Title picture: Beasts of Holm at low tide, 19 April 2015

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

T minus 16

Sixteen days until the purgatory of the General Election campaign is over. I've had it up to here with polls, pundits and politicians. A trades union man summed it up for me today, when he said that if you cost out all those pledges and promises, they are usually unrealistic.

Why doesn't the Labour leader say he would rather not become prime minister, if it meant having to do deals with the Scottish National Party? Is Miliband so fixated on becoming PM that he has forgotten his party was referred to as the dying Labour Party in the Scottish Parliament the other day? Do we want the SNP to dictate to the 90% of the British people who cannot vote for them? The sheer lunacy of dispensing with a nuclear deterrent at a time when Putin is flexing his military muscles, sparring for a fight with NATO in the next few years? The SNP don't know anything about foreign policy or defense, and are as much a danger to the United Kingdom as Putin's Russia.

Mediterranean

I was left profoundly depressed by the lunchtime news today.

Floods of people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and southern Europe, up to 30,000 expected to die in the endeavour this year. The Islamic State terrorist organisation firming its foothold in Libya, threatening Greece, Italy and Spain.

Libya, a failed state since Gadaffi was removed in 2011, a fertile breeding ground for idiots of all creeds and convictions. Islamic State came into being as a result of the removal of another despot, Saddam Hussein. Haven't we got the message yet? It would seem that people in the Middle East need to be ruled by despots (by our standards), and it is catastrophic to try to impose a system on people whom it doesn't suit.

Anybody now realise why Vladimir Putin opposed a bombing campaign against Assad of Syria - not just about a sphere of influence, but also because Putin realises that the Middle East needs despots to rule them. He would know. He's a despot himself, something quite a few Russians seem to want and need.


Sunday 19 April

Another gorgeous day, but not really warm. Walked to the Iolaire Memorial, about 2½ miles down the coast at low tide, leaving the Beasts of Holm reefs more exposed than I've ever seen them before.

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Saturday 18 April

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Friday 17 April

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Thursday 16 April

Ten whole years after the loss of 5 people in a storm surge in South Uist, believed to have been caused by a causeway across the South Ford to Benbecula, an FAI is still awaited. I think the word outrage is in order here. That also applies to the decision not to open the causeway apertures from 15 to 250 metres, on (what appears to be) grounds of cost only.

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Wednesday 15 April

Today is the 70th anniversary since the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated by Allied forces. It was in Bergen-Belsen that Anne Frank, of diary fame, died after being deported their from her home in Amsterdam in 1944. As the 70th anniversary of the end of WW2 rolls near, we remember the victims of the Holocaust. If a minute's silence was held for each victims, we'd be silent for eleven and a half years.

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Tuesday 14 April

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There is a row going on in the Inner and Outer Hebrides about ferries. Every year, the Calmac boats have to go into drydock for refit, and the routes each boat plies has to be served by a different ship. The Finlaggan, which normally serves Islay, has been on the Uig - Tarbert / Lochmaddy route whilst the normal ship (Hebrides) is in drydock. The people in Uist are unhappy, as there have been a lot of cancellations (we've had a very bad winter) and the people in Islay are complaining because their replacement boat (the aging Isle of Arran) can't cope.

Monday 13 April

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Sunday 12 April

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Saturday 11 April

Attended the exhibition on the Ross Mountain Battery at Gallipoli, in the Drill Hall on Church Street. There was a lot of material there, varying from the humorous to the tragic. I was amazed to learn that the Gallipoli peninsula is the same size as the island of Lewis & Harris. The battle for Gallipoli (Çanakkale in Turkish) began on 25 April 1915, and lasted most of the rest of that year. It was lost by the Allied forces, although the losses to the Turks were some four times greater.

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Friday 10 April

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Went for a short walk to the cemetery at Sandwick, passing the Battery Memorial on the way. Breezy day, not very warm.