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04SCOTTISHISLANDSEXPLORERMARCHAPRIL20094SCOTTISHISLANDSEXPLORERSEPTEMBEROCTOBER2014GuestColumnistJimAllenreflectsonconnectionswithScottishWestCoastislandsTakea55-year-oldnorthIrishcoastnativegrowingupwithtalesofScottishfamilyconnectionsandsharedhistorieswhosusedtoseeingIslayJuraandKintyrepeeringalluringlyoverthehorizononcleardays.Add25yearsofplayingontheseaincludingseveraljourneystotheHebridesanditsnotsurprisingthathemightaspiretoexploretheWesternIsleswheneveropportunityandavailablemoniescoincide.Withapassionforlocalhistoryandstory-tellingIfindmymindinflamedandinspiredbytheseaandcoastalpeoples.ImoftendreamingupexcursionstotheScottishislands.AsafamilywemakeeveryefforttoholidayalongthewestcoastanditsislandslastyearcampingbyArranslovelyLochranzawithawell-worncopyofTalesofParaHandystashedinmydunnage.AmongmymostnotablevisitsweretwoseparatevoyagestoIonabycurrachskinnedandtarredrowingvesseloncein1997laterin2003.OnourfirsttripmygirlfriendJaniceshadowedourvoyagebyroadmeetingmeonIonafromwherewesetofftovisitBarra.WhilereturningontheRoadtotheIslesbytheshoresofLochEiltsheagreedtobecomeMrsAllen.LessthansixmonthslaterwewerehoneymooninginRhenigadaleNorthHarris.Subsequentlyoursecond-bornsonwasnamedJamesHarrisAllen.SomedaywewillfollowthearchipelagofromBarratoLewisandshowhimtheislandthatinspiredhisfamousmiddlename.Eachjourneyhasspawnedmanyfriendshipsandfellowshipsbutonelittleislandiscurrentlyclosetoourhearts.WehavespentmanygreatdaysandnightsonGighawithourclosefriendJohnknownasTheAmbassadorMartinaretiredCampbeltowncarpenterandaffableshipmate.Aspartofalittleceilidhbandwevealsohadthegreatpleasureofprovidingceolaguscraicfortheisland.ScottishIslandsExplorerhelpskeepusconnected.Tiaraidhandrasdaagustapadhleibh.JimAllenAnideologicalmovementisacollectionofpeoplemanyofwhomcouldhardlybakeacakefixacarsustainafriendshiporamarriageorevendoaquadraticequationyettheybelievetheyknowhowtoruletheworld.ProfessorKennethMinogueisquotedintheDailyTelegraph.Itissimilartotheoldsayingthatthosewhocandothosewhocantteach.Votersarenotinclinedtopostthankyounotesthroughballotboxes.TheinclinationistoprotecttheirintereststoprotestaboutastateofaffairsorinatypicalBritishgesturetogivetheothersideaninnings.Whataretermedpoliticalearthquakesarenotalwaysasseismicastheyappear.UKIPundoubtedlyvictoriousinthe2014EuropeanElectionswasactuallysupportedbyonlyoneinelevenofregisteredvoters.Soanideologicalmovementseldomhasthemajorityofpeoplebehindit.Theimmediatepost-waryearswitnessedtheBritishCommunistPartygainapowerfulholdonsectionsoftheTradesUnionmovement.Yettheyhadthesupportofonlyabout3ofmembers.Thatwasofcoursequitesufficientwhenonly5turneduptovote.SotheScottishReferendumonThursday18SeptembergivesvotersinScotlandastraightnevertobeconfusedwithasimplechoice.Theyarebeingaskednotsomuchaboutpoliticalmattersbuttoconsideranddecideonwhatisliterallyaquestionofstate.Itisanhistoricalissuewithlong-lastingfutureconsequencesthatisbeingpromotedandopposedbyhere-today-and-gone-tomorrowpoliticians.Smallcountriescansurviveandthrivealthoughtheyhavetendedtoevolveratherthansuddenlybecreated.Unionsoftenleadtodivorceevensometimeswithoutrancour.HoweverwhentheresultisknownanddisappointmentsexpressedmanywillfeelanaffinitywiththatoldAmericanpost-electionremarkThepeoplehavespokenthebastardsItstheaftermathofaYesvotethatcouldhaveratherdauntingconsequences.AletterbyasubscriberandcontributorJohnNugeefirstappearedinTheTimesandwasthenreprintedinTheWeek.HeponderedthatasthetermshaveyettobenegotiatedScotscouldruethefinalityofthevoteon18Septemberandthelackofachancetoseethetermsofthedealbeforetheydecidewhethertoacceptthem.IfnecessaryperhapsasecondballotshouldbearrangedtoseewhetherthetermsnegotiatedareconsideredacceptabletotheelectorateJohnHumphriesEDITORSWELCOME