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The Way I See It: It is now over to the Coul Links opponents to develop the area for eco-tourism

By Ali Morrison

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This is a column by the Highland Council's East Sutherland and Edderton representative, Jim McGillivray

Cllr Jim McGillivray.
Cllr Jim McGillivray.

I AM now the proud possessor of a face mask.

On the basis that some protection from the coronavirus is better than none, and, home-made though it may be, it’s something I intend to use.

It’s quite noticeable now how many other people are of the same opinion.

It’s very strange how things work out.

Not so long ago, the present Prime Minister was on public record, in a previous job admittedly, saying Muslim women wearing burkas “look like letter boxes”, and it was “ridiculous” people chose to wear them.

Now it seems he is recommending that workers wear masks when they return to work and when using public transport.

We can all be hostages to fortune when making throw-away remarks.

Another incautious comment has come from Sir Graham Brady MP, chairman of the Westminster 1922 committee.

Sir Graham is a great family man.

He is reported to be among those MPs who pay the highest amount to family members (allegedly between £40,000-45,000 per annum) and employs his wife as his senior parliamentary assistant.

Good work if you can get it.

Anyway, Sir Graham is calling for the removal of “arbitrary rules and limitations on freedom as quickly as possible” and suggesting the public had been “a little too willing to stay at home”.

Always good to know what the feudal elite really think about us.

We will be sure it’s totally safe to go back to work and put our bairns back to school only when the House of Commons and House of Lords sit in full assembly.

The World Health Organisation’s European director, Dr Hans Kluge,
has a more mature perspective.

He said: “The biggest lesson overall at this stage would be that health really deserves to be at the top of the political agenda.

“Health is a driver of the economy – what we see now is that without health, there is no economy.”

I suspect that if Scottish ministers had foresight of the state of the Scottish Covid economy when they rejected the Coul Links application in February they might have come up with a different decision.

Two years of construction work would have been a great bonus in these times. History now. The developers have agreed to deposit all plans, designs, and documents from the 2019 hearing with the Historylinks Museum in Dornoch since it will be of great interest to future generations to inspect the arguments and examine the personalities involved in this unfulfilled and rejected investment.

However, there remains the aspect of ecological tourism, and it lies with me to exhort those groups (eg Not-Coul, RSPB etc) who vigorously opposed the development to come to the table with ideas and finance to see what can be done to generate some economic activity in this deprived area when the lockdown ends.

If Coul Links is the world-ranking environmental jewel as was claimed, that should be little problem.

Finally, my total admiration for NHS and care staff, key workers, and the many volunteers who are carrying us through this crisis.

La crème de la crème!

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