THIS week's Advertiser Comment section includes readers' views on Helensburgh pier, Brexit, the environment and a 'thank you' to supporters of a local dance school.

To have your say on any local issue, just email your views to Please keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can, and remember to include your name and address.

We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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ANOTHER article about the future of Helensburgh pier was published in the Advertiser’s March 14 edition; we await a decision on what is to happen but I fear it may be all too difficult for Argyll and Bute Council to make Helensburgh pier useable again.

The wooden piles have been in place for around 100 years and may or may not be structurally sound. In a casual observation, they look pretty shot, to the untrained eye.

In my view the answer is to replace the relatively short wooden part of the pier with something else.

Let me suggest something to think about. Have you ever watched interlocking metal sheets being driven into the ground on construction sites to create a retaining barrier?

Drive in such a solid barrier round the existing pier, remove as much of the wooden structure and decking as is practicable, and infill with solid material to provide something safe enough for the Waverley and Clyde ferries and smaller craft to use.

A quick search for ‘trench sheeting’ gives a hint at what is out there. An example is at

I’m sure our council will tell us that is all too difficult and we will need numerous studied and engineering reports before this and any other option is taken on.

The trouble is, the longer we do nothing, the less likely it is that we will ever do anything.

Dougie Blackwood, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Advertiser Letters, March 14

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Can someone please find a muzzle for Councillor Alastair Redman (Advertiser Comment, March 14)? He is embarrassing himself in the week when the Tory government south of the border has reached a new low in cringeworthy politics.

As I pointed out two weeks ago, Britain should have been out of the EU on June 24, 2016 – the day after the referendum vote.

A majority of the public voted to leave the EU. The British establishment did not consider such an outcome possible and are still in denial. The petty squabbling in the ranks of Scottish Labour is the least of the Conservative councillor’s problems.

‘Out of the EU’ was the mandate of the voters, yet the decision to leave has just been kicked into the long grass by our elected representatives in Westminster.

Scotland and the UK needs immigrants. They contribute to our economy and our cultural diversity. Reach back into time and you will find that we are all immigrants.

David Cameron promised to lead us out of Europe, and resigned the day after the vote. Theresa May campaigned for Remain and is still active in that cause.

Immigrants in this country and Brits living in Europe are being held hostage by her lack of leadership. Entry to the UK should be on the basis of our needs, not some arbitrary income level.

The letter from Dr Robertson of Diabetes UK is an example of bad science and follows from my comments last week. The words “Diabetes UK funded researchers” should be a red flag to anyone reading her letter.

My mother had Type 1 diabetes and I know first hand the problems of someone living with the disease.

Type 1 diabetes is due to a failure of the pancreas to produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. If blood glucose is too low – hypoglycemia – the body goes into a coma and you die. This was the fate of patients with Type 1 diabetes before the introduction of daily insulin injections.

A district nurse visited my mother every day and gave her injections of animal insulin. These insulins were isolated from cow or pig pancreas.

Insulin is a protein, and the human body has a mechanism to reject protein from foreign sources. Part of my mother’s treatment required the periodic change from one type of animal insulin to another. This change usually resulted in a significant change in her health. During one such change, my mother lost her eyesight.

The amino acid sequence of human insulin was determined by Dr Fred Sanger in Cambridge, UK. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for this work in 1958. His work now allows the production of synthetic human insulin.

As a result of Dr Sanger’s work, the problems encountered by my mother are a thing of the past. However the patient must be vigilant and monitor his or her blood glucose levels daily.

While high blood glucose levels don’t cause instant death, the long term effects are significant. High blood glucose levels cause glucose molecules to bind to various proteins in the body. The HbA1c levels mentioned by Dr Robertson are an example of such effects.

Haemoglobin is the protein that makes blood red. If blood glucose levels are high over a period of time, a molecule of glucose binds chemically to a haemoglobin molecule to form haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).

Blood levels of HbA1c are a useful clinical measure of blood glucose over a prolonged period of time. The chemical binding of glucose molecules to other body proteins can lead to blindness, heart disease and the other symptoms of bad glucose management in diabetes Type 1 patients.

It is vital that patients with Type 1 diabetes are made aware of the need to be proactive in the management of their health.

