At Random with Martin Laing

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Yvonne MacHugh has made the headlines again this week – as she did last week and has had to on far too many weeks in recent times – for her effort to have the Chennai Six freed.

Yvonne and her son William were in Downing Street with other families of the former British servicemen jailed in India to hand over a huge petition demanding that our useless British government acts to win their freedom.

Yvonne is the fiancee of Connel man Billy Irving, serving five years in prison in Chennai for supposedly contravening India’s laws while protecting shipping in the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates.

Our supine Foreign and Commonwealth Office has done the precise sum of absolutely nothing to have the six Brits returned to this country, despite the blandishments of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Theresa May, who grandly and loudly proclaimed months ago they ‘would leave no stone unturned’.

More than 400,000 people signed the petition.

That so many people are complaining about the lack of help should be a matter of acute embarrassment for our national leaders.

Britain has long-standing and very strong links with India so our diplomats should have been able to influence what is happening to these men, all of whom served this country in our armed forces.

Mr Johnson and Mrs May should be doing everything in their considerable power to act in the interests of these six British ex-servicemen.

Great news for Ulva

We reported last week that the community on Ulva was being granted the right to buy their island.

And we report this week on the effort needed for the islanders to do just that.

The news they were getting the right to buy was the culmination of a lengthy campaign and was brilliant for the community of the tiny isle but there is still a long road to travel before they can declare ownership.

For a start, there is a great deal of money to be raised before the right to buy can proceed.

But no-one can possibly have a more vested interest in the future of Ulva than the people who live there and I wish them every success as they continue their campaign.

Credit to the council

Argyll and Bute Council is due a pat on the back.

A few weeks ago, safety barriers at the traffic light-controlled crossing in Argyll Square were damaged when a very large vehicle travelled through Oban.

It hasn’t taken the council long to have them repaired and to have all the nearby railings restored and painted.

Coming on top of last year’s town centre improvement works, the place is looking brand new.

And on the subject of safety barriers, we report this week on a call for new ones to be installed on George Street outside Skipinnish Ceilidh House after a reveller was recently clipped by a car there.

This one is a no-brainer. When the venue empties late at night, dozens of people can find themselves milling about on the pavement and inevitably spilling onto the road.

This poses an obvious danger. I haven’t heard of any other similar incidents to the one just mentioned but it would good if the council could take a look at the possibility of installing a railing for a few yards to help disperse people without them being forced out into traffic.

What do you think?

Write to me at mlaing@obantimes.co.uk or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB.