The Angry Corrie 6: Mar-Apr 1992
And they call it democracy...
Channel 4's Scottish Eye on Sunday 23rd February contained further information about the plight of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI's) and Magnus's Albatross (see TAC4). The precedent-setting case is that of John Cameron of Glen Lochay who got a million pounds compensation for having SSSI's on his land. It seems that the quickest way to this type of pools win is to announce that you are about to plant trees all over your SSSI. There will then be an inquiry and if you are turned down because of the SSSI you will get the spondilucks. If you had been turned down for other reasons, e.g. scenic, there would be no pay day. This would therefore make one look closely at the makeup of the committee. It seems among those on Cameron's committee was a near neighbour and fellow farmer who within 6 months was applying to plant trees on his own SSSI's and subsequently has a claim in for 400,000 quid to cheer him up at his lack of trees. Presumably we should not blame these guys too much as they would have to be pretty highly motivated to turn down the chance of such pay days. Let us instead question the motives of those who passed the legislation; among them is the former Marcus Kimball, erstwhile Tory MP who was on the standing committee which passed the Wildlife and Countryside Act, now calling himself 'Lord' Kimball, with a plan to plant on 3 SSSI's at Altnaharra and a possible compensation claim for three-and-a-half million quid. 'Yes', quoth he, laughing when this irony was pointed out, 'I'd no idea when I sat on the committee that we would end up here discussing this matter in these terms'.
Sunday 9th February. A splendid day to climb Lyle hill in Greenock. The whole Clyde estuary and the well-loved peaks around Arrochar are laid out like the Blue Peter dockyard. A young golfer throws his club and I remember a dozen boyhood soulmates. My companion, A.Harry Unicorn, is checking out the fauna. 'A ubiquitous bird the seagull', I opine. 'On the contrary Perk my old chum, there is no such thing as a seagull. Herring gulls, black necked gulls, yes, but nothing so mundane as a seagull'.
A.Harry Unicorn points out to me the removal of the nuclear free Clyde direction finder. Presumably to have the legend 'US Nuclear submarine base, Holy Loch' removed. The bastard offspring of J R 'I am become death' Oppenheimer and the Fatman had always rested uneasily in the Holy Loch and now they are gone. Lamented by a few shopkeepers, would be apple pie makers and not many more.
Of course we are still left with the macabre fort of Glen Douglas and neither Kinnock nor Major intends to rid us of that. How ironic that a place which never sees the sun is number one contender to be brighter than a thousand.