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Readers’ letters: CMAL is letting the side down in our islands

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Sir, – Your article “Fight for islanders to have more say on ferry services” (Press and Journal, September 8) certainly hits the right note.

Seagoing and ferries are undoubtedly embedded in the DNA of islanders but they are being shamefully ignored in their requests to have, on certain routes, two small ferries as opposed to one large one. It is important, in this regard, that the distinction between CalMac and CMAL is recognised.

I do believe that this difference is well recognised by islanders as evidenced by the fact that, despite weather-related problems, breakdowns and Covid, there has been little or no criticism of CalMac who have done an amazing job against terrible odds over the last 18 months.

Islanders’ opinions and requests have been treated with utter contempt by CMAL, Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government. CMAL have been completely discredited by recent events and by the parliamentary inquiry and yet ministers still heed their misplaced advice as shown by the rejection by Transport Minister Graeme Dey of the Mull and Iona Ferry Committee-sourced vessel.

Certainly it would be helpful to have islanders on the boards of both CalMac and CMAL but what is needed is a vociferous condemnation of CMAL and their antiquated policies.

J Patrick Maclean, Oban.

‘One-nation’ Tory policy in action

Sir, – I couldn’t quite understand the “Anger at new Tory poll tax” headline (Press and Journal, September 7) or Ian Blackford MP’s equating the national insurance increase with discriminating against parts of the working population.

Perhaps, because the SNP won’t admit to the fact that Scotland is heavily subsidised by the UK Exchequer, and can’t even handle financing a couple of ferries, they are oblivious to the additional funding increase in costs that comes with enhanced social care.

Maybe they are quite content with what they see here in Scotland and see no great need for improvement? The money has to come from somewhere and in the end everyone has to share the burden; after all it’s every person’s parents and elderly relatives who will be better looked after with a hypothecated tax.

The SNP complain about Westminster helping out with Scotland’s road network, they carry on about their alternative name for freeports while generally erecting road blocks in the way of “levelling up” the UK.

Taxation is a reserved matter for Westminster and biting the bullet with a 1.25% national insurance increase is how finance can be achieved.

As I understand it, additional money will be coming north as a “consequential” and adding funding to Nicola Sturgeon’s newly announced budget for care over the next five years.

This is one-nation Conservatism in action… what’s not to like?

Sam Coull, Lendrum Terrace, Boddam, Peterhead.

Fining this public body ‘ridiculous’

Sir, – I read about Police Scotland being fined £100k for failing to respond to a call to its 101 service, which related to the death of two people, but this fine confuses me (Press and Journal, September 8).

Police Scotland are not a business but a public body, fully funded by the Scottish Government, so where do they get this £100k? I presume that every penny allocated to Police Scotland from the government is used in providing a police service for the people of Scotland.

To then take £100k from this budget will surely make Police Scotland even more inefficient than it is now and how can that be a good thing?

Maybe after paying the fine Police Scotland can then go back to the government and claim that they cannot carry out their duties due to lack of funding and the government will then give them back the £100k and all will be well.

Rather than this ridiculous fine the courts should bring to account the people whose inaction caused at least one of the two people involved to die.

Hugh Millar, Castlegreen Road, Thurso.