Here we are about to host a conference on knitting in Shetland, known everywhere for its knitwear, just as worldwide interest on the traditional craft is taking off once again, and lo and behold our councillors plan to stop paying for knitting instructors to teach traditional maakin skills to Shetland schoolbairns.
Have they no vision? This is a unique bit of Shetland culture that is known and admired worldwide, rather like the talents of Shetland musicians. Oh, yes, they wanted to kill off music tuition in schools as well didn’t they?
The expenditure involved in maintaining the teaching of these important elements of local culture is minuscule when compared with council spending as a whole, but the effect of applying cuts here is likely to be terminal.
If you can’t catch and hold the interest and involvement of our children in these important aspects of their heritage when they are young, you are hardly likely to succeed later on, when it will be too late.
Perhaps councillors ought to swap heads for a minute, putting off their elected representative noodles and putting on their Shetland Charitable Trustee ones. Support for education is certainly charitable in law and the SCT has reportedly had a very good year.
The SCT has also announced that it is to increase investment in local infrastructure, like house building. Can’t they extend that just a little to make sure the community continues to support traditional skills like music and knitting by taking on support for tuition in schools to encourage youngsters to take up these important facets of their own community heritage?