Letters to the Editor – 21.1.21

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Fishing problems after Brexit

Remember the closing stages of the Brexit negotiations? Boris Johnson pretended he was holding out to get the best deal for fishermen. In the end he agreed a deal that the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation described as ‘desperately poor’ and ‘the worst of both worlds’.

Fishermen are restricted to catch fewer fish in most key species. Lorries carrying stocks that have been caught were left to sit at Larkhall – unable to penetrate the new fog of bureaucracy. Scottish fishermen are forced to land the fish they can catch in Denmark – grim news for Scottish fish processors.

Instead of trying to fix the problem, Tory Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg says the fish are happier to be British. Of course they are – the fishermen aren’t catching them.

The Tories must sort out this mess they have created. Our fishermen and fish processing workers deserve better than silly remarks about happy fish.
Councillor Alan Reid, Cowal.

Poem brings back happy memories

Regarding Iain Thornber’s article in  The Oban Times (December 17, 2020), headed Remember Man As You Pass By, which is the opening line of an epitaph on a gravestone, which reads in full:

‘Remember man as you pas by,

As you are now so once was I.

As I am now so must you be,

Therefore prepare to follow me’.

This brought back happy memories of my parents in fits of laughter as my late mother (brought up in Scotland and familiar with this bon mot gravestone) claimed that the local urchins always finished the rhyme with, ‘To follow you I’m not contents – until I know which way you went!’

I thought this might give your readers a chuckle.

Mrs M Garabet, Benderloch.

Mull ferries

We can only hope that the Ministry of Transport and CMAL have learnt from the multi-million fiasco which has left two hulks adorning Port Glasgow’s waterfront. They could soon rival Falkirk’s Kelpies as artistic attractions.

Mull needs an all-weather, no frills ‘seabridge’ compatible with using Craignure’s rather dodgy pier, rather than a mini-cruise liner based on complex and expensive plug-in/gas propulsion technology. This may fall short of green purists’ aspirations but would be a significant improvement on the Isle of Mull, perhaps akin to a vegetarian rather than an all-out vegan approach, and certainly a move in the right direction until better options become readily available.

Argyll desperately needs long-term infrastructure investment, particularly for the A83, and this alone should put a lot of pressure on those concerned to find cost effective answers to ferry services. Perhaps what is lacking is a coherent transport strategy.

An alternative to the option currently under review would be to seek tenders worldwide for one or preferably two catamarans, which could easily be delivered at an economic cost within two to three years of ordering. The Mull crossing has only about four miles of semi-open water and a ship designed for operating amongst typhoon ridden Pacific islands should have no difficulty in handling it.

James Harmer, Isle of Mull

Support on hand from RAF Benevolent Fund

Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced a third national lockdown. Although necessary, these measures mean many of our veterans will be facing the next several weeks – or months – completely alone.

And while the vaccine rollout out across the country provides some hope, social isolation and loneliness poses a real threat to our elderly this winter, among them many former RAF personnel and their partners supported by the RAF Benevolent Fund.

To help combat this, last year the fund introduced a weekly Check and Chat service to support members of the RAF family experiencing loneliness. I speak to one such gentleman every Tuesday. He lives alone and spent much of 2020 totally isolated, and for him, this service truly is a lifeline. We chat about what he’s been up to, what he’s cooking for tea, to his time in the RAF and often I’m the only person he will speak to for days.

The fund also facilitates weekly Telephone Friendship Groups, provides access to a Listening and Counselling Service, relationship counselling support, and an online wellbeing portal to help support emotional wellbeing amongst the veteran community.

Throughout the pandemic, many of us have learned more about our neighbours and local community. That’s why we are calling on the people of Argyll to consider whether they know any RAF veterans, or their spouses or widows, who may be experiencing loneliness. To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit rafbf.org or call 0300 102 1919.

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, Chief Executive, RAF Benevolent Fund