Letters to the editor – 24.5.19

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Build it and they will come


In these days of climate change, much of it made worse by us humans, it can be difficult to know what to do to help. In fact some ask is it too late.

What can be done to help? By doing nothing it is our children that will suffer the consequences of this extinction crisis.

A recent comment made online was: ‘One plastic straw, one disposable plastic cup x 7.4 billion people.’ So, it might be one straw or one garden but together we can make a difference.

The idea here is if you have a garden, no matter what size, or even an edge where weeds want to grow, you can help. You can do something by doing nothing, saving money and time in the process.

If everyone left just a small part – larger even better – of their garden to ‘wild-over’ collectively we could make a difference and the show of wild pollinating flowers can be amazing. Doing this does not have to be a mess, a few curvy lines and hey presto a designer garden for nothing.

I left mine and I had orchids. I did absolutely nothing and a full display of orchids and cuckoo flowers grew, and so much more. Bumblebees and birds came to visit, which was lovely to watch and it is good to know I have helped.

The first year, my neighbours thought that my mower had broken and offered to help. But after explaining what I was doing, others have followed with wild areas. A few well-placed logs have created home for shrews, drilled holes provide nesting places for solitary bees.

A bowl with a few stones and a rock ramp provides for a watering hole, I see bees drinking and sparrows bathing. Many of our once common species are in decline. Knowing that I have done something to help their plight, which let’s face it, we have made, makes all the difference.

Build it and they will come. Let it grow, sit back and enjoy. If we all do just a few small things together, or rather don’t do, we can make a huge difference.

Mark Carter, Lochgilphead

EU vote and instability


The outcome of votes cast across the EU in the European Parliamentary elections (which took place yesterday) will play a key role in how Brexit is ultimately shaped.

In these elections traditionally dominant centre-right and centre-left parliamentary groups are forecast to lose significant numbers of seats – and the majority they have held for 40 years. The liberals and Greens should be stronger, and the right-wing, EU-critical populists in Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen’s new European Alliance of People and Nations much stronger.

Majorities will be harder to form and less stable; nation-first parties seeking ‘less Europe’ and more power for member states will have a greater influence on policy.

The European Parliament has to sign off on the Brexit withdrawal agreement (assuming it is ever passed in Westminster) and this could be problematic if the current stable majority, which has generally backed the European Commission’s Brexit approach, is disrupted by a large contingent of populist, EU-critical MEPs.

The new parliament will also have a considerable say in the make-up of the new Commission, which could involve British MEPs, and will eventually negotiate the EU’s future relationship with the UK. Finally, MEPs will have to agree the future relationship itself.

In all of these areas a more divided, polarised and unstable European Parliament with potentially conflicting demands could create considerable problems for the UK.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

No psychic around here


Can I ask, where have people’s manners gone? You send emails and letters and no one gets back to you, not even an acknowledgement.

Do they think that you’re psychic?

Name and address supplied

Pass on Westminster funding


The number of disabled people waiting for housing in Argyll and Bute has increased from 599 to 694 since 2017.

The figures were released following a freedom of information request made to local authorities across Scotland by the Scottish Conservatives. The average wait for a property in Argyll and Bute is 313 days.

While the increase is relatively modest compared to other areas in Scotland, I am nevertheless concerned that the trend here in Argyll and Bute is up. That is bad news for vulnerable people in our area who require a property. We need to see action to reverse the trend.

This problem, like many others, is caused by a refusal of the SNP government to adequately support our local authorities. They have consistently refused to pass on the funding they have received from Westminster, preferring to spend in other areas.

Argyll and Bute Council has had to make massive savings in recent years and this is bound to have an impact on its ability to deliver services.

We need to see the government in Holyrood  spend more time concentrating on the bread-and-butter issues which are its responsibilities and less time agitating for a second independence referendum, which is all we ever seem to hear from Nicola Sturgeon.

Donald Cameron, MSP for the Highlands and Islands