June 06, 2006
Stereotypes persist because they actually contain a grain of truth:
THEY like a bargain in the Outer Hebrides. So much so that when the council decided to give away free compost bins it led to the first recorded traffic jam on the Isle of Lewis. Islanders took to the normally deserted roads and queued for three hours, bumper to bumper, for four miles outside the distribution depot in Stornoway to claim their free 330-litre, brown plastic bin — normal price £6.
“The last thing I want this for is compost. I want mine to store sheep feed. The island is not noted for its gardens, after all,” said one resident.
“If you really believe that the demand at the weekend was for compost, then we would be the greenest place in Britain. Mostly, people want them because they are free, and nobody wants to miss out.”
If only our Scottish Chancellor was as miserly with our money as his countrymen are with their own.
I have a special affection for these stereotypes of the differences between northerners and southerners in England in George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier (1937):
"There is no doubt about the Englishman's inbred conviction that those who live to the south of him are his inferiors; even our foreign policy is governed by it to some extent. . . There is nevertheless a real difference between North and South, and there is at least a tinge of truth in that picture of Southern England as one enormous Brighton inhabited by lounge-lizards."
Posted by: Bob B | Jun 6, 2006 11:08:57 AM
Sorry, I guess I'm missing something here, what's "miserly" about taking a freebie when it's offered?
Posted by: Harry Powell | Jun 6, 2006 12:22:07 PM
Assuming that the good councillors of Lewis are all kilted and sporraned Jocks to a man, they don't seem to be very miserly in giving out freebies worth a whole 6 sovs to each and every islander. Especially as said islanders seem to be intent on using these freebies for everything except their designed purpose.
In true ZanuLabor fashion I predict the situations vacant columns of the Guardian will soon be filled with notices advertising the positions needed to fill the Compost Compliance Secretariat, Isle of Lewis.
Aye! The crafty crofters may well rue the day they telt the wee man frae the noospapper that they really wanted the bins for illicit stills and sheep food storage.
Posted by: The Remittance Man | Jun 6, 2006 12:47:45 PM
What sort of idiot queues for 4 hours to get something worth £6? Odd people, the teuchters, but not usually stupid.
Posted by: dearieme | Jun 6, 2006 5:07:42 PM
As I said: Illicit stills and farm usage.
Or maybe the islanders have worked out how to turn them into well camoflaged accomodation for illegal immigrants on their journey down the Stornoway - London Pipeline. 330 litres gives about enough space for an average family of Bangladeshis, don't you know?
Posted by: The Remittance Man | Jun 6, 2006 5:29:48 PM
A four mile bumper to bumper queue in Stornoway? That must be about 1,000 cars. I guess the ferry that day must have been pretty full.
I sense a journalist not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.
Posted by: Neil Craig | Jun 6, 2006 9:08:49 PM
I live on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. No sign of free compost bins for us yet. Wonder if (eventually, when I get one) I can distill potato whisky using it?
Posted by: John Kirriemuir | Jun 11, 2006 3:08:36 PM
£6 for the bin, but how much for the petrol on the drive over?
Methinks the heroin's clouding their judgment.
Posted by: James | Apr 5, 2007 10:16:14 PM