Contact us on 01851 705743 or

There is seething anger - and despair - in the islands about the ferry service, says Neil Mitchison, the Liberal Democrat candidate in Thursday's election to the Scottish Parliament.  

"I have never known its like. So what has gone wrong? Figures collected by Alf Young, writing in the Times, show that in the 14 years since 2007, 5 ferries, total 16,000 tons have been launched. In the previous 14 years, under Conservative and Labour Westminster Governments, and the Lib/Lab coalition after Scottish devolution, 12 ferries, total 33,000 tons, were launched - twice as much.

"Now we can discuss whether the earlier rhythm, of slightly less than one ferry per year, was enough; but there can be no doubt that the rhythm since 2007 has been grossly insufficient. And the direct result of this failure to buy new reliable ferries is that the aging ones we have keep breaking down, and we have no others to replace them with.

"Who is responsible? Well, the Scottish Government, and the Party that has been running Scotland all that time. And before the SNP try and say “no, it’s not our fault, it’s CMAL” – let me just point out that CMAL is wholly owned by the Scottish Government.

"And what has our SNP MSP done? Well, two months ago he said “I have asked the Scottish Government what they can do to consider chartering an additional vessel”. That’ll really scare them, I’m sure, to be asked what they can do to consider … Come on - admit that the service is not fit for purpose, and make the Government do something about it.

"To be fair, our MSP has also tweeted recently that he has raised the matter with Calmac. But we should be clear: this is not Calmac’s fault. They run the ferries; it is CMAL, under the Scottish Government, who specify and buy them. That is where the failure has been, and it would be good if the Nationalists would own up and admit it."

Meanwhile, ballot papers for postal voters in Na h-Eileanan an Iar have arrived on doormats, ready for the Scottish Parliament election on Thursday 6 May 2021.

Malcolm Burr, Constituency Returning Officer, said: “When you receive your postal voting pack, make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully before completing your ballot papers. Don’t forget to include your date of birth and signature on the postal voting statement.  Follow the instructions in the pack to make sure your vote counts”

“Postal ballot papers must be received by the Returning Officer by 10pm on Thursday 6 May 2021.  As soon as you have completed your ballot papers and postal vote statement place it in the envelope provided and return it to make sure that it is received in good time.”

Name of Candidate

Description of Candidate

ALLAN, Alasdair James

Scottish National Party (SNP)


The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

FRASER, Shaun Alexander

Scottish Labour Party


Time for Change


Scottish Liberal Democrats