View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sunday 20 September

After a sunny spell just before midday, the weather has clouded over, the wind picked up and a drizzle commenced. Autumn continues, as it has done for a while. The Sunday sailing left Stornoway at 2.30pm, and will be back at 9 tonight. It remains very busy with visitors, although the main tourist season ended a month ago. The road-equivalent tariff, which was introduced on the ferries a year ago, continues to favour the Western Isles. It has slashed the fares across the Minch by half. It's not quite fair on other islands, excluded from the RET pilot study.

Veterans of the airborne landings at Arnhem in 1944 have laid wreaths at the graves of their comrades in the cemetery at Oosterbeek. It could be the last time they'll hold this commemoration.

Image courtesy BBC

Cycling in Scotland

It has come to my attention that the Scottish Government is reviewing its policy on cycling. As part of this, they have raised the possibility that cyclists could be taxed. I have never heard such a ludicrous idea in all my life. In a consultation on the subject, question 10 reads: Should all road users pay road tax? If so, how much should it be for cyclists and how could it be enforced?

It is generally held that cycling, if practicable in terms of distance, is a very good alternative to car use. It causes no pollution, no traffic jams and is good for your health. If anything, the Scottish Government should promote the use of the bicycle by making the purchase or use of cycles tax-deductible (happens in Holland), making roads safer for cyclists (by provision of a cycle-lane or widening the roads. Not taxing them, for goodness' sakes.

If you read this in the UK, please take part in the consultation. As I said, this is the most ridiculous idea I've heard on this issue.