Tonight, a meeting of SKAT - Skye and Kyle Against Tolls was held in the Kyleakin Hotel, about 30 odd people attended (including Grampian television and reporters from the Free Press and Daily Telegraph). There were also two police officers there, not on duty.
The meeting was not chaired, no committees etc. This is deliberate, as if there was some kind of organisation, there could be charges of conspiracy and sedition and possible injunctions. So SKAT is a public pressure group.
The whole get together was to inform people what had happened last Monday night during the demonstration to refuse paying tolls. Approximately 20 people were charged with non payment of tolls under the New Streets and Roads Works Act 1991. The reply to as to why you refuse to pay is 'I am asserting my private and civil right to proceed on a public roadway in the kingdom of Scotland unhindered. I am not paying the toll because it is unconstitutional and extortionate.'
The reason behind this is that this is a toll that is levied only in Scotland. The only equivalent down south would be the bridge between Anglesey and the mainland - and that is toll free.
The 'Freedom Runs' as they are being called (refusal to pay tolls) are going to try and be organised into a once a week or two weekly thing, although there is nothing to stop individuals doing it at any time. This campaign has only being going for six days and appears to be growing in leaps and bounds.
The key is to keep it in the public eye, to get people talking about it - this, of course, is my way of doing it :-) You can help, write to local papers, tell all your friends, especially ex-pat Scots. The toll bridge to Skye is only the start. Soon it will be privatised toll roads and motorways all over the country. We are the experiment.
Any solicitors out there who would like to volunteer their services would also be more than welcome!
Copyright © Ray Shields, 1996.
Most recent revision, 15 February 1996.