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

Monday, March 17, 2008

On the MWT mailing list

MWTI am the lucky recipient of a Press Release from Moorlands Without Turbines which explains their reasons for not attending the Conference today.

And sad reading it makes too....

The agenda presented to MWT indicated that no community, outwith Stornoway, was scheduled to be represented at this conference. [Not much faith in the Councillors, MP, MSP or Minister there] Any discussions relating to energy developments in the rural areas of Lewis are therefore utterly pointless [really, even with the Minister present?], as there has been no consultation with these areas [what a whopper of a lie!]. Surely it is for these communities to decide what, if any, schemes they would wish to have on their land, or coastline, and not for organisations such as CnES, LWP, HIE, HIEIG, WIDT, etc. [why exclude RSPB and SNH from this list?] to decide what should be foisted [!] upon them.

So, presumably, next time the Comhairle 'foist' road improvements on the West Side, they are going to demand a consultative process to decide if they should go ahead?

Are they really envisaging a 'peoples republic of the West Side' where all decisions have to be taken by an unelected pressure group? Or at least only take the decisions that the pressure group approve of.
MWT therefore refuses to be drawn into this pointless exercise, when the rural communities of Lewis have been deliberately excluded from contributing to the debate.

"I'm not coming to your party, because you haven't invited my mates"

The job of any pressure group or any opposition politician is to highlight the failings of those in power, and to constructively suggest improvements. By excluding themselves from the debate MWT failed in their self-proclaimed remit "to support any communities".

It doesn't matter that you are in minority, the responsibility is to face the public and try to persuade them - if you truly believe in your views - irrespective of the hostility of the audience. (I have tentatively been invited into a lion's den, and I have jumped at the chance! I know that I may be farting against thunder, but it is they who are wrong.)

There are many smart people in MWT were they unsure, unwilling to hear what the Minister had to say, or just unprepared?Angus MacNeil MP

Speaking of which.....

I am told that our MP's speech consisted of offers to represent each and every group of people, whether they were for or against the windfarm, and that he really, really, didn't have a view on the matter, his job was just to represent his constituents.

To the extreme embarrassment of some SNP Councillors (amongst others) he promised to put the Council view to the Minister; and the view of the Stornoway Trust; and any other group who could bend his ear, because that was his job, and you shouldn't mix up what he had said about windfarms in the past with actually holding an opinion.

As one Councillor opined, "He could start by meeting the SNP Group and the Vice-Convener to discuss windfarms. He has refused to do either."

His speech was met with disbelief; is he a man of principle or a gun for hire?

Contrary to expectations, our MSP gave a thoughtful and fairly intelligent speech, about accepting whatever the decision was, working with both sides, and conciliation, which was infinitely better received.

Reading between the lines of all the contributions, I think the bottom line is that refusal is very far from a certainty, and the contributors know that. But perhaps MWT do not, or refuse to acknowledge the possibility.

Either way, I think that today was more constructive than everyone (including me) thought and that a compromise is being sought to try to placate everyone. How many times do I have to say that trying to do that just causes more problems in the long run.

But, please, please, don't let this all be an excuse to prevaricate on a decision to the other side of an election, that will most definitely be the wrong course of action.


windytubaman said...

I have read your blog with interest Angus and whilst I agree with some of sentiments regarding MWT speaking at the conference I can also see their point of view. The idea of the wind farm development came about as a result of a visit to the island by AMEC (they had been invited by the Council). As a result AMEC came back to the Council with a unexpected scheme of a massive scale. At this point, had I been the Convenor alarm bells would have started ringing. Super quarries and the islands reaction to them would have foremost in my mind. Surely at this point the Council should have gone public on the scheme and consulted local communities that would have be affected to gauge reaction. Instead what they did was to stay quiet and work in the back ground with AMEC on their proposals as though this would prevent opposition to the scheme from developing. The impression given, especially by the rumours that the convenor had told councillors not to speak publicly about thier views, was that the Council had already decided the scheme should go ahead (not good in a democarcy perception or not). The Convenor and Vice Convenor seemed to be the only people allowed to speak about the proposals and they only ever represented the pro side never, in any pulic pronouncement by either, have I heard them recognise the level of feeling against these proposals. I think personally that this hastily arranged conference gave the impression that it was there simply to persuade the minister that the Council and LWP are right and despite 11000 objections (5000 from islanders)the development should noetheless go ahead. Bearing in mind that CNES has never asked for MWT to represent it's opinion at any previous public meetings I too would have been highly suspicious of the invitation and the motives behind it. It's one thing to make your views clear and totally another to be made to look foolish. This is my opinion but it goes to show the impression and perception that CNES tacticts have left with many and the reason that so much mistrust exists. Is it hardly surprising then that some refuse to share the stage with CNES.

