Your letters to The Buteman: February 6, 2015

Email your opinions to news@buteman.com, with the subject line 'Letter to the Editor'.
Email your opinions to news@buteman.com, with the subject line 'Letter to the Editor'.

Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid dominates the letters page of the latest issue of The Buteman, with expressions of criticism and support along with the MP’s own view on the possible establishment of a satellite kidney dialysis unit on Bute.

If you’d like to see your thoughts in print on any local issue - whether related to the island’s MP or not! - just drop an email to news@buteman.com (or simply click on the email address at the top of this article), including ‘Letter to the Editor’ in the subject line.

Please keep your views as succinct and to-the-point as you can, and remember to include your name and address for publication. We also need a daytime telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, although this will not be published.

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Bute should have a dialysis unit

Mr Johnstone (last week’s Viewpoint) is right to call for a kidney dialysis unit for Bute.

I have been backing the campaign for a pilot dialysis unit in Campbeltown.

The plan is that if this pilot unit is successful, then similar units can be installed in other hospitals throughout the Highlands and Islands, including Rothesay.

The Kintyre Dialysis Campaign has worked incredibly hard and its members have already raised £50,000 towards the cost of a pilot unit.

However, I was utterly shocked and horrified to learn that NHS Highland have told them that they must raise another £61,000 to pay for a kidney dialysis unit at Campbeltown Hospital.

To be told by the Health Board that they must raise another £61,000 before the badly needed unit can be prepared is disgusting.

During the referendum campaign, the SNP told us wrongly that the only way to stop the NHS being privatised in Scotland was to vote for independence. Now an agency of the SNP Government is demanding that kidney patients have to raise money to pay for their treatment.

This is the worst form of privatisation. The SNP Government should be ashamed of themselves and should pay this money now for the new unit.

Otherwise kidney dialysis patients from Campbeltown will be faced with the long and exhausting trip to the Vale of Leven Hospital three times a week.

The SNP Government should pay for the cost of the Campbeltown pilot and, after evaluation, for similar dialysis units in Rothesay and other hospitals throughout the Highlands and Islands.

Alan Reid MP (Liberal Democrat, Argyll and Bute), 95 Alexandra Parade, Dunoon

MP’s selective defence of voting record

Alan Reid (Letters, January 30) is very selective in defending his voting record.

He was instumental in backing the welfare reforms that included the ‘bedroom tax’, and his actions since have been akin to stable doors and bolting horses.

He mentions nothing of the motion against the ‘bedroom tax’ on November 12, 2013, for which he was a ‘no show’ despite being in the House of Commons at the time.

Nor does he care to talk about the motion of December 17, 2014 to remove the bedroom tax, in which he voted in support of the Tories and therefore in favour of the bedroom tax. .

In fact, since 2011 there have been 15 votes in the House of Commons on the bedroom tax, and whilst Mr Reid has indeed voted four times against it, he has also voted to introduce it (as part of welfare reforms) or keep it a total of five times.

No wonder the democracy website www.theyworkfor you.com describes Alan Reid as “voting moderately for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (the bedroom tax)”.

He may have backtracked , particularly after his constituents started to notice what he had done, but he has backed it.

Let me quote his own words: “There is a housing shortage and it would not be right for people of working age to be getting housing benefit for spare rooms they do not need if they have turned down an offer of a move to a smaller property in the same locality.”

But just so as he does not feel lonely, let us also recall that the Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, said at the 2013 Lib Dem conference: “The bedroom tax is tough, but it is central to the welfare reforms.”

Mr Reid and Mr Rennie are Liberal Democrats. They must accept that it is their party which has been complicit in imposing the bedroom tax and, more widely, in propping up one of the most destructive governments this country has ever seen.

They cannot re-write history just because there is a car crash of an election coming for them.

They won’t escape that - not even with the smokescreen of blame that Mr Reid always tries put up when he is cornered.

No matter what he says the bedroom tax has not been devolved - what the Scottish Government is having to do is to use money that should be going to build our society and economy on mitigating the disastrous, vicious policies of the Tories and their Lib Dem coalition colleagues.

That is the truth, and no amount of self-deluding spin can change it. It is the truth that will result in him losing his seat at Westminster in just the same way as his Liberal Democrat colleague, Bute’s own George Lyon, lost his at Holyrood.

Hugh Moodie, 12 Bryce Avenue, Rothesay

Voting for Reid ‘only way to stop SNP’

I returned from holiday to read in your edition of January 23 criticism by Hugh Moodie of my support of Alan Reid MP. Let me inform Mr Moodie of my position so that he will not be confused.

I, like Mr Reid, believe in the Liberal Democrat party, which exists to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

I strongly support Alan Reid as he is a hard working MP who makes the time and effort to know the needs, challenges and aspirations of the electorate over the vastly divergent constituency of Argyll and Bute.

There is clear evidence that he is a man of principle who will not be swept along by party loyalty if he does not believe that it is in the best interest of his constituents.

Alan Reid demonstrated this by voting no to the so called, ‘bedroom tax’.

I am pleased that Mr Moodie recognises the pioneering work by the Liberal Democrats in guaranteeing British support for the world’s poorest individuals.

One can believe that charity should begin at home – as it does – without limiting one’s compassion and practical help to those who are ‘helpless and hopeless’, wherever they reside.

Alan Reid and I believe in a united UK. The forces of separation, disruption, selfishness, and narrow mindedness associated with nationalism were substantially defeated in the September referendum.

There is only one way in Argyll and Bute to defeat the SNP on May 7, and that is to vote for Alan Reid.

Hugh Moodie started his letter by saying, “The gift that keeps on giving, that seems to be the policy of Alan Reid and the Liberal Democrats.”

You know, I think he is right: Alan Reid does keep on giving his time, wisdom, energy and commitment to the people of Argyll and Bute.

Finlay Craig, Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove

Disgust at MP’s stance on fracking

It is with shock and disgust that I read our own MP, Alan Reid, has voted for the notion of fracking our beautiful countryside.

He could have abstained. He could have voted to delay this monstrous process until futher tests are carried out to prove conclusively that fracking is a safe process.

How little disregard he must have for his constituents’ health. Even less for our beautiful scenery.

As countries across Europe and states in America ban fracking or vote to delay the process our elected member chooses instead to pollute our land, water and scar our landscape.

I can think of no reply from him or his supporters that can justify this heinous descison.

I sincerely hope the readers of The Buteman will consider Alan Reid’s vote when they cast their ballot on May 7.

Tracey Guy, 27 Wallace Avenue, Rothesay

Cancer Research donation thanks

The local committee of Cancer Research UK is extremely grateful for the share of the collections taken after the funerals of James McAlister (£1,000), Ian McCallum (£300) and Murray Campbell (£500). Our sincere thanks go to all family members and friends for their great generosity.

The following donations have also been received recently by the branch.

Total from 20p tubes filled by Mhairi, Helen, Susan, Liz, Nan and Nessie - £60.80;

Customers of: Richard McIntyre - £36.55; Electric Bakery - £24.86; High Spirit Co - £45.68; Caroline’s - £48.01; Jessmay’s - £17.77; Co-operative, Bridge Street - £31.51; Londis - £32.77; Galatea Bar - £51.66.

Fiona Martin (donations secretary, CRUK Bute branch), 4 Caledonia Walk, Rothesay