John Tulloch’s lack of understanding of the issues at play here appears only to be matched by the negativity of his latest epistle.
Our Islands Our Future has not, as he claims, been “absorbed” into anything. How could it be? It’s an entirely different thing that belongs to the three islands’ councils and remains as our vehicle to engage with all of our governments.
He goes on to ask what 400,000 mainland residents have to do with the new islands strategic group but the answer is simple: precisely nothing. The new group will focus on the islands’ council areas and the 17 per cent of Argyll and Bute, 4.4 per cent of Highland and 4.4 per cent of North Ayrshire residents who live on islands.
The scope of the “islands’ strategic group” doesn’t extend beyond islands. The clue is in the name.
I think the Minister for Transport and the Islands also makes it clear in his statement that any national islands plan will be tailored to individual circumstances and this is entirely in keeping with the concept of “islands proofing” that we have promoted. It’s highly likely that powers will be tailored or, better still, broad enough to recognise the different ambitions encountered across all of Scotland’s islands. It will also have to recognise the greater ability of island authorities, as opposed to authorities with islands, to hold and deploy devolved powers.
Mr Tulloch suggests that the islands’ councils might have a “major problem” but I don’t see it that way at all. Indeed, I think the work we’ve done, over the past three years or so, means that we have clearly defined proposals that should stand us in good stead going into the relatively short period to enact an islands’ bill.
If anything, the three councils joining this process might have a problem as they will need to set a blistering pace in order to catch up, and keep, up with this process.
That said OIOF has more than one string to its bow since work continues, in tandem with the islands’ bill, to promote an “islands’ deal” for the three islands’ councils; similar in concept to recent “city deals”.
Interestingly, I note Mr Tulloch’s repeated attempts to distance himself from the leadership of the “Wir Shetland” (not a political group) thingy. Wonder why?
Sadly, I’m unfamiliar with the Hotel Dalriada to which you refer but there is a Dalriada Guest House on Skye where there’s a bridge so you most definitely can leave.
SIC political leader