Letters to the editor – October 30, 2020

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Addressing bullying problem

Sir,

I would commend the efforts to have a separate independent inquiry carried out covering former council employees within the Health and Social Care Partnership.

The incidence of bullying of HSCP staff reflected in the survey earlier this year is quite shocking.

I also endorse the view expressed in the Argyllshire Advertiser leader column that training and management style should be looked at closely.

Having been involved in the public and allied sectors for many years, I saw many examples of bullying, which were seldom resolved by confronting the perpetrator and usually simply continued in a more insidious manner. Insidious bullying is commonplace and can take the form of exclusion from conversations in the office, belittling remarks and the like. The distress caused to the individual is often substantial, not to mention the impact on work performance.

There is no doubt that the culture of an organisation is difficult to change and takes time. One would presume that exit interviews when staff leave, to assess the extent of the problem, are already in place. So far as promotion to management posts is concerned, greater emphasis might now be given to leadership styles.

We are told that areas for improvement are being addressed and it would be of interest to hear further about practical examples of progress.

Norman Beaton MA, Chartered FCIPD, Ardrishaig

Scotland’s pensions

Sir,

The UK State pension is the worst in Europe, despite the UK having the second biggest economy in the EU.

Scotland is a land of massive natural resources. We have a diverse economy. We have a highly educated workforce. What we don’t have is the power to direct these assets in the way that aligns with Scottish values. Our economy has exceptional resources to support better pensions.

The Scottish Government has guaranteed to continue to pay every state pension. Occupational and personal pension rights will stay the same if Scotland becomes independent. We have accrued these benefits and are legally entitled to them.

Maureen Beaton, Lochgilphead

Environmental worry

Sir,

I am suffering from Ecological Anxiety Syndrome.

The symptoms are mixed but are characterised by night-sweats, unexpected bouts of crying over tree stumps and an unwholesome desire to grab some people by the shoulders and shake them repeatedly whilst shouting ‘Can’t you see what you’re doing!’ – until they ask me to stop.

I have been to the doctor and he tells me it is just a symptom of my ardent belief that we are killing the planet. He’s put me on a course of pills called ‘Idongivadam’. Apparently if I take three a day, with meals, I will be over the worst within a few weeks and be able to integrate back into a society whose bodies naturally manufacture this wonder-drug.

Seriously, though, how much do we care about the destruction of our environment? Because every day I read or hear about some new type of poison we have thrown in extravagant quantities into our lochs or see waterfalls of newly-fallen rain washing out of our increasingly bare hillsides or listen to more news about valuable peat being dug up so we can grow a few flowers.

Should we care? After all, our lifespans are finite and in a few decades it won’t be our problem any more.

No it won’t – it will be our children left holding back the tide. Unfortunately, by then, the tide may overwhelm them so completely that there will be no coming back. A drowned world is no world at all.

On second thoughts I have decided not to take the pills after all – just live with the symptoms. After all, I would rather care about the planet, and Scotland’s future, than do nothing.

Nick MacIneskar, Tayvallich

Pets are not just property

Sir,

Following the debate in parliament on Monday October 19, Blue Cross is incredibly disappointed that the UK Government has not committed to change current legislation to make pet theft a crime in its own right.

We feel this is a huge missed opportunity to protect the lives of pets and reassure their owners that pet theft is taken as a very serious crime. Pets are not simply ‘property’, they are sentient beings and much loved family members.

Our pet bereavement support service has been supporting owners for over 25 years and we know only too well the devastation, stress and anxiety caused by the theft of a beloved pet which deserves to be recognised and thieves punished accordingly.

We are however, encouraged that the government has stated its willingness to engage in further discussion on the sentencing guidelines and we look forward to being fully involved.

Becky Thwaites, head of public affairs, Blue Cross

Poster slashed

Sir,

I was out and about in Port Charlotte recently speaking to my constituents and hearing about many pressing local concerns while social distancing.

It was great to check up on the progress of the local pavement and road repairs in the village. However there is still much more work that needs to take place just outside of Port Charlotte, including pothole filling.

There was also justifiable anger about one of the ‘Keep Islay Safe’ posters being slashed.

I have contacted our council’s Covid-19 department about this and I have also spoken to Donald Cameron MSP.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands ward