Your letters to The Buteman: November 21, 2014

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 pick of your letters to The Buteman includes thoughts on devolution and independence, the definition of a charity in Scotland, spending on the NHS and civic pride in Rothesay.

If you’d like to see your views published in The Buteman’s print edition, send them to news@buteman.com by 5pm on Monday. Please keep your letters as short and to-the-point as you can, and remember to include your postal address for publication. We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Independence movement is not going away

I read with interest the contributions of Finlay Craig and N.H. Lamond to the letters page in the November 7 issue of The Buteman.

Both your correspondens employ the now familiar refrain of Unionists since the independence referendum, in summary: “Yes lost, now get back in your box and be quiet.”

I have news for these protagonists of the UK: the independence movement is not getting back in its box, it’s not going to go away, it’s not going to go quietly, and no matter how many times they repeat the “Yes Lost!” mantra, they will not bring back the cosy, pre-September 18 situation of Scotland knowing its place, and allowing a Westminster establishment to make decisions for us.

Indeed, Finlay Craig appears to yearn for a return to the 1950s by arguing we should have been grateful the Royal Navy stationed vessels in Rothesay Bay, thereby helping our economy.

I assume that he uses the same argument to justify the present-day basing of the UK’s weapons of mass destruction less than ten miles from Bute.

Meanwhile, N.H. Lamond professes to being “fed up with the continuing complaints of pro-independence supporters”, and asserts that the Scottish Government “should concentrate on the job it was elected to do,” highlighting the NHS, road infrastructure and ferries as priorities.

The current Scottish Government continues to protect and increase NHS spending, but as a consequence of a declining block grant from Westminster, other demands have to be prioritised.

Would that we could be in the enviable position of other similarly sized countries, who, due to their independence, harness their own resources and revenues, and focus them on improving the common good of society.

The mass political engagement brought about by the referendum has manifested itself in huge surges in the membership of the Yes-supporting parties since September 18. This proves the referendum was not the end of the campaign for independence, but the beginning of the end of the Union.

Robert R. Macintyre, Whinney Brae, Serpentine Rd, Rothesay

Definition of a charity in Scotland

I have noticed a consistent confusion of terminology in letters and articles in The Buteman recently.

Having worked in the NGO/charity sector, it is useful to note that an organisation can only be called a ‘charity’ in Scotland when it is formally registered with and governed by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and has fulfilled the ‘public benefit’ criteria required by them.

The charity will then be listed on a publicly searchable database and submit annual accounts that are available for all to view on request.

Excellent charitable work can be (and often is) undertaken by companies or other organisations, but the term ‘charity’ denotes specific legal standing and recognised levels of oversight and public accountability and it is misleading to apply these terms loosely.

Rose-Marie Barbeau, 35 Bishop Street, Rothesay

Light Up Bute’s Rock The Prom thank you list

Please may we, through your newspaper, thank all the members of Light Up Bute for all their hard work at Rock The Prom. You all did us proud.

A big thank you must go to Laura Mulholland, Lorraine Walker, Debbie McQueenie, Danielle McIntyre and Janet Maxwell for your help at the gates,

Also to Chris Kinloch, Beth Swan, Bob Asher, Dark Stanley and the Isle of Bute Country Coasters for the great music and dancing.

Thank you to Mrs Simmons and to John and Irene Chapman for your hard work in the hot drinks tent, and to Darren and Kendal MacKenzie for organising the fantastic funfair and food kiosk.

Thanks to the showmen who travelled to Rothesay - Edwin Pinder with the Funhouse, Jefferson Taylor with the Meteorite and George Henry Codona with the Viva Mexico -and also to Kingarth Hotel for a fantastic bar.

Also a big thank you must go to Roddie Shaw of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Rothesay, Police Scotland for their help with stewarding and security, Argyll and Bute Council for keeping us right, Harry and Hazel Greene of The Commodore for donating accommodation, Terry Burns for organising ambulance cover during the fireworks, Janey and Robert Jardine for supplying the stage, Bute Hire for security fencing and George Hanson for displaying our banners and toilet hire.

And I think we all agree that we owe a big thank you to Nathan of 21cc Fireworks Group for the very first Light up Bute fireworks display.

See you all at our Christmas Fair!

Grant Graham and Stewart Laird, 13 Foley Park, Rothesay

A coat of paint would work wonders

The points made by Jeff Worrall in The Buteman (Letters, Friday October 31) are of paramount importance to the initial impressions any visitors to the town will experience and will be left with.

It is of course not only visitors who need to be considered; residents are also anxious to see the town’s businesses displaying some pride and satisfaction in the appearance of their shops, especially since the gardens are outstandingly manicured and Guildford Square is undergoing considerable renovation.

Visitors are, however, central to the health of the island, and while there are many issues relevant to their holiday preferences, a disappointing visit will not be conducive to their early return.

It would seem to us that a little cleaning and a simple coat of paint to a few shop fronts could make the town vibrant and thriving, since many of the other shops are currently well looked after and a credit to Rothesay.

We are only too aware that times can be difficult for businesses but not too much is asked - and it could have lasting benefits for everyone.

Hugh and Elizabeth Graham, 53 Mountstuart Rd, Rothesay

NHS in crisis in Scotland thanks to SNP

I read with surprise the response by Hugh Moodie to my letter of October 31 regarding mental health services here in Scotland.

He cites the poorly performing NHS in England and Wales, but seems to be happy with how the Scottish NHS is performing but fearful of it being undermined by “Tory led Westminster”. Doesn’t he understand that health is a power devolved to Holyrood and completely under the control of the Scottish Government?

I wonder which Scotland he is living in? The Scotland I inhabit has an NHS that has a crisis in GP services, especially in Highland region and the Argyll islands.

The Lanarkshire heath board has had to apologise for poor hygiene and cleanliness issues in one of its main hospitals. Aberdeen hospitals have staffing and cleanliness problems. A Livingston hospital had to close its children’s ward during the school holidays as there was a lack of staff.

The increase in funding of the NHS in Scotland by the SNP Government is only one per cent, while in the rest of the UK it is four times that. What has the SNP done with the rest of the money that came from the Barnett formula – the ratio used to determine equivalent changes to budgets in Scotland and Wales? What can be a higher priority than a failing health system?

Mr Moodie wants us all to “focus on Scotland’s needs”. Maybe the Scottish Government should start by allocating the health budget fully to NHS Scotland.

U.J. Craig, Rossarden, Shore Rd, Cove