22nd July 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Dignified fight failed (Cheryl Jamieson)

I’d like to thank everybody who has contacted us over this past week since we received the devastating news that we had lost the fight to keep our school open.

We are blessed that we have such a strong community around us who care, but I can’t help but wonder how long that will continue. Shetland Islands Council seems determined to destroy this community, and many others like it, and the “Shetland way of life” that we hold dear.

We set out from the start to put up a dignified fight, with a very well-reasoned argument. We didn’t rant and rave at the councillors and officials who visited our island, well, not as much as we felt like doing. We knew we didn’t have much chance to speak to them face to face, so chose to do it in a very controlled manner, hoping that our views would be made clear.

Many times we were told, “Yes we hear what you’re saying and are taking it on board”. They even had the benefit of people scribing for them so everything was recorded. But what did all this count for? Absolutely nothing! All our alternative suggestions were ignored, and many of our questions still haven’t been answered.

Now this same council is proposing to visit many of the communities across Shetland asking for cost-cutting suggestions, but they’re not coming to Unst.

To get to the meeting we’ll have to take the ferry to Yell. The very same ferry that the council will no doubt be proposing they cut back on. Should we go there to speak to councillors and officials in a dignified and controlled manner? Or should we go there armed with a box of rotten tomatoes to see if they take us seriously then?

Cheryl Jamieson
Hoversta,
Uyeasound,
Unst.

5 comments

  1. Andrew Smith

    As someone who spent their (fantastic) childhood in Shetland it really pains me to see this happening.
    Shetland thrives and bases its whole existence on community, both in strength and spirit.
    I know for one that the whole exercise of listening to you was purely a PR stunt, there was no way on earth that they were ever going to take onboard any suggestions/proposals offered never mind reverse their decision.

    So I say,go to Yell, tomatoes at the ready and let rip.
    Contact the Shetland Times, Grampian Television beforehand so you have someone at your end to record everything that goes on!

    Andrew Smith
    (Eaglescliffe, Cleveland)

    Reply
  2. Brian Smith

    The bizarre thing about this episode is that neither Shetland Islands Council nor the Scottish government could explain its decision.

    There does seem to be evidence that the Council is prejudiced, for some reason, against Unst; but surely the government doesn’t have that excuse … Poor stuff.

    Reply
  3. Marina Thomason

    Pains me to hear Allan Wishart on Radio Shetland describe da Nort Isles as ‘the Northern Isles’, nit-picking I know, but says it all in my book.

    Reply
  4. Bill Coates

    so wit do they expect then, that the 8am from Gutcher does Unst > Fetlar > Yell again as a school run to Burravoe then in reverse at night ? wouldn’t they be better having a teaching assistant (at the local Ha if needs be to improvee utility with accsess to catering equipment) and remote wifi livelink from Burravoe, the teacher could even conduct the lessons from Fetlar or Unst Tues and Thurs, I hope the times will be following this matter up on behalf of it’s community and directing questions about the proposed alternatives suggested and their cost in social and ecological terms as part of their fiscal shenanigans.

    Reply
  5. John Tulloch

    Have I got this right, Uyeasound school was built and opened in the 1880s and we’re having to close it now because the the “oil-rich” Shetland Islands Council has run out of money – in 2011?

    Bairns, dat canna be, I doot yun’s shorly a lee?

    Reply

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