THIS week's letters to the Advertiser include your views on a Helensburgh community garden, parking, the European Parliament election result and more.

To have your say on any local issue, just email your views to or send them to us via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

Please keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can, and remember to supply us with your name and address.

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also require a daytime contact telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

* * * * * * * * * * *

As a member of the James Street Community Garden Association, I would like to thank Waitrose, on their behalf, for their recent and very generous donation of £250 towards the project.

There has been a wonderful response from the public in general towards what we have done. Many have given donations or sponsored items. Several businesses and clubs have helped, and will be mentioned in our final list along with these donors.

Those with dogs (who also enjoy the open space) have been conscientious about removing any droppings and making sure enthusiastic paws keep off the flowers.

The people of all ages who have sat in the sun for a while, with a coffee and snack, have put their litter in the bin outside the gate, for which we are grateful. And passers-by often comment favourably on the garden, which makes the hard work of setting it up worth while.

With the last of the benches in place, we have finished our installations, and it is mainly weeding, maintenance and plant care or replacement and such jobs that we must continue to do.

We have recently had some minor damage, but we would like to thank the people of Helensburgh for their very positive outlook on the garden, and hope they continue to enjoy it and think of it as theirs.

Although we faithfully shut the gates in the evening, they could help us protect their space by keeping an eye on it for us and reporting any inappropriate behaviour.

Catriona Malan, Helensburgh

* * * * * * * * * * *

YOUR story in the Advertiser's May 16 issue, 'Motorist wins battle over £30 parking ticket', reporting my 15-month battle with Argyll and Bute Council over a parking ticket I was given on Helensburgh pier, has prompted a number of responses on social media, some of them criticising me for my parking.

No, I am not a bad parker, but one who believes in the law, and I won my case on the law, not on bad parking.

Some people sound as if they are the type of driver that will happily cause inconvenience to other drivers by parking a couple of inches to the next cars driver's door.

If that's you, do stay in your little box with your little diddly car.

Thomas Nelson, via email

* * * * * * * * * * *

For the past two years, since he was elected to Argyll and Bute Council by the skin of his teeth, Councillor Alastair Redman has bombarded the Advertiser, and other local newspapers, with a constant stream of drivel attacking the Scottish Government.

In his latest diatribe, he alleges that “the SNP has completely misjudged the mood of voters up and down the country”.

I know it will be extremely painful for him, but if he can bring himself to review last week’s European Parliament election results in Scotland, he’ll see the complete fallacy of this statement.

And if he wants to look even closer to home he’ll see that the SNP polled 11,360 votes in Argyll and Bute – 7,375 votes ahead of the Tories, who came a distant fourth.

Hardly a sign of his mythical assertion that Ruth Davidson is poised to be the next First Minister of Scotland.

Robert E. Macintyre, Serpentine Road, Rothesay

* * * * * * * * * * *

This Volunteers Week (June 1-7), I would like to take the opportunity to thank our fantastic volunteers who give so much of their time, skill and dedication for the benefit of cats in our care.

At Cats Protection we were grateful to involve more 11,200 volunteers during 2018.

Volunteers are truly the foundation and life-blood of the charity. Whether volunteering in our shops or populating our social media channels; researching advocacy campaigns or fostering kittens, they ensure that every day we move closer to our vision of a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.

Without them, we would not have been able to help rehome or reunite 44,000 cats and neuter around 143,000. Nor would we have delivered 1,693 education talks to 52,343 people. They are vital to every aspect of everything we achieve.

I would also like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery who are supporting volunteering across England, Scotland and Wales. Their support for our Volunteer Team Leaders means that we can share best practice through our adoption centres and out to our network of volunteer branches and shops.

We will be sharing a new animation for Volunteers’ Week on our social media channels about the many volunteering roles available with us and would love to hear from cat lovers who would like to help cats locally.

They can visit to find out more.

Julie Meredith (Head of Volunteering Development, Cats Protection)

* * * * * * * * * * *

The outcome of votes cast across the EU in the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections will play a key role in how Brexit is ultimately shaped.

In these elections traditionally dominant centre-right (EPP) and centre-left (S&D) parliamentary groups have lost significant numbers of seats – and the majority they have held for 40 years. The liberals (ALDE) and Greens are stronger, and the right-wing, EU-critical populists in Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen’s new European Alliance of People and Nations much stronger.

Majorities will be harder to form and less stable; nation-first parties seeking “less Europe” and more power for member states will have a greater influence on policy.

The European Parliament has to sign off on the Brexit withdrawal agreement (assuming it is ever passed in Westminster) and this could be problematic if the current stable majority, which has generally backed the European Commission’s Brexit approach, is disrupted by a large contingent of populist, EU-critical MEPs.

The new parliament will also have a considerable say in the make-up of the new Commission, which could involve British MEPs, and will eventually negotiate the EU’s future relationship with the UK.

Finally, MEPs will have to agree the future relationship itself.

In all of these areas a more divided, polarised and unstable European Parliament with potentially conflicting demands could create considerable problems for the UK.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

* * * * * * * * * * *

Whilst the tragic news of the death one of the many thousands of participants who have voluntarily taken part in the Jeremy Kyle Show over the 14 years it has entertained millions is regrettable, ITV's kneejerk decision to cancel it is somewhat strange when they continue to air sport like boxing and motor racing where deaths and injury are no strangers.

Clearly the lives of sportspeople are considered less valuable than the feckless and often dysfunctional souls who inhabited the now cancelled programme.

John Eoin Douglas, via email

* * * * * * * * * * *

In a recent television programme it was stated that 7.9 million people in the UK are in debt.

This puts a great strain on many people's family life. As a debt counsellor, I have known people take their own lives as a result.

If you are in this position, there is help available online. Try, who you can also call on 0141 572 0237. They offfer advice on debt, pensions, insurance and other money management issues.

There are other national debt consulting agencies that offer good advice and do not charge. Christians Against Poverty can be contacted on 0800 328 0006, Payplan are on 0800 043 4050, and the Debt Advice Foundation's contact number is 0800 280 2816.

More information on all these is available online.

David S. Ball, via email

* * * * * * * * * * *

Sadly and shockingly, the number of abortions taking place in Scotland has reached the highest number in a decade.

This coincides with the introduction of the second abortion pill in a medical abortion being taken out of clinical settings, which accounted for nearly 30 per cent of medical abortions in 2018.

Every one of these 13,286 abortions is a tragedy representing the ending of a life and it is saddening to see even higher numbers of lives were lost in Scotland to abortion in 2018.

The stark lack of support the Government has in place for women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy is likely a large contributing factor to the upwards trend in abortions. Rather than providing support to keep a child, it often leaves women seeking abortion as an answer.

We can see this in the number of repeat abortions, and abortions for women from poorer areas, which are twice as high as those from more advantaged areas (17.8 per cent per 1,000 women aged 15-44 compared to 8.9 per cent). ]

This is a clear indicator of lack of economic and other supports available to women.

Abortion is not a solution to economic hardship, it is an operation that ends the life of an unborn baby and can have a severely negative impact on women.

Clare McCarthy (Right to Life UK)