Letters to the editor

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More than attending meetings


I don’t often reply to letters written about myself in the local press but I feel the need to respond to a letter from the last issue of the Argyllshire Advertiser from Councillor Anne Horn.

The letter points out meetings I have not attended while failing to mention the various meeting I have attended.

Councillor Horn also mentions a Trust Housing meeting about the cuts to warden hours at sheltered housing on Islay. While not being able to attend this meeting due to being unable to get staff relief that day I had been in contact with numerous residents of sheltered housing on Islay as well as Trust Housing officials.

I actually wrote a letter to the Advertiser about just this matter. In the letter I point out that, as a board member of the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), I have made it clear that I am completely against this decision – it goes against the national drive to support people in their own homes.

I believe that it will disproportionately affect island communities and will have serious short and long term consequences. Going forward it is important that the HSCP listens to all partners around the table – those elected councillors, and there are four of us, have as much to contribute as the NHS-appointed members.

I have to say, though, that when I ran for council I made it clear on many of my leaflets and on my campaign page that I believe we needed councillors who did more than just have a good record of attending meetings, and my view has not changed.

I also feel obliged to point out that large numbers of my constituents contact me every day voicing their concerns about the SNP and its mishandling on Scotland’s devolved powers.

So, whether the shrinking number of separatists in Argyll like it or not I will continue to speak my mind on the SNP and their track record in government.

Judging by some of the letters in the local press about me and the increasingly bizarre and offensive posts of my Facebook campaign page, it is my opinion that many separatists are not so much angered by my actions since being elected and more just angry that a vocal and proud unionist got elected.

The SNP and its members must learn that this will do them no favours, as the past few elections have already proven.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Islay

Unstoppable pipe band


I was delighted that common sense prevailed and the world pipe band champions Inveraray and District were allowed to march up the main street of their home town – well done the polis!

There is something unstoppable about a pipe band.

I remember marching up the Champs Elysees with Oban Lorne Rugby Club, led by a pair of pipers with Scottish rugby fans joining in from every side street.

When we got to the Arc de Triomphe,we didn’t realise there was an underpass and marched off, bringing the notorious traffic to a complete standstill.

We arrived safely to much applause from bystanders and amazed congratulations from several Parisian policemen.

David Hay, Minard

Crofting responses wanted


We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to look again at crofting law reform.

It hasn’t been long since the 2010 Act, but it is very apparent from talking to members, crofting lawyers and the Crofting Commission that crofting law, as it currently stands, is not fit for purpose and importantly is not serving the needs of crofters.

National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) has been involved in the initial scoping for the consultation, but we are very aware that all crofters need to have the opportunity to respond to this very important consultation.

A 30-page consultation document will not be easy for everyone to access and read but it is vital that the views of crofters are taken.

Over the coming weeks, NFUS will be consulting our 850 crofter members – both directly and through our network of branches across the crofting counties – and submitting our own response. It is also important that individual crofters also respond.

Over the years, crofters have consistently raised a wide range of issues relating to crofting law.  In particular, concerns have revolved around the rights and responsibilities of active crofters versus inactive crofters, the use of common grazings and the complexity and time involved in processing regulatory applications.

The cabinet secretary rightly points out that there are many issues that relate to crofting and the development of crofting policy that are non-regulatory and it is important that, as well as looking at crofting law reform, these wider policy issues are also addressed.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to the production of a national development plan for crofting and are keen to see how this can work in conjunction with the work on crofting law reform.

Sandy Murray, chair, Highlands and Islands Crofting Working Group, NFU Scotland