OUR family is so saddened to hear of another fatal event within the west coast fishing fleet (No plans to raise tragic shipwreck, The National, January 27). Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those lost on the Nancy Glen.

Our own loss and the poor and uncaring lack of effort we received from the authorities since April 25 2013 makes us further worry for those now involved and question if indeed any of the authorities have actually “learned lessons” – wording repeated so often to us.

When the Speedwell sank a young life was lost, and no effort whatsoever was made by the authorities to attempt to recover him home. The police, charged with the search and recovery, were totally unequipped and untrained in all marine matters. Even when we had a grappling hook in the Speedwell they were suggesting that the boat was half a mile away and twice the depth.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch sent one investigator with some experience and another who had only just joined the branch. We attempted to discuss the mistakes they were making in their report and the huge leaps of “assumption” they put in their final report, to no avail.

While all this was going on, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, supposedly charged with making the fishing fleet safer for crews, were keeping very quiet. They had passed this vessel fit for going to sea.

We waited four years and two months for the Crown to arrange a Fatal Accident Inquiry, and now a further year that the Lord advocate blames on us. We are told that all the authorities have seriously considered raising the boat but will not do so, one excuse being that it is so badly damaged – a fact totally at odds with the report by the only diver to have been on it, and also by the visit of a police remotely operated vehicle.

One thing you can be sure of is that you will not get service or honesty from any of these authorities involved; a sad reflection on today’s standards.

Peter MacAlister
Address supplied

DOESN’T Jean Nisbet answer her own complaint when she uses phrases like “I don’t go to the branch that often” and “once in a while I should be able to go into a branch …” when she bemoans bank branches closing (Letters, January 27)?

Isn’t the reality that it would be cheaper for RBS to deliver her once-a-month-needed fiver by security guard than keep a branch open for her “convenience”?

How can it be that in all her regular shopping trips Ms Nisbet can’t get and retain the single fiver she needs for her monthly transaction without the inconvenience of traipsing to a bank? All the major supermarkets would be delighted to provide her with the service she needs.

“Times they are a changing,” sang Dylan. And we know that with the internet and broadband revolution our high streets are changing, with banking at the forefront.

Fact is, there are more people frequenting the spas, accountants’ offices and restaurants that have taken over the banks’ vacated infrastructure than ever visited those lost branches. And that’s market forces, the system we adhere to.

Jim Taylor

WHEN the Rugby gets going, all will become clear – it’s now the NatWest Six Nations.

That will surprise no-one who has tried to correspond with the Royal Bank of Scotland plc over the last few decades. No matter whether you write to your local branch, St Andrew Square or Gogarburn, the response comes from the glass tower in London. And of course the high-hied yins in London have no idea, and don’t care, how far troublesome personal or small business customers have to travel to their “nearest” branch.

In a way, this is good news. It is obvious to all that the Scottish bankers in the Royal Bank (Goodwin has no banking qualification) had little to do with its collapse. It was the spivs and speculators, if I might borrow an expression, in London who were responsible. If the Six Nations name change as well as rebranding the casino side of the bank as NatWest Markets are steps towards distancing the professional and highly competent Scottish bank staff from the charlatans, it is to be welcomed.

Jim Clark

US defenders of Burns had a tough time of it last week, and barely managed to save the national bard’s reputation from ignominy and ill-repute. Between being maligned for some phraseology about houghmagandie on a straw and dung floor in a letter, and the usual about him chasing employment on a slave plantation in Jamaica, Burns is more than lucky to have made it more or less untarnished into another year of quiet esteem. It is to be hoped he can arrive at 2019 to be toasted at Burns Suppers. Unless, that is, some other reference can be highlighted and contrived to coincide with some commemoration occurring during the coming year?

Ian Johnstone