View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 29 November 2010


Website has been posting confidential memos from the US government. These include notes from its diplomatic missions around the world, and contain some pretty embarrassing comments. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has vowed to track down and prosecute those who have leaked the documents, which is the proper thing to do. I was quite intrigued by the reaction from governments around the world to the leaks, which appear to be more one of embarrassment, rather than anger. It is like having your love letters posted on the Internet with a big huge arrow pointing towards the website involved.

I reached this conclusion because the reaction from the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmedinajad. He is an implacable enemy of America but also a shrewd politician. He described the leaks as orchestrated by the US government (a statement for home consumption), adding that he would disregard them completely. The latter bit is quite significant. Ahmedinajad knows very well that the American government is severely embarrassed by these leaks, and they had in fact no direct part in their release. It is something that could potentially happen to every government in the world (and they all know it); further more, the leaked documents just puts on public display what the diplomatic community knows secretly about each other.

I have no time for Mahmoud Ahmedinajad's policies, but I make an exception in this instance: ignore the Wikileaks story. It is a lot of hot air, and the only significant impact is to warn governments to tighten up on their security protocols for documentation.

Monday 29 November

A cold but sunny day out here, although massive falls of snow in the east of Scotland have brought havoc to the roads. A lorry driver, speaking on the radio, said he had been stuck for nearly 10 hours on the A9 around Perth. At the moment, the section of the A9 south of Perth appears to be "passable with care". Many other roads at higher levels in the Highlands are closed. And it isn't even formally winter, neither meteorologically nor astronomically. Here in the Outer Hebrides, temperatures are expected to lift towards the end of this week. With the bright sunshine, ice on pavements is turning back to slush. Tonight, the mercury will nosedive to -20C on the mainland.

Tomorrow, it will be St Andrew's Day, but celebrations have been cancelled due to the adverse weather.

I may have another update later today.