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The truths they don't want you to read....

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Just what is going on in Uist?

[reply deleted 5/9 due to family sensitivities]

Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2010 3:49 PM

Dear Mr MacMillan,

We enclose our letter of 13th August 2010 and have not yet received a response. If your intention is not to provide a substantive response to the letter, perhaps you would let us know. If you require further time to respond, again please let us know. Our client has indicated that he has no intention of leaving the matter, but he is prepared to allow you the opportunity of responding. We have set out the five requirements of our client for your consideration and we look forward, therefore, to hearing from you by return.

Yours sincerely,




LP – 2, Glasgow 1

13th August 2010


Calum Mac Millan


7 Bornish

Isle of South Uist


Dear Mr Mac Millan


We are instructed by Angus Mac Millan.

On 3rd August 2010, you wrote a letter to Mr Mac Millan, as well as to the Directors and Funders of the South Uist Estate and to “regulating organisations”.

Within the body of that letter, you stated –

Why is it that you have chosen to act in a manner which is not in the best interests of the estate, to the extent that the estate’s turbine scheme is being put at risk and if the reason for this is your own wind turbine schemes at Bornish and Snishval, as per my conversation with Mr Bill Christie, the financier in Glasgow?

In the event that the estate takes possession of the grid connection capacity required to progress the Loch Carnan scheme and I return the remaining grid capacity, then it would be mean your schemes would not get connected.

Trying to prevent the estate from achieving grid connection capacity and depriving me of my grid connection, would allow your schemes to progress. This would mean that you are seeking personal gain from your elected position.

The proposals for Bornish and Shishval would explain why the lochdar scheme is designed to fail, where over 50 separate agreements have to be concluded in parallel.

It is necessary to have these questions raised for clarification, because your refusal to meet with myself and Alec Morrison needs to be explained, so that a clear and truthful reason can be given.


Calum Mac Millan

I have taken the decision to copy this letter to your fellow Directors to ensure that the questions raised are answered and that all the issues are addressed. The letter will be circulated to all funding bodies and regulating organisations as appropriate.”

The natural and ordinary meaning of your letter takes the form of an accusation that our client is using his position as Chairperson of South Uist Estate to advance and profit from a commercial project to the detriment of the interests of the Estate.

Our client is the elected Chairman of the South Uist Estate, which is voluntary and non executive.

Our client has never discussed a personal wind farm development to any body and has no proposals to advance his wind farm project on the South Uist Estate.

Rather than speaking privately to our client to clarify these issues, you chose instead to make unfounded accusations and disseminate those accusations to third parties.

The effect of so doing is to have defamed our client. The allegations are false, without substance or foundation.

In the circumstances, our client therefore requires you to do the following:-

  1. To identify to him all parties to whom you circulated both the letter quoted above and your other letter of 3rd August 2010 headed to the Directors and Funders of the South Uist Estate, and to regulating organisations.
  2. To write a letter of retraction to each of these bodies, in a form to be agreed with us, on behalf of our client.
  3. To write a personal letter of apology to our client, withdrawing the allegations together with a withdrawal of the allegations made.
  4. To put forward your proposals for compensation for the damage caused to our client’s reputation by virtue of your defamatory letter.
  5. To put forward to meet our client’s reasonable legal costs.

If you are in any doubt about the meaning of this letter, we recommend that you take independent legal advice.

Yours sincerely


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0141 307 2311


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Anonymous said...

Too much inbreeding!

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading this; it crossed a line for me. Not comfortable; just how personal can things get :(

Anonymous said...

Shame on Angus MacMillan/Storas if this is true.

Anonymous said...

Try being on the receiving end of this type of crap! you either move house or give up your expectations of freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

And then BW wants to know why all the posts are anonymous!!!

Anonymous said...

This whole affair is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

surely the time is fast approaching
for the chaiman of storas to be replaced. he is turning every thing into his own personal war!!

perhaps his mugabe style process of election should be reversed and a better chaiman should be found?

it should'nt be to difficult there
are talented people n the uist's
that would chair without acting as a DICTATOR. and would not need advice from B.W

Anonymous said...

