Included in this week’s selection of readers’ letters are views on education, Rothesay’s former West Church, the Rest and Be Thankful and more.
Letters to the editor should be submitted with the correspondent’s name and address (and a telephone number, not for publication), to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Monday at the latest.
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Lib Dems’ ‘penny for education’
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, asks everyone to judge the SNP on its record in government. I should like to do just that, focusing on education.
On the SNP’s watch more than 150,000 college places have been lost. This attack on essential knowledge and competence has resulted in a shortage of skilled workers.
As we know, the SNP Government has been ineffective in addressing poverty in Scotland. In particular the achievement gap in education between the least and most deprived children has increased.
Early education is the best investment in our children’s future we can make. It’s proven to help children get on in life, whatever their background. But expansion of nursery education has moved at a snail’s pace. The Scottish Government has missed its targets for early education for 2-year-olds by 75 per cent.
Clearly the SNP’s performance has undermined Scotland’s education reputation. So what’s to be done? It does seem that the only political party with the policies, commitment and courage to transform education is the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party.
Scottish Lib Dems will invest half a billion pounds to improve Scottish education.
They will close the attainment gap by providing a Scottish Pupil Premium. This gives schools the extra money they need to make sure every child achieves her/his potential.
Lib Dems will reverse the cuts to Scottish colleges and bring in more courses to help people train for careers.
Lib Dems will massively expand nursery education. Parents will find the new free provision more flexible and easier to access.
Half of what councils do is education – that’s why Lib Dems will reverse education cuts and protect councils’ budgets.
And where will the Scottish Lib Dems get the £475 million to invest in education each year for the next five years?
Their plan will put 1p on income tax. In fact, thanks to increases in personal allowance, the poorest Scots will pay nothing extra and the richest Scots will pay for almost half of the investment. It’s the fair way.
So if you want better education a vote for the Scottish Lib Dems on May 5 is the answer.
Finlay Craig, Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove
Mourning the passing of the West Church
I read Richard Whitcomb’s letter in the Friday, January 22 edition of The Buteman, and also mourn the passing of the West Church in Rothesay.
This was no ordinary church, as the council was well aware. This was a church designed by “one of the legendary Glasgow architects” to quote Glasgow City Council’s description of him.
Indeed it could be argued that along with Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and Rennie Mackintosh, he was one of the three arcitects from Glasgow who could be called ‘great’.
So what do Argyll and Bute Council do? They destroy this work of art, through ignorance, indifference or greed.
When there is so much ugliness in the world to destroy a thing of beauty is criminal. No longer will the spire ‘inspire’, instead there will be a gaping hole or a new build.
I hope that Charles Wilson (1810-1963) is not turning in his grave at the destruction of his church. We are all a little poorer now and what can be said of such a mismanaging council but shame on you.
I do not hold the same hope for the future that Richard does. They have turned what was the jewel island of the Clyde into a place fit for nothing but ridicule.
Thank you Argyll and Bute Council.
Catherine McLean, 24 Castle Street, Rothesay
Thanks from Crossroads for Bute support
Many of your readers will have read in the pages of The Buteman (December 25) of the recent Big Lottery funding of £542,643 awarded to Crossroads Cowal and Bute for our young carers project.
I would like to clarify that this funding is managed by Crossroads and Crossroads Trustees and will not benefit our existing service in any way.
This means we are as ever in need of, and thankful for, all your support.
We are also very grateful to Electric Bakery, High Spirits, Amusements, Maison Gina, The Black Bull, and Grapes Bar who hold information and collection cans on our behalf.
Irene Kennedy Saha (vice-chair of Crossroads Cowal and Bute), 11 Hillview Walk, Rothesay
Donations to Macmillan Cancer Support on Bute
On behalf of the committee of the Bute fund-raising branch of Macmillan Cancer Support, I would sincerely like to thank the following for their recent donations to the charity.
Customer can collections: Toffos Newsagent - £114.96; Palace Bar - £19.40; Brian’s Sandwich Bar - £35.68; Pokey Hat - £21.70; McIntyre Butchers - £39.64; The Struan Bar - £43.04; The Grapes Bar - £40.03; The Black Bull - £30.31.
Macmillan coffee morning, including donations - £1,345.80.
Fashion show hosted by Glen’s Outfitters - £721.
Bute Cronies - £150.
