Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sunday sailing

I was appalled to watch MV Isle of Lewis sailing into port a little earlier this afternoon. This is Sunday, the day of rest, the Sabbath. We can NOT have ferries sailing, even if they were cancelled the day before. The ferry should have stayed in Ullapool until Monday morning, irrespective of whether there is a backlog of traffic either side of the Minch. If we are not having a scheduled sailing on Sundays for reasons of religious sensitivities, then neither should we be having catch-up sailings. I don't care whether the ferry broke down due to the new fuel (great decision, that). After all, nobody trades on Sunday (apart from the pubs and some restaurants), there is no public transport to get out of town, nothing is open. And out of respect for those who sincerely feel that the seventh day is the day of rest, no ferry should sail. At all.

Oh, did I hear someone say the word plane? Did I hear someone say the words Sound of Harris ferry? Or ferry between Skye and North Uist, ferry from Oban to Uist / Barra? Right.

So why are people in the southern isles allowed a link to the mainland, and the people in Lewis not? Why can people not come home to visit relatives at home or in hospital over a weekend? Oh, they can if they have the money to pay the plane fare.

I am fed up with this hypocrisy. Give us a sailing (or two) on Sunday, and get on with it, Calmac.


  1. Taking the part of Devil's Advocate ... I would suspect that the reason Lewis has no ferry sailings on a sunday is because the Lords Day Observance lobby are able to persuade influential ears ...
    They obviously could not reach such ears on behalf of the Planes flying on Sunday ...

    If someone truly believes that something is Right, and also has the power to enforce that, you can't theoretically blame them for doing just that ...!

    And we could reach an end to hypocrisy in another way too - by exerting influence to stop flights on Sunday ...

    I'm sure you know the reason why Harris people get a ferry and Lewis people don't ...
    It's because Lewis people believe in keeping the sabbath special, and Harris people don't ...

    I am not even christian, so most of the fine points go right over my head ...
    But I like, very much, the idea of having a day where nobody works ... I think it's good for the soul, and the work-life balance ...

    The problem is, as a lot of people on the mainland have discovered, that once all the fences are down, and sunday has become just another day, it becomes more difficult for those whose beliefs make them want to keep sunday special, to be able to do so ...

    Once sunday is just another day, working people will be asked to do just that - work, whether its a sunday or not ...

    Hoteliers will be interrupted on their day of rest by tourists arriving for their holidays ..

    Bar, restaurant and hotel staff may feel that it is a sign of weakness to insist that they will not work on sundays ... they may be mocked for doing so ...
    Look at the furore Eric Liddell caused (Chariots of Fire) when he refused to compete on a sunday ...
    Had no championships been allowed to happen on a sunday, this would never have occurred ...!

    People who are devout may feel that they need to resist all efforts to do away with the religious sunday, precisely so these inequities will not be perpetrated on them or theirs ...

    Just my opinion ... I am open to others ... :- )

  2. great stuff.....
    I totally believe that some observances/practices are so out-dated or irrelevant to the point that a world that exists 24/7 will surely be adopted/accepted on every outreach of the UK. It is every individual's absolute right to worship in which ever way but not to the interference or inconvenience of another. The Sabbath lobby will very soon hopefully reconcile itself with living in the 21st Century (with all its associated benefits/pitfalls!!!) and the sooner the better.
    I speak as former Publican/Hotelier and Father.....none of which have ever been 6 day week jobs!!!

  3. breascletemick8 March 2009 at 18:34

    I did not know if I should reply as a cockney incommer, But I do feel there should now be sunday sailings. My family and myself only get sundays all together and we cant do a thing, We are just entering our sixth year on the island so feel that I can make a comment. I sometimes work six days a week as does my wife. This is not by choice but due to financial need, then when we do get time together were told we cant do what we like. We pay our council tax only to be told we can't use the council facilities. We like to go swimming and I like to go to the gym but we cant on a Sunday. Can anybody tell me has there ever been a consultation process? When we moved here we knew about Sundays but it seems that there is no level playing field,. Its ok to go into Engies to buy fags and booze or fill the car with juice, (I neither drink or smoke) but God forbid I take the kids for a swim!!, or they want go on slide or swings!!! And yes I do have to work some Sundays.

