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 parking, wind farms, Caledonian MacBrayne and facilities for visiting boat owners.
To see your thoughts appear in print in a future issue of The Buteman, just email your opinions on any subject to email@example.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.
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Who would really benefit from oil?
Nigeria has been in the news lately for some pretty awful reasons. A little Googling washed up some interesting facts about the country when viewed from the context of our own independence debate.
Like most people I also glaze over when faced with statistics, however a few figures are worth airing and besides my aim is to provoke a thought rather than prove any specific point; I know you cannae compare kilts wae troosers.
Since gaining its own full independence from London 1960, Nigeria has risen to thirteenth position in the world’s ranking of oil producing nations (2.62 percent of world production). Yet despite fifty plus years of independence hand in hand with the oceans of oil wealth pouring into the country, there remains today in excess of 100 million Nigerians condemned to absolute destitution, desperately trying to scrape a living in the bush on less than the equivalent to 63 pence a day.
So when you hear the needle stuck on that old refrain “It’s Scotland’s oil…” it does make you ponder who would actually end up pocketing the cash in a Peoples Republic of North Britain?
Tony Burns, 10 The Terrace, Ardbeg
SNP’s tactics raise many questions
I watched the SNP party political broadcast recently and the first point is the offer of a more prosperous Scotland. The facts make this very hard to believe.
The SNP tactic appears to be, promise much and then dismiss all challenges as scaremongering, bullying or lies
Currently UK central government allocates Scotland above UK average funding, £1,100 per household for local expenditure and £180 per head for health services; this will obviously be lost.
Funding an aging population is a global problem, Scotland has a higher proportion of elderly than the rest of the UK, yet the SNP claims this will increase pensions.
It plans to continue free education, no prescription charges and add free child care - Scotland has nearly half the total UK coastline, how is this to be protected?
SNP plans to create an independent defence force, operating state of the art equipment and including a Scottish equivalent of MI5 and GCHQ. It also plans to open Embassies and consulates across the world. So how will this all be funded?
North Sea oil and gas output has declined 35 per cent over the last two years.
Grangemouth, by far the largest industrial complex in Scotland, has been saved from closure by committing £300m, half of it from we taxpayers, to convert from Scottish oil and gas to imported USA shale gas. Apart from one large deep water oil field, the remainder of output is coming mainly from smaller producers using new technology to get more out of the old fields. This is viable only with high prices.
So where is the money going to come from? If we keep the pound, then all the rules will still be made by the Bank of England.
If we are independent then we will be seen as a higher financial risk, resulting in higher interest rates, more expensive mortgages and a further drain on Government expenditure. This is not going to encourage new business to choose Scotland.
Mr Salmond assures us we can stay in the EU, but there are countries, particularly Spain who will oppose Scottish membership because it fears this will only encourage the Basques and Catalans to try and follow the Scottish example.
As an Englishman who has chosen to make his home in Scotland and who loves this country and all it stands for I am seriously worried that independence will do irreversible damage to the Scottish economy and prospects and that the emotional pull is blinding people to the real consequences.
Peter Vincent, Ardencraig House, High Craigmore, Rothesay
Bute really needs a proper boat slip
I have just spent a week’s holiday on Bute, where I have been coming since I was a child.
To launch a small fishing boat or speedboat I used to use Donald’s slip at Port Bannatyne, which wasn’t ideal. With the new marina in the village, the slip disappeared. With the main harbour development in Rothesay, the slip there is unusable.
This leaves the slip at Kilchattan Bay, built by locals, for locals - but I guess they wouldn’t object to occasional use by a visitor.
Why hasn’t Bute got a good, concrete, public slip? To attract tourists this would be essential on an island, I would have thought.
David Kenyon, 27 Preston Gardens, Annan
New parking regime misses the point
What has caused this additional regulation of regiments of yellow lines, rules, wardens and fines for parking? The ambition of bureaucrats to leave their mark? Instead, there should be no more regulation than necessary. Already we have too much.
The main reason for the fees in Guildford Square is to make money for the council. The promenade near the putting greens should have free parking. Even with one line of cars, there is ample room for walkers. Nowadays, that huge space is empty, a waste of space then. Use it.
