From the Editor: Misrepresentations of Life on Lewis

We don’t do much editorialising here but please allow an aside.  Yesterday, after years of argument, debate and mudslinging and a last-minute breakdown, was the first scheduled Sunday ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool (BBC video here) taking people away after the Heb Celt Festival but also now a permanent fixture.  Several hundred people turned out to cheer its departure, and a group also demonstrated against it.  It’s generated a lot of press coverage of course, and amongst the stories is this one from Ben McConville via the Associated Press, which appeared in the Independent on Sunday, the Guardian, the Washington Post, and in regional newspapers from Shanghai to San Francisco (the long way round).

Scottish island’s sacred Sunday under threat

A row has broken out over a ferry company’s decision to sail on Sunday between a remote Scottish island and the mainland.  Residents on the Isle of Lewis who keep a strict Sabbath — no television, no housework, no shopping — are angry that the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry company is to start running services between Stornoway, the island’s capital, and Ullapool on the Scottish mainland…. The majority of the 18,000 islanders strictly adhere to the books of Genesis and Exodus from the Old Testament, in which God declared the seventh day reserved for rest and worship. So after church services, they don’t use electricity, play games, shop or even hang out laundry to dry. (Read on in the Independent » or in the Guardian »)

Whatever your position on Sunday sailings and other services, I reckon all would agree that this is shabby journalism, flaky, unfounded and a misrepresentation of life on Lewis that won’t do us any favours at all.  This Comann Eachdraidh, like all the others, expends a lot of effort to show the world an authentic view of our island, past and present, and rubbish like this, especially when beamed around the globe, needs to be challenged and corrected.  Letters to the Independent on Sunday, The Guardian or comments on websites where it appears might help to do that.  One such letter is here.

Returning you now to your regular programme.