Stornoway Gazette Letters 7.8.14

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Our picture of the week is from Kirsty Fraser of Linlithgow, who said of the image: “This is at little Bernera looking out to the northwest, no better place on a sunny afternoon.”

If you would like to submit an image to our Beautiful Islands Feature email your picture to:

Images should be at 500kb, include your name, address, where the picture was taken and what inspired you to take it, any technical information about the picture would also be welcome.


The No Campaign leader Jim Murphy is reported to have told a meeting that, if Scotland votes Yes on September 18th, the Uist rocket range will close. Yet more silly scaremongering from the No Campaign.

Mr Murphy, it should be recalled, was a member of a Government which fought tooth and nail to close the base in 2008.

In January 2012 Mr Murphy, in his role as Shadow Defence Secretary, published his Defence Review which called for “cuts of £350 million a year from rationalising the defence establishment”. The defence establishment includes facilities like the rocket range.

I wrote to him on no fewer than three occasions, asking him about the implications for the rocket range, but he failed to tell me. What does he have to hide?

The Referendum choice for the people of the Western Isles, and especially the Uists, is crystal clear.

Either they vote Yes for a cast iron guarantee from the Scottish Government that the base will remain open as a key part of Scotland’s defence infrastructure, or they vote No and put their livelihoods in the hands of the next Conservative Government.

Which will be dominated by MPs from south-east England who appear to think Scotland is fit only for deer-stalking and grouse shooting.

Dr David Wilson

Tolsta Chaolais

Isle of Lewis HS2 9DW

Saving the Range?

There are few things in life more humbling than an election defeat.

It would make any individual, even one with the thickest of skins, feel rejected, especially when this defeat occurs twice within a community they have known, worked in, and loved all their lives.

It is this rejection that provides the reason why, over the past few years, I have not issued any comments or written letters that are concerned with the politics of the Western Isles. Enough, I have felt, is enough.

However, this is one occasion where I must make an exception to my rule.

Over the last few weeks, I have been aware that certain individuals have claimed that my former opponent, Mr Angus B MacNeil MP ‘saved’ the Range.

There has even been a letter written to the local press expressing this rather dubious ‘fact’, backed up by a statement issued recently by the MP which takes his talent for fiction and fantasy to a whole new level.

Can I ask what evidence lies behind this extraordinary assertion? It appears to me that there is none.

I would like to challenge Mr MacNeil to open up all the correspondence relating to the threat of closure to the Range (I still possess copies of mine).

This includes all correspondence, letters and emails, and records of meetings connected with the threat to the existence of the Range, as well as access to all the interviews and statements, whether to press, Radio Nan Gàidheal or BBC television, that Mr MacNeil was involved in at that time.

It would also be of interest to discover just how much interest in the Range, and the 200 people employed there, Mr MacNeil has displayed since his re-election. How often has he visited the workforce since the time?

Surely the moment is overdue to establish the truth of what exactly went on when the jobs (and future) of the people of Uist were under threat?

Donald John MacSween,

Point, Isle of Lewis

Church and Independence

It is no great surprise that some Presbyterian Ministers should be against Scottish independence (Rev. David Blunt, Letters July 24).

In 1707 the Act of Union was passed because at least thirty-two quisling Scottish aristocrats accepted English bribes to vote for the Union.

The largest English bung was received by James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry – £12,325 (Approx. £2,000,000.00 today).

He was also given an English pension of £3,000.00 per annum and Queen Anne rewarded him with land in England and the titles Duke of Dover, Marquis of Beverley and Earl of Rippon.

However, there was not one murmur against bribery and corruption by the Church of Scotland leaders.

The Act of Union resulted in the Clearances when the Highlands and Islands were ethnically cleansed by the clan chiefs and the landlords. Once again the Kirk betrayed the people by siding with the tyrannical evictors.

Rev David Blunt mentions the privileged place the Presbyterian Church enjoyed in the life of the nation. That was then and this is now.

In countries worldwide independence campaigns have been supported and often led by the national Church. Dishonourably Scotland is the exception.

Donald J. MacLeod

Aberdeen AB22 8WY

Nuclear Waste Shipments

The news that shipments of nuclear waste materials may be resumed from Dounreay to Sellafield is causing serious concerns in the Western Isles and all around our western coasts.

During the period of reprocessing at Dounreay, the plutonium extracted was converted into plutonium nitrate, which was described in a Royal Commission Report as “an exceedingly dangerous form in which to transmit plutonium”.

The material was shipped form Scrabster harbour in a vessel called the “Kingsporth Fisher”.

On one such journey the vessel encountered a severe storm in The Minches and suffered structural damage. Had it foundered the consequences would have been unthinkable.

Last winter saw some of the worst storms in memory hit the Western Isles. Stornoway recorded the lowest depression in over 100 years.

Every effort must be made by all authorities to put a quick end to these mindless proposals.

John S. Jappy


Family heroes

The search is on to find Family Heroes in Scotland.

We would like you to nominate your Family Hero. Do you know someone who has made a difference to the lives of children, young people or families? A Family Hero is inspirational, outstanding and someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Family Heroes can be any age and the awards are open to everyone including dedicated carers, family members or friends as well as those who volunteer with families.

For more information and to nominate your Family Hero, visit:

Anne Longfield OBE

Chief Executive