At Random with Martin Laing

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Rubbish service

YET again the issue of refuse collection has reared its ugly head.

And yet again it is the good people of Soroba who are up in arms at the appalling lack of service provided for them.

The concern was raised last week when we were contacted by a lady who asked to remain anonymous. The woman, who lives in Soroba, complained about rubbish piling up on the streets because the three-weekly collection system simply cannot cope.

When we posted a bit about the problem on our Facebook page, we were deluged by comments from furious residents of the area venting their spleens. Some of those comments are published on our letters page.

Admittedly, one or two readers said that part of the problem is down to the area’s residents not embracing recycling properly, but that suggestion was scoffed at by the majority of people.

One reader, Alistair Reid, posted a photograph he took of bags and bags of rubbish piled up beside the bins in Shuna Terrace.

I’m told that the bin men are not allowed to pick up the bags but are only able to empty the communal wheelie bins.

Now, I don’t in any way criticise the bin men, who, after all, are working hard to do their best but are effectively shackled by health and safety regulations.

The problem is that the issue is a never-ending cycle: there are not enough bins and the collection is too infrequent so people pile up their rubbish bags beside the bins. The bin men can’t take away the rubbish bags so the bins are almost immediately filled again, so people pile up their rubbish bags beside … you get the point.

I’ve been a fierce critic of the three-weekly collection system as it simply has not worked in some areas, particularly Soroba and other places where there are high-rise flats and multiple occupancies.

Surely it is not beyond the wit of the council to find a solution to this persistent problem.

Fascinating story

I WAS intrigued to read the feature on the facing page speculating on whether Adolf Hitler visited Tobermory in 1936 to attend a wedding.

I have to confess that I had never heard this rumour previously but it illustrates perfectly the fascinating history of this part of the world.

Written by the ever erudite Iain Thornber, the story chronicles the life and times of the Mitford family, ardent followers of the fascist movement in the 1930s and later.

Iain answers the critics who question how Hitler could have travelled to the island of Inch Kenneth with the reasonable suggestion that he could have been brought by U-boat.

But I won’t repeat it here. Read the page opposite.

Worrying issue

As we report this week, allegations have been made about a culture of sexual harassment among male councillors in Argyll and Bute.

Councillor Julie McKenzie has said in an open letter that she has been on the receiving end of ‘low-level’ inappropriate behaviour on a number of occasions and has knowledge of female council staff members who have similar experiences.

Ms McKenzie raises a very important and topical issue. She declines to name the men involved but they know who they are.

And they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Ms McKenzie’s letter was addressed to the council’s chief executive, Cleland Sneddon and elected leader, Aileen Morton. They must act urgently to stop this type of behaviour.

What do you think?

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