Your letters to the editor

Email your opinions to, with the subject line 'Letter to the Editor'.
Email your opinions to, with the subject line 'Letter to the Editor'.

This week’s pick of your letters to The Buteman includes thoughts on devolution and independence, comments on the newly reduced limit for drink driving, as well as an appeal for volunteers to assist with a Macmillan Cancer Support bag pack.

If you’d like to see your views published in The Buteman’s print edition, send them to by 5pm on Monday. Please keep your letters as short and to-the-point as you can, and remember to include your postal 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 We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.


NHS is in a far healthier state in Scotland


U.J Craig from Cove (Letters to the Editor, November 21) has failed to grasp that the NHS Scotland is far from failing when compared to NHS Wales, England or Northern Ireland.

The Scotland I live in is one that values the universal free health service that simply does not have the same crisis that the NHS in the other member states of the UK have.

Yes, there are issues that need addressed, but thankfully, years of overspending in comparison to NHS England have avoided the complete crisis facing their NHS.

Prior to returning to Scotland from RAF service, I was informed by the NHS in England that I would have a wait of more than six months for surgery to an injury received in service, but on my return to Scotland, I was assessed by a consultant and treated succesfully within a two month period.

This is not an isolated example. A recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies calculated that “health spending was around nine per cent higher in Scotland than the UK average”.

This suggests that Scotland’s health service has been over-funded rather than under-funded thanks to the Barnett system.

The same report shows that Scotland had significantly more nurses, hospital doctors and GPs per 1,000 of population than any other part of the UK.

SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn said:

“The £288m increase in the NHS budget announced today will be welcomed across the country – and should be welcomed across the Parliament. 

“That the SNP in government has managed to not only pass on the Barnett consequentials to our frontline health service at a time of substantial cuts handed down the line from Westminster – but has managed to invest an extra £86m in health - is testament to this government’s commitment to our NHS.

“I fail to find any evidence that there has been a four per cent NHS funding increase in any part of the UK.”

As has been stated by the IFS, spending by the Scottish Governemnt on the NHS is nine per cent higher than the UK average, so therefore the Scottish Government has more than fully allocated the health budget to NHS Scotland, not just in this budget year but in years gone by.

Hugh Moodie

12 Bryce Avenue, Rothesay

Thatcher lives on - this time in Edinburgh


When Margaret Thatcher’s Government devised the Poll Tax, for which one might argue its merits, they decided to ‘try it out’ on the Scots first. Scotland rebelled strongly at being used as ‘research subjects’ and eventually it was thrown out.

Then, when Scotland got its own government, our elected representatives in Edinburgh decided to use its own people for political experiments such as banning smoking in public a year before the rest of the UK, charging five pence for supermarket bags and, on December 5, lowering the ‘breathalyser’ limit from 80 milligrams to 50, again before the rest of the UK.

The problem for the rest of us ‘lab-rats’ is that our MSPs are so pumped up with self-righteousness that it is impossible to argue against their new version of Communist society.

But, as with all politicians, they go for the headlines but never think anything through. Plastic bag use will not decrease. People still need bags to dispose of rubbish. Now, thanks to Edinburgh, we have to pay for something that was free until they claimed justification.

Likewise the forthcoming drop from the 80 milligram limit to 50 risks killing rural society - or at least those of us without regular public transport or cheap taxis.

It will close rural pubs and remove centres of community and amiability, somewhere to talk nonsense for 90 minutes. It will drive people to the supermarket and irresponsible home drinking.

Even worse, it risks criminalising a large section of the motoring public - responsible people who do not drive the night before when out for the evening, but who might well be over this new limit next morning.

Even more depressing is the official advice not to drink the day before you intend to drive. In the countryside everyone with a car needs to drive every day. That means never drinking alcohol - just the thing to gladden the heart of the Holy Wullies in Edinburgh. As Jenny Geddes once said, ‘Dare you preach in ma lug?”

We elect politicians to ‘mind the shop’ on our behalf, not to pursue their personal crusades.

Paul McKay

Tigh-na-Ceol, Kingarth

Macmillan needs bag packers!


I write on behalf of the Bute fund-raising committee of Macmillan Cancer Support. Can I ask, through the letters page of The Buteman, for volunteers to help us raise funds by bag-packing at the Co-operative supermarket on Wednesday, December 31?

We plan to start our Hogmanay fund-raising at 9.30am, and if any lady or gentleman can give us an hour and a half of their time, at whetever time of the day is convenient, you would be most welcome.

My telephone number is (01700) 504466. As well as a voluntary contribution to such a worthwhile cause, you may even enjoy meeting old friends and making new ones.

Beverley Scoullar (chair, Bute fund-raising branch of Macmillan Cancer Support)

45 Craigmore Rd, Rothesay