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

Friday, April 28, 2006


Another couple of days away in Skye and Uist as a result of work demands.

Uist is so lovely, yet I seem to get there so infrequently. Sadly, I drive through the islands like a manic, going from client to client. Lochmaddy to Stoneybridge to Grimsay to the north via the "Committee Road".

I always want more time to see the sights, and all I see is clients :-)

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Clients took us to Glasgow for the weekend.

Someone else paying!! Great.

Business and then a Russian meal, and possibly a vodka or two. Fabulous time, only one hour away yet all the fun you can manage. We managed to avoid going to Frankenstein, the bar, this time. Our last visit to Glasgow took us into the pub, which is truly horrific, with white stilletoes, drunken stag nights, an underlying feeling of menace, and a thumping beat you can barely hear over.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Civic Government Licencing Panel

I Chair this --- it gives out licences for public entertainment, which covers a multitude of sins.

This week - and the appeal time hasn't expired yet, so I'll be careful - we had an objection to the Sports Centre getting a licence to open on the grounds that there could be a fire in the soft play which would spread to kill everyone in the sports centre.

We did toy with the idea of banning smoking, petrol and other inflamables on the soft play area, but we decided that the pre-school children probably were not sensible enough not to stub out their Woodbines on the plastic mats.

We may have been rash, expecially as the second ground for complaint was that the soft play was not Disabled Discrimation Act compliant, as wheelchair users couldn't get into the area. We considered that this was not a sustainable ground under the DDA act, and let the Sports Centre open.

I'm sure I could find better ways to spend 1 1/2 hours on a wet Thursday, but such is the public nature of what we do.

The complainant had already accused the Panel of a cover-up before we actually met, so we proceeded with kid gloves, when tackety boots may have been more appropriate. Allegedly.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Donald Trump

"The Donald" as he loves to style himself is constantly reminding everyone that his mother was Mary MacLeod from Tong, and consequently he loves "Skotland".

It is embarassing to see such a poor wig attached to a man who is attached to a trophy wife* who made (and lost and made and lost ad infinitum) his fortune amongst the gangsters of Atlantic City charm the First Minister. Sadder even that JackMcConnell falls for it.

Saddest of all, is that some local politicians last year invited Mr Trump to save Lews Castle, when he has never acknowledged the existence of the Western Isles (other to affirm his "Scotchness"). Their mistaken belief was emphasised by Mr Trump associates saying he had "never heard of Lews Castle".

Suddenly, "The Wig" pops up with grandiose plans to build a golf course in Aberdeenshire and demands all planning rules and decisions are waived. Does he find time to find out where Lewis is? What do you think? Why do we Scots repeatedly fall at the feet of such obvious chancers?

* "Tell me, the third Mrs Trump, as a model from the former Yugoslavia what attracted you to an elderly balding billionaire?"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sunday ferries - again!

We had a special series of Council meetings this week to approve funding for certain projects. As this had to be ratified by the Comhairle there was a formal meeting of the Council.

I know many of my colleagues have very serious and considered views, but trying to force Councillors to stick to an approved line and not be allowed to have their own view justs sticks in the craw.

I wasn't well with a cold, and this motion just made me want to get up and leave. So I did. I'm very glad sense was seen and Angus Graham's counter motion was passed, as trying to tell us how to vote and speak at third party meetings was on a hiding to nothing.

The target was - of course - shipping services, where CalMac sailings are discussed and where divergence from the Free Church/FP line was not to be allowed (even for Barra???). This behaviour only serves to marginalise the Sabbatarians further and undermine their authority. Respect for their position is being lost with every attempt to force their views down others' throats, but they fail to see this.

Sad, but true, the Free Church seem to want to be authors of their own demise.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bird Flu

Last weekend was quite nervy for me, as I had heard various stories about dead birds being found thoroughout the island. As this is one of my areas of responsibility, the press were coming to me seeking answers - to which I had none.

I held off from making any public comment until I had more information, but unfortunately, information is a precious commodity. Or at least, accurate information was.

The bottom line is that the whole of Scotland saw a rash of dead bird sightings, all of which were reported and had to be investigated. It appears that there were no extra or unusual deaths, just more people seeing dead birds for the first time. This is not unexpected, and the issue is to place the risk in perspective.

My view is that there will be another outbreak sooner or later, and when it happens we will have to slaughter large numbers of wild and domesticated birds in the surrounding area, and make the area a "no-fly" zone. This means guns and shooting - and in the context of the Western Isles, some difficult decisions for the RSPB amongst others.

The risk to humans is so low as to be negligible, and at present you are at more risk crossing the road. Place it in that context, and it beomes a fuss about nothing; but, one risk we must prevent growing or getting out of control.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Little Teddies

This has become a issue of major concern to all the parents, and to facilitate the exchange of information I have created a discussion board at
where we can exchange information, and ensure everyone is kept up to date.

I hope this will not be a long-term project, nor will it be "time limited" ( in the words of Cathy Carnell). I've also set-up a separate thread to allow people to complain about the Health Board in general. Postings can be anonymous, and I will not disclose any personal information about any posters.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Just returned from a very productive and busy trip to Uist. It is sometimes easy to forget the differences between the islands, and it is refreshing to travel through the islands on a regular basis and see - an appreciate - the beauty of the other parts of the Western Isles.

As I returned on the Loch Bhrusda the rumours were running rife about the ferry service starting next Sunday, but if the crew knew anything they weren't saying!