LETTERS

marine protected areas

I was pleased to see and read our MSP’s column in your paper last week. Alasdair Allan is a busy man, even when Holyrood is in recess.

I was disappointed that his report on issues he is involved in made no mention of Marine Protected Areas.

I know that he has met with representatives of the Fishermen’s Association, along with our MP, to discuss the concerns of the fishermen and fish processing industry here in the Uists and Barra.

The Comhairle has issued its own Press Release in support of our fishermen and is opposed to any further conservation measures. More priority now needs to be given to preserving our fragile industry.

Kallin Shellfish Ltd., Grimsay, employs 29 people, pays a good wage to all, and has an annual turnover of £3.5m.

A newly commissioned boat, the “Guiding Star” will be delivered shortly.

Do we wish this successful and prospering industry to be placed at risk as a direct result of Marine Designations, about to be implemented?

Additionally, are our political representatives aware that these proposals are based on flawed data from Marine Scotland, pursuing their own agenda.

I suspect this is yet another example of SNP MP’s being instructed to toe the party line, under the Cabinet principle of “collective responsibility”, whatever views individual MSP’s may hold.

This issue alone may become a deciding factor here in our islands as we approach the Holyrood Election, May 2016.

I ask the SNP administration in all sincerity, please go away and think again: the future sustainability of our fishing and highly acclaimed seafood processing industry depends on your support.

Cllr Andrew Walker,

Benbecula

SEARCH FOR UNITY

A local preacher offered ‘finding the new leonine messiah’ as the solution, which suggests change.

Surely what is first, is to show how the church might change, and second, to then commit to widening participation, such as by changing the criteria of who can speak, where we need to gather as much unique perspective as possible, so as to combine gifts into fruitful harvest, and third, to do it.

The problem is not the riddles in the Bible, it is level of capacity in the reservoir of human response.

Are we able to question ourselves and so able to travel along the narrow bridge of seeing ourself as others see us?

Do we drink the wine of belief lightly enough to be part of the answer?

Given that many of the big global issues in this world relate to fighting for sustenance or land/sea to provide sustenance, often based on the justified authorisation, ‘our rights, over and above theirs’, via individualised identification of God, ‘our line of what worship means rather than theirs’, given this, and its results in global living conditions such as those experienced in the Middle East at the moment, can we find the details of how church denominations can confirm a single church to get a way to agree.

Are we trapped in an assumption that our worship is effective, when from current examples as well as historic, it is obvious that some worship does not work.

How can we assess effective worship, and effective leadership? Do we recognise the need to change?

Will our churches wait to be lost, or be part of the change?

Can we study local church attitude to changes in social politics to understand what restrains change, how useful these functions are, and what might be a valid starting point?

This is a question that this Island area with its high concentration of strong belief, both historically and existing, with hundreds and hundreds of years of collective memory of worship, should be able to answer, the question of, how to confirm a single church policy.

Conversation about ‘new messiah’ or ‘end times’, is a discussion about succession. Succession is about inclusion, and widening social criteria. Could there be recognition of ‘new messiah’ without recognition of shared planet with completely equal species on it?

H Mansfield.

Stornoway

housing needs

Published this week, the Scottish Government’s legislative programme for 2015/16 acknowledges the positive role that housing has to play in promoting social justice, good health and improving our environment.

We note that the Scottish Government aims to surpass its target of developing 30,000 affordable homes over the current term of the Scottish Parliament.

Each one of these homes represents a step towards meeting housing need across Scotland.

The Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme has the potential to support people into home ownership as well as boosting the construction industry and we also welcome the commitment to provide additional funding with a focus on affordable home ownership next year.

While acknowledging and welcoming these important achievements, we also know that there is much more still to be done.

Building the number of new homes we need to house Scotland’s growing population will not be an easy task.

It will require coordinated efforts from partners across the housing sector, local and national government and the private sector as well as significant reform to land and planning systems.

It is a challenge that we must embrace together.

Ashley Campbell

Policy and Practice Officer

Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland

Princes Street, Edinburgh

a brisk walk

A brisk walk can give us an extra seven years, as shown in research (presented last week at the European Society for Cardiology congress in London).

The link between exercise and health has been well established but this new research is the first to look at the body’s cells, with researchers finding that exercise protects them.

Here at Living Streets we think it’s incredibly important that walking is made easier for people because it’s good, not only for our health, but also for the environment and local economies.

More of us still need to introduce activity into our day and walking is an easy, cheap and accessible way to start. Walking for just 25 minutes a day was found to have a positive impact on life expectancy.

We all lead busy lives but walking can be slotted into the school run, the journey to work or a trip to the shops – it all adds up.

Tompion Platt

Head of Policy and Research

Living Streets

Wentworth Street, London

We will beat MS

My mum Sandra was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 54 – a scary and heart-breaking time.

She’s one of more than 100,000 people living with MS in the UK – it’s a devastating condition with no cure. People with MS might be fine one day but the next they might lose their sight or be unable to move.

The MS Society is a world-leading funder of research into the condition. The UK charity is fighting to improve treatment and care to help people with MS take control of their lives.

t has already made important breakthroughs and this is now the start of a generation of MS research that holds incredible promise.

I’m supporting the charity by getting involved in ChallengeMS – a fundraising event happening throughout September – all the money raised will go towards that vital research.

With ChallengeMS people can do anything from wearing an orange wig, to giving something up to hosting an event like a coffee morning.

I’d love your readers to join me and support the MS Society – they can find out more by going to www.challengems.org.uk

With your support, we will beat MS.

Scott Mills,

BBC Radio 1 presenter and MS Society supporter

PHOTO: The incredible underwater shot of a basking shark was taken by Chris Knight. To see more of Chris’ work, go to www.facebook.com/chrisknightpic