
IT has been interesting to read about football and the use of VAR. 
In my day as a referee, I would inform both teams that there were only two laws to the game. Law 1: ‘the referee is always right’. Law 2: ‘If you think that the referee is wrong, consult Law 1’.
W. Findlay, Bishopbriggs.


Wyndford flats: a solution
SURELY there is a practical solution concerning the Wyndford flats (‘New legal fight over Wyndford high flats demolition’, March 12).
Currently the proposal is to demolish the flats at approximately £1million per block and build low-density housing on the site. 
Alternatively, the flats could be refurbished in the same way the (once notorious) Ibroxholm Oval flats were refurbished in Ibrox, and let in a similar way to young low -wage/low-salary workers.
The proposed low-density family, mainly social rental, houses could be built at the larger vacant council-owned site in Botany, in partnership with the council and Maryhill Housing Association: a greener, lower-cost alternative, with many more houses providing much-needed homes for the city.
No doubt we’ll hear the “nine ways how no’ to do it, rather than the wan how to get it done”.
John McBride, Bearsden, Glasgow.


Penalising social drinkers
THE Scottish Government’s Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) on alcohol contains a ‘sunset clause’ which means that the current legislation will expire at the end of April unless Scottish Ministers make an order to continue its effect. 
They intend to increase the unit price from 50p to 65p per unit if the current proposal is approved by parliament.
This will increase the price of Scotch and other spirits yet again, quite considerably.
A litre bottle of a bespoke blended Scotch at the local Co-op is currently £22; the same bottle presently purchased south of the border retails around £18.00.
There is no real evidence that supports the policy – and yet here we are.
The only thing that will reduce alcoholism are those who are so afflicted going cold turkey. It is certainly not the price.
Why should the vast majority of us who drink socially and sensibly be penalised because of the wayward few?
Increasing the MUP will not stop the binge drinking of cheap plonk, Buckfast, beers and ciders sold in the supermarkets. If these drinkers cannot afford it then other means of increasing their income may well arise.
However, it should be noted that the excess price goes straight into the tills of the retailers. Nor does it affect prices in hotels and pubs, et cetera. The MUP is not a Government tax, a tax that could possibly have been useful to help our NHS.
As stated above this legislation has a “sunset clause” before five years are reached – use it now and bin it in your recycling box!
Gordon T Scott (Retired hotelier), Callander.


Remembering Mick McGahey
KEVIN McKenna’s article (“Workers will need a hero like McGahey”, March 12), about the hanging of a painting of the former miners’ leader in the National Galleries, reminds me of the precise moment he came into my consciousness in a very positive way. 
It must be at least thirty years ago, and up until that time, McGahey, despite his high public profile, hadn’t really come onto my radar; I came from a completely different community from the one he represented.
I was reading an extended profile of him (possibly in the then Glasgow Herald) and was extremely touched when he was quoted saying “every child should have the chance to grow and develop, every child is a treasure to the nation”.
Has anyone ever represented our young people, and what they deserve, better than this? 
And the more important question, is have we actually delivered the sentiment he expressed “that every child should have the chance to grow and develop”? 
I’ll leave to my fellow readers to reach their own conclusion. 
Willie Towers, Alford.

 FOR all his faults, McGahey has, as McKenna points out, no counterparts in today’s Labour Party or trade union movement when it comes to taking on the forces of capitalism. We could certainly do with him now.
S Deans, Glasgow.