I haven't actually seen the letter from the Executive, nor do I have any idea what the response from LWP will be, but I don't see the Executive changing their minds, unless they have made a huge blunder in fact or in law.
Firstly, I think we should all be grateful that the decision has been taken quickly. The original suggestion from our MP that it go to a 'time limited public inquiry' was so ludicrous - mainly as there is no such legislative power to have such an inquiry - that he quickly, and quietly changed his position.
If there were such fundamental problems with any development on this site surely these should have been identified a long time back so as to save us all this uncertainty. And it would have avoided me and my fellow councillors spending two years of our time considering the application. And saving all the costs involved in the process.
We now need to understand just what the implications are for that area with the designations in place. Can any development take place, or is it effectively sterilised forever from all developments?
Someone asked about when the designations were brought in. They came into place in 1999 or 2000, just when I was first elected, and I clearly recollect being told by the SNH Officers that the designations would not prevent any development taking place. Cllr Angus Graham was very careful to ask that question more than once, and to check and recheck the answer, and with that assurance the Comhairle did not object to the designation. We were lied to.
There have been a number of attacks on the Vice-Convener over his support for the scheme, and it is fair to say that the Comhairle must now find alternative development options to bring forward. But the Comhairle cannot do this in isolation, nor can it solve all the problems with a wave of a magical wand.
The moor is now to remain as an important habitat for birds, so it is not unreasonable to expect the RSPB and SNH to make a major investment in the islands to attract visitors to this hugely important site. As far as I can ascertain, the RSPB spend pennies - other than an salary - out of the £70m annual income yet are able to pronounce to the world on the importance of the birdlife. Or is the role of the guardians to object and not build up an asset?
I am far from convinced that tourism is the future for prosperity. The vagaries of weather and exchange rates will leave us badly exposed to an unreliable stream of visitors. And without the critical mass to allow us to develop further facilities to attract further visitors, it is going to remain largely a semi-professional and low-level activity.
Finally, and most importantly, our parliamentarians now have an enormous responsibility to help attract employment to the islands. The public sector is bloated and growing, and without new entrepreneurs coming here development, incomes and prospects will remain in stasis, and the community will not grow. Simply saying NO to a proposal is not a long-term strategy. Whatever influence they may have needs to be brought to bear to force the Government(s) to recognise the fragility of the islands. And trying to take the Lewis chessmen back to Edinburgh will do not a single thing from the islands.