  4. How refreshing to hear the opposite point of view for once from Soaplady who has put forward a non-religious point of view that I entirely agree with.

    It seems to me that the only real argument put forward by those lobbying for Sunday ferries and Sunday opening is 'because everyone else has it'. We live in a society nowadays where so many people feel they have a right to have everything whether they really need it or not. I really can't see the need to be able to do everything 24/7 and I can't see the objection to having one day a week where you can just get away from what happens on the other six days. It has nothing to do with religion - I have never believed in god - but shops were closed on Sundays when I younger and nobody came to any harm. Nobody complained and it was never the ordinary people who started Sunday opening, it was the big businesses out to make the extra buck.

    It also seems to me that Sunday ferries/opening is not something that should be lobbied for by incomers to the islands. It smacks of those Brits who go abroad for their holidays and then moan because there are no chip shops or British pubs. If you choose to go to another part of the world what right have you to change local customs? Either blend in or leave. Nobody who chooses to live on Lewis is forced to stay there so if they feel that something is better somewhere else then go somewhere else. What right have they to change what others may hold dear?

    I will be quite happy to have a day of rest. It doesn't have to be a Sunday - any other day will do fine - but Sunday seems to be the most convenient. I know that my life will not be compromised by only being able to shop or travel on six days a week.

  5. I applaud the debate but it is not appropriate to suggest an Incomer has a less valid opinion than anyone logic there at all and detracts from the argument/point.
    It's gonna happen so get ready for linking with the rest of the real world.

  6. Interim comment:
    I like the quiet of the Sunday myself, and only argue for the availability of transport, like there is elsewhere in the islands. I'm not desperate to be able to shop, although that conclusion could arguably have been drawn from part of my post. I am an incomer myself (of 4 years standing), and have made my position on this issue abundantly clear on the BBC version of this blog. My personal circumstances are nobody's business and irrelevant to this discussion - this is an issue that affects anybody that has made Lewis their home.

  7. i got a bit worried by the beginning of this blog,but the gave a breath of relief when i continued. I don't live on lewis so perhaps i should keep my big mouth shut but i feel its hypocritical the way they go on about the "sabbath"going out and getting legless on a saturday night,going home and beating up the wife--now thats okay and then the same guys are in kirk a few hours later then hey mates back at the pub or in each others houses drinking again at night!!!I knew a couple of guys from lewis who used to go to perth and work the salmon fisheries when it was the season and told us this was "accepted as being normal""(this was in the early 1970's) my grandparents were gobsmacked-hey grandad was an elder in the "free church of scotland"at the time In 1980 hubby and i hired a caravan in beautiful Aultbea and like a fool i went running along the beach on a sunday morning--my god!!!the locals were horrified---THIS IS THE SABBATH--yet these same people were legless in the aultbea hotel the night before and yes on the sunday night they all trooped in to the hotel resturant at seven that night and proceeded to get legless again; The sabbath being holy--right,only when it suits them; i don't mind shops closing one day a week but not to let kids use the swings or go swimming its just downright stupid,its just another classical example of people reading the bible and turning it round to suit themselves

  8. Arnish - my comments were not intended to reflect on you personally and I apologise if you took them that way. I feel strongly that if anybody chooses to live in another country or a different part of the same country then they should respect and accept the way of life that was there when they chose to go. Does anyone have the right to go to Iran and then lobby for the cessation of the morning call to payer because they like their sleep? If someone goes to Saudi Arabia is it right to lobby for bars to be open to all, not just visitors?

    All the arguments I have read for Sunday ferries have come down to 'it will be convenient for a few people'. Is that enough to change a way of life? The very way of life that many people come to the island to enjoy?

