View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 10 May 2015

From 1979 to 2015 and back again

It's taken a couple of days for the enormity of the General Election result to sink in. The SNP now has nearly all Scottish seats in Westminster, but has no leverage there. The Labour party, with whom they had planned to get into power down south, has been mortally wounded north of the border and is diminished down south. A majority Conservative government is in charge, something that is so unpopular north of the border that an independence referendum next time round is more than likely to produce a yes vote. After years of Tory rule in the 80s and 90s, the Scottish Parliament and Executive / Government were set up to give Scotland a voice of its own. Scotland no longer has a voice in Westminster - at least not a voice that will be listened to. We're back in 1979, except it's far, far worse.

VE Day - 70 years on

Better late than never, a post about the commemoration of VE Day, 70 years ago last Friday. This site lists the casualties from Lewis who were lost between 1939 and 1945, some of whom fell in the Netherlands, my home country. One of those is remembered on two tombstones in Lewis, one at Sandwick and the other in the Eye Cemetery at Aignish. This site lists the losses from Harris, Uist and Barra. Apart from commemorating the losses of military personnel, we also remember the civilian losses. Not only those killed as a direct result of military action, but especially the 6 million slaughtered in the Nazi death camps in Germany, Poland and Austria. Whether we will ever learn from that - I hold out little hope. 

In three months' time, we will commemorate VJ Day. On August 15th, the day Japan surrendered to Allied forces after two atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Again, not just the troops, but also the civilians. Unlike Germany, Japan has never issued a formal apology for the atrocities visited upon the occupied lands of East Asia. We continue to wait for that to happen.