My reading of the letter from Calum MacMillan to the Storas CEO is that he is asking various questions, not making accusations.

Perhaps the grossly disproportionate response from the Storas chair has been due to the potential unmasking of what may be going on behind the scene.

How difficult would it have been to have a response which was open, transparent, and seeking to engage with both Calum and the wider community?

Anonymous said...

Words fail me

Just how is anybody going to come out of this with any credibility?

Surely the only way forward is for everyone to stand back, and indeed go back to the very beginning, and talk to each other in a proper manner.

Uist will never go forward if this carry-on is allowed to carry on.

Anonymous said...

From the very beginning I could never see this buy out working for the simple reason that there was no desire locally to get rid of the previous landlord. If you look at teh stats on voting for the buyout 62% voted and 60% of them voted in favour therefore there was an overwhelming degree of support. Not. It was driven by people who had their own agenda and I think this is borne out by the non existent progress, feathering of own nests, lack of transparency and general lack of any leadership skills. A absolute disaster from day one apart from the previous landlords who profited handsomely from an estate which was worth about 15% of the value they received.

Co-operation not confrontation said...

I'm not sure that anything can be usefully added that was not mentioned in the posts under "Legal Action in Uist", most of which are insightful, coherent and thought-provoking. I would like to think that the board and members of Storas Uibhist might take the time to read and consider them before the next meeting.

I can detect nothing but great sadness in the community that it has come to this.

Anonymous said...

The outbreak of nostalgia in recent weeks for the 'old days' overlooks the reasons for why the buy out had to take place in the first place. The following is an extract from a letter that appeared in the press in May 2005 -

“…In recent months many people have expressed the view that the ‘status quo’ should remain and that the existing owners of SUE should continue as before. Sadly, this may not be possible.
Due to the legal obligations placed on company Directors, it will be difficult for the current Directors to justify capital Investment in the Estate at anything approaching the historic levels of the last ten years …The ongoing threat of an entire or partial buyout simply renders this impossible to justify in the absence of any guarantees of long term security of ownership…and, they will be forced to take a much shorter term view than should be the case in managing any Estate, farm, croft or indeed any landholding.

On the positive side, there is a unique opportunity for this island community to shape and determine its own destiny. Whilst the day to day management of the Estate will in all probability continue much as before, there will be an opportunity to change the priorities and emphasis and to exert influence in ways hitherto not possible…

No politician, quango, or service provider may be willing to risk ignoring the collective viewpoint of such a large community body, and, for this reason alone the prospect of a community buyout is an extraordinary opportunity which could result in the transformation of the balance of power firmly in favour of the local community.

Concerns have been voiced over the ability of the community to govern itself. I have no doubt at all that there are many individuals in these islands who have the vision, commitment, integrity and drive to lead this unique island community forward towards sustainable economic development, whilst at the same time providing even greater opportunities for the enhancement and development of the traditional island culture and language.

With new priorities in Eastern Europe for both UK and European governments the sources of public project funding are likely to become increasingly difficult to obtain. The solutions to the problems facing these islands must inevitably be found from within the communities themselves. Indeed, some would argue that it would have been better if this had always been the case. Certainly the millions expended may have been better targeted at real need, as opposed to the needs as perceived in Inverness, Edinburgh, London or Brussels.

This may well be the only chance that the community of South Uist, Eriskay and Benbecula has to move forward together. If the people living here cannot come together to forge a long term sustainable future for the generations to come, it is unlikely that anyone else can.”

Anonymous said...


Your quote from May 2005 expresses a fine sentiment. Unfortunately the bunch of scoundrels which the old estate chose to negotiate with were hand picked in secret and without any discussion with the wider community. The initial move for a buyout was driven by the old estate directors who had recognised that a hostile buyout would give them a fraction of the money which they could gain from a carefully staged 'friendly' buyout.

The chosen gang of six were neither representative of the aspirations of the community or willing to engage in open discussion.