  9. breascletemick8 March 2009 at 20:17

    I would just like to say Im not asking for any favours but we have never been asked if we want Sunday sailings. Obviously its left for others who are more intelligent than I to decide, which is why there's never been a consultation. Maybe there could be more than the so called few in favour and a few may not like the result. As for the sports facilities, if they are to stay shut on a Sunday then please reduce the council tax by a proportionate amount. Im not demanding change but asking not to be charged for somthing I cant use. Long live democracy

  10. Incomer Resident of mere 5mths who quite happily can embrace new or traditional ways (have done so in Israel/Jordon/Egypt even when Cockney born bred) but find it slightly silly when planes fly and ferries don't....only Industry this Island has (tourism) allowed travel on/off Island except Sunday (bonkers!!)....Some parts of the Island find people not hanging washing out on Sabbath (daft?)......btw which Sabbath is the only Sabbath ( Friday for Islam,Saturday for Judaism or Sunday for ever declining Christian congregation......bring out the Happy Clappies (Evangelical or Pentecostal) at least they look/sound like their having fun!
    If you want to stay indoors/at home/in Church or just chill thats fine but PLEASE let common sense win the argument rather any lame quasi-religous doctrine........(NO offence at all to any believer of ant denomination)....
    Transport and Work and Pleasure 24/7 please

  11. well said,gravirlife--though i suspect some "heathen wimmen" put their washing in the tumble dryer on a sunday

  12. Reg, you've just given HUGE offence to the island's churchgoers by calling their beliefs 'lame quasi-religious doctrine' but then they won't be reading this because it's Sunday!

    Mrs Mcleod down the road whose Grandparents were born in the same house doesn't want Transport and Work and Pleasure on a Sunday why should you move next door and say that she should have those things? Or are you saying - like every argument I have read on this subject - Transport Work and Pleasure for ME.

  13. Personally I think there should be Sunday sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool, and Tarbert and Uig.

    BUT until the people of these isles elect politicians who listen to the will of the majority rather than the few then I'm afraid folks we're lumbered with intransigence (a painful affliction), for it isn't CalMac's fault that the two routes do not run on Sunday's but the politicians at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar who will not permit it to happen.

    There is one advantage to no ferries. It does make for a generally quiet day with not much traffic movement and everyone slows down, etc. But I'm sure there are many who would like to leave the island for the weekend and return Sunday evening and are prevented from doing so (and of course weekend trippers in reverse).

    I'd just like to correct the rationale for the Sound of Harris Ferry providing service on the Sabbath. Soaplady said it was because the people of Harris wanted it. Their wishes were actually completely apposite. Rather it was the people of the Uists and Benbecula who urged the Sunday service and were supported by five out of the six local councillors; Harris folk (and councillors) petitioned against it and there are those who still, I understand, find it 'morally offensive'.

  14. Belief noble/helpful.....Doctrine not so easy!!
    No offence is meant HUGE or otherwise and I of course APOLOGISE to anyone who thinks I have...
    The POINT is....CHOICE then Mrs Mcleod can chose not to and I can chose to.

  15. But you made your choice and you still have a choice!

    As Linda said in the beginning things will change completely once Sunday becomes just another day. Then those who want to keep the tradition handed down from their grandparents of keeping Sunday as a day of rest for the island as a whole will be denied that choice. It won't really affect me either way but I can think of many more reasons to keep things as they are rather than change them.

  16. Personally I'm very appreciative of the peace and quiet on Sundays with, especially during the summer months, no one out strimming or lawn mowering.

  17. just to let people know there is a public meeting to debate this very subject on Wednesday (11th Mar) 5pm- 8pm (think it is drop in type session)
    not sure who is running it - comhairle or calmac or HIE but will try and find out more!!

  18. Les.....are you Resident?
    John...people mowing and strimming at 8/9pm on balmy summer evening P***** me off big time but I live and let live with it...besides no grass on Island (just scrub/peat/ have you experienced a spring or summer here yet? RJG

  19. I fully agree with Les and Soaplady's comments to this post.

    Fact of the matter is that the Sabbath has been kept on the island since the beginning of the nineteenth century with Presbyterianism being part and parcel of life on the island ever since and with it the belief in observing the Lord's Day. Generations of Lewsfolk have been grown up under these beliefs and whether they liked it or not they have generally respected the practice. Glibly making demands for Sunday sailings, leisure center openings and supermarket shopping with the attitude of "just get with the program!" smacks of both ignorance and arrogance towards this traditional way of life and what is arguably an indigenous culture.

