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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Out of the mouths of children.....

SNH Gagging childrenThe children of Barra have had a long and illustrious history of activism, and successful activism, on community issues.

It was thanks to sustained pressure from the school children that Barra got mobile phones; and they even went to the House of Commons to campaign for the retention of the air service to Barra.

They know their community and are not scared to make their views known. Model children for the future in other words.

Or not, as the case may be if you are a Quango.

Sources in the Education Department have told me that when Scottish National Heritage heard that the school children of Barra were going to demonstrate yesterday against SNH and the possible designation of the Sound of Barra as a Marine Special Area of Conservation, then SNH jumped into action.

Phone calls, faxes and assorted threats later, the Education Department instructed the two Barra schools not to allow their children to show their views on the possible designation, as it wasn't the media image that SNH wanted to give.

SNH are, of course, happy to go into schools and give their perspective, but any contrary view meets with this heavy handed approach. It looks like democracy only works one way in their mind.

Does the Minister know what is being done by the organisation is is nominally responsible for?

The actual meeting in the Craigard was full to overflow, but SNH refused to discuss the issues, clkaiming that they were there to have only an informal chat, mingle and make small talk. Which required about 75% of the attendees to leave the room so that SNH, assorted hangers-on, and the vast coterie of officials, could have cheese and wine and make meaningless noises.

All at vast public expense.

SNH is held in such huge contempt by large sections of the public that it claims to represent that the need for it's very existence is questioned by most of those directly affected. This reflects very, very, badly on the entire process and consequently upon the Government itself, who seem unable - or perhaps unwilling - to take any action to bring the organisation under control.

This cavalier behaviour cannot be allowed to continue, but we've been saying this for a decade, and it is only getting worse, not better.

If they can't debate with the children who will be directly affected by the decisions they want to bring in, then why should they be trusted that what they are doing is the right thing?


Anonymous said...

If the SNP got their way then we wouldn't be in any position to argue about these European Designations.

Actually the argument should be with Holyrood as thye control SNH, but that doesn't suit either MacNeil or Allan.

Anonymous said...

The following press release is from SNH web site. They want their service to be "accessible".
That is exceptionally bad form by SNH. The young people have a right to voice their opinions.

Locals invited to SNH Western Isles reception on Barra
Local people in Barra and neighbouring isles are being invited along to an evening reception hosted by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) at the Craigard Hotel, Castlebay from 7pm-10pm on Thursday 29th October.

Scottish Natural Heritage is the Scottish Government's advisor on the management, enjoyment, understanding and sustainable use of Scotland’s wildlife, natural habitats and landscape.

Andrew Thin, SNH chairman, will host the event, along with Western Isles area manager David Maclennan, local staff and SNH Local Advisor for the Outer Hebrides Iain Mackinnon.

Andrew Thin said: "The evening will provide an opportunity for informal discussion about the work of SNH in the area, what we do and why; giving local people the opportunity to raise issues relating to the natural environment which are of interest to them. This is about making senior people in SNH more accessible to the public and is also a really useful way for us to keep in touch with public perceptions of the organisation. We certainly hope many people will be able to come along and we look forward to meeting them on the night."

The event is free and all interested parties are invited. Light refreshments will be provided and further information is available from the SNH Uist office.


For media enquiries contact:
Iain Ross, Press & PR Officer, 01463 725024

General enquiries contact SNH Uist office
Stadhlaigarraidh, South Uist, Western Isles, HS8 5RS
Tel. 01870 620238
Fax. 01870 620350

Anonymous said...

SNH and SEPA are the two most despised organisations in Scotland, famous for gold plating any rule possible.
Why? keeps them in a job and builds another empire.

Anonymous said...

Didn't see any cheese and wine, although coffee and tab nabs were on offer and bailed out before I became an "assorted hanger on".

SNH have made the bullets, the Scottish government will fire them, and I don't think it matters which party is in control of the Howitzer.

SNH will then come back in, to take control, claiming they are only operating under instruction and whatever the outcome it is not of their doing.

It was very obvious, from what little we were told,that the SSI is considered a done deal,and that we should be grateful to SNH for protecting us from ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Look I am no friend of SNH but people should know how the system works. The EU requires that member states identify the best areas in their patch for certain environmental objectives. The member states are then obliged to designate them. SNH are the agency that is responsible for this is Scotland but the problem/or not originates from our membership of the EU.

Anyway do we really have much to fear, SNH have shown amply that they care more for the political agenda than upholding EU law, to the extent that they are prepared to doctor the science in order to get developments through planning.

