21st February 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Give us a go (Douglas Young)

The Althing’s debate “Shetland’s Future Lies in an Independent Scotland” on Saturday night was not only a superb piece of timing, being planned months ago, but a sell-out, having to decant from the school to the hall. There is obvious interest in the political future of Scotland’s place within the UK, and Shetland’s place within Scotland, but what was more telling is that the motion was only defeated by eight, 52 against and 44 for. With 17 still undecided, there is all to play for.

While the electorate continues to be insulted by all three major parties in Westminster as to why we should wish to run our own country, it made a refreshing change to be told by the debaters that it’s not for money, nor to be separate from the UK, nor due to any anti-English sentiment, but to be a more socially cohesive and fairer society, with different values and aspirations, from those of the current political make-up in London.

We have been told many times by the UK government, that after trying for 300 years to rule our economy, England still has to subsidise us; time to give the citizens of Scotland a go don’t you think?

Douglas Young
Sumburgh.

28 comments

  1. Dave Heaney

    Well done Douglas keep up the good work.

    Reply
  2. Sandy McDonald

    I’m not convinced by the SNP in any way, shape or form. The real question is would we be better off as a separate nation? I don’t think so. Until someone can put some convincing evidence in front of me to prove otherwise I will br voting “no” in any referendum. Where will the seabed boundaries be drawn? You can bet your right arm it won’t run east from the Scotland England border! It’s all very well aspiring to new ideals but that won’t put food on the table. Alex Salmond reminds me of a thirteen year old boy who has just watched braveheart for the first time.

    Reply
  3. Colin Hunter

    You may not be convinced by the SNP Sandy, but do you, or anyone else for that matter, find Labour, The Lib Dems, or the Tories any more convincing, especially in Scotland, where one politician famously said that that “there are more Pandas in Scotland than Tory MPS”! Regarding the Scotland / England border, I think you’ll find that the crooks in Westminster already appear to have that one sewn up, having more or less stolen part of Scotland as an “Administration area” back in 1968. This article http://www.electricscotland.com/history/articles/TNBS.pdf makes interesting reading.

    Reply
  4. Gordon Harmer

    Every day in Scotland 200 people loose their jobs, and what does Alex Salmond do, he continues to bluster on about independence for Scotland. What do him and his supporters do, blame Westminster, blame the Tories, blame Labour, and blame anybody except those who are to blame, the SNP. If Alex, chip on his shoulder Salmond spent more time on the problems in Scotland instead of blaming every one else and insisting all will be well when we are independent of the old enemy, he may be someone worth voting for.
    But until then what I want to know is how the SNP will make a success out of inheriting a bankrupt country with mass unemployment, with only Merkel and Sarkozy to turn to. Mr Salmond seems to think Scotland will be able to stay in Europe after the split but the consensus in Europe is Scotland will have to re apply to join the club. Only a mad man would want to stay in Europe in its present financial state. Yet only on Thursday in First Ministers questions Alex Salmond declared Scotlands full elegance to Europe.
    I would sooner follow Ian Tinkler and have a Shetland freed of Alex Salmond’s pipe dream than live in a bankrupt Scotland that no sensible business man would invest in led by an ex banker with a massive chip on his shoulder.

    Reply
  5. ian tinkler

    Take a lesson from history, as separate kingdoms; Scotland and England have a dark history of tribal warfare on every level. Such feudal, tribal gems as Bannockburn and Sterling Bridge, the massacre at Glencoe and butchery of Culloden. A history steeped in warfare, bloodshed and anguish pre-dating Roman times. Look at the United Kingdom of Great Britain’s achievements, many mistakes, but so many truly evil brutal despots and tyrants vanquished. After standing united and alone, the defeat of Napoleon, the defeat of imperial Austro Germany in 1918, the destruction of Hitler and the fascist horror also ensuring the freedom of the Falklanders from the junta of Galtieri, helping to overthrow of the dictatorship of Sadam, a genocidal murderer, to list just a few. Now look at Salmond’s vision, a tiny feeble defence force, a single air base, and a few coastal protection vessels. No longer a member of NATO, no nuclear deterrent. Now look at the world, Russia, nuclear armed with a very unstable fledgling democrassy, if Putin were to go, what next? Nuclear armed Iran? Argentina is again threatening the Falklanders. Just think what an independent defenceless Scotland could do in the face of these threats. Who would defend Shetland if an imperial new power were to rise in the east? It took just 15 years for a bankrupt Germany to arm and to occupy most of Europe under Hitler. To quote an overused cliché United we stand divided????

