New ferry ruling is another example of shameful waste of taxpayers’ money

THE proposal to buy two more ferries, possibly from the Turkish yard building the new Islay ferries (“New Calmac ferries to be ordered to ease pressure”, The Herald, October 27), is good news for the communities of Arran and the Minch Triangle who have been requesting twin ship service for many years.

Am I cynical in suggesting that the almost indecent haste of this announcement is an attempt to ignore and dismiss the proposals of Stuart Ballantyne and the Clyde Catamaran Group? Mr Ballantyne, a Scotsman, has a worldwide reputation and is an acknowledged expert in the construction and use of catamarans as ably demonstrated by the success of Pentalina and Alfred on the notorious Pentland Firth route. The recognized international reputation of Mr. Ballantyne contrasts sharply with that of CMAL who, with the inexplicable support of our government, continue to order ever larger and more expensive monohulls with a longer delivery time and a much higher cost than the catamaran equivalent.

This waste of taxpayers’ money has been and continues to be a disgrace given that the cost of £105m could buy four catamarans of similar capacity. How long must this last until common sense prevails and CMAL’s wings are clipped?
J Patrick Maclean, Oban

• THE next two Caledonian MacBrayne ferries could well be built in Turkey. I wonder how long it will be before we can go to the bookies and place a bet that these ships or the ships currently under construction in Port Glasgow will be the first to sail?
Scott Simpson, Glasgow

Grateful for new attitudes

I NOTE Neil Mackay’s excellent article on people with Down syndrome (“There’s decency there, and this TV series proves it,” The Herald, October 26). He writes that Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy with Ralph and Katie on TV show the progress that has been made over the past 70 years in attitudes towards disabilities.

My own experience was when my brother was born in 1944 with Down’s Syndrome, confronting the family with people’s attitudes towards any type of disability, and despite the best efforts of the Scottish Mentally Handicaped Society, ignorance and prejudices persisted.

Little known here at the time, in 1953 a book was published in the United States, Angel Unaware, written by Dale Evans, wife of cowboy star Roy Rodgers, when they had a daughter, Robin, born with Down syndrome, and despite being advised to “put her away” kept her and raised the profile of the condition in the United States.

My brother died at 22 – little Robin was only with his family for two and a half years – but he changed our lives for the better. As Mr. Mackay says, the younger generation is taking these situations head on, and we’re all the better for it.
Ken Doran, Glasgow

Qatar’s caution is correct

IT is unfortunate that Qatar is not as enlightened as so many other countries on the acceptance of homosexuality.

Fifa’s decision to host the World Cup in this country must be questioned. Was it motivated by financial rewards or was it a disguised attempt to make Qataris reflect on their regressive attitude towards a condition natural to certain individuals within society?

I leave the answer to this question to the reader. However, I don’t understand the hostility towards James Cleverly who advised those going to the World Cup to do in Rome what the Romans do for their time there (“Cleverly under fire for urgeing LGBT fans to ‘ respect’ Qatar at World Cup”, Heraldscotland, 26 October).

Any regime that prohibits homosexuality will contain hypocrites who conceal their inclinations in this regard to preserve their advantages and privileges in public while indulging their natural inclinations in private.

Unfortunately, if a visitor breaks the laws of this country while visiting for football, that visitor will feel the full force of these regressive laws. In such a case, there will be an international outcry over the actions of the Qatari police and rightly so too. It is out of the question that we tolerate such intolerance, but if visitors behave with decorum in public, perhaps this example will soften the harsh gaze of this repressive regime.

Let people talk about the inequities of such a government before the competition is launched, but spare yourself the indignity of being thrown in jail and missing out on the thrill of watching the World Cup in all its glory.
Dennis Bruce, Bishopbriggs

Let’s have more individual sport

I HOPE David Bruce (Letters, October 28) is a young man because he may have to wait over 55 to see Scotland win a FIFA World Cup. I will settle for Scotland playing to the best of their abilities and in a sporting spirit. Mr Bruce is right, however, to recognize the “inspiring achievements of some of our tennis players, golfers, swimmers and athletes”.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see these inspirational people featured on the front page of Herald’s Sport section, and not hidden away on the back inside pages? The front page deserves better than its tedious chatter about mainly Rangers and Celtic.
Doug Maughan, dunblane

Attacks on wealth are superficial

AS disheartening that some people are using the current political situation to add another “ism” to the existing list of sexism, ageism, racism and more. It is right that the above biases be confronted and addressed, but now it would seem that wealthy people should be barred from high political office because they are guilty of “wealth”. The reasoning is that, because of this, they cannot understand the plight of those who are financially less well off.

Historically, the Rowntree and Cadbury families, who possessed great wealth, championed social reform and provided education, medical and dental care, better housing, and more, to their workers.

Joseph Rowntree founded one of the first professional pension funds.

Many modern philanthropists (including politicians) do a lot of good work – often behind the scenes – with their wealth. What matters is not the amount of accumulated wealth, but how it was acquired and how it is shared with those in need.

Personally, I am an OAP whose income falls below the tax threshold, but I feel that politicians who launch such populist political attacks on wealthy rivals bring no credit to their office (pun intended).
Sheila Wallace, Blair Athol

A new broom?

WE learn that the Ford Fiesta will soon be gone. Why does Trigger’s broom come to mind?
Alastair Clark, Stranraer


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