Stornoway Gazette Letters 9/8/12


Specialist itenerant teacher posts in schools are being reduced and will probably be phased out completely in the near future.

This will have a huge impact on our school children’s P.E, Music and Art lessons.

The Council have introduced a “natural wastage” policy. This simply means that any specialist Itinerant teachers who retire, resign or move to a new post, will not be replaced.

At a time when our children are seeing so many sporting greats taking part in events like the Olympic Games, we should be striving to improve and further develop our sports tuition in our schools not be talking about reducing them.

Children from Island schools have a proud history of competing in local and National Mod events, will suffer due to lack of specialist music teacher provision.

Sport, music and art have played an important part in the education of many children who have not been as strong accademically. How will these children be catered for in the future if these specialist teachers are withdrawn.

The education department state that all primary teachers are qualified to deliver all three of theses specialist areas (music, art and PE).

The majority of teachers however do not agree with that at all. The Councils proposals have not in any way met with their head teachers’ approval and that itself speaks volumes about the consultation process that has taken place here.

We therefore encourage you to raise this matter with your local councillors. They can and indeed should reverse this decesion.

The education department state that no other authority offers this specialist itinerant teacher service and that this is why they are looking to cease provision as well.

Is that not a pretty poor bench mark for our Local Authority to strive towards achieving when in fact it could instead stand proud in providing a superior level of education services to any other local authority?

We realise that the current economic situation has provided the Comhairle with some serious challenges and that there will have to be cuts made in service provision.

We do however ask them to revisit this particular area and that they also carry out further consultation with their parent councils and indeed their teachers.

There must be alternative solutions to what honestly seems to have been a bit of a knee jerk reaction.

Parents MUST take action and speak up about this proposal. If you do not our children will be the losers here and once these specialist itinerant posts are removed we will never get them back.

Please do not let that happen.

Chairs of Sgoil an Ruach; Laxdale Primary and Stornoway Primary


Whoever is responsible for the presence of a continental market in the centre of Stornoway at the height of summer displays a degree of reckless antipathy towards the shops and businesses of the town that is staggering in it’s witlessness.

First, do they not appreciate that these hard pressed shops need the summer boost to remain viable in these challenging times and that the reduced turnover experienced by all is very damaging and not to be tolerated. Second, do they actually imagine that visitors to Stornoway are desperate to be offered goods and food from Poland, France, the Orient or wherever in preference to those of the island?

Can they not see that it is just possible that our visitors come here for something different that they cannot get at the same market every weekend in Woking?

I cannot imagine the level of forethought and discussion that went into this and the sheer lack of understanding. Sufficient for me to recognise that with these kind of people in our midst we don’t have our enemies to seek.

Alasdair Fraser, Stornoway, HS 1 2BS


I write with regard to the letter of August 2nd concerning the band “The Holy Ghosts” who played at the recent HebCelt Festival.

The Rev James Tallach takes exception to the name of this band as it is likely to cause offence to the community and urges the organisers of the festival to bear this in mind for the future.

As a relative of a member of this band I encouraged them to enter a competition advertised in the Gazette to perform at the festival and was thrilled when they won the opportunity to do so.

They have played at quite a few festivals on the mainland but were delighted to have the opportunity to come to the Western Isles for the first time.

They are from Edinburgh and being in their mid twenties have little experience of the culture here.

They thoroughly enjoyed their visit and were made to feel very welcome and left with many happy memories of an enjoyable experience.

Sadly this has been coloured by the suggestion that the name of the band has upset some people. Having been brought up in the late twentieth century these young men would not realise the extent of cultural differences which are prevalent in the Western Isles.

They like to think that they were accepted for their music and how they entered into the spirit of the festival.

My partner and I have lived here for seven years and we have always respected the culture and way of life of the people in Lewis and Harris.

Despite having no religious commitment ourselves we have an attitude to others which equates to the ethos of Christian values. We see the importance of respecting others’ cultures and lifestyles and trust all elements of the Church can find themselves open minded enough to do the same.

As said in the Bible ‘A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold’.

I do not wish to be quoting the Bible out of context but I think the boys in the band would hope their music might have been esteemed and that they have left the Western Isles with a good name.

Well done to the organisers of the HebCelt Festival for an excellent choice of acts this year and I presume that musical ability will always always be the criterion for choosing bands in the future.

Penny Penman, Isle of Scalpay


We very much welcome the sober news that MSP Alasdair Allan is not in the same dizzy frame of mind, as his confused colleagues, over the matter of ‘gay marriage.’

Following the Scottish Government’s determined mindset to press ahead with legislation certain facts have to be recorded about their proposals.

No, Churches won’t be forced to conduct these unions, but many more people in Scotland will reject them entirely and oppose them vehemently, even if legislation is passed.

The majority of Scottish MSPs may very well be supportive of same-sex marriage, but that is not the view of the morally sober Scottish public.

The Government cabinet in Edinburgh know that all very well, having received nearly 80,000 responses to their consultation document.

If this was a staggering number, then more staggering still was another statistic: this was some three times more than, wait for it, the consultation responses on Scottish Independence. They would never have believed such a calamity would happen. But it has and they better wake up to reality.

No wonder they are indecisive, as more than 2 to 1 of people in Scotland, the nation that the Government are supposed to represent, are totally opposed to this legislation.

Does the Scottish Government honestly think they have a Divine warrant to rewrite the law on marriage without unraveling hundreds of years of law and culture? No they haven’t. The marriage union was ordained and sanctioned by God at the beginning of time, with the stipulation it can never be altered or redefined.

The Government has also come to realise that legalities will overwhelm them, unless they take heed of the warnings to change course now and alter direction. At the moment it is sailing, just like the Titanic, on a rendezvous with disaster.

As a Missionary of the gospel, and Christian evangelist, I wish to place it formally on record that I will never solemnise nor recognise same-sex unions, whatever form or name is given to them.

Christians and countless non-Christians also, will endorse and concur with this.

It is certainly not politicians in the Scottish Government, lawyers in court or judges with black robes that have the final decision on the union of marriage, it is God. He has pronounced judgement and His verdict is final. It is high time Captain Alex Salmond, and all on board his Holyrood ship, began to throw his same-sex ‘marriage’ ideas overboard before he and they collide with disaster of calamitous ruin.

Mr Donald J Morrison, Inverness, IV2 3HT

As a result of the article which appeared in ‘BACK IN THE DAY’ this year, Anne Anderson has been in touch and would love to meet up with her former dance students.Anne will be visiting the island from 8th to 15th September 2012.

We plan to organise an informal evening in a local hotel. Anyone interested in coming along can contact me by e-mail at

As soon as we have ideas of numbers we will contact you with a date and venue.

Anne is looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible during her visit.

Nellie (Gillies) Mackenzie, Stornoway. HS1 2NL


I am collecting used postage stamps and any old postcards for the Guide Dogs for the Blind.

I would be grateful to anyone or persons that can help me please.

Send you stamps/postcards to the address below.

David Staples, 14 Kingsnorth Road, Twydall, Gillingham, Kent, ME8 6QY