Gazette Letters 17-04-14

Morris Macleod captured this snapshot at Sober Island where the oyster catcher got a shock when the cormorant flew over him missing by millimetres
Morris Macleod captured this snapshot at Sober Island where the oyster catcher got a shock when the cormorant flew over him missing by millimetres
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Our Islands Our Future campaign

A letter I wrote last week to the administration of the Scottish Government asking about the powers being considered for devolution to the Comhairle from Edinburgh, received the following as part of the response: “Scottish Ministers and their officials have had constructive, detailed and wide-ranging discussions with the Councils since the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group was established following the First Minister’s ‘Lerwick Declaration’ last summer, and look forward to agreeing a prospectus for publication this summer.”

The process is far along the line with months of discussion having taken place, and yet the people of the Western Isles have not been asked for their consent. For consent to be given, the Comhairle would need to be open about what powers are being talked about and why they are considered necessary for the future of the Western Isles.

Another part of the response I received from the Scottish Government administration stated: “Regarding your question about consulting the local population, local authorities are subject

to a ‘Best Value’ duty under the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003. One element of

Best Value is that local authorities are able to demonstrate open, fair and inclusive

consultation arrangements.”

There has been nothing resembling an open, fair and inclusive consultation on the devolving of powers from Edinburgh (or indeed London) to the Comhairle.

It may be late in the process but the Comhairle could start even now to be open, fair and inclusive (and democratic) by answering the questions proposed in the Editor’s Say in the Stornoway Gazette, 10th April 2014: What Powers are Councils Asking For?

Dr Ruth McKinlay



Ness HS2 0TR

Which way to vote?

To vote No in the forthcoming independence referendum, DV, will be to affirm a Union that is a violation of both the spirit and letter of the Solemn League and Covenant.

On the other hand, to vote Yes will be to affirm a movement towards a constitutionally enshrined secularism affording no privilege whatsoever to true, biblical, religion.

How then are those who would own the mediatorial dominion and kingship of Christ over both Church and state to vote?

Donald Mackay

0/2 87 Minard Road

Glasgow G41 2EJ

Treated with contempt

Little wonder that the Scots are itching to queue up to vote at Scottish referendum for independence.

At the last Scottish election the SNP gained a clear majority, although the voting system was skewed in such a manner that it was virtually impossible for this to happen.

However, at present, the SNP MP representatives at Westminster are treated with contempt and lamblasted systematically by the unionist parties, while believe it or not former IRA leader McGuinness is being treated with respect and approval.

Time for change for the better!

Donald J.Morrison,

20 Haig St.Portknockie,

Buckie AB56 4NT

More blue plaques

I was delighted to read in the Gazette that a blue plaque has been mounted on Point Street to mark the place where Thomas Macleod, twice awarded the rare Polar Star by the King, grew up.

In 2010, I was fortunate enough to visit South Georgia and Antarctica and discovered that a fellow Lewis man had voyaged there with Scott and with Shackleton a hundred years before.

On return home, I read his story as written by Margaret Macinnes and by Harvey Medland, and later travelled to Canada where Thomas spent his latter years.

Talking to someone who knew Thomas, visiting the places he used to frequent, and seeing his gravestone on the ‘heritage trail’ within the cemetery in Kingston Ontario was a fascinating experience. It caused me to wonder why he is so little known in his native island.

It is good therefore to see this plaque being erected to one of the many highly skilled island seamen who bravely explored unknown places, trading valuable goods, discovering new territories and cultures and enhancing our understanding of the world we live in.

Hopefully there will be a few more blue plaques appearing around the island to recognise other island heroes.

BBC Radio nan Gaidheal broadcast a programme about Thomas - Fear Deighe gu Chuil - in late 2012. It is being broadcast again on April 17th and 20th.

Christina Allon

2 Beachgate