Gavin Woods

Angus said...

The impression given, especially by the rumours that the convenor had told councillors not to speak publicly about thier views, was that the Council had already decided the scheme should go ahead

Actually, on legal advice, I recommended that Councillors do not speak about the specific planning application, as to have expressed an opinion about the proposal before seeing the final application could have meant that Councillors were unable to vote in the Chamber, having compromised their position.

This caused as many problems for supporters as opponents, but if you look at how the Government handled the Trump application then you can see the problems this could have caused; and which we avoided.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but is it true that the Minister left at lunchtime, to go off to another meeting........while Councillors, 15 paid council employees, AMEC and chums were left as stooges in the theatre of dreams?

Anonymous said...

I always knew Brendan was a prostitute. He would sell his granny for a vote.

Anonymous said...

Did not stop the two face Philip Maclean canvassing on a no wind farm policy only to change his mind as soon as he got a seat.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

A hug for Angus... bless.

Anonymous said...

MacNeil's speech was crap.

Not due to lack of preparation, more due to lack of ability, understanding or vision.

Anonymous said...

As an outsider, conference highlights were

1. The work that the Stornoway College is doing. Commendable. Let's hear more positive stories about renewable certificates available over the net.
2. The work the local (HIE?)girl presented on micro-renewables. It can work on a small scale. More of this please.
3. The public spat between two councillors. One said the island was on its knees, the other (lady) councillor took offence at this and gave him what for! I do like a feisty woman.
4. Learning of this blog over lunch

Re the latter it has confirmed the insight I saw yesterday into the islands. A group of strong willed indivduals, all wanting to be top of the pile in a small community, fighting like ferrets in a sack. On the mainland these players would be nobodies. The somebodies have left for the greener grass and left the half wits to fill the void.

The minister is clearly gearing up to deflate Lewis Wind Power but also to inflate small scale renemwables on the islands with a focus on marine production. People must accept this and not cling onto their mistakes.

Many in the presentations, and more so in the questioning, showed themselves to be stuck in draconian ways,lacking a basic understanding of the modern world.

In the 21st Century children grow up, move away from thier families and have a taste for adventure. They live life to the full and grasp the oppurtunities that exist.

In the 21st century you should be positive when you do your sales pitch, not painting a picture of doom and gloom. What do potential investors make of that? I still cannot fathom how a devlopment trust can be so negative and out of touch with reality.

For me I learned a lot. I learned much about the people of the islands, those who are elected to represent them, and how the islands now have choices.

Do not remain bitter.

Anonymous said...

Nero, where’s yer fiddle? Rome’s burning.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:11

Perhaps you would like to spend a few Sundays here to understand the doom and gloom.

The nature here is dictated by two over riding factors

1. Calvinisum

2. The Grant culture

So the Grand Frommage of Lewis bred on gloom and doom spread the gospel of dispair whilst sitting with their begging hands out rather than get on and crerate wealth them selves - less a fe cheeses in power with petrol stations.

Anonymous said...

12:11 PM & 1:03 PM Go back to where you came from and patronise someone else.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see what would happen if grants and handouts to the "crofters" et al islanders were stopped and the people of these islands actually had to stand on their own two feet. Sack everyone from HIE and all the handout authorities that prop up the islands financially taking money away from the genuine entrepreneur.

The council tax freezes are going to put more pressure on things like grant giving and communities are going to be expected to sweat their assets in order to generate their own incomes.

The people against the LWP and other major developments within these islands don't like the fact that it may bring some prosperity to the islands which would then bring about a work ethic and culture not a begging bowl culture.

They would have to get rid of their manana attitude and do something now to put food on their tables and pay their bills (which by the way would be cheaper if they had their own wind farm) No-one else in the UK gets the same handout treatment so why should the people here get it?

