The pick of this week’s letters to The Buteman: October 31, 2014

Email your opinions to, with the subject line 'Letter to the Editor'.
Email your opinions to, with the subject line 'Letter to the Editor'.
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The letters page in the October 31 issue of The Buteman continues the debate over the Smith Commission on devolution for Scotland, as well as featuring further comments on the future of the Winter Garden in Rothesay and a call for local businesses to take more pride in the appearance of their premises.

If you’d like to see your views on any of the subject below - or indeed on any topic of local interest - appearing in our print edition, email your thoughts to by 5pm on Monday at the latest (though the earlier you get in touch, the better are your chances of appearing in print).

Please keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can, and remember to include your postal address for publication. We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check anything at short notice, although this will not be printed.

No vote has left Scots fighting for crumbs

The good people of Cove must have completed a different ballot paper to us on Bute, if Finlay Craig’s view (Letters to the Editor, October 24) on the Smith Commission is any guide.

My ballot paper gave me an option of voting Yes or No to independence. I am puzzled as to how Mr Craig is able to state that he voted No to independence but Yes to change.

A No vote was as it said on the tin - better together, best of both worlds, status quo, UKOK, blah blah blah.

As David Cameron has publicly stated, discussion on future powers for Scotland will be held in tandem with a number of other issues such as English votes only on English issues, further devolution of powers to English regions, future powers for the Welsh assembly.

I read Mr Craig’ssubmission to the Smith Committee and in summary I would say that it was David Cameron who vetoed the third option on the referendum ballot paper.

The opportunity for the people of Scotland to manage future change was offered to us on September 18, 2014.

We chose not to take it; now we negotiate with Westminster and get the crumbs from the big table.

David Coll, 17 Argyle Place, Rothesay

Westminster won’t do best for Scotland

With reference to Finlay Craig’s comments on the Smith Commission (Letters to the Editor, October 24), wouldn’t it be wonderful if everything he said was delivered by the commission? Unfortunately, in the real world it’s not going to happen.

We live in a system where successive Westminster governments look after the rich at the expense of the poor.

This is a system that gives us Tory governments we don’t vote for.

This is a system that puts Trident submarines on the Clyde because it was too dangerous to put down at Plymouth. And just think what cancer research could do with the billions that are going to spend on a new Trident.

This is a system that uses Atos to scrutinise the disabled driving them to despair and even suicide.

This is a system that targets the disabled and the poor with bedroom tax.

This is a system that uses the money we send down to give tax cuts to the rich.

And don’t kid yourself that Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and the rest of the Better Together campaign’s leading figures were arguing in Scotland’s best interests.

They are in a self preservation society, worried they might lose their future seats in the unelected House of Lords - where the dear lords and ladies are now saying £300 a day is not enough.

It has also just been announced that one in four kids on Bute are living in poverty and are using the recently opened food bank. (Just out of interest, is there a food bank in Cove?)

And before anyone says “you lost, get over it!”, we might have lost the referendum on September 18, but when the people in this country realise we were cheated and lied to, there will be another referendum!

Ben Gallagher, 20 Craigmore Road, Rothesay

Winter Garden refurbishment will last

I was delighted to see Mr Ian Carmichael’s informed and specific response (Letters to the Editor, October 24) to your recent front page headline and article reporting alarming and derogatory comments with regard to the Winter Garden’s cast iron structure and the major refurbishment work completed some 20 years ago.

In the circumstances it seemed certain that the work completed then would have been required to comply with the stringent requirements of Historic Scotland, a fully accredited professional team and the funders.

The structure supporting the domed roof is, in any event, formed in structural steel, with the more vulnerable elements formed in cast iron, which, as Mr Carmichael states, is known for its durability and longevity.

It is certainly good to read that VisitScotland has in hand substantial and appropriate maintenance works, these due to be ongoing over the next six months or so.

Duncan Miller, 38 Middlemuir Road, Lenzie

Pay more heed to ‘Cinderella’ service

I have become very concerned by the underfunding and lack of achievements by our Scottish Health services for both areas of physical but in particular mental health.

I note that the increase in funding of the NHS in Scotland by the SNP government is only one per cent, while in the rest of the UK it is four times that.

What has the SNP done with the rest of the money that came from the Barnett formula – the ratio used to determine equivalent changes to budgets in Scotland and Wales. What can be a higher priority than a failing health system?

Friday, October 10 was World Mental Health Day, and we in Scotland, regrettably, had nothing to be proud of.

The not over-ambitious target set for mental health services by the end of 2014 is 18 weeks for both psychological (talk) therapies and services for children and adolescents. The previous tardy target of 26 weeks is barely being achieved to date.

Children and adolescents with mental health challenges are either being inappropriately sent to adult facilities here in Scotland or south of the border to specialised units far from family and support.

In our own area the services that were once available at the Vale of Leven Hospital have been closed down against much public outcry.

For far too long mental health has been the ‘Cinderella’ service. One in four of us will have experience of a mental health problem at some point in our lives.

This affects 25 per cent of the population directly as well as impacting families, work colleagues, employers and friends.

We need the Scottish Government to ensure achievement of their own weak targets for the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) in particular.

The SNP government should take note of the Liberal Democrats’ policy of two weeks for emergency care for a psychotic episode, access to talk therapies of six weeks, and immediate care for those with suicidal impulses.

There is also an emphasis on more public knowledge and attitudinal changes for this ‘taboo’ area of need.

Much more importance and funding needs to be given to mental health.

U.J. Craig, Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove

Take more pride in ‘first impressions’

For some time now I have become more and more aware of a lack of pride by local residents and businesses.

The focal point of my observation is property fronts, and in particular main street shops and services such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and, dare I say, The Buteman, just examples.

The timing of my letter is all the more meaningful, as we should all be elated at the standard of work going on around the town to restore its integrity and attractiveness, which we know is costing many millions.

My letter is aimed at the other end of the scale: maintenance at minimum cost and ongoing upkeep of appearances in areas such as window surrounds.

If you care, step outside your property and imagine how others might see it.

First impressions do count, I think - let’s try to bring back civic pride.

Jeff Worrall, ‘Springtide’, 8 Battery Place, Rothesay