    I'm not a churchgoer at all, at all and I'm well aware of the apparent hypocrisy of having flights, pubs and petrol stations open while everything else remains forbidden but these things have come not with the demands from the local population but from business men exploiting legalities to make money (I believe Logan Air started flights back in 2002 despite 75% of islanders stating their objection, the island's first Sunday liquor license was granted at the airport the following year and others followed after legal challenges to the local board before finally Engebrets stuck their necks out on the Sandwick road and have never looked back.)

    For the record I think Sunday sailings would be a good thing as would the golf course and sports center openings but believe, as many do, in the thin end of the wedge argument. And even then I would never argue for, let alone demand, that over 150 years of island life be tailoured to suit my so-called needs. And I wouldn't blithely mock the people who respect this way of life either, as if 21st century capitalism and consumerism is any sort of higher ideal.

    Inevitably though, this depressing 24 hour on-demand culture of ours has and will continue to erode these traditions and the changing nature of the island population and society in general will mean these changes come to pass sooner rather than later. Sunday sailings aren't far away and with it will be the retailer's open doors for you all to pour through. The seventh day, that last bastion of rest, peace and, if it's your bag, worship will become just another day of the week, there to be ungratefully worked and hurriedly shopped. The swings will be untied and washing lines all over the island will dance with sinful knickers in the force nine breeze. And all for the simple, secular sake of avoiding having a lazy Sunday forced upon you.

    For shame...


    BreascleteMick: You and your family can't do anything on a Sunday?! A whole beautiful island to explore with your kids and you're bored?!!

    Taddoe: Can you see the idiocy of passing judgement on a whole island community based on two guys you met on a fish farm and a caravanning holiday to Wester Ross in the 80's? Probably not huh?

    Gravirlife: Oh dear. It's very easy to be so dismissive and admittedly after only five months it's difficult to get a handle on the depth and meaning of this so called "lame quasi-religious doctrine" or indeed the character of your new community. I'd suggest, if you're open-minded enough, reading some books to get a glimpse of the history and events that have shaped the island on which you find yourself making demands upon. A good one to start might be "Lewis In The Passing" by Calum Ferguson. It has pictures too.

  20. purplerabbit239 March 2009 at 11:36

    Hear hear Arnish, sunday ferries and the sports centre open all weekend (again, as it is on Uist!) sounds OK to me. I really don't know how the Comhairle get away with such an illogical position on the whole issue...

  21. PPS: Way to go Arnish, nothing like a Sunday sailings post to get the ol' blog stats going! Do one about liking the cut of Brian Haggas' jib next :)

  22. Im with Soaplady and Les on this. I don't buy the argument that, just because some people want to work/travel/whatever on Sunday they should have the right to do so if that is their choice. I work like a maniac 6 days a week and I enjoy sitting outside my house enjoying the total peace and quiet on just one day a week without people impinging on my space with their work/travel/whatever. If people come here and don't like the way of life, then the answer to their problem is pretty obvious.

  23. What really gets me with the whole Sunday sailing (or lack of) is the complete hypocrisy that surrounds it. And I completely agree with Breascletemick. I regularly take my kids out walking and just this Sunday past we went out for our usual morning stroll and ran into all the church traffic...What a load of dirty looks I was getting thrown by some of them for daring to be out on the sabbath and not on my way to church! But it was quite alright for quite a few of the holy joes to park completely illegally just to get to church. If they had been on the mainland they'd have got a parking ticket but here they get off with it week after week. And its the exact same in Cromwell Street up in Stornoway on a Sunday. Some of the parking that goes on up there has to be seen to be believed!! But thats Christianity up here for you for many. Its more just the being seen going to church that matters - not the actual reason they should be going. Unlike a couple that live nearby that have completely devoted their lives to God and yet they don't ram religion in your face at every chance and you don't see them parading to church with that 'look at me' attitude that a fair few of them seem to have. Their such a lovely couple and I can't explain properly what I mean just now but to me they sum up what Christianity is all about. They wouldn't care supposing you would turn up to church in a pair of scruffy jeans but I'd like to see the look on everyone else's face if anyone turned up like that!! And they go into church every Sunday with a smile on their face - how often do you see that? They usually look like its a funeral their going to up here!
    Anyway Sunday sailings - definatley yes!

