Arran Banner Letters – week 44, 2021

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Green fundamentalist


When all political parties – and even the Royal family – agree on something, you can be pretty sure they are wrong. It is therefore particularly useful that some of the follies of green fundamentalism are being exposed just before the great Glasgow self-righteousness fest which is COP26.

Consider, for example, the terribly green decision to rein-in gas and oil exploration in the North Sea, and to oppose commissioning of the new fields which have (even so) been discovered. The result: a shortage of oil and gas, meaning that Britain’s fuel security is now in the hands of Putin’s Russia, and coal-fired electricity generation was restarted last month. A big win for ‘green-ness?’

Similarly, even a formerly positive local authority in England has been bullied into opposing development of a coking-coal mine. This would produce coal not for burning as fuel, but as an essential ingredient in steel. The alternative would be to import the coal from Australia or the steel from China. Very green.

Meanwhile, the relentless drive for expensive, unreliable energy in Britain, whether wind or nuclear, makes British manufacturing less competitive, driving more and more of it to China, which continues to build coal-fired electricity generation capacity at pace.

More than half of Chinese energy production is from coal, and it is adding coal-fired capacity at three times the rest of the world combined. The green extremists are making matters worse, by their own measures, but as long as they can preen themselves on their supposed green credentials, they don’t care.

The most beautiful example of green nonsense is, of course, the fact that the UK government currently subsidises both attempts to reduce the production of carbon dioxide – and the production of carbon dioxide. There must be a Nobel prize there somewhere.

More than 25,000 people are expected for the great hypocrisy-gathering next month, and not all of them will have travelled here on foot. Of course, it is billed as the ‘last chance to save the planet’ – just like COP15 in 2009, and plenty more gatherings of the great, the good, and the plain expensive, before and since. It will, directly and indirectly, cost us all a great deal of money, in so many different ways. But don’t count on it to do the planet any good.


Richard S Henderson



Sad indictment


Last week, on Monday October 18, a Radio 2 listener told Ken Bruce on air that they were going to have a break on the beautiful Isle of Arran, usually great publicity for the island, but on this occasion not so much as Ken Bruce said: ‘If the ferry sails and you get there.’

What a sad indictment of Robbie Drummond’s management of CalMac that there has to be a negative comment added to what should be a positive story.

Word is getting out across the UK and further afield that Scotland’s ferry services to the Western and Clyde islands are in chaos.

If there is not to be irreparable further damage to the economies of our islands the Scottish Government has to get rid of the present management of CalMac, remove CMAL altogether and appoint managers that have an understanding of running lifeline ferry services.

There also needs to be a complete clear out of the ineffective managers hired by the hapless Drummond and return to having the customer at the forefront of the running of the company,


Charles Currie,



Imputed rental of owner occupiers


Last week your front page stated that ‘the hospitality industry is the largest industry on the island.’ Is this true?

A Scottish Parliamentary Information Centre Briefing paper on Gross Value Added may paint a different picture.

It says that: ‘The largest industry in the Scottish economy (as is true elsewhere in the UK) is owner-occupiers unknowingly letting their own houses to themselves.’

This is due to what they dub the ‘imputed rental of owner occupiers’.

So on Arran does the income from tourists exceed the rental income that the powers that be suppose is coming from home owners renting their homes to themselves? I’d love to know.

In any case it shows how bonkers the housing market is. It’s long forgotten now but David Cameron’s government’s housing adviser promised house price stability. That went well didn’t it.

I agree with Tom Tracey its time to build council housing. Plenty of land is for sale on Arran – give North Ayrshire Council the cash to snap it up.


Alistair McIntosh,



Old Brodick pier


Last week’s Banner featured a public notice calling for observations (limited to safety and environmental issues) on the proposed demolition of the old pier. There are several safety reasons why demolition should be resisted.

First, the old pier is no threat to berthing, and with modest investment it could be brought into standby use.

Second, should the new berths become inoperable for any reason (strikes, mechanical failures, construction faults, damage), the whole port would become inoperable, meaning that people could not get to hospital appointments and supplies could not be brought in.

Third, retaining the old pier would also allow alternative services to operate, for example, when the Caledonian Isles and ferry terminal are overwhelmed on the day of the Brodick Highland Games; already, the Waverley was unable to berth when two CalMac vessels occupied the new berths.

Lastly, the inflexibility of the new berths might make Brodick unusable as a safe port should vessels in the Clyde fall into distress; the old pier would provide extra flexibility.


Eamonn Butler,



Scone secrets


I have visited Arran on a regular basis with my wife and can confirm unequivocally that without doubt the best fruit scones I have ever tasted are sold in the Brodick Heritage Museum.

Arran is famed for its hospitality but despite my tireless persistence I have been unable to lever the recipe from the ‘chief cook and bottle-washer’.

The museum is wonderfully appointed with everything required to educate and inform any visitor. The staff too are excellent and are able to answer all my queries with the unfortunate exception of the said scone recipe.

I suppose I am doomed to remain in the dark but least my disappointment is soon assuaged by the taste of a delicious scone.


Councillor Tim Grogan,