There should be no postcode lottery in the provision of health services in Scotland. While Diabetes UK have a role to play in that awareness-raising effort, why are they spending valuable resources to reach the conclusion that people living in deprived areas have bad dietary habits?

John Black ,Beau Vallon, The Seychelles

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READ MORE: Advertiser Letters, March 7

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In these uncertain times, where we have lost faith in our self-serving politicians, I can honestly say my faith in at least one has been restored. Recently I had to call upon the help of Lomond North independent councillor George Freeman.

Due to Storm Gareth the main storm drain serving the A82 at Luss was blocked, and and as a result the water cascaded into my home, and those of my neighbours. Councillor Freeman immediately contacted council officials and other organisations to help resolve the issue.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Councillor Freeman, who wasn’t out for glory, or for a pat on the back from a particular political party – he was doing what he wanted to do, which was to serve his constituents.

Other politicians should take note.

Robert Penman, Luss

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READ MORE: Advertiser Letters, February 28

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This year’s Ian R. McLeod Theatre School annual show in the Victoria Halls yet again proved a resounding success.

The show included performances in ballet, tap, jazz, drama, acro, and theatre drama, and as always the students provided a high quality, professional show full of enthusiasm and fun.

Watching the show, you can see how the children develop their skills, from toddlers performing their first show, right up to seniors blossoming into confident young adults.

The school would like to thank all the local shops, restaurants and flower shops who very generously donated towards the raffle – we raised more than £460 for Cancer Research.

This was the school’s 31st show, and the town’s generosity towards donating to the charity raffle continues to grow.

Donations from Amaryllis, the Scandinavian shop, Tesco, Riverhill, Padrone, The Flower Shop, Plantation, Dinosaur and Diamond, Top to Toe, Masala Twist, Buttercup Moon, Waitrose, Shooftie, Tweedie, La Jupe, Yoga with Jody, En Pointe, Riva, Elegance Boutique were all very much appreciated.

Jody Hopper, via email

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With Theresa May’s Brexit deal yet again failing to get through the House of Commons and a delay to the date the UK is due to leave the EU, it is clear that we are simply lurching from crisis to crisis.

One wonders what good an extension will actually do given the negotiating position of both the EU and the UK. The UK is deadlocked, in terms of its people, Parliament and Cabinet, and the likelihood of any semblance of a deal that commands the majority of the House of Commons is unlikely.

Given this situation, a UK-wide referendum on the deal, a so-called ‘People’s Vote’, with the option to remain in the EU, is the only credible way to break this deadlock.

For those who argue that this would damage our democratic process, I am not sure we can slump any lower than the situation we are currently in.

There are few I know who voted for Brexit in the belief it would make them poorer, and it is up to the public to give its view on whether the deal, and more importantly its implications, are what it wants.

For once I agree with Jacob Rees-Mogg who previously supported a vote on the renegotiated settlement – a statement he now curiously seems to have forgotten.

The Scottish Parliament has led the way in backing a People’s Vote and now that we know the precise nature of the deal, it is up to the public to have its say.

Alex Orr, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

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I’m writing to encourage your readers to join the thousands of people across Scotland, and millions around the world, taking part in the biggest event to protect the planet, Earth Hour. It is taking place at 8.30pm on Saturday, March 30, and you can all get involved.

Climate change is already happening in front of our eyes here in Scotland. One in 11 Scottish species are endangered by our changing climate, including the beloved capercaillie, puffin and the white-beaked dolphin. Even small increases in temperature threaten many of the plants and animals that make Scotland such a wonderful place to live.

You can help by being a #VoiceForThePlanet and pledge to change an aspect of your life to live more sustainably. This could be switching to a green energy provider, turning down your washing machine to 30 degrees or going on a staycation. Whilst individually these changes may seem small, together they will have a huge impact and will help to reduce our environmental footprint.

Be part of this global moment by switching off your lights for an hour on March 30 at 8.30pm, and use the time to go star gazing, join a local nature walk or simply have a candlelit meal with friends or family.

There are hundreds of Earth Hour events happening across Scotland. Make your pledge to protect our wonderful planet, and find out what’s on near you, by visiting

Why not share your pledge and your Earth Hour actions on the night by tagging #EarthHourScotland on social media, and join the millions around the world taking action to protect our planet.

Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland