Readers’ views: this week’s Letters to the Editor

Email your opinions to news@buteman.com - please include 'Letter to the Editor' in the subject line.
Email your opinions to news@buteman.com - please include 'Letter to the Editor' in the subject line.

Here we feature the pick of the Letters to the Editor published in the April 25 edition of The Buteman.

Don’t forget that if you want to share your views in our letters page on any subject of local interest, all you need to do is email your opinions to news@buteman.com (click on the email address at the top of this story). The deadline for submissions to our print edition is 5pm on Monday, although the earlier you send us your views, the better your chances of them appearing in print - please also remember that you must include your name and address for publication.

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Rothesay Joint Campus is a happy place

I must take issue with William Scott’s ‘Schools deserve the best’ letter published in your April 11 edition.

Mr Scott suggests that the acting headteacher at Rothesay Joint Campus is not the best choice for the post because he is a former primary school head teacher.

The headteacher of any school, be it nursery, primary or secondary is a manager, assisted by a management team.

Acting head John Lawson’s former school was extremely well managed, had and still has an excellent reputation and, most importantly, was a very happy school under Mr Lawson’s leadership.

Mr Scott provides a very comprehensive list of qualities desirable in anyone managing a school such as Rothesay Joint Campus. While only a saint could possess all listed by Mr Scott, may I assure him that Mr Lawson is a man of great integrity, deep commitment and wide experience, within and outwith the primary sector.

Further, he is multi-talented and relates well to adults and to children of all ages. Mr Scott can therefore rest assured that the island’s joint campus is in extremely capable hands.

I shall refrain from putting my letters after my name. All that would tell the reader is that I’ve obtained a few academic qualifications. It would not reveal whether or not I possessed the common sense, good judgement, diplomacy and tact which John Lawson has in full measure and which, in my opinion, William Scott’s letter suggests that he himself is sadly lacking.

Eleanor A. Black, 4 St Andrews Walk, Rothesay

Rothesay and Pitlochry are very different

I read with interest William Scott’s support of the Pavilion and his advocating of a well-intentioned season of plays based on the Festival Theatre, Pitlochry’s programme (Letters, April 18).

Many local people in the past have put similar ideas to me.

In 2007 I was drafted into the Festival Theatre, Pitlochry, as technical manager as the resident T.M. had taken ill, and I was landed withputting on four new plays in the first week. The following week another two new plays were produced, making up the season of six plays, as is still the summer season format.

However, this is where the practicalities kick in. There was a different play presented each evening, Monday to Saturday, with matinees on some days - a few times these were the same production as the evening, but mostly a different one.

A cast of ten would not be able to cover the casting requirements of this number of productions. Depending on the presentation it could take anything between 20 to 30 artistes, as it would be impossible for all the artistes to appear in every production.

Also, I do not know where Mr Scott’s salary figures come from; they bear no comparison to the majority of actors for a season.

A similar number of productions to Pitlochry would require large scale scene changes and thus a large number of backstage staff. The prices for this year’s summer season vary from £15 to £25 for the cheapest seats, and from £22.50 to £35 for the dear seats. I doubt if Bute residents would be willing to pay that for each show.

Perth also provides a large catchment for the Festival Theatre, and many spectators come on coach trips, sometimes attending matinee and evening performances before making their way home. There is also a huge promotion with local hotels offering a six-day stay with tickets for six performances. Most artistes also drive back home to Glasgow rather than stay in Pitlochry. This, therefore, could not happen on Bute due to the absence of late sailings.

I doubt very much if this model would ever be attempted in the Pavilion, with the turn-around times negating the use of the main hall by any other interested parties. There would have to be a massive deafening cladding installation to kill any bleed-through noise from the cafe, etc.

Iain Gillespie, 37 East Princes Street, Rothesay

Agriculture, free trade and a Yes vote

R. Reid writes (Letters, April 11) that it is ridiculous to say that the UK or any other EU country will lower their safety standards to allow contaminated meat into their countries.

It is indeed, but that is not how it is presented, and parliaments are only marginally involved.

Cheap American beef is not regarded as ‘contaminated’ by hormones, pesticides and antibiotics at levels acceptable in America.

Higher standards are considered an artificial restraint on free trade by ‘vested interests’ and therefore a target for harmonisation.

It works the other way too. US negotiators are reluctant to weaken financial regulation which has allowed the US government to fine banks, but EU negotiators, briefed by City of London interests, are resisting.

Negotiators are only interested in maximising EU-USA trade. The details of the briefing and negotiations are secret and national parliaments are not directly involved. Blame can be deflected onto the EU. Most of the gains are expected to come not from reduction of tariffs, but from harmonising regulations downwards.

Which supermarket is going to sell the produce? All of them, especially in prepared food. It is not a question of additives, except for chlorine-washed chicken. The price will be irresistible for most, especially if farm subsidy can be reduced. This will increase the price for Scotch beef in a small niche luxury market, but it will be beyond the means of most.

Land Value Tax (LVT) is not necessarily an extra tax, but a replacement for existing taxes. While there are bound to be winners and losers, it cannot be said at this point who these might be or whether tax will be increased or reduced overall. That depends on many things such as the classifications of land and which other taxes are reduced or eliminated.

It is not possible to implement LVT until after 2020. The composition of the Scottish Government in 2020 is unknown, as is the effect of freeing from London influence the Scottish parts of the parties of UK governance if we have independence.

R. Reid assumes that the SNP will still be in government after 2020, when they would then be in their fourth consecutive term. That would be an unusual, and perhaps unlikely, endorsement by voters. The probable outcome is that there would be a coalition, perhaps even involving the party R. Reid will be voting for in 2020 - a party which may not currently exist.

Even if an SNP-led government introduces LVT after 2020, it is more likely than not that it will be used not only to raise income, but as a lever to gain environmental, economic or demographic objectives - and might well help farmers by reducing their overall tax burden.

If there are sound reasons for voting No, fear of some future democratically elected Scottish Government introducing LVT is certainly not one of them.

John B. Dick, Glendaruel, Ardencraig Road, Rothesay