This week's Advertiser letters page includes your views on this Friday's 'climate strike', local post offices, Brexit, the Duchess Wood and much more.

To have your say on any subject of local interest, just email your views to or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

Please remember to include your name and address, and to keep your views as brief and to-the-point as you can.

We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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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Tomorrow, on Friday, September 20, people worldwide will be taking action to demand governments take action to stop climate change. It is school students who have taken the lead by organising school strikes.

We are S2 students at Hermitage Academy and we will be attending the nearest demonstration, which will take place in Glasgow, where we will be joining many other school students in Kelvingrove Park from 11am. Our planet is dying! Without the help of the people of the world it will continue to do so.

Here’s what is at stake: Sea levels will rise which could impact on tens of millions of people and wildlife around the world; coral reefs are at risk of degradation which means turning them white and leaving them vulnerable to disease and death known as coral bleaching, which will kill much treasured wildlife around the world and kill some of the most beautiful places on Earth such as the great barrier reef, Australia which has already suffered much bleaching.

There are too many other risks such as heat waves, flooding, more storms and tsunamis and wildlife habitats being lost.

We hope your readers will support our action. Adults and children alike should take to the streets to support the change needed for our planet to survive.

Ishbel MacNeil and Kezia Conran (Garelochhead and Kilcreggan)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: September 12, 2019

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It is hard to disagree with our local MP, Brendan O’Hara, when he puts out a statement calling Boris Johnson’s parliamentary shenanigans ‘outrageous’.

Each day this Prime Minister looks ever more like ‘Wreck it Ralph’ than someone with a real plan. The hard right Tory government at Westminster doesn’t give a hoot for ordinary people, whether they live on the west coast of Scotland or in the middle of England.

The recent drama at Westminster may have made good telly and copy for the newspapers but let’s not fall into the trap that all this parliamentary manoeuvring is making a difference to many people’s lives.

I really hope over the next few weeks that our representatives can focus on the real political issues, using their position to shift power from those in high places to those that don’t have a lot of money; those who are working hard just to get by.

What really matters is making sure that people can get a job and earn a decent wage; have a roof over their head; are looked after when times get hard, or they’re ill, or get old; that our schools, public services, and transport links are properly funded and organised.

There’s a need for our representatives to keep this in mind, whether they’re in Westminster, Holyrood, or the Argyll and Bute Council chamber.

At the moment, I don’t get the feeling that the needs of our communities are being well-served by any level of government.

Polly Jones (Treetops, Garelochhead)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: September 5, 2019

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The closure of the Post Office is a severe blow to any village. So the news that Arrochar’s post office may close in October, following on from the closure of Tarbet post office in July is very serious.

When I was the local MP, I fought hard to keep village post offices open. When in opposition, I worked with other MPs representing rural areas to successfully persuade the then Cabinet Minister Alistair Darling to bring in rules which protected village post offices.

Later on the Liberal Democrats in Government, with Jo Swinson as the Post Offices Minister, protected village post offices.

Since the Tories have been in power on their own, a lot of village post offices have closed.

It’s high time they recognised the value of village post offices and kept these open.

Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat candidate, Argyll and Bute)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: August 29, 2019

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I went along to a public meeting in Dumbarton last weekend. The attraction was to hear a couple of interesting people speak.

They were Joanna Cherry, one of the leaders of the the court cases against the present government, and Michelle Thomson, businesswoman and ex MP who spoke about the plans to reopen a Scottish stock exchange.

I was unaware that work was under way to set up a Scottish stock exchange, and Michelle Thomson explained clearly why it was necessary and important to the future of emerging businesses in Scotland. It is hoped that things on that front will be moving quite soon.

Joanna Cherry is a QC and MP and is one of those leading the litigation in an attempt to make our Westminster executive follow accepted norms of democracy. She told us about what was happening in Westminster and the shenanigans our present government are using to subvert the wishes of the majority on MPs.

At the end we came, as you do, to a question and answer session. We are all aware of the current case in the Supreme Court where the judgement of the highest court in Scotland is challenged by the government.

Most of us realise that we are only a few months away from a general election. Many of the questions to the speakers looked ahead to when these unknowns reach a conclusion and what happens next.

It is likely that Scotland will elect a large number of SNP MPs on a manifesto that puts independence as a centrepiece of their platform. After the dust settles, and we get a clearer picture of where we are going with Brexit, it is probable that our first minister then asks for the legal power to hold another referendum.

If at that time the government of whatever stripe says no, what are the remedies?

The speakers were in accord and would not speculate. It was clear that in a public meeting nothing should be said that might appear in lurid screaming headlines.

Both speakers agreed with the policy of the Scottish government and ruled out any extraordinary plans, despite some of the more intemperate people calling for something to be done now.

There may well be private discussions and plans being made but we will have to wait and be ready when the time comes.

It was a really good afternoon meeting and we can look forward to even more interesting times that lie ahead.

D.S. Blackwood, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: August 22, 2019

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The committee of James Street Community Garden Association would like to thank those who turned up at the plant sale in the garden on Sunday, September 8, run by the Scottish Gardens Scheme, for making it such a success.

Also a big thank you to the willing helpers from both groups who organised the sale, put up the gazebos, manned the tea tent etc.

The Community Garden’s share of the proceeds will be used for future maintenance of the community garden.

Jean Macaulay (Chair, James Street Community Garden Association)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: August 15, 2019

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IS Batman is consulting for the council and Friends of Duchess Wood?

I reviewed a Mr David Whyte, named in your coverage last week as the author of the safety report on the wood, on LinkedIn, and indeed there is such an individual.

Mr Whyte is a bat conservationist of sorts, and also lists himself as a professional tree climber. I didn’t see anything on his page that would suggest that he is “highly qualified” in public safety, environmental management or biology.

He hasn’t listed any HNDs or diplomas in safety, nor has he listed any higher education such as a Bachelors or Masters degree in environmental engineering.

Maybe bat work and tree climbing is enough to be heralded as an expert in woodland management.

Stepping out onto a limb, dare I say, the mismanagement and misinformation from both the council and the Friends of Duchess Wood highlights that more than ever the community needs to get involved.

Stephen Sheskey BSc, Grad IOSH (health and safety management consultant) (Via

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: August 8, 2019

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You never know how you would act in an emergency, yet your actions could save a life.

This is why I think it’s fantastic that, after 10 years of campaigning by the British Red Cross, it will be compulsory for first aid skills to be taught in all state schools in England from 2020.

It’s an impactful way to give young people the confidence they need to help someone.

It’s a relief knowing that if anything were to happen to them in the future, more people might be able to help.

So many women I know, especially those weaning their babies, are terrified of the possibility of their child choking.

But children learning first aid could make all the difference if one of their younger siblings was choking at home.

This new legislation, however, is just for schools in England.

At the moment teaching first aid in schools in the rest of the UK is optional.

We support the British Red Cross’s calls for it to become a compulsory part of the curriculum throughout the UK so all school children get the same chance to learn how to save a life.

Marina Fogle, The ParentHood Podcast