The CalMac strike on Friday 26th June caused inconvenience and more to both islanders and visitors. It is a reminder, if ever we needed it, of how much we are reliant on the ferry. It is also a reminder of why good industrial relations, as they are traditionally called, are so important. We have got used to financial factors, such as high profits and low costs, being considered the most crucial aspects of running services. But if we forget that services are run by people, for people, we end up with exploitation. A strike is an indication of failed relationships. Everyone involved in this mess, from top to bottom, needs to reflect on that.
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The Buddhist community on Holy Isle has submitted plans for six wind turbines to generate power for the island. After much research and thought, they have decided on three 15kW turbines to be sited near the Centre for World Peace and Health at the north end, and three at the south end near the Pillar Rock lighthouse. Each would be approximately 15 metres tall.
The application raises the usual, and reasonable, concerns about visual impact, danger to birds, and so on. Indeed our MSP has been reported as saying that “this is a completely inappropriate location for wind turbines.”
What such objections do not take into account are the consequences of not allowing this and more such relatively small scale and community-based renewable energy developments. We stand on the verge of massive environmental collapse and climate changes caused by our exploitation of the planet and our emissions of carbon dioxide, which will have, and indeed are already having, significant and unpredictable effects on human society and the natural world everywhere. However we seem to be locked into a global economic system that requires continual growth, despite the finite resources of our planet. We feel powerless to change any of this, and therefore we turn away from the conscious awareness of what is really happening around us. In the main it is ‘business as usual’ for us as individuals, communities, and political parties, bar a few notable exceptions. The psychological processes involved in such denial have been well described in the book Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Sally Weintrobe.
But what if there were a different way to live, a way of ‘living lightly on the land’? A way that made full use of renewable natural energy sources whilst reducing our energy requirements. A way that respected our human place as just one component in the living biosphere. A way that left a sustainable legacy for future generations. That this is possible using today’s renewable energy technologies has been explored in Zero Carbon Britain, the flagship research project from the Centre for Alternative Technology.
The Holy Isle renewable energy plan is rooted in Buddhist philosophy and practice, which seeks greater awareness and minimum harm to the world around us, and the community hopes that it may serve as a model for their many visitors of a more sustainable way of living. As Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of the inspirations for the Holy Isle community, puts it “We are all part of one vast interconnected web of life, but instead of repaying the earth with gratitude for her kindness, we have harmed her almost irreparably with our greed and consumer culture.” Interestingly, Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato Si, makes exactly the same point.
It may well soon be too late to avoid the impending environmental catastrophe, but should we bury our heads in the sand or should we at least try to make a difference?
and other west coast MPAs
The Voice and COAST congratulate Richard Lochhead on listening to coastal communities, marine scientists and economists.
In a broadly welcome statement Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, announced yesterday that a Marine Conservation Order (MCO) will be put before parliament this week setting out conservation measures including banning the highly destructive practice of scallop dredging within the South Arran Marine Protected Area and other west coast MPAs. COAST has campaigned hard to end this damaging activity in Arran’s MPA which was designated in 2014 and we congratulate the Minister on listening to coastal communities, marine scientists and economists on this issue.
However, while Marine Scotland’s MCO goes some way to meeting the key objectives outlined by COAST for its community-led South Arran Marine Protected Area, it will still permit bottom trawling within significant areas of the MPA. They also propose to allow continued bottom trawling in the Upper Loch Fyne MPA. COAST will continue to press for an end to this practice during the one month consultation period and will also work with Scottish Environment LINK’s ‘Don’t Take the P’ campaign to ensure the best management possible for Scotland’s other 29 MPAs.
In collaboration with a number of other west coast communities the community on Arran is working incredibly hard to ensure local waters are effectively and equitably managed. For many decades now our inshore waters have been managed almost solely for the benefit of dredgers and bottom trawlers in one of Europe’s worst cases of regulatory capture (a situation in which a commercial vested interest effectively writes its own regulations with government acquiescence). This has been a disaster for the Clyde and the wider fishing community, particularly creelers, who represent the vast majority of inshore fishermen.
