Stornoway Gazette Letters 30.01.14

The Picture of the Week this week goes to reader Morris Macleod who beautifully captured this vivid morning sunrise, taken in Newmarket, Lewis.
The Picture of the Week this week goes to reader Morris Macleod who beautifully captured this vivid morning sunrise, taken in Newmarket, Lewis.

Energy Letter

Further to wind and wave energy alternatives, should the proposed island to mainland interconnector cable be pushed still further down the political/economic line.

In a sense the frustrating delay underlines the reality that these electricity companies no longer operate within their original utility charter ethos, but are extensions of complex economic boardroom directives and discussions made far removed from our island setting, often with head offices overseas in other countries.

Very far removed from the original pioneers of electricity generation through hydro schemes as envisaged by the likes of the great pioneer Tom Johnstone, Scottish Secretary, who between the Great Wars pushed these hydro schemes, at great personal cost to himself through no conclusion, and the great debt we as an island community owe him as our villages and glens were energised.

How very different today when we read of huge profits made by these six main energy companies as they scramble to justify our ever increasing electricity household bills, and their original utility charted which reads of a shared commonality far removed from the dictates of shareholding dividends, company takeover pressures etc.

Meanwhile we should not underestimate the huge opportunity that awaits us, even allowing for the delay in the interconnector cable, the encouragement and support of the formation of a local electricity company is welcome news, the Scottish Government should be involved to facilitate the sharing of the island electricity grid systems, by law if necessary the economic sharing of the island grid is fully justified due to the unreasonable costs and delay of the interconnector cable by SSE.

As new wind and wave energy comes on stream, and in the absence of any means of storage and distribution, the opportunity would be available to divert the huge quantities of energy needed to extract hydrogen from sea water and make its manufacture and distribution in liquid bulk transportation as a mainland export energy source a viable alternative.

Ian Martin,


New names

Wouldn’t it be appropriate, now, to change the names of some of the streets in Stornoway?

It seems incongruous to have streets named after a drug baron (Matherson), and someone who led a campaign against the Scottish army 1650 (Cromwell), not to mention Perceval, (one of King Arthur’s knights) hardly a Lewis name.

Any ideas folks?

Sallie Tyszko,


Isle of Lewis

Childcare in Uist

Regarding the recent article concerning childcare in North Uist, with the proposal of a new build school at Paible, North Uist only touches on the real concern felt by parents.

I think I’m safe in saying that there isn’t a parent with children at Lochmaddy or Carinish schools that are happy with the way the council have dealt with the closing of their schools in a satisfactory or fair way.

All parents concerned understand the advantages of amalgamating the three schools and were invited to consultations with the council.

They were given the idea that there would not be a problem with childcare and that there was a choice of venues for the new build.

This was clearly not correct from the start as the powers that be had always intended in creating the new school at Bayhead.

Not only is the school out of the way for all those apart from the pupils that already go to Paible, but the old school will still be in the process of being demolished whilst students start at the new school which is on the same grounds.

How they expect pupils to be able to concentrate whilst such work is taking place is perhaps not their highest concern, but how much money they will save is.

Jobs will obviously be lost - valuable and well respected staff from some of these schools (and possibly Saoghal Beag) and for the council to say they have a policy of “no-redundancy” epitomises their approach to the whole so called consultation process.

If these ‘surplus’ staff are not to be made redundant what will happen to them?

Steve Duffield

North Uist

Disgust at this

May I through your pages express my disgust at the latest figures on FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).

The latest estimates reveal that from a total of 66, 000 female children, residing in this country the new figure is 170,000 children who have been assaulted in this way to date, without a single prosecution.

How can a so called civilised society turn a blind eye to this stone age practice happening in its midst?

How can countries like Kenya use their judiciary to stamp out this hideous practice whilst Britain, the mother of Parliaments, sleeps on while these young girls are irreparably damaged for the rest of their lives, in our country, by our new citizens, right now?

Can I urge everyone who finds this an affront to our ways and values to write to their MP or MSP to demand action to end this scandal in our twenty-first century democracy right now.

Roddy Maclean


Isle of Lewis

Up front God

Recent letters on predestination have been interesting, though any notion of God acting in such a way towards mankind is not something that sits comfortably with me.

On the contrary I believe in an up-front God, a God who so loved this world that He sent Jesus into it to show us what He was like, and I recall the terms in which His birth was announced, heaven’s host declaring peace on earth God’s goodwill towards mankind.

I believe that an inextinguishable light came into the world in Jesus, and by our response to that light we stand or fall.

I believe Jesus died not for a preselected or predetermined number but for the world, so that the glorious gospel message holds true - whosoever will may come !

I don’t for a moment believe God has some devious and hidden agenda running alongside this free offer of salvation.

When God says all may come to Him He truly means all may come to Him ! He gave us free-will. The choice is ours.

Keith Fernie