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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

South Uist

Congratulations to the people of South Uist, who have today acquired the land on which they were born and brought up.

But we should thank South Uist Estates who recognised the inevitability of the process and worked with the people in a constructive manner to deliver the land to them. Contrast that with the acrimonious state of affairs in Lewis and you can see just how badly parts of this island have been served by their owners.

Both parties appear to have a very good deal coming out of the process, and this can only be good for the future. As a regular visitor to Uist I look forward to seeing the changes over the coming years and decades.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Am I standing down??

The Gazette report and reality differ somewhat.

The facts are easily discernible in the Statutory Instrument and the Guidance notes.

1. I qualify for a £10k payment
2. To qualify I have to put my name forward by 20 October, as I have done
3. I receive the payment 14 days after the date of the election (3rd May 2007), as per section 8
4. To qualify you must not stand as a candidate on 3 May
5. If you die before 3 May, your named beneficiary receives the payment
6. You can opt to stand in May 2007, but you lose your right to the payment

If I decided not to stand next year, then I can stand as a Councillor in a bye-election later that month; I could stand as an MSP, MP or as first President of the Peoples Republic of Scotland; or indeed, return to the Comhairle in ten or twenty years time.

However, anyone who hasn't signed up just for the free life insurance cover needs their heads examined.

When I decide what I am really going to do, you'll hear it here first. ;-)

The big question is: What sort of Comhairle are we going to have if the most experienced 2/3's of the members leave??

I'm back

After a wonderfully refreshing break sitting around a pool and doing nothing more energetic than reading, eating and drinking, I'm back. We watched Ireland demolish Australia in a "traditional" (sic) Irish Bar and yesterday we watched the Aussies wipe the floor with Scotland at Murrayfield.

The mail - both personal and business - was about two foot high, which is slightly less than usual for ten days, and has now all been opened and sorted - but not yet dealt with.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


We're away for 10 days, and with no laptop (for once) there will be no postings till I return.

Hope you enjoy my time away, as much as I do :-)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Atlantic Osprey

Last night I did an interview for RTE, Dublin, about the Atlantic Osprey, which is carrying nuclear waste from Sellafield to France and Switzerland.

KIMO have long had very serious concerns about the appropriateness of using a former ro-ro ferry to carry toxic waste.

The Comhairle had a presentation about this almost four years ago, and pledged to oppose any such shipments (as far as we could).

Now with the Irish Government putting pressure on the UK Government, we might manage to get some progress. However, at the Council of Ministers meeting I attended in Gothenburg the UK opposed any and every restriction on nuclear transportation, waste production, and waste management in favour of market forces.

KIMO have members in Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales so we hope to have a combined campaign against these shipments.


Whilst understanding the misery this collapse has caused those directly concerned, instead of hand-wringing and saying "Something Must Be Done", politicians would be better advised to encourage the public to save through Credit Unions, rather than through commercial (non-banking) operations.

A much more radical viewpoint was stated in one of the newsletters I subscribe to: As the agents are self-employed, are we now to believe that the self-employed are entitled to protection and refunds if their customer goes under? How many sub-contractors have lost money when a main contractor has gone under, and how few of them have ever got a refund for their losses? So why should one group be treated differently?

I consider that the claims in Parliament that this is a "national emergency", and that MP's should make a contribution to the appeal fund, to be nothing more than a pathetic piece of symbolism which doesn't address the real issues. Such as, why do we spend so much money on conspicuous consumption to celebrate the pagan festival of mid-winter?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Scottish politics

I find myself quoted in the Chicago Tribune, again, as some kind of authority on Scottish politics. The author, Tom Hundley, has recently been in Lewis and I had the opportunity to meet him. He subsequently interviewed me for this article and I'm flattered with the political company I keep in his article.

However, my ambitions are that much lower and more local.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

An English funeral

Strange. But then they thought our normality was odd to.

The remains were stored for a week due to the demand at the crematorium, and then the funeral director walked along the road ahead of the cortege for about 1/2 mile before we dove the nest couple of miles to the crematorium. Can you imagine Al Crae doing that (no discrespect Al, but...)

Afterwards, the wake was in his local, which being England was fully smoking, so everything needs to go to the dry cleaners next week. Roll on the smoking ban.

Thence back to Sy, and normality (sic)

Friday, November 10, 2006

London City

My first flight ever into London City aoirport was very exciting.

I've avoided the airport for no good reason, but today I landed there for speed and efficiency reasons.

It's like landing on a pier, mainly due to the fact it is a pier! The landing is no worse than anywhere else, bit the maneuvering was nervey, due to the restricted space.

Only 22 minutes to Bank, another 15 minutes to Waterloo adn the world is you Oyster (card).

Heathrow on the way back was horrendous. we left at 8am for a noon flight, and it was just about enough time. Probably the worst airport in the world.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Our kids

The past week has been difficult, so apologies for holding postings, until we were ready to let them go.

On Saturday we went out for our usual dinner and drinks and were approached by a gentleman |( an I use the expression very loosely) who seemed to have a problem with some confidential and personal information that his wife held.

Without giving anything away, he ended up trying to ask my wife out for a fight, and(allegedly) physically assaulting both of us.

We both deal with confidential information every day, and to have our private lives thrown back in our faces is very difficult to deal with.

He was duly thrown out of the pub, and five minutes late he was back in and served with a pint and a double. Hey ho. The Police were interested, and we have left them to it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Gazette Editorial

I find myself in total agreement with the Gazette editorial, that whilst reduced ferry fares from the islands will be gratefully accepted, the real solution is free travel.

Without that bold step, it is just going to make it cheaper to go to Inverness for shopping, whilst local shops and tourists are priced out of the market.

However, one senses that the coming election might result in bigger carrots being dangled the closer the election comes...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I've got a cyber-stalker, so I'm obviously moving up in the world.

The poor saddo read something on the blog recently, and within a few hours was desperately trying to find the full facts, to the extent of getting others to make rude calls to members of my family.

As their virtual fingerprints are all over the weblogs, I can see exactly what they are doing, whilst they remain oblivious to the trail they are leaving.

Remember what Tony Parsons said?