COAST’s Executive Director Andrew Binnie says: ‘Mr Lochhead and senior staff at Marine Scotland are to be applauded for taking one of the first concrete steps towards achieving a healthy and productive Clyde by 2020. The Clyde’s MPAs have a significant part to play in achieving this vision and the removal of dredgers from the Arran MPA is very positive. While we have real issues with the continuation of bottom trawling in the outer areas of the MPA and within Upper Loch Fyne we will be working with Marine Scotland to resolve these during the one month consultation period.’
Howard Wood, winner of a Goldman Environmental Prize and COAST’s Chair expressed surprise at the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) sudden lack of support for the Marine Conservation Orders after earlier declaring themselves supportive of MPAs.
‘It is clear that all stakeholders have had to make compromises as we are being asked to do and we had expected the SFF to show enlightened self-interest at this late stage in the process. It should be obvious to everyone that healthy productive seas will be a huge benefit to all marine stakeholders.’
It has been quite an eventful few months for COAST chair, Howard Wood. Following on from the Goldman Environmental Prize he then featured in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List. An anonymous person kindly sent Howard a tee shirt which says it all!!
Then, COAST was delighted and proud to hear that Howard had received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Howard says, “It is a tremendous honour which would not have been possible without the hard work and effort of all the many, many colleagues and people who have been involved with COAST over the years and also the continuing support of the local community and farther afield. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and for their good wishes, often relayed via my wife, Lesley, who says I have no choice but to buy her a new outfit!
The recognition of the importance of the Marine Environment, by the establishment, is heartening and hopefully will further the objectives of COAST. It is also encouraging, that the voices of local communities are beginning to be listened to. After many years of frustratingly slow progress, we are now starting to see the Scottish Government make constructive changes and accept that they are managing the seas for everyone. This award strengthens the resolve to work towards achieving a healthy marine ecosystem which is properly managed and creating sustainable fisheries for future generations.”
The public is being asked to record the sounds that shape and define our relationship with the coast around the UK in a three-month crowd sourced sound project – ‘sounds of our shores’ – being launched today by the National Trust, National Trust for Scotland and the British Library.
Sounds of the Scottish coastline can be uploaded on to the first ever UK coastal sound map, hosted on the British Library website. These might include the unmistakable calls of kittiwakes, the clamour of seals or the tidal echoes from sea caves. All of the recordings will be added to the British Library Sound Archive – capturing for all time soundscapes from the beautiful and diverse UK coastline that future generations will be able to hear.
Musician, producer and founder member of Human League and Heaven 17, Martyn Ware, will be using the sounds recorded by the public to create a brand new piece of music for release in February 2016.
The National Trust for Scotland cares over 1000 miles of Scottish coastline and 400 islands, including Fair Isle, Staffa and St Kilda. Dr Richard Luxmoore, Senior Nature Advisor from the National Trust for Scotland said: “Whether it is the timeless surge of Atlantic swells in Staffa’s Fingal’s Cave, the rattle of halliards against hundreds of masts in a bursting marina, the howl of Europe's strongest winds over the primeval cliffs of St Kilda, the gentle sough of waves on the white coral strand of Iona, the unearthly nocturnal singing of grey seals on a skerry or the rhythmic swishing of a wind turbine, the coast clamours for our attention and leaves an indelible impression on our hearts.”
Cheryl Tipp, Curator of Wildlife and Environment Sounds at the British Library, said: “There is something really evocative about the sounds of our coast; they help shape our memories of the coastline and immediately transport us to a particular time or place whenever we hear them. As millions of us head to the coast this summer for holidays or day trips we want the public to get involved by recording the sounds of our amazing coastline and add them to the sound map. This could be someone wrestling with putting up a deck-chair, the sounds of a fish and chip shop or a busy port.”
“We’d also love to hear from people that might have historic coastal sounds from around Scotland’s coast which might, for example, be stored in a box in the loft. This will help us hear how the sounds of that coastline have changed over the years.”
At the Arran Community Council meeting on April 28th there was a proposal to set up a working group on Arran forestry activities. This was agreed, and The Voice has been asked to include the following statement:
“The group has been set up and the first meeting was held on May 21st under the Chairmanship of Ricky McMaster (Chair ACC). Other WG members are Neil Arthur and Liz Evans, both ACC members, Lorna Gunaydi and David Price, local residents, Gus McLeod of North Ayrshire Council and Jim Lauder and Andy Walker of the Forestry Commission.
