Letters to the editor – July 17, 2020

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The following letter appeared in the Argyllshire Advertiser’s sister title, the Campbeltown Courier, last week, with the reply sent since publication of Mr Redman’s letter.

SNP failing councils

Sir,

The SNP is failing councils, as recent figures show that the cost of coronavirus to local authorities could hit more than £400 million.

Under the SNP essential local services have been underfunded for years, yet it is councils that are spearheading the response to this virus. Without action and proper investment from central government vital public services will be at risk.

This news of huge strain on local authority budgets comes as the SNP is delaying in opening up Scotland’s hospitality and tourism industry. Instead of following other parts of the UK and opening the sector on July 4, the separatists are forcing businesses to wait until July 15.

This delay will cost businesses millions at a time when thousands of jobs are already on the line.

The SNP is risking people’s livelihoods. It needs to accept responsibility for that and take action now.

Councillor Alastair Redman,
Kintyre and the Islands.

Ignoring elephants

Sir,

People occasionally ignore the elephant in the room to support their point of view, but in his latest letter, Councillor Alastair Redman has ignored an entire herd in his living room.

In his latest rant he states that the SNP is failing councils as the cost of coronavirus could hit more than £400 million, but surely these costs would be the same no matter who was in power?

He also suggests that ‘essential local services have been underfunded for years’ yet fails to mention the years of needless austerity cuts, actioned by his party and their collaborators, to bail out the greedy and risky practices of the banks, which reduced funding to a devastatingly low level in general. It is worth noting that the Scottish Government has put a greater percentage of their curtailed income into NHS Scotland than any part part of the UK. This has helped NHS Scotland to outperform all of the others, in the UK, for the past five years. This is paying dividends now.

He returns to his familiar attempt to insult by referring to citizens who want to take responsibility for making and managing decisions and working to make their country prosper within the priorities set by its citizens as ‘separatists’. I’m glad to be described as a separatist because the alternative is to be an apologist for an unrepresentative government in Westminster and to abdicate decision making to that same out-of-touch group.

It is Councillor Redman’s final point, however, that demonstrates his blinkered sycophancy. His suggestion that the Scottish Government should follow the example of other parts of the UK. Could he really be saying that we should follow the chaotic shambles and incompetence that has emanated from his chums at Westminster? Does he seriously think that any sensible person, irrespective of their own political affiliation and from any of the devolved nations, would swap what their government’s have done for the Westminster model?

Sadly, nowhere in his missive does Councillor Redman take time to mention the health and safety of our citizens.

It is this, together with scientific advice and without political point scoring, that is driving the Scottish Government’s response to this tragic pandemic.

Kevin MacKaveney, Tarbert

Thoughtless behaviour

Sir,

Following reports of littering around Argyll and Bute, including the Isle of Islay, the issue was discussed at a recent meeting of Islay Community Council where community councillors heard that items like rubber gloves have been found dumped in ditches.

It is always very disappointing to hear about littering and fly-tipping but doubly so in an area like Islay where residents take such an understandable pride in their environment.

We also need to bear in mind that items like disposable gloves can pose a threat to livestock. As well as being profoundly antisocial, this kind of behaviour can be positively harmful.

Those acting irresponsibly should remember that there can be serious consequences to their thoughtlessness.

Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands MSP

Support Scottish tourism

Sir,

We all have a role to play in the recovery of the country’s tourism industry after its reopening on July 15.

Scots could help by taking a trip, visiting an attraction or experience, shopping locally, dining out and booking a staycation.

Scottish tourism is facing its biggest challenge in a generation and will need financial support for some time to come to help it recover. The Scottish public has a crucial part to play in helping this happen.

It’s easy to not think of yourself as a tourist in your own country but many of the experiences that we often enjoy with loved ones, such as holidays, shopping or eating out, all contribute to our visitor economy.

July 15 marked a new era for the industry as we start to welcome back visitors and take our first steps on the road to a safe and responsible recovery. However, reopening won’t be the same for all businesses, many are still adapting to this ‘new normal’, so it’s important that we recognise that as we move forward to try and restore our industry.

We look forward to helping Scots rediscover their own country in a way that is safe for everyone – visitors, residents and those working within the industry. Recovery will require our collective efforts and we must act as one to ensure the best possible outcomes for the whole of the visitor economy.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive