Letters to the editor – September 13, 2019

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Be bold, support local


I applaud the letter in last week’s issue from Martin Kennedy of NFU Scotland, calling for our governments and public procurement buyers to ensure that they prioritise Scottish food.

I would point to the example of ‘the Preston model’, where the city council has adopted a ‘guerrilla localism’. It keeps its money as close to home as possible so that, amid historically drastic cuts, the amount spent locally has gone up as featured in The Guardian on January 31, 2018 which notes ‘where other authorities privatise, Preston grows its own businesses’.

Preston ensures that its resources prioritise local providers and businesses wherever possible. Argyll and Bute Council’s Procurement Strategy 2019/20 falls some way short of this. Its stated aims commendably include:

  • Focusing our commissioning and procurement activity on delivering improvements for the people and communities in Argyll and Bute.
  • Working co-operatively in everything we do to support SMEs and the third sector.
  • Ensuring procurement activity contributes towards the council’s general equality duty towards all stakeholders in Argyll and Bute and beyond.

There is no particular emphasis, however, on using its resources to grow Argyll and Bute businesses, to reduce carbon emissions and food transport miles or to foster healthy eating strategies that would benefit our local farmers through ‘joining up the dots’ of local supply and demand.

The climate emergency demands a bolder and more innovative respond, and demands it now.

Mary MacCallum Sullivan, Ardrishaig

The cost of Brexit


I wish to comment on Mr Henderson’s  open letter to Brendan O’Hara in the September 6 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser.

The expression ‘crash out’ of Europe is used by Conservative members of parliament, the BBC and the press. While emotive, this is what many people directly affected by Brexit feel is happening.

For example, on the matter of Germans buying our fish; without a trade agreement the tariff will be 40 per cent on our fish exports to the EU. The Germans will no longer buy our fish.

We can all read about other examples of the harm being done in the press every day. The cost of implementing a no deal exit will be borne by all of us, through further austerity (Conservatives), increased taxes (Labour), increased national debt or a combination of all three. To my mind, such measures will indeed cause serious economic and social harm.

While Brendan O’Hara received a minority of the votes in Argyll, the present government was elected  by less than 30 per cent of the  electorate.

David Inglis, Ardrishaig.

Life saving air ambulance


During this, National Air Ambulance Week (September 9-16), may I draw readers’ attention to the amazing work of the country’s only charity-funded air ambulance service – Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA).

Since 2013 this life-saving service has been flying help and hope to communities all across Scotland in response to serious illness and injury.

From our base at Perth Airport, we have responded to more than 2,200 time-critical emergencies and impacted on the lives of thousands – and the need goes on.

The recently-established Scottish Trauma Network has seen four key major trauma centres created at hospitals in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. The aim is to transfer all serious patients to one of these centres following pre-hospital emergency care within 45 minutes.

The value of a helicopter air ambulance is therefore obvious.

Working alongside the Scottish Ambulance Service’s air fleet, SCAA relies entirely on public donations to keep this vital resource flying.

Please consider supporting SCAA in it’s life-saving work during a week when the country focuses on the crucial work of air ambulances everywhere.

For further information please visit www.scaa.org.uk

David Craig, chief executive, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), Perth Airport

Action on climate emergency


I get a magazine called ‘Clean Slate’.

In it this month is an article where a 16-year-old girl, Greta Thunberg, along with 46 other youth activists, have issued this invitation to adults around the world: ‘Starting on Friday September 20 we are going to kick-start a week of climate action, with a world-wide strike for the climate. We are asking adults to step up alongside us and make this a turning point in our history.’

Greta Thunberg was welcomed by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the leader of the Labour Party and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She also spoke at the elite gathering of business leaders in Davos and at the UN.

In March 2019, school strikes took place in more than 2,000 cities around the world. Again in May, in more than 100 countries, millions of pupils took to the streets to remind the world that the earth faces a climate emergency.

The strike starting on September 20 coincides with the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Millions of people in more than 150 countries will walk out of their work, homes and colleges and spend a day demanding action on the climate emergency.

I hear that many in Lochgilphead High School are planning to do the same – well done!

Let us join them on Friday September 20 between 11am and 1pm to help build a future fit for all living beings.

Mary Stirling, Ardrishaig