Gazette Letters 10-04-14

Tommy Stewart captured a great shot when he snapped this heron flying low over the water at Cuddy Point.
Tommy Stewart captured a great shot when he snapped this heron flying low over the water at Cuddy Point.

Crofting Support

Agricultural support schemes, restricted to crofters, have survived for more than a century under governments of all complexions at Westminister and later in Edinburgh. Only now are they under imminent threat due to the actions of the SNP-run Scottish Government.

The proposed merger of CCAGS, into a wider pool of ‘small farmers’ covering 73 per cent of all Scottish agricultural holdings, would be catastrophic for crofting.

It is impossible to believe that any previous Parliamentary representatives of the Western Isles would have been silent on this issue or, indeed, allowed it to get to this advanced stage.

We have heard absolutely nothing on this subject from the elected MSP for the Western Isles, Alasdair Allan, any more than we have heard from him on the slow strangulation of the Crofter Housing Grant Scheme.

Does Mr Allan have any opinions - or will he remain in hiding, in the hope that nobody will notice his silence or lack of influence on matters of historic importance to his constituency and to crofting?

Iain Macsween

8b Shulishader


Isle of Lewis

Journey from socialism to SNP

As a man born and raised in the mining heartlands of Fife, I am often asked why I am so polarised towards the SNP rather than the more obvious Socialist road on which I started.

The answer to that question is that I might still have been a socialist but for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and their many partners in crime.

Along with many other people, I listened to Tony Blair in 1996 preaching the socialist mantra of the need to narrow the distance between rich and poor only to watch Tony Blair on leaving office very quickly abandoning his mantra and any potential believers.

On the back of the wars with Iraq which saw almost 1.5 million casualties, Tony Blair has managed to amass an enormous fortune estimated at £80m which includes seven luxury homes (four in London) an average of almost £200,000 for each of the many speeches to explain what a great PM he was, £400,000 per year as a Middle East Envoy (hasn’t that been an outstanding success?) £10 million from Kazakhstan for “professional advice” and let’s not forget the £64,000 pension us taxpayers are paying also to him as an ex-PM.

Of course ‘Teflon’ Tony has every logical right to become one of the richest people in Britain, some people however may wish to recall his socialist mantra already stated and wonder – like me – whether socialism exists anymore.

Turning very briefly to Gordon Brown (considered to be the worst British PM in history), my abiding memory is him having a “jolly” in Qatar in October last year when we said that he was an “ex-politician” which must have come as a bit of a blow to the constituents of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath whom he has represented since 2005 and takes £66,000 for that duty.

I fear that Socialists from the past are no different to Socialists now.

I thought I had seen everything from the Etonian club of millionaires based in Westminster, undemocratically shaping our futures in Scotland but then I tease out the recent sell-off of the Post Office which Vince Cable is trying unbelievably to defend.

In the smoke-filled rooms of the Treasury there were a number of preferred identified bidders who convinced Cable that 330p per share was the sensible approach though it is now selling at 550p and was oversubscribed 23 times.

What is really interesting is that while preferred bidders like the Bank of Singapore and the US based Goldman Sachs had a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” not to sell their shares but decided to sell up within 48 hours making tens of millions of pounds but - hey the PO workers were not allowed to sell one share for three years.

John G Mitchell

Ceol na Mara

7 Direcleit

Isle of Harris

Team rationalisation

I really do not see what the fuss is anent the possibly bankruptcy of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

In this day and age, surely no Scottish city needs to have more than one football team?

A merger between Hibernean and Hearts would do much to promote the Scottish Government’s anti-Sectarian agenda.

And it would also allow either the Gorgie or Easter Road stadia to be re-developed for much needed social housing.

A move like this in Edinburgh could show the way to Scotland’s second city and encourage Glasgow to follow a similar approach with Celtic, Rangers and Partick Thistle - not all of whom are even currently active in top league football.

John Eoin Douglas

7 Spey Terrace



Understanding dyslexia

I would like to tell you about a new book for children which I hope will be of use to some of your readers.

Sam is a very special little boy who happens to have difficulties with reading and writing. ‘Sam’s trouble with words’ by Lorna Miles is aimed at helping children understand about dyslexia - there are around 374,000 school children in the UK affected by the condition.

Although written with adopted and fostered children in mind, this colourfully illustrated guide will help any child affected by dyslexia. It is also a great resource to give brothers, sisters and classmates an insight into the condition and can help them have more understanding about their friends and siblings who have trouble with reading and writing.

Written as an easy and accessible story aimed at children aged 7 to 11 years old, the book includes a useful ‘questions and answers’ section at the back to help adults and children explore the issue further, together.

‘Sam’s trouble with words’, is part of a set of helpful guides which also include ‘My brother Booh has ADHD’; ‘Oli and the pink bicycle’ which looks at foetal alcohol syndrome, and ‘Why can’t I be good?’ about a girl who has behavioural difficulties. These books - and many resources for children, parents and carers - are available

Srabani Sen

Chief Executive

British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF)

6- 10 Kirby Street, London
No headlines

We learned that as many as 39,000 oil related jobs are in the pipeline with most going to Scotland.

For some reason such news does not make headlines anymore in Scotland. I wonder why?

Had it been derogatory to Scotland’s interest no doubt it would be splashed all over front pages of our newspapers.

Donald J. Morrison,

20 Haig St. Portknockie,

Buckie.AB56 4NT