Gazette Letters 26.06.14

Chris Murray took this stunning photograph of the mist rolling in at Arnish
Chris Murray took this stunning photograph of the mist rolling in at Arnish

Contrasting weekends

There is no fun in clearing up after others and recently I was understandably annoyed after having lugged six large sacks of rubbish from the burnt out remains of an overnight party at Traigh Mhor beach

Last Friday evening I took a stroll down to see if another party was in the offering and found the picnic area encircled by tents and group of local teenagers.

Having introduced myself and explained the problem from the previous week they promised they would leave the place tidy. Good as their word they left it spotless, thank you.

The right to roam and the freedom to camp in stunning locations makes holidaying and partying in the Hebrides a very special experience.

Tom Hickman

17 New Tolsta
Fuel poverty

According to the SNP, Scotland is the 14th richest country in the world. Why then are ten per cent of children in the Outer Hebrides living in poverty?

Why is it that fuel poverty in these islands ( ie more than 10% of household income spent on fuel ) has grown from 60% to 70% over the past five years?

Why has a new category of extreme fuel poverty been created to cover those in the islands spending over 30% of their income on fuel? In that last category there are 1,300 households.

It is a scandal that the Scottish Government has not woken up to the very serious problems related to poverty and fuel poverty in the Outer Hebrides.

It is disgraceful that virtually nothing has been done to redress this blight on our island society.

There is a need to target those families where children are in poverty. Children in poverty are more susceptible to illness, do less well in school and are most likely to live in poverty as adults.

Tackling this problem as soon as it arises, removes future problems - it future- proofs society and everyone benefits.

There is also a great need to identify the elderly in our villages who live in hard to heat houses and have low incomes.

Resolving their problems means they can stay in good health in warm homes and they do not go into hospital. Again society as a whole wins.

The Comhairle, with the Community Planning Partnership, is evolving strategies to help tackle these problems but without Scottish Government help it is struggling.

Now, by way of exacerbating the problem, the Scottish Government is to manage, from Edinburgh, the £154 million designated by Europe for the Highlands and Islands! Clearly the rural areas of Scotland are incapable of dealing with their own affairs.

Will any of that money come to the Outer Hebrides? Or will it disappear just as over 50% of HIE money did when the SNP came into office?

There is a significant amount of the HIEP monies that is designated for Social Inclusion. Will any of these monies ever come to the Outer Hebrides?

Is this what is meant when the First Minister talks of ‘Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities’?

Even before the ink is dry on the ‘manifesto for the islands’, the islands are stabbed in the back. Is this island - proofing?

It is clear that the outcome of Our Islands, Our Future, into which the Leaders of our islands put so much effort, is empty promises.

Perhaps if the Scottish Government paid more attention to governing the country and less to permanent electioneering in an attempt to separate Scotland from its neighbours, some of the ills that afflict our islands might be resolved.

Clearly ‘the 14thrichest country in the world’ should not have the kind of poverty figures currently present in the Outer Hebrides.

Angus McCormack

25 North Street

Sandwick

Isle of Lewis HS2 0AD

Land control

Now that SNP have revealed their intentions to nationalise the land, by starting with a million acres of land owned by estates in order to implement community land buy-out schemes embodied in the Scotland 2003 Land Reform Act, this insidiously implies the state has ultimate control of land, and not the people who work on it. The legislation in this Act is Brussels-orientated which eliminates Scottish law which preceded the Act.

There is no concrete evidence, if Scotland becomes independent, of where funding is coming from in the interim period between independence, or if and when Scotland is accepted back into EU membership, for dwindling agricultural subsidies under CAP reforms.

If the Scotland Land Reform Act had never been activated, landlords would not have been restricted from renting out farms to prospective young tenant farmers.

There are many farmers who are inter-dependent on estates for part of their income from wintering sheep, who may lose this vital income if estates are broken up. This is only one example of infrastructure which is finely-tuned with estates investing huge amounts of their own money into the rural economy alongside farmers with highly-successful diversified businesses, regardless of Brussels’ destructive bureaucracy regulating farmers and estates out of business. This is the brave new world the SNP government also wish to destroy.

It has to be acknowledged where land is blatantly misused or not used at all public interest could be judiciously acted upon.

Equally government-owned land such as vast tracts of forestry commission land which has been felled and left unplanted could serve to bolster bio-fuel production.

With a continued reduction of single farm payment into the future, together with a mounting burden of EU bureaucracy, farmers may seriously consider giving up the single farm payment if they wish to continue managing their farms to a profitable advantage under extensive systems, ignoring costly intensive methods of production.

SNP have stated they will use Scottish taxpayers’ money to implement community buy-out schemes.

With the bleak prospect of a “Yes” for bogus independence in the EU vote in Scotland’s referendum, it is no accident people are moving their bank accounts and assets from Scottish banks to English banks as an insurance policy against Scotland going bankrupt, should Scottish independence become a reality.

Only UKIP will offer an in/out of the EU referendum immediately and re-direct a portion of the £56million a day of British taxpayers’ EU membership fees Britain pays to Brussels, thereby maintaining British subsidies for British farmers.

The Conservatives have publicly stated they wish to scrap agricultural subsidies.

With the three main political parties in Britain now having to accept the will of the people by voting UKIP, a legitimate mandate is now established by UKIP’s success in the recent Council and European elections.

This momentum requires to be advanced in next year’s General Election to facilitate Britain taking control of its own affairs once more, to end the disastrous dictatorship from Brussels.

Philip A. Anderson

UKIP Highland

Broomhill Farm

Fortrose

Ross-shire, IV10 8SH