I was incensed by Ruth Wishart’s sweeping statement (Helensburgh Advertiser, May 11) that “any craft with an engine poses a potential danger to other loch users”.
Power boaters can at least cut their engines and/or turn away from approaching craft or swimmers, whilst yachters are dictated to by wind strength and direction, making it difficult to alter course suddenly or stop instantly.
It is not only powered craft which travel at speed.
I have seen yachts travel at 30mph or more.
I appreciate that power gives way to sail, but what about yachters encountering the other non-motorised water users such as paddle-boarders, canoeists or open water swimmers – all increasingly popular activities on Loch Lomond?
Skippers of powered craft have uninterrupted views from the helm, whereas yachters (and I have sailed!) are more restricted in what they can see because of the sails.
Open water swimmers are difficult enough to spot from the higher position of a powerboat helm with an unrestricted view, as they are very low in the water and are usually clad in black.
How much more difficult is it for a yachter with a restricted view to spot them?
In 25 years of motor cruising the only dangers I have encountered were not from other powered craft, but from out-of-control yachts and a rowing scull whose crew did not look behind them.
Indeed, on one occasion whilst anchored up to have lunch, we were approached by a lady in a RIB telling us that we should move as there was a number of racing yachts coming our way.
Mary M Jack, via email
I recently received Gary Mulvaney’s general election post card through my letter box.
In it his priority is his opposition towards the SNP, second only to his opposition to a referendum.
He also lists standing up for the Vale, but doesn’t say how, given health is a devolved matter – and indeed the remit in this case of a Health Board, not Westminster.
He then says he will support small businesses, town centres, and the rural economy, but is unable to say how.
Finally, he pledges to secure more investment and jobs in HM Naval Base Clyde, knowing full well that the recent review and dispositions have just taken place, and ignoring the needs of other parts of the constituency for whom Faslane and Coulport offer no employment prospects.
It seems his recent election as a councillor hasn’t been enough of an incentive – and if elected we now face the substantial costs of another local election.
Bryan Ritchie, via email
I am writing to thank everyone who supported and placed their faith in me during the recent Argyll and Bute Council elections.
I am grateful and humbled that so many people chose to vote for me.
I wish all the elected councillors well and trust they will work hard to address the many issues highlighted by residents during the campaign.
Fiona Baker (Independent candidate, Lomond North), Station Road, Rhu
This week it was reported that Moray Council is to incur a cost of £25,000 to hold a by-election in Elgin as a result of a newly elected councillor having second thoughts and resigning,
In the light of that news, I think that the electors of Argyll and Bute have a right to know that if, in the highly unlikely event of either the Tory or Liberal Democrat candidates – both of whom were elected as Argyll and Bute councillors before accepting their respective parties’ selection as Westminster candidates – becoming our MP, that they will then be reimbursing the council the cost of holding an election for their replacement.
Graeme McCormick (Convener, SNP Dumbarton Constituency Association), Redhouse Cottage, Arden
Having been born in 1946 I’m part of the generation called Baby Boomers.
Boom in this case means ‘explosion’ in number of children.
One can understand that immediately after the war there was little time to plan for such a sudden increase.
This resulted in primary school class sizes of over 50, a shortage of teachers, and only places for five per cent of school leavers being able to then get into university.
But that was more than 50 years ago.
So, plenty of time for politicians and bureaucrats to make things better.
Social services and community support is not coping with the number of older people. In the NHS, ‘baby boomers’ are increasingly being regarded as ‘Bed Blockers’.
Over the last decade the only thing that has improved for senior citizens is the assurance that their state pension will rise by a minimum of either 2.5 per cent, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth, whichever is largest.
This was introduced by the Lib Dems in 2011 as part of the coalition government.
Now we learn that Teresa May intends to break this ‘triple lock on pensions’.
The only way of ensuring that the UK state pension is not reduced is to vote for the Liberal Democrats and that means in Argyll and Bute voting for Alan Reid.
Finlay Craig, via email
I AM disappointed to read that Alan Reid (Liberal Democrats) and Gary Mulvaney (Conservative and Unionist) have decided to put themselves forward as candidates for the General Election.
This comes less than one week after being elected as councillors and before even one full council meeting.
It is a privilege to be elected to represent the people of Argyll and Bute at Council, and if I was a cynic, I might think they are merely looking for another job on a higher pay scale.
