RMT general secretary Mick Lynch highlights the “chaotic way” in which ferry services in Scotland are being run ("Lynch to speak to MSPS on Calmac chaos", The Herald, May 13). By that I presume he is referring to the state-owned sector, ie the CalMac/CMAL Clyde and Hebrides service. There are on the other hand 10 year-round vehicle ferry providers operating in Scottish waters, a number of which are exemplars of efficiency and excellent public service and some of which require no public subsidy at all.

Notwithstanding the manifest failure of the state-owned operation and the vast sums expended thereon, Mr Lynch calls for CalMac/CMAL being “kept in public ownership and in the hands of the community”. In fact state ownership is far removed from community control. When the Mull and Iona Ferry Committee recently proposed possible community take-over of the currently abysmal Craignure-Oban ferry service with a frequent, efficient two-catamaran service, thereby doubling capacity and at considerably less cost to the public purse, this was blackballed on the grounds that the then First Minister decreed that there could be no de-bundling.

When I pointed out at a generally-positive meeting a few months ago with the then Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth that such a policy was a mistake that would perpetuate poor service at disproportionate cost, all she could say was that it was policy and a matter for the First Minister. I asked if an audience could be arranged with the FM, but in vain. No doubt she had other things on her mind.

One of the main problems with this state-owned, but out-of-control system, is that ministers, who, understandably, have no practical experience of the ferry sector, rely on civil servants for advice. They, as generalists, rely on CMAL/CalMac to inform them, who in turn are under pressure from trade unions to maintain restrictive and inefficient practices – no proper management rigour or leadership. That’s why the RMT seeks to preserve the status quo and what is for them, a gravy train. The buck has nowhere to stop except at our long-suffering west coast and island communities.

It’s time for a complete rethink aided by independent experts in the field, and yes I concur with Mick Lynch on this: We should open up the CMAL/CalMac network into the hands of the local communities, but on a step by step basis. Why not start with Mull?

Roy Pedersen, Inverness.

Highland voices ignored again

I AM writing to you regarding the sad news that the Scottish Government Reporter, despite acknowledging its local visual affects, has granted permission for Muirden Energy’s Meall Buidhe wind farm development in the area surrounding the communities of Rosehall & Altass. This will now be the fourth such development surrounding our villages and it is so sad that one person can make this decision after a visit of less than three days, and leave the communities having to live with this for the next 30 years.

It is shocking that that this development can be imposed on our rural community and that the 200-plus objections from residents and local businesses, an objection from the community council and the Highland Council North Area Planning Committee refusing this application can just be ignored and overruled. I also find it amazing that despite several requests the Reporter refused to have an evening oral session where residents could raise their concerns or be accompanied on their visit by a representative of the local fisheries to raise their environmental concerns. In fact the Reporter stated that she felt this was unnecessary.

We next have to face a public inquiry for a fifth development, Strath Oykel, and know of several others at early stages of scoping. Just when will this tsunami of greedy wind farm developers be stopped, or are our beautiful Highlands and our rural communities destined to be destroyed and turned into an industrial wasteland?

We are constantly being told that communities are listened to, that decisions on controversial developments won’t be forced on communities and yet in reality this is not the case. Is it just that our Highland voices and votes are too few to be considered important.

Tracey Smith, Rosehall, near Lairg.

Read more: Banksy unveils Glasgow show spanning 25 years of iconic works

In the footsteps of giants

HOW gratifying it was to read of King Charles meeting, and paying tribute to, the sons and daughter of recipients of honours awarded to three of the team who participated in the successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 ("King holds audience marking 70th anniversary of Mount Everest ascent", The Herald, June 15).

This is particularly appropriate at a time when there is understandable criticism of the honours system.

This criticism should in no way diminish the achievements of those who have truly earned the privilege of receiving public recognition of their contribution to the human race in different ways, either through their acts of courage, dedication or individual sacrifice and without thought of personal gain.

The ongoing support of the communities in the Himalayas by Sir Edmund Hillary and his family is an outstanding example of a richly-deserved award, as well as his legacy left in encouraging the youth of New Zealand to explore and participate in the pursuit of outdoor activities.

Sir John Hunt, too, was much involved in the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh's award.

If I were still wearing a hat, it would be lifted high in honour and respect in memory of the descendants of three very fine gentlemen.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

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Remember El Fideldo

I NOTE that Glasgow is to play host to a new exhibition by Banksy, the most famous and celebrated graffiti artist in the world ("World Exclusive: Banksy show in Glasgow", The Herald, June 15) and was chosen by the artist because of the iconic statue of the equestrian Duke of Wellington, adorned with a traffic cone since the 1980s ("The famed ‘Glasgow hat’ that signifies city’s humour", The Herald June 15 ).

As a Deputy Sheriff of Calton Creek appointed by the intrepid Sheriff Lobey Dosser, created by the late cartoonist and poet Bud Neill ("Bud Neil’s immortal, it’s a shame he’s deid"), I trust Banksy will be aware of the statue of Lobey astride his faithful steed, El Fideldo, the world’s only two-legged horse, erected in Woodlands Road in 1996 from donations raised from an appeal in the Diary columns in The Glasgow Herald.

For some of us, no less iconic and more Glesga than the Duke seated on big Copenhagen in Royal Exchange Square.

R Russell Smith, Largs.