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Iain Maciver: The Scottish Government aren’t listening no matter how loud we shout

Stornoway in the Western Isles. Photo: Bill McKelvie/Shutterstock.
Stornoway in the Western Isles. Photo: Bill McKelvie/Shutterstock.

Mrs X says I never listen.

That’s a harsh accusation by any spouse. Some of us may seem as if we aren’t listening but that is because we are thinking about stuff that may be more important – at that time, I mean.

Maybe some of us cannot compartmentalise our thoughts as well as others with the constant intake of information. Yeah, that’s it. We are not so organised.

When she starts on me, it is flipping this and flipping that. “You never flipping listen. You are always busy writing that flipping column for the P&J. It’s about time you flipping well started listening to me for a flipping change.” Oh, flip off.

Maybe I have ear problems. The doctor warned me not to use a cotton bud as I could compact the wax. I didn’t listen to that advice. It went in one ear and out the other.

Western Isles are suffering

Now we hear more evidence emerging that our wonderful Scottish Government is losing its way, and woefully so. Why has it stopped listening to us in the islands? In fact, I think it hates these islands.

As if reducing our most important transport link to a despicably-bad and ramshackle ferry service was not enough, the Scottish Government has now decided to destroy the home insulation service in the coldest part of Britain which is, wait for it, the Western Isles.

Issues over new insulation standards are causing problems (Photo: Serhii Krot/Shutterstock)

Silly government regulations, enforced by the uncaring Patrick Harvie MSP, whose grotesque role is minister for zero carbon buildings. He’s scuppering attempts to improve levels of insulation on many draughty homes.

Moves to get around red tape have resulted in getting many here deeper into fuel poverty amid inaction and political showboating by some of the cruellest politicians on the planet.

With an older population here, and when energy prices are skyrocketing, is there anything else this horrible government can do to us?

Population dwindling

The decimation is made simpler for them by useless political representatives who always mysteriously keep schtum every time the Scottish Government attacks us. They claim to be writing letters to someone. They must be love letters, because we can see nothing positive happening.

If we are going to lose 1,000 people every 10 years, it will be a mere 50 years before it becomes unsustainable to have a daily ferry service or an airport

Local contractor Neil Mackay has hit out at one politician saying: “Why is there only 14 per cent of the insulation money allocated to Scotland spent so far with only four weeks left to spend the rest?” That sounds deliberate.

Looking out over the sandy beaches to Luskentyre from Seilebost on the Isle of Harris in the Western Isles (Photo: Helen Hotson/Shutterstock)

People are fleeing the islands. Last year, the Western Isles population was 26,500. Ten years before that, it was 27,600.

If we are going to lose 1,000 people every 10 years, it will be a mere 50 years before it becomes unsustainable to have a daily ferry service or an airport with daily flights to Inverness and Glasgow. That will all fall apart.

Is this what this uncaring Scottish Government actually wants? It’s not listening.

Are AC-12 the only ones listening?

Someone is listening. Martin Compston. I mentioned the Line of Duty star a few weeks ago and commented that he was “everywhere”. He’s flipping here now.

martin compston
Scottish actor, Martin Compston (left) has been spotted filming in the Highlands and Islands recently (Photo: Neale Salisbury)

I went to the barber last week and, the next day, he was in the news in the chair I was shorn in. Then I had a job in Tarbert on Harris. After I got back home, Martin was in the papers, playing fitba in Tarbert.

This doesn’t feel like a coincidence. Has AC-12 put me under surveillance? Are they listening in?

Listen, don’t glisten

Although I stand falsely accused of not listening, I think we’re all seeing this failing Scottish Government can only plead guilty to that charge. It clearly neither listens nor cares for the needs of these islands.

Scottish ministers, and those apologists who spin for them, say they do hear our pleas. If so, they certainly don’t think.

If I am really going deaf, I may eventually agree to a hearing aid. That is a device for the hard of hearing. There is no device for the hard of thinking.

Mrs X reckons she proved the point about my problems with listening the other night. I was making a Mediterranean vegetable dish when an idea came into my head that would show her I do always take heed of what she says. I called her down.

Mrs X stared at me in disbelief and shouted: “Why are you standing naked in the kitchen? And why are you covered in olive oil?” I shrugged and said: “Well, you’re always saying I never glisten.”

She screamed: “No. I said listen. You never flipping listen…”


Iain Maciver is a former broadcaster and news reporter from the Outer Hebrides

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