Gazette Letters 24.12.15

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Select Do us Proud

Congratulations to our Lewis and Harris squad for a fine win and performance at Invergordon on 12th December, particularly with the chopping and changing and lack of competitive games in this the Island’s ‘Close Season’.

The clear signs of leadership on and off the park on this occasion and what proved to be an effective mix of experience and youth all contributed to a good day.

My only disappointment was the noticeable absence of any committee members: Kenny ‘Blatter’ MacIver, Cab ‘Platini’ Stewart and others where were you!?

Ken MacDonald,

Inverness IV2 4DQ

Need robust intervention

Alasdair Allan’s response to the growing crisis in island air services, as per IN&A’s report of 16th December, does absolutely nothing to allay my real concerns about the harm this now protracted issue is doing to the islands’ economy and communities.

His limp statement contains too much explanation, concern and apology for the well-being of Flybe/Loganair, and not enough evidence of any real action on his behalf to end this appalling situation.

I suspect that Dr Allan’s meetings in the near future with Flybe/Loganair will follow the same pattern as those he has had with them in the past.

This provides the company with the cosy shoulder of a government minister on which to shed even more crocodile tears whilst islanders sit in cold waiting rooms for buses to take them to other airports or back home after missed hospital appointments.

Evidence of yet more correspondence between Dr Allan and Transport Minister Derek MacKay, really does not fill me with hope that either of them has a clue or the necessary guts to do what is necessary to resolve this issue.

Does he not realise that we are already beyond the point in time in which his government should have taken the kind of measures that would have made Flybe/Loganair resolve this situation themselves or by now be waiving goodbye to the islands and their air routes?

Instead, Dr Allan and his government seem to have done nothing this year to solve this problem other than to write to each other and to then increase the subsidies paid to Flybe/Loganair for their extortionate seat prices. That is just not good enough.

I also suspect that Derek MacKay is too busy attempting to build bridges with his own credibility at this time than to consider robust intervention in an issue that his department and his government has already let fester without any real response for more than a year.

Dr Allan, these islands cannot wait any longer for real action.

Peter Urpeth


Isle of Lewis

A light for each of us

Christmas is a time of renewal, where the birth of a new cycle occurs; Christmas is a social concept, and core provision of community, of being aware of others, and of long term past and future, in that, we are part of a sequence of existence and we have a place within a stream of living consciousness, and this expression and articulation of instinctive awareness, this light, is spoken in more than one way.

A sharing of the planet, a time to look at what we have and treasure it, a time to make sure people are okay as well as we are able; a time to discuss who we are, where we are from, and where we are going; a retelling about protection and roof building, that describes the established framework of social community, and spoken in the Christmas story through the language of Journey, a journey taken and a journey completed, with a newness gained, like a seed planted in the field of experience, we all reach out towards each other actively.

In this then, the particulars of the details are less focussed, as they fade into the overall care and consideration that we consider a birthright and that we show by example in our shared story, continuing to assert, there is tomorrow, with a light, for each of us.

H Mansfield


No cold homes

It’s that time of year when charities try to win from the additional generosity that often accompanies the Christmas spirit.

It is a tough, competitive place to be, with so many good causes that could do with a little help.

But it’s also the time of year to shout out about the issue of fuel poverty.

Research from the charity Turn2us, as part of its No Cold Homes campaign, has shown that half of those on lower incomes are struggling with the cost of heating their home, with one in five experiencing stress or other mental health issues as a result.

It’s a complex problem - one that cannot be seen through the prism of ‘cost of energy versus cost of living’ alone.

Turn2us found that only 12% of those struggling have spoken to their energy provider and a third haven’t told friends or family. Those struggling are often the least likely to take steps to apply for support, which can add to the spiral of debt and depression.

It’s therefore so important that we get the message out to as many people as possible that asking for help can make a difference.

The link between mental health issues and poverty is not new, but as we go into the festive season the pressure can mount.

It’s not uncommon to be worried about money at Christmas, but when it impacts on your physical or mental health it’s too heavy a price to pay.

Find out about financial help available at

Alastair Campbell

On behalf of the national charity Turn2us

200 Shepherds Bush Road, London W6 7NL

Diabetes care

More than one in five people in Scotland has, or is at risk of developing, diabetes.

With the Scottish Elections taking place in May, now is the time to make sure the voice of people affected by the condition is heard.

We’re calling on people to join Diabetes Scotland’s team of Diabetes Voices to help us campaign, raise awareness and influence positive change in diabetes care, services and support in Scotland.

Taking action can be as quick and simple as signing a petition or as exciting as starting your own local campaign. However you get involved, you can be sure that your influence is helping to change lives for the better.

We will support you to contact the decision makers who can make the improvements you want to see.

If you’d like to know more, please contact me at Diabetes Scotland on 0141 245 6380 or Or, you can log on to our website

Gavin Thomson

Diabetes Scotland

349 Bath Street

Glasgow G2 4AA

The image featured is from reader Steven Welsh who said: “This Busy bee up to elbows in nectar but probably oblivious to the surrounding world in the back garden on Saturday 5th September 2015.

“With 48 days until retirement I found myself identifying with and photographing a fellow creature at work.”

Taken with an iPhone 5