Tilting at Windmills | Post tenebras lux


Getting spent a fair bit of my teens and twenties campaigning for the SNP, I was on anything of a sabbatical in 2005. Not lengthy married, my life revolved about generating a property for myself and my husband. But I was delighted, and on a Red Bull/coffee-induced higher the evening Angus Brendan MacNeil took the Western Isles back for my celebration. He visited our property the subsequent weekend, and I was glad that supposedly Tory Donnie had really actually hung out the flags in celebration.

There had been other individuals, significantly less nationalistic than I, who had been – nonetheless – delighted with our new MP, basically since he had ousted Calum MacDonald. Soon after eighteen years, the sitting MP had fallen foul of the anti-wind farm lobby, with his vociferous assistance for developer-led projects in Lewis. Like most rural politicians with any vision at all, Mr MacDonald had a wish to see inward investment come to his constituency, and mentioned of the proposed Barvas moor wind improvement:

‘It is the equivalent of oil coming with out the problem’.

Ah, Calum, with out the challenge . . . if only.

Scroll forward to the present day, then, and what do we discover? Angus MacNeil, now an MP of fourteen years’ standing, generating an urgent plea for the 600mw cable that can only be justified by . . . yes, you guessed it, developer-led wind farms.

And, is not politics a funny old company, but it appears that Calum MacDonald agrees with the man who replaced him. He is quoted as saying, ‘we undoubtedly require 1 large improvement in order to finance the interconnector’.

Ahead of you get started acquiring a warm, fuzzy feeling, and commence to think that the two of them are pulling on the identical oar for the superior of neighborhood more than celebration politics . . . properly, na bi cho gòrach. Did you just come down the Creed in a fishbox?

Calum now supports wind farms created by communities. Wee communities, like Aiginish, Sandwick, Melbost and Branahuie, that is. He thinks that 4 grazing committees have far more correct to represent ‘community’ than, oh, say, Comhairle nan Eilean, or the Stornoway Trust. Probably it is possessing fallen foul of the ballot box himself that leaves his attitude to democracy so jaded we will almost certainly under no circumstances know. Somehow, although, the folk from these 4 committees have been persuaded that they, and they alone, have the correct to derail anything that elected representatives of the complete neighborhood have worked for years to bring to fruition.

I sympathise with Calum it cannot have been quick seeing his profession as MP becoming taken away in 1 evening. He should have wanted to remain exactly where he was and see the Barvas project – and, later, its successor, the Stornoway Wind Farm – to completion.

In 2008, 3 years into Mr MacNeil’s tenure, the Barvas Moor improvement had been rejected 4 years soon after that, the Scottish Government gave the thumbs-up to LWP’s Stornoway project.

Had he nonetheless been our MP, I wonder how Calum MacDonald would have received these tidings?

We can only know what his response HAS been, as a member of the unelected public. It has been to attempt, most cynically, to drive a wedge in between 1 iteration of neighborhood and a further. He has attempted to paint legitimately elected organisations, representative of the Western Isles in the case of the Comhairle, and of the Stornoway Estate in the case of the Trust, as somehow infringing the rights of crofters.

How? In acting for the greatest feasible superior, for the widest feasible interpretation of the word, ‘community’, how has the Comhairle or the Trust acted to the detriment of any person? No 1 can answer that, except in the usual way – by bandying about words like ‘corruption’ and ‘cronyism’ sentiments that are beneath contempt and, incidentally, far far more detrimental to the integrity of our neighborhood than any selection produced by elected members.

There has been a coming collectively in the final couple of days, I am delighted to see. The Stornoway Trust, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the MP, the MSP, and even the Very first Minister, are all united in their wish to see the 600mw interconnector awarded to the Western Isles. 1 councillor, claiming that the whole Comhairle was out of step with him, received a letter from the Council Leader. I shared the copy that came into my personal possession, not mischievously, but since I felt the public necessary to see it as well.

You can only make choices primarily based on the info offered to you. I think that Lewis Wind Energy has been extremely conscientious in supplying that I know that the Trust has also produced a terrific work in that regard and yes, maybe the regional authority could do much better. If you are as well quiet, you enable misinformation and propaganda to fill the vacuum. Roddie MacKay’s missive to Councillor MacCormack, even so, says every thing that requirements to be mentioned.

The neighborhood, in each measure that we have of that high quality, has now united behind the widespread superior. Calum MacDonald has – when once more – identified himself on the incorrect side of the debate. But there is a spirit of consensus in the air, and he could nonetheless be aspect of that – himself and the so-named ‘four townships’.

A couple of individuals have got dewy-eyed more than the notion of ‘the crofters’ becoming mistreated by the nasty Comhairle and the wicked landlord. Some have got carried away with the notion that this handful of individuals, from 4 unelected grazing committees, are heroically standing up against the may possibly of a French multinational.

But, in reality, they are basically tilting at windmills.


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