A large gathering in Pairc School, Gravir, South Loch, saw Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP, deliver the 10th Angus Macleod Memorial Lecture last Friday.
Mr MacAskill’s topic was the topical one of opportunities from independence for island communities, and he spoke with passion about his family’s roots in South Lochs and how his values in terms of equality of opportunity and land ownership reflected his understanding of island life, passed on to him by his father who was from Kershader. He believed politicians elected in Scotland to serve in Edinburgh were much more likely to have this understanding than those in London, and that therefore independence would ensure that island priorities would be better take into account in policy-making.
The lecture ranged much more widely than the island dimension of the independence debate, and the question and answer session (the first time this has been incorporated into the memorial lecture series) certainly reflected this – leading to a robust political debate which was however always conducted in a manner in keeping with the dignity of a memorial lecture.
In addition to Kenny MacAskill’s lecture, there were contributions from Ishbel Maclennan in Gaelic about the late Angus ‘Ease’ Macleod, a prayer and Gaelic psalm introduced by the Rev. Iain T. Campbell of Park Free Church and presented by Murdo A. Macleod of Sandwick, a vote of thanks by Donnie Morrison, chairman of Comunn Eachdraidh na Pairca, and an introduction from John Randall of the Islands Book Trust who chaired the event.
It is planned to publish a booklet with a transcript of Kenny MacAskill’s lecture in due course.
The organisers of the lecture would like to thanks all speakers, Pairc School for providing the venue, and the many volunteers who helped with catering, car-parking, chairs, and other aspects of the arrangements.