Bute petition to go to council

Marlene Hill, chair Bute Community Council, Kim Findlay, Councillor Jim Findlay, Councillor Jean Moffat and Isobel Strong, convener SNP Bute branch.
Marlene Hill, chair Bute Community Council, Kim Findlay, Councillor Jim Findlay, Councillor Jean Moffat and Isobel Strong, convener SNP Bute branch.

More than 1,750 people signed a petition calling on Bute to be reinstated on all council documents, showing the strength of feeling on the island regarding the recent omission.

As previously reported in the Buteman, the sudden disappearance of the word Bute from council documents and correspondence sparked anger. Now the paper copy-only petition, led by SNP convenor Isobel Strong and Bute Community Council chairwoman Marlene Hill, has gathered an impressive amount of signatures, considering Bute’s population of 6,500.

The petition will now be sent to Argyll and Bute Council for councillors to discuss at their next meeting on February 21.

Isobel Strong, herself a former provost of Argyll & Bute Council, is delighted with the response to the petition.

She said: “It’s quite a lot of signatures considering the population of Bute. We needed it to be 1000 to be significant so this is a great show of the feeling on the island. It’s quite a high percentage.

“We had petitions out at all the shops and pubs and we had people out on the streets getting signatures.

“We had petitions in Port Bannatyne, Ettrick Bay, Kilchatton Bay and Rothesay.

“There is real concern that Bute has been left out. If anyone else wants to sign the petition they can email me – isobelstrong@gmail.com.”

Campaigners were particularly upset about the Argyll and Bute Council strapline – Choose Argyll, Love Argyll – and the lack of discussion with councillors about the omission of Bute.

Isobel said: “The other concern is that there was no consultation with elected members regarding the change in council straplines.

“We hope to make the council change its mind and change the strapline to include Bute. I think they wanted something short and snappy. But Bute is not a big word. It doesn’t take up much space.

“Marlene received a letter from the office of the council’s chief executive this month which said there had been a consultation exercise, but we don’t think it reached Bute somehow.

“So the council has replied to us. But we are not happy with the reply.”

The petition also gained the support of local MP Brendan O’Hara, local MSP Michael Russell and two of Bute’s three councillors – Jim Findlay and Jean Moffat.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “Bute remains a key focus for the council, through our name and logo, the investment we are making in a successful future for the island, and through our work to promote the area.

“The harsh reality is that by 2027 we need to attract 10,000+ people to maintain the services Bute and the rest of the area need. ‘Choose Argyll. Love Argyll’ used with the web and social media strapline “abplace2b” is intended to serve Bute, and all our island and mainland communities, as a short, easy-to-remember promotional tool.

“Attracting attention to Bute through abplace2b.scot on-line and #abplace2b in social media will play a key part in showing why people should choose the island to live and work.”