At Random, with Martin Laing

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I remain horrified by the storm of destruction being visited upon the benighted people of Ukraine.

The appalling level of violence has resulted in countless thousands of deaths, millions of desperate souls fleeing from their homes and devastation for hundreds of cities, towns and villages.

Yet I remain buoyed by the response of people around the world in support of Ukraine – including in large measure the fantastic rallying by the good folk of Oban and Argyll, and Fort William and Lochaber. For week after week now, The Oban Times has reported extensively on how numerous residents and businesses have stepped up to help the Ukrainians.

This great effort by West Highlands and Islands residents comes as little surprise – to me at any rate. I have witnessed first-hand on many occasions the astounding community cohesion and willingness to donate to deserving causes.

And, manifestly, there is no more deserving a cause in the world at present than that of the Ukrainian victims of Putin’s abhorrent slaughter.

I have written in recent weeks about my personal links to people from Ukraine: my sister-in-law Anzhela Romanchenko and her daughter Valeriia. They are traumatised by what is happening in their homeland, though also grateful to be here in the safe environment of Scotland.

Our regular meetings have convinced me our ongoing community support in the Highlands and Islands is crucial. Well done to everyone who has been organising collections and help for Ukrainians and to those who have been involved in making sure aid is sent to the desperate refugees.

Please keep it up.

Selfless service

Politicians are pilloried relentlessly. Not by me.

At a local level, certainly, those who step forward to represent communities do so to help their fellows. So I was a little despondent to read Elaine Robertson, Mary-Jean Devon and Roddy McCuish are to stand down as Argyll and Bute councillors.

I thank them personally for their contributions. You have all been stalwart servants of the public and I tip my tile to you all.

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