Argyllshire Advertiser Leader Column – May 20, 2022

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In her announcement to Holyrood this week rural affairs and islands secretary Mairi Gougeon MSP claimed the carbon neutral islands project was testament to Scottish islands being in the vanguard of innovation.

It is a vanguard’s job to lead a battalion from the front, however, if  Jura’s beleaguered islanders were leading the troops their first step would be to descend a rusted 12-foot ladder to the sea.

This was the sole route available for business deliveries, babies, school children and mail on Monday and represents just a drop in the ocean of what islanders throughout Argyll have had to deal with in recent months simply to visit the mainland, whether for work, health or pleasure.

Argyll and Bute MSP Jenni Minto told the paper this week that our islands are profoundly important – not just to Scotland, but to the whole world.

She said: ‘They contribute hugely to our culture, heritage, environment, identity, landscape, economy and society.’

Might it not be fair, then, that these ‘profoundly important’ places and their inhabitants be supported by a reliable ferry service.

Islanders need the means to do business as well as access to the same services that mainlanders take for granted.

In the 21st century island life ought not to be so challenging, particularly if these communities are expected, as the minister says, to lead the way in innovation.