Gazette Letters 24.04.14

Joan Benson took this photograph at Claddach Baleshare, North Uist on a recent trip home.
Joan Benson took this photograph at Claddach Baleshare, North Uist on a recent trip home.

Consultation process?

Once again we have been recently subjected to the Council’s so called ‘consultation’ process on the ‘Our Islands, Our future’ issue, what utter nonsense!

What do they want more power for? They already do what they want, they will do well to remember these are OUR islands and OUR future, and NOT THEIR islands to do with as they please. The next time, before they set out to ‘consult’ us, I suggest they look up the meaning of the word in the dictionary.

Maybe if they ever get their ‘independence’ the folk of Point then may wish to break away from the rest of the Island, and the lyrics of Ian Maciver’s song ‘Independence for the Rudh’ may ring true. Yes, I can see the border guards at the Braighr checkpoint.

Donald Morrison


Our Islands Our Future

In response to Dr Ruth McKinlay’s letter regarding Our Islands Our Future I would say that we have been open, fair and inclusive from the very beginning of the process. Overwhelmingly the response has been positive.

We have held public meetings and met with community groups throughout the Islands. We have emphasised that we welcome contributions from anyone who wishes to add to the debate on more powers for Island areas for the benefit of our communities.

As to the detail of the proposals these will be published over the course of the summer and everyone will have the opportunity to see exactly what is being put forward by both the UK and Scottish Governments.

I think it is important to highlight that whenever we have consulted with people whether it be budget consultations, Our Islands Our Future meetings or Community Planning meetings, there has been a consistent message from the people.

They want more resources for the Islands, decent jobs and housing and good services. I see Our Islands Our Future as a means to help deliver these perfectly reasonable aspirations.

Angus Campbell

Leader Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Fuel Poverty

I was attending a wedding in Lancaster last week and was struck by the price of fuel £1.30.9 pence for diesel and the same diesel in Fort William and here at £1.41.9 pence.

Then thinking on about how our electricity picks up an unwanted surcharge as we export it down south over the border.

Then musing further about the intransigence of the government in Westminster determined to proceed with expensive nuclear power and their reluctance to follow the Scottish Government’s lead in pressing ahead with renewables.

We are sitting waiting for the connection to the grid to get our wave and wind farms up and running, yet all we hear are delays and apparently we are a rich country.

Why are these projects taking so long when there are great benefits to be had with plenty of jobs and power to be harnessed?

I am pretty sure that if things were reversed the people of say middle England would soon find their voices and get things sorted. Just another reason to say Yes in September.

Roddy Maclean


Isle of Lewis

Independence debate

Carloway Community Association is to be applauded for organising a hustings for the independence referendum.

The “Yes Scotland” speakers Alasdair Allan and Gordon Diesel gave an excellent account of why Scotland should be governed by the party (SNP, Labour or a coalition of the two) that it voted for. Rather than by the Tories, who have just one of the 59 Scottish MPs in the London parliament.

As expected, the ‘Better Together’ speakers wallowed in a depressing orgy of relentless negativity. The Scots, they reckon, are too little, too weak, too poor and too inadequate to run their own affairs.

Luxemburg, the size of Edinburgh, is independent and is the most successful and prosperous country in Europe. Scotland, ten times bigger with 5.3 million people and its massive natural, human and spiritual resources, is too small say Better Together.

This negativity chimes with recent claims by senior London politicians. Lord Robertson tells us that, if we vote YES, the “forces of darkness” will get us.

The Tory Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has suggested to a bemused Glasgow audience that, if we vote YES, we won’t be able to protect ourselves from attacks by aliens from Outer Space. I thought this was a wind-up until I heard about some “little green men” in the Crimea.

The Better Together speakers at Carloway were asked to give a positive reason for Scotland to stay in Britain’s bankrupt Union.

They couldn’t, because there aren’t any.

That is why the meeting concluded with the good folk of Carloway recording a resounding vote for independence.

Dr David Wilson

Isle of Lewis

Easter Holidays

It was Good Friday and I had read that the Uist and Barra schools were taking a local holiday.

I resorted to the internet and found that, amongst so many worldwide, Calvin’s church in Geneva had a Good Friday service at 10am and that St Giles’ in Edinburgh had a service with Desolation as its theme.

It seems that Uist and Barra schools were taking part in an international holy day but the ones on Lewis and Harris were having a local work-in.

Mike Bartlett


Isle of Lewis

Lights went out

Is it not far beyond the realms of mere coincidence that on the very day the Scottish Government cabinet met in the Western Isles an inexplicable power failure blacked out the whole of the Highlands and Islands?

This is the same SNP cabinet who, from their cosy Edinburgh office suites, view the Western Isles and its exposed, unforgiving North Atlantic coastline as a veritable wonderland of untapped wind and wave renewable energy resources which, according to Nationalist propaganda, are going to bring great prosperity to Scotland, and save the lights from going out in the rest of the UK. A claim which more sober-minded realists now regard as the Nationalist’s costly and unfeasible grand delusion.

Might then this major unexplained power failure have been a warning message from an omnipotent intelligence, operating beyond our limited human understanding, to the powerless and shivering candle-lit renewable energy dreamers of the Scottish cabinet? If so, each of us can decipher for ourselves the meaning of the intended message.

We don’t know whether Western Isles MP, Angus Macneil, is receptive to that message.

But we do know from his past pronouncements on various matters that, had he been amongst this VIP company at the time of the power failure, there would have been more than enough hot air in circulation to have saved the Ministers the inconvenience of having to unpack their thermal underwear.

Iain M Macdonald


Isle of Lewis

Editor’s Say

The Callanish Stones is one of the jewels in the crown of the Outer Hebrides and this week the Stornoway Gazette is launching a campaign to gain World Heritage Site (WHS) status for the iconic landmark.

Despite being as old as Stonehenge and being one of the most important prehistoric sites in Europe, the Callanish Stones don’t currently have the designation.

In fact there are only five World Heritage Sites in Scotland, including St Kilda which has joint status for its natural and cultural qualities.

A long process of nomination is involved in gaining the international recognition but it can bring huge economic benefits and the Stornoway Gazette is now taking this forward.

And already we have the thumbs up from Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan and First Minister Alex Salmond.

We would also love to hear your feedback on our new campaign.

To comment, or write a letter on this topic or any other, please contact me at: