Letters to the editor week 52

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Council needs to help firms to innovate

Sir,

The recent Holyrood budget was disappointing. It ignores modern economics and the Laffer Curve and will thus push up the already high recruitment costs for doctors and teachers in the Highlands.

Sadly, although the budget aimed to increase growth, the independent Scottish Fiscal Commission is forecasting the economy will continue flatlining for years to come.

Along with slashing government waste, Scotland needs more people earning more money as that will boost the tax take from households and companies. Using common sense, though, will require massive work in upskilling people and investing to increase productivity.

Councils and the NHS must work with colleges, the University of the Highlands and Islands, the Workers’ Education Authority and others to help staff move to today’s efficient  ‘click and swipe’ business systems.

Nurses must use tablets, not just give them to patients.

Many of the computer server farms that support Bitcoin trading and other businesses are based in Outer Mongolia. These use polluting coal-fired electricity so a second Cruachan power station and other pumped hydro schemes offer cleaner, greener and cheaper alternatives.

Argyll is a much better place to work but civil servants, as well as Highlands and Islands Enterprise, need to extract a finger from the hydroelectric dam and catch up with the 21st century.

So, given that our politicians are unable to organise a drinking party in a distillery, please can they put their hatred of successful people to one side and encourage the Highlands to thrive and innovate. This will help rich and poor alike, as well as basic rate taxpayers like me.

Mike Foster,

Crannaig a Mhinister, Oban.

Lismore’s second ferry is a luxury

Sir,

The majority of residents of Argyll and Bute who will lose services and facilities as the council makes cuts to balance its budget need to hear from the 192 residents of Lismore what justification can be provided for having two ferries serving the island, especially given that the island draws only modest amounts of tourism and this can easily be provided for by the CalMac service from Oban to Achnacroish (Council ferries ‘unsustainable’ without extra £500,000 a year’, The Oban Times, December 14).

Without an adequate justification, the council-funded passenger ferry from Port Appin looks like ‘nice-to-have’ rather than ‘need-to-have’.

Professor Emeritus Ian Reid,

Ardconnel Road, Oban.

How much does council make from fares?

Sir,

Argyll and Bute Council claims that its four ferry services are ‘unsustainable’ without £500,000 additional funding from the Scottish Government (The Oban Times, December 14).

Currently, the Scottish Government ‘only’ gives a grant of £675,000 towards the average yearly running costs of £1,176,578. Nowhere in the article does the council mention the income it raises from ferry ticket sales (how much is this per year?), or how it might generate more income other than charging island residents even more than they pay already.

So, basically, this is another council whinge about the Scottish Government.

As an island resident and user of the Seil-Luing ferry, I would like to say that a fantastic service is provided by the ferry staff, and the recent introduction of a Sunday vehicle service is much appreciated. This has brought more day visitors to the island, and is of enormous benefit to the island community and economy.

I hope that the council’s plan to have ‘full responsibility’ for the ferry service from June next year brings further improvements.

It must, however, take a more open and positive attitude to its main funder, the Scottish Government, and find ways of generating more income without placing further burdens on island residents.

Mary Braithwaite,

Cullipool, Isle of Luing.

President deserves to be shown respect

Sir,

Further to the article in The Scotsman on December 14 headlined ‘Islanders plan Mexican protest if Donald Trump visits Hebrides’, I pray this is not the attitude of the majority of the islanders.

If it is not, I hope their voices as well as their prayers will be raised in opposition and not hushed in compliance.

Unfortunately, it is the voice of the self-important, unelected, liberals which so often seems to drown out the voice of the conservative godly man.

Men of God, this country is looking for leadership. We can show solidarity with the anti-abortion laws which President Trump supports. We can show solidarity with the anti-LGBT lobby which the President supports. We can show solidarity with freedom of religion which the President supports.

We can show solidarity with the President’s support of Israel against Islamic terrorism. We can show solidarity with the President’s exposure of the global warming fraud which is being used to tax the multitudes.

We can show some respect for the President of the US and for all that he has accomplished against the deep state in his first year in office, in spite of every failed attempt to demonise him.

He supports the polar opposite of the amoral governments we have in Westminster and Holyrood who legislate for abortion, same-sex marriage, curtailing of religious freedom and freedom of speech and every other anti-biblical view possible.

We are called to be courteous to all men and to show respect where that is possible. May we never think of ourselves so highly that we are unable to fulfil this calling.

Surely it is the same in every walk of life; even in the gospel ministry itself – there are those we cannot respect but we can always respect the office they hold and act accordingly.

How deeply offensive to the people of Scotland that a once bastion of Christianity, the Isle of Lewis, should contemplate and threaten to treat any visitor in this way.

Jesus said unto them: ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone’ – (John 8:7).

Susan Wallace,

Corpach, Fort William.

Did SNP tell truth in referendum?

Sir,

In response to Iain Macdonald’s letter (‘Brexit claim was a clear case of fraud’, The Oban Times, December 14), we could also claim that much of what was promised by the SNP in the lead up to their 2014 independence referendum was fraudulent.

Nicola Sturgeon, our present First Minster said in 2013: ‘The reality, though, is that people are not stupid. An independent Scotland would be one of the richest countries in the world.’

Cyril Bonnett,

Ballachulish.