Monday 27 October 2003

No respect from politicians

They tax you when you're alive and won't leave you in peace afterwards.

Once again Edinburgh council workers have toppled headstones. This time 2000 have been "laid flat" in Morningside Cemetery. This is quite outrageous and I am not the only one to think so:

But critics claimed the council had not tried to contact relatives of deceased before starting the programme, and workers were accused of "shoulder-barging" gravestones to push them over.

The authority was forced to introduce special equipment to lay the headstones flat and pledged to do all it could to alert the public through writing to surviving relatives, contacting community groups and staging public meetings. Responsibility for reinstating headstones lies with relatives of the deceased.

It is not clear whether the appropriate people have been contacted in advance of the "topplings":
The council has been writing in advance of safety inspections to the last known address of executors of people who have bought burial rights within the last 25 years. Letters are also being sent to executors to alert them if a stone has been laid flat or is in need of remedial work.
There is a difference between "writing in advance" and "alert them if a stone has been laid flat" and it certainly looks as if the Council has acted precipitously.

Community Councillor Susan Wong says that, "You can’t really argue with the health and safety issues." Well, actually, you can. The health and safety mania sweeping Britain is highly dangerous. It is one reason why railway maintenance has become so expensive, thus causing greater numbers to use the less safe road network. The deceased deserve more respect than that shown by our city councillors.