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Hebrides News



I am interested in the definition of democracy currently deployed by the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and its leader Angus Campbell (see Wrong to expect cash donation to overturn sports centre democratic vote says comhairle).


On the vexed issue of the opening of the Stornoway leisure centre on Sundays, he claims that the Comhairle took 'a democratic decision' that reflected the 'need to represent the views of the majority of people in our wards."


So it appears the tyranny of the majority is the democratic principle at work on Lewis. It is often said that societies should be judged by how they treat their minorities. In this case, the Comhairle seems to wilfully ignore the fact that its job is to cater for all its citizens on equal terms. Likewise, councillors are supposed to represent all their electorate and not just those of a particular philosophical belief which they may happen to share.


The very least we should expect of our elected representatives is that they judge and decide on key issues having given them due consideration based on reason, rationalism and the wider public interest. When instead individual councillors appear to make decisions based on personal religious belief and narrow personal conscience, then there is a democratic deficit that needs to be addressed.


But will the Comhairle address it? I am not holding my breath.


Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

5 Atholl Crescent



Letter:  “Democratic deficit” over Sunday opening

25 January 2017