Saturday 24th April ‘04
At a well attended meeting in Portree to-day the SKAT members decided to re-launch their campaign of active challenge to the tolls at the toll booths on the bridge.
They are calling for a challenge to the toll organised for 12 noon on Saturday 1st May on the Skye Bridge
SKAT first launched its anti-toll campaign at midnight on the 16th of October 1995 when some 24 activists were charged with the criminal offence of refusing to pay the toll. With in a few months of the launch of that campaign several hundred people had been charged with this criminal offence, and the campaign had world wide media coverage.
SKAT’s campaign was never limited to public demonstrations. Indeed from day one we set out to make the rational case against the private toll scheme which is hugely expensive, and unaccountable to the community. In the early days our rational case was just ignored by the politicians, and we were even described as “Lunatics” by a Tory Minister.
This part of our campaign has been entirely effective, every government committee, or academic study into the Skye Bridge toll scheme has confirmed that us “Lunatics” were correct from the start. Now-a-days no Government Minister, or academic will publicly defend the Skye Bridge Toll Scheme.
Indeed the Scottish Government Minister responsible for the scheme is claiming to be reviewing, how what he describes as the “discredited” scheme, can be abolished.
So that’s it then the battle’s over! Well not quite!
The actions of the politicians are as usual dragging well behind their fine words.
On the first of May this current Scottish Government will have had a year to abolish the “discredited” tolls, yet old age pensioners from Skye (who are not wealthy enough to be regular users), will have to pay over £11 to an American bank if they want to visit their families on the mainland.
We have been fighting this issue for nearly 9 years, we have established “beyond reasonable doubt” that we were correct from the beginning, and we are not prepared to give the politicians any more time to display their inability to do the job.
SKAT’s General Secretary, Andy Anderson, who was sent to prison for his opposition to the tolls, said “ Why should pensioners on Skye continue to suffer for political incompetence, there is no justification for these toll, and indeed no longer any politician prepared to justify them, they must come off now with not further delays”
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 2004.
Most recent revision, 25 April 2004