THE hot topics of discussion in this week's Advertiser letters include hospital waiting times, Scottish independence, and, perhaps predictably, Brexit.

To have your say on any topic of local interest, just email your views to with 'Letter' in the subject line, 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 contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can.

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also require a daytime contact telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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


THE Scottish Accident and Emergency (A&E) waiting time target has been missed by a long way for yet another month, with only 85.7 per cent of patients treated within four hours in September compared to the 95 per cent target.

Doctors and nurses work incredibly hard, but they’re hindered by the SNP Government’s poor workforce planning. Social care, mental health and primary care services are all crying out for more support, and better resourcing them would take the pressure off the accident and emergency service.

The SNP Government have failed to meet the A&E target time every month for over two years. They need to take swift action to properly prepare A&E departments before winter sets in. A good place to start would be publishing the integrated workforce plan that staff were told would be out last year. Another broken SNP promise.

Alan Reid

Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll and Bute


THE SNP are obsessed with independence at any cost as Nicola Sturgeon admitted recently that her plan to break up the country would lead to a hard border at Berwick.

Now Sturgeon needs to come clean about the savage cuts to public services under her blueprint for indyref2.

The SNP are now cosying up to Labour, who will give them a second independence referendum in exchange for putting Corbyn in Number 10.

Only the Scottish Conservatives will stand up for the majority of Scots who do not want another divisive referendum.

Cllr Alastair Redman

Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands


THERE can be few who would disagree that Scotland would be better avoiding the Catalan referendum experience and subsequent abortive declaration of independence.

However, how far does this go to justifying the view that going ahead with a referendum without UK government approval is a bad idea?

The First Minister made the point over the weekend that the route to our independence must be legal, and also attract the necessary political and diplomatic support to allow us to take our place in the international community. She is absolutely correct in this. However, the origin of calls for a Plan B has always been the limitation of Plan A, namely what to do if (when?), the First Minister having approached Westminster for a Section 30 Order, is given the Boris Johnson equivalent of “now is not the time”.

Why would he grant a Section 30 Order? Opinion polls suggest that, in any election soon, the Conservative Party will do well to hang on to half its seats, while some suggest near wipe-out. To that we can add the weekend poll suggesting Yes and No not only level pegging, but with the former moving ahead in the event of Brexit. Given Mr Johnson’s jingoistic rhetoric, it is likely that his election manifesto would be imbued with such as “Britain, the Greatest Country in the World”, as reported over the weekend, which is at odds with granting a Section 30 Order.

Decisively, as the psephologist Sir John Curtice noted this week, in the event of a Conservative majority in that future election, the door to a Section 30 Order would be “shut and bolted for many years to come”.

In Scotland Mr Johnson has little to lose by refusing a Section 30 order, and much to gain elsewhere, as any majority he achieves is unlikely to owe much to Scotland.

So, if Westminster simply refuses, do we just meekly consent? Or do we look for an alternative route forward that could meet the tests prescribed by the First Minister of being legal, as well as politically and diplomatically effective?

Should there not be a debate on alternative ways forward that meet such criteria? Could experts in constitutional and international law not devise a proposal?

Moreover, having a Plan B surely implies testing Plan A first (A coming before B) to see what outcomes it leads to, and then – only then – reverting to Plan B, because Plan A has undeniably been unsuccessful.

Moreover, the two plans are not opposed to each other, but complementary. Without a Plan B, we are completely dependent on securing a Section 30 order, which, in turn, would encourage Westminster to continue to say “No”.

Thus, from the point of view of negotiation an important role of a Plan B is to reduce the chances of Plan A perishing on the rock of “now is not the time”, for let’s face it, at Westminster, it never will be “the time”.

Alasdair Galloway



WORLD Habitat Day was marked earlier this month. This has prompted me to think whether Boris Johnson has learned some of his tricky skills from the SNP’s 10 plus years in office.

We were promised by the SNP an end to homelessness. House insulation was a priority of the SNP Government as part of their environment policies. And grossly over-stated ambitions on the number of new houses built. All attractive to voters but, like the Prime Minister’s wildly excessive pledges, not achievable.

Habitat is not only about housing but includes the urban and rural environments in which we live and bring up our families.

Here the SNP have been at their most devious, making local authorities responsible for such issues but refusing to provide sufficient funding.

As we have seen, over the life of SNP Government local social, environmental, and infrastructure facilities have deteriorated.

The SNP’s obsession with independence has had a direct negative impact on our habitat.

Finlay Craig



THE Irish Government appears somewhat hypocritical in expressing concern at possible post Brexit border controls.

After all, it was they who instigated such controls at Dublin Airport, where UK arrivals used to walk from plane to street with no request for any ID.

Following recent rebuilding of the terminal, I was shocked to find that all UK arrivals are now directed through passport control.

Whilst I initially managed after lengthy debate to use a bus pass, I was left in no doubt that on any future visit I would be required to produce a passport or photo driving licence.

So much for the Common Travel Area.

John Hein



AT Addaction, Scotland’s biggest drug and alcohol charity, we warmly welcome the SNP’s decision to officially support the decriminalisation of drugs in Scotland.

Trying to arrest our way out of the problem has been a monumental failure, so it’s heartening to see a political party listening to the evidence base.

People who develop problems with drugs need compassion and support, not punishment. It’s crucial to remember that drug use has no social barriers. People from all walks of life use drugs and all deserve equal treatment for what is ultimately a health and care issue - not a criminal one.

Decriminalisation would be a big step forward, but it’s only the first part of a longer journey. Treatment services are often fragmented, confusing and underfunded.

We need to embrace more radical harm reduction measures like drug testing (so that people know what they are taking) and drug consumption rooms, which make drug use safer and engage people in services they may not otherwise access.

We can’t let drug related deaths be a fact of life in Scotland. The evidence of what works to bring them down is there; hopefully the political will to take action is now growing too.

Andrew Horne

Director, Addaction


THE British Safety Council welcomes the government’s focus on air quality in this week’s Queen’s Speech.

We want policy makers to accept that breathing clean air is not a privilege but a basic human right for the thousands of people who are undertaking vital work outdoors.

The Queen’s Speech also includes proposals for new building safety standards and reforms to “make work fairer”. New laws will revise the regulatory framework for high-rise residential buildings and improve the industry culture around safety.

Proposed employment reforms include increasing flexibility in the labour market, strengthening workers’ ability to get redress and supporting working families.

Some of the proposals announced on Monday could bring about real improvements in safety and wellbeing. The British Safety Council welcomes measures which will ensure that we all learn the lessons from Grenfell tragedy.

We will also be closely following further employment reforms which must prioritise mental health at work. Evidence shows a direct link between flexible working and improved mental health – given that three in five people will experience mental health conditions at some point in their life.

Matthew Holder

Head of campaigns, British Safety Council