Letters, July 17 2020

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Overdue infrastructure works are needed

With lockdown starting to ease, many of my constituents are increasingly raising justifiable concerns about local and trunk road conditions, grass verges that need cutting, ditches, culverts and drains that are becoming overgrown and flooded, and the need for long overdue maintenance at our many graveyards and cemeteries.

While it is very understandable that some of these works were put on the back-burner during the recent coronavirus pandemic, in my opinion, it is now time for these matters to be addressed.

With winter approaching and an inevitable increase in traffic on our roads from tourists visiting late and possibly staying longer due to coronavirus concerns, it’s clear that our struggling roads network will face a two pronged assault.

Our hardworking front-line roads men can only use the resources they have on hand and local authority budgets across rural Scotland continue to be hit the hardest despite an increase in available resources that the Scottish Government has on hand.

Despite all these financial challenges that lie ahead for the Kintyre and the Islands ward, I will continue to lobby all year round at both a local and central government level for a better deal for my constituents.

Councillor Alastair Redman,
Kintyre and the Islands.

Doon the watter

‘Here we are again, happy as can be, all good friends, and jolly good company.’

This was the opening number sung by the troupe of variety entertainers who performed at Clyde coast resorts, including Tarbert, 100 summers ago.

A poem by Dugald Mitchell reads: ‘Think no more of foreign parts, fabled alp or castellated Rhine. Step aboard the good Columba, book for Tarbert on Loch Fyne.’

Let us hope the paddle steamer Waverley gets technical problems sorted and Waverley Trust management can again take bookings for Campbeltown, Tarbert and for many more Clyde and Hebridean destinations ere too long.

Duncan Iain MacDougall,
Tarbert.

The elephant in the room

People occasionally ignore the elephant in the room to support their point of view, but in his latest letter, Councillor Alastair Redman has ignored an entire herd in his living room.

In his latest rant he states that the SNP is failing councils as the cost of coronavirus could hit more than £400 million, but surely these costs would be the same no matter who was in power?

He also suggests that ‘essential local services have been underfunded for years’ yet fails to mention the years of needless austerity cuts, actioned by his party and their collaborators, to bail out the greedy and risky practices of the banks, which reduced funding to a devastatingly low level in general.

It is worth noting that the Scottish Government has put a greater percentage of its curtailed income into NHS Scotland than any part part of the UK. This has helped NHS Scotland to outperform all of the others, in the UK, for the past five years. This is paying dividends now.

He returns to his familiar attempt to insult by referring to citizens who want to take responsibility for making and managing decisions and working to make their country prosper within the priorities set by its citizens as ‘separatists’. I’m glad to be described as a separatist because the alternative is to be an apologist for an unrepresentative government in Westminster and to abdicate decision making to that same out-of-touch group.

It is Councillor Redman’s final point, however, that demonstrates his blinkered sycophancy. His suggestion that the Scottish Government should follow the example of other parts of the UK. Could he really be saying that we should follow the chaotic shambles and incompetence that has emanated from his chums at Westminster? Does he seriously think that any sensible person, irrespective of their own political affiliation and from any of the devolved nations, would swap what their government’s have done for the Westminster model?

Sadly, nowhere in his missive does Councillor Redman take time to mention the health and safety of our citizens.

It is this, together with scientific advice and without political point scoring, that is driving the Scottish Government’s response to this tragic pandemic.

Kevin MacKaveney,
Tarbert.

Support Scottish tourism

We all have a role to play in the recovery of the country’s tourism industry after its reopening on July 15.

Scots could help by taking a trip, visiting an attraction or experience, shopping locally, dining out and booking a ‘staycation’.

Scottish tourism is facing its biggest challenge in a generation and will need financial support for some time to come to help it recover. The Scottish public has a crucial part to play in helping this happen.

It’s easy to not think of yourself as a tourist in your own country but many of the experiences that we often enjoy with loved ones, such as holidays, shopping or eating out, all contribute to our visitor economy.

July 15 marked a new era for the industry as we start to welcome back visitors and take our first steps on the road to a safe and responsible recovery. However, reopening won’t be the same for all businesses, many are still adapting to this ‘new normal’, so it’s important that we recognise that as we move forward to try and restore our industry.

We look forward to helping Scots rediscover their own country in a way that is safe for everyone – visitors, residents and those working within the industry. Recovery will require our collective efforts and we must act as one to ensure the best possible outcomes for the whole of the visitor economy.

Malcolm Roughead,
VisitScotland chief executive.