Gazette letters May 10th

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Thank you to all who took the time to exercise their right on May 3 and to all those who gave me a chance to return to the Comhairle.

However it was not meant to be.

Neil Beaton is a good man and I’m confident he will serve the ward well. It’s just a pity he doesn’t live on Benbecula.

I hope to be able to return to the ranks of the Community Council at Balivanich and continue with my interest in the local scene.

Thank you all.

Martin Taylor, Balivanich


As a defeated SNP candidate for Ward 2, let me first of all congratulate the three successful candidates, Messrs Beaton, Campbell and Robertson, and wish them well in the difficult task they now face, addressing and deciding on further cut backs in services, and sustaining key statutory services.

They are deserving of our support. I am sorry that there is no Benbecula-based councillor.

The democratic process was more in evidence in the Western Isles than in many other places.

The low turn-out nationally was surpassed by percentage polls here varying from a respectable 41.73% to an impressive 60.91% (Sgire an Rubha).

The gender imbalance is further exacerbated on the Comhairle with only three female councillors elected out of a total of thirty-one.

I was extremely saddened to see Annie MacDonald lose her seat. I am not in favour of quotas, but surely there are many more able and willing women willing to put themselves forward for election to the Comhairle?

The question of so-called ‘independents’ with identified party affiliations receiving less prominence, has already received a good airing, and the voters have decided very much in favour of the former.

The SNP now have seven councillors and the Labour Party three.

The majority number of new councillors by far claim to be Independent – no fewer than 21 councillors in this category. I wonder how long this political ‘neutrality’ will be maintained? Time will tell.

I enjoyed participating in the process and will most certainly reconsider next time – unless I can persuade my wife Katie to stand!

Andrew Walker, Isle of Benbecula


Now the election of our new-ish council officials has ended, we wish them best wishes and hope the islands will return to normality.

This is especially so for the wards of Ospadal nan Eilean, which became a canvassing nightmare for the ‘captive audience’, i.e. patients (and staff).

Having had the misfortune to spend the weekend prior to the election in the excellent care of the staff in Medical 2, I was amazed at the number of would-be councillors who took time out from knocking on doors to visit those of us unable to listen to their doorstep patter, and instead gave each and every one of us a personal ‘spiel’!

Unfortunately for them, they were greeted in Medical 2’s male ward by a bunch of sharp-tongued individuals who took great delight in offering various barbs of advice and comfort to those brave enough to enter!

The same sharp-tongued individuals made my stay in Medical 2 a pleasant experience with their banter, so to them and the staff of Medical 2, thank you all very much, it’s not very often we can say we enjoyed being in hospital!

Norman Graham-Smith, Isle of Lewis


I would like to take this oppurtunity to thank all the people I met, while going round the doorsteps in Point during the council election campaign.

Although I was unsuccesful in my campaign I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed every oppurtunity I had to spend time with everyone I met.

Thanks for the yarns, blethers, cups of tea and coffee and the special moments of fellowship that I have been blessed with.

I would like to congratulate Zena, Alasdair and Curly on their election, but I would also like to take a moment to thank Donald John Macsween and Donald Nicholson for all that they have done for Point over the last number of years, history will show what their contribution has been.

I would also like to commiserate with John Orica Macdonald who along with all the other candidates could not have been more friendly when we met on the campaign trail.

Iain Don Maciver, Point


I would like to thank everyone who gave me the support and encouragement I received during my campaign, especially my family, friends and SNP colleagues, including my fellow Stornoway North SNP candidate Gordon Murray.

A special mention goes to my brother Sayheed, who looked after my business while I was on the campaign trail.

I had lots of fun campaigning in Stornoway North and I got to know my ward a little better than before and the issues that are affecting the people on a local level.

I would like to thank all the residents of Stornoway North for their support they have shown me and am encouraged by the fact that I was very close to winning, hopefully I will have better luck next time.

If required I will still be available to take up their cause, I am part of this community and will do what is best for the community of Stornoway North and for the whole of the Western Isles.

I thank all my fellow candidates for running a clean and fair campaign and I wish the four elected candidates of Stornoway North all the best in their tenure as Councillors.

Mohammed Ahmed, Stornoway


In recent days I have read a report in the local news of a scheme organised by SNH to give loans and grants out to people in communities to take up offers to do more in wildlife habitats and general conservation projects no less.

I believe this is subtle, socialist politics at at its very worst, the idea behind such schemes being that ordinary people need to be taken by the hand and guided as to what or what not to do in their lives!

So, by doing these subtle schemes the government agencies can control and get round communities to do what they want them to do.

To that end I’m warning communities not to take the bait.

This is not an isolated instance and socialism and goverments in general are demeaning the people with such cunning schemes and projects.

I’m really saddened and upset that this is all the government and its agencies can offer, when actually, they seriously ought to be creating proper industries to maintain families and young folk to come home with a weekly wage on our Isles.

Mr. A Campbell, Isle of South Uist


Testimony Films are making a three part series for the BBC on the history of Love and Marriage in Britain. We are especially keen on memories of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, particularly the following experiences:

Were you a couple who chose cohabitation over marriage during this era (who either went on to marry or stayed unmarried); perhaps you refused to conform with social ideals or wanted to test the strength of your relationship before committing to marriage. If so we would love to hear your story.

One for all you men of the 60’s and 70’s: We are looking to speak to men who found liberation in the sexual freedom of this era; were you a real life ‘Alfie’, did you enjoy this new age of sexual exploration and contraception or were you excited by the new fashion and music of the sixties scene. If this sounds familiar, please get in touch.

If you or someone you know might have these experiences and would be willing to talk to us please contact Pete Vance or Emily Sivyer on 0117 925 8589, or Thank you.

Pete Vance, Testimony Films, 12 Great George St, Bristol BS1 5RH