The remit of the WG is to critically review and advise the Forestry Commission on its strategic objectives for timber extraction on Arran and evaluate all proposed options.”
A fascinated audience met in Brodick Hall on Saturday, June 20th, to hear a recital on marimbas, both large and small. The large instrument was the length of two pianos side by side, with big keys made of Honduras rosewood, delivering a clear, ringing sound that was immensely attractive. Gillian Maitland, despite the results of a bad traffic accident that left her with a badly damaged leg, proved herself to be a stunning virtuoso.
With two drum sticks in either hand, she produced an almost choral sound of great richness, and delivered a varied programme that was much enjoyed. At the interval, she was besieged by people wanting to know more about the instruments, and was generous with her explanations. Both technically and musically, it was an intriguing and fascinating evening.
The Corrie Film Club’s offering for July 12th in Corrie Hall at 8.00pm is Ida.
Directed by Paweł Pawlikowski, who made the 2004 BAFTA-wining British drama film My Summer of Love, Ida won the 2015 Oscar for best foreign language film, becoming the first Polish film to win the award. Accepting the award, Pawlikowski said: “We make a film about silence and withdrawing from the world and the need for contemplation – and here we are, at the epicentre of world noise and attention. Fantastic – life is full of surprises.”
Peter Bradshaw gave Ida five stars in his Guardian review, writing that “Ida, which pulls off the remarkable trick of looking as if it was made when it was set – the early 60s – feels more like a restored and rediscovered classic than a new movie. There really is a bitter, wintry cold here: it is illuminated by the stark, daylit whiteness of snow, and you can feel the chill in those barnyards and draughty churches.”
“Agata Trzebuchowska is tremendously mysterious as a 17-year-old novitiate in a remote convent: she has the impassivity and inscrutability of youth. This is someone to whom literally nothing has happened in her life, and now we will watch her react, or try to conceal her reaction, to an onslaught of momentous events. It is 1962, and Anna is about to take her final vows in the convent where she was left as an orphan baby in 1945 by persons unknown. But Anna has one surviving relative, and the Mother Superior – who has clearly guessed more about Anna’s background than she admits – insists that she contact this woman before she makes the irrevocable decision. The relative turns out to be her aunt, Wanda Gruz, tremendously played by Agata Kulesza – a worldly, hard-drinking woman who lives on her own. “They didn’t tell you who I am – and what I do?” she asks.”
Bradshaw concludes his review with “Ida is a compelling film that achieves a great deal in a short time. The performances are superb and the sense of location and period miraculous.” Meanwhile The New York Times review said that “with breathtaking concision and clarity Mr. Pawlikowski penetrates the darkest, thorniest thickets of Polish history, reckoning with the crimes of Stalinism and the Holocaust. Until the very end, the audience never hears music unless the people on screen hear it, too, and many of the scenes — at once austere and charged with an intensity that verges on the metaphysical — owe an evident debt to ’60s cinema heroes like Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson.”
In an extended essay in The Conversation, Jeremy Hicks describes how Pawlikowski has addressed the issue of Poland’s repression of memory: “In the 1960s there were some very guarded attempts to hint at the truth of the occupation: that Poles rarely aided their Jewish neighbours and sometimes were complicit in their annihilation. In doing so, Pawlikowski has staged quite a coup. He has succeeded in making a film about repression, sexual and political, about memory and Polish identity. Most crucially, perhaps, it is a film about the Holocaust that doesn’t feature the Nazis.”
The director of Ida, Paweł Pawlikowski, was born in Poland and lived his first fourteen years there. In 1971 his mother moved with him to England. Ida was his first Polish film; in an interview he said that the film “is an attempt to recover the Poland of my childhood, among many things.”
Do come along to Corrie Film Club to see Ida – all are welcome, and a small donation is asked from visitors.
In a fascinating article in the Independent, Jonathan Brown has looked at land ownership in Scotland. He says “Their lineages date back to before the time of the Stuart kings whilst their farms and sporting estates sprawl across vast swathes of some of the most beautiful - and lucrative - landscapes in the world. Yet the Scottish Lairds have found themselves under attack after breaking their silence and fiercely opposing reforms which could see their historic lands broken up and offered for sale to small farmers and community groups.”
