Letters to the editor

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Consistently opposed to warden cuts
Sir,
I don’t often reply to letters written about myself in the local press but I feel the need to respond to a letter from The Oban Times (August 31).
The letter points out meetings I have not attended while failing to mention the meetings I have attended.
The letter also mentions a Trust Housing meeting about the cuts to warden hours at sheltered housing on Islay. While not being able to attend this meeting due to being unable to get staff relief that day, I had been in contact with numerous residents of sheltered housing on Islay as well as Trust Housing officials.
I wrote a letter to The Oban Times about just this matter. I pointed out that, as a board member of the Housing and Social Care Partnership, I have made it clear that I am completely against this decision as it goes against a national drive to support people in their own homes. I believe it will disproportionately affect island communities and will have serious short- and long-term consequences. It is important that the HSCP listens to all partners around the table – elected councillors (there are four of us) have as much to contribute as the NHS appointed members.
I have to say, though, that when I stood for the council, on many of my leaflets and on my campaign page I made it clear I believe we needed councillors who did more than just have a good record of attending meetings. My view has not changed.
I also feel obliged to point out that large numbers of my constituents contact me every day voicing concerns about the SNP and its mishandling of Scotland’s devolved powers.
Judging by some of the letters in the local press about me and the increasingly bizarre and offensive posts on my Facebook campaign page, it is my opinion that many separatists are not so much angered by my actions since being elected but are simply angry that a vocal and proud Unionist was elected.
Councillor Alastair Redman,
Islay.

Residents’ views are being ignored
Sir,
Regarding BEAR Scotland’s ill-conceived plans for improvements to the A828 during September, I agreed that the road needed some maintenance and improvement, but its suggestion of 10 full daytime closures was just ridiculous.
The road is of crucial importance to all communities between Connel and Ballachulish and any closure or restriction would have had significant impact.
This road was closed over several nights during May and June, Minimal effort was made by BEAR Scotland to highlight this work so I wrote to complain.
I was assured that BEAR Scotland ‘listen to the views of locals’ and ‘take every effort to minimise disruption’  but now, with more extensive (and significantly more disruptive) works planned, it slipped out on an announcement on its website on a Friday afternoon, giving 10 days’ notice of the impending works, and had the cheek to say that it was ‘consulting extensively’ with locals, business owners and road owners.
What a load of nonsense. There was no meaningful consultation. BEAR Scotland made its plans with no intention of even considering the impact on local communities or on what local people, local businesses or general road users actually thought.
Despite emails to BEAR Scotland, I’ve had no personal response to my comments or suggestions. This attitude from an agency of government is totally unacceptable.
Local communities deserve better.
Ewan Mathieson,
Appin.

It is the drivers who are dangerous
Sir,
There is a lot of talk at the moment of the ‘Stay Alive on the A85’ campaign, but I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that the stress should be on the bad drivers, not on the road itself.
I’ve driven the empty road many times at night and it’s done me absolutely no harm at all.
I was driving behind an Audi at 10am today in wet conditions and very poor visibility. The driver continually drifted across the double white lines in an effort to get past slow-moving traffic and eventually made his move, crossing the lines at great speed and overtaking several vehicles at once.
I don’t see the point of speed limits and more double white lines as they are all too often ignored.
What we need are cameras to catch the inconsiderate idiots who think they are good drivers but in fact are not. People who deliberately put the lives of others at risk simply to overcome their own impatience should be banned from the road forever.
Maurice Wilkins,
Laurel Road, Oban

What happened to pledge of police unit?
Sir,
Should the A82 be closed with a major accident at Onich, drivers travelling north would need to divert back to Crianlarich, then through Killin and Pitlochry to Spean Bridge.
When the new police station at the Blar was proposed one of the advantages was that there would be an accident investigations unit.
Kath Small,
Old Post Office, Ballachulish.

Corran Ferry is a vital lifeline service
Sir,
Is it not time the Highland Council stopped fantasising about the urgent situation at Corran Ferry?
To suggest a bridge or the adaptation of naval vessels seems to me totally absurd in the present financial situation.
What is required immediately is a new, purpose-built boat, probably costing little more than a lengthy survey for a bridge or adapting naval boats.
Surely there is a British shipyard capable of producing a suitable ferry boat. The present Scottish Government seems to be completely oblivious of this crucial service. It is not merely an asset but a vital necessity procuring the livelihoods of so many people in the West Highlands.
This could be a lucrative business and should be invested in
immediately.
Morag MacKintosh,
Corran Beag, Nether Lochaber.

Explaining economic madness of GERS
Sir,
A nice simple way to understand Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS).
Imagine the scenario: there’s a hard-working, decent, diligent teenager living at home with is parents. He takes home £300 per week and his dad takes all his wages from him and hands back £50 a week, which is barely enough to cover his travel to work and food. The other £250, his dad squanders on stupid vain ideas.
All this means that the family are up to their eyeballs in debt and struggling to buy basic goods, as dad sits at night drinking Ardbeg single malt whisky and eating takeaways.
One day the son approaches the dad and says: ‘Dad, I think I’m going to move out and get my own place. I’ve held down my job for a while now and feel the time is right to go out into the world, find myself and enjoy my own independence and freedom.’
His dad replies: ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, son! You barely have enough money to get yourself to work. You obviously aren’t smart enough to make a go of things on your own. Just look at the weekly budget. You struggle by, whereas I can afford to eat and drink like a king. For your own good this family is better sticking together.’
Ladies and gentlemen, the GERS figures.
John MacFadyen,
Oban.