I would urge Councillors Reid and Mulvaney to get on with the day job of representing their constituents rather than spending their time on the campaign trail.
Cllr Anne Horn (SNP, Kintyre and the Islands), Lochgair Place, Tarbert
When watching First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently being interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Marr, it seemed to me that it was like a party political broadcast for the SNP.
Then on Sunday, on ITV’s Preston on Sunday it was exactly the same.
What I can’t understand that with North Korea provoking international fury with its continuing missile tests, why she is not asked about the SNP’s policy on HM Naval Base Clyde Faslane?
John Connor, David Henderson Court, Dunfermline
In February Theresa May and Ruth Davidson urged Scottish voters to vote Conservative in the council elections and send a message to Nicola Sturgeon, saying ‘No to a second independence referendum’.
The SNP, however, still won the council elections, with more votes as well as more seats.
It finished as comfortably the largest party, boasting 431 councillors, despite the Conservatives making gains to finish on 276 and Labour on 262 councillors.
The SNP is indeed the largest party in Scotland’s four main cities, replacing Labour as the largest party in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and maintaining its position as the largest party in Dundee.
The SNP is also now the largest party in 16 council areas – up from 10 in 2012 – and joint largest in a further three councils.
Despite the Tory strategy of making the council election a referendum on a referendum, while they have done extremely well, they did not win and are indeed well behind behind the SNP.
The General Election is being fought by the Tories using this same strategy.
However, it is anticipated the SNP will still finish as the largest party in Scotland, both in terms of votes and in having more than half the MPs.
If this transpires to be the case, one hopes Ms May will do the honourable thing and meet with Ms Sturgeon as soon after June 8 as possible and make arrangements for the holding of the referendum.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh
Nicola Sturgeon’s relentless ‘Tories are Toxic’-style mantra shows she hasn’t quite grasped the changing political realities of the New Scotland.
New Scotland isn’t of course the fantasy narrative we rejected so recently as 2014, of an independent Scotland rich on North Sea oil and gas, beyond the dreams of Croesus.
Ms Sturgeon simply hasn’t realised how angry the majority of Scots are with the SNP.
The nationalist leader taught us, when voting, to put the constitution before anything else – education, the NHS and other public services – and, consequently, massive swathes of Scots are going to vote Tory on June 8 – but not because they seek a hard Brexit, nor because they passionately subscribe to radical free market capitalism, nor necessarily are ideologically right of centre.
Just as in the local election, more Scots will vote Tory than in decades because they see voting Conservative as the optimal way to make the SNP adhere to the Edinburgh Agreement and respect the outcome of the 2014 referendum.
Every time Ms Sturgeon, Alex Salmond and the rest of the SNP establishment chant their anti-Tory rhetoric, a few more pro-UK Scots decide voting Tory is the right thing to do.
They may or may not do so ever again but right now, it looks like the best way in not all, but many constituencies to show Ms Sturgeon and her party that the majority don’t want another separation referendum during this Holyrood parliament.
Martin Redfern, Merchiston Gardens, Edinburgh
I WANT to thank your readers who have been supporting the British Heart Foundation (BHF) this spring by decluttering and donating items from their clear out to their local BHF shop.
I work at The University of Glasgow as a BHF Professor and wanted to tell your readers about my current research project, funded by the BHF.
My team and I are studying dangerous molecules, which damage the inner lining and wall of blood vessels, increasing people’s risk of a heart attack or stroke.
We’re working to develop new treatments that could protect vessels from damage and reduce people’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
My project is just one of over 1,000 research projects that the BHF currently funds at universities across the UK, investigating every aspect of heart and circulatory disease – from causes and better drugs to improving surgical techniques.
Each of these projects are only made possible by the BHF’s generous supporters and each unwanted item donated this spring brings us one step closer to the next big breakthrough in heart research.
I cannot thank the people of Scotland enough for helping to support such an important and worthy cause.
There are currently 670,000 people living with cardiovascular disease across Scotland and I’m sure every reader will have been touched by heart disease in some way or another whether it be personally, through a family member or close friend.
If you are yet to have your clear out or would like to support your local BHF shop at other times of the year, they are always in need of items to fill their rails and shelves so please do keep them in mind for your unwanted items.
To find your local shop, order free donation bags or find out more about the free home collection service, please visit bhf.org.uk/bagit.
Professor Rhian Touyz, BHF-funded researcher