Apart from LWP which was probably a bit too big to brush under the carpet, can anyone give an example of SNH on Lewis actually doing their job (sic).

Anonymous said...

If the SNP got their way then we wouldn't be in any position to argue about these European Designations

If the SNP got their way then we wouldn't be in any position to have an opinion about anything that wasn't the same as theirs.

Get used to it folks because democracy is about to be banned.

Anonymous said...

The most disturbing aspect of this one is not the proposed SAC but rather the way in which SNH carried out the gagging of children.

Irrespective of the merit - or otherwise - of the SAC, the gagging of any potential dissent is rather frightening. More so if it was with the connivance of the education dept.

I only hope that the Barrachs continue to maintain their willingness to take on any threats which they perceive as being a threat to both their community and livelihood.

However, widening the theme of repression of any dissent - which also appears to be the modus operandi of our masters here in Uist - the young will invariably vote with their feet. The exclusion of our youth in any debate on local issues only serves to isolate and embitter them towards the new Lairdocracy.

I have sat in on many lively, informed, and surprisingly perceptive beer fueled debates of the current crop of students. There has always been consensus on the issue of "would you come back to the islands"... 'not while we are ignored and the place is being run the way it is'.

Ignore and alienate the youth and you squander the future of the islands.

The 'running the place' gang includes the usual suspects, but the link between SNH and the education dept takes things to a new low.

Any councillors out there that are prepared to take this one on, or is business as usual and just ignore the awkward grubby detail ?

Anonymous said...

9.27 or Mr/Mrs. ophant please give your full name in future!(:-))

Anonymous said...

The teens on Barra already feel disenfranchised.

While their peers, well, everywhere else, have reliable and/or fast mobile and broadband access (vital for all but the most Amish-like teen, whether the older folk like it or not), teens on Barra don't.

And they resent being left behind in this way deeply. Once they go to the mainland, and they have acceptable comms,it's all the more difficult for them to return.

Making broadband access such a low and unhurried priority these islands, back at the start of this decade, has done more to undermine the next generation of islanders than anything else. The archipelago now reaps what it sows.

Anonymous said...

Why, on landing on the Traigh Mhor, do I always think of the old joke about wondering where the whining comes from after the engines are switched off?

Anonymous said...

I was one of the parents who recieved a letter from castlebay school, signed by the head teacher, urging parents to object to snh at the meeting, and encouraging our kids to put a hand print on the poster. i know of a number of others who were less than happy at being guided by the school on what we should think.
i am no friend of snh, but for a school to seem to force a set opinion without debating both sides of the issue with the kids is a dangerous precedent to set. Rightly or wrongly that is what should have happened, or we are just as bad as snh.

Anonymous said...

SNH and HIE, different bottles but same old whine.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:17

Thanks for the insight from within the school.

However, are we not at this point because neither SNH or the council have engaged the community in debate on the issues related to the SAC which will affect the Barra community.

Or has this debate already been underway, and the views of the community ignored? I live in Uist and have seen at first hand the shambles that SNH leave behind when the latest pet scheme runs out of funding.

The difference with the SAC is that once a designation is imposed on the area, SNH then effectively police the scheme and control of your fishing grounds pass out of the community.

ESE,SSSI, and RAMSAR, designations applied to fields which were environmental havens precisely because of the work of generations of crofters. Once designations were in place a large number of these fields slowly reverted to rush infested bogland. Woe betide you if you stepped outside their rules.

And, oh dear, once the money for the ESA schemes ran out, SNH walked away. Yes there are new schemes in place, but crofting per se is now targeted towards form filling, and compliance with rules.

Anonymous said...

10.17 unfortunately that view of "democracy = bad" seems to be the same no matter the political party, these days.

Oh and BTW the ophant joke was a referrence to the sic... i now realise in the clear light of day that millions (ok 10's, of people are writing to say "but you didn'tgive your name" or words to that effect.

Anonymous said...

i am a pupil at castlebay school, i did not put my hand on that proteting banner ! becuse i dont know enough about wat it is for , and i did think that the letter we got home was just a for of propoganda ! but one of the boys in the year above me did put his hand to it and when he was asked why ? the reply was

" i am completly against comunisum !" those children where not told wat it was about - i dout the fact the ones organising it new wat it really all about! and tell me when my 3 year old sibling is goin to under stand all this cause he too was asked to put his hand to it !

since when did pain+ gulibal children = potisons agains the SNH ?