Scotland currently has the most concentrated pattern of private ownership in the developed world with just 432 individuals accounting for half of all non-public land. Submissions by the aristocracy and their representatives to the Land Reform Review Group, which was set up by the Scottish Government to consider the stalled question of redistribution, reveal deep-seated opposition to change.
Among those to challenge the proposals was an estate belonging to the 10th Duke of Buccleuch - a title created in 1663 for the illegitimate son of Charles II - who is now Europe‘s largest landowner with holdings valued at more than £1bn.
Land reform activists and author Andy Wightman said land ownership had become even more concentrated. “We need to work towards a true property owning democracy. We need many more people with a stake in the land,” he said. “It's the first time they have addressed head on the fact that so much land is held in so few hands. They are denying it's a problem but they are conceding it is one of the central issues which is very interesting because they cannot win in the long term,” he added. And, as we go to press, the Scottish government has published proposals aimed at widening the ownership of land across the country.
The Land Reform Bill will end tax relief for shooting estates and force the sale of land if owners are blocking economic development. Landowners on sporting estates stopped paying business rates in 1994 after being given an exemption by John Major’s Conservative government. The Scottish government had previously said the tax exemption was unfair and must end. It has proposed using the additional money raised by ending the tax exemption to treble the Scottish Land Fund - which is used to help support community buyouts of land - from £3m this year to £10m a year from 2016.
The introduction of the bill is a significant step forward in ensuring our land is used in the public interest and to the benefit of the people of Scotland, said Aileen McLeod, Scotland's Land Reform Minister.
In a disturbing article in The Conversation, James Dyke, Lecturer in Complex Systems Simulation at University of Southampton, reports that Earth is on course to lose up to one in six of all its species, if carbon emissions continue as they currently are. This global extinction risk masks very large regional variations, and up to a quarter of South American species may be doomed.
These are some of the findings of a comprehensive piece of new research conducted by evolutionary ecologist Mark Urban and published in Science. Assessing how many species have gone extinct due to human impacts is notoriously hard, but Urban found that keeping emissions to within rates that would limit climate change to the “safe” amount of 2°C would lead to a little over 5% increase in total extinction risks. Business as usual carbon emissions would produce over 4°C warming and nearly 16% extinction.
Urban also made the surprising discovery that varying research methods didn’t matter – different papers all point towards similar estimates of extinction risk. However, there were some key factors in Urban’s analysis that were associated with large uncertainty. The biggest differences in extinction risk were associated with different carbon emissions scenarios. This will be largely up to us to determine – how much of the existing reserves of coal, oil and gas are we willing to burn off? The second most important factor was the extinction debt – the unavoidable extinction of species – as a consequence of habitat loss. Another crucial factor will be how fast climate change occurs.
Urban ends his Science paper by noting that in the early 1980s climatologists warned that the signal that humans were affecting the climate was coming across loud and clear. Events since then show that our civilisation has either not heard or headed that message. Dyke adds that we are now detecting species loss due to climate change and the message from Urban’s and other studies is unambiguous. We must leave most of the Earth’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to avoid consigning a significant fraction of its species to extinction.
Coming at the end of August is this year's McLellan Arts Festival and here is a wee peek of the treats in store!
The successful Arran Open Studios kicks it all off on the weekend of 14th August with over 30 artists' studios open and a bus to take you round!
Then on Friday 28th August the award winning, renowned and entertaining poet, Simon Armitage will read from his own work and present awards to the winning poets from this year’s McLellan Poetry Competition in the Little Rock Cafe, Brodick. Simon will follow this up with a workshop in Corrie Hall on Saturday 29th. ( If you want to take part in this you should book with David Underdown or Cicely Gill.) As a finale to this poetry fest, there will be an informal evening of music and poetry in Brodick Bar on Sunday 30th.
Also on Sunday 30st there will be an hour of wonderful sacred music in Corrie Church whilst on the evening of Saturday 29th is the Famous McLellan Ceilidh with the Taiko Drummers, Tim Pomeroy and the Jazz Cafe Band in Corrie hall.
