Letters to the Editor 7.7.17

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Who knows?
Sir,
Your correspondent Mike McGeachy (Letters, 30 June 30), in compiling figures to show the likely outcome of a vote at a future referendum, forgets or conveniently ignores the fact that, independence does not only rely on votes from the SNP and Greens.

An estimated 28 per cent of Labour supporters chose to vote for independence in 2014, despite their party’s policy for unionism. Hopefully, they will do so again when required.

There is also evidence that some Lib Dems and Conservatives also defied their respective party’s directive and voted Yes, though not in anything like the numbers by Labour Party supporters.

In addition to this there are several small groups such as the SSP; Business for Scotland; Common Weal; Radicals for Independence, and Women for Independence, though some of them may well ‘lend’ their votes to the SNP or Greens at elections.

The shambolic mess created by the Tories at Westminster leaves the future of the UK difficult to assess.

There is the distinct possibility that, more and more people in Scotland will reflect that, enough is enough, and accept independence as a viable option. Who knows?
Norrie Paton
3 Kilkerran Park
Campbeltown

Only a weed if in the wrong place
Sir
Regarding the letter in The Courier about ‘weeds’ on the foreshore of the Esplanade and Dalintober Quay.

A weed is just a plant that’s growing where it may not be wanted, but it’s certain that these plants on the foreshore are appreciated by seed-eating birds.  The buddleia there is a plant beloved by butterflies.

Last year 40 out of 57 British butterfly species were found to have declined in numbers.

A 2015 study, ‘The state of the UK’s birds’, showed that the number of farmland birds was fewer than half of what it was in 1970.

Scientific research increasingly finds that weed killer is one of the factors in the decline of insects, and of the birds which depend upon seeds and/or insects for food.

Kintyre would be a poorer place without its wildlife, and the last thing our poisoned planet needs is the application of more weed killer.
Judy Martin,
Campbeltown

Memorable experience
Sir,
I would just like to write you a line saying what a very lovely three days we’ve spent in and around Campbeltown staying at the wonderful Machrihanish Holiday Park.

The specific reason for my writing is to share our highlight – meeting Eddie Maguire at his Seabird Observatory, a simply memorable experience.

Aside from the work he does being very important, it seems to me he encapsulates the spirit of the place.

A real character, happy in his solitude, yet equally happy to extend a warm welcome to visitors sharing his local knowledge and giving us a tip on an excellent seal spotting location. Thanks to him we had the delight of seeing some seals fairly close up, sunning themselves on rocks and what a joy it was.

He is clearly very knowledgeable about birds and handed us his binoculars and gave us the chance to snap some pictures on his precious camera.

Having worked in travel PR for 15 years, promoting international, national and regional boards to the UK market, this sort of unique, local ‘character based’ story is exactly what editors look for nowadays, recognising the demand for local, experiential based experiences.

We will not forget Eddie, nor in turn, this part of Kintyre. I very much hope the local community carry on supporting his work and can see what great value he brings to the area.
Jessica Hilliard
15 Crescent Place
Brighton

Masters of our own destiny
Sir,
It is more than a little ironic that as Scotland, through being part of the UK, prepares to leave the European Union, Estonia, with a population around a quarter that of Scotland, will take over the EU Presidency on
July 1.

The presidency is responsible for driving forward the EU’s work, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and cooperation among member states.

During the next six months this will focus on key areas, including single and digital markets, the energy union and closer integration of Eastern partners into Europe. It also want to focus on the promotion of e-solutions and the information society in EU policy areas.

Interestingly its prime minister, Jüri Ratas, has declared that Brexit is not a priority for the Presidency, a sign that the EU is moving on from Brexit, with bigger issues to deal with.

Estonia, which next year will celebrate its centenary of becoming independent, takes over from Malta in holding the presidency of European Union, an island with a population less than that of Edinburgh.

During the independence referendum, the Better Together camp claimed that the only way to guarantee Scotland’s place in the EU was to vote to remain in the UK. Indeed, Scotland was to ‘lead the UK’ not ‘leave the UK’.

Times have indeed changed since September 2014 and we are, despite these assurances, heading for the EU exits.

Of course, we could have the best of both worlds, part of a single market with the rest of the UK – as promised to Northern Ireland in its relations with the Republic of Ireland – and still members of the EU.

For that to happen of course requires the confidence, as Malta and Estonia have demonstrated, to take full control of our own affairs and be the masters of our own destiny, leading not leaving the EU.
Alex Orr,
Edinburgh