    Reply
  6. Dave Heaney

    Here we have General Tnkler with his rantings, Where was NATO under John Majors government? sat on their hands when the atrocities of the Serbians were being carried out?
    Do you think anyone in europe can ever start a nuclear war? let alone survive one. To say Iran is a threat is rubbish, America has be building a case to attack Iran for several years now it has the biggest fleet of ships in the gulf along with others,it is showing signs of warmongering again in the middle east an attack on Iran is more likely to come form the US/Israel than an attack from Iran on Europe. Scotland would still be part of NATO.

    Reply
  7. Is it not a bit childish to speak about ‘crooks in Westminster’ ? They are the government which governs the whole country and the Government includes Scots MPs as well as MPs from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I am afraid that when you start to see all of those countries having some kind of dark agenda against Scotland it may be time to have a look at one’s own values ! ?

    Lets get democracy into perspective. Any one area in the United Kingdom, say Yorkshire, for example, is in a minority in the House of Commons, the people of Yorkshire do not go about saying ‘its rigged against us’ and we want Devo Max. Incidentally that is my final point. Mr Salmond seems to have claimed Devo Max is a Scot’s right, but no it isn’t Personally I hope if that comes to be an option, then the rest of the UK will say, no we don’t want that . We don’t want somebody on the sidelines sniping at us from up North. We are not having them half in and half out, they vote yes, or no . To which we will say; welcome, or good bye !

    Reply
  8. Gordon Harmer

    If an independent and nuclear free Scotland were to happen what would the cost to the Scottish people be? On top of Scotland’s £140 billion share of the national debt there would be a several billion pound bill to remove all nuclear warheads out of Scotland and to decommission Faslane. 10,000 Scottish jobs would disappear as a result of this along with all the jobs lost in the Clyde ship building industry with no British government warship contracts coming their way and Scotland not being able to afford to build their own.
    On the Jeremy Vine show last week he was asking English folk who would like to move to an independent Scotland. This was the wrong question he should have asked Scottish folk who would jump like rats from a sinking ship. Alex Salmond is walking like a zombie to self destruction and the sad thing is there are people who are hell bent on following him and dragging the rest of us kicking and screaming with them.

    Reply
  9. Dave Heaney

    Lets get it right yorkshire is not a country its a county of england. We are NOT ENGLISH we are by every bone in our bodies Scottish, our language, our history, our geographical place in the map of the world says Scotland, going back to the period when under the English landlord system in the Highlands they cleared Scottish tenant farmers from the land so they
    could make more money by breeding sheep, at the same time the english govenment banned the production of the Tartan as well speaking in our Scots tounge. Why should the cleaver nerds in London do all this? why! to keep the unrully Scottish Clans down of course,
    THEY operated the system of Divide and Rule. In America this was also their policy but the when American people saw this, they threw the Tea into Boston Harbour and started the American war with the British for Independance. The wording on the Scroll of the Declaration of Independance came from us. The Scroll of Independance which can be viewed in Edinburgh. Go see it compare it to the American one.

    Reply
  10. Jim Smith

    Look, its quite simple and should not depend on rhetoric. If the Scots, accepted in the British Parliament as a Nation, want independance, then they should have it. They may be willing to accept any form of hardship, or reward, in order to be independant, that is up to them.They are first and foremost Scottish, it is for them to decide. As an evolved democracy the rest of us should sit back and allow our friends to do what they see fit with their future.

