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Iain Maciver: Maybe we can claim the Outer Hebrides is becoming a tax haven to entice new residents

Who wouldn't want to move to Western Isles? (Photo: Helen Hotson/Shutterstock)
Who wouldn't want to move to Western Isles? (Photo: Helen Hotson/Shutterstock)

Ever fancied coming to the Hebrides? No, I don’t mean for a holiday.

How about coming here to live? You reckon you can’t afford to move? How about if the government gives you £50,000 to cover your expenses?

That is the deal possibly soon on offer if you want to quit the monotony of being able to travel freely without booking your place on a ferry three weeks beforehand and getting on planes that land and take off under the control of someone on the other side of the country.

Iain Maciver

Not many people would put up with what we have to. If you did, though, you could be handed £50,000. Unless you’re here already. In which case, forget it. Native islanders get nothing. It was ever thus.

It’s all about stopping population decline, they say. A consultation on this proposed Island Bonds has been launched. Hope they ask me. A whopping £5 million has been earmarked for it across the lifetime of this parliament. That could be six months, the way they’re going.

Is Tom Cruise in the market for a Scottish superpad?

The attitude seems to be that these teuchters up there must take what they are given and be thankful. And the government is thankful that our MP and MSP won’t rock the boat – about planes, ferries, well, anything. They keep island parliamentarians unpromoted so they’ll live in hope of a pat on the head.

One thing Tom Cruise does not have is real estate in the Outer Hebrides, an archipelago often likened to sparkling jewels strewn down the east Atlantic – but not by the Scottish Government, obviously

Pat was an old friend from Glasgow who recently passed away. He used to work in a textile factory and, years ago, he loved to holiday on the continent – particularly France. Although he and wife Annie loved that country, he always had yarns about the French and how different they were to us. He said once: “They French cannae count. I went in tae this shop and asked for twa croissants. They gie me three.”

Twa, trois. Ah right. Apparently, the French also tell jokes about themselves. Pat once came back with this one. What do you get when a French general throws a bomb into a bathroom? Linoleum Blownapart.

Tom Cruise is rumoured to be holidaying in the UK in a superyacht (Photo: </p> <p>thecornishsurfer.com/Shutterstock</p> <p>)</p> <p>

Let’s throw our own bomb and claim the Outer Hebrides is becoming a tax haven. That’d bring people up here. As we’re on about rocking the boat, it may reach the ears of Tom Cruise. The superyacht Triple Seven, which he’s been chartering for the last few months, was in Greenock this week. Working its way north and west? Who knows? If Tom is on board, he could be looking for a Scottish superpad.

He already has a big pad in East Grinstead to go with the ranch in Colorado, the penthouse in Florida and so on. An actor worth about £432 million he may be, but one thing he does not have is real estate in the Outer Hebrides, an archipelago often likened to sparkling jewels strewn down the east Atlantic – but not by the Scottish Government, obviously. Come on up and see us sometime, Tom.

Tom is probably still off Bute, the Triple Seven rocking gently at anchor in Rothesay Bay, as he breakfasts on twa croissants. Sipping his freshly pressed orange juice, he may leisurely pick up The Press and Journal to see what is happening in the world and read this. The rest could be history.

The pre-Instagram era

Way back in history, my former colleagues and I saw Tom briefly on a London street near Madame Tussauds. To be fair, I wouldn’t have known him then but some of the girls recognised him straight away. He was probably having a wee break before starting work on Top Gun and The Color of Money.

I’m telling you what we had to eat that day because it was the 1980s and we didn’t have social media then

The six of us were gawping at Mr Cruise from this cafe window as we tucked into egg and chips with fried tomatoes. I’m telling you what we had that day because it was the 1980s and we didn’t have social media then. Sorry, I didn’t take a photo to show you now. No, not a photo of Tom Cruise – of our lunch. Duh.

May old Glaswegian friend, Pat, had fantastic eyesight and was a dab hand at sewing at his textiles job. When Pat retired he kept his hand in by darning things. Socks, jumpers and curtains, he could sew them all perfectly.

Not many men could sew as neatly as Pat. He was mischievous, though. He once told his wife Annie that he was popping out to get some thread. That was just an excuse. He actually went to the pub for the rest of the day.

Poor Pat. Gone, but not for cotton.


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