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At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income.
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An extraordinary leaflet
Like other householders throughout Argyll and Bute, I recently received a leaflet from the Conservative candidate standing in May’s Scottish election.
It is an extraordinary leaflet – not for what it says, but for what it does NOT say.
There isn’t a single reference to farming, fishing or aquaculture – all vital industries in Argyll and Bute – in its six pages.
The Tories have every reason to be mortified by the devastation their botched Brexit deal has had on the lives of our farmers and fishermen, but to simply ignore these issues is an insult to those who work in these industries and the communities that depend on them.
Les Wilson, Port Charlotte, Isle of Islay.
UK’s ‘shameful neglect’ over Yemen
The fact that British ministers have refused to join the US in suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in war-torn Yemen is shameful and shows just how far the UK has morally sunk.
US president Joe Biden recently announced the suspension, meeting a long-standing campaign pledge, and this decision casts an uncomfortable spotlight on the UK government.
The UK government has licensed the sale of at least £5.3bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the war began in March 2015, as well as providing training and technical support.
The irony of all this is that the UK is the ‘penholder’ on Yemen at the UN security council, which means it has the power to draft resolutions to support efforts to end the conflict. It therefore has a special responsibility to do all it can to advance the peace process.
So, while calling for an end to violence, it is simultaneously supplying the weapons necessary to prolong the conflict.
The shameful neglect of this leadership role and continued licensing of arms to facilitate Saudi-led offensives is unsustainable. It is a stance that leaves the UK increasingly isolated on the global stage, with countries including Germany, Italy and the Netherlands already banning the export of arms to Saudi Arabia.
The UK government now faces a choice: to join President Biden and live up to its obligations as UN penholder by ending the UK’s involvement in the Saudi campaign, or to continue to act as both peacekeeper and warmonger, undermining any moral leadership it might claim.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh.
Voted against Salmond publication
The SNP has voted to conceal Alex Salmond’s evidence to the parliamentary inquiry.
The Scottish Conservatives brought a vote to the Salmond inquiry demanding that Salmond’s evidence, much of which is already in the public domain, be published.
This would allow Salmond to give crucial evidence in person about the SNP’s botched handling of this case. All the SNP MSPs on the committee, however, voted against its publication, meaning it will not be released.
The Scottish public deserves to know the truth of what happened and why £500,000 of public money had to be paid to Salmond.
Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands ward.
Protecting children in sport
The personal testimony of the men and boys in the final independent report into non-recent sexual abuse in Scottish football – who have shown incredible courage – demonstrates how needed this independent review has been.
The abuse young players have suffered in football is inexcusable and heart-breaking. By bravely speaking up, they provided the catalyst for the review and the changes that will come from it are thanks to them.
We welcome the ongoing work the Scottish Football Association (SFA) has carried out in light of the report’s recommendations and encourage them to continue their progress.
The SFA is showing it is willing to listen and implement changes that ensure no more children suffer the experiences described in the report.
We are pleased to see children and young people’s involvement in the process, including the consultation with the Scottish Children’s Parliament. The voices of children and young people are crucial to developing improvements for their own wellbeing and safety and to change a culture where children can be frightened to speak up.
Safeguarding in Sport, a partnership between Children 1st and sportscotland, has developed the Standards for Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport, which state children have a right to express their views and have their voice taken into account. We are keen to support the SFA in its continued implementation of the recommendations to create a culture in football where we can be sure that every child is safe to enjoy the huge benefits of participating in sport.
Any volunteer or official looking for advice or support about a child can contact email@example.com or contact the Children 1st Parentline service on 08000 282233 or online at www.children1st.org.uk/parentline.
Mary Glasgow, chief executive, Children 1st.
Save on energy costs
Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service provides free, independent advice to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to introduce more energy efficient technology.
Businesses can apply for an interest-free Scottish Government SME loan of £1,000 to £100,000, with a maximum cashback grant of £20,000 for those eligible.
Many businesses in Argyll and Bute have decided to take action to reduce their energy use, adding profit directly to the bottom line while helping Scotland meet its target to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2045.
Since 2016, the impartial advice given to companies in the region has identified almost £30m of potential energy savings through heating, lighting and building upgrades.
To find out more or to apply, visit www.energy.zerowastescotland.org.uk. Alternatively, email EnergyEfficiency@zerowastescotland.org.uk or call 08088 082268.
Marissa Lippiatt, head of resource efficiency, Zero Waste Scotland.