Letters to the editor

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Due care and attention
I am writing in res­ponse to a piece my husband and I read in last week’s edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser (Friday July 14) entitled ‘Sort out Strone Point’.

Surely it is up to drivers to drive with the due care and attention that this part of the road calls for and needs, instead of careering into a blind bend at top speeds. That corner was there a long time before the traffic that now use it, and no doubt started out as a well-worn path that has progressed into the road it is today, so we all know it is there and should be aware of it.

Personally, I think the trees should have been left on the bank and money on alterations to the road could be well spent elsewhere. If people slowed down and stuck to their own side of the road, then there wouldn’t be a problem. Chances are, when the alterations are made, the traffic will speed up even more, and the fatalities will continue.

It needs people to read the road, slow down so they can see the signs and drive accordingly, and it is up to local drivers to exercise a little patience and courtesy towards drivers who are strangers to these roads and drive at a safe speed and distance, instead of using the roads as a race track. Accidents happen on straighter stretches of road than Strone Point so surely that tells us it’s the driving that’s at fault and not the roads.

If money has to be spent improving the road, how about putting a set of traffic lights at each side of the bend and making the road through single file, as they have in Minard village? This will serve to slow off the traffic as well.
John and Julie,

Illegal puppy smuggling
The Dogs Trust is calling for the public to help put an end to illegal puppy smuggling after an undercover investigation revealed shocking abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme.

Puppies as young as four weeks old are still being subjected to horrifying journeys across central and eastern
Europe and smuggled into Great Britain to be sold to unsuspecting members of the public, many sick and without the right vaccinations.

After working tirelessly to bring the issue of puppy smuggling up the government’s agenda, there remains a reluctance to acknowledge the scale of the problem or to implement any effective change.

Urgent action is needed to help transform the lives of these poor puppies.
The Dogs Trust is asking people to show their support by writing to their own MP to ask them to support our campaign by writing to the Minister for Animal Welfare.

They can visit www.puppysmuggling.org.uk to find out how to help. The campaign is backed by television and radio personality, Dermot O’ Leary.
Paula Boyden,
Veterinary Director,
Dogs Trust.

Breathtaking hypocrisy
I almost admire Councillor Alastair Redmond for the breathtaking hypocrisy displayed in his letter ‘Challenges for police’, July 14. His is the party whose austerity policies have caused the systematic and progressive underfunding of the police, the NHS and all other vital public services for years. Surely gross insufficiency of resources is the greatest single cause of low morale?
David Tomlinson,
1 Fernoch Crescent,

Simply a fact of arithmetic
Last week’s Advertiser headline ‘Norway holds key to Argyll’s fishing future’ prompts the obvious question: why does it not read ‘Scotland holds the key…’?

The article continues to suggest that we should follow both Norway and Iceland’s lead to gain a satisfactory solution.

The people of Scotland should be doing this within the context of an independent Scotland with equal rights and negotiating status as the other independent nations mentioned in the article.

Why put our trust in the Conservative Party, the only political party to have described the Scottish fishermen, and by inference their industry, as ‘expendable’?

Any negotiations under­taken during the Brexit deal will be
biased towards needs of the constituents of the majority of MPs in Westminster, which will be bad for Scotland, no matter how Scotland voted for its MPs.

It is simply a fact of arithmetic that Westminster can, if it chooses to, ignore Scottish MPs and those they represent. The only solution to this is independence. Why abdicate your responsibilities to your children and grandchildren to the likes of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove?

If the people of Scotland want a job done well, they need to do it themselves.
Kevin MacKaveney,
West Loch Tarbert.

Masters of our own destiny
It is more than a little ironic that, as Scotland, through being part of the UK, prepares to leave the European Union, Estonia, with a population around a quarter that of Scotland, has taken over the EU presidency on July 1.

The presidency is res­ponsible for driving forward the EU’s work, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and co-operation among member states.

During the next six months this will focus on key areas, including single and digital markets, the energy union and closer integration of eastern partners into Europe. It also wants to focus on the promotion of e-solutions and the information society in EU policy areas. Interestingly, its prime minister, Jüri Ratas, has declared that Brexit is not a priority for the presidency, a sign that the EU is moving on from Brexit, with bigger issues to deal with.

Estonia, which next year will celebrate its centenary of becoming independent, takes over from Malta in holding the presidency
of European Union, an island with a population less than that of Edinburgh.

During the independence referendum, the Better Together camp claimed that the only way to guarantee Scotland’s place in the EU was to vote to remain in the UK. Indeed, Scotland was to ‘lead the UK’ not ‘leave the UK’.

Times have indeed changed since September 2014 and we are, despite these assurances, heading for the EU exits.

Of course, we could have the best of both worlds, part of a single market with the rest of the UK – as promised to Northern Ireland in its relations with the Republic of Ireland – and still members of the EU. For that to happen, of course, requires the confidence, as Malta and Estonia have demonstrated, to take full control of our own affairs and be the masters of our own destiny, leading not leaving the EU.
Alex Orr,
77 Leamington
Terrace, Edinburgh.

Euphemism for sea bed rape
More than 100 people crammed into Tayvallich Village Hall on Sunday night to hear an address given by the Friends of the Sound of Jura on the consequences of allowing one of the largest fish farms in Scotland to be established in a Marine Protected Area.

The local MSP, Michael Russell, has expressed concern, as he should, but given his track record, it isn’t much of a contribution.

Apparently salmon exports are second only to whisky and, as a consequence, the SNP is all for demanding more fish farms.

‘Oh goody,’ they must have said, ‘another trough so let’s get our snouts into this.’ The government has absolutely no concept of the damage that results from its greed-led decisions. The bodies charged with the protection of the countryside and sea, SNH and SEPA, are as clueless as politicians and as easily swayed by large organisations brandishing money.

Reports are being sought from ‘experts’, which usually means using the cheapest rather than the best and are often provided by businesses involved.

It was encouraging to hear that an independent charity, Sea Search, will also be producing a report, likely to be more believable as well.

How many fish farms have been closed down because of irresponsible practices? How many have been fined for allowing tons of piscine effluent to pollute the seabed? How many have been summonsed for excessive use of pesticides? Ask SNH or SEPA or, better yet, your MSP and do ask why when you are told nothing has been done.

What was disturbing was the SNP’s designation of the West Coast as an area for commercial aquaculture, a euphemism for seabed rape. I don’t remember the SNP saying vote for us so we can des­troy your coastline.
Alexander Hamilton,