Sunday, 12 October 2014

New Lives, New Landscapes

the high street in the village on hirta st kilda by dawn menzies
Development opportunity - the High Street in the village on Hirta St Kilda
by photographer Dawn Menzies
You know, I was tremendously excited in the run-up to the Referendum. Like many thoughtful people, I was full of ideas for the future and had prepared a number of posts for my lovely wee blog that were guaranteed to have transfixed you with excitement. It's what planning is all about and exactly the sort of thing that is missing from the Barton Willmore Times - aka 'SP' - the Scottish Planner magazine.

For example, my plans for the regeneration of ports along the western seaboard of Scotland were original and groundbreaking and guaranteed to have you in a frenzy. These places could be literally buzzing with activity once my plans were implemented. Purdie prevented me from publishing them before the referendum but I can now reveal them to you.

A quick glance at the Wikipedia page 'List of outlying islands of Scotland' reveals a fantastic resource which many have forgotten about. Most of these islands were once populated. St Kilda, the Flannan Isles and Stroma are familiar names perhaps but little thought has been given to establishing new populations on them. Of course there is Rockall too although that is disputed by the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Iceland.
A regeneration vsessel bound for St Kilda
A regeneration vessel bound for St Kilda

My plan was that these islands would be resettled after the referendum. The idea of Better Together obviously had great appeal to the majority of voters and it seems entirely appropriate that Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, Joanne Lament, Jim Murphy, Ruth Davidson and Douglas Alexander should be in the vanguard of new residents on these islands. The Scottish Parliament would of course offer devolved powers including of course tax raising and defence.

Now before some of you start complaining as my colleague Cameron did, saying that these are basically revolting ideas from a bygone age, of course it doesn't need to be the Better Together folk and their ugly old No voting followers. It's just that they have demonstrated leadership qualities and a winning mentality that would be useful in their new lives.
a cruise ship visits the new community
a cruise ship visits the new community
by photographer Dawn Menzies

This isn't simply a question of deportation - it's about the regeneration of these wonderful resources coupled with a fantastic uplift in activity in ports such as Mallaig, Ullapool, Stornoway and Wick. Companies such as Northen Light Charters and other shipping companies would have to service the new communities and would need bases and an entire supply chain of fish fingers, baked beans and whisky for the new settlers. It would be Booming Benbecula, Sizzling Stornoway and Unstoppable Ullapool. But that's just the marketing angle!

You know, when I read the current issue of the Scottish Planner, especially the words of the Puppet Convenor and Barton Willmore Stooge Stephen Tucker, in the article entitled 'Delivery Through a Tory Plan Led System', quoting the great American Architect Daniel Burnham's tired old saying, 'Make no little plans - they have no magic to stir men's blood...' I feel nauseous. It's a hairy old chestnut that many planners roll out all the time - and not just in autumn. I really wonder about the state of our profession - ruled by cliche. These words are just trite posteuring. Planning in Scotland has sunk so far as to be almost invisible and the pages of the 'SP' sum it all up. Busy doing nothing is more like it. It's time for change!

Thanks for reading this - I hope you are as excited as I am by future prospects for Scotland. It will be a great journey and Auchterness will be at the helm. Cheeriebye for now.

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