Two lines are better, one by the railing. That extra space would almost solve all our problems. Every space that can take a car without causing problems should be used and free.
Making drivers hunt for change is an unwarranted and unnecessary limitation of our freedom: a waste of our time.
What we could do with are white lines, not yellow ones. They help to define the parking spot which the selfish entrepreneur often ignores, making parking impossible because he takes up two spaces. BMWs are the worst offenders.
No business vehicle should be allowed to remain all day outside it. Give them 15 minutes free for loading, then charge £60 an hour. The practice of reserving a space for a business (and depriving the public of it) by wheelie bins or stolen cones should be outlawed.
The most important principle is the convenience of the general public: the space does not belong to the business.
Why do we need six wardens? What bureaucrat is intent on expanding his empire (and his salary)? This town does not need more than one.
Regarding The Buteman’s recent articles on mental health provision, my GP referred me for aid over a month ago. It took a month for an appointment. It was then cancelled by the department. I have had no other. I could have taken action on any of these 30 days already without any sort of succour by the health service.
William Scott, 23 Argyle Place, Rothesay
BCC ‘on top’ of Bachan Burn
On behalf of Bute Community Council I would like to respond to the letter re Bachan Burn printed in The Buteman on May 9. As a community council we are in close contact with PNE and Local Energy Scotland and are looking closely at the proposed wind farm and any potential financial gain from the scheme. We are determined that if it goes ahead Bute will not lose out.
The proposed scheme is being discussed at every BCC meeting and members of the public are welcome to attend, or can, if they wish, read the minutes of meetings which are displayed in the library or on the Bute Community Council website.
Kevin Bye (Bute Community Council, Ardbeg & Port Bannatyne), 6 Mountclare Gardens, Ardbeg
CalMac’s pier priorities are all wrong
May I through, the columns of your paper, explain the situation I found myself in on Good Friday at Wemyss Bay pier. On arrival for the two o’clock boat I found exactly what you would expect on a sunny bank holiday - tourists unsure where to park or get tickets and various CalMac men trying their best to usher people and vehicles in an orderly manner.
Requiring a new ten journey book of car tickets I proceeded to the ticket office, bought my tickets at £121 and returned to the car to be told it was busy and I might not get on so could I move to the first space on the pier, ready to board if there was room. (All the other cars were loaded at this point).
The car behind which arrived after me was also requested to do this but refused. Being an ex-pat I recognised the driver as being Mr Peter Timms, ex-chairman of Caledonian MacBrayne.
The marshal on the boat signalled there was space for one more car. With tickets in hand promptly out the window and being next in line - yes, you’ve guessed it, Mr Timms proceeded to drive straight on in a car no bigger, or smaller than mine. Ramp up, and sailed off.
When I questioned the pier staff I was informed Mr Timms was crew and needed to board, which I know is untrue.
Now, anyone who has missed a boat will know the sinking feeling of not getting the ferry you intended, but to be gazumped as a paying customer by an ex-CalMac chairman turned a Good Friday into an April 1. Is it CalMac policy to cherry pick customers on a who’s who basis?
PS - If any CalMac elite ever want to spend any time or money at Wemyss Bay I give the coffee and cakes in the cafe nine out of ten.
Andrew Harvey, 97B Castle Gardens, Paisley
In response to Mr Harvey’s letter, a CalMac spokesman told The Buteman: “We are aware of Mr Harvey’s concerns and are in the process of preparing a reply. It is disappointing he has chosen to write to The Buteman before receiving our response.
“We can categorically state that no-one receives any preferential treatment from CalMac. The situation referred to arose due to a failure in communication due to the volume of traffic during loading, and our former chairman Mr Timms was simply following the car marshal’s instructions and was completely unaware that there were others who had been waiting before him.
“We have drawn this matter to his attention and he has stressed that he would have been happy to wait for the next sailing had he been aware of the issue.
“Mr Harvey is therefore mistaken in his assumption that Mr Timms received favourable treatment due to his former role.”