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Having a whale of a time

Sir, – Conservation charity Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust is recruiting volunteers from across the UK to join our 2015 marine research expeditions, onboard our specialised yacht Silurian – previously used in the filming of the BBC’s The Blue Planet.

Volunteers will work alongside marine scientists in the only scheme of its type in the country – developing skills, conducting pioneering citizen science and exploring Britain’s wild and remote corners.

Such surveys have discovered that Hebridean waters are home to the UK’s smallest known resident population of bottlenose dolphins and only known resident group of killer whales.

This research off western Scotland is an excellent opportunity to help secure the future of our whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks.

For details and costs, please contact us on 01688 302620, email info@hwdt.org or visit www.hwdt.org – Yours etc.,

Morven Russell

Volunteer Co-ordinator

Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust

28 Main Street, Tobermory

Isle of Mull

Ease restrictions on posters

Sir, – As the general election hoves into view there will be less political posters than ever on Scotland’s streets because the number of councils passing legislation banning election material on their property has increased since the general election in 2010.

This is to be regretted since allowing posters to be displayed during an election raises awareness of the event taking place, helps promote voter turnout and thereby serves democracy. Moreover, placards allow 
political parties to publicise that they are standing candidates which is very important, not so much for mainstream parties, but certainly for smaller parties like the Scottish Socialist Party and the Greens.

Last year West Lothian Council joined the ranks of banning councils and now of Scotland’s 32 council areas just four allow political posters on lamp posts and other ‘street furniture’.

The reason most commonly cited for the ban is the alleged expense of removing election material from council property after the voters have been to the polls. However, it is a spurious excuse since there already exists legislation requiring political parties to remove election material after polls close with a provision that they will be billed by local councils for removal costs if they do not comply.

I call on West Lothian Council to reconsider and overturn their ban on election material on their property for the sake of fairness and democracy and would encourage others in our council area to do likewise. – Yours etc.,

Eddy Cornock

23 Main Street

Linlithgow Bridge

Brighten up the town

Sir, – May I through your newspaper suggest, to the council/owners of empty shops in Linlithgow High Street, that they do what a lot of the out of town shopping centres do and put full window-sized, colourful advertisements/posters into the empty windows to create a better looking shop and enhancing the overall look of the High Street? – Yours etc.,

K.Ball

by email

Morally bound to assist overseas?

Sir, – Given how Britain became Great Britain on the backs of resource-rich poor countries, are we not now morally bound to assist them find their way out of poverty?

Is it right that we spend three times more on our armed forces than we do on overseas aid?

We set great score on achieving a strong economy for our own country and yet allow multi-national corporations to decimate the economies of poor countries by cheating them of their tax dues.

We spend massively on health but at the same time we hold back on funding health initiatives in the developing world.

We maintain that aid often finds its way into the wrong pockets and yet here at home there are multiple examples of similar shady practices.

Should we not be doing more to see that those nations most affected by rich-man induced climate change are provided with funds to adapt to their new and deadly situation?

Overseas aid directed towards income generation is the way forward. Income from taxation of these new enterprises will help governments deliver basic rights to their peoples.

From such as this will grow prosperity, gender equality and much more besides.

Given our history, the UK is now making amends – vide the legislation on overseas aid spending – and hopefully will continue to be among the leaders in delivering life-giving results.

It is up to the voters to ask our parliamentary candidates where they stand on this issue. – Yours etc.,

William Ross

26 Friars Brae, Linlithgow