On Tuesday evening, September 1st, there will be a joint event with the Saltire Society in Altachorvie, Lamlash with writer, Alan Riach and painter, Alistair Moffat. They will present an interesting and entertaining evening about Scottish painting.
Wednesday 2nd September brings an exciting event. For the first time, in collaboration with the Arran Music Society, an exciting dance company called Indepen – Dance will perform with a live cellist in the Community Theatre in Lamlash.
Then on Thursday 3rd September in Whiting Bay Hall another exciting event – Weaving Musical Threads, a stirring, funny and moving drama with music about the Paisley Mill girls during the Second World War.
On Friday evening we will welcome back the talented students of the Summer School who will give us a splendid Opera Gala followed up by a performance on Sunday 6th September of Hadyn’s Nelson Mass with our own McLellan Festival Chorus.
On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the 1st and 3rd September, there will also be an opportunity to take part in music workshops. Enquiries to Diana Hamilton.
All this adds up to a really interesting festival and to help you take advantage of it a special ticket will be on sale – every event including workshops can be yours for £40. As there are 10 events, not including workshops, this is a real bargain!
Find out more by going on to the arrantheatreandarts.org website.
Selected by David Underdown, who also supplies the footnote.
We Sat at the Window
by Thomas Hardy
We sat at the window looking out,
And the rain came down like silken strings
That Swithin’s day. Each gutter and spout
Babbled unchecked in the busy way
Of witless things:
Nothing to read, nothing to see
Seemed in that room for her and me
On Swithins’ day.
We were irked by the scene, by our own selves; yes,
For I did not know, nor did she infer
How much there was to read and guess
By her in me, and to see and crown
By me in her.
Wasted were two souls in their prime,
And great was the waste, that July time
When the rains came down.
Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928) was born in Dorset, the eldest child of a builder. Though best known as the author of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, ‘Tess of the Durbervilles’ and the other ‘Wessex Novels’, he gave up novel writing in his late forties and concentrated instead on poetry. His marriage to Emma Gifford in 1870 was not a great success but, despite their eventual estrangement, her death in 1912 inspired in Hardy an intense outpouring of emotional lyrical verse. Though too heavily rhymed for many modern tastes, the authenticity of the underlying feelings in the best of them still packs a punch.
Honourable Friends? Parliament and the Fight for Change, By Caroline Lucas. (2015) Portobello Books £14.99.
In May 2010 Caroline Lucas won the seat of Brighton Pavilion for the Green Party, and became the first Green MP at Westminster. This book is a record of the challenges, setbacks, and successes that she experienced over the following five years in Westminster, and as she says “I hope it may have some value as the view of an outsider, inside; and in particular, how Parliament needs to change if it is to have any hope of re-engaging with the mass of people it is meant to represent, and rising to the serious social and environmental challenges we face.” Her effectiveness as an MP is shown by her having been named Ethical Politician of the Year three times and by winning the 2014 MP of the Year award.
The book is in three parts. In the first, Caroline describes how she strove to understand the workings of the arcane institution that is the Westminster Parliament (MPs are given a hook on which to hang their sword before parliamentary sessions even before they are allocated an office space), and in the second she describes her attempts to be an effective representative for her constituents in the face of austerity cuts, attacks on the NHS, education and the environment, and a government intent on increasing privatisation and corporate globalisation. In the final section she looks at how it might all be done differently, and better. Throughout she writes in an entertaining and engrossing manner, even if the litany of governmental attacks on the wellbeing of the ordinary person makes for depressing reading.
Now that we know the outcome of the recent Westminster election in English constituencies, Caroline’s hopes for the future may seem a little optimistic, but in her own concluding words “The years after 2015 will not be easy. Successive governments have taken us so far in the wrong direction, towards a society where citizens feel powerless in dealing with the state and with major corporations, where inequality is on the increase, and where public services are constantly undermined and meanwhile climate change takes further hold. …… We need new thinking and a new way of working together in politics to tackle the things that really matter. Despite the power of those intent on blocking change, I believe we can prevail. The Scottish referendum has shown that people want a say in their own futures and that once that passion and commitment is released, the result is inspiring …… and to see political parties, whether it is the SNP or the Scottish Greens, welcoming thousands of new members, demonstrates that if you can articulate a positive vision, and reject the cynicism of traditional politics, people will come.”
