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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The fall of dictatorships

As democracy takes a deeper hold across the world, it is satisfying to see the ordinary public having the opportunity to make their voice heard, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

The West - the supposed bastion of democracy - is not actually helping the situation, which might perversely make the outcome better in the long-run; whilst the oppressed peoples find their feet.  And this is something we must encourage.

Syria is probably going to be the next to fall, in my view, whilst Gadaffi is going to struggle on for years yet ('lucky' bombing permitting).  Yemen will implode.  Morocco will drift into near-democracy.  The West will finance the oppression of the Saudi's and Bahraini's for the next 5-10 years as they run a theocratic dictatorship in our name.

But the interesting part of the the Arab uprisings was how the dictatorships reacted to the popular discontent, and how they misjudged the popular mood.

The first reaction was denial; the second was to block the internet in the hope that truth somehow would become devalued or obscured by official purblindness.

Which takes us neatly to the local situation.

I spent some of the weekend showing a Councillor just how and why their Google searches were being 'modified' when they went through the Comhairle server.  It was interesting just what was missing and how the 'best results' were changed.  I could show which sites were blocked by the Council, including this one, and how to bypass the blocks (more detail to follow shortly).

Some Councillors try to reach the truth
The Councillor was duly concerned about how their access to free information was being constrained; who had authorised this; and how it was reported and discussed inside the Council.  (answer: executive decision not subject to democratic reporting or control)

When it can be shown that some Council controlled searches excluded some relevant Council minutes* (probably by accident, rather than design), then said Councillor was interested, very interested.  That makes 1 out of 31.  Any other takers??

Anyway, as oppressive, unresponsive dictatorship crumble under the weight of their own destructive actions, lies, disregard for the public, irrelevance and self-importance, we can only hope that the Arabs can follow our lead.

* Google and cookie effects adjusted for.


Anonymous said...

Bit wide of the mark......but why do we need 31 councillors? What is their average cost to the taxpayer and in this time of financial hardship do we really need this many?

After all the majority have other means of earning an income, whilst the skivvies on the street or in the office have to join the dole que when their department is hacked up.

I think Animal farm is a fair comparison. "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others"

Why a chain of Islands with 25k people needs 31 representatives to cock up closing schools, name a new housing scheme after a dead dog and (badly) run a licencing comittee, to name but a few, is beyond me!

Anonymous said...

Following on from the last comment (yes, it's not quite on topic), the stats are:

Population of Scotland (mid-2010 estimate): 5,222,100

Councillors: 1,222

... equals 1 councillor for every 4,273 residents.

By those figures, the Western Isles should not have 31 councillors.

It should have 6.

Anonymous said...

8.58 must be living under a stone even I saw the gazette reporting the Council recommended reducing to 22 Member and in the last 2 weeks Heb News advising that Councillors remuneration for 2010 was available to view on cnes website!

Anonymous said...


Aye, and it would be no surprise that you end up with five beavering away in Stornoway and its environs, while the remaining area - particularly south of the Clisham - will have the undivided attention of one.

Anonymous said...

Aye, but the Boundary Commission aren't going to make the changes to the number of Cooncillors 'til 2017. So, there will still be 31 being voted for at the Local Government Elections next year.

Orkney and Shetland have in the region of 21/22 Councillors representing the islanders there.

Saoghalbeag said...

Good grief!!!!! My local council area-population over 35000-has 7 councillors. How has the western isles been allowed to bloat up to 31 if the rest of Scotland is approx 1 per 4000??? God, the waste of money!!!!

No wonder they can't get anything done.

How about 1 for each island & 1 for stornoway? Bloody hell you could throw in 2 for each & still be nowhere near the current figure.

Anonymous said...

10.27- How dare you. Clearly, I live in a pineapple under the sea. Patrick Star lives under a rock, and Eugine Krabbs runs the comhairle. Facts first