Monday, 28 January 2008

Local politics for local people. And the global media.

From this video clip on STV, both of these people (a former Lewis councillor, and our current MSP) have sat in my kitchen, drunk tea and have been fed various baking (though in the case of one it was declined on the grounds it may have been poisoned). Thankfully they visited Chateau Silversprite on different times/days, else the ambiance may have been somewhat different.

For some of the various news stories and angles on the Lewis Wind Farm application, see the google news agglomeration service. Local debate can be found on the Stornoway Chat forum (oddly quiet of late), Point Online forum, and on Angus Nicolsons blog. Or you can add comments to the article in the Herald.

n.b. contrary to the impression given by some of the media, the application hasn't been turned down. The applicants have 21 days to make a better case. And it is a safe bet that whatever decision is taken then, will not be the end of the matter.

Regarding some of the other errors in the media - I had a fun Saturday morning reading various newspapers both in print and online - please could editors (especially those of certain US news media) buy their journalists a detailed map of Scotland and also note that:

  • Lewis is not a "small island" (some tourists think this every year and attempt to "do" Lewis and Harris in the three hours between ferries).

  • Lewis is off the northwest coast of Scotland, and not off the north coast / where the Faroe Islands are / nearer to Iceland than the UK / where Arran is.

  • The statement "Everyone speaks Gaelic, and not English" is incorrect on both counts.

  • There are no puffins on Lewis (please correct if am wrong about this).

  • There are airports (three) here i.e. "The Outer Hebrides can only be reached by sea" is incorrect.

  • Stornoway is not a city.

  • Cheese is, unfortunately, not a "major industry" here (there may be some confusion with Orkney, where it is).

  • It does not rain here "11 months of the year".

  • It's spelt "crofting", not "crafting", unless everyone on the west side of Lewis has quietly developed a sideline in pottery production.

  • "...where houses sell for a few hundred pounds." Not for some years now, unless the reference is to a pile of rubble. See the prices paid for houses on



  1. Not going to get into the politics on this one, as I've got my own soapbox in which to do so.Not sure about puffins "on" Lewis, but they can certainly be seen in the waters around all of the Western Isles / Outer Hebrides / na h-Eileanan an Iar (delete as appropriate).

  2. No, no puffins on Lewis or anywhere where people live. Curiously, you will find quite a colony on the Shiant Islands, the uninhabited tiny cluster of islets just a few miles out from the Lochs district of Lewis. These puffins were hugely admired by the Queen and Prince Philip on their Hebridean cruise in 2006. Her Maj ordered their hired ship, the Hebridean Princess, to drop anchor there so they could watch them. A still larger colony is on even more inaccessible St Kilda, of course.