17th March 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Make the right decision (Douglas Young)

Shetland’s long-standing support for the Liberal Democrats and dislike for the SNP make it one of the more challenging areas to garner support for a Yes vote as many still link a vote for one to be a vote for the other.

Of course it is not but unionist campaigns almost always try to link the two in absence of any argument in favour of Scotland remaining within the area of Westminster rule. It is the only strategy available to them. I will no longer be using the name of the No campaign but from now on they will be the Unionists or Tory, Labour, UKIP, Lib Dem Club.

There is no need to convert the die-hard no supporters, we need only concentrate on those who are unsure which way they are voting. As of today a swing of only 6.5 per cent would give a Yes result but this is not what should happen.

A landslide is the aim to allow Scotland to show its people they have done the right thing, and the rest of the world that there is a better way of doing things. There is much information out there and many of us can provide you with either the answers or where to find the answers. With information we can then make the right decision for ourselves, our country and the most important to me, for future generations.

And remember, the polls said without exception in 2011, that the SNP was going to lose. And win it did, with a landslide. Whilst here in Shetland 20 per cent was chopped off the Lib Dem vote. The party has served its purpose in giving us the referendum.

The next vote is by you. For you. And not the SNP.

Douglas Young


(Member of the SNP and Yes Scotland/Shetland)



  1. Colin Hunter

    I have heard many people slagging off Alex Salmond and the SNP when they talk about the independence referendum. It is strange that the same people do not slag off David Cameron and the tories for talking about a referendum for leaving the EU. As Douglas says, the vote is about the future of Scotland AND Shetland. There will be a Scottish parliament election in 2016 and THAT is the one that should be used to oust the SNP if that’s what you want to happen. Voting against Scottish independence in 2014 will simply serve to send a message to Westminster that the Scottish people don’t mind being ruled from afar by people who niether know nor care about them. It won’t get rid of Eck and the SNP for another two years. Not that anyone with any concience should want to. This is the chance of a lifetime. You should think long and hard about the consequences of a NO vote. Look around you at all the other countries which have become independent from Westminster since WW2. Has any one of them ever wanted to return to being ruled from England? Think on!

  2. Gordon Harmer

    Instead of your usual rhetoric Douglas, try telling us how independence will be good for Scotland but most of all good for Shetland.

    I have asked you this question time and time again both here and on the Shetland News web site. Your your lack of an answer is inconspicuous to say the least, to both me and all who read these columns.

    This is now your thread so please reveal yourself and answers please.

  3. Gordon Harmer

    Colin you have said yourself in these columns that the worst policy of Alex Salmond’s is that he wants to keep Scotland in the EU.

    This is something I agree on, as staying in or applying to join after independence would mean we are governed from Brussels nor Edinburgh.

    So a yes vote is the one that means Scottish people don’t mind being ruled from afar by people who neither know nor care about them.

    By the way how many countries have become independent of Westminster since WW2? How many of them are now dictatorships and even if the folk wanted back they would be shot for saying so. How many have wanted back but have not said because once they are independent and when it has gone belly up there is no way back.

    Neither Salmond, Sturgeon, Douglas Young or your good self can say independence will work because none of you know for sure. So why go somewhere where there is no return when it goes wrong.

    When we joined the Common Market, as was we joined a market to increase trade but now we are becoming a European State governed by Brussels. This is not what we voted to sign up to, the Union was something totally different so really no comparison and no argument.

  4. Ian Tinklert

    “Look around you at all the other countries which have become independent from Westminster since WW2. Has any one of them ever wanted to return to being ruled from England? Think on! Just look long and hard.” Which one would you like to live in Colin? Which one is now a true democracy? Which one has not had a partition or civil war? Which one is not a dictatorship or violent police state? Which one practises basic human rights where women are safe and protected by law? Great argument Colin, now answer my question. Just a point for the ignorant, they were never ruled by England, I think you perhaps mean Britain Colin.

