Letters to the editor 31.10.19

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Time to sweep away archaic crofting

It seems that the crofters are bleating on again about predation by sea eagles.

It is difficult to sympathise when they object to these birds just maintaining their precarious existence by obtaining food at someone else’s expense while they are quite happy to turn their sheep out into public areas and private gardens for exactly the same purpose – getting a free meal. However, it is encouraging that Forest Enterprise Scotland is now prepared to take action against sheep owners who allow their animals to damage the environment.

As recipients of large quantities of public money, crofters should be keeping their heads down and their mouths shut, remembering that most visitors to Scotland come to see the scenery and the eagles, not the sheep.

It is time their whole archaic system of land use was swept away and replaced by modern agricultural methods and proper animal husbandry.

Andrew Green, Dal Ghorm House, Ardtoe.

Cuts to education budget is madness

I refer to the news regarding the proposal by Argyll and Bute Council’s education department to have 14 pupil support workers made redundant in next year’s council budget.

This proposal to save £198,500, an average salary of £14,130 per employee, can be summed up in one word – madness.

I am not by any means an education expert but from 1995 until 2017, when I was councillor, I became very much aware in the budget process each year that councillors are presented with what are called savings options.

For instance, I see the estimate is a funding gap of £9.2 million, so I would assume around £12 million worth of savings will be put forward so that the most alarming proposals will be removed.

The Tory, Lib Dem and independent administration which has a 21-15 majority, will decide the fate of the 14 pupil support workers. I would hope that by the time this letter is published the lunacy of the proposal to remove these 14 key people will be stopped in its tracks.

In my 22 years as an Argyll and Bute Councillor I witnessed many foolish budget proposals but this one is just totally crazy.

It must be ceased because, if implemented, it will result in 14 excellent people losing their jobs and put immense pressure on those who are left.

Robert MacIntyre, Serpentine Road, Bute.

Campaign by Scouts aims to improve lives

As Scouts, here in Argyll and Lochaber, we make a promise to help other people.

We’re the doers and the give-it-a-goers. We’re the change-makers. We’re not afraid to take a deep breath and speak up.

This month we’re renewing this promise with the relaunch of our campaign, A Millions Hands. This is a way for Scouts to improve lives right here in Argyll and Lochaber, while developing the skills to succeed.

The campaign is about raising awareness across six themes, all chosen by young people themselves. But it’s about taking action too. From protecting our environment to ending homelessness, supporting refugees and displaced children and promoting kindness in every community, we’re also renewing our commitment to supporting better mental health for all and understanding disability.

Over the past 100 years, the issues we’ve tackled have evolved and changed, but our young people’s drive to make a positive impact remains as strong as ever.

As Scouts, we’re always striving to leave the world a little better than we found it. Scouts are not bystanders. We play our part to create a better society and a better future for our precious planet.

We don’t wait for change to happen. We make it happen.

To each and every Scout and volunteer in Argyll and Lochaber, I say thank you for playing your part and, if you’re not involved yet, please join us.  You’ll gain valuable skills for life and make all the difference.

Tim Peake, Scout Ambassador.

Westminster is to blame for council cuts

I know that it is some time since Alan Reid (Letters 24 October) has been actively involved in National politics but I cannot believe that it has escaped his notice that the money flowing from Westminster to the Holyrood Government has been slashed by some 9.2 per cent in real terms since the onset of austerity in 2010.

Despite this reduction, many political commentators of all hues and parties have acknowledged and supported the efforts made by the Scottish Government to mitigate the severe effects of the cuts on our most vulnerable citizens.

These cuts are not the choice of the SNP Government!

Dorothy Macdonald,
Arisaig, Crannag A Mhinisteir, Oban

Ferry problem needs positive solution

What have Kieron Green and his fellow councillors got against islanders?

After the debacle of parking charges on Mull, now its lifeline ferry services that are in their sights.

Mr Green says the council makes a £1million annual ‘loss’ on them, and is asking local people how to bridge the gap (Oban Times 24 Oct).

If this is the way the council thinks, they’ll soon be asking school pupils how to cover the cost of their education given the financial cost – or ‘loss’ – to the council.

Mr Green should not be making threats that ‘it cannot continue to run’ lifeline services given their importance to many people in his own ward.

Islanders dependent on council-run ferry services currently pay twice for the service, in our council tax and ferry charges. The council should be looking for positive solutions that bring more people to live and work on Argyll’s islands, not lambasting the Scottish Government and passing the buck to local people.

Mary Braithwaite
Cullipool House, Isle of Luing