Editorial: Heartbreak, tragedy, controversy – one week in Moray

Sunday Supplement

Our detailed look back on the stories that we have been talking about in Moray…..

Cafe blaze a tourism tragedy for Moray

In a week that produced some heartbreaking, uplifting, surprising and merely controversial news on insideMoray it is nigh on impossible for me to pick one theme out of the bunch for our regular Sunday comment.

So I won’t pick any single issue for airing this weekend – but will pick out a few points that you may agree with or not, happy to hear your views either way because if this site was not about keeping open doors to every opinion then what are we doing here?

Let’s start with our coverage of two cases involving people from Moray who found themselves facing our legal process.

Traffic on the site was exceptionally high on both – first a Lithuanian living in Elgin who was sent down for eight years by the High Court in Edinburgh. The serious nature of his case brought about a lot of interest including some very unsavoury comments posted on both the main insideMoray discussion boxes and our Facebook page.

Drugs Story

Most of these had to be removed because of the bad language they contained – I can understand why feelings are high on this, but at the end of the day we are open to viewing by all ages so the bottom line is if our correspondents can’t keep it clean then we simply have to remove such comments.

The second case was a more local and on the face of it far less serious issue. I was criticised through comments on our Facebook page for even running that – and I can understand why, the ‘culprit’ had after all shown remorse for his act by pleading guilty and was duly fined and ordered to pay compensation.

So why did we run the story? Well it involved drugs being used and found, cocaine – because of that I felt that it was a story that had to be told if only to discourage other young people from going near that or any drug.

I still agonise a little over this story all the same, we are not in the business of causing hurt to anyone.

Tourism Tragedies

The story of the week in terms of traffic levels came from two fires – one in Buckie, the other in Lossiemouth.

It strikes me that during periods of exceptionally warm weather people get out and about – naturally – but they can do some silly things when they are suffering from sunstroke. The Buckie fire in a hayfield was possibly (not proven) caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette by a passing motorist.

The second blaze though was a far more tragic one. We don’t know of course if that was anything other than an accident but it will have an exceptionally bad effect on our activities this summer, destroying as it did one of Lossiemouth’s youngest and yet most loved local attractions.

Unrelated to fire but of perhaps even greater bad news for our tourism was the revelation that Lossiemouth’s East Beach was declared by SEPA as being ‘polluted’ with sewage cited as the main culprit.

That was an unexpected shock as just weeks earlier we were reporting on how that very same beach had received an award from a Scottish Government backed agency for its cleanliness!

Our insideMoray report brought unsurprised responses from people who had witnessed what they believed to be raw sewage on the beach.

The truth or otherwise of that remains to be shown, but what is clear (certainly clearer than Moray Firth water) is that we will now find it even more difficult than ever to know who to believe.


Those of you who know me will be well aware of my political leanings I’m sure. I certainly would not hide the fact that I’m a card-carrying member of the SNP, nor have I hid from my personal desire to see Scotland as an independent nation.

Those of you who know me only through the articles on insideMoray will, however, perhaps be a little more surprised to learn the above, I certainly hope so as I’ve worked very hard both here and in my former guise as a community editor with the former STV Local websites to be completely impartial in reporting the news and views.

So it was with a heavy set of fingers that I produced the report on Moray’s school referendum this week, showing as it did that our young people were not so like-minded as I was – far from it. The report produced the largest debate we’ve ever seen on insideMoray, as you might have expected.

If I’m honest I am not really surprised with the outcome of this mock referendum, I believe it does reflect the current views of all people in Moray and not just our younger generation.

It is then a major task for the Yes campaign in Moray to find out why this is the case and address concerns before the real thing in September.

For my part, much as when I decided in December 2012 that I would run in a Moray Council by-election that I could not be an impartial journalist at the same time, so now that I have returned to being an impartial journalist have I decided that being involved in the referendum on either side was simply not a sustainable position.

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