THIS week's bumper crop of letters to the Advertiser includes an appeal to lawmakers to stop making laws, views on high street shop closures, thoughts on Scotland's budget, a Navy reunion 'thank you' message, and more.

To have your say on any topic of local interest, all you have to do is email your thoughts to or get in touch with us via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

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

We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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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I SHOULD like to make an appeal to all MPs, MSPs, councillors and all lawmakers that in 2020 they make no new laws.

At the beginning of this new decade they should improve the laws they already passed. I would even like for them to go further and reduce the number of laws that are in existence.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not against all laws. What I fear is that instead of addressing the issues which are negative to individuals and society, legislators believing that by extending what are regarded as crimes change society for the better. Their belief is wrong.

We know that: parking on pavements is wrong; ‘upskirting’ is horrifying; smoking in a car in which there are children is unacceptable; dropping litter is shameful; driving through a red light is dangerous.

What we need is the range of social and cultural influences that help us feel that we should behave in a positive way. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the majority of people regularly attended churches and religious organisations.

In these environments people developed feelings of what was right and wrong. Positive behaviour was also developed by participating in the extensions of these organisations through activities in young mother groups; women’s guilds, choirs, and religious celebrations. These helped develop positive moral compass in people.

Equally, most children and young people went to youth organisations such as the Girl Guides, the Scouts, the Boys’ Brigade, army and naval cadets. Even into the 1990s, local authorities ran youth clubs and had excellent people called ‘youth leaders’.

No more. ‘We cannot afford them’ is the call of the day. But without them the honourable behaviour of society will continue to deteriorate.

So my plea to politicians is simple: stop making us all criminals by passing more and more laws, and start supporting and encouraging agencies, groups and people who indirectly and directly instill in individuals behaviour of which all can be proud.

Finlay Craig, Cove

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: January 9, 2020

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P7/6 pupils at Rosneath Primary School are currently studying WW2 as a topic (in particular the Clydebank Blitz and evacuees).

We would love to hear from any readers who have information on the subject.

Please contact me at the school on 01436 831354.

Christine Keech (Principal teacher, Rosneath Primary School)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: December 19, 2019

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This weekend has seen another high street chain group close.

It started years ago with Woolworths. Many have followed since. This week Mothercare closed for the last time, and Debenhams are now shutting more outlets across the UK.

Every shop lost sees people around the country face the bleak prospect of losing their jobs and livelihoods.

The ease of internet shopping is changing the way we all shop. That should not mean we should accept seeing our high street shops close down and become shopping deserts.

Too many online providers rake in profit but pay little or no tax, while high street shops are saddled with costly business rates and exorbitant rents.

The Scottish and Westerminster governments must urgently look at radical reform, or consider scrapping business rates completely. This UK wide system is not fit for purpose in 2020.

With more uncertainty ahead thanks to the shadow cast by the Johnson’s Brexit agenda, ministers must do everything possible to ensure retailers everywhere have a chance to stay in business.

Ways needs to be found of taxing online companies more effectively to ensure there is a fairer tax system in place for retailers.

Ursula Craig, Cove

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: December 12, 2019

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Regular readers of the Advertiser’s comment columns may recall the insertion of a letter of mine, explaining the camaraderie of those who had served in the Royal Navy.

I explained that this could be re lived at the various reunions held around the country and that these were listed on the site which I run.

Well, thank you to all of the readers of the Advertiser’s letters page and those of newspapers across the country; you have certainly scored and made a lot of former servicemen think back again.

They have emailed me and the secretaries of various associations have contacted me. The consequence? Many more reunions have been held, and a lot more old shipmates have been reunited and have relived their past experiences.

With Christmas and the New Year celebrations behind us, reunions are again on the agenda, therefore could I ask reunion organisers and secretaries to let me have details of your reunion for listing.

This is a free service and can be done by yourself on under ‘Reunions’ or by emailing the details to me on

Does a ‘Letter to the Editor’ work? I think it does, and I think the printed word stays in people’s minds.

Here is one example: “Dear Mike, six months ago we were packing to move house. I used pages from the local newspaper to pack the glassware. I have just unpacked the last of the glasses and I have just read your letter on one of the ‘straightened out’ pages...”

Mike Crowe, Sandown, Isle of Wight

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: December 5, 2019

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The US spends $13 million a year detaining each of the 40 people locked up at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp – the vast majority of whom have never been charged with a crime.

It is remarkable how much injustice can cost. The US should never have opened Guantánamo – and continuing to dump money on it is a misuse of tax-payer funding.

$13m is an astonishing amount of public money to lock one person up. Especially when it’s someone like Abdullatif Nasser, who has been cleared for release in a process involving six separate US agencies.

Last year, the US spent $13 million on each of the 40 men held in Guantánamo – totalling more than half a billion dollars.

That amount is astonishing when you consider that they ‘only’ spent $78,000 to lock someone up in their ‘supermax’ prison facility in Colorado .

That’s as much as 166 times more public money on people who have never been convicted of a crime.

Guantánamo Bay is a symbol of injustice for America and its allies – and it’s an expensive one.

B. McKenna, Dumbarton

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READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: November 28, 2019

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After days of outrage, the SNP have set a date for Scotland’s budget.

Despite days of faux outrage at the UK Government, Derek Mackay has now set February 6 as the day for setting out Scotland’s spending plans.

Mackay spent most of last week telling any journalist that would listen that devolution was being discredited, despite the Treasury being as helpful as possible.

The Chancellor has ensured that the Scottish Government have the relevant information to be able to publish a budget, before the UK budget in March.

The onus is now on the separatists to make use of a substantially higher block of money and for them to properly fund Scotland’s struggling local athourties.

It’s time the SNP put their money where their mouths are.

Cllr Alastair Redman (Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: November 21, 2019

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As the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust believes that the benefits of pet ownership shouldn’t be exclusive to homeowners, but open to private and social renters as well.

With the number of people privately renting increasing year on year, the news that the Government is looking to make it easier for private tenants to have pets in their homes has never been more important.

Sadly, the single biggest reason we see dogs handed in to rehoming centres is due to a change in the owner’s circumstances, such as being unable to live in a rented property with a pet.

This can also stop people coming forward to adopt rescue animals. This needs to change and we hope the proposed updates to model tenancy contracts will help ensure that fewer owners are forced to give up their beloved pets and that more people are able to consider adoption.

For over a decade, Dogs Trust has been working with landlords, letting agencies and the property industry on this issue. It’s important that any updates to the model tenancy contract are backed up with appropriate guidance for landlords on how to put the changes into practice to make it fully effective and mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

We welcome the opportunity to work alongside other animal welfare organisations and the Government to ensure this forthcoming change positively impacts the property sector.

Clare Kivlehan (Head of Outreach Projects, Dogs Trust)