Your letters to The Buteman: October 24, 2014

Our pick of this week's Letters to the Editor of The Buteman.
Our pick of this week's Letters to the Editor of The Buteman.

This week’s pick of your letters to The Buteman includes thoughts on devolution, the Winter Garden, benefits and the island’s Stand Up To Cancer fund-raising efforts.

To see your views on any subject of local or national interest appear in our next print edition, email (or click on the email address at the top of this article) by 5pm on Monday. Please include your name and address for publication, and also a daytime telephone number in case we need to contact you at short notice, though this will not be published.

Power proposal from Better Together view

I should like to commend Mr Hugh Moodie’s suggestion, in his letter to you of October 17, that people should make their views on Scotland’s future known to the Smith Commission.

I fear, however, that I have to remind Mr Moodie that the vast major of people in Argyll and Bute voted No in the referendum. That vote was ‘No’ to independence but not ‘No’ to change.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity to create a principled, democratic transfer of power to Scotland within a rebalanced United Kingdom. The Prime Minister established the Smith Commission, under Lord Smith of Kelvin, to take forward the devolution commitments on further powers for the Scottish Parliament.

I think that my submission to the Commission may reflect the position of Better Together voters more positively than that of your correspondent Mr Moodie.

As, however, with his submission, people are welcome to copy this if they wish, and to email it to

“I believe Scotland and the UK would be stronger, fairer and more progressive if the following were adopted:

“The Scottish Parliament should be entrenched to underline its permanent place in the constitution of the United Kingdom as a more equal partner.

“The Scottish Parliament should be equipped with the fiscal powers to raise for itself most of the resources it spends. This gives it fiscal responsibility and the power to make a difference, to have a responsive government and one which can take significant decisions for the economy and for fairness.

“The UK tier of government should retain the fiscal capability and responsibility to allow it to perform the functions best secured across the whole UK including defence, a unified international presence, fiscal transfers and solidarity, social protection and equity, and the macroeconomic foundations.

“The UK should retain a single welfare system to make sure that people can save for retirement, receive a pension or look for work with the same support from the state wherever in the UK they chose to live, recognising people’s common rights to be supported at times of need.

“There should be a unified, single market for business across the United Kingdom which is fundamental for prosperity, for economic resilience, for employment, for living standards and to support our place in the world.

“Power should not be hoarded either at Westminster or Holyrood. Communities in every part of Scotland should have more control over their own affairs.”

Finlay Craig, Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove

Another view of the Winter Garden

With refernece to your front page article of October 17, I would like to take Jim Mitchell to task on his assessment of the situation regarding the Winter Garden.

I was one member of the team employed by Brown’s of Strone, under the foreman, Mr J. Pryde, on the renovation work done on the building in the 1990s.

Part of the job involved the excavation of the main supporting pillars, which were bolted on to concrete pads. The nuts and bolts still bore original grease on the threads.

The cast iron still showed red lead paint, which was a tribute to the original construction workers.

All the steelwork was ‘needle gunned’. This took paint off down to the bare steel, which had four coats of paint applied.

This paint was the same as that used on oil rigs and was supplied by a local lad, Mr Bonaccorsi, who at the time owned a company which supplied the North Sea rigs.

Mr Bonaccorsi’s company was also contracted by Brown’s of Strone to work on the Winter Garden.

Where Mr Mitchell appears to have issue is with a couple of the side panels. These were originally the side fire exit doors, and were replaced with mild steel panels - which, as Mr Mitchell will know, rusts quicker than cast iron.

The same happened with the front panels, which were also replaced.

The problem, where rust streaks appear, is where cheap paint was used. It was non-specialised paint which was not meant to be used on mild steel in a seaside environment. This was not known by the staff running the Winter Garden at the time.

I hope this puts in a clearer light the problems at the Winter Garden, which in my view should be easily surmounted by the application of specialised paint by time-served painters.

Ian Carmichael. 0/1, 5 The Terrace, Ardbeg

Well done from Bute Ceilidh Band

Congratulations to Anna, Ricky and all the organisers of the Stand Up To Cancer ceilidh on Saturday on fulfilling their goal of topping the previous record for the largest ceilidh dance in a single venue.

Apologies from the Bute Ceilidh Band - we were very disappointed not to be able to play at the event. This was due to commitments that had been made when the event was originally scheduled for 12 noon.

Well done again to all the organisers and dancers.

Bute Ceilidh Band, 26 Argyle Place, Rothesay

No direct line phones at JobCentre

I am writing about the recent action of the Department for Work and Pensions in removing the direct line telephones from the JobCentre Plus in Rothesay on September 24, 2014.

Now there is no way to phone up about benefits including disability living allowance, child benefit, carers’ allowance and mobility allowance, unless you have credit on your mobile phone or have a phone at home.

The phones are gone from the King Street premises forever.

I do not think it is a coincidence that these telephone lifelines were removed six days after the Scottish independence referendum took place. It is another slap in the fact from the Westminster elite to the paupers of Scotland.

The Dickensian attitude of the ruling British political parties is reflected in this attack on the needy.

By this masterstroke they have ensured that life becomes just that little bit more difficult for the ‘undeserving poor’ on Bute.

Catherine McLean, 24 Castle Street, Rothesay