  24. (Are my posts from this morning still being moderated Arnish?)

  25. very good to hear. I really agree about some Christian folk.It has been my privilige and pleasure to know and be included by some wonderful Christian based Families.
    My earlier 2 questions not yet replied to....hmmm
    Will be travelling tomorrow....bus (as car still in Central Garage) then Ferry (yuk) then overnight at Inverness then fly early Wednesday to Bristol......disjointed,inconvenient but chose to do journey cheapest way poss.....I like CHOICE

  26. RJG perhaps you have missed the whole point of what I tried to say ... That the CHOICEs of one group often completely curtail the CHOICEs of the other groups ...

  27. I don't think that I missed the point of the original poster or even yours. The right of CHOICE is a tricky one as this whole thread has shown the difficulty. IMHO it is not an option just to do/say nothing and accept any status quo. Change is always resisted (Religions are notoriously slow to adopt changes) and I would not expect a small/isolated/protective/insular community as these Islands are sometimes perceived to be pro-active toward changes but they will be dragged (maybe praying/kicking/screaming/ranting and even blogging) into the real world, 21st Century....eek.......RJG

  28. My eyes have been opened- I didn't realise that some places had no sailings on a sunday .Speaking purely as a weekender, does it not have a terrible impact on your tourist trade if you have no Sunday sailings? and what about people who would like to go HOME to their Island on a Sunday if they have been working the Saturday?
    Awfy glad I stay on Cumbrae..

  29. [...] on Arnish Lighthouse blog - there has been quite a debate raging over Sunday ferry sailings - makes interesting reading as good range of views. It comes as the MV Lewis chugs back into [...]

  30. Arnish, just a query. I posted two comments, awaiting moderation. Gravirlife posted one subsequently, and it went through. Now one of the two postings I made (one after another) has simply disappeared, while the second is still waiting moderation. On this website, you have every right to remove/refuse to allow any and all comments to your post for whatever or no reason [therefore, the fact that I think the comment that disappeared is totally innocuous is not relevant]. My query therefore is simply for information. If, however, you did block my proposed comment, would you do me the favor of removing the second one as well. Thanks, Arnish. Cheers. As the email address I provided is a valid address but one that I can check infrequently, I would appreciate your answering this note on your post.

  31. @ rjg's previous comment mainly - then we should probably agree to differ in the following things: what changes are actually worthwhile, what constitutes an argument as opposed to an attitude, and whether it's polite to constructively imply, through what you say, some degree of condescension towards the people who were here before we were ...

  32. Now all/most the views are in (however non-sequential) it looks better balanced.....I do well with pics in books(cheers Mike) and Soaplady...would I move volantarily to a place that I had no historic/social knowledge of or felt/implied condescension (no) but some things will change (some good some bad) c'est la vi (as us french cockneys say!!!) Great Stuff....luv it.....RJG
    PS....did I miss the replies to No19

  33. ok- if shops are not open on a sunday that i agree with!!cutting grass etc well ok but when do you tend to your garden when you work monday till saturday night?? this was major issue in my village in france--the answer being cut/strim-do what you want but do it between 13h and 17h--fair enough ,NO? also another answer to mike-- i was brought up in the "free church of scotland"faith,so talking about religous beliefs,i i know what i am saying::: i have been,from 1985 till 2006 an "elder" otherwise on the parish council,so please do not question my religous beliefs,all i am saying is DO NOT DO THIS,BECAUSE IT'S SUNDAY is just being hippocritical,besides,in the bible no mention was made to the"sabbath"as being sunday!!!

