Our groundbreaking series on the Highland and Islands, The New Highland Clearances, continues to provoke lively debate throughout Scotland.

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Today, one of our readers argues that people in the Lowlands can identify with the issues that have been raised … because they encounter them on a daily basis too.

Jamie Black of Largs writes:

"I have enjoyed your series on the New Highland Clearances, however I have been struck by one thing: the issues facing the Highlands are also faced by many Lowland areas. As a former community councillor in Inverclyde, and currently in Ayrshire, I have been able to observe and experience first hand here the same issues faced by the Highlands.

In terms of hospitals, the services provided by the Inverclyde Royal Hospital have steadily and systematically been downgraded. Whether removal of ICU beds or downgrading of maternity services, Inverclyde residents have no option but to travel the journey up to Glasgow, whether themselves or by ambulance, in the same manner of those in the north. South Ayrshire faces the same effects of centralising services and is losing its ICU beds.

In terms of jobs, the Lowland deprived areas have and are suffering in the same way as the residents of Kinlochleven: our nuclear power plant is closed and in a generation will support very few jobs and there are no plans to even talk about how we could replace it. IBM is all but gone from Spango Valley in Greenock, joining the shipyards in the dustbin of history. Plans for new cable manufacturing facilities at Hunterson have been met with complete apathy from North Ayrshire Council and its elected members, despite North Ayrshire being one of the most deprived areas in Scotland and the STEP bid at Ardeer was purely a tick-box exercise, despite the huge opportunity there.

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Rail services in the last year have, through very dubious means, been downgraded to and from Largs, with journey times no better than the era of steam, something which has affected many areas outside the "Golden Railroads" from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

Across North Ayrshire, the council is making moves to close the last remaining public toilets, ostensibly to be put into community ownership, whilst knowing there are few groups able to take them on. Ironically, North Ayrshire Council put these plans to its cabinet on the same say it voted to adopt a Tourism Strategy for North Ayrshire.

In a further synergy (with Fort William), Largs Community Council recently piloted a community cinema, which was a resounding success - young and old clearly were pleased to travel five minutes to see the flicks, rather than make the journey up to Paisley or Glasgow - something which is nigh impossible without a car in the evenings.

Despite living in close proximity to large urban areas, there is little to keep young people in our areas and encourage them to stay and start families; it seems like politicians only really care about the big cities. Rural dwellers, whether Highland or Lowland, get a raw deal but it is the wider country that will suffer in the long term."