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Dave Allen

The letter from Keith Fernie (Gazette 22.1.15) in which he appeared to ‘lampoon’ organised religion and recalled the late, great comedian Dave Allen as being something of a master in this department was a little strange for this writer as he had been thinking of Allen recentyl in this respect and your correspondent’s letter appears.

One of my favourit sketches of Allen’s, amongst many, is of a member of the public solemnly approaching his confession box.

The confessionist promptly slams a pint of beer in the direction of priest Allen and is given thanks! Outrageous perhaps, but very funny too.

I also wish to commend Rev. Iain D. Campbell on thought-provoking articles in the Gazette.

And in the words of Dave Allen: “Goodnight and may your God go with you”.

Iain Frew

Benbecula

Weak in EU

It is clearly disappointing to note that, according to a recent report from a House of Lords EU sub-committee, the UK’s financial services sector is suffering due to the UK’s “diminishing influence” in the EU.

While peers state that political interference from Brussels is driving an ill-thought-out and inconsistent system of red tape, the debate about Britain’s future in the EU and a growing “antipathy” towards Brussels means that UK authorities are losing their ability to combat what they see as damaging legislation.

A series of new regulations from Brussels since the financial crisis, most notably a cap on bankers’ bonuses, have angered many in the City, who argue that it harms London’s position as a global financial hub. Indeed, some 40 pieces of financial legislation have been introduced or proposed since the 2008 financial crisis.

However, the UK’s ability to have an influence over this legislation has been greatly diminished. And while the proposed capital markets union, for example, presents a golden opportunity for the UK, its role in shaping it is being is being marginalised due to a weakening influence in Brussels.

This means that Scotland’s financial services sector currently is losing out and will continue to do do.

This greatly reduced influence is highly apparent and that is even before the referendum campaign on the UK’s relationship with the EU has begun.

With the Scottish economy so reliant on the financial services sector it is clearly disappointing that we are and will continue to be impacted by being part of a UK whose ability to influence key decisions in this area is so weak.

At an EU level it is not how hard you bang your fist on the table and throw your weight around that counts, but your ability to step up to the mark and be a team player.

Alex Orr

Edinburgh

Superdrug fundraiser

I would like to say a huge thank you to customers and employees of Superdrug up and down the country for reaching the landmark fundraising total of £1 million for Marie Curie.

The money raised during 2013 and 2014 will fund over 50,000 hours of nursing care, the equivalent of 54 nurses for a year, for patients in their own home and in the charity’s nine hospices.

For every customer who put spare change into a collection tin, or bought one of our specially branded Superdrug products.

To all the staff in Superdrug stores, as well as those in Head Office and the distribution centres, the money you have raised will make a huge difference to terminally people and their families.

All the money raised will go towards helping us provide more free care to these people as well providing vital emotional support, whether it be in the home via our nursing service or in one of our nine hospices.

Dr Jane Collins,

Chief Executive,

Marie Curie

Gaelic help

I am a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen studying the link between Gaelic language use and official language management initiatives.

I was wondering if some of your readers would be kind enough to help me with this project.

I am looking for Gaelic speakers living in the parish of Stornoway who would be willing to complete a language diary for a period of 14 days during February and March and then would be willing to take part in an informal interview lasting no longer than an hour.

If you would be willing to participate in this study, or if you would like some more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch,

Mrs Inge Birnie

Soillse PhD student

University of Aberdeen

r01iab13@abdn.ac.uk

07780973027

Looking for alcohol free

My husband and I regularly eat out in Stornoway and at other restaurants around the island, but we are surprised to find that, to date, we have not been able to buy alcohol free drinks.

The drink/drive limits changed on 5th December and we have no problem with that as safety is vital but when eating out it would be nice to be able to drink a glass of beer or wine rather than lemonade.

We have asked at every establishment and the response has been the same at each: “We’ve run out.”

Now, there’s a bit of a clue there … they’re obviously not ordering enough!

We realise that in the past alcohol free drinks did not taste very nice but times have changed and these products are much improved!

The tourist season will start in a few months, and some will be unaware of the changes in the laws, it would be nice if restaurants and hotels took this on board and prepared so that locals and visitors can enjoy a meal with a drink and still stay safe.

Ann van den Broek (Mrs)

Arnol

Isle of Lewis

Picture: Ronnie MacAlpine was drawn to photographing the famous carved and painted tree monster in the Lews Castle Grounds which is situated above the shore road between Sober Island and the Creed.