Your letters to The Buteman: March 18, 2016

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This week’s selection of your contributions from a busy Buteman letters page includes views on ferry tendering, the nationwide GP crisis, healthcare, littering and more.

To add your opinions to the mix on any issue of interest to Bute, please get in touch by emailing - the deadline for our print edition is 5pm each Monday.

Please also ensure you supply your name and postal address for publication. We also need a daytime phone number in case we need to check any details with you at short notice, though this will not be printed.

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CalMac must be given new ferry contract

I assume from Stephen Johnstone’s Glasgow address (Letters to the Editor, March 11) that he must regularly use ferry services to get about, and also that he is an expert on the subject of ferry services on the Firth of Clyde.

He also appears to be of a nautical bent, with his use of phrases such as “all aboard”, “threw us a lifeline” and “sinking without any lifeboats in sight”.

With his vast knowledge of marine metaphors and phraseology, he certainly appears to know what he is talking about.

But he is talking rubbish. Who knows the seas around here better than CalMac? They have, after all, been operating to the Scottish islands for a very long time.

To go with another operator would be madness. CalMac are based in Gourock - how much more local can you get? Let’s hope the politicians see sense and stick with CalMac. We need them to continue with the excellent service they provide to the island of Bute.

One final message to Stephen Johnstone: au revoir, sailor.

Catherine McLean, 24 Castle Street, Rothesay

Scotland’s GP crisis needs to be addressed

The Scottish Government must act urgently to end the crisis in GP practices in rural areas and islands.

The Bute practice is short of four GPs, but under the plans published by the SNP Government, the situation is going to get a lot worse over the next few years.

The SNP budget reduces the share of the health budget going into GP practices. Many GPs are nearing retirement and not enough GPs are being trained to replace them.

Not enough is being done to make working in a rural or island GP practice attractive. If things carry on as they are, the small number of GPs being trained will all choose to work in practices in cities or large towns.

If I were your MSP, I would be making a big effort to persuade the Scottish Government to invest far more in training GPs and recruiting them to rural and island practices. Without a radical change of approach now, the future will be bleak for patients who don’t live in cities or large towns.

What we need is a Scottish Government which will concentrate on delivering an NHS to all of Scotland, instead of spending all their time plotting on how to achieve a second independence referendum.

Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll and Bute), 136 Fairhaven, Dunoon

Labour can provide an alternative

I see that Alan Reid, our former LibDem MP, is attempting to garner the unionist vote to stop the nationalists in the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary election.

Personally, I think that any politician who spent their final years in office propping up the Conservative austerity government ought to be permanently placed in a “time-out” box!

But then the leaders of the SNP are just as bad, as their only policy is to hope for the failure of the UK so they have an excuse to hold a second referendum. What a choice for the electorate!

There is another way – as I have been selected as the Argyll and Bute Labour candidate for the Scottish Parliament election. And unlike some candidates, I am big enough and experienced enough to have some of my own policies!

I am campaigning for a federal solution to the national question, where each of the nations has greater powers. We need a stronger Scotland as a component part of a vibrant UK. Let us abolish the House of Lords and have an elected second chamber based in a new Senate House in Glasgow.

I want to help create an Independent Scottish Labour Party, which has a manifesto addressing the needs of Scotland’s workers, pensioners and young. Anindependent Scottish Labour Party that can, when necessary go into coalition with like-minded parties to select a UK Government.

Many Scottish voters were enthused by the Yes campaign – not because they were nationalists, but because they were fed up with the top-down patronising attitude of the old parties – including Blairite Labour. We now need to establish an alliance with those Yes voters to create a Scotland that works in harmony with the rest of the UK – rather than a Scotland that is always looking for the exit door!

I am available to speak to Yes groups and SNP branches anywhere in Argyll and Bute as many local activists will be keen to support a new progressive alliance rather than tired old establishment candidates.

I also have lots of ideas specific to Argyll and Bute that I will write about as the campaign develops.

