This week’s selection of your contributions to The Buteman’s letters page includes observations on renewable energy, and vandalism, as well as the ongoing debate over Scotland’s independence referendum.
If you’d like to see your thoughts on any issue of importance to Bute appearing in print in our letters page, email your views to email@example.com (or click on the email address at the top of this story). Please keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as possible - and remember to include your name and address for publication and a daytime phone number in case we need to clarify anything quickly.
The deadline for submissions to our print edition is 5pm on Monday - but the sooner you get in touch, the better are your chances of seeing your letter in print!
Yes campaign based on dream of Utopia
Some elderly friends gave me a set of papers used in a sales pitch by an ardent SNP person.
There is nothing wrong with anyone trying to persuade other people to vote as they do. But this document is full of misleading statements.
That ‘Scotland has contributed more tax per head for every one of the last 32 years than the UK as a whole’ is one (p2). Is it true that the average Scot pays more tax than the average Englishman? I doubt it.
On page three we find the case that Scotland ‘has what it takes’. “£32 billion rural island economy”. What is that supposed to mean? That the Scottish islands make £32 billion profit every year? Or that they even do business amounting to that sum?
Only the very naive will believe this. If you were to put them all up for sale you would not get a fraction of that.
‘A £9 billion tourist industry’. Here we go again. It sounds as if our tourism produces profits of £9 billion annually. No chance! If they made £9 million profit, available to the country at large, that would be a surprise.
As we know to our cost, there is no profit in tourism on Bute. Some people scratch a living out of it.
‘£13 billion food and drink industry’. Since a lot of it is owned by outside shareholders who alone reap the profits, how does that help to fill our Scottish coffers? Only in the tax on whisky.
The same applies to the £17 billion Scottish construction industry. Whatever the profits are, and they are known to be small because of the competition, they do not go to the Scots. After independence, all our ships would be built elsewhere: England or Poland.
Then we have ‘98.8 per cent of predicted UK offshore oil production’. 98.8 per cent of what? Many think there is little oil left and it will be expensive to barrel.
‘11.6 per cent of UK farming production.’ How can that be a positive when no farmer here is making any money and the best wish to leave it? Were it not for subsidies, farmers would be bankrupt.
All these colourful statements are reportedly ‘justified’ by documents, half of them produced by the SNP government: not independent, then.
The problem facing voters is that some Scots are bent on creating Utopia and they list a hundred things an independent Scotland will have.
They forget one thing: in a small country only small things are possible. Maybe two of these things will materialise. The other 98 will be a dream. And much confusion. Your pension might not arrive, for there may be no one to pay it.
Some are voting yes because of Trident. How can it be a virtue to be defenceless? If we have Trident at least other nations and other madmen will hesitate to attack us.
Nor could we depend on other countries. The Americans arrived late, almost too late, each time. At the Falklands our ships were destroyed by Exocet missiles, from France. How can we depend on them?
Nato and the UN are untried and untested. Anyway, our joining will be opposed by many in the UK.
The first thing any country must have is a defence. If not, it might soon be a plutonium desert, no country at all.
23 Argyle Place, Rothesay
Show you care for Scotland by voting No
As an expatriate Brandane who reads The Buteman online every day it seems that the problems that Bute has are much the same as those of us in the Highlands.
Take the example of Police Scotland which, in its new centralised form, makes policy which is not scrutinised by the communities in which it is implemented. This has happened on the SNP government’s watch.
The neutering of local government with the freeze on local government finance has removed any chance of locally-decided spending priorities.
The imposition of one-size-fits-all planning policies, especially in the area of renewable energy, has left local communities frustrated as their voices remain unheeded.
The Yes campaign is strong on telling us how much jam they will provide tomorrow but is completely silent on issues such as these.
There is much that the current Scottish Government could have done in its six years of office to ensure our communities are at the heart of life in Scotland but on their current offering there is not much hope of seeing any change.
Constantly blaming Westminster is just not credible, especially when the SNP majority at Holyrood has had the power to bring about significant change in important areas of Scottish life.
The real question here is not about independence, but how we enhance the powers that we already have to improve and develop Scotland.
Showing you care for your country is voting No on September 18 and then ensuring that the country is run in a way quite alien to our current over-centralised and dogmatic Scottish Government.
Sandwood House, Arabella, Ross-shire
Posters deface public property
I wonder what it is that makes people think that vandalising both public and private property will sway people to their political point of view.
People’s own houses are theirs to do with that they wish and I do not direct this letter to those who use their own property as a billboard.
However, when other people’s property, and public property, is set upon by groups of people with stickers proclaiming ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, there is an issue.
If those stickers were advertising anything other than a political message those responsible would be tracked down and fined.
Moreover, do those responsible really think that an undecided voter is simply going to say “aha, a sticker, now I know how to vote”?
Castle Street, Port Bannatyne
‘There are better ideas than turbines’
The stated aims of Bute Community Power are entirely laudable. But I notice that Reeni Kennedy-Boyle is one of the directors.
Her organisation, TZCB, would have been the beneficiary of the yearly income from the Ascog turbines, had they been allowed. My guess is that she is keen to keep asking the same question until she gets an answer she likes.
Just because Bute might be a suitable site for wind turbines does not mean that we should or must have them. Tourists do not come here to admire turbines. And tourism generates more jobs and income than turbines ever could.
What will pull in more tourism is something interesting to look at. Once upon a time Falkirk was dying on its feet with only the Dennis coachworks keeping it going. Then they built the Falkirk Wheel to modernise its canal link. Now the Falkirk Wheel is a number one ‘must see’ on any tourist schedule and the town has blossomed.
We cannot aspire to anything of that stature, but we do have a constant source of energy in the Lade. What about building a large diameter undershot water wheel? Or a long, shiny Archimedes screw turbine? These would generate electricity every day of the year regardless of what the wind is doing, and they would pull in extra tourists to wonder at them.
Another tourist suggestion is to build a water sculpture park on one of the putting greens at the front. This is a shallow pond full of ‘Heath-Robinson’ type sculptures that turn, spin or move about and are all powered by water. (There is a wonderful example in the City of Basle in Switzerland - www.myswitzerland.com/en/tinguely-fountain-basel.html)
You asked for alternatives, and suggested there was little opposition to these proposed turbines. Believe me, there will be, especially if BCP access then waste more public money to pay more ‘consultants’ for feasibility studies.