Oh and by the way, the moors are ugly and building anything on them can only improve the view.

Anonymous said...

1:32 PM, You too.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12: 11 here again

Popped back to see if I had any response, and I see I recieve the idiots wrath. Should I expect better from a Scottish island community - I had hoped so.

As I said, to inform, not to patronise, people should take a step back and look at the culture of distrust that they have created. It is what you have created that is holding you back.

Be positive, not negative.

Look to the future, not the past.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear,1:32pm the moors are ugly, and we are not short on wildlife space.

Anonymous said...

Philip Maclean didn't stand on an anti-windfarm ticket. That was left to Paul Blake and Smiler who battled it out in the hustings with Morris Black. Morag Munro, Catherine Macdonald and Philip Maclean stayed well out of it and having been elected all three take on board comments from both sides of the debate.

Anonymous said...

On the mainland these players would be nobodies. The somebodies have left for the greener grass and left the half wits to fill the void.

I agree with a lot of what you have written but take exception to this comment. There are many intelligent people here who would be somebody anywhere else, they have just chosen to stay in the Western Isles for their own personal reasons and try their hardest to move it forward (quite often unsuccessfully) You obviously haven't met these people. I suggest that you take a stroll around some of the businesses set up and being run by locals who don't rely on grants or handouts and who work their arses off. True there aren't that many but there are some.

Anonymous said...

To anon 2:43

That's right - the extreme and loony pro and anti windfarm candidates never get elected. The voters are too sensible for that and realise that there's more to life than bloody windfarms.

Anonymous said...

2:14 PM That post is even more patronising than your first. Have a word with yourself.

Anonymous said...

Maybe those of us "grant-loving calvanists" born and brought up on the island should step aside and allow those more knowledgeable to use our island as a retirement home and ensure it is left the way they desire....NOT
Any person who has lived here over the past few years can see that this island is in dire straits and is in need of some urgent economic input similar to what the AMEC scheme would do. MWT arguements seem desperate eg
TOURISM and ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES Relatively few tourists actually come here compared to other islands and I doubt if many of them came to the island to admire the Barvas moor. Also why if the flora and fauna is so rich and of such importance that RSPB employ only ONE person and as for SNH -what benefits does the island get from this quango?
Having the developement would also benefit Arnish and so what if a proportion of the workforce was from the mainland - they would still spend money here.
In my opinion CnES and Stornoway trust have been correct all along and the 5000 objections in Lewis shows how much of a retirement island we have become

Anonymous said...

to anon 12.11
If you're serious about your opinions regarding island life why stay here and more importantly would you be missed?

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that no one has flagged that only LWP were there. I see no mention of other developers.

What about Eishkein and SSE? These companies are more likely to succeed, but no one mentions them, instead being absorbed into the hype of AMEC.

SNH and RSPB are pretty silent on these schemes? Are they secretly backing them? What is their stance?

Why arent the Comhairle making more positive noises about these schemes? They would get Arnish up and running and provide community benefits.

So the overall question is why is everyone still backing the lame horse of LWP, when two others are running ahead of the field?

Are these developers not so fast to hand out the brown envelopes?

Anonymous said...

A day in the life of a hard working, potato planting MP.

Agree to go and attend a conference in Calvinist and Proddy ridden Lewis. Turn up late at An Lannatir ( having missed SNP Meenisters speech). Take to stage(without piper) life is one great hoot – regale the numhpties of life in Barra – tell inane story about building a dynamo as a child. Throw in a few lines in Gaelic – stammer a little more – in two languages. Leave stage. Sit and fidget in auditorium. Leave for debriefing with Ms Rhona at SNP offices. Head for airport, flushed but satisfied. General election planning progressing well. Prepare for rerection to 60k per annum job. Phew it’s tough. “Do they realise what it took to deny the Hebrides a multi million pound inward investment?” Bring on the next erection to the Westminster Parliament.

Captain Swing said...

Welcome aboard and Bravo Anon 12:11, you get a Gold Star and can go to the top of the class, I just wish I had said half of what you wrote. You really stirred up a hornets nest with the 'we must have a wind farm at any cost and I don't care what it does to the island, it's people or their culture, brigade' (Wmhawfaacaidcwidttiipotc)

I must say it's much easier being a Nimby as the anacronism is easier to write I think I abbreviate 'Wmhawfaacaidcwidttiipotc' to 'wankers'

I personally don't like Anonymous contributors so get yourself a Non de Plume, it make critism or agreement so much easier.

