Gazette Letters 24.7.14

This shot of the sun setting on Dal Mor was taken by Murdo Morrison
This shot of the sun setting on Dal Mor was taken by Murdo Morrison

Be normal - not weird

This YES campaign contributor has been off the radar for a while but three recent moments of inspiration has prompted me to put pen to paper again.

The first inspiration came recently when the Yestival visited Tarbert. Not only were we treated to the supremely talented Domhall Ewen MacKinnon of Ceiling Lights putting the Yes campaign to music and verse, but we were privileged to hear the almost-evangelical testimony of two members of the travelling cast talking intimately and emotionally about their road to the YES decision.

The most telling and evocative aspect of this was that Yestival reflects a myriad of political colours including Labour and the Green Party.

The second moment of inspiration was a few days later when we were treated to a very broad-ranging and erudite overview of her reasons for voting YES from the acclaimed writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch – again in Tarbert.

She talked about the perception of many countries - but especially the Scandinavian countries - that Scotland is a bit weird – why weird – well they don’t even begin to understand why an oil-rich country such as Scotland has 913,138 people using food banks last year from 423 separate centres.

The only logical conclusion to draw is that there has been chronic mismanagement and squandering of accrued funds by successive Governments over decades. Do we wish this to continue?

We are also considered weird for calmly accepting a non-democratic system in the UK ‘the Mother of all Democracies’ where 91% of Scottish MPs voted against the bedroom tax (fining disabled people for having a spare room); 79% voted against privatising Royal Mail; 81% voted against Osborne’s recent Welfare Reforms and 82% voted against the rise of VAT to 20% - but did it make any difference – not one bit! Scottish views were totally ignored.

As Lesley Riddoch pointed out – let us worry about the currency; the European Market and NATO when we rid ourselves of the shackles of this elitist rule from the Etonian millionaires from Westminster .

Only then will we have a true democracy and be normal in the eyes of the world rather than weird.

The third and final moment of inspiration came when I opened up The Herald recently to see the headline ‘Labour supporters are being won over by the YES campaign’ I would also add the Green Party and many other non–political affiliates to this ever–growing list of disaffected voters.

Given the fact that virtually every moving part of the Press and TV (with the exception of the Sunday Herald) are doing everything they can to undermine the YES campaign by a series of scare stories and mis-truths, this was a very revealing headline.

Let’s stop being weird and get normal - Vote Yes!

John Mitchell

Isle of Harris

Go compare

In the recent news regarding Nick Hancock breaking a record on St Kilda, how can it be compared to Tom Maclean’s record when you consider the present day technology, email facility he had, also the comfortable storm pod etc!

Go compare, in my book it does not really merit any record or achievement.

MacLean is still the rock’s hero for his pure endurance.

Aonghas Eoghainn Mhoir,

Uibhist a Deas

Not foreign

I have lost count of the number of times to try and scare us, I have heard it said that an Independent Scotland will be a foreign country - it won’t.

All you need to do is to look at the relationship with the Republic of Ireland which I visit frequently.

i. Open borders

ii. Different immigration policies

iii. As the Ireland Act of 1949 points out - “the Republic of Ireland is not a foreign country for the purposes of any law in any part of the United Kingdom”

John Hermse

Elgin, Moray

A Valid 

A colleague has had an application to incorporate an English and Welsh company rejected by Companies House in Cardiff on the grounds that “’Scots’ is not a valid nationality”.

Most Scots are only too well accustomed to similar microaggressions by the culturally insensitive but this final straw has ensured that my colleague will be voting yes in the referendum.

In all fairness to Companies House, an incandescent phone call to their Edinburgh Office resulted in advice being given to their Cymric outpost and a speedy and satisfactory resolution to the matter!

John Hein


Church and 

While Rev. Iain D. Campbell promises to be an impartial chairman of the Gazette’s Referendum Debate it cannot be right for the church to adopt a neutral position on the proposals for Scottish independence themselves, especially if they are likely to have detrimental consequences for the cause of Christ.

For one thing it cannot be a matter of indifference to Christians whether we are to remain a Christian country or not. The Bible says that “Righteousness exalteth a nation” and warns us that the nation and kingdom that will not serve the Lord shall be “utterly wasted”.

Yet a number of the proposals for independence, if ever put into effect, will inevitably move us in a secular direction.

Perhaps the most radical proposal in Scotland’s Future is the one which envisages a new written constitution for Scotland, to be drawn up by a constitutional convention and presumably to receive ultimate approval by the Scottish Parliament.

If such a process is undertaken there can be no guarantee that the privileged place which the Christian religion and the Presbyterian Church have hitherto enjoyed in the life of the nation and which are secured under the Union will remain.

There is also a commitment to work towards the repeal of the measures in the Act of Settlement.

The First Minister has referred to the Act of Settlement as “a blot on our culture.”

A document examining the proposals for independence has been produced by the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) and may be of interest to your readers.

It is available on the denomination’s website at

Rev. David Blunt

Free Church (Continuing) Manse

Isle of North Uist