Letters to the editor – May 20, 2022

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Regatta confusion


There has been much confusion over the return to Tarbert of the 2022 Scottish Series regatta, due to be held from June 3-6; the Clyde Cruising Club has announced that the event will take place similar to previous years, albeit with a different title.

The more precise details of the regatta are being finalised and will be announced soon.

Scottish Series has been Scotland’s premier yachting regatta for many years and has been hosted in Tarbert, Loch Fyne since 1977, and attracts fleets and spectators from across the UK and Ireland.

Tarbert Enterprise Company has responsibility for the shoreside activities during the event and the confusion surrounding the event has been difficult to contend with within the local community.

Having had the Scottish Series cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, the whole village has been looking forward to welcoming crews and spectators back to Tarbert for one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year.

This confusion, so close to the event, has created uncertainty. We have accommodation providers who have long-term bookings for Scottish Series now finding, perhaps, the accommodation is empty.

And, as shoreside organisers, we find ourselves with all our preparations in place but with uncertainty which is not of our making.

Tarbert is a resilient community and we will endeavour to make the best of the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in.

We will celebrate the long Platinum Jubilee weekend shoreside, and we welcome anyone who wants to come and have a fun, family weekend in great company to Tarbert.

John Hardie, Tarbert Enterprise Company


Around a third of children and young people in Scotland’s publicly-funded schools (that’s around 233,000 pupils) need additional support.

And that number has been increasing for years.

The Scottish Government’s stated ambition is for all children and young people in Scotland to have the opportunity to grow up loved, safe and respected, enabling them to reach their full potential.

These ambitions aren’t, however, consistently being delivered in practice. In 2020, an independent review found that not all pupils in Scotland are always getting the additional support they need, when they need it.

In many cases, individuals’ needs are not given the focus they should be. Numerous aspects of additional support therefore need to be improved.

It’s distressing and frustrating that we repeatedly hear of the barriers that some families fight against to get the right support to help their child to learn.

Too often, families are worn down by a prolonged search for the right support, and by having to manage a crisis that could have and should have been avoided. Families are partners with public services and should be regarded as such.

Central to the Accounts Commission’s priorities is emphasising and reporting on the debilitating and life-impacting inequalities faced by too many across Scotland’s communities.

The lack of the right support, at the right time, for children and young people who need additional support – and their families – can exacerbate and intensify these inequalities. So we will continue to focus on this important area as part of our ongoing work.

Stephen Moore, Member of the Accounts Commission

Islay church plans shock


On my recent visit to Islay, I was shocked to learn that it had been proposed to close Kilmeny Parish Church, along with two other churches on the island, within the next three years.

Although I no longer live on Islay, Kilmeny was the church in which I was baptized as a baby and married in. My extended family on Islay still attend this church on a regular basis.

This Thomas Telford-designed building has been at the social and spiritual centre of the community for some 200 years and to close it and sell off the building would be an irreparable loss to the extensive parish.

I gather there has been little consultation with the congregation and no consultation with the community about such a drastic decision.

I appreciate that the number attending the church each week has gradually declined but that is true of almost every established church in Scotland but you cannot judge its value to the community simply by counting heads on a Sunday morning. I think that it is in the public interest that the decision to close this beautiful church is more widely known so that steps can be taken to prevent its closure.
James Knox Whittet, Norfolk.

Ferry assertions


CMAL claims Islay has endorsed its two new ships for that route. Of course they did. It was made sure that nothing else was on offer.

These vessels do seem to be a step forward compared with previous ones, but that’s not really the comparison which should be used. Catamarans have their pros and cons, rather more pros than CMAL is willing to admit, but to claim that such were ever seriously considered is nonsense.

Joe Reade’s contention that this is essentially because of a mixture of corporate dogma and pride seems very plausible.

CMAL/CalMac have for years enjoyed a protected monopoly – at considerable and now ballooning cost – on Clyde and Hebridean ferry services. For this to be justified exceptionally beneficial results have to be demonstrated.

In reality the opposite has been the case, and while bad luck and adverse weather have played their parts, bad judgement – particularly at corporate level – is also evident.

All progress depends on comparisons. We can now find out quite easily what is happening elsewhere, and compare. The results tend not to support CMAL’s case.
Arthur Blue, Ardrishaig.