Sunday, 9 May 2010
The local paper on Lewis is The Stornoway Gazette or, to give it its full title, Stornoway Gazette and West Coast Advertiser. It has also been known as ‘The One Minute’s Silence’ because it was reckoned that that was as long as it took most people to read that which interested them in it. I always thought that was a bit unfair. It used to take me 3 or 4 minutes. But then I’m a slow reader. Anyway I was reading it this week for the first time for over 6 months. It hasn’t changed one little bit.
There were two articles on the front page with red banner ‘EXCLUSIVE’ status. The first was about people with a criminal record being allowed to do their community service in care homes on the Island. I have some experience in New Zealand of people doing community service. In this case they were usually people convicted of motoring and suchlike offences. Not, I have to say, I people I felt concerned to be with in the slightest (unless it happened to be in the passenger seat of their cars). The second was in relation to charges being made by the Airport to car hire companies. Not, I would have thought, an issue likely to be taken up by any newspaper anywhere else. Looking through the paper it suddenly dawned on me that almost every story was likely to be an ‘exclusive’ because, apart from the West Highland Free Press (I assume it’s still being published!) I couldn’t see anyone else being vaguely interested in most of the stories. I just can’t see The Scotsman, for example, carrying details of those unfortunates before the Court in Stornoway for being drunk and disorderly.
Not that the Islands can’t make world news. But then I think I’ll pass those by for now.
However that’s not really why I started this post. It was because at the bottom of page 2 there was an article entitled ‘National conference to look art successful Maori language initiative’. Apparently Jim Mather, Chief Executive of Maori TV is coming to explain to Scots how some of their initiatives might be helpful to the promotion of Gaelic. What really struck me, however, was the statement that ‘The Maori Language is the official language of New Zealand’. It’s amazing how one incorrect word can give everyone a completely incorrect view of a country. For those who don’t know Maori is (since 1987) one of three official languages in New Zealand; the others being English and New Zealand Sign Language.
The other article involving New Zealand, or rather a New Zealander, related to Edward Anker who, having been roaming the seas for three and a half years, spent the winter on his yacht Spirit of Rema anchored in Stornoway Harbour. He has now set sail to roam the seas again.