LAST weekend Lothian Buses celebrated its centenary with an open day at central garage, a number of vintage buses operating on service 26, at normal fares, and a cavalcade on Sunday. The sun shone, the crowds came in their hundreds and the staff of Lothian Buses worked their socks off to make sure that everyone had a good time. It was a splendid showcase for what is one of Britain’s finest bus systems, one that has convincingly defeated the intention of Thatcher and Ridley to do down municipal transport.

However, there was something missing at the celebrations. It was on July 1 1919 that what was then the Tramways Department of Edinburgh Corporation took over the cable tram system on the expiry of the lease of the company that had run it. At the same time the first buses were ordered. The outmoded cable tram system was electrified in just over four years and, until neglect set in post-1945, Edinburgh had one of the finest tram systems in Britain and Ireland. Why, then, was there no mention of either the first-generation tram system or the present one?

I understand that, somewhere in the store rooms of Lothian Buses, there is a partially-restored cable tram, on which work seems to have ceased. It could easily have been brought to the garage for the open day and been displayed to the public as an important part of the city’s transport history, perhaps combined with an appeal for funds to complete its restoration. Somewhere else there must be a large model of a cable tram, thought to have been made in connection with a court case, that was displayed in the excellent little museum that there once was at Shrubhill. That museum also housed electric tram no.35, now resident in the National Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire. The model, and perhaps even no.35, could have been there too.

I suspect that this neglect stems from the uncoordinated thinking on public transport that starts with Transport Scotland and trickles down to the operators. Buses are buses, trams are trams and, in Glasgow, the Subway is the Subway – and never the trio shall meet, never shall it all be labelled simply “transport”. To visitors used to the coordinated systems of mainland Europe it is a ridiculous method of operation. It was a great pity that the weekend celebrations followed that line of thought and so presented a one-sided picture of the city’s transport over the past century.

Brian Patton
Foulden, Berwickshire

THE fact that International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has admitted the UK had breached for a third time a court order banning the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, and not resigned, highlights how discredited this Tory government has further become.

An estimated 18,292 civilians have been killed or injured as a result of indiscriminate bombing by the Saudi-led coalition embroiled in the civil war in Yemen, according to research conducted by the Yemen Data Project. Saudi land forces are also based in the country, intervening in support of the Yemeni Government which is fighting primarily against Houthi rebels, backed by Iran. Since the conflict began in March 2015, the UK has licensed at least £5.3 billion worth of arms to Riyadh.

Ms Truss also told MPs that government had breached additional undertakings given to parliament that weapons would not be sold to Saudi Arabia’s coalition partners, by agreeing to sell fuel gauges for F-16 jets to Jordan’s air force.

While the minister’s apology is welcome, the government is either completely incompetent or it is deliberately breaking the law with impunity. Whatever the situation, if there is any shred of morality left in this government Ms Truss must do the right thing and resign.

Alex Orr