(click on pictures for a larger version)
A demonstration was held today, 3rd July, to celebrate the upcoming "Independence" of the people of Skye from the financial noose around our neck that is the extortionately high tolls on the Skye Bridge
As the day started, the weather was a typical Highland summer - heavy rain showers! But SKAT obviously have supporters in high places, because as people gathered for the start of the demonstration, the skies cleared and the dark clouds abated enough to even let some sun shine through.
At 12 p.m., just under 100 people, led by local MSP John Farquhar-Munro and accompanied by SKAT members, supporters and well-wishers from across the country, left from Kyleakin to walk across the Skye Bridge to continue the almost TEN years of protests against the high tolls
The protestors were accompanied by local police who did a good job of allowing bridge traffic to continue to flow while the marchers walked across the bridge accompanied by a piper.
At the end of the march, people gathered by the side of the toll booths to listen to John Farquhar-Munro tell them that he is absolutely confident that the tolls WILL be removed by the end of the year.
Of course, we have been promised this before, but J.F. explained how he himself was getting exasperated at the committee set up to look at the financial implications, then the working group set up to look at the legal implications and the discussions with the financiers. It goes on and on.
However, he insists that the promise made by the Liberal Democrats to have the tolls removed by the end of the year is realistic. "It will happen sooner, rather than later", he said.
"It is traditional that on Christmas Day each year, the tolls are suspended and that the toll booths are locked up for festivities. I have suggested to my colleague the Scottish Transport Minister Nicol Stephen that when the toll booths are locked up this Christmas Eve, that the keys are thrown away and that they never open again."
And with that, the demonstrators broke up and made their way back home in time to watch the Wimbledon women's tennis final, and for the rain to once again descend upon the people of Skye and Lochalsh
SKAT and its supporters will continue to fight, put pressure on the Scottish Parliament and demonstrate against the tolls until the day they are finally abolished. And then, in good Highland tradition, we will have one heck of a party!
Supporters are asked to continue to send emails to the Scottish Transport Minister Nicol Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org with a gentle reminder of their promise to remove the tolls. After all, we all know how forgetful politicians can sometimes get... :-)
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 2004.
Most recent revision, 03 July 2004