Letters to the editor 22.08.19

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Slashing of air services is a sign of what is to come

So glad that ‘Concerned islander’ (Letters, August 22) wrote in regarding the inappropriate ‘celebration’ of the savage cutbacks to the air services for the Argyll islands.

For a minute, I imagined I had lost all sense of reason for it seemed that the paper was announcing this 50 per cent slashing of the service as some sort of good outcome. Let us remember how this air service started and why.

The new airports at Coll and Colonsay and the enhanced airport at Tralee were officially opened in August and September 2008 by, among others, Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for Transport, Councillor Dick Walsh, Councillor Duncan MacIntyre and  Charlie King, the first chairman of HITRANS, the regional transport partnership. I was present at the openings and noted the following comments word for word.

Council leader Dick Walsh said: ‘This marks the official opening of this wonderful new facility which will be a major benefit to the people of Argyll and Bute. Argyll and Bute Council and its partners share a vision which is to be a leading rural area, providing and improving services that will promote and improve the quality of life to the people that we represent.

‘We are confident that the Argyll air services will support economic development in the area as well as attracting more visitors. In addition, this transport option will enable island children attending Oban High School to take advantage of our special scholar flights and fly home regularly.’

Mr Stevenson’s comment was: ‘This is a great day for Oban. This new airport is so important, opening up access for islanders, tourists and businesses alike.’

Great words from our noble leaders but the reality is turning out to be horribly different from their golden visions of the future. What’s the betting that this latest collapsing of the service is just a prequel to the next and final step and what good the ‘Islands Bill’ then?

Peter Isaacson, Coll.

Better security systems are needed in retail outlets

Over a few years now in Oban there have been a number of robberies , attempted robberies and burglaries at a post office, bank, shops and now the M&S Foodhall.

This recent armed robbery is a very rare type of occurrence in our card-paying world. However, I must emphasise that the young assistant although, faced with what must have been a very unpleasant episode, acted absolutely correctly as no one was hurt, which is the priority and should be commended.

M&S and other retailers could have some simple precautions put in place in terms of  security measures so the public feel safe when out shopping.

To deter robberies, simple high visibility signs suggesting £50 maximum held in each till and extra CCTV should be in place.

Name and address supplied.

More information about distinguished piper

While reading The Oban Times (Thursday August 15), I saw the article ‘Tattoo now has its own Harris Tweed design’ and was delighted to see the face of an old friend, Steve Small. Although I was not a piper or musician, I was a friend of Steve throughout his time in the Black Watch.

Steve was a major in the army, the senior pipe major in the British Army and went on to be director of bagpipe music in the British Army from 2007-2016 and was awarded the MBE in 2017. He is now, I believe, head organiser of bagpiping for the Edinburgh Tattoo.

So I found it a little odd (even though the article is not about him) for him just to be noted as a ‘Tattoo performer piper Stevie Small’.

Surely with his background at least some note of his title, rank, position or appointment could have been mentioned.

Maybe that’s all he wanted or maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy and there is nothing wrong with the caption, but I thought I’d send this email anyway.

Ricky Clark, Kilchoan.

I have a Scottish Green dream to tackle climate change

With respect to Martin Luther King, my Green Scottish dream is an independent Scottish Government as a coalition between the Greens and SNP.

In government together, this could be a powerhouse of controlled but radical change. The idea for this came to me with Lorna Slater’s profile in The National, Friday August 16. Her proposition of a Scottish Green new deal hits the spot.

With the SNP being responsible for nationhood, broadly, and the Greens pushing ahead with their new deal, the expertise of both parties could be brought to bear on the critical issues of our time, climate emergency and inequality.

With regard to the necessity for establishing a low carbon future, it is necessary to handle the transition from fossil fuel energy to sustainable energy in a pragmatic way. It is counter-productive to demonise oil companies and big business. We need to seduce them away from their obsession with mass consumption regardless of damage to our environment.

One way, in the North Sea, would be to eliminate decommissioning costs providing that redundant platforms were converted to wind and tidal platforms generating sustainable energy. Tie-ups to land can be cables via redundant pipelines and/or hydrogen generation on installations with no
pipeline connection. The technology for this is available now and the basic infrastructure is in situ.

There is an opportunity for gainful employment. Once these installations were redundant, they could then be converted to mini reefs. Perhaps a win-win situation. Possibly, also, a means of providing, economically, a link to Europe to supply renewable energy.

Finally, I see no reason why one of our Scottish universities could not research such a project now.

Donald Grant, Sula Bheinn, Corpach, Fort William.