As a nation we stand now on the very brink of primary legislation in respect of same-sex marriage, but how is it that we find ourselves in this place when neither Westminster nor Holyrood had any mandate to take us there.
The now discredited consultation exercise wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, its findings unashamedly manipulated by politicians. Nor was there prior announcement of intent in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen’s Speech.
Hell-bent on destroying marriage, governments north and south of the border have ridden rough-shod over the people. Democracy has gone by the board taking morality with it, and bungling politicians with no regard for God in their souls take free rein.
The Archbishop of Westminster lately branded the entire situation shambolic, which it most certainly is, adding that from a democratic standpoint it’s a governmental manoeuvre George Orwell would be proud of. It’s time this madness was halted.
Keith Fernie, Inverness IV2-3RW
Readers could not have failed to notice the extensive coverage devoted to whether an independent Scotland will automatically become an EU member state on independence or not.
Over the last few months the media north of the border have largely focused on this debate through a Scottish prism. Will an independent Scotland automatically be an EU member or will it have to re-apply for membership? Both sides have naturally wheeled out experts to support their case. However, south of the border David Cameron is under extreme pressure from his largely Eurosceptic backbenchers, reinforced with election successes for UKIP, to call an EU “in-out” referendum following the next UK General Election in 2015.
Given the likelihood that the UK will vote to leave, with polling consistently showing this over the years, we could have the ironic situation of an independent Scotland as a member of the EU in 2016 with a rest of the UK that is negotiating its exit.
It would be interesting, as an aside, to see what contingencies the UK Government has in place for this eventuality.
It also however means that we in Scotland may never have had a national debate on our future relationship with the EU lies since the 1975 referendum. My belief is that it is as a full member of the European Union, but that does not mean that debate should not be had and various options proposed, be it membership of the European Economic Area, European Free Trade Association, or none of the above.
The greatest threat to Scotland’s membership of the EU is the UK Government, but it would be grossly unfair for the rest of the UK to be offered a referendum on its relationship with the European Union, when we in Scotland may not be offered the same.
Alex Orr, Edinburgh EH10 4JT
TRACING A FRIEND
I am trying to trace the family of the late Mr Donald Conway who was born on the islands.
He was the brother of Roderick and had a sister. Both are probably now deceased but the sister was married and had one child when I knew her back in 1964.
Roderick was a lecturer or teacher and the sister of a senior Civil Servant in the area.
Donald held a variety of jobs, including life as a Crofter. I knew him as a highly qualified, intelligent, popular and successful nurse serving as a ‘Charge Nurse’ in Nottinghamshire General Hospital and a State Special Security Hospital.
He was highly respected and valued by the medical, nursing and psychiatric professions and liked by all his patients, friends and employers in the different hospitals where he worked.
His brother Roderick visited Nottinghamshire and we are not only friends but true friends.
At my present age of 78 years I reflect and marvel the principles and values that family held and I would like to pass on my information and compliments to their descendants.
Their thinking and actions were such that made the aura which made Scotland the Brave. Their family were such great ambassadors of the qualities of Scottish people.
It is my wish that someone will know of this family and be able to contact me at the address below.
Ms Glenys Heather Evans
Room 1 Ashleigh House, 2 Stonehouse Road, Boldmere
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, England
Coinciding with Professor Richard Dawkins November Stornoway lecture visit, I wrote a ‘ Gazette ‘ letter comparing the eminent scientist’s unambiguous viewpoint to that of the contradictory messages coming from ten different Western Isles church denominations.As if to prove my point, shortly afterwards there appeared in the local press a letter written by Mr Donald John Morrison, a respected Christian evangelist and Free Church (Continuing) lay preacher
Highly critical of the concept of same-sex marriage, Mr Morrison argued that such a union not only contradicted the natural order but openly defied God’s biblical instruction on gender relationships.
It is easy to imagine that someone opposed might consider interrupting such a church-held marriage ceremony, warning the participants of God’s displeasure at their embarking on the road to damnation, quoting verses of scripture to justify the warning.
Unfortunately the impact of such an intervention would be greatly undermined when members and preacher from a different Christian denomination simultaneously open a carton of confetti to symbolically sprinkle the same-sex union with their blessing.
Both sides would defend their actions as being consistent with biblical teaching.
Such a contradictory response should give any rational thinking person pause for thought, before rightly concluding that on this particular issue the broad church has entirely lost the plot, tying itself up in theological knots trying to face in both directions at the same time.
That is exactly where the gay rights activists want the church to be because they know it’s much easier to defeat a divided and confused adversary.
I fear that unless the broader Christian church pulls together and starts speaking with one voice on same-sex marriage, (and other issues) denominational rivalries and lack of consensus will be exploited to devastating effect by a powerful and committed gay rights lobby, satisfied by nothing less than full parity with heterosexual partnerships.
They will eventually achieve their aims,while clergy and many church members sit twiddling their thumbs afraid to speak out lest they hear the word ‘homophobe’ used against them.
Iain M MacDonald, Uig
EDITORIAL - Fish Farm Jobs
Grim news for jobs this week with the announcement that losses are expected at the Scottish Salmon Company’s factory at Marybank. The company are blaming delays to planning permissions for sites, as well as a low market price for salmon and disease affecting supply to the factory and therefore employment opportunities.
Fish farming can be a controversial topic with many proposals for new or the expansion of sites drawing the concerns of both the local population and wider protests seen clearly in our page three story about proposed fish farming sites. There is a fine balancing act for an area such as the Western Isles industry of any kind must fit its environment and be appropriate and sound, however we also desperately need jobs to sustain our population – it’s no good having a good environment if people can’t find work here.