Shame on our national leaders
I DEFY anyone not to have been moved emotionally by the powerful letter from Billy Irving which we published last week.
His eloquent account of hearing his son, William, speak for the first time will have stirred even the hardest of hearts.
And Billy’s heart-rending plea for help to bring him home from the Indian prison in which he is languishing was poignant, to say the least.
It is two years this month since Billy and his anti-piracy colleagues were jailed in Chennai. During all that time his fiancee, Yvonne MacHugh, has fought a doughty campaign to have him freed.
Yvonne has had consistent support from a broad spectrum of society, including The Oban Times and Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara. Where she has had scandalously little backing has been the British government.
The government, in fact, has been worse than useless.
Then suddenly last week, Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, lumbered into the issue by pledging to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in his efforts to have Billy freed. Prime Minister Theresa May also jumped onto the bandwagon by announcing she had raised the matter with her Indian counterpart at the G20 summit.
A cynic might wonder at their belated interest and consider their motivation. Do they suppose there might be a populist angle here?
For two years, they have both ignored Billy’s plight, despite the high profile nature of the cause and the manifest injustice of it.
That criticism aside, their new-found involvement is to be welcomed, particularly if it helps to expedite Billy’s release.
Pressure from the British government is long overdue but is the very least Yvonne and little William deserve.
Our national leaders – and the Foreign Office especially – should hang their heads in shame.
MONTHS after the new £1 coins came into circulation, Argyll and Bute Council’s parking meters still don’t accept them.
Yet the council is continuing to issue fines for people who find themselves stuck for change.
Introduced back in March, the new 12-sided £1 are replacing the old coins, which are now becoming increasingly rare as they are steadily withdrawn.
Why is the council so far behind the times?
It is evident to me that the local authority should stop issuing parking fines until its outdated meters are replaced. It is clearly unfair to expect motorists to pay with coins they no longer have in their pockets or purses.
OOPS! Didn’t we make a mistake last week? Readers will have spotted, of course, that on page 13 two photographs were inadvertently placed with the wrong stories.
Sadly, human error does creep in at times and we can only apologise for the mistake and publish the pictures with the correct stories.
What do you think?
Write to me at email@example.com or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB.
Oban Rotary president Graham Fraser presented a cheque for £725.10 to Mary’s Meals manager Marie Rowan. Also in the picture is Mary’s Meals volunteer Maureen Drummond and Am- Am convener David Mudie.
Anne May and Faye MacPhee from the Friends of Oban Hospice manned the stall selling handbags, scarves and jewellery in Tesco car park to raise funds .