Get out of the wet paper bag first, before you try anything that ambitious.
Perhaps Cameron is also planning his resignation......
The blog formerly known as "Angus Nicolson - an incredulous eye on the isles" this was the blog of an ordinary, boring, former Councillor in the Western Isles of Scotland.
Angus is taking a sabbatical to be with his young family
Debate strengthens democracy, except inside the SNP, as he has discovered.
If you want balance then get some scales. This is opinion - our opinion.
SCOTLAND'S island communities have faced epic struggles for survival over the last century. Have the authorities learned anything from that experience?
Not much if Caledonian MacBrayne's next six-year contract is anything to go by.
The people of South Uist and Barra were hoping for an improvement in what must be the worst ferry service in Scotland - but there'll be no change. According to the Scottish Government, any added expense (or crafty redeployment of boats that might disrupt other routes) cannot be justified because of the rules on tendering and the low local population base. The self-fulfilling nature of that remark is depressing. Is this government already managing the decline of remote communities, even as it talks a very good game about Road Equivalent Tariff?
Barra's near neighbour, Mingulay, was deserted almost 100 years ago, primarily because polite calls for better transport were ignored then.
According to author Ben Buxton: "The rising population led to overcrowding in the village and disease such as typhoid, measles and influenza. It was often impossible to get to Barra to summon the doctor or the priest. People and goods were landed on rocks but boats had to be hauled up onto the beach. This necessitated wading out to chest height in the water. For much of the winter launching boats was impossible. The larger boats had to be left at anchor in Castlebay. A visitor reported, 'It is no unusual occurrence for islanders to have to throw their bags of meal into the sea and drag them ashore by means of a rope. It is easier to reach America than to get there'."
In 1896, every man on the island signed a petition taken by their MP on behalf of a "sorely-distressed community" to the Secretary of State for Scotland. They appealed for a "boat slip with a boat hauling convenience". Five years later they got a small crane instead. In 1912, every person left.
Is it a wild exaggeration to suggest that, in a decade, Barra or parts of South Uist could be next?
Their ferry journeys are currently epic. A South Uist family travelling to Glasgow this winter will leave home at 6:30am to depart Lochboisdale at 7:30am and arrive at Glasgow Queen Street at 9:25pm. That's a whopping 15-hour journey which will include travelling to neighbouring Barra and sitting for four hours at Oban for a train which departs one minute after the bus at 6:16pm.
Indeed, two boats from Mull and the daily boat from Coll and Tiree also arrive in the same public-transport-free "black hole".
Why can't a bus or train run earlier?
First Scotrail says: "We are committed to encouraging and growing integrated travel." Scottish Citylink says: "The island demand for services dips after the summer."
Neither of these answers even attempts to tackle the precise question.
Abandon public transport and travel by car and the family's weeks away will cost around £330.40. Even subsidised flights (if available) will cost about the same. A 15-hour trip or a £300 trip. On islands where the average wage is not far from the minimum wage, which option do policy makers think crofters should choose? In truth, like their neighbours a century ago, "it is easier (and cheaper) to reach America than to get there".
This is all the more outrageous because it seems there was a viable alternative put forward by CalMac.
Currently, the combined Barra/South Uist service takes five hours to sail across to Oban. If it docked instead at Mallaig, the crossing time and costs could be halved, and therefore the number of daily trips to the islands could be doubled. All apparently for about half a million pounds. The obstacles?
Admittedly, the Mallaig road is a twisty nightmare for locals, but the final single-track section is being widened right now. The prospect of slashed fares through the SNP's pledge on Road Equivalent Tariff (basing ferry fares on the equivalent cost of motorway travel) may be a distraction for some.
And of course, this is a long standing complaint, politely delivered - which masks the urgency of the situation.
A programme of Hebridean school closures has not been greeted with Edinburgh-like fury - the number of children has plummeted and islanders can see young people are unwilling to stay and bring up families. Simple applications for one or two wind turbines have been subjected to the lengthy and expensive rigours of compliance that a 300 turbine wind farm would expect from SNH. Sheep are stuck on the islands because of the foot-and-mouth restrictions. Every attempt to move forward hits a tidal wall of red tape. The fight seems to have gone out of many Hebridean communities.
It is simplistic to suggest a better ferry service alone would reverse this decline. But it would show willing. It would suggest distant authorities in Stornoway, Port Glasgow and Holyrood are committed to bending the rules and burning the midnight oil to find an answer to the islanders' plight.
If islanders themselves can agree: Barra folk still want an Oban link, South Uist folk are desperate to switch to Mallaig.
I must say a two-hour flit from Mallaig sounds like a much better proposition than bobbing about for five hours from Oban in the full unsheltered glare of the stormy Atlantic. Apologies to Oban people who will miss the buzz and the old family ties of the Uist ferries (though the shorter journey time to Mallaig means a trip to Oban won't take much longer than it does at present). But it must be possible to devise a joint plan for a Mallaig-based pilot ferry.
On islands, getting away helps people stay. It's as simple as that.
Can the people of Barra and South Uist find common cause in the battle for their own survival?
at 2:44 pm
Mr Vaz, a former Europe minister, replied: "Pretend it was like the old Cabinet." Both politicians laughed, not realising they had been recorded.
at 12:38 pm
Yes, thanks to Gordon Brown refusing to close the loopholes.
"Today the rest of society pays a heavy price for the wealth gap - whether middle, low or no income." Mr Barber said this "distorted" the housing market, adding: "The gap harms social cohesion - and without joining the moral panic about crime rates in the UK, it's noticeable that many countries with a fairer distribution of income have lower crime rates."
Yes, let's close the wealth gap as it is the level of relative poverty that is related to crime rates not the Gini co-efficient.
Some 112,000 people currently benefit from "non-domiciliary tax breaks", he added. When asked about the size of City bonuses, Mr Barber said they had reached £14bn in total this year.
So is Gordon Brown going to close the tax breaks then?
Are you going to lobby so that people like people like Sir Philip Green pay tax in the UK on UK earnings?
Perhaps you might even suggest that UK based companies actually pay UK tax, rather than shuffling it off-shore?
But he added that the TUC was not calling for a change in the rate of income tax for the highest earners.
A taste of the veldt in the Uig Hotel, where wild boar pate was followed by a delightful loin of springbok. I skipped the wildebeest, as I was told it was more chewy and less tender than my choice. The crocodile tails were not available. No! Honestly.
Having been acquired by South Africans in 2003, it is being steadily refurbished, but the décor and the menu reflect the origins of the owners, and the staff.
It certainly was a fantastic option, served beautifully with a light sauce and modest – but excellent – portions of fresh vegetables, including unpeeled baby carrots, parsnip and swede.
And I didn’t have far to go in the morning for the ferry to Uist.
at 10:13 pm
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