Letters, February 12 2021


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Gimcrack Imperial fantasies have led to present predicament

The response of the Three Brexiteers – Messrs Abendroth, Gee and MacPherson – to my letter last week on the disastrous Tory Brexit epitomises the gimcrack Imperial fantasies that have led to our present predicament.

The Scottish Government’s huge vaccine rollout is not dependent on Westminster’s charity; it is being paid for by Scottish taxes and borrowing – over which Scots have no control – on our behalf by the Westminster government.

Virtually every country in the world is borrowing heavily to counter the Covid pandemic and indeed, as an independent country in the EU, Scotland would have access to the EU’s solidarity stimulus plan, considerably greater than the UK’s. The notion that Scotland, with a mature European economy, is uniquely incapable of tackling our post-Covid challenges tells us more about those who spout these colonial myths than they realise.

Brexiteer insistence that walking out of the world’s largest single market will lead to ‘world beating’ trade deals is for the birds.

Mr Abendorth’s self-lauded Tory deal with the Pacific is small beer compared to the 6.1 per cent hit to Scotland’s economy that Brexit brings in its wake.

By contrast, the catastrophic 2007-08 banking crash was three per cent, which we are still paying for with stagnant wages and food banks.

Leaving the EU at the height of the Covid pandemic has been both reckless and unforgivable, as is the price that Scotland is expected to pay for Boris Johnson’s folly.

Independence is now an urgent imperative to put the sovereign powers of change back into the hands of the Scottish people.

Ron Wilson, secretary, Kintyre SNP.

Dilapidated roads and poorly maintained cemeteries cause upset

Our dilapidated roads and poorly maintained cemeteries continue to be raised by many of my justifiably concerned and upset constituents, including many members of  community councils both on the islands and the mainland.

While I understand that our roads department is struggling due to local authority budgets being cut by the Scottish Government, much more still needs to be done.

I will, as your councillor, represent your interests and will argue that our hard-working  workforce is given every opportunity to exercise its initiative, to deal with issues at a local level.

It has been said to me time and time again that we are fast approaching the point of no return and when it comes to our roads; neglecting day-to-day maintenance will end up costing us more in the long-run.

I will continue to lobby day-in and day-out for better infrastructure in my ward.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands.

‘Shocking neglect’ of Argyll

The Scottish Government’s long-awaited infrastructure investment plan is a big disappointment for Argyll and Bute.

The Rest and Be Thankful only gets one small mention – it is to be ‘enhanced’, but no details and no cash allocated. In contrast, roads in other parts of Scotland have detailed works planned and money set aside to pay for them.

After 14 years of failed attempts at a solution and six months after a major landslide, Argyll deserves better than a vague election promise to ‘enhance’ the road.

The only new ferries mentioned are two 100-metre ferries. These are the same two ferries that were promised in the 2015 infrastructure plan, but still lie in a yard, years late and well over budget. Neither of these ferries is for Argyll and Bute. All we get is vague promises of a ‘long-term plan and investment programme’.

This so-called plan is a shocking neglect of Argyll and Bute.

Councillor Alan Reid, Cowal ward.

Cancer support remains during pandemic

The start of 2021 is proving to be an acutely challenging time for people with cancer, the NHS and for cancer care. Indeed, it’s clear that this is the most worrying time in recent history to get a cancer diagnosis.

At Macmillan, people are calling our support line every day to tell us about the heightened anxiety, loneliness and distress that they are feeling.

On our support line – open seven days a week on 0808 808 00 00 – specially trained nurses, counsellors and financial support advisors are available to help anyone affected by, or worried about, cancer. They can provide comprehensive information and advice, as well as emotional support, to help people with cancer cope with the additional strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

We know doctors and nurses are working in unspeakably difficult conditions and are having to make tough decisions every day. Healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to keep cancer care on track, but we also know that some treatment – operations, for example – are being cancelled or postponed because essential services such as ITU are full of seriously ill people with Covid-19.

What is absolutely vital is that if there are changes to treatment plans, these must involve the person living with cancer and be communicated clearly.

Although some changes may be needed for treatment plans, this is not the case everywhere or for all treatments or tests. Healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to make hospitals a safe environment so it’s really important that people with cancer who have been invited for tests or treatment do attend.

GPs are open if you are worried about possible cancer symptoms, and screening and other vital tests have resumed in a Covid-safe way. The NHS is still here for you.

As well as our support line, comprehensive cancer information and support is also available on www.macmillan.org.uk and our online community is there to provide invaluable emotional and peer support.

Gordon McLean, strategic partnership manager in Scotland for Macmillan Cancer Support.