View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Thursday 19 May - evening notes

The day has turned into a very windy and cool affair, with occasional heavy showers. The TV news reports from Stornoway on the subject of coastguard reform showed the weather conditions beautifully.

I apologise in advance for any distress caused by my comments, below, on the subject of rape.
The UK Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has been trying to remove the foot from his mouth, where he put it yesterday. Mr Clarke suggested that there were some forms of rape, which were less serious than others. One example was of a girl of 15 (below the age of consent), who would willingly have sex with an older man - which is technically rape. However, there was a huge outcry of the suggestion that rape be downplayed under any pretext. Mr Clarke was attacked in parliament on the issue, and has been asked to apologise and even resign. He has done neither - he has only said he could have chosen his words better. Mr Clarke seems to be unaware of the extreme distress caused by rape to the victim, and as he is the man responsible for the administration of justice, he really should apologise. Or quit. I have very little time for government ministers who show themselves so far removed from the reality of life away from Whitehall.

Thursday 19 May

A morning post, just for a change.
The route that the Olympic Torch will take across the UK next year was announced yesterday. The Isle of Lewis will see it on July 11th, but the relevant page on the London 2012 website only highlights sights-to-see in the town of Stornoway, and omitting the Callanish Stones - although a picture of them does feature on the page.

Osama bin Laden has spoken from beyond the grave. Well, Al-Qa'eda have released a video of him recorded before he was killed on May 2nd. An analyst has pointed out that Al-Qa'eda and the USA both wanted to get rid of the tyrannical regimes of Egypt and Tunisia - but the outcome desired by the protagonists is vastly different. The USA is hoping for western-style democracies (see that happening in a hurry??), Al-Qa'eda wants strict Islamic laws introduced (see that happening in a hurry??).

The Select Committee on Transport is currently sitting in Stornoway, to hear evidence about the proposed changes to the Coastguard service. Only for the UK Transport Secretary to announce that the proposals have been ditched, and something else will be thought out. Goes to show what pester power can do - an long-running campaign has been fought against the reduction in CG services.