View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 25 July 2011

Monday 25 July

A nice day with high cloud and some reasonable temperatures; we managed 16C / 60F this afternoon. It is enormously busy with visitors at the moment, as shown by the multitude of languages overheard in the supermarket. There were quite a few boats coming in and out of the port, with a large cruiseliner passing on the horizon. It is high summer, in spite of the moderate temperatures. Last night's excitement with the ferry ended when our poor boat chugged into port at 5 am this morning. Only to go out just two hours later. I'm just finishing processing the pictures of previously unnoticed war-related gravestones that I found in Sandwick Cemetery yesterday. I went down twice, as I discovered from old notes that I had overlooked 5 gravestones. Only one I was unable to find, as I had apparently recorded its position incorrectly. I also found a walled enclosure belonging to a family called Ryrie. It had a gate, but the gate had rusted shut. Tomorrow, I'll look into their history and post it on the Pentland Road blog.

Oslo and Utoeya

This is a translation of a blogpost on a Dutch-language blog which I published today.

I am writing to express my horror at the attacks in Norway. Anders Breivik has admitted responsibility and has stated that his political views have prompted his actions. Breivik has also described Dutch politician Geert Wilders as a "good guy". I am going to discuss that in this blogpost.

Over the past few years I have watched in revulsion at what has been produced by Mr Wilders. His movie Fitna has underscored his hatred of Islam and the attendant intolerance. The Netherlands has a problem with immigrants, integration and ethnic minorities. In the years after the Second World War, these subjects were practically taboo, as you would immediately be accused of discrimination. The late politician Pim Fortuyn brought the subject into the open. Geert Wilders' party PVV has made major gains in last year's parliamentary elections for the same reasons.

Mr Wilders is now supporting the Dutch government, as any legislation that the government wants to introduce has to be sanctioned by the PVV. It means that the views of Mr Wilders and his PVV are shared by the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Even before the last elections, in June 2010, Geert Wilders had the tacit support of the previous government, led by Mr Balkenende.

Back in February 2009, Geert Wilders was refused entry to the United Kingdom as his views could cause civil unrest. Following the bomb attacks in London in 2005, a lot of work has gone into improving relations between the various ethnic groups (including native Britons). The revulsion against Islam, as expressed by Mr Wilders, could have undermined all that has been achieved since 7/7. Upon his return to Holland, after being refused entry to the UK, Mr Wilders was afforded a hero's welcome, with the Dutch government expressing its disapproval of the British government's decision to refuse entry to a prominent politician from a friendly nation.

Geert Wilders has spoken out to condemn the attacks in Norway, which was good to hear. He has given the impression that the extreme-rightwing views, as held by Anders Breivik, are supported and condoned up to government level. That's why Geert Wilders was described as a "good guy" by Anders Breivik.. That's why I express my sharp condemnation of Geert Wilders in what he has done in his political career, both before and during his indirect involvement with the Dutch government.