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Happy writing!

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DURING a recent shopping trip to a local supermarket I was horrified at the lack of sanitising by incoming customers.

Wearing masks, yes; sanitising, no. Social distancing barely existed: guidelines on one way systems were totally ignored.

Customers barged past others, reaching across others to get to shelves. A lady ahead of me mildly remonstrated one couple, and was verbally abused for her pains,

At the weekend, I was walking on the track behind the Hill House. It was a pleasant day, and it was busy – some 14 or 15 people or groups, with and without dogs, passed me in the opposite direction.

Of these, perhaps three made any attempt to step aside to allow a decent passing distance. Most pushed past without so much as an ‘excuse me’, or even a ‘good morning’. It seemed to me that I was the only person standing aside to avoid contact.

The joggers stop for no-one, and assume they have the right of way. Apparently this is happening at Ardmore also.

Just because we have not yet had a major rise in Covid-19 cases in Helensburgh does not mean we are immune. Quite honestly, the way people are behaving, we are likely to get a dose.

Sadly, the people who will be hurt most probably won’t be the perpetrators.

Jeannie Hammond

Via email

READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser : August 27, 2020

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EARTH Overshoot Day for 2020 fell just recently, on Saturday, August 22.

What this means is that 1.6 planets are needed to support humanity’s current demands on Earth’s ecosystems – or to put it another way, we are using up the planet’s renewable resources faster than it is capable of renewing them.

Consequently we are now consuming resources which really belong to future generations.

As the principal causes of this situation are our spending patterns and excessive population growth, I strongly believe that Argyll and Bute Council needs to come up with the answers to two questions.

First, how is its policy of encouraging population growth compatible with the planet’s need for a smaller human population?

Second, how is it ensuring that its policies meet its aim of sustainable development, which the Council itself describes in its Local Development Plan 2 as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”?

Stewart Noble


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A RECENT column in a national newspaper, quoting the CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual of 1944 and comparing it to modern-day office politics, rang so true for those of us trying to raise immensely important concerns about the serious risks of certain commonly prescribed medicines, particularly antidepressants.

We have been actively campaigning, as patients and patient representatives, since 2014 and again and again meet these very same sabotage tactics - used as barriers to urgent change.

Having seemingly endlessly ‘gone through the proper channels’, including our public petition to the Scottish Parliament – launched mid-2017 and currently ‘deferred’ pending the outcome of a Scottish Government short-life working group (SLWG) which is reviewing these same prescribed drugs – we are immensely frustrated.

Alliance Scotland are supposedly facilitating our Patient Experience input to the SLWG and, despite the government and the Alliance spouting rhetoric about the importance of “patient experience engagement”, it feels very much that our genuine input is being consistently and actively sabotaged.

This sabotage includes emails not acknowledged, meeting minutes misrepresenting and/or omitting important and relevant input, conflicts of interest of professional SLWG group members not being shared, referring matters endlessly for “further consideration”, asking us to “be reasonable” and so on.

Sabotage is alive and well. Patients and families are suffering dreadfully. Suicides are happening as a direct consequence – in Scotland as in other countries.

Our very widely shared open letter of March 3, 2020, published in the Advertiser and also sent directly to the Departments of Health in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, regarding antidepressants and known suicide risks, has not been satisfactorily addressed – by anyone.

This is not OK.

Marion Brown (on behalf of the petitioners of PE01651)


READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser : August 20, 2020

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RECENT GERS figures show the value of the Union in the face of SNP failure.

Under the separatists, Scotland’s total deficit has been £183.9 billion - larger than a year of the entire Scottish economy.

Thankfully the Union dividend fills the gap and is worth nearly £2,000 a year for every man, woman and child in Scotland.

These figures throw a grenade into the economic case for a separate Scotland.

Sturgeon would have to throw away the entire NHS, every nurse and doctor, just to balance the books.

We can see the Union in action and it is delivering for Scotland.

Cllr Alastair Redman

(Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

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THE recent publication of this year’s GERS figures (estimates of Scotland’s financial position within the United Kingdom) has prompted the ritual round of claims that the figures show how Scotland could not possibly afford to be independent.

Leaving aside the fact that these figures show how Scotland’s finances are faring whilst we are part of the UK and not how they might fare if we were independent, they give some people an excuse to claim that Scotland has a financial deficit.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The devolution settlement that established the Scottish Parliament expressly provided that the Scottish Government was not allowed to spend more than it receives from Westminster. (It has since been granted very limited borrowing powers.)

Thus the Scottish Government is prohibited by law to run a deficit and in fact has run surpluses for many years.

The figure that is often mentioned for “Scotland’s deficit” is really Scotland’s notional population share of the United Kingdom’s deficit, to which Scotland has contributed not a penny.

It is Westminster’s deficit - not Holyrood’s.

Peter Swain


READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser : August 13, 2020

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AS lockdown eases, the Scottish Government wants us to walk and cycle more, to reduce passenger numbers on public transport and encourage us all to keep fit and healthy.

RNIB Scotland believes the ‘Spaces for People’ initiative, which has provided money to councils across Scotland to implement social distancing in our town centres, such as widening pavements and reducing the amount of space made available to vehicle traffic, could transform active travel for everyone.

However, we remain concerned that, if these moves are introduced too hastily, with not enough thought given to people who are blind or partially sighted or who have other mobility issues, it could actually end up putting barriers in place.

We want space for new cycle lanes to be taken from roads not pavements, for new designs to avoid the shared spaces concept, for clutter to be removed from our streets, and for controlled crossings to the road or bus stops to be installed.

This will make things safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

The current situation has made us all a little more aware of what it is like to feel vulnerable, to depend more on others. Let’s build on the sense of greater cohesiveness this crisis has created and make sure the Scotland we return to is inclusive for everyone.

James Adams

Director, RNIB Scotland

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ACCORDING to a new survey, 46 per cent of Brits believe their household uses under 20 litres of water a day, which is roughly equivalent to taking a two-minute shower.

In fact, the true figure is closer to 142 litres per person per day meaning an average family of four could use more than 500 litres each day!

This summer we saw a surge in demand for water, as more people stayed at home and enjoyed the hot weather in parts of the country.

This is why Water UK and water efficiency experts Waterwise have joined forces to encourage people to think about the amount of water they are using.

This new campaign offers simple hints and tips to help people cut back, saving energy, money and protecting the environment. More information can be found online and across social media.

We all have a role to play in saving water and even small changes, such as using a watering can instead of a hose or cutting the length of your shower, can make a big difference.

Christine McGourty (chief executive, Water UK) and Nicci Russell (managing director, Waterwise)

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