Letters to the editor 18.04.19

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Organic daffodils bring a smile to people’s faces

Your correspondent Moira Campbell (Letters, April 11) complains about the beautiful, oxygen-creating emblem of Wales – the daffodil – being invasive.

However, as Strathclyde was once a Welsh kingdom, later to be taken over by Malcolm I, this is a small matter in relation to the invasive Norway spruce, which is farmed all over the Highlands or the lice infecting salmon within Scotland’s lochs. That is a practice not permitted in Norway.

And, remember, when you go to buy your shrink-wrapped food, all soft plastic contains a carcenogenic plastisiser that will leach in microscopic amounts into your food.

Yet the humble daffodil looks nice, puts a smile on many people’s faces, breathes life into the planet and is organic (unlike the brash left by deforesting which rots and produces pollutants into the atmosphere).

We try to get the balance right but human intervention inevitably usually does not as history tends to repeat itself.

But don’t stop complaining as it is good to hear other people’s points of view. After all, we are a great British democracy still.

Stephen Jones, Burnside Place, Millpark, Oban.

Council tax data breach is more serious than a glitch

Am I the only Oban Times reader who takes issue with Argyll and Bute Council’s recent data breach being called a ‘glitch’?

The word glitch makes light of the unlawful disclosure of council tax payers’ personal data. It fails to acknowledge the serious nature of the error.

Moreover, given that the barn door was shut after the horse had bolted, I would like to know precisely what ‘action’ the council has taken. Has the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) been informed, for example?

What other measures have been put in place to make sure such a data breach cannot occur again?

My trust in the council’s data security has taken a massive hit and, with regret, I am considering cancelling my ctax1 email account: this is not the first time that paper communications appear to be a great deal safer.

Margret Powell-Joss, Oban.

Ferry is a major cause of pollution in Oban

I know that we think of our air in Oban as having relatively low levels of pollution but I was shocked when I looked out the window of my flat on Albany Street on Wednesday April 3 and witnessed the scene before me.

The MV Isle of Mull was sitting idling at the pier throwing plumes of blue smoke into the air. I have also seen her throwing up a cloud of black particulate (indicative of unburned diesel) when the throttles are opened on leaving port.

Something for the engineers to look into.

Iain Macdonald, Albany Street, Oban.

Argyll and Bute suffers from poor mobile phone coverage

Mobile phone coverage in Scotland sadly lags behind other parts of the UK.

Here in rural Argyll and Bute, there are particular challenges in delivering an adequate service.

Many rural customers are long distances from exchanges and, even with some progress being made in the more populated parts of this constituency, our islands are fairing worst of all in many cases.

Still far too many people and businesses are struggling for a signal across the Kintyre and Islands ward.

As new airwaves are released for mobile roaming, it is essential that good mobile coverage is extended to where it is needed to help ensure that rural communities have the kind of mobile coverage that people expect in towns and cities, reducing the shocking digital divide.

Much like our broadband, we depend heavily on our mobile phones and are not getting a fair deal. I will continue to work alongside my Conservative colleagues on the council and in the Scottish Parliament to press the various mobile phone providers to improve their levels of service to the Kintyre and Islands ward.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and Islands ward.

Gaelic speakers need confidence to use the language

In his article last week (We must all fight to save our language’, The Oban Times, April 11), Angus MacPhail does well to pinpoint identity as one of the strongest reasons to support the Gaelic cause.

In response to the question he quotes about spending money on a dead (sic) language, one answer is that a minority language should not have to be propped up by public money. What the Highland people need is not so much public subsidy as the confidence to use their language in a wider range of situations than they do at present.

If The Oban Times is reviewing any hotels or restaurants in Gaelic-speaking districts, then the paper might care to include a reference as to the availability of service in Gaelic.

This is obtainable in a few places and I have enjoyed excellent Gaelic- medium service in hotels and guest houses in Acharacle, Stornoway and Inverness, at no greater cost than service in English.

Richard A A Deveria, Market Street, Aberfeldy.

John Lewis does deliver to the islands

I was surprised to read of the difficulties experienced by residents of Oban getting supplies from John Lewis (‘Retailer won’t deliver to Isle of Oban’ The Oban Times, April 11).

In the past decade or so we have purchased several white-goods, including a freezer, a fridge-freezer, a washing machine, a tumble drier, a dish washer and a television set, all from this company.

We have never experienced any problems. Most of these were delivered to Mull within a few days of the order being placed and always by courteous and helpful drivers, and all free of carriage costs.  On one occasion the driver volunteered to take the redundant refrigerator back to the mainland for us, and on another the driver helped me unpack the device and install it.

Long may this exemplary service continue.

Dr David Fuller, Killiechronan, Isle of Mull.