Captain Swing said...

To Anon 3:12

I doubt if many of them came to the island to admire the Barvas moor This may be true but when they do see the Moor they appreciate one of the last truly wild wide open spaces not defiled by man.

why if the flora and fauna is so rich and of such importance that RSPB employ only ONE person If left alone the Flora and Fauna doesn't need lots of staff to look after it, it's called being left alone to do what nature does without interference from man.

so what if a proportion of the workforce was from the mainland - they would still spend money here after what they have sent home to their loved ones, the rest if we are unlucky will go into the Pubs and Clubs making Stornoway like a Wild West frontier town on a bad night, every night. If we are lucky they might spend it on less anti-social things like evening classes and quiltmaking!!

5000 objections in Lewis shows how much of a retirement island we have become Retirement Island!! so that's why I can't get anyone to do anything anymore, and me thinking it was everybody just being lazy! I had no idea all objectors were retired.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:11 3. The public spat between two councillors. One said the island was on its knees, the other (lady) councillor took offence at this and gave him what for! I do like a feisty woman.

That was Keith Dodson v Agnes Rennie.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:24 Not due to lack of preparation, more due to lack of ability, understanding or vision.

He also re-told (badly) the story of his early involvement in energy experiments, which he last wheeled out at Paible School. Quite what the point was, I'm not sure even he knew.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:46 Leave for debriefing with Ms Rhona at SNP offices.

Yes, but (as in Orkney) did he "keep his jacket on"? (c)Cllr Murdo 'Maroot' MacLeod

Anonymous said...

From the pre-enquiry notes about the Beinn Mhor Power PLI:-

11. Cllr P McLean, Old School, Crowmore (sic), South Lochs, who also wishes to speak, has been asked to confirm whether he will oppose, or support, the wind farm.

Anonymous said...

Captain Swing 6:33 PM: you sound like a cheery fellow. Must be a barrel of laughs round at your house.

Anonymous said...

From the Eishkein PLI notes looks like Cllr Phillip Maclean had a Kenny Dalglish moment

"Maybe aye, maybe no"

Dithering idiot

Come on Philip. Tell us where you stand (other than in the sh*t)

Anonymous said...

To anon 7:16

So what do you want Councillor Maclean to do? Why don't you say whether you're for or against? I understand that he represents all sides of the debate i.e. he probably doesn't want to see it happen, but at the same time he wants to make sure that the community benefits as much as possible if it does! I live in South Lochs too and although I'd prefer smaller scale community windfarms, I like Councillor Maclean think a possible causeway link to North Lochs (which might be a spin off) would be fantastic. Travel time to Stornoway would be cut to 20 minutes or less and would really open up all of the Lochs area. If Eishken doesn't happen or deliver a causeway then the Comhairle should!

Anonymous said...

"like Councillor MacLean think a possible causeway link to North Lochs (which might be a spin off) would be fantastic"

How might it be a spin off.
? There is no plan for one. You show me the planning aplication that has this and I will present you publicly with a case of fine malt. This causeway is a rumour and no more.

If you are mug enough to believe it then fine. It is a piece of bait with no substance but it seems the gullable are biting.

What are the merits of a causeway? Fuel savings for drivers - well use the bus more. Use it or lose it.

It will lead to the closure of our school down here - sorry Phil, you like school closures dont you.

Ravenspoint will be shut within weeks, so we will lose the shop.

So it will make us closer to Stornoway - that is undeniable. Is Leurbost, Ranish or Achmore better off as they are closer to "town" than south Lochs. I think not.

Lets hear the causeway arguements (AN - how about a poll or a new listing as this one is a wee bit buried now)

Let's have constructive discussion and debate, and weigh up the pro's and cons.

A better traffic plan would be for the council to do something about the queues coming into "town" in the morning. Two arteries only, and both clogged. That is a waste of time and fuel. How about a bit of a ring road?

For the record I am against Eiskein and Pairc proposals as they stand - and you Philip?

Let debate begin..............(make it a clean fight with no innuendo - Phil has always kept his pants up, which for a politican out here makes him a wee bit special)