Well, here's my entry for 'most unfocused and fact-free post of the year'.
Would it help the Northern and Western Isles to feel closer to Edinburgh if there were a "Minister for the Isles"?
the man on the street just wants the existing departments to do there job better.
I would include the West Highlands in the area you're asking about, btw.
There's opportunities - and perhaps pitfalls - for the SNP in the H&I (I'd best leave out the northern isles actually as there's no especial link between them and us and I've no idea what's on their mind)
There was a thread - possibly started by FE? - about reconstructing Scotland and I was going to post "start by using conservationists as fuel"
Y'see, up here, whatever the facts, there's an impression that whatever kind of economic development might be proposed will be stopped by those feckin' druids at SNH, the National Trust and the RSPB.
There was a remark in the West Highland Free Press (you wouldn't like it, it's a Labour paper. Maybe your below-stairs staff at Bornesketaig Palace surreptitiously read it) recently saying maybe it's time the eco-pests realized that human beings are becoming an endangered species in the H&I.
For 'conservation' read 'clearance' (yeah, yeah, I know, that's cheap rhetoric, but it's fun
It might make us feel closer to Edinburgh if the government listened less to greenies and recognized we've
as much right as people in urban areas to turn 'our bit' into a concrete sh!thole. (which we wouldn't anyway. Well... just a wee bit here and there, for a wage 'n' that, y'know?)
Next... Crown Estate money.
Good luck to the Scottish Government in getting their hands on the loot, but I hope they remember devolution doesn't stop at Holyrood.
How much of a shore has Embra got anyway?
Lots of parts of Scotland have 'hunners' of coastline and I hope they get their due. It could be great for the Highlands and the Western Isles - particularly if we get to charge the tidal power generator companies.
I haven't really thought this out and haven't a clue how it'll work or how much money we're talking about. I guess I just like the idea of the long Highland coast being a profitable natural resource for the region in the way that the coal-fields are/were a natural resource in the central belt.
I daresay that with our large area and sparse population we're not exactly a finance minister's dream. It'd be nice to be better able to pay our way.
Still at the coast and it's next stop Loch Torridon.
In January, the Loch Torridon prawn fishery lost it's Marine Stewardship Council recognition (due to a reduction of stock I think).
So what? Well, it's a bit of a beamer as, apparently, as it's the only place in the world ever to do so.
But fear not, this is actually an opportunity.
Y'see, trawling was banned in the loch 10 years ago, and since then every creeler under the sun has gone there and it would seem they've also been using considerably more creels each than would be considered normal (no, I don't know how many that is either. 'Fact-free' you were promised, and I'm a man of my word
The solution is for the Scottish Government (assuming it has the powers) to extend the no-trawl zone to cover more west coast sea-lochs.
The east coasters in particular won't like it, but they've always had too much influence (though that might be what 'phrofessor part' might call a west coast 'bandwagon fallacy')
Prices are higher for live prawns (I had to watch Ainsley before I ever heard them called langoustines) and I daresay no-trawl zones are better for clam divers as well.
Incidentally, a neighbour of mine was telling me we export live prawns to Canada. Never knew that. Mind you, I'm always the last to hear anything around here.
You'd have to ask someone from the Western Isles about the Mingulay Reefs conservation area and the Pairc community buy-out on Lewis to see if they think the SG could be more helpful.
I think I have some
information kicking around in my giant 'I must read that later' pile but if I don't read it soon it'll be in the bin. (I'm a bit of a hoarder, it takes me ages to ditch all my interesting (to me) junk).
A couple of problems:
Dunno much about this, but apparently HIE is going to be done away with and SE will take over, and of course there's the single police force thing that Tavish Scott was on about.
Both create the impression that urban solutions are being imposed on an area with different needs. It might not make a jot of difference, I wouldn't know, but I thought it was relevant to your question.
There's probably more, but there's no rush.
Doubtless calmac_man (welcome back, btw) will eviscerate me with facts, but that's fair enough. If I'm going to bang on about this it is beholden upon me to find out a bitty more.
Edited by union john, 10 May 2011 - 06:36 PM.