Letters to the editor

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Political correctness

Sir,

I would like to join the numerous councillors that have quite rightly criticised a decision to ask our heroic Royal Marines to leave their unloaded weapons outside a school when they were delivering a classroom presentation.

Shockingly our marines, who were invited to talk to pupils at primary schools in Oban, were given a last-minute instruction not to bring the tools of their trade inside.

I have received a deluge of emails and phone calls from people across Argyll and Bute who share my outrage at this slap in the face of our armed forces.

It seems that all it takes to ruin an armed forces school visit is a complaint from one councillor and the woolly-minded bureaucracy of some in the council.

This is clearly political correctness gone mad.

I hope that all future attempts to undo what has become a tradition in Dunbeg, in memory of one of their brave sons who died in the Falklands, will be ignored.

It is high time we all stopped listening so much to a vocal minority who do not speak for the majority in Scotland.

As a country we are hugely proud of our military tradition and, despite the hysterical objections from an easily triggered minority, that pride in our country will not be erased.

Cllr Alastair Redman, Isle of Islay

Tarbert cemetery

Sir,

On Thursday September 28 I travelled back to my home village of Tarbert to attend a local funeral and pay my respects.

Prior to the service I visited the nearby graveyard to check on my family grave where my great grandfather, grandfather, grandmother and father were laid to rest.

It became obvious very quickly that the local cemetery has fallen into a state of disrepair. Long, thick grass covered all areas; the paths were untidy and required maintenance; and the borders leading to both gates were completely overgrown. Could this be the same cemetery I remembered from earlier years that was always tidy, well cared for and always left in a pristine condition?

On speaking to friends later that day, it became apparent that this neglect has been an ongoing problem. Concerned families have made various enquiries expressing their feelings to Argyll and Bute Council. Their questions have been met with the response: ‘It’s the cutbacks’ and ‘there is only so much money to go around’.

For generations, numerous members of Tarbert families left the village to forge new lives abroad. How would children, grandchildren and great grandchildren react on visiting the local graveyard trying to trace their family history only to be met with a scene of total untidiness? Probably very much like myself, I suspect – with sadness and anger.

To the person, or persons, to be found in the layers of local government who deal with such matters, I would say – please do your job and the decent thing. Take the decision to free up enough funds allowing Tarbert Cemetery to return to the standard that the whole village can be proud of.

Scott MacKay, Westhill, Aberdeen

Travelling circuses

Sir,

Leading animal protection charity OneKind has called on the Scottish Parliament to pass a strong circus bill that will end the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in Scotland.

The Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament. The stage one debate on the Bill was expected to take place on Thursday October 5. MSPs were asked to approve the Bill in principle and then there will be opportunities to amend and strengthen it.

One the Bill is passed, it will make Scotland the first country in the UK to implement an outright ban on wild animals in circuses. The ban could be in place by Christmas.

It’s not so long since a traditional travelling circus toured Scotland with an aged, arthritic elephant, and it was a sad sight to see.  As recently as 2015, there were two circus lions and three tigers confined in cages on a farm near Fraserburgh where they had spent the winter. This Bill in the Scottish Parliament is the opportunity to stop wild animals being treated that way, in the name of entertainment.

A Scottish Government consultation in 2014 showed the majority of the 2,034 people who responded were in favour of banning wild animals in circuses in Scotland. 98 per cent thought the use of wild animals for performance in travelling circuses should be banned; and 96.4 per cent thought the use of wild animals in exhibition (without performing) in travelling circuses should be banned.

Only last week the Estonian parliament passed a Bill to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Scotland has the chance to join dozens of states around the world in showing commitment to animal welfare by banning the use of wild animals in circuses.

We earnestly hope that MSPs support the Bill, allowing it to proceed for detailed consideration and amendments that will make it stronger.

 

Libby Anderson, OneKind policy advisor

Hang their heads

Sir,

I write with reference to last week’s Argyllshire Advertiser front page story with the headline ‘Poppy day support cut ‘disrespectful”.

Argyll and Bute Council officials should hang their heads in shame. But their bowed heads won’t be as a mark of respect to all who gave their lives during conflict.

The council’s statement in last week’s article was misleading as, according to the Royal British Legion Scotland website there are only four branches, spread thinly across the region – Oban, Inveraray, Campbeltown and Easdale.

Argyll and Bute Council has gone from doing the minimum to doing nothing. And it was announced at short notice to all organisations concerned, and it should be noted they did get input from the same beforehand, and they had ample opportunity to let people know at a much earlier stage.

So much for them working with communities and consulting them.

Council officials are public employees, and as such the people of Argyll and Bute deserve better.

Betty Rhodick, Lochgilphead

Care confidence

Sir,

Social service workforce Register opens for 45,000 workers in care at home and housing support

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has opened the social service workforce register to 45,000 people working in care at home and housing support services across Scotland.

They will join the 100,000 people already on the register, including their managers and supervisors and people working in social work, adult care, children’s day and residential services.

Registration of this workforce is similar to nurses, doctors and teachers and provides public confidence that people working in these services have the right skills and are safe to do the job.

Opening this part of the register is a landmark for social services. People working in care at home and housing support services work with thousands of people with very different and complex needs, generally in their own homes.

Registration with the SSSC is a step towards making sure we have the right people with the right skills and values for the job. Too often we hear about times when things have gone wrong, so it’s important to highlight that most people working in these services do an excellent job and should be valued and recognised for the challenging and life-changing work they do.

People on our register must meet a number of criteria, including having a qualification, working to the SSSC’s codes of practice and a commitment to continuing to learn and improve their skills and practice throughout their career.

All of these things work together to improve standards of practice and the quality of care, increasing public confidence in this essential workforce.

Anna Fowlie, SSSC chief executive