In the area of renewables Orkney seem to be more advanced than us, with testing of their SR2000 and development of the O2 tidal turbines.

Also there is news this week for Orkney that their transmission link has been approved by Ofgem, but only if 135 mw of new projects are awarded a contract for difference, or are financially viable and have planning permission by 2021.

Let’s hope these projects are not onshore wind as the Orcadian states, but are tidal or wave power or even something better, and let’s hope that any onshore wind which is planned is not built on peat as Viking will do here.

Building the VE windfarm on peat is going to cost over the odds in construction as well as being prohibitively expensive in terms of CO2, and must be complete folly.

Peat is fantastic.

It purifies water, mitigates flooding and provides a home for rare species, not to mention that it stores twice the amount of carbon than forests.

When disturbed, matter preserved for hundreds of years will decay and turn long submerged carbon into CO2.

Can VE let us have up to date results from the carbon calculator once Bam has finished testing so we can know the true carbon cost?

The peat restoration projects are welcomed but wouldn’t it be best if we preserved the peat in the first place?

I wish that someone would calculate the CO2 costs of these renewable projects and rate them as red, amber or green (as I have suggested previously), so that we can judge for ourselves which projects are really green.

The fact that no one has, says a lot about these projects – no one wants to know how green they are - they want to know how much money they will make first.

Why do we not need independent analysis and audit of any figures before projects are approved?

How reliable are our sources of information?

I would like to call upon our government and our MP and MSPs to lobby for a reliable and trustworthy ratings system for these projects and indeed all our purchases so we can make the right choices, and also visit Shetland and speak to all interested parties on VE and once and for all discover the true nature of this out of scale windfarm, and if it is not a green project, put an end to this folly once and for all.

I’m not allowed to criticise the government.

“The cuts in budgets are due to Tory Westminster austerity, not the SNP”.

That’s the evangelistic response to any jibe about Local Authority cuts.

But surely the Scottish Government has choices, such as to fund baby boxes and free prescriptions?

These initiatives are welcomed, but failure to fund our ferries is not welcome.

And is there not something wrong when Skye get a bridge (a fair while ago now) and we have yet to enjoy equal status in our ferry fares, and as yet no fair ferry funding?

The Forth gets a bridge, an enormous investment in infrastructure and yet we are left struggling with boats not fit for purpose, maintenance needed everywhere.

There is money to nationalise a shipyard, a shipyard building severely over budget ferries for the west, but again nothing for us.

Spin it how you want to, but you can’t ignore Scotland’s rural economy in the north, an economy producing huge food and drink exports, or we might as well be ruled by Westminster.

The SNP need to get a grip with our finances, and understand there is life outside of the central belt, because to me it’s like we have a complete novice being let loose with the cheque book, with no plan and no thought for the future, or how to grow our economy.

To give them a clue, to grow the economy and improve the GERs figures, you need to invest in and support the Highlands and Islands too.

Another handy hint for them is that they also can’t have it both ways, the Scottish Government is either an autonomous responsible Scottish Government which decides its own budget, or the Scottish Parliament is just the new Scottish Office - a department of the Westminster government - which is indeed a puppet unable to thwart austerity.

So, the election is over, the dust is settling and Beatrice Wishart has gone to Holyrood.

Thank goodness a lot of folk are thinking.

However, we must keep up the pressure on all of our MSPs to sort out our transport and fuel poverty issues; to alleviate these as disadvantages of living here.

We also need much more support for our crofting, as leaving the land will lead to yet more depopulation and accelerate the move to urban centres.

We need to entice young families here with the creation of well paid jobs, as well as try to keep the people here we already have, with reasonably priced and practical ways of travelling to see loved ones who are away.

So we need all our MSPs to get their heads together on how to do this, for the whole of the Highlands and Islands.

It is obvious the central belt has plenty, including top jobs for Tavish, whilst we are struggling to keep the few well-paid jobs we have.

Please, I urge all of our MSPs to do something before it is too late, and this trickle of families relocating from the isles turns into a tsunami.
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