The memory of the 'old days' is of a management style which was not confrontational, and was largely in tune with the island way of getting things sorted out. Any dodgy management was soon sorted out with the departure of the factor concerned.

Basic estate management has now been largely ignored and the focus has been on implausible schemes which have questionable benefit to the island. At the same time any dissenting voice has to be stamped upon.

If the board were even vaguely competent we would not be witnessing an ongoing series of needless confrontations which sadly only serve to diminish what could be a tremendous vehicle for both social and economic regeneration in the Uists.

Anonymous said...

What jumped out the page of the Levy and Macrae letter at me was the sentence:-

"Our client ... has no proposals to advance his wind farm project on the South Uist Estate."

So AM does have a wind farm project but does this sentence means he's not advancing it anywhere or he's advancing it but not on SUE?

Given that w/f schemes anywhere in the O Hebs have the potential to conflict given the grid connection issues, I'm not sure it's appropriate for the any director of Storas to have ANY private involvement (even if "on hold") in electricity generation in the islands.

Anonymous said...

But what you atre forgetting is that some of the so called 'scoundrels' were
subsequently democratically elected in an open and fair election in which anyone could participate if they chose to either stand for election or vote in it. There have now been two rounds of elections since the buyout and surely this is the vehicle for change not hiding behind the numerous South UIst rocks and sniping and those who are prepared to get involved.

Anonymous said...


At the time of the first election the larger part of the community simply did not know what was going on. This was a buyout that was not led by the community, and the larger part of the community have been sitting back prepared to give the benefit of a very considerable doubt. Any credibility which the whole process may have had is rapidly being eroded by the ongoing antics of the board, its CEO, and chairman.

Lets go back to the Mugabe meeting where the constitution was changed to allow board members to remain in place without the need for a break in office.

The vote was taken without the implication of this change being explained to the shareholders, and the change was implemented on the strength of a show of hands of those who were present.

The format of the hall was configured so that the board faced the audience. Once the show of hands was called for, the board en masse raised their voting cards in favour of change while at the same time looking the shareholders in the eye.

Let me assure you that it takes a strong will to be seen publicly to vote against your gate man to the next life. In the event, the body of the hall went along with the directors rather than face them down, albeit with a distinctly hesitant gap.

In addition, the board and various family members held about 30 votes that night, obviously coming pre - prepared. Would any of this have stood scrutiny if there had been a formal complaint to the electoral commission, or even to the funders of Storas?

Turn your question around: why can Storas not be open and inclusive in its dealings with the community?

Anonymous said...

With Storas, Urras and Pairc we can surely only hope that the public spending axe falls heavily on these bullyboy-pseudocommunity quango nutters.

Anonymous said...

10.32 & others

An interesting discussion.
On a point of fact the 'old' estate didn't actually choose to negotiate with anyone. Rather a group of individuals representing a broad swathe of organisations in South Uist & Benbecula expressed a view that a buyout option should be looked at. This intitial discussion included elected local councillors as well as the so called 'Gang of 6" (who, contrary to local legend, certainly were not chosen by the Estate)

I am at a loss to know why this is still an issue, as the decision to progress with the buyout was taken by the island communities, not these individuals. If there was widespread opposition to the buyout why was this not expressed in that vote? There may have been some unease but the decision was taken and everyone with a genuine interest in the future of these island communities has a duty to make it work. There is no alternative - it is not possible to turn back the clock to the 'old' days. Would you really want that anyway?

What has emerged is an interesting conflict between those wishing to promote economic development that will benefit the whole island community and those seeking to promote schemes bringing benefits to township level or even to individuals.
At this stage of Storas' evolution I can understand their over riding drive to generate revenues into the central pot, if only to secure the core revenue funding that all estates need, whether in private or community ownership. The public purse will not underpin this revenue funding indefinately, and in the current economic climate the end of this source of funding may well be in sight.
With QinetiQ likely to be seeking to cut more jobs on the Range in the near future this is not the time for in fighting and feuding. The anti-island and anti-crofting lobby in Edinburgh are lapping this up and the potential lobbying power of Storas is being eroded day by day.

