View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 8 November 2008


Many thanks to Stuart for his offer of lessons in history. I'm going to decline, though.

My initial posting was of a party-political nature, something I rarely engage in as I am not eligible to vote in parliamentary elections. However, staying in Scotland means I am affected by decisions by those in high office (like Alex Salmond and his predecessor Jack McConnell). I shall revert to not making party-political statements.

I'd like to think I'm pretty well versed in the history of the Highlands and Islands, certainly where the Clearances are concerned. Reading the book On the Crofters' Trail by David Craig gives you a pretty good idea what went on at the time, and I've developed some very strong views on the matter. Here in Lewis, 36 villages lie derelict and have done so for 190 years because it was more profitable to keep sheep or deer in the Eishken district.

Irrespective of his political colour, Mr Salmond's expression that the Clearances were 'deplorable', something repeated by the Scottish Parliament, was not worded strongly enough bearing in mind the inhumane way people were treated in the Clearances.

However, we have seen a similar event in Australia this year, with PM Kevin Rudd offering an apology to the Aboriginal population for the way they were treated until very recently. An apology is all well and dandy, but does not undo the damage done. I realise that in the case of the Clearances, nothing will undo the damage caused.

Peace out.


Going back to 1977 and bearing in mind the name given to the hurricane currently lashing the Caribbean, I thought I'd better put up this wholly inappropriate song by the George Baker Selection.

Hurricane update - 8 November

A late season hurricane, Paloma, is moving across the Caribbean, lashing the Cayman Islands with winds of 135 mph. It will get even stronger before making landfall on Cuba tomorrow. Storm surge flooding of 7 to 9 feet is expected in the Caymans, with 15 to 20 feet in Cuba. The hurricane will be torn apart north of Cuba, due to extremely adverse atmospheric conditions, otherwise referred to as windshear. Please monitor the NHC output, copied in my Tropical Cyclones blog, for updates.

Saturday 8 November

Morning all. Feeling a bit fragile at the moment, like I've done much of the past 6 months. Couple of things running in the background as well.

We're anticipating a force 9 gale tonight and tomorrow, and the pilot training people to fly planes is off early, else he'd be stuck here till Monday.

Just a response to Stuart's comments (many thanks) on my post from yesterday regarding the Scottish National Party. First of all, the British Linen Bank was incorporated into the Bank of Scotland in 1977, which does mean that it is a constituent part of HBOS.

Second, I take note of the fact that it is English landowners who evicted people from Scotland, but Scotland was and is part of the United Kingdom. The Clearances occurred under UK law, and Scottish Parliamentarians did nothing to counteract it at the time. Reading back the official statement from Alex Salmond he said that there had been an official apology from the Scottish Parliament over the Clearances. I maintain my statement that people should have been able to make their achievements on home soil.