Letters, March 19 2021


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Misinterpretation of my beliefs

With regard to Mr Wilson’s letter, entitled ‘mishmash of worn out tropes’, published in the March 5 edition of the Courier, my initial reaction was not to conduct a political diatribe within the pages of the local paper; my thoughts were that I would let others decide whose letter is more appropriate.

However, on reflection, I decided to reply to the comments relating to my vaccine observations in which he states that for me ‘to denigrate the EU vaccine programme is crass and over simplistic’, followed by ‘our success is an illusion until both doses are administered’, and therefore I am accused of not only ‘crowing about vaccines’ but of being presumptuous and inappropriate.

Mr Wilson has a total misunderstanding of who I am and what my beliefs are. I care about mankind in general and the plight of its citizens, particularly where there is a prevalence of political ineptitude affecting their lives.

To reiterate, the EU purchasing system regarding vaccines was and still is chaotic, with the bureaucratic executive in Brussels initially lashing out, and currently certain members within the group are endeavouring to purchase supplies of vaccines for their citizens.

In addition, we now have a ban by some countries of vaccine exports from EU manufacturers to non-EU countries. An action which has angered the World Health Organization and upset Australia and other countries.

Regarding the comment that the vaccine success is an illusion, perhaps the perusal of some scientific pronouncements in relation to the efficacy would be appropriate.

To accuse me of crowing is not only resented but additionally hurtful. I have an extended family in France.

My daughter is married to a now retired French army captain and she is an environmental scientist and director of a laboratory in the IRD (France), a French public research institution. While her mother-in-law has had her first vaccination and in the last week so has her husband, she does not know when she will get an appointment.

Currently, in certain areas of France, the virus is very active and part of her remit involves travel to some of these hot-spots when working from home is not practicable. A situation which is very concerning to me.

I also do not know when I will be permitted to see them, either in France or in Scotland.

Crowing, indeed, I think not.

John Newall, Campbeltown.

Democracy is not pick and mix

Amidst the miscellany of economic disaster claims awaiting an independent Scotland thrown up by Michael McGeachy in last week’s Courier, I am gratified that Mr McGeachy does, at the very least, accept that Scotland has no debt at the point of independence. This is progress.

Unfortunately, Mr McGeachy then goes on to hold up Scotland’s putative deficit as an ace card in the unionist case to ‘prove’ that Scotland is an economic basket-case surviving on English largesse. In reality, it demonstrates the opposite.

Scotland’s ‘deficit’, created within the UK, with our overall budget set by another government – that’s 70 per cent of Scotland’s revenues and 40 per cent of our spending – is a damning indictment of Westminster’s reckless economic vandalism. It is the cost of Westminster Tory rule and the union’s failure.

Indeed, if being part of the UK was such an advantage, Scotland would have a stronger economy than our northern independent competitors.

That they are all considerably more successful, with fewer economic resources than Scotland, makes the case for Scotland to have control of all the sovereign economic levers required to succeed in the global economy.

Mr McGeachy concludes with the familiar splenetic, ‘you had your referendum’ in 2014. In this time we have had three Prime Ministers, two Westminster elections and one Holyrood election, not forgetting England’s Brexit imposed upon Scotland.

Democracy is not pick and mix, Mr McGeachy. The ‘Better Together’ parties can huff and puff about ‘taking back control’ to London, but Scotland is not their possession.

We still live in a free country and if Scots vote this May for an SNP government focused on Scottish priorities, including the right to ensure that Scotland’s future is Scotland’s choice, not Boris Johnson’s, democracy, as we saw with the election of President Biden, will prevail.

Ron Wilson, secretary, Kintyre SNP.

Glaring Scottish digital divide

The fact that the SNP has produced a new digital strategy document will come as little consolation to residents of the Highlands and Islands, who would struggle to download it even if they wanted to.

The SNP has left the Highlands and Islands in the digital dark ages.

The 2016 SNP manifesto committed to deliver superfast broadband (R100) to every home and business by 2021. This has comprehensively failed, with ministers refusing to discuss completion dates. A December 2020 report logged an average download speed of 2.06Mbps in Glen Shiel. That is 134 times slower than Scotland’s fastest street.

The pandemic has exposed the glaring digital divide that exists between rural and urban parts of Scotland.

Scottish Liberal Democrats want our remote and rural communities to be great places to live, work and study.

That’s why we are setting out new proposals to put power in the hands of local community managers and prioritise investment in catch-up zones to ensure that everyone has access to the digital services they need to prosper.

Alan Reid, Scottish Liberal Democrats’ lead candidate for the Highlands and Islands.

Know ovarian cancer symptoms

Cancer continues to claim lives regardless of the pandemic.

As resources within the NHS are stretched to their limits, charities like Target Ovarian Cancer need your help more than ever before. Please help us raise awareness and raise funds. Whilst we are all fighting coronavirus, Target Ovarian Cancer is putting the needs of women with ovarian cancer before all else.

In 2010, my mother, the actress Marjie Lawrence, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just three weeks before she died.

Had we and her doctors been aware of the symptoms, Marjie might be alive today. If diagnosed at the earliest stage, nine in 10 women will survive. But two thirds of women are diagnosed late, when the cancer is harder to treat.

This March, for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, I’m writing to ask your readers to take just two minutes of their time to learn the symptoms and spread the word to their families and friends.

The main symptoms of ovarian cancer are: persistent bloating, feeling full or having difficulty eating, tummy pain, and needing to wee more often or more urgently.

If you believe in a future where every woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer has the best chance of survival, please show your support and visit www.targetovariancancer.org.uk/March

Sarah Greene, Target Ovarian Cancer Patron.