Letters to the editor – April 22, 2022

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Human cost of Rest debacle

Sir,

The economic cost of the Rest and Be Thankful debacle has been well made by business representatives and the effect on animal welfare has been described as ‘intolerable’.

The human cost is not quantifiable, but needs to be publicised just the same.

For the sick and elderly, these holdups and interruptions to communication are no small thing. Hospital appointments and treatment, family contacts, care at critical times can’t be guaranteed. People have left the area as a result.

There are no toilets.

I imagine the cost of fuel and the limited availability of petrol and diesel at Inveraray will mean the detour to Crianlarich is out of the question for some.

The present solution is intolerable. Some of these health and welfare issues could be addressed immediately.

The facts speak for themselves. It seems people have been forgotten in this situation.

Barabel Mckay, Lochgair.

Single-gender services

Sir,

I would like to ask all the candidates standing in the upcoming council election in May the following questions:

  • Can you define what a woman is?
  • Do you understand the Equality Act protects single-sex spaces and services?
  • Will you protect single-sex services in your community?
  • Will you protect the characteristic of ‘sex’ in council policies?

If your readers are wondering why I am asking these questions, they may be interested in the replies.

Highland Council brought in gender-neutral toilets at Culloden Academy without consultation with parents. The work was completed during the summer break but – following a backlash from parents – the council reverted to single sex toilets within days of the start of term.

I sincerely hope nothing of that nature would happen in Argyll and Bute without thorough consultation with parents. Many females who have had to use a school or public toilet whilst menstruating will understand the desire for these toilets to be for single sex use.

Elaine Mackenzie, address supplied.

Time to complete the census

Sir,

People in Argyll and Bute who have not yet filled in their Scotland’s Census details are reminded it is their legal responsibility to do so and are being encouraged to get help if they need it.

By answering questions about yourself, your home and your household, you are having your say on what services are needed in your community.

The census provides vital information required to invest in and run the services we all rely on. Charities and businesses also use census data to help them make decisions.

Those who don’t fill in the census by May 1 may face prosecution, which could lead to a criminal record and a fine.

I’d like to thank everyone who has filled in their census.

For anyone who has yet to complete it, help and support is available on the website census.gov.scot or via a free helpline on 08000 308308.

Guidance is available in English and 16 other languages on the website. An interpretation service can be accessed by calling 08000 308333.

Guidance can be requested in braille, large print, on audio CD or USB.

There are guidance videos in British Sign Language (BSL) on the website and a video relay service offered by contactscotland-bsl.org can be used by BSL-users to access advice from the helpline.

Anyone who can’t complete the census on their own can ask someone they trust over 16 years old for help.

Reminder letters have been sent to every household which is yet to complete the census and staff are visiting addresses to offer advice and support.

If you need more information, visit www.census.gov.scot or call the free census helpline on 08000 308308.

Paul Lowe, National Records of Scotland chief executive.

Get active with Mary’s Meals

Sir,

I’m proud to support Mary’s Meals, a charity which feeds more than two million children in some of the world’s poorest countries every school day.

The Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon is an opportunity to swim, run, kayak and cycle around Loch Tay to support Mary’s Meals.

Or try hiking in the Pentland Hills for the Artemis Pentland Peaks Challenge. Readers can also set their own Move for Meals challenge and jog, climb, even disco dance anywhere in the UK to raise funds.

Taking part in these events will help Mary’s Meals reach desperately hungry children with the promise of a school meal across 20 countries including Ethiopia, Haiti, South Sudan and Syria.

Mark Beaumont, athlete and broadcaster.

PM’s moral authority has gone

Sir,

It is striking to note the spurious argument that because there is war in Ukraine this means the Prime Minister should remain in office and not be replaced.

This is a man who has broken the law – the first Prime Minister in office to do this – as well as lying to parliament. History highlights that on numerous occasions we have replaced the Prime Minister in wars we have been directly involved in.

For instance, in May 1940 Neville Chamberlain resigned after the failure of British efforts to liberate Norway. In December 1916, at the height of the First World War, Lloyd George replaced Herbert Asquith. More recently, Margaret Thatcher resigned in November 1990, with Iraq invading Kuwait in August of that year, which led to the Gulf War.

Add to this, changes to Prime Ministers during the war in Afghanistan, the second Boer War, the second Opium War and the Crimean War, changing a prime minister in a time of conflict is clearly not unprecedented.

Those who make the law cannot be seen to be breaking the law and it is scarcely credible that Mr Johnson, who has now lost the final fragments of any moral authority he did have, can carry the confidence of the country and remain in office.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.