A COUPLE of years ago I was distressed to see the wholesale decimation of trees along the stretch of the Water of Leith near where I live. The “replacement” saplings are few and far between and have not been adequately protected. And even the ones that have survived will take decades to re-grow.

Then I happened to be passing a few months later when workmen were in the process of hacking down mature cherry trees at Potterrow on the Edinburgh University campus. This is now a blank concrete wasteland which people skirt around.

Could it get worse – in an era when we all know how precious these long-maturing essential plants are? Oh yes. Walking into Edinburgh on Monday and watching as the usual garish Christmas tourist tat goes up, I noticed newly chopped stumps in the park immediately in front of Waverly station. Well-established trees in the heart of the city appear to have been cut down to make way for temporary fairground rides and stalls.

I spoke to a council worker who informed me that to accommodate this year’s Christmas tourist tat, 50 – yes FIFTY – established trees had been chopped down.

So, even in this desperate world we live in where our children are suffocated more each day on pollutants and diesel fumes and cities are the worst offenders – it’s OK to chop down dozens of trees for temporary, gaudy tat in the heart of a major, supposedly progressive city. Do the council think environmental vandalism is the spirit of Christmas?

Amanda Baker

FOLLOWING on from your report about “Union jackery”, perhaps letters such as that below, which I intend to send, should be sent by more of your readers to Tesco:

“As a supporter of Scottish independence, I must thank you for promoting our cause so effectively through your efforts to impose ‘Britishness’ on your customers by the application of a Union Jack to Scottish quality products. In my personal experience, you have managed to antagonise a growing number of customers and strengthened their conversion to our cause. In common with many of my family and other acquaintances, I now shop with Tesco only when absolutely necessary, preferring the German retailers and others, who are proud to show their support of our Scottish produce.

“May I also point out that there is no such thing as a country of the UK, that being merely a political institution, while ‘Britain’ is a geographical one covering only Scotland and England? The UK is made up of four separate countries, co-operating politically but with individual histories, cultures, systems and identities. Should German cars be labelled ‘European’? I have no antagonism towards any other countries or nations and would expect each to be accorded equal respect and consideration, but I am Scottish and object to being persuaded, or even bullied, to believe otherwise.”

C’mon folks – support your COUNTRY!

L McGregor

I HAVE just sent the following message to Tesco:

“Recently we received our Christmas Bonus voucher. It was for a much smaller amount then we got last year. The reason is of course that we have been spending less in Tesco than we did last year.

“The reason is that we are protesting against your policy of plastering the Union flag over so many products. The idea of Scotland the Brand is too important an idea to be undermined by the political choices of big business at the behest of the UK Government.

“You will notice that I am not boycotting you. I am merely working on the presumption that I will probably not shop with you, and if possible I will not buy Union Flag branded products. Many of my friends are taking the same attitude, and with pleasure are shopping in other stores where there is a tendency to flag up Scottish products.

“It might be to your commercial advantage to rethink your policy, especially at a time when there must be uncertainty in the retail sector, and you really need all the turnover you can get.”

Perhaps if a a lot of people sent similar to Tesco, and acted on it, they might actually look at what is happening to sales in Scotland. It is only if they are being hit commercially that they will change their policy.

Edward Andrews

ON page 13 of yesterday’s paper, in the article on the Stuart papers, someone has written: “The Stuart papers bring together the private and diplomatic correspondence of James ll, who was forced from the British crown in 1688” (Stuart papers are published online, November 6). There was no “British” crown in 1688 – James ll wore the English crown and the Scottish crown as James VIl.

Why bother about Union flags when The National prints such gross historical and political errors as this?

Jim McLean