Gazette Letters 5.9.12

This lovely photo of a sheiling in Ness was taken by Mitch Thompson.
This lovely photo of a sheiling in Ness was taken by Mitch Thompson.

Our Picture of the Week was taken by Mitch Thompson and features sheiling in Ness. To contribute your photos to our Beautiful Islands Feature, email:

Include your name, address, where the picture was taken and what inspired you to take it, as well as any technical information about the picture


I would like to thank one of our Parliamentarians for taking up my suggestion that they should come and visit members of the Western Isles Council.

Dr Allan has already been, I am told, this week, and even though this visit is long overdue, I welcome his arrival. He was spotted leaving the White House with his tail between his legs, no doubt because his partner, the MP, has still not shown face.

If Mr MacNeil eventually decides to visit, though, I am more than ready to show how happy I am. If he wants, I might even fetch him in my taxi from Bayhead.

It would give me a chance to talk to him for starters about how the Scottish Government’s plans are going to have such a bad effect on the fishermen in Harris.

Councillor Donald John MacRae, Shawbost,


MP Angus Brendan Macneil’s willingness to haughtily pontificate on any subject in the presence of a camera or microphone disguises the scarcity of any practical benefits his well paid parliamentary career has brought the Western Isles.

This was highlighted by Cllr D J Macrae’s letter of July 29th, where the taxi-driving councillor was hoping to enlist the MP’s services to help solve issues of a practical nature - inshore fisheries, and unreliable phone communications- faced by his constituents.

A forlorn hope,Mr Macrae!

His abysmal progress report shows that Angus Macneil’s enthusiasm for any cause is dependent on whether it can be turned into an ‘us and them’ Scotland/Western Isles versus Westminster (formerly London Labour) confrontation.

Grey areas where there are no obvious heroes and villains,defined by there location either north or south of Hadrian’s Wall,cannot be allowed to intrude.

This blinkered and divisive outlook has, despite his personal popularity, has possibly made Angus Brendan Macneil the Western Isles’ most ineffectual UK MP to date

Councillor Macrae urges Angus Macneil to become more involved in Comhairle business by inviting him to visit the council chamber, even volunteering to bring the Barra parliamentarian to the White House in his taxi.

But is such involvement advisable when we all know Macneil will turn every issue into an ‘us and them’ nationalistic slanging match,.increasingly so as the Independence Referendum looms closer?

How is that simplistic outlook going to help the Western Isles population solve the, often, complex problems of our inter-connected, border-less 21st century world?

If Councillor Macrae does ever entice Angus Macneil into his taxi he should bypass the council White House and instead deliver him directly to the Creed Park recycling centre where the technology exists to transform unproductive items into something more useful.

Iain M Macdonald, Uig


I would like to acknowledge the letter published in The Gazette on 29th August 2013 written by the Chairman of the Stornoway Trust in response to a letter my wife wrote earlier in the month.

I find the Chairman’s letter very disturbing, and unnecessary, and would like to point out that my wife wrote the letter, which, however, I also stand by and agree with, through a love of the Castle Grounds. She walks there twice a day, every day, and has had plenty of opportunity to witness the lack of care and attention being taken during this rhododendron clearance.

She has also engaged in conversation with many other walkers who are deeply distressed about the way this clearance has been handled.

I would also like to point out that following publication of the original letter I met with a Representative from the Trust who came to my office and with whom I discussed her concerns and even walked through the Grounds with him pointing out examples of unfinished or unsightly works and inappropriate planting. It was a constructive meeting and I was assured that her concerns would be addressed hence the reason I find this letter by Mr Murray unnecessary.

The fact that on two previous occasions there have been letters published on a local news website in a similar vein to my wife’s (on 26 September 2012 and on 26 July 2013) would seem to suggest that she is not the only person in Stornoway and the surrounds who feel strongly about this subject.

I would assume that the Chairman chose to address those letters privately rather than within the public forum.

This was a personal matter and totally separate from my business activities and I would have preferred it to remain that way.

As far as I am aware the Trust is still a democratically elected body and as such should be open to the opinions of those people it was formed to serve.

Stuart Baghsaw, Stornoway

EDITORIAL - Working together for town regeneration

The impact of the credit crunch throughout recent years has bit deeply into many lifestyles as jobs and disposal income have dwindled.

This lack of available money has been most keenly felt by our high-streets and now the race is on to regenerate shopping centres such as Stornoway in order that they can survive into the future.

But what is the best way to achieve this regeneration? What will be attractive to shoppers and visitors and draw them once again into the town to spend money in local shops and businesses?

In the last year more parking has been allocated in the town centre and there is talk of late night shopping, but are these the type of actions which can turn the situation around?

Perhaps a town centre manager, who is paid to take forward ideas and make sure things get done, is the answer – it works in areas such as Oban so why not here?

If you would like to comment, or write a letter on this subject, or any other contact me at: