Your letters to The Buteman: May 29, 2015

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This week’s crop of readers’ letters to The Buteman includes opinions on flags, wind turbines, politicians’ second jobs and much else besides.

To see your views in our next print edition email by 5pm on Monday at the latest - though don’t forget that the sooner you get in touch, the better are your chances of seeing your letter published!

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

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Scottish ships should fly the Saltire

Referring to an article in your issue of May 22, the sailing yacht ‘Queen B’ under the command of George McKenzie, may fly any informal flag she so pleases.

I would like, at this point, to express my support for the sentiments Mr McKenzie is conveying on his well kept boat.

Rather than looking, as an example of unofficial flags, to Jersey, once part of Aquitaine and thus England, I would suggest looking to the Northern Islands of Scotland - whose vessels, almost universally, proudly display, informally, the separate flags of Orkney and Shetland.

These flags are not in the form of ensigns, but offset crosses, related to Scandinavian origins.

My concern is the time and effort which is intended to be expended by our Holyrood members and staff in consideration of this matter to resurrect the flag/ensign of the Royal Scots Navy, which was merged with the Royal Navy in 1707.

Better to consider as an aim of devolution powers to the Scottish Government to include the establishment of a Scottish Ships Registry.

Vessels on this registry will fly the flag of the nation of registry in conformity with international custom - and that, for Scotland, is the Saltire.

Such a registry, in addition to being a source of taxation revenue, would also encourage the development of a ship management industry in Scotland, following our globally recognised maritime education.

This should provide quality employment opportunities for shore and sea-going staff and ships, once the Scottish Register is established, will proudly fly the Saltire.

Ronald McAlister, 28 Marine Rd, Port Bannatyne

There are too many politicians

We read in The Buteman of May 15 that Michael Russell MSP is to take an appointment teaching at Glasgow University.

The report does not say what Mr Russell will be paid for this work, nor how much time he will be expected to devote to it out of his supposedly full-time occupation as MSP for this constituency.

Of course representative democracy requires representatives - but I can’t help feeling that we are now over-represented, what with MPs, MEPs and MSPs, in some cases with ‘list’ as well as constituency members.

It all looks like a fine old gravy train for the political class. (One of the thoughts I had about the setting up of the Scottish Parliament was “more bloody politicians - that’s all we need!”)

One would hope - it may be a forlorn hope that electors would consider the personal character and achievements of the member, in constituency work, for instance, and not just the party label.

As things stand in Scotland at this moment, it seems that only one party label will do - and it will serve to get almost anybody in almost anywhere!

Graeme Allan, 3 The Terrace, Ardbeg

Honesty over Bute wind turbine plans

I found last week’s article by the turbine apologists refreshingly honest. It has everything to do with the money and nothing to do with generating power or offsetting carbon.

And since we’ll all be earning a few bob, who gives a toss about what it will look like?

Tony Burns, 10 The Terrace, Ardbeg

Name the Rabbit competition

May I remind readers of The Buteman that the final application date for entries to the above competition is this Saturday, May 30, with the prize-giving ceremony taking place at the rabbit’s home, on the corner of Stuart Street, King Street and Mill Street, on Saturday, June 6 at 12 noon.

I am seeking around 15 people to act as assistants on the day, forvarious duties, none of which will be too onerous. The times will probably be from approximately 9am until approximately 3.30pm. If you are interested, please contact me at

Hopefully, every competitor will receive a Goody Bag, however this will depend on funding available - and if any business, or individual,would like to donate towards this, then please hand in your donation to the For Bute shop in Victoria Street.

To date, the local population has been very generous with their donations of cash and plants for the former dilapidated site in Mill Street which is the home of the rabbit. My grateful thanks to all.

Iain Gillespie, 37 East Princes St, Rothesay

More questions than answers over turbines

Jim Osborne’s full page panegyric in last week’s issue in support of Bute Community Power’s planning application raises several questions.

He is the chairman of BCP, but who are the directors? Who, indeed, is Mr Osborne? Do any of BCP’s directors have a local connection to the island? Are any of them local residents?

I was unable to attend the public meeting in February, so perhaps these queries were answered then.

I may well be accused of being a sceptic, but as far as electricity generation is concerned, there is much to be sceptical about.

Is this just another subsidy junket where a company descends on a community to do the local yokels a favour and show them how to improve their lot while all the electricity users pay increased bills for the pleasure?

Mr Osborne has the nerve to quote from a Scottish Government report when referring to the effect on tourism that “there is virtually no evidence of significant change after development has taken place”.

Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? There has been no organisation quite so gung-ho in their desperate pursuit of wind generated electricity as the Nationalist government.

Black is now white, white is black, turbines don’t turn in calm weather and must be turned off when it is too windy. You couldn’t make it up.

How many of these schemes would be initiated without subsidies?

Apparently BCP has a wish list of various types of renewable energy technologies to inflict on Bute. The mind boggles.

Mr Osborne states that the proposed turbines will have “limited visual impact”. Just what is his understanding of that phrase? They will be 47 metres high, on top of a hill 114 metres high.

He says that they should be balanced against the potential longer term benefits for Bute.

What will these benefits amount to? How many people will be employed, and on what basis?

How will they tackle child poverty? Supporting the local community and economy is very noble but how much money will they actually bring in?

John Hogarth, 46 Mountstuart Rd, Rothesay

Solar panels could be better Bute option

Having just returned from a visit to Malta, an island only slightly bigger than Bute, I was interested to read in The Buteman about the proposal for wind turbines on Bute. The population of Malta is much greater than that of Bute, but they simply refuse to contaminate their island with wind turbines as they know it would affect the tourist trade, on which they are largely dependent.

What they do have is an abundance of solar panels - fields full of them.

I do realise that the climate in Malta is somewhat different to that of Bute(!), but perhaps solar panels might be a better option than spoiling the beauty of Bute with ugly wind turbines.

M. Jackson, Birkdale, Torbrex, Stirling

Appeal for return of scooter

I would like to thank the kind lady who gave us, myself, daughter and two grandchildren, a lift from Craigmore into Rothesay in a white Range Rover last Thursday, May 21.

However, my grandson put his scooter in the boot of the car, and forgot to take it out when we left. He is quite upset at the loss of his prize possession.

She may not even realize that it is there. If she could contact me about its return I would be most grateful.

Sheena Gilmour, 17 Bishop Street, Rothesay

Thanks for sponsored swim support

I am writing to thank you for publishing my article about my 3mile swim in memory of Isobel Johnstone for the British Heart Foundation and local Heartstart.

I would also like to thank everyone who donated and supported me on this. It meant a lot and shows how much Bella touched our hearts.

She was an amazing woman and will be truly missed. So thank you all again.

Kiera Rutherford, Rothesay Primary School, Townhead