Mick Rice (Labour candidate for Argyll and Bute), Duncreggan House, Blairmore, nr Dunoon

‘Clean for the Queen’ thank you message

May I take this opportunity through your columns to publicly thank those who took part in the ‘Clean for the Queen’ initiative?

In particular, my gratitude goes to members of Beachwatch Bute, Bute in Bloom and the Rotary Club of Rothesay who gave of their time to tidy up the island in time for Easter.

Such community spiritedness has been a hallmark of Bute for as long as I can remember, and it is but right that their work should be commended.

W. Stewart Shaw (Deputy Lieutenant), 59 Barone Road, Rothesay

Argyll and Bute Trust needs new members

For a long time now I have been a trustee of the Argyll and Bute Trust and for those last several years I have been privileged to chair the Trust.

A brief history - The Trust is completely autonomous, and apart from sharing the name Argyll and Bute, it has no connection with Argyll and Bute Council.

The Trust was formed in 1977 to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It was anticipated it would run for two years and then be disbanded. However it was so successful it has continued until the present time, and it continues to flourish.

The Trust has modest resources and its aims are to assist groups and individuals in the scattered communties that is the nature of Argyll and Bute, with educational, vocational and community projects.

This is very rewarding and in the main not very onerous. The Trust meetsd four times per year to discuss and award grants. Three of the meetings are by video conference and the fourth, the AGM, is held each year in Oban in June.

I represent the Isle of Bute and the Trust is well represented on mainland Argyll, however the other islands, Islay, Jura (Coll is represented) and the smaller Isles are not represented.

This is rather a pity as there must be projects that would benefit from the support of the Trust.

There must be individuals out there, particularly on the islands, who could spend just a few hours each year assisting with the work of the Trust and possibly benefiting individuals and groups in their local community.

If you are interested and would like more information please feel free to contact me at

Dan Edgar, Toward View, 31 Ardbeg Road, Rothesay

Why are people leaving litter in Rothesay?

I read with interest the editorial in The Buteman of March 11, 2016, concerning the litter problem across Britain, as well as Alex Thomson’s letter regarding the same dilemma.
I have recently returned from a brief visit to London, and I was pleasantly surprised to find how clean the city was.
Not so our beloved Rothesay!
Within days of my return to Bute, I was awaiting a bus at Guildford Square, and was horrified to see the sheer amount of litter which had been left on the floor of the bus shelter.

It wasn’t just a stray can or bottle, or a pile of dead chips, but a whole black sack-load of the usual polystyrene food containers, aluminium, glass, and paper.
I am a member of Beachwatch Bute and keep my own patch at Craigmore tidy, but the amount at Guildford Square was just too much for impromptu work. 
Who’s doing this? Who’s throwing the litter to the ground when there is a rubbish bin a bus length’s away, plus two others on the actual square itself?
I don’t know the solution.

Joy Fielding, 2 Craigmore Road, Rothesay

Patient’s thank you to medical staff

I took ill in January this year, and my wife had to call NHS 24.
From that call, an ambulance was sent and Tony Kane was the paramedic who checked me out and got me to the hospital.

There it was Alice, Michelle, and Dr Crow who looked after me and called the helicopter to get me to the RAH in Paisley.

There the standard of my treatment did not dip. I was in intensive care for twenty-four hours with septicemia. I suffer from COPD, and a chest infection went bad. The treatment was five star all the way - doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, caring staff, everyone.

I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me - they saved my life, and I mean saved my life, and it’s all in a day’s work to them.

Once again I thank all the staff, both on Bute and in Paisley, for their diligence and sense of duty, and all the medical staff who have helped me in my recovery.

Brian Hughes, Holyrood, Gowanfield Terrace, Rothesay

Good to know there are kind folk about

I was over in Rothesay last week and dropped my flat keys somewhere in Gallowgate/Argyle St area on the afternoon of March 5.

I wanted to say a very big thank you to the kind and honest person who handed them in to Rothesay police station where I picked them up on Thursday.

They hadn’t the name of the finder but I’m very grateful to them - does you good to know there are such kind folk about.

Fiona Gibney, 8 Gallowgate, Rothesay