Your letters to The Buteman: January 2, 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'.

This week’s crop of your letters to The Buteman includes views on transport, defence and broadband as well as thank you messages and hopes for political New Year resolutions.

If you want to see your views appear in a future print edition of The Buteman, all you have to do is drop an email to news@buteman.com with the word ‘Letter’ in the subject line.

Our print deadline is 5pm each Monday, and we need your own name and address for publication, as well as a daytime contact telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice (though the latter will not be printed).

Government’s priorities are all wrong

Your readers will be aware that RAF mountain rescue services are to be moved from Kinloss to Hampshire. Will Alan Reid, our man in the Palace of Westminster, seek to justify this criminal lunacy?

I recollect that the government he supports also made the decision to transfer co-ordination of our coastguard services from Greenock to Belfast.

This same government has spent millions on foreign wars which have cost so many lives.

Vast sums are also spent on the nuclear submarines at Faslane while other military facilties in Scotland are run down or closed.

Hamish Kirk, 17 Russell Street, Rothesay

Don’t forget ferry’s foot passengers

The Scottish Government is reportedly pushing CalMac to transfer Bute passengers onto Western Ferries’ Gourock to Hunter’s Quay boats if Gourock to Rothesay ferries are cancelled because of bad weather during the Wemyss Bay pier disruption.

This is good news for motorists who can drive on to Colintraive and home. But less so for Bute folk who don’t have a car and need to get home from Hunter’s Quay.

At the moment, Hunter’s Quay to Rothesay is not an easy journey on public transport. For a start, there are only two buses a day from the Dunoon ferry terminal to Rothesay after 10am. And no buses on Sundays.

The express buses operated by McGill’s won’t take passengers who try to board at Hunter’s Quay to travel into Dunoon. And passengers on the ‘normal’ 80/480 service into Dunoon have been warned not to rely on the current bus timetable.

Argyll and Bute Council advises intending passengers to phone Traveline for an accurate bus time before setting out. Miss a 80/480 bus at Hunter’s Quay and getting into Dunoon means a taxi fare or a brisk 15-20 minute walk for the fit.

CalMac has addressed a similar problem of stranded passengers on its Dunoon to Gourock service. When it cancels one of its Argyll Ferries ‘bath tub’ boats, it offers passengers with an SPT card a free point-to-point service between Dunoon town centre and Gourock ferry terminal using Western Ferries and special buses put on at either end.

Surely Bute foot passengers who face a substantially longer journey home deserve nothing less than the service CalMac is currently providing for their Dunoon passengers?

The problem of onward travel from Hunter’s Quay was put to CalMac’s area manager, Mr Richmond, at the last Community Council meeting. To date there is no evidence it has been understood or any planning put in place to solve it.

We therefore need a detailed statement from CalMac by mid-January on how it intends to get re-routed Bute foot passengers home from Hunter’s Quay in the event of bad weather cancellations during the Wemyss Bay pier work.

The matter cannot be left hanging in the air for much longer. Planning a simple relief bus service must surely be well within CalMac’s current skill set.

Bad weather cancellations are rare, but they happen and they cause a lot of upset. The present CalMac ad hoc ‘We’ll improvise on the day’ approach on this issue can only result in stranded Bute foot passengers dumped in Dunoon searching for emergency accommodation.

We’ve been here before many times with the Wemyss Bay service. This time there’s an opportunity to put something effective in place well ahead of the pier work at Wemyss Bay.

Hopefully, the Scottish Government might be moved to take an interest in these matters. It owns CalMac and is responsible for its performance.

Liam Walsh, 5 Duncan Street, Port Bannatyne

Broadband policy clearly lacking

During the recent council by-election in South Kintyre, there were comments made about broadband provision in Argyll.

The points made are well rehearsed and most will be familiar with them, but a proactive response from elected representatives attacking the deficiencies inboth government and BT policy is still seen as absent.

Many rural locations cannot get broadband via any kind of landline. Satellite provision is both expensive and has high latency, making it unsuitable for many purposes.

New fibre optic cables run right past properties affected, yet BT will not install a communications cabinet to allow connection to these businesses and homes.

Government policy is clearly lacking, despite statements in the past about diversification for rural economies.

A way has to be found to make broadband provision at least as much of an obligation as telephony provision. This is seen as absolutely critical by residents in Argyll.

As a country, we must renew efforts to bring wired broadband to all with a landline, not just those who live within a certain distance of an existing exchange.

There are technical solutions available, but is there the political will?

Trevor Oxborrow, A’Chruach, Campbeltown

Political resolutions for 2015

After a fully satisfying 6000-calorie Christmas lunch with an extra portion of brandy sauce and a pleasant nap in front of It’s A Wonderful Life, it is amazing how quickly one’s thoughts turn to Hogmanay and New Year resolutions. The main resolution being not to eat so much!

Just in case our political leaders have not the time to consider New Year resolutions I thought it would be helpful if I make some suggestions.

I trust First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will wish to develop her pledge to govern in the best interest of all the people of Scotland. No doubt this will be a challenging resolution for her to achieve given the demands of the ‘45ers’.

Throughout most of 2014, at least up to September 19, Alex Salmond resolved to respect and advance the ‘sovereign will of the Scottish people’. Let’s hope he adopts the same resolution for 2015.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael, can have but one major resolution, that of advancing home rule for Scotland by ensuring the smooth transition of the Smith Commission’s recommendations into law.

I should imagine our local Liberal Democrat MP, Alan Reid will have one overriding resolution: that of continuing to represent the good people

of Argyll and Bute after the General Election on May 7.

Might I suggest to local government councillors in Argyll and Bute that they adopt the resolution to work in a collegiate manner so as to please Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission.

My New Year resolution? Easy, to enjoy living in and contributing to Scotland’s politically dynamic democracy.

Finlay Craig, Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove

Co-op’s festive dinner for local elderly

Last Saturday at the Pavilion the Co-op manager and his assistants put on a lovely spread for elderly people from Rothesay, Kilchattan Bay and Port Bannatyne and excelled in their quality of food cooked, service and entertainment from the children from Appletree Nursery who sang Christmas Carols in both English and Spanish - whoa!

The council provided the Pavilion for it to be held and the dinner was cooked at Thomson Court. It was well organised by Lyndsey Speirs, shop floor manager,Derek Blaney, manager, and assistants Karen, Amanda, Duncan and Elaine. Thank you to to Len Scoullar for helping with organising.

Ellen Cromack, Pier View, Kilchattan Bay

Macmillan donations

May I, through your letters page, thank the following for donations received by Macmillan Cancer Support:

In memory of Margaret from Agnes - £10; Retiral collection - £135; Anonymous donations - £100, £25, £20, £20; Jewellery by Kaz - £40.

Customer can collections:

Toffos - £34.23; Port Bannatyne Post Office - £9.40.

The Bute fund-raising committee would like to send seasons greetings to everyone, and thank them for their support throughout the past year.

Beverley Scoullar (chair/treasurer, Bute fund-raising committee, 45 Craigmore Road, Rothesay

Thank you to Nadia’s

On behalf of our very delighted granddaughter, many, many thanks to Nadia’s for the absolutely beautiful Elsa dress which I was lucky enough to win in the shop’s Christmas raffle.

This was made to measure by Margaret Williams and is a dream for a little girl.

Iris Ellis, 28 Marine Rd, Port Bannatyne