I’M personally disappointed at the closure of the Edinburgh festivals, though it is not unexpected. But it would be so selfish of me to stop there.

What about all the other festivals, cultural celebrations, sports events and gatherings that have already been cancelled and will be cancelled in the coming months? Some generate millions of pounds. There is even a figure being banded around that the summer festivals generate closer to a billion.

Other, smaller scale events all across Scotland are of equal importance to all involved. But if Edinburgh and Scotland fail to recognise that it won’t be business as usual for culture, arts and sports, then we won’t have used this appalling situation to begin to create a better future, our new “normal”.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Festival and Fringe cancelled over coronavirus fears

The stooshie that erupted in Edinburgh over Hogmanay and earlier, those boards put up on the railings in Edinburgh, are for me symptomatic of the growing disconnect between institutions and people. No matter how we think of our personal engagement with culture (in its widest sense), we tend to focus on the immediate and not the broader picture.

So, just in Edinburgh. If festivals were to be minimised in some way, would that reduce the numbers of visitors in certain months? Would that be welcomed? Would that alleviate pressure on public transport? After all, There are frequent grumbles about not being able to cross town during the festival. Or would we have fewer tourists using Airbnb? But what of the thousands of people who are involved in the chain of visitors, work, and income generation?

READ MORE: Edinburgh Fringe ready to happen if restrictions ease

Yes, I know that there are instances of unpaid work, internships and below living wage being paid. There has been talk of a tourist tax. Taxed where? In Edinburgh and major cities? Hotels, B&Bs? And when tourists move across Scotland, Outlander trails and the like, how would those areas benefit from a tax paid elsewhere?

And if there is a tax, who would we see the benefits from such tax? After all, the pot holes might be filled, we could see additional public toilets. Have you ever seen the queues for the toilets in shops and tourist sites at specific “tourist intense” times? Would the tax be transparently allocated and accounted for? Would that include additional monies for the “cultural” sector?

The questions are so numerous. It’s not for the likes of councillors, ministers, VisitScotland, to ask, answer and design our future cultural landscape either in isolation or within the confines of their own bubbles. Where do we local taxpayers, renters, workers, and consumers of culture, arts and sports fit in design and planning?

How the debate and dialogue takes place to ensure appropriate change, and with whom, is vital. The sooner the better then that processes are considered to enable this to happen.

This is not selfishness. This is not putting festivals first. But we cannot ignore the monies generated from tourists and tourism. We cannot afford to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Selma Rahman

JANE Cassidy’s article on small businesses (Warning businesses could go to the wall, April 2) could possibly foretell the decimation of communities that rely on small businesses on a daily basis as a central part of community hubs. Even those concerns that are deemed non-essential need to be able to reopen after the crisis eases, if that is normality is to return.

I’m thinking here of local pubs, hairdressers, even something as non-vital as beauty parlours. They are all part of the network in which people spend their cash, meet others and socialise. So, I wonder if it is possible to help these concerns to stay afloat, by the people who use them depositing the amounts they generally spend with these small concerns which would then be credited to those individuals when the business reopens while at the same time allowing the concern to pay some of their bills. Not sure if this is even possible.

READ MORE: Mixed coronavirus advice confusing Scottish business

On an economic macro level, one way governments could access cash for distribution would be to initiate a Tobin tax, aka a financial transaction tax or, if you prefer a Robin Hood tax, ensuring that at least a portion of the billions (or is it trillions?) of pounds, dollars etc that are transacted on the world’s stock markets at least pay something into the public coffers.

Alan Hind
Old Kilpatrick

I HAVE been buying The National and Sunday National since their first editions, which I kept along with some others I considered significant or particularly interesting such as the blank front page one. It is on order at my local shop and I only miss buying it whilst on holiday or otherwise away from home.

The other day I subscribed for the online edition and only wish this had been done much sooner because it is excellent in my opinion. Be assured that I will continue walking over to the shop and buying the print edition.

Well done and best of luck going forward, long may you be my newspaper of choice.

Joe McDonagh
via email

After my original resistance to the electronic edition of The National, I have now subscribed. Due to self isolating and missing my daily paper I have found to my surprise the online version, easy to access and extremely clear to read. I am able to print off mu Sudoku and Crossword puzzles each day and I wonder why I didn’t subscribe much earlier. To anyone who is wondering if this is for them I would certainly recommend it.

Irene Beavis

Scotland is in lockdown. Shops are closing and newspaper sales are falling fast. It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of The National is at stake. Please consider supporting us through this with a digital subscription from just £2 for 2 months by following this link: www.thenational.scot/subscribe. Thanks – and stay safe.