Your letters to The Buteman: July 31, 2015

Send your letters to the editor to Please include your name and address for publication.
Send your letters to the editor to Please include your name and address for publication.

Your letters to the latest issue of The Buteman include more praise for the organisers of the inaugural ButeFest and criticism of Argyll and Bute Council and of the SNP’s energy policy.

If you’d like to comment on any of the topics raised, or any subject of interest to Bute, drop an email to by 5pm on Monday at the latest - 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.

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Council ‘has ignored’ local road concerns

I was delighted to read your recent coverage of concerns over the lack of road markings on Bute.

I complained over four years ago about this matter to Argyll and Bute Council’s then director of development and infrastructure. I wrote on three occasions and the only answer I received was one from some minor functionary telling me that the director would be in touch. I am still waiting.

I told our councillors about it and received the usual non-committal replies that did nothing to solve the problem.

No-one seemed troubled that the council were not complying with rules that say all ‘A’ roads must have at least median markings.

Of course, no one who lives here should be at all surprised about this kind of thing. As Mike Russell MSP has repeatedly pointed out, Argyll and Bute Council is dysfunctional.

Local councillors - well, ours at least - have no say about anything. They have no influence. The only ones who have are a little band of independents whose singular actions have caused the appalling Toward Castle scandal.

At the end of my drive, I exit onto a road which has a blind, dog’s leg bend that makes it impossible to see if westbound traffic is coming. Invariably the traffic that does appear is driving at excessive speeds and I have had countless near misses.

My neighbour was very nearly killed some years ago when a speeding car struck her vehicle and propelled her onto the beach; she had to be conveyed to the Southern General by helicopter.

Of course, all of us in the vicinity have made representations to our councillors to seek a solution but nothing has happened.

I approached Councillor Strong a few weeks ago who promised to look into the matter again. I have received no response, but I suspect that is because, as usual, she has met with the council’s wilful inertia.

Lately, I have seriously begun to wonder whether we should bother with councillors on the island at all given that we appear to be ruled by Scotland’s version of Tower Hamlets.

It is a wretched thing to be effectively disenfranchised, to have no say in how one’s council tax is spent and to have councillors who can do nothing for their constituents. The people of this island deserve better.

Your recent correspondent, Ms Black, suggests that the council tax freeze should end. Perhaps when she when she awakes from her dream state she can see that giving this shower of despots more money is like walking around Greenock with a sign on your head that says, “take my money, I’m daft”.

Sorry Ms Black, thankfully the SNP government will ignore you.

John M. McDonald, Ascog Boathouse, Ascog

More praise for festival’s organisers

I would like to take this opportunity, through The Buteman, to thank the organisers of ButeFest 2015, for planning such a wonderful well organised event.

A group of my friends and their family, all with links to the island decided we would like to attend. Having never been to a music festival and not knowing much celtic music I was a bit wary of how the weekend would be. But as the tickets were so cheap at £65, and having paid £75 to see one band at the Hydro recently, even if there were only a few good bands it would be well worthwhile for a whole weekend of music.

I have to say ButeFest was brilliant and way above my expectations. There was music for everyone’s taste from original and traditional folk music like Salthouse and Merry Hell to rap music from Stanley Odd,even a bit of rock from the Kings Lot. Young and very talented singers like Hannah Jackson, Kieran Docherty and Beth Swan, to the amazing Treacherous Orchestra, Peatbog Fairies and funky Federation of Disco Pimp to name but a few.I have to say I am now a fan of all these guys.

It was good to sample some local produce like the Bute beer and McQueens burgers along with a few other delicacies.It was also good to take advantage and have a wander round the town and the shops and go a walk at Ettrick and Scalpsie Bay.

It was nice to see busy ferries. I travel to Bute every week to see family and often there are very few people on board even in the summer. The festival obviously encouraged many people to come to the island.

So thank you ButeFest for a truly different weekend, very much enjoyed despite the weather, and for doing something positive to attract visitors to the island. And I look forward to ButeFest 2016 and would encourage others to give it a try.

Evelyn Glass, Slaemuir Avenue, Port Glasgow

ButeFest organisers to be commended

The ButeFest organisers are to be commended for a really well-organised inaugural festival of music. The complex planning and execution resulted in a very successful outcome. Unfortunately the weather was not on their side, but the muddy results will soon be forgotten.

The Agricultural Society and the Highland Games were pleased to help with some of the security fencing required, with the added benefit that the fencing is now where it will be required for the annual BAS show (August 12) and the Games (August 22).

No doubt the post-festival review will help to iron out any problems that may have occurred, but we certainly hope the event will be organised again in 2016. Bute got lots of publicity on radio and television which must result in more visitors to the island, and greater awareness of the delights we have to offer.

So, from the farming community, well done.

Robert McAlister (president) and the committee of Bute Agricultural Society, Langalbuinoch farm, Kingarth

SNP must drop turbine obsession

The SNP’s claims of the UK Government being anti-business after wind subsidy cuts are hypocritical. It’s rather odd for Nicola Sturgeon to accuse the UK Government of being anti-business when her own administration has blocked both fracking and new nuclear plants, both of which have the potential to create thousands of jobs.

Very many people in Scotland are supportive of the subsidy cut.

We don’t want to see wind farms covering every part of rural Scotland, especially when we already have enough to meet our renewable energy targets.

They certainly don’t want to be bankrolling them from their electricity bills at a level far above what is justified.

The SNP has to drop this fascination with wind energy and instead develop a balanced energy policy, with a focus on sources that are going to keep the lights on.

Alastair Redman, 23 Shore Street, Portnahaven, Islay