    Reply
  11. Colin Hunter

    Scotland became part of the United Kingdom after the Act Of Union in 1707 when the act was passed by the Scottish Parliament of the day, which was then merged with the English one to form the Parliament of Great Britain at Westminster. That was the Status Quo until the Last Labour Government granted Devolution to Scotland after a referendum. That referendum posed two questions to the Scottish people.
    1: Do you want Scotland to have a devolved parliament?
    2: Do you want that parliament to have tax varying powers?
    At the time I actually voted no to both questions as I then believed that we were doing OK as it was. However, since devolution, I have had a re-think because the Devolved Assembly have been able to make changes in the way monies are spent within Scotland which have made us the envy of many people in England. We are not being given any more money by Westminster, it is just being spent more wisely and effectively. Eye tests and prescription charges are but two of the changes they have made for the better. Abolition of bridge tolls is another.
    Who is to say that Scotland would fail as a nation if we went on to gain independence and let those Edinburgh Politicians run the whole show? The Dominions which gained full independence after the 2nd World War all seem to be doing OK, with the possible exception of Zimbabwe, but we all know why that is!
    I referred to “the crooks in Westminster” because such a Parliament is naturally biased towards the country with the greatest population and, subsequently, the most representatives. Any act which would be to the advantage of that country and the disadvantage of the other, would almost certainly be passed with a majority. Hence the situation existing to the North of Berwick upon Tweed. Another act of monetary vandalism came when George Osborne foisted a £2Bn tax levy on the mostly Scottish based Oil Industry in order to fund English projects. I could go on but I’d probably run out of space.
    We have our Parliament in Edinburgh now, so why don’t we make full use of it instead of pussyfooting around in Westminster where we are but a voice in the wilderness. There are over 300 Tory MPs alone in Westminster, Plus all the others. The Tories alone outnumber ALL Scots MPs by five to one, and only one of the 59 is a Tory! It’s a wonder we ever get anything done at all!!!

    Reply
  12. Dave Heaney

    Mr Harmer

    You are more than welcome to emigrate or stay and prosper in a free independent Scotland.
    The taxes saved going to Edinburgh instead of westminster would be re-invested here to create a more fully employed highly skilled workforce. We have a small population but great natural resources. Just look at how much is in the coffers of the SCT for example! money which comes from Scotlands Oil fields. Scotlands riches belong to the Scottish economy we will flourish and prosper all doom and gloom merchants are free to leave but can come back on holiday bye, see ya.

    Reply
  13. Stuart Timms

    Dave Heaney’s emotional rhetoric doesn’t help his cause. He conveniently ignores the facts of our history. The United Kingdom arose from MERGER of nations in these isles, and they together created the British Empire with Scots proudly playing a prominent role in its formation and administration. So implying that Scotland is akin to a colony of England is ignorant nonsense. Indeed, Scots have always had more than their fair share of roles in Westminster government, often as Prime Minister. Would an Independent Scotland abdicate its international responsibilities that are legacies of that empire, such as, for example, defence of Falkland Islanders (many of Scottish descent) and maintenance of our seat on the UN Security Council?

    Reply
  14. ian tinkler

    Now we have the ultimate argument from an ardent supporter of Scottish Independence. To quote Mr Dave Heaney, “Scotland’s riches belong to the Scottish economy we will flourish and prosper all doom and gloom merchants are free to leave but can come back on holiday bye, see ya.” I think that idiotic frame of thinking will result in about 60% of the population of Scotland and 80% of Shetlanders leaving for climates new, if Salmond’s dreams are realized. I cannot for reasons of politeness pass further comment, I may be accused of belittling and bulling!!! I am afraid I do not suffer fools well.

    Reply
  15. Gordon Harmer

    Colin, free prescriptions and eye tests and road tolls are all sweeteners that are in place to make us want to vote for Salmond’s pipe dream. These charges will be back along with higher income tax lower pensions and other money making taxes if independence comes about.
    Colin your assumption that Westminster is naturally biased towards the country with the greatest population will revert to Holyrood being naturally biased to Scotland and the western isles and we in Shetland will Suffer. This is happening now and a perfect example is the ferry situation over the next nine weeks it will worsen if independence comes about. It has been muted in these columns that the reason for this is because we did not vote SNP and listening to Dave Heaney I am beginning to believe it.

