Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor.
Letters to the editor.

Please find below correspondence to the editor for the Stornoway Gazette edition September 17, 2015

We welcome the feedback on the future of Scotland’s submarine cables from the engaged and passionate residents of the Western Isles at our consultation events on Wednesday 9 September. I apologise for the lack of notice of the events and we will amend that in the future.

Our consultation is being held in response to a change in policy by Marine Scotland on how the 111 distribution cables in Scottish waters are installed. The policy, as detailed in the Scottish Marine Plan, might require us to bury submarine cables in the future. If this were to happen it could need increased capital spend.

To address the main concern from attendees that we will be increasing bills, it is too early to say if this will happen. We cannot speculate on an increase in cost, as depending on how Ofgem and Marine Scotland embrace our recommendations, there might not be any changes.

We understand people’s concerns and we hope a price rise doesn’t happen. If there is an increase, it will be a percentage increase of the distribution charge, currently 16% of your electricity bill, and not the entire bill and would apply to all customers across the north of Scotland.

If people are worried about this I would encourage them to fill in the questionnaire. This will ensure their views are taken into account when the regulators, Marine Scotland and Ofgem, review our recommendations.

We have to take all views into consideration and while burying the cable could cost more, industries like the fisheries and other marine users might consider it necessary to ensure they can safely operate in the waters.

The consultation will take all views seriously and we are taking everybody’s opinions into consideration so a fair outcome is achieved.

There were also questions about the islands’ transmission interconnector cable. The two projects are not linked. But our transmission colleagues will be visiting the Western Isles in October to discuss this project.

I’d like to thank the residents of the Western Isles for their participation at the consultation event and would encourage them to complete the questionnaire.

Hopefully the fact the consultation is live until the 12th October will make up for the short notice of the event and gives everybody enough time to take part in the consultation.

For details on how to respond please visit www.ssepd.co.uk, email submarinecables@sse.com.

Alan Broadbent,

Director of Engineering, Scottish

Hydro Electric

Power Distribution

On the lookout

BBC Scotland is on the lookout for families on both sides of the Atlantic descendent from two 1920s emigrant ships for a new documentary series looking at the aftermath of the First World War.

Within two weeks in 1923, two ships carried approximately 600 people from the Outer Hebrides of Scotland to their new home in Canada.

At the time most Scottish emigrant ships were leaving from Glasgow, however the April 1923 voyages of the SS Marloch and SS Metagama embarked first from Glasgow, then stopped en-route to pick up passengers in Lochboisdale and Stornoway respectively

The Marloch set sail for St John, New Brunswick from Lochboisdale on the 15th of April 1923. On board were at least 50 families from the southern outer islands of the Outer Hebrides, including Barra, Eriskay and North and South Uist.

Over 300 men, women and children were on their way to the Clandonald colony in the Red Deer area of Alberta.

When the Metagama sailed for from Stornoway on the 23rd of April 1923, the ship contained 300 people mostly from Lewis with an average age of twenty two - all but twenty were young men. They were on their way to Montreal, Quebec.

The BBC is keen to hear any personal stories from any Canadians or Americans descendant from those who boarded either ship in Lochboisdale or Stornoway in 1923.

Similarly, any stories from people descendent from those who stayed behind in the Scotland will be gratefully received.

You can contact researcher Nadine Lee by e-mail nadine.lee02@bbc.co.uk or by phone +44 1224 384 816.

Assisted dying

Rev. Iain D. Campbell’s “Life, death and dignity” take on the assisted suicide debate at Westminster made interesting reading (Gazette 3.9.15), and since he is opposed to any form of assisted dying he will be well satisfied that a majority of M.P.’s agreed with him and kicked this thing into touch yet again.

It’s an issue however that refuses go away, and it’s my belief there’ll come a day when assisted dying will get onto the statute books.

I find myself in disagreement with Rev. Iain when he writes that to be debating this subject at all is a sad indictment on the kind of society we have become.

In my view that’s a nonsense thing to say, and nor can I agree with him when he claims that by no stretch of logic can theology concede that assisted dying adds to the dignity of the person.

I agree even less when he states that a society that makes assisted dying legal has already sold its soul.

That too in my view is nonsense, and maybe Rev. Iain needs to get out of his study a bit more and into the real and suffering world.

In this country of ours we have in the main the greatest concern for the welfare of animals.

If an animal is suffering and in distress, and with no possibility of relief or betterment, we intervene on its behalf and put it to sleep.

It’s the right thing to do and we have no hesitation in doing it. In my view that facility should also extend to ourselves, indeed it seems entirely illogical that it doesn’t.

There are folk out there who, from whatever cause, have fought pain and distress beyond our imagining, who have neither the bodily strength nor the will to go on and who want to go home.

The law of this land should permit them to do that. It has not a thing to do with theology, but has everything to do with reality, with compassion and dignity and the mind and heart of a loving God.

Keith Fernie

8 Drakies Avenue,



Way of life

It was so uplifting to see Donald Macsween’s account (Gazette article September 3rd) on the crofting system, and how its being belittled and trivialised by many, including our very own kith and kin.

You are not alone Donald, as for many years I have witnessed the language also being belittled and trivialised, so not only is it our culture and way of life, but our language as well that’s for sale it seems.

I can only say I will never sell my soul at any price unlike what I witness happening on the isles of late.

Angus Campbell,


South Uist

Primary role

Donald Murray in his letter (Gazette September 10, 2015), sounds like is advising that he, and presumably others like him, are not listening to church leadership, not listening to the world, and that there is no Expected Return of Jesus, as Jesus is already present.

Perhaps he has not read the part of the bible, which clearly states with every change of king, and change of tribal leader and change of prophet and transition from one stage of growth to another, such as from stone to bronze to iron, that change is the very essence of the bible story.

If the Guidance is that, there is no change, no next option, and no inclusion of new leaders from change in practice or from next Messiah, then we are offered only, a religion teaching a cycle of hope without conclusion, ie, not a cycle of hope, only a cycle that is getting worse in a degrading of conditions, as no-one is in Attendance.

It seems to me, that lack of availability of methods of change and of expectation of change, in the core foundations of teaching and activity, represents a church perspective, that isn’t looking for realistic option, and, who don’t think they should be looking, even where there is a vast reservoir of living experience capable of contributing to solutions.

Surely, a primary role of all church, is to actively look for and recognise next Messiah.

H Mansfield

11 Ford View



Saltire Society

Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a seventeenth century Scottish writer and politician and a keen patron of the arts during his lifetime, died 299 years ago this week.

A fitting anniversary to pay tribute to the latest winners of the Saltire Society’s annual Fletcher of Saltoun awards.

In tribute to Andrew Fletcher’s legacy as a prominent Scottish patriot, these awards seek to honour individuals for their unique contribution to Scottish society in science, the arts and public life.

This year’s winners include leading cancer researcher Tessa Holyoake, Gaelic and English language poet and songwriter Aonghas MacNeacail, landscape painter James Morrison and Andrew Kerr, a supporter and leading campaigner for the Scottish arts and conservation.

Through these awards, we strive to give recognition to the talented and driven people who help make Scottish culture and society as vibrant and stimulating as it is today, as well as achieving wider recognition for Scotland on an international stage. Once again, this year’s recipients are extremely worthy winners.

Sarah Mason

The Saltire Society

9 Fountain Close,

22 High Street

Edinburgh EH1 1TF