I WAS dismayed to read the piece published in The National on Thursday under the title “Why Scottish ministers should approve Loch Long salmon farm plans”.

As a local resident, I have attended presentations by Mr Hawthorn and his business associates on three separate occasions. Sadly, his marketing presentations have contained misleading statements, just as his piece for The National does.

Mr Hawthorn dismisses the informed and considered views of local people with his insulting comment that such opinions are “what I might generously call wilful misunderstanding”.

There has been, and still is, huge local opposition to this proposal for an industrial fish farm in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, as evidenced by the large number of formal objections lodged by residents of the Lochgoil Community Council area (in which the proposed factory farm would lie) and all the adjacent community council areas – Arrochar, Tarbet & Ardlui, Garelochhead, Ardentinny and Cove & Kilcreggan.

Mr Hawthorn refers to opposition from people who live at a distance from Loch Long. I wonder if he is aware that these people include Lord Rowallan, great-grandson of Mr Arthur Cameron Corbett (later 1st Baron Rowallan of Rowallan), the philanthropist who, in 1905, donated his estate on Ardgoil to the people of Glasgow so that they could enjoy “the freedom of the mountains and wild natural beauty of the estate for all time”.

So should it remain. This publicly owned land is now, rightfully, part of one of Scotland’s two National Parks, the first of whose primary aims is “to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage”.

Mr Hawthorn (modestly) admits in his statement “our projects alone will not save the planet”. Indeed, an industrial fish farm installation in the waters of Loch Long and on its unspoilt shore would not help our planet much, if at all, with the challenges of climate change but it would most definitely add significantly to the despoilation of our precious natural environment.

Dorothy Moodie

via email

THE National on Wednesday’s carried a small story that should shame us all. It was headlined: “Stroke care figures are a ‘wake-up call’. ”

Public Health Scotland has released a new report on care for stroke patients that shows only half of Scots who suffered a stroke last year received the necessary care package.

Under national targets, 80% of patients should receive a “care bundle” designed to maximise survival and recovery; but the figure was 50% in 2022, when the number of reported strokes rose to 11,257, up from 11,055 in 2021 – around 30 people a day!

The care bundle includes prompt admission to a stroke unit, brain scanning, screening for swallowing problems and administering of aspirin when appropriate. Research has shown these treatments are associated with improved patient outcomes, reduced time in hospital, reduced disability amongst patients and much lower ongoing social care costs. Only half of patients got the full stroke care bundle last year.

The report found only 112 patients received a thrombectomy, which Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS) described as a vital blood clot removal procedure experts suggest could improve the lives of 800 patients a year. John Watson, associate director for the Stroke Association in Scotland, warned the “extraordinary work” of medical staff was being “undermined” by systematic problems in the health service.

I confess to a personal interest in this subject. My father suffered a stroke. He spent three miserable months in hospital before passing away in his sleep. A good friend, and former SNP MSP, suffered a stroke and spent two equally miserable years needing 24/7 care before passing away. He was 60 years old.

While our Parliament finds time to spend on a constitution for a yet-to-be-achieved independent Scotland, back here in the real world our Scottish NHS is failing to take proper care of us in the here and now. Taking proper care of stroke patients will not cost hundreds of millions of pounds and could save millions currently spent on long-term care packages.

We will never persuade the majority of our population to vote for independence when we do not appear to be able to properly manage the resources and organisations we do have control of.

Parliament is about to break for its summer holidays. I hope the new Heath Secretary can find a spare hour over the summer to read, consider and finally act on the Public Health Scotland report.

Brian Lawson


A GREAT headline in Wednesday’s National for Kate Forbes’s article: “We can cook up vision of a better future as Tories bum the toast”.

Loved it; I know it is just a foible of the font which you use all the time, when the “r” and “n” come together, but please work at it as often as you can against the Tories.

George M Mitchell