    Dave Heaney instead of repeating your rhetoric how about answering some of the questions I have posed in my last comments. I doubt you will as you are like Alex Salmond, you are totally ignoring the problems independence will bring with it just to relive the pressure of that enormous chip on your shoulder. Dave no one will prosper in a free and independent Scotland there will be nothing left to build prosperity from. All the rhetoric from you and Salmond is reflected in the word FREE, free from the auld enemy at what ever the cost to Scotland and the Scottish people.

    Reply
  16. Dave Heaney

    Have you not noticed their is no Empire anymore or Great Britain as a small nation we would still contribute to the UN/Nato conventions just as much as any other EU country.

    Reply
  17. ian tinkler

    Mr. Heaney, please check your facts before passing comment, otherwise people may accuse you of not being honest. The facts, “The SNP has already announced that an independent Scotland would withdraw from NATO.”
    REF;:http://www.scotsman.com/news/letters/advance_warning_on_snp_defence_case_1_2072019 Somewhat at odds with yours “as a small nation we would still contribute to the UN/Nato conventions”. Dave Heaney, are you deliberately misleading or just short on knowledge?

    Reply
  18. P. Fraser

    Fascism never dies, and like the Lernaean Hydra of Greek mythology new heads appear at times of global economic crisis as we saw in the 1930s. Neo-nationalism as expressed by Salmond and embellished by some of your correspondents, and MSPs such as Joan McAlpine, is but a short step from neo-fascism.

    Since election Salmond has been picking fights with the democratically elected UK government and is now upping the anti-Westminster rhetoric purely in order to fuel the fires of neo-nationalism. Another worrying development in ‘Salmond’s Scotland’ is the shift of control of policing from the areas to the centre and closer to the hand on Scotland’s political tiller.

    Salmond is trying to sell his brand of nationalism to us in the name of better economics, better tax rates and better energy policies, yet the small country economic models he favours (Eire and Iceland) collapsed spectacularly. Somehow Salmond’s Scotland, with a thousand square miles of wind-turbines, will be able to find an export buyer for very high cost ‘green energy’ when the wind is blowing yet be able to import cheap nuclear, gas and coal when it isn’t.

    The SNP defence policy is that of leaving NATO yet he cites Norway, Sweden and Denmark as his role model for Scotland’s defences. Salmond simply cannot see the wisdom of ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ when it comes to the defence of the United Kingdom. Thankfully, like those countries, Scotland wasn’t independent in 1939 or my passport would today be written in German and bear a swastika.

    I was born in Lerwick, I consider myself British and if someone asks where I was born I say Shetland, one of the British islands. My passport gives the name of my country as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Nowhere on that passport is Scotland mentioned nor is there a picture of the Saltire. As Salmond continues to rack up the anti-UK rhetoric his persona is more akin to a cartoon character of a 1930s fascist than responsible statesman, and thnks to him, the Saltire looks more like Salmond’s swastika.

    Reply
  19. Gregor Mc Gregor

    As a new person on this site it, I can see many diff points some are good and some not so good. But I have the right to say I am Scottish and proud of it, over the years political parties have come and gone but the best has yet to come. No matter what some say now is the time to give a Scottish government our full support.

    Reply
  20. Gordon Harmer

    Well said Mr Frazer, another comparison to be made is the fact that Salmond wants the voting age for the referendum dropped to sixteen. With a bit of indoctrination and brain washing could we call these proposed new voters the Salmond youth movement. One thing for sure it shows his desperation to gain support and votes at any cost.

