Press Release 4 July 1998

O'er the Star-spangled Bridge from Skye

American Independence day will be marked on the Isle of Skye with the island being hailed as the United States' latest acquisition. A parade of 51 anti-toll protesters will walk across the bridge from Skye to the mainland this morning (4th July) to a short ceremony which will solemnise the Misty Isle's incorporation within the Union. The first fifty protesters will represent each of the States forming part of the Union until the building of the bridge by carrying aloft a symbol of that state. The remaining protester will carry the flag for the Isle of Skye.

Until 1995, when the bridge was built, Skye was part of Scotland. But, with the connivance of the Scottish Office, the ownership and control of the Skye bridge, the only year-round vehicle access from the mainland to the island, was vested in the Bank of America. Since Skye's principal artery of communication is now effectively American, and since Skye residents have to pay a US "exit tax" in the form of bridge tolls whenever they visit Scotland the island has bowed to the inevitable and sued successfully to become the 51st state.

SKAT Convener and Highland Councillor, Drew Millar, is currently preparing his State of the Union address to be delivered at the State boundary (toll booth) on Saturday. He says he regrets the way Skye has been used as pawn in international high finance to hold islanders to ransom. "Skye, he said, has been accustomed down through the centuries to swapping allegiances. From the ancient Celtic past, through the centuries of Norse rule and more recently the governments of Scotland and, since 1707, the United Kingdom, the islanders have tholed many overlords."

As the prospect a Commons debate on last month's damning Public Accounts Committee report on the bridge looms closer Councillor Millar said that the aim of Saturday's demonstration was to highlight the close connection between American finance and UK politics and the disastrous effect of this on the old folk of Skye who now have to shell out over 26 for what Scots Secretary, Donald Dewar laughingly calls concession tickets.

Starting from the Crofter's Kitchen, Kyleakin at 11am 4th July.

Note:- The words of the "Star Spangled Banner" have been altered to reflect Skye's new status. From Saturday this verse will be incorporated:-

Oh the wee bridge to Skye you are crossing today,
Is owned by a bank in the US of A,
So when they demand a ransom and you pay up wide and handsome,
They'll open up the gate - to the 51st state.

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Copyright Ray Shields, 1998.

Most recent revision, 13 July 1998