It is time to go back to basics and fight for what is really important - a strong independent island community with a diversified and thriving economy. It may not be easy to achieve this goal, but it certainly is much more difficult with so much energy being directed into the wrong channels.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain something please?

How is it that a slot on the grid has been allocated to a prospective power generation company that has yet to obtain planning consent? With grid space at a premium I have been led to believe that the only allocations were given to those with all consents and funding in place.If this is true how has Calum MacMillan jumped the queue?

Anonymous said...


Grid space was available to Calum Mac Millan, or to anyone else that bothered to apply, due to that grid space not being allocated as there had been - to that point - no other application submitted.

What is more relevant is why Storas embarked on an expensive process without asking the basic question - was sufficient grid space available to them.

Huw Francis was very explicit in confirming that all consents were in place when asked at the EGM; not so, it transpired.

Given that Storas were so inept in overlooking the small detail of grid connection, that does not in any way justify their attempts to coerce Calum MacMillan into submission.

If there is to be any focus on the current shambles around this affair, then it should be on whoever was responsible on the Storas side for not ensuring that all required consents were obtained prior to announcing (front page of the Free Press) that the LochCarnan scheme was about to get underway.

The following weeks front page duly announced that ...erm, it's not actually getting underway. News manipulation or wot?

Anonymous said...

As a retired solicitor, I can tell you that nothing betrays a greater weakness of character than going bleating to your lawyer complaining about being defamed. The knowledge that one has done nothing wrong - and that everyone who knows you will know that too - and that the alleged defamer is making a fool of himself by talking rubbish should be enough for most people.

As has been perceptively observed here before, Angus Macmillan may be entirely honest and straight, have a shrewd business acumen and even be kind to his granny but it has to be asked if he has the right skill set to be chairman of an organisation like SU ...

Anonymous said...

Re 9.54am Comment. I’m bound to say, as a retired solicitor you should know by now that the Law’s an Ass, and any correspondence from Levy & MacRae should be consigned to the bin. Didn’t they represent the now discredited ex Leader of Glasgow CC Stephen Purcell? Levy & MacRae will charge at least £150 per letter, and for a rather dubious outcome, after another half-dozen letters or so, threats of court action, and employing the services of a QC at £1000 per day. Pays their electricity. Has anyone in S Uist made one penny as yet from electricity generated from windfarms?

No, there is another way! I’m willing to offer mediation for nothing (no, I’m not a priest), and suggest a wee get-together at Grogary Lodge, with a wee refreshment before peace talks commence, the successful outcome followed by a newly composed pipe tune, some dancing, and a ceilidh well into the night.

Let’s relax folks and show some evidence of maturity and of the culture and traditions of these islands. All expenses to be met by the common good fund of Storas (money well spent). Angus Nicolson’s blog can record the events for posterity.

Robert Burns had a good turn of phrase:

Is there for honest poverty
That hangs his head, and a’ that
The coward slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a’ that.
Foe a’ that, and a’ that,
Out toils obscure, and a’ that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.


Then let us pray that come it may –
And come it will for a’that –
That sense and worth, o’er a’ the earth,
May bear the gree, and a’ that.
For a’ that, and a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That man to man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that!


Anonymous said...

Well put 2.33pm

Man to man the world o'er may well be brithers one day, but cousins in Uist - NEVER

Anonymous said...

Think you are being a bit naive here. Do you really think that SSE were not aware of Storas' planning application and the fact that they were well down the road towards getting their planning consents and funding in place?
Something isnt quite right here, and leaving aside Storas reaction to events perhaps SSE should explain what they are up to. Elsewhere in the Highlands they will not allocate grid connection until all of these key consents are in place. Why is Uist any different? I think we should be told...

Anonymous said...

Any one can approach the grid operator to inquire and secure a connection agreement at any time, if capacity is available. So Beinn Mhor Power secured 300MW of grid capacity very early on, despite not having got anywhere near that in consented turbines. However they are holding onto it, doubtless intending to expand.