The latest crop of readers’ letters in The Buteman includes thoughts on the arrival of 15 Syrian families on Bute in the coming weeks, the refurbishment of Rothesay’s Co-op supermarket, the SNP’s record on health services, and the renewal of Trident, to name a few.
As ever, to add your views to the debate on any of the topics raised, or any subject of interest to Bute, drop an email to email@example.com 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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Bute must give warm welcome to refugees
I write in response to the article in The Buteman online advising us that there will be Syrian refugees coming to the island before Christmas. I can only echo and support Len Scoullar’s comments in welcoming them here.
We need to remember that these are folk who have fled a war zone to survive. Everything they have known and been used to is lost to them. Just think about that for a moment. They have lost absolutely everything, apart from their lives, but they may well have lost family and friends in a conflict they have no control over.
Moving to Bute is just another part of a long difficult journey via refugee camps that they have had to make. Let’s ensure that we give them a warm, caring and supportive welcome. They have experienced trauma that we can barely imagine. This is a great opportunity for Bute to show it’s caring and compassionate side.
John Duncan, 19 Crichton Road, Rothesay
Is EU project falling apart?
When in the last winter of the Second World War my father saw RAF photographs of endless lines of desperate German refugees heading west he knew the Greater Reich was finished.
So today, when I see columns of migrants tramping through the same grasslands of Eastern Europe and heading for Germany, I wonder if the EU project is also starting to fall apart.
Ironically it was to prevent the recurrence of scenes of displaced millions of freezing and starving in the wintry fields of Brandenburg and Saxony that the alliance was formed.
It is beyond belief that a German Chancellor should send out a self-serving signal of such stupefying naivety inviting anyone who could make the journey to head for Europe.
New Labour opened the UK borders but our population will be 70 million in ten years and the razor wire is going up all over Europe amid political acrimony and human misery.
Rev Dr John Cameron, 10 Howard Place, St Andrews
Damning criticism of SNP record
The Audit Scotland report on the NHS is a damning criticism of the SNP Government. They have cut NHS funding since they came to power. At the same time, the UK coalition Government was increasing spending on the NHS in England. As a result of this, the SNP were given more money for the Scottish NHS. Unfortunately they spent this on other pet projects, like the expensive referendum.
As well as deliberate underfunding of our NHS, the audit report also identified too much central control from Edinburgh as a serious problem. Money is also being wasted on badly planned privatisations which have not given value for money.
It’s high time our SNP MSPs stood up in Holyrood and demanded more money for our NHS. I certainly would.
Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll and Bute), 136 Fairhaven, Dunoon
Maintenance needed at Co-op store
It is good to see that Co-op head office in Manchester has not forgotten about the promises made to upgrade the Co-op here in Rothesay. Contractors are now busily engaged on improvements.
Can we have an improvement to maintenance as well ? Regular cleaning in and around the car park would be nice. What about toilets for customers ? More seating outside?
While they are at it, they could retrieve some of the shopping trolleys dumped in the Lade. Argyll and Bute Council say it is a breach of Health and Safety to take them out. It amazes me that we can send a manned mission to Mars and expeditionary forces to Kabul and Baghdad, but fishing a couple of supermarket trolleys out of the Lade in central Rothesay is too dangerous !
Hamish Kirk, 21 Mill Street, Rothesay
Labour’s self-destruction over Trident
The Labour party is continuing on its path of self destruction and political irrelevance. Not content with turning their backs on the Union and so many no voting Labour supporters by letting their MSP’s campaign to tear Scotland out of our United Kingdom if there is another referendum in the future, they are now squabbling with each other over Trident having voted to scrap it at their party conference.
Does the Labour party not realise that 11,300 jobs linked to the Faslane naval base will be lost if Trident is scrapped?
What reason is there to vote Labour now? They put our union at risk by appeasing the SNP at every turn. Their republican leader, Jeremy Corbyn, disrespects and insults our armed forces members both past and present by questioning why Britain should spend a “shedload” of money on commemorating the First World War. If given a chance they would be a huge risk to our economy by spending, borrowing and printing money. And they will put our security and jobs at risk by scrapping Trident.
Only the Conservative and Unionist party stands up unashamedly for our military tradition, for Trident and for our union.
Alastair Redman, 23 Shore Street, Portnahaven, Islay
Help combat depression this winter
For those who find winter a depressing time, my advice would be to get walking.
Walking has many benefits for our health but less frequently discussed is how it helps us remain positive and happy.
In fact, walking has been shown to reduce the risk of developing depression by 20 per cent.
Walking for just part of the journey to work can significantly boost our happiness levels, which is especially important during the winter months when many of us get up, travel in the dark and can find it hard to incorporate activity into the day. It stimulates endorphins, which help to improve sleep quality and reduce feelings of stress.
Walking is free, accessible and easy to build into everyday life. Research suggests that active people are 30 per cent less likely to feel distressed and 30 per cent more likely to experience enhanced levels of wellbeing.
Tompion Platt (head of policy and research), Living Streets, 88-94 Wentworth Street, London
Poem: ‘Remember Them’
Yes, we will remember them,
Year after year.
We’ll weep and we’ll wail for them,
Tear after tear.
We’ll feel oh so sad for them,
Dear after dear.
We’ll lay poppied wreaths for them,
Peer after peer.
We’ll hip-hip-hooray for them,
Cheer after cheer.
We’ll spin a grand speech for them,
“Hear” after “hear”.
We’ll all have a drink to them,
Beer after beer.
But, why can’t we learn from them?
Spear after spear.
John Robertson, Garnet Bank, Wellpark Road, Rothesay