This week’s Letters to the Editor

Write to: Letters to the Editor, The Buteman, 5 Victoria Street, Rothesay, Isle of Bute PA20 0AJ. You can also email your letters to news@buteman.com.
Write to: Letters to the Editor, The Buteman, 5 Victoria Street, Rothesay, Isle of Bute PA20 0AJ. You can also email your letters to news@buteman.com.

The debate over the rights and wrongs of Scottish independence once again features heavily in your letters to the latest issue of The Buteman, along with wind turbines, and the future of the former West Church.

To see your thoughts appear in print in a future issue of The Buteman, just email your opinions on any subject to news@buteman.com (or click on the email address above). The deadline for letters is 5pm on Monday, though the earlier we receive your letter the better are its chances of being published on our letters page.

Please remember to include a postal address for publication with your letter.

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Wind turbine facts

Just a couple of facts regarding wind farms.

Wind farm operators in Scotland have been awarded £1.8b in government subsidies since Alex Salmond took office. The £800,000-a-day costs are recouped by being added to customer fuel bills.

Operators have already been awarded £40m this year for turning off generators because of over-supply to the network.

I am not opposed to small generators on private land or dwellings, but firmly believe it should be compulsory to fit solar panels on all new houses.

Richard Snape

Rose Cottage, 42 Shore Road, Port Bannatyne

‘Turbines an attraction?’

In response to the letter from the mild colonial antipodean, Peter Niven, in The Buteman of May 16, and the happy coincidence of it being displayed on the same day as Bute Community Power unveils its plans for wind turbines on Bute, I can only say that Mr Niven would be in seventh heaven.

We will have a major tourist attraction with visitors flocking from around the world to see these marvels of mankind, these living Da Vincis.

We have an added advantage - think of all the hundreds of migratory birds such as swallows and swifts which will be killed en route to the island. Tourists will love to see their bodies lying beneath the turbines.

Over two hundred difference species of birds will be harmed by the sighting of these new turbines. That should appeal to nature lovers who visit the island to marvel at the avian diversity.

Above all, we will all have something to look forward to: knowing that these beautiful works of art are not just adding to our visual appreciation of the island, but that we, as part of this island community, will be sharing in any monetary gain and that we will all be able to see a clear and transparent statement of any financial gains that Bute Community power makes and receives.

Catherine McLean

24 Castle Street, Rothesay

Selective use of the evidence

Tony Burns’ letter in The Buteman of May 23 (“Nigerian Lesson”) warrants a response.

Tony invokes Nigeria as an indicator of how Scotland’s oil might only benefit a few after independence and, by clear implication, that this is a reason to oppose independence for Scotland.

This is a flawed and selective use of evidence. Interestingly Tony omits to mention Norway altogether.

Norway is an independent country with vast oil resources which have enabled it to become not only the world’s wealthiest nation but also one of the most equal. Norway’s oil has benefitted all of its people.

What’s the difference between Norway and Nigeria? Norway is a democracy.

It is the quality of democracy which determines how wealth is distributed and whether it is shared or grabbed by narrow elites.

Scotland (and the UK as a whole) suffers from a democratic deficit. Whilst we have a parliamentary democracy the level of democratic participation is low in comparison with other democracies in developed countries.

Norway has one of the highest rates of democratic participation in the world, with an average of 1 in every 81 people standing for election, compared to 1 in every 2071 here in Scotland. We also have the most centralised local authority structure in the EU with an average of 163,000 people per authority compared to an EU average of 5,600.

Within the UK, Scotland is part of the fourth most unequal society in the developed world. There is a close relationship between the quality of our democracy and the inequality we suffer as a society despite Scotland’s potential, if it were an independent country, to be the 8th wealthiest nation in the world.

It is by choosing independence that Scotland can progress towards a better quality of democracy, by building a more participatory democracy, with decision making located at the local level.

If Scotland chooses this future all our wealth (including our oil, our land and our renewable energy resources) will benefit everyone, including Tony.

Although ‘the economy’ comes top of the list of issues in the debate, Scottish independence is not primarily about the economy, it is about democracy and the people’s right and opportunity to decide their own future.

The quality of our democracy will determine whether we have an economy which serves the interests of us all or the interests of a few.

Jim Osborne

4 Eastlands Park, Rothesay

Church is ‘a piece of island history’

I would like to voice my concern regarding the proposed demolition of the beautiful old steepled church in Rothesay town centre.

I would have thought that the Rothesay Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) would be fighting hard to keep this piece of architecture. Also, I would bet that bats are using it for roosting during the day, and if this is so, then I would like to remind the powers that be that bats are protected by law. Has there been a survey done regarding this, I wonder?

I really hope that everything is done to retain this lovely old piece of island history.

M. McCulloch

7 Dunglass Avenue, Glasgow