  34. Great exchanges on this thread mainly....hope for us all.
    Les get over yourself and back to what you do best (your comments to me are needlessly personal but heh bring it on!!)

  35. 4x....wonderful stuff as da man! btw eligible voters surely would be residents? Off on my travels now for a week but will be around...RJG

  36. RJG: "...besides no grass on Island (just scrub/peat/heather…lol) have you experienced a spring or summer here yet?"
    Yes, I've experienced 10 years-worth of spring and summer here, and there's plenty of grass around about. Not so long ago folks would just let the grass grow and grow around their houses, or bring in the sheep/goats to eat it, but now we manically cut it down to keep up with the McDonalds. Plus those living in Council properties are contractually obliged to cut their lawns and you'd be amazed at how many pay a professional to do it every two weeks despite them having low or no wages.

  37. Mike, I will have to bow to youre supierior knowledge. As I'm just an intelectually challenged simpleton, I have re-read my posts and can't find any reference to being bored. I thought I said if I can't use it dont make me pay for it. Obviously I failed to make my point. I have also re-read all of the other posts and cant see any one "Blithely mocking" anybody and can't see any one "demanding change" . The argument you use about the public consultation on Sunday flights is a valid point. Flights went ahead dispite 75% of islanders being opposed. Does this mean we can never have another public consultation on anything?. I have enjoyed reading your posts and feel that you would have a good career in politics, or maybe as a spin doctor for the Comhairle.. I have enjoyed the debate I just don't like to be mis- quoted.

  38. No need to bow Breasclete Mick, a simple curtsey will suffice and I assume your misspelling of "intellectually" was for comedic effect :) I'd interpreted you saying "My family and myself only get sundays all together and we cant do a thing" to mean that you couldn't find any suitable activity with which to engage yourselves upon the Sabbath. I took this to mean boredom but now will assume then you are happy to do nothing, just as a good Sabbatarian should. Perhaps attend your local Free Church of Scotland and engage in some wonderful Gaelic free-heterophonic Psalm singing. Morning AND evening. In the afternoon you can reheat your Sunday roast (cooked on Saturday mind, no cooking on Sundays) and go to bed for a few hours while the kids play board (bored) games. That's what we did anyway, it was utter hell but it made me the (slightly mentally unbalanced) man I am today.

    If only one could opt in and out of the council tax eh? Perhaps a tick sheet with services you used and did not use could be provided? It would save me a helluva heap of cash each month as I was unable / did not want to use schools, meals on wheels, play centers for kids etc . Anyway, your council tax pays for the Sports Center six days a week, open it on Sundays and your tax will probably go up by a quid so be grateful it's shut and console yourself that your payments are altruistically benefitting the kids at the Nicholson and the SY Women's weightlifting team.

    Blithely mocking? Well apart for the general tone of some of the posts...

    "silly", "bonkers", "daft", " "lame quasi-religous doctrine", "happy clappies", "no grass on Island (just scrub/peat/heather…lol)", "holy joes" (and most of islandlife's post to be honest), "isolated/protective/insular community " that " will be dragged (maybe praying/kicking/screaming/ranting and even blogging) into the real world" plus most of Taddoe's first post.

    Demanding change? "Give us a sailing (or two) on Sunday, and get on with it, Calmac."

    Anyway, there appears to be a public consultation pending so be sure and make your voice heard. Not sure it will do any good as few non-business locals will attend but it might make you feel better.

    Finally I'd just like to say how disappointing it was to see the Sunday Sailings issues degrade into a bashing of Sabbatarianism in general. You have all moved to Lewis for a variety of reasons, work, nature, beauty, pace of life, health, whateffer and you are now part of the community, a community whose identity has shaped, for better or worse, by the church. You're not alone in your wish for a change on the Sunday issues, it's a matter that many locals and businesses feel strongly about but the difference I see here is one of respect. Respect for what has gone before and respect for what defines Lewis and it's people. The depth of this respect, regardless of one's beliefs, is the important difference in opinion found over these issues and some here would do well to understand it.

