Gazette Letters 14.7.11

This stunning picture of a boat off Cuddy Point in Lews Castle Grounds was taken by Chris Murray
This stunning picture of a boat off Cuddy Point in Lews Castle Grounds was taken by Chris Murray

In reply to Mr Bell

I’m sorry Gordon Bell should take offence at the fact Free Church numbers have now shrunk to less than those marking themselves down as Jedi on the new Census (Letters 9th November).

I need to address some of his inaccuracies though. Far from having only a “handful” of members, the Scottish Secular Society has over 800 members growing at around three new members a day and around 2,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.

We don’t want Religious Observance removed from schools either, and are before Parliament to ask that parents are asked first and are told who is doing RO, what it is and how it is being performed.

That is not “eradicating” religion. Finally, as for “trying cuckoo-like to take over the ones started by Christians”.

Yes, churches played a part in setting up schools but they were paid for by local taxes. By Mr Bell’s thinking, I should be permitted to ask the new owners of my old home if I can still have a say in their choice of wallpaper.

Garry Otton


Scottish Secular Society

58a Broughton Street

Edinburgh EH1 3SA
Pull the pin

I see from your excellent journal that Stornoway High Church per its kirk session has lately balloted its members over the Church of Scotland’s stance on openly-gay ministry, and I would think correctly so when this year’s General Assembly drove a coach and horses through what the Bible says on the subject (Gazette 8.11.13).

Small wonder the session protests, but it seems Lewis Presbytery have issued a statement in which they distance themselves from the session’s opinion in the matter, maintaining rather that it would be premature for members to leave the Kirk when the Kirk has yet to establish its position.

I’d have thought the Kirk’s position was made abundantly plain in 2013 when its General Assembly agreed the ludicrous motion proposed by former moderator Albert Bogle, which allowed individual congregations to appoint openly-gay ministers if they wished.

What a nonsense that was, yet Lewis Presbytery appears to cherish the notion that the Kirk will reverse all of that in 2015, if indeed by then, but zero prospect of that I think.

When the Bible’s position on homosexual practices can be discerned by any reader in a matter of moments, how is it that years of deliberation are required before the Kirk can pronounce on the matter, and how is it they’ve managed to effectively fudge every decision made along the way ?

It seems to me the Kirk is no longer in safe hands.

Stornoway High would be entirely justified in pulling the pin, and other congregations would be well-advised to follow them.

Keith Fernie, 8 Drakies,Inverness 
Who are the real separatists?
It was intriguing to note the comments by Home Secretary, Theresa May, that Scotland will be vulnerable to a terrorist attack if we leave the Union and cross-border co-operation and intelligence sharing will be hindered (30th October).

According to Ms May, in a rare journey north of the border, Scotland simply won’t be able to defend itself against the army of terrorists that will descend on what Westminster also claim will be a small, insignificant state devoid of London clout Scotland will also, it should be noted, be in the process of negotiating the removal of Trident Nuclear Weapons from the Clyde.

In addition, our troops will no longer be compelled to take part in the former UK’s foreign adventures, which have made the UK such a pariah state in many parts of the world, open to terrorist attack.

In short Scotland will be harmless in comparison with what remains of the UK, and why any terrorist would want to attack a nation that has just wrenched itself from UK isn’t explained. Scotland will most probably be rendered safer after a Yes vote than a No one.

It is also scarcely credible that both our nations will not continue to share intelligence information on security matters.

The US shares intelligence with the UK and many other countries share their intelligence to ensure that others are aware of any impending threat and yet, apparently, what remains of the UK would not do this with a post-independent Scotland.

The more the debate goes on the more one begins to wonder who the true ‘separatists’ are, those wanting to continue to share information and co-operate with what remains of the UK post-independence or those wanting to pull up the drawbridge

Alex Orr

Flat 2, 77 Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Post Office 

Having had parents who for many years ran a mail delivering rural post office, I took more than a passing interest in the recent privatisation of Royal Mail, which was yet another typical example of the Tory-led UK government’s inequitable and greed-fuelled philosophy in action.

UK taxpayers were lumbered with the pension obligations of Royal Mail employees, who are also prohibited from selling their 10% allocation of shares until October 2016.

Meanwhile, the company’s share price was deliberately undervalued so that City of London based financial institutions who were allocated 70% of the shares could make a fast buck on the stock market as the under-priced share price rapidly rose over 40% to reflect a more realistic valuation of company assets.

The biggest winners of Royal Mail privatisation were the ‘fatcat’ Tory benefactor City money managers and their wealthy speculator clients who, without lifting a finger, would have indirectly amassed more money in a few hours than many former Post Office employees would have earned in half a lifetime’s loyal service.

David Cameron proudly tells us we’re to admire and emulate these “hard working” people who’re benefiting most from his party’s debased and degenerate form of crony capitalism.

With the 2014 independence referendum on the horizon, one would have presumed the Westminster Tories’ underhand treatment of Royal Mail privatisation would be a God-sent opportunity for the SNP to capitalise on in persuading the Scottish people to ditch forever the UK parliament’s influence in Scotland.

The Nationalists, however, are making no headway whatsoever in persuading Scots of the need for independence. But is such voter apathy really surprising when one considers the reaction to Royal Mail privatisation of leading nationalists such as Western Isles MP Angus Macneil?

Leaving unaddressed the more fundamental egalitarian principles Royal Mail privatisation has breached, Macneil has reduced this important issue to its possible effect on the price of a second class stamp bought in Stornoway.

Now that the extent of the SNP’s ambitious aspirations for an independent Scotland can quite literally be written on the back of a postage stamp, what could possibly go wrong?

Iain Macdonald

Miavaig, Uig