    Reply
  21. Charles McQueen

    I too agree with Mr Fraser. I am a Scotsman proud to be part of a United Kingdom. I just don’t trust Salmond et al because they can’t/won’t come clean about the economic realities of Independence. More unanswered questions and lack of clarity on Europe, the euro and our defence strategy. I’m not in any way anti Scottish but niether am I anti English which is what I think fuels many peoples view of independence. Finally who do you really think Salmond and is party are doing this for, the people of Scotland or to satisfy their own political and career ambitions. God knows they won’t be held accountable when it goes wrong. Long may the Union last!

    Reply
  22. Stuart Timms

    I agree with Charles. The United Kingdom is the most successful union of nations in history, with a strong common currency and international presence that punches well above its weight. Eat your heart out EU! Sovereignty is shared by the home nations and we have pooled our resources through good times and bad. The internal rivalry between us is a healthy outcome of our strong regional identities and national flags. So is it worth breaking up this successful team for the sake of short term oil wealth that happens to lie off our shores, rather than off the shores of the other home nations? I don’t think so. Let’s see another 300 years of the Union!

    Reply
  23. Dave Heaney

    Ever since we’ve had a Scottish gov they have done some of the following. Introduced free prescriptions, abolished bridge toll charges, free acc in care homes, Free university tuition
    fees, free hospital parking not bad eh?

    Reply
  24. Kathy Greaves

    When I lived abroad, I always described myself firstly as a Shetlander, then British.

    I believe the saying ‘ united we stand, divided we fall’, and have thought for a long time that the ‘English’ – i.e. the English media – were at fault for the divide amongst the British nations by always referring to England and English,except when a winning sportsman or suchlike hailed from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – then they were/are British. See Scottish or British tennis player Andy Murray for example.

    The infrastructure, the DNA of the British nations have become so entangled over the years that it will be impossible to separate them successfully.

    And governance by the UK or Scottish parliament is much preferred over Euro dominance.

    But we won’t get a vote on that either.

    Kathy Greaves

    Reply
  25. Stuart Timms

    Yes Mr Heaney, and they’ve done it through devolution within the Union. The best of both worlds! So I repeat what I say above, why break up a successful partnership?

    Reply
  26. Gordon Harmer

    Dave do you really think that these benefits will continue after independence, these are sweeteners to get gullible people like you to vote SNP. If Salmond gets his way these benefits will disappear, not only that but we will have to pay at least double what we used to. How else is he going to raise money because simply raising the base rate on income tax will not be enough to keep a bankrupt Scotland afloat.

    Reply
  27. Colin Hunter

    The money that Scotland is given yearly by Westminster is calculated under the Barnett Formula. Before Devolution, this money had to be spent in line with UK wide policy, under the direction of the Scottish office. Since the formation of the Scottish assembly at Holyrood, successive Scottish Parliaments have been able to make changes in the way this money is spent, in order to better suit the needs of the people. These changes have been gradual, and were not all done by Alex Salmond and the SNP.
    It is now generally reckoned that the Barnett Formula is out-dated, and that Scotland is actually being given more than should be the case. In fact, some years we receive more than is taken in various taxes from Scotland, and some years, less. This would indicate, to me, that the Tax burden is about right, and that only minor “tweaks” would be needed to make it better suited to the monetary requirements.
    The truth of the matter is that the UK as a whole is deep in debt and Scotland must take responsibility for it’s “share”. It would be interesting to know how much of it has actually been spent here!

    Reply
  28. Dave Heaney

    To-day belongs to Rabbie Burns I am goin to enjoy ma supper here’s some wee quote’s fur ye.

    ” Liberty in evry blow ! Let us do or die”
    ” Any society that would give up Liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”
    “Then gently scan your brother man.still gentler sister woman. Though they gang a’ Kennin’
    wrang, to step aside is human”
    ” Man’s inhumanity to Man makes countless thousands mourn”
    ” You can protect your liberty in the world by protecting the other mans freedom. You can only be free if I am free”

    ‘ For a’ that, an’ a’ that’
    Its coming yet for a’ that,
    That Man to Man the world o’er,
    Shall brother be for a’ that.

    Reply

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