A. McDougall - £5.
Donations towards palliative care at Victoria Hospital:
Hogmanay bag pack at Co-op - £1,268.60; Co-op collection - £541.64; For Bute - £2,000; Glasgow and Bute Benevolent Society - £300; Bute Agricultural Society - £300; WebHelp - £160; SMT Indoor Bowling - £500; Galatea Bar Bike Raffle - £102; Taverna Bar - £212; Big Dougie’s Raffle - £361; Glen Daly - £115; Remembering Caroline Pellegrotti and thanking family and Caroline’s customers - £2,200; Mac’s Bar - £200; Christmas hampers in Bank of Scotland, Rothesay Golf Club, Fyne Homes, Maison Gina’s; the Amusements, The Grapes Bar, The Galatea - £420; Mrs N. Smith - £100; Miss J Smith - £100; M. Thomas - £60; In memory of Tam Officer - £700; Angela Malcolm - £118.65; L. & L. Drews - £30; In memory of Janet Irvine - £402.50; Anonymous donations - £255.
The committee would like to thank the people on Bute for all the support they receive.
Frances Martin (treasurer of the Bute branch of Macmillan Cancer Support), 33 Ardbeg Road, Rothesay
Minister’s complacency over ‘Rest’
Following the recent landslides at the Rest and Be Thankful, Scottish Transport Minister Derek MacKay claimed that the mitigation measures already in place “are doing their job”. This complacent comment shows that, in his ministerial office, he is out of touch.
Mr Mackay can’t have seen the photograph of the car teetering on the cliff edge after the last landslide. The sticking plaster solution has failed. More sticking plaster, as announced by Mr MacKay is not the answer.
The Jacobs Report identified four affordable permanent solutions – the road on a viaduct, a debris flow shelter above the road, upgrade the Old Military Road to trunk road status or a new road on the opposite side of the glen.
The Scottish Government should be starting work now on one of these solutions before a passing motorist gets caught in a landslide and killed.
Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll and Bute), 136 Fairhaven, Dunoon
New website for finding shipmates
May I draw to the attention of those readers who have served in the Royal Navy, that the system for them to find their old shipmates, “RN Shipmates”, now has a website (www.rnshipmates.co.uk)? This not only lists H.M. Ship’s Associations, but has a list of ship’s reunions, with dates and locations. ‘Scribbled’ notes from those with more specific requests and searches are also displayed. I feel sure that any person who has served in the Royal Navy will find something of interest.
Many Associations are listed, but a new one for twelve ships of the H.M.S. Blackwood Class Anti-submarine Frigates, is up and running thanks to the publicity given in the recent past by local newspapers across the country printing my letters.
Mike Crowe, Sandown, Isle of Wight
Over 121,000 people in Scotland are currently living with the devastating effects of stroke. It happens in an instant, yet this overwhelming condition can affect people
physically and emotionally for the rest of their lives. The long-term effects can often
take a huge toll on partners, carers and families too.
We are calling on people who have had a stroke, their carers and family members across Scotland to take part in a UK survey and tell us about their experiences of stroke. If any of your readers has had a stroke or cares for someone who has had a stroke, we want to hear their views.
The closing date for our survey is March 31, 2016. It can be completed online at campaign questionnaire or you can contact the Scotland office on 0131 455 7244 to obtain a paper copy.
Andrea Cail (The Stroke Association), Links House, 15 Links Place, Leith, Edinburgh
Recognition technology is concerning
I never thought that my face was so interesting that anyone would like to keep a record of it. But now I am not so sure.
I read that Police Scotland retain over 335,000 people’s images on unregulated facial recognition technology.
Without adequate legal safeguards there is nothing to stop the police from using technology for mass surveillance. It could be used to identify protesters at political events or football fans, stifling freedom of speech. Innocent people could be compromised and they could be exposed to the risk of false identification.
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes used Freedom of Information requests to draw the SNP Government’s attention to the potential threat to civil liberties of unregulated use of facial recognition technology.
A recent report to the Scottish Government concluded that Ms McInnes was right and that there is “a need for improved legislation and better independent oversight around the police use of biometrics in Scotland”.
When in coalition Westminster the Lib Dems established a statutory code of practice governing such technology in England and Wales in 2012. It’s time for the SNP Government to catch up.
Just as with stop and search, armed police and corroboration, the report’s findings show that only Scottish Liberal Democrats can be trusted to protect your liberties.
J. Craig, Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove