The pick of the Letters to the Editor published in the April 11 edition of The Buteman.
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Schools deserve the best
I understand that our secondary school has acquired a further primary teacher as its head.How can it be that another primary head has been put in charge of secondary teachers? Could it be that these cost less? And that those responsible do not understand the difference?
What is the difficulty that any primary head faces in such a case? In a word, education. Primary and secondary heads are not the same. How, in that case, is he or she supposed to deal with secondary teachers in a school like ours?
What any school needs is a youngish, yet experienced, well-educated, well-organised, visionary, missionary, or great energy: a paragon of virtue with the power to inspire everyone - staff and students - to maximise their contribution to the world.
The cost of such a marvel should be of no moment. You get the best and damn the cost.
Is that the modern solution to the problem of heads who are under a cloud of some kind? ‘Second’ them to other ‘spots’ out of the public eye where they might be less troublesome?
Get a scholar, the genuine article, who loves knowledge - preferably all of it - and has courage as well as decency and idealism. Let him (or her) be the power that drives the education of the island.
William Scott, 23 Argyle Place, Rothesay
‘Yes’ claims compared to Alice fairytale
I read with interest the recent fairy stories in The Buteman from Messrs Macintyre and Dick. They make Alice in Wonderland read like a true story.
They indicate that an independent Scotland would walk into the EU without question. Perhaps they have not heard the statements from the president of the EU and other senior officials saying entry would be “difficult”, or the Spanish prime minister who said it was “unlikely”? I know who I believe.
Having heard a discussion between two MEPs, one from Spain and one from Belgium, on Euronews, and bearing in mind that almost half of the EU members have separatist movements , the chances of Scotland walking into Europe with the backing of all 28 countries is remote in the extreme. The statements from those closely involved in the EU obviously indicate to the Scottish public that they should not be misled.
All the Yes campaign needs to do is get a statement from the EU which indicates that the Yes view is correct. Please, not in the form of the imaginary letter never sent to Alex Salmond last year!
I do not believe any financial suggestions made which are not verified by the funding body.
The suggestion from Mr Dick that Great Britain, or any other EU country, will lower their safety standards to allow contaminated meat into their countries is ridiculous. Which supermarket is going to sell the produce, especially as additives have to be declared?
While the SNP believe that they could get everything they want out of Europe, the UK government will never be able to overcome France, Germany and other countries in relation to agricultural funding, as stated by Mr Dick.
Just to cheer farmers up a little bit, one of the speakers at the recent Yes meeting in the Rothesay Joint Campus said that one of the most important tasks for an independent Scotland would be the introduction of a Land Tax!
Robert Reid, 13 Ardmory Road, Rothesay
Military museum plan for Bute
The Isle of Bute Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland are planning to open a small military museum at the Deanhood Place office. We are hoping to concentrate on local interest stories , the Bute Battery, midget submarines etc. We are appealing for items to be donated or loaned: all items will be listed on an inventory , any photos or newspaper cuttings can be scanned and the originals returned. If you have any stories regarding the military history of Bute please let us know so that we can preserve them for all to see. We have scanned the photographs of those killed in WW1 from the memorial book and are hoping to show these on a DVD running on a loop. Please call at the office or phone 07795 417652.
David Boe (Chairman, Isle of Bute RBLS), Deanhood Place, Rothesay
Government changes to personal injury claims
(Copy of a letter sent to First Minister, the Deputy First Minister and Kenny Macaskill MSP)
I have just received a letter from my solicitors, Thompsons of Glasgow, who are pursuing a compensation claim on behalf of my family after my late brother, Robert Lawson, died from mesothelioma on July 10, 2013, as a result of exposure to asbestos while working in a hospital in the 1970s.
The letter states that a Bill has been published by the Scottish Government seeking to reform the way personal injury cases are dealt with in Scottish courts.
At present all asbestos-related disease claims are raised by Thompsons in the Court of Session to ensure they are dealt with as quickly as possible and by the best judges available. This also means that specialised advocates and solicitor advocates can appear in our case to assist the judge in what can be very complex arguments.
The Scottish Government wants all cases with a value of less than £150,000 to be dealt with by sheriff courts and/or a new layer of district courts. This will affect 95 per cent of asbestos related disease claims. Cases dealt with in the sheriff court system will not automatically be entitled to have the services of advocates and solicitor advocates, as in the Court of Session. Special permission will have to be sought to have the fees of advocates paid for, with no guarantee this will be granted.
In asbestos cases the insurance companies opposing the claims will continue to employ as many advocates as they need, putting asbestos victims at a disadvantage or with the prospect of using any compensation to meet the advocates’ bills.
Asbestos cases, no matter what value, are very complicated and are strongly defended by the insurance industry. These cases must stay in the Court of Session to ensure that the best arguments are made in front of the best judges and that decisions are made quickly and efficiently. We do not think this will be the case in the Sheriff Court.
Our case is one of many hundreds that will be affected by these changes if this bill is approved. Please oppose this Bill.
My late brother lived barely six months after his diagnosis. He was always a fit man, an outdoor man, highly intelligent (he was teaching himself Russian until his death), a painter, a horticulturalist and a poet (a poem of his has been selected for a book to be published in the autumn of 2014).
There wasn’t anything Robert couldn’t turn his hand to. He was a wonderful brother and a loving uncle to my children. He lived just half a mile away from me for the last 25 years and for the last six months of his life I took care of him morning, noon and night, seven days a week, something I had prayed every year for the last 30 years I’d never have to do.
All those years ago when he took that job at that hospital he had no idea that it would be the death of him. One day he saw a small notice pinned to the board at work warning of the dangers of asbestos. He immediately asked his supervisor about it. The supervisor told him not to worry because “it was only blue asbestos that was a problem”. Robert decided not to take any chances and quit the job immediately.
The working conditions were not good, the men were wading about in piles of asbestos fibres, the job of sweeping the mess up was given to the apprentices, young boys, nobody had masks or protective clothing.
If he hadn’t taken that job he’d still be with us. He died so soon after his diagnosis the current system wasn’t fast enough to pay the compensation and the solicitors had to start all over again.
If this bill is approved I despair of this government and shall take it as an indication of things to come, if Scotland becomes independent.
Instead of a more equal society it will be just more of the same, no difference to the ordinary citizen, money begets money, “I’m alright Jack” attitude.
I shall be voting No if this abomination of a Bill is approved and I shall never vote SNP again. I shall campaign long and loud along with every other victim of the system to get the working man a fair deal.
Catherine S. Adam, 29 Wyndham Road, Rothesay