Gazette Letters 21.8.14

Ronald Macalpine said of his photo: "I thought this reflection from the Isle of Lewis ferry looked good in the early morning calm water."
Ronald Macalpine said of his photo: "I thought this reflection from the Isle of Lewis ferry looked good in the early morning calm water."

THE COST OF SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

The ‘NO’ Campaign keep calling for the Scottish Government to produce a figure of the cost of Independence, knowing full well that such a figure can never be produced without detailed discussions with the UK Government.

The ‘NO’ Campaign keep doing this of course so as to try and create as much uncertainty as possible in the mind of the Scottish voters. There are many imponderables, for example –

How much will an Independent Scotland inherit of the UK’s £120 billion assets?

What will Scotland’s share be of the National Debt?

How much will Scotland save in no longer having to pay for the House of Lords, the expensive Whitehall Departments, and for the refurbishment of the House of Commons (which estimates say will cost four times that of building the Scottish Parliament)?

How much will Scotland save in no longer having to pay its share of UK armaments (including Trident) which are four times that of any modern Western Democracy?

What will be the cost of Scotland setting up the necessary Government Departments for running an Independent country?

Regarding the latter, valiant attempts to do so were made by Professor Dunleavy of the London School of Economics. Here are his conclusions…

“A main reason why costs numbers are currently hard to estimate is that Whitehall has been completely forbidden by ministers from calculating any detailed transition costs for Scotland, in case some numbers get written down that could be copied and then used to undermine the ‘Better Together’ campaign. Equally, civil servants have been banned from even discussing any of the transition details with Scottish Government staff. Why should the far more important issues around Independence be left for Scotland voters to conjecture about this, when detailed answers could easily be made available either by Whitehall or by academics commissioned to inform the debate?”

John S Jappy

Muir of Ord

Litter: it’s time to take action

With disposable packaging at an all-time high the UK is experiencing levels of litter on an unprecedented scale. The impact of this has moved beyond mere aesthetic displeasure, seriously posing a threat to both public and environmental health. All is not lost, however, as we can still do something about it.

Let’s do it! UK is a national anti-litter campaign, and part of the global Let’s do it! World movement. This year we are organising the UK’s first nationwide Clean Up Day, and on 13th September we are calling on everyone to come out together and clean up their local area.

The disposability of our waste is a one-way road, with plastic bags and bottles taking hundreds of years to degrade.

One of the biggest impacts of this disposable economy is the threat it poses to wildlife.

Cigarette butts, often thought to be biodegradable - a longstanding myth - threaten urban birds, who digest these butts; along with the plastic lining and tar that comes with it. It is not too late to make a change, but we need your help if we are to make the UK clean again.

For more information, and to start or join in with a clean up, visit Let’s do it! UK’s website www.letsdoituk.net and join us on 13th September.

Dr Luke Blazejewski

Campaign Coordinator

Let’s do it! UK

Save the Range

Apart from a rather dubious and irrelevant response from Dr Wilson, there has so far been no reply from Angus B MacNeil MP to my request for information relating both to the campaign to ‘save’ the Range a number of years ago and also the number of visits he has undertaken to these facilities since the election of 2010.

I find this rather strange. After all, this is a man who made his early reputation as an MP calling for transparency and accountability in Parliament. Does this, I wonder, only apply to others and not, for some reason, to himself?

I call upon him again to release all the correspondence, letters and emails connected with the threat to the existence of the Range, complete with access to all the media statements he made at that time. Given the fact that he himself has raised the issue of its survival at that time over the last few weeks, surely it would only be fair and just of him to do this.

Can I ask again, too, for all the details of the visits to the Range he has undertaken between the election of 2010 and the end of July 2014? Clearly, as Paul Blake points out in his recent letter, his last pronouncement had as little connection with the Range’s realities as his nonsensical claim that both he and the MSP ‘saved’ it.

But perhaps I do him an injustice. He wouldn’t have been so unprofessional as to fail to have gone there at any time over the last four years.

Or would he?

Donald John MacSween,

Lower Bayble

Royal British Legion

The committee of the Royal British Legion Scotland Lewis branch regrets that it is no longer able to order Poppy Wreaths. However the various community associations, other organisations and individuals around the island can order wreaths themselves on line at www.ladyhaigpoppyfactory.org.uk or by phone by calling 0131 550 1573/74.

The committee also regrets that the only Legion insert wreath they are able to supply this year is for the War Memorial in Stornoway. However should any member of the Legion who normally lays a Wreath for the Legion wish to order and lay a wreath at their own expense then they are encouraged to do so.

Donald MacIver

Secretary/Treasurer

Wool, the slug deterrant

The leaves of my young trees and flowers were being devoured by large brown slugs, and I’m loath to use slug killers because of the young birds.Having sheared my sheep and having lots of bits of wool left over, I decided to put it round my trees. Wonderful results! The slugs don’t travel easily over the wool which is salty with sweat as well.

No doubt lots of people have bits of fleece left over to help in the garden.

Sallie Porteous

Bernera