I am much obliged to fellow blogger Tony Giles, over at Closed Sundays, for digging out the text of the offending petition to HM Government. The petition has now been removed from the e-petitions website, but for the record, I copy from the Caledonian Mercury:
Send rioters to the Outer Hebrides for 5 years
Responsible department: Ministry of Justice
All rioters and looters from the recent troubles in English cities should be banished to the Outer Hebrides for 5 years. This would be much, much, cheaper than keeping them in expensive prisons, saving the taxpayer money. Five years of being forced to live in the Outer Hebrides with none of the comforts of English city living e.g. running water, electricity, decent food, culture and shopping, will put them on the straight and narrow, and frighten them not to riot or loot again. Many local people there look after sheep part-time, so they can earn a small amount of extra money looking after rioters and looters as well.
My previous blogpost was intended to highlight one prejudice against these islands, namely that of the weather. Which, admittedly, can be pretty atrocious - but only rarely, really. To rebut the completely erroneous statements:
* We have piped running water
* I am using a computer and the Internet so we do have electricity (surges and spikes included)
* We have quite a few restaurants that I am more than pleased to frequent for dinner (and you can get a 3-course meal for less than £15 in some of them), not just in Stornoway but several well out of town as well
* Culture? An Lanntair is often ridiculed, but it's a shame that there's not going to be a Grinneas nan Eilean this year, as that really is a showcase of local creative art. There is a vibrant music scene, both traditional and popular.
* If you know your local shops you can get everything you need in Stornoway.
* Sheep may safely graze, but they're a bleeding traffic hazard
No, it would be patently ridiculous to turn these islands into a penal colony - hence the tongue-in-cheek title to these two blogposts.