Taste and see

"But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" Amos 5.24

Yesterday a friend suggested conducting a political experiment in Skye and the Outer Hebrides. It would involve giving local communities the authority to decide on all the policies which directly affect them: everything from land use, the maritime environment, health and social care, education, industrial policy, housing, sport and recreation - mar sin air adhart...

It would have to be carefully prepared so that those responsible would have time to decide how to go about the task, its scope and implications and they would need to be appropriately equipped with knowledge and infrastructure. But we are not talking about anything absurd. Is it not the way things should be run: decisions taken by those whom they will most affect?

250+ years ago the biggest con occurred in these very communities, when clan chiefs began to sell off land which they had formerly held in trust for the individuals and families who inhabited them and who pledged their allegiance in return. In being evicted from their villages onto inferior coastal locations and, in many cases, cleared off it completely, they were being robbed what was theirs and their descendants of their/ our inheritance.

After such an interval direct compensation is out of the question but justice might still be achieved were present and future generations of islanders be given access to what was stolen from our ancestors and predecessors.