This week’s selection of your letters to The Buteman, as published in our April 8 issue, includes one reader’s vision of Bute’s future, more from the Holyrood election campaign trail - and some intriguing thoughts on the value of hard work.
To add your views on any topic of interest to Bute to the ones expressed here, email firstname.lastname@example.org - the deadline for our next print edition is Monday at 5pm.
Please ensure you include your name and address for publication, and also a daytime contact number in case we need to check any details at short notice (though the latter will not be published).
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Politicians’ empty words on ‘hard work’
Iain Gillespie’s perceptive comments (Letters to the Editor, April 1) about the puerile behaviour of politicians in general - all the more cogent for being expressed so temperately - prompt some further observations along similar lines.
It is almost beyond belief that politicians, from the prime minister down to those whose toenail-curlingly banal, tiresomely repetitious, impertinently patronising and utterly predictable bleatings clutter the correspondence columns of local newspapers, can be so naive as to suppose that addressing electors as though they have a mental age of four, will persuade anyone to change his or her voting intentions.
Almost as bad as ‘angels of the wards’ et cetera is the constant reference to ‘hard-working families’ in order to bolster the myth that working hard is a smart thing to do.
I am happy to be able to say that I haven’t done a hard day’s work since 1958, when I first realised that in general, remuneration is in inverse proportion to effort.
Those who work hardest at some of the most vital, and often most disagreeable, tasks are not only among the poorest paid, but also have the lowest social status - contrary to the implication of the weasel words mouthed by the fat cats who exploit them, and who, by contrast, do so little for their preposterous salaries that despite their umpteen nominal positions, they have plenty of time to spend in their several residences here and abroad. Work has a wholly unmerited reputation as a good thing, purely because it is associated with income.
I accept that some vocations can provide job satisfaction, but for most people work is a necessary but tedious and time-consuming burden.
Usually, when people say they enjoy their job, this is partly a conventional, conditioned response, partly an acknowledgement that it’s not like inspecting tickets on the New York Subway on a Saturday night.
When did you last hear anyone saying ‘thank God it’s Monday’ or complaining about ‘that Friday afternoon feeling’?
Of course, if the truth of such remarks as these were ever to be generally acknowledged, society would have to be ordered quite differently, with competence and diligence rewarded, rather than greed and chicanery.
But because the urge to stand for election is so often an indication of personality disorder, the kind of people we have to elect, faute de mieux, won’t be planning to change anything.
Robin Dow, 40 Mountpleasant Road, Rothesay
One man’s vision for a booming Bute
So the CalMac saga sails on. Para Handy’s creator Neil Munro couldn’t have written the script any better.
We all know the Clyde needs a ‘vital spark’ - an oil boom, like the island had back in the 1970s, would do for starters. The island had it all in those days, before it became cheaper to fly abroad.
There needs to be a community group set up to put pressure on the operator and the Scottish Government to help regenerate the community and make Bute a place to visit all year round.
The island could be a fantastic outdoor activity centre for hiking, golfing, cycling - even more adventurous activities such as moto cross events or diving old shipwrecks. At present there is just too much stagnation. I don’t have a magic wand, but I do have a vision which I think can be achieved.
There’s no point in just throwing funds at the Pavilion for it to lie empty.
CalMac’s latest carrying statistics show passenger and car numbers are down by thousands; only postcards exist to remind us of the good old days.
Maybe the councils of Argyll, the Highlands, Inverclyde and Ayrshire could club together to run certain routes and leave Serco or CalMac Ferries free to run other services. Then the island just might have a chance.
Stephen Johnstone, Flat 3/1, 568 Paisley Road West, Glasgow
Dialysis donations top £36,000
Now that we have been fund-raising for the past six months, I would be obliged if you could update readers on the money raised so far for the Dialysis Unit for Bute Campaign.
We have received the following so far:
Donations - £16,853.72
Collecting cans - £1,190.73 Fun run on March 13 - £2,432.20
My Donate - £282.31
That brings us to a total of £20.758.96, but we have also received pledges of £15,500, making a grand total of £36,258.96.
A massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to this amount in any way.
W.A. McFarlane (secretary, Bute Kidney Patients Support Group), 27 Marine Place, Rothesay
No majority means parties have to work together
Mr Coll (last week’s letters page) doesn’t face up to the reality that, if no party wins a majority in a Parliament, then parties have to work together.
In the first two terms of the Scottish Parliament, Labour and the Liberal Democrats worked together to form a majority. During the third term, a majority was formed by the SNP and the Tories working together.
I note that the SNP and Tories are still working together, with Tory MSP Murdo Fraser recently saying that the Tories were “happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with the SNP” on tax policy.
I can assure Mr Coll that I keep my election promises. My vote against tuition fee increases showed this. Being in coalition enabled us to reduce fuel duty by five pence a litre on Bute.
On fracking, my view is that fracking should only be permitted if it is subject to robust regulations to make sure that there is absolutely no risk to health or the environment.
When the research being conducted by the Scottish Government is completed, I’ll study the outcome and will then make up my mind if it would be safe to permit fracking.
There are no shale oil or gas deposits on Bute, so there will definitely be no fracking on the island.
Mr Redman’s letter in the same issue, defending the Tories’ tax policy, failed to mention the Tories’ plan to tax university tuition and prescriptions.
All the parties in this election have put forward plans for higher taxes. I think that the Lib Dem plan for a penny on income tax, combined with rises in the point at which people start paying tax, is the fairest.
For example, nobody earning less than £21,500, a year would pay more next year than this year.
Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll and Bute), 136 Fairhaven, Dunoon
Thanks to Macmillan’s supporters
The bag packing at the Co-operative’s Rothesay supermarket on Good Friday for Macmillan Cancer Support raised the tremendous sum of £1,141.70.
May I, on behalf of the Bute branch committee, thank the Co-op’s manager and staff for permitting us to bag-pack on such a busy day.
Thanks also go to the ladies and gentlemen who helped us during the day.
However, our biggest thank you must go to the Co-op customers who gave so generously to this very worthwhile cause.
Elena Anderson (secretary, Bute branch of Macmillan Cancer Support), 19 Craigmore Road, Rothesay
Celebrate the best in Scottish writing
The 2016 Saltire Literary Awards are now open for nominations.
Widely recognised as Scotland’s most prestigious, the Saltire Literary Awards have a long and illustrious history of rewarding and celebrating the immense contribution and talent of Scotland’s writers, from the emergent to the established.
An expert judging panel will consider entries in non-fiction, fiction and first book categories, with additional judging panels reviewing research, history and poetry book of the year entries.
Each category winner will receive a prize of £2,000 and be considered for the top prize of £6,000 awarded to the Saltire Society Book of the Year.
Nominations for books published between September 1 and March 31 must reach us by May 5, while books published between April 1 and August 31 must be nominated by July 8.
The Awards ceremony will take place on November 24.
I would encourage writers from all genres to start nominating and ensure this is another vintage year to celebrate Scottish writing.
Jim Tough (executive director, The Saltire Society), 9 Fountain Close, 22 High Street, Edinburgh