This week’s crop of Letters to the Editor includes more on the debate around ferry tendering and privatisation, along with a bumper crop of festive ‘thank you’ messages.
As ever, to add your views to the debate on any subject of interest to Bute, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Following the Christmas and New Year holiday period our letters deadline now returns to 5pm on Monday - though as always, the sooner we hear from you, the better are your chances of seeing your views in print.
Please keep your letters as brief as you can, and remember to include your name and 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 printed.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Misconceptions about Lib Dems
I write again to clear up Mr MacDonald’s many misconceptions in his letter published in your Christmas edition.
He misunderstands the nature of Thatcherism. Thatcherism was not about competition. It was about creating huge private monopolies in which people with spare cash to invest could do so with a guaranteed profit. I opposed Thatcherism. I believe in competition, not private monopolies.
Of course, now that the Tories are in power at UK level without Liberal Democrats to restrain them, they can do what they like with services that haven’t been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. They could abolish Royal Mail’s universal service obligation, but that would still be the case even if the coalition hadn’t privatised Royal Mail.
Mr MacDonald asks “what exactly is CMAL?”. CMAL is Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd – a nationalised industry owned by the SNP Government. It is they who fouled up and failed to provide a suitable gangway at Gourock.
He was mistaken when he wrote that the Labour/Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive did not go ahead with the ferry tendering exercise. They did, and awarded the contract to CalMac, the only bidder.
Mr MacDonald refers to the process as “rubbish”. In fact the SNP had also criticised that process, but recently had the good grace to admit that they had been wrong and the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition had been right.
He is again mistaken when he refers to Strathclyde Transport being answerable to a minister. It is not. It is run by a board of elected councillors.
I am sorry that Mr MacDonald has no sympathy for Dunoon-Gourock passengers. The reason for the small number of passengers on the day Mr MacDonald used it is because the appalling service has driven people away. A lot of passengers used to sail on this service.
Before they were elected, the SNP promised to build two new boats for the route, but broke this promise and gave us two wholly unsuitable vessels.
The main point of my original letter still stands – the SNP are keeping back an announcement on the future of the CalMac services until after polling day in May. They’ve clearly an unpleasant surprise up their sleeve that they don’t want us to know about before we vote.
Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat PSPC for Argyll and Bute), 136 Fairhaven, Dunoon
Constellation of stars
‘All matter, all energy, is nature and all nature begins with stars. We are all star stuff…’ (Colin Sutherill, 1997), and never truer than on Saturday night at Rothesay Golf Club.
A constellation of musical stars including Danny Sweet, Red Hearted Vibes, Lyanne Mitchell and Ronnie Ferguson, Jimmy Moprrell, Beth Swan, George MacDonald, John McMeekin, Abarese and Jordan Kane, the Ukulele Band, the shiny happy people in the audience, the fine chaps who ‘set up; Steve and Saul, Ronnie and Lewis, John, Richard, everyone who donated through fantastic gifts for the raffle, buying tickets and gifting money.
Thanks also go to Laura and Jimmy who provided the warm and hospitable venue, Jeanette and Duncan, Michelle, Chris and John at the door David Macqueen for the lovely website linking to the charity Food for People.
So many folk played a part in raising the fantastic amount of £145 for the charity which is enabling children and elderly people in India, Ghana and Nepal to access their fundamental human needs of clean water, food and education.
The programme has been credited with improving community health, increasing school attendance and inspiring a growing sense of hope in the communities served. Thank you so much to everyone.
Anabrese had once told us that when she sings it’s a wayof expressing love. Well, I must say on Saturday night the place was oozing the stuff! We hope everyone had a lovely time - and by the way, John’s ‘pocketful of starlight’ is glittering our carpets at home!
Sue and John Dennis, Flat 2, 4 Battery Place, Rothesay
Kidney group update
I would be obliged if you could give an update of our fund-raising for a Dialysis Unit on Bute to date.
The total raised is £6,692.11 plus £1,500 pledged by letter, making a total of £8,192.11.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support so far and think this total is a fantastic achievement in three months. We plan on giving regular updates via The Buteman and our Facebook page: Dialysis Unit for Bute.
Thanks to everyone involved and we would like to wish you all the compliments of the season.
W. A. McFarlane (Bute Kidney Patients Support Group secretary), 27 Marine Place, Rothesay
Thanks to Bute’s bus drivers
I thought it about time that we all gave our hearty thanks to our fabulous bus drivers and the fantastic service that they give. You might say, “Well, it’s their job”, and indeed it is, but the work is more stressful thank you think; the actual driving is the easy bit.
All that sitting must be tedious, but their individual attention is second to none and certainly not found on the mainland. So, here’s to all our fine men at West Coast Motors’ Bute branch.
Joy Fielding, 2 Craigmore Road, Rothesay
Santa’s Bus thanks
Thank you to everyone travelling on ‘Santa’s Bus’ for your donations towards the local playgroups leading up to Christmas. Your generosity was very much appreciated.
A total of £350 was raised, and the money will be divided equally between Apple Tree Nursery and King Street Playgroup.
A special thank you must go to the children travelling to and from school during the past year for keeping me entertained.
I wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year.
Paul Tritschler, West Coast Motors, High Road, Port Bannatyne
Festive cheer from the Co-op
Thanks go to the Co-op and especially the manager, Lyndsey and staff for their efforts in organising an enjoyable dinner and entertainment for some of our elderly residents.
Could I also thank Bute Oasis for their generosity and the many people who collected towards generous Christmas boxes for many elderly. May kindness live on.
Cheers and a happy “New Year” to all kind and caring people especially at this special time of year.
Ellen Cromack (Bute community councillor), Pier View, Kilchattan Bay