Gazette letters 1.8.13

Reader Lucy Swanson-Zajac from East Sussex sent us this picture from her recent holiday when her family were enjoying the sun on Luskentyre beach in Harris. If you would like to contribute an image to our Beautiful Islands feature, email: news@stornowaygazette.co.uk. Include your name, address, where the picture was taken and what inspired you to take it, as well as any technical information about the picture.

Reader Lucy Swanson-Zajac from East Sussex sent us this picture from her recent holiday when her family were enjoying the sun on Luskentyre beach in Harris. If you would like to contribute an image to our Beautiful Islands feature, email: news@stornowaygazette.co.uk. Include your name, address, where the picture was taken and what inspired you to take it, as well as any technical information about the picture.

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Have your say

LET DOWN

I visited your beautiful island this year, the Standing Stones, the Blackhouses etc, ect, it is without doubt a very lovely place to visit. However, while walking through the town of Stornoway I began to count the number of local islanders I saw very much the worse of alcohol, I got to ten!

One of them approached me and asked if I could give him a pound to make up the price of half a bottle, so he told me.

You have a very lovely island up there but it’s just a shame it’s let down by its very own residents.

W. Smith.

Ayrshire KA3 4DE

HCF TRUST THANKS

The Hebridean Celtic Festival Trust (HCF Trust) would like to thank all who helped stage this year’s annual event.

We are grateful to the national and local funding organisations for their continued support.

We wish to say a special thanks to the shops and businesses in town that decorated their premises demonstrating the tremendous local support for the festival and for welcoming the many visitors who travelled to experience the event. Well done all!

We also wish to thank the many other local businesses that assisted us, local media for their support and the many individuals in the community who help in a myriad of ways to bring this event together.

Our grateful thanks are also extended to the Stornoway Trust for permitting us to use this fabulous setting; their continued support is invaluable to the festival team. And we also wish to thank the general public for their forbearance whilst the festival occupied this special area.

This year we had the support of Zero Waste Scotland for our Recycle & Reward project that helped us keep the mainsite clear of litter whilst promoting recycling to our festival going audience. Thanks to all those who made our job easier and used the fantastic facilities provided.

Our thanks also to Police Services Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Fire-North and volunteers from Stornoway Coastguards, First Responders and Macmillan Cancer Support for ensuring the event was carried off in a safe manner.

The festival has grown from humble beginnings but has done so through the solid efforts of a small group of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year to grow and develop the event for the benefit of the wider community.

In addition to their year round input, this year we were extremely fortunate to recruit over 150 volunteers during festival week, many of which travelled great distances to help out.

This year these individuals contributed over 3500 hours during festival week. Additional to this we received significant assistance from the numerous community groups throughout Lewis and Harris. We thank you all most sincerely.

HCFT looks forward to celebrating the Hebcelt’s 19th outing next year running from the 16 – 19 July our unique culture through the International platform we have all helped to create.

Mòran taing dhuibh uile

Caroline Maclennan

On behalf of the HCF Trust

INDEPENDENCE

‘No’ is not the crystal-clear answer to Scottish independence, but rather no, no, no.

Any other vote will significantly disadvantage our grand little nation forever. A separate Scotland must not be allowed to happen.

Until recently, I had a mountain of compelling objections to anything other than a no vote, but the “yes” team have, to their own sad detriment, reduced them to now only a few. Certain happenings have put paid to them all.

The shocking stomach-churning treatment of UKIP leader Nigel Farage by Radical Independence demonstrators when he visited Edinburgh recently was both disturbing and disgraceful.

Chilling also was SNP leader Alex Salmond’s eerie and deathly silence on the whole event. Not a word of condemnation has been heard from his lips.

This is utterly reprehensible. All he and his SNP colleagues could say was that these violent protestors were nothing to do with them.

If that be the case, maybe they can all explain to everyone in the Highlands, and indeed the whole of Scotland, why Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shared a platform with the Radical Independence Conference when the Yes Scotland campaign was formally launched in Glasgow.

There is something pathetic about an SNP Government craving ‘whatever the cost’ independence, using dictatorial style tactics, while associating with people who have no regard for democratic principle or common decency.

The separate union that exists between them is evidence that Scotland, at the end of the day, is better off without them both.

Also missing from their ‘yes’ manifesto is truth, honesty and integrity.

That is evident in their frenzied wolf-like cries and counter-cries, claims and counter-claims.

What the SNP explicitly know, claim and say privately, they don’t want to disclose to the Scottish public.

In a leaked ‘confidential memo’ to the Scottish Cabinet from Mr John Swinney, their Finance Secretary, he starkly exposes the ‘hidden’ truth about taxes, spending and

oil in a separate Scotland. What it simply reveals is two things: firstly, we could not afford an independent Scotland and, secondly, Mr Salmond and his motley crew wouldn’t be able to keep the national ship afloat if it were to sail away. If his change on sterling is anything to go by, then certainly his change on Scotland would leave us sinking faster than the Euro.

A three-word answer can be the only absolute response to the SNP’s ‘yes’ campaign, and that is no, no no!

Mr Donald J Morrison

Inverness, IV2 3HT

HELPING OTHERS

There are many older volunteers in Scotland who do amazing, but often under-recognised, work helping others in the community. Older people’s charity Royal Voluntary

Service has launched the 2013 Diamond Champions awards, sponsored by McCarthy & Stone and supported by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as President of the charity, to

celebrate the work of volunteers aged 60 and over.

Sixty Diamond Champions will be chosen including 10 from Scotland; 12 people from across Britain will be invited to a reception in the autumn. We want people in Scotland to nominate their volunteer hero and celebrate the difference they make to the lives of others.

Nominations can be made at royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/diamondchampions and the closing date is September 15th – so get nominating!

Margaret Paterson

Royal Voluntary Service

EDITORIAL - Potential for an Isles’ economic boom

Arctic ice melting, climate change blamed for freakish weather – these are the news headlines which have gripped the reader over the last decade.

However could there be some benefit to the changes we are seeing in our environment? Stornoway Port Authority certainly sees the potential to bring an economic boom to the Islands with a bold plan to transform the Port into a European gateway for cargo vessels from the Far East.

They say the plans, which would see a refuelling station based at Holm, could bring a cache of jobs to the islands. Perhaps such jobs would have the ability to stop islanders leaving home to find work and may even result in inward migration to the Islands from the mainland.

It seems the infrastructure – depending on its condition – is already in place to get the ball rolling. Congratulations to the team behind this innovative idea, let’s hope their plans will come to fruition.

If you would like to comment, or write a letter on this subject or any other topic, write to me at: news@stornowaygazette.co.uk