This is an honest, inspiring and empowering book, and also a shocking indictment of an arrogant and outdated political system.
South to make six diamonds. West leads the ♣Q.
North wins and plays ace and another spade, South ruffing with the ace and West discarding a club. South plays ace and another heart, North discarding a spade.
A. If West wins and returns a club, North wins, and South ruffs another spade high.If West discards a heart or a club, South can establish that suit after drawing trumps, so West under-ruffs. North now ruffs a heartwith the ♦7, South comes to hand on the ♦J and leads the nine, catching West in a ruffing see-saw squeeze. If hearts are unguarded, North ruffs a heart and South isgood; otherwise North overtakes and sets up clubs
B. If West returns a heart (ruffed by North's ♦7) or a trump,the same squeeze can be contrived.
C. If East ruffs the second heart in order to lead trumps, the contract can be made by cross-ruffing.
The UK’s native red squirrels are increasingly under threat from disease and the spread of grey squirrels introduced from North America in the 19th century, but Arran is one of 19 strongholds for the species in Scotland where there are no grey squirrels.
In 2013 a team of vets and scientists from the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies trapped and examined 21 red squirrels on Arran, as well as looking at the remains of 16 killed on the roads. They found no sign of squirrelpox, a virus often carried by grey squirrels which is usually fatal to the red species. This research is ongoing.
At this time of year, squirrel pups are starting to leave the drey and have little road sense, so we are asking all drivers to be aware of the delicate state of the red squirrel population on Arran.
The Rangers at Brodick Country Park are continuing to collect statistics about the locations of red squirrel road kill. If you see one please contact them on 302462 and tell them where and when you saw it. The Rangers are also still collecting red squirrel road-kill for research so, only if it is safe to do so, collect the corpse put it in a plastic bag label it with the location and date and drop it in to the Rangers’ Centre.
by Dave Payn
1 Be sure of genuinely losing heart (4)
3 Excellent and mostly vibrant cloth (6)
9 Chose the wrong ham (7)
10 Studies English, being thick (5)
11 Diary, which isn’t one of those Kindle types! (8)
12 ‘It’s over, shorty’ (3)
14 Acceptance of American time (5)
16 Change the final word (German)
18 Shelter returning swimmer (3)
19 Relative beheads English composer, resulting in another (8)
22 Albion Rovers, Everton, Norwich, Arsenal – all play here! (5)
23 Girl reheats curry (7)
24 He is to be included in Cameron’s ideology (6)
25 … otherwise I will leave girl (4)
1 An individual mix, for instance (5,7)
2 Misunderstood account of composer (5)
4 University not included in a lot of activity (6)
5 Regretted not listening properly. That’s ignorant (4)
6 Close on damaging Xbox, for instance? (7)
7 Drunken banshee not what it was (3-4)
8 Serious illness – earth? (5,7)
13 Bathed in stale wee? Drat! (7)
15 Beer intended, it’s said, to cause sickness (7)
17 Poe to bury playwright (6)
20 My turn to distribute the cards – perfect! (5)
21 King’s Head has beer and cabbage (4)
The answers for the June crossword.
1 Top banana, 6 Bud, 8 Maori, 9 Let It Go, 10 Opinion, 11 Rhyme, 12 Clot, 13 Fib, 14 Fame, 18 Notch, 20 Overall,
22 Airline, 23 Tenor, 24 Aye, 25 Singleton.
1 Tempo, 2 Proviso, 3 Acidic, 4 Atlantic Ocean, 5 Attire, 6 Batty, 7 Diocese, 12 Cantata, 15 Against, 16 Theirs,
17 Rental, 19 Terse, 21 Loren.
You may not have noticed but, Saturday 20th of June was “World Juggling Day”!
According to the International Jugglers’ Association:
“There are 51 jugglers registered for World Juggling Day from 18 countries. The 33 events listed will take place in 13 countries.”
The Blackpool Tower Circus hosted one of these events and they have produced some interesting facts.