  39. A well considered post Mr Fourex and some valid points. There will probably never be a referendum but there have been opinion polls and petitions in the past which, as Mike says regarding the flights, have almost always been against Sunday operations. It might be argued that the religious groups have a louder voice but it is up to those in favour to organise their own voice in reasoned argument for their views.

    The tourism argument has been one of the mainstays of the ‘for’ lobby but I am sceptical. Has there really ever been a tourist who has said ‘Well if I can’t go on a Sunday then I’m not going at all’? It could be as easily argued that tourists come to the island precisely because it is different. Let’s not forget also that the lack of Sunday sailings doesn’t seem to put off the 15,000 people who attend the annual HebCelt Festival.

  40. Mike's post appeared as I was writing mine and all I can say is 'Amen to that' (in a completely non-religious way). I will happily listen to anyone who puts a contra point of view if they do it with respect. I find it hard, however, to listen to anyone who puts forward their views with disrespect (no matter which side).

  41. MJC: I have not disallowed any comments on this post. I am very sorry, but no comments from you have come my way, save those asking about anything awaiting moderation dated yesterday. I have also checked the spam list, which contains nothing that deserved publication.

  42. Thanks for the reply Arnish. I am at a loss as to what happened. Perhaps they are in a bottle now washing ashore on St. Kilda's.

  43. 4x..many thanks, very useful link as I am up for boatloads of tourists (heathens or worshippers!!) all making a contribution to the so very fragile economy of the Island ( forgetting that it is massively subsidised by Mainland)...RJG

  44. "massively subsidised by Mainland"

    What do you base that on GL?

  45. is my understanding that the minute population of approx 22000 residents cannot possibly generate through taxes (both direct and indirect) enough revenue to fully fund/run the Island facilties/amenities.....per capita I would imagine that this part of the world does quite well from Central Government and European Funding? ( I am very willing to be corrected in my thinking as it not my first subject....but no flaming please as I bruise easily (not!!!) or even get singed/burnt when head above turret.) RJG

  46. So you have nothing to back up your statement that basically implies islanders are a population of scroungers? :)

    I believe in fact the prize for most subsidised community in the UK goes to...London! And the South East does pretty well too.

    Basing things on the money the government spends in an area minus the money that area raises. London gets £25 Billion more of public money than it raises. The South East gets £24 Billion more than it raises and East England gets £13 Billion more than it raises in tax. The South West and the Midlands all get between £2-3 Billion more in the same way. Unsurprisingly Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all shortchanged to the tune of £4-5 Billion each a year. (Based on 2004/2005 figures)

    No data for the Western Isles specifically but I'd be very surprised if we were anywhere near the £24 Billion mark :)

    Gross farming subsidies on the islands is also a myth, even in Scotland the Borders vastly outweigh the isles in grant receipts.

    Stereotypes huh?

  47. I was vaguely interested to ascertain what the subsidy is but I've struggled to find anything more conclusive than a link to an article in The Herald last September in which Lord Robertson stated that the combined CalMac/NorthLink subsidy is £74m.

  48. Mike,

    You're doing such a good job of tweaking the cliquey incomer's corner that make up the island blogging site that you really ought to set up your own blog to provide a point of view a little more connected to the community that has been in residence somewhat longer...

  49. Getting a bit off subject here. I've never liked discussions about the alleged over-subsidising of island communities, or the words White Settler (being used derogatively). People can live where they want. If that means they choose to live in the Isle of Lewis, then they are qualified to comment on the subject of a ferry on Sunday, whether for or against. The length of their stay is irrelevant to that. Anyone is in fact qualified to comment, as anyone may choose to travel on that ferry one day if they are not permanently resident here.

  50. [...] Arnish Lighthouse doesn’t appear to be around this evening, so in his absence I thought I’d share this news item with bloggers.  This follows up a long discussion on Arnish’s blog on the same subject. [...]