  5. Martyn Fisher

    I have very little time for Douglas Young. However Gordon Harmer i feel you have just missed the point of what he wrote.
    A lot of people are for Independence a lot of people against, you are unlikely to change these peoples minds. I don’t blame him for not getting involved in the thread. It is only a big hook with a juicy worm, it is bait. You have made up your mind that is your right. Now both sides need to convince the undecided.
    It is pointless Yes/No trying to debate,
    Take your case to the undecided and let the best side win….
    The argument as to will Scotland be better of or not has long since left me. I don’t care, I just want Different.
    I am very sorry i am fed up with this selfish behavior what is in it for Shetland. How about what is in it for Bigton ? What is in it for the Gorbals ? what is in it for me.
    Shetland like it or not is part of Scotland. So what happens at the referendum while important for Shetland, is more about Scotland than Shetland.

  6. John Tulloch

    Do YES Shetland and/or “Better Together” support the “Our Islands, Our Future” campaign by the island councils?

    What are your policies regarding autonomy for the isles?

    We need to know.

  7. Colin Hunter

    Yes Gordon. Salmonds wish for EU Membership is the biggest fly in the ointment. I would sooner Scotland was clean and clear of both Brussels AND Westminster. However, it is just about the only SNP Policy I disagree with. Therfore we have to fight our battles one at a time. It has taken Centuries for Scotland to come back to this crossroads. All we have to do is take the right turning. Maybe then, when we are a nation once more, we can start the process to wean ourselves away from European interference. I may not see it in my lifetime, but many many people have gone to a so called better place wishing for an independent Scotland that they never saw. Bring it on. I’ll wait! The same goes for more power for Shetland. Let’s cross this bridge first, and then start campaigning for more autonomy for ourselves!

  8. Gordon Harmer

    Martyn, Douglas advocates independence he also advocates the YESNP, but he never says why.
    He has submitted many letters here with the Shetland time and on the Shetland news website encouraging people to vote yes , but he never says why we should vote yes.

    Once he gave three or four reasons why independence would be good for Shetland but put no flesh on his claims by saying why these thing will be good for us. I say why YESNP policy will be detrimental to Scotland and Shetland and that is debating.

    One great example of this is Douglas said the YESNP’s green energy policy will be good for Shetland but did not clarify by saying why. I say the YESNP’s green energy policy has failed already and the proof is there for all to see. This year Scottish wind farms have mostly been producing up to 80% less power than predicted by Salmond and Co because of the fine weather. Then I argue that the only way Salmond and the YESNP could possibly get wind production up to what they want it to be is to litter places like Shetland with turbines and interconnector cables. Then I back that claim up with they will do this as Burradale in a nearly constantly windy Shetland has probably proved to be the words most productive wind farm and Salmond knows this.

    Douglas should put his money where his mouth is and disprove that but he does not, mainly because he can’t. That Martyn is how I take my case to the undecided I don’t just make statements I back them up with facts or theories.

    You say “you don’t care, you just want different” I ask you at what cost, because if it does not work we cannot go back. Martyn if you want change don’t drag the rest of us with you into an uncertain future go live somewhere different.

  9. ian tinkler

    I have heard it all now. Colin: “Look around you at all the other countries which have become independent from Westminster since WW2.” Tell me one Colin that has maintained freedom under the law, has equal writes for men and women, avoided partition, civil war, sectarian strife and maintained a true democracy? Incidental before independence they were British and ruled by the UK, not England.

  10. John Tulloch


    Northern Islanders have had 540-odd years of Scottish administration, they’ve only had 306 years from the English, I’d say that puts Shetlanders first in the queue for autonomy.

    The 540-year track record, alas, isn’t inspiring, especially, where democracy and local autonomy are concerned; quite the reverse, indeed the only ray of sunshine for islanders during the entire period came from south of the border from an Englishman – William Ewart Gladstone – in the form of the Crofters’ Holdings(Scotland) Act, 1886.

    if Alex Salmond would stop trying to “outwit” the islanders and grasp the obvious opportunity of allowing the isles the autonomy to develop themselves as a “gateway” to Scandinavia (to the benefit of Scotland) he would bind the isles forever to Scotland and gain a large number of local votes for his independence campaign.

    Forgive the political “buzz-wordery” however that’s a “win-win situation”!

  11. Colin Hunter

    In reply to Ian Tnkler, I was thinking of countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Even India. It is true that some of the countries which have become independent have a chequered history, but that is down to the people there. That is the whole idea. It is unfortunate that some of them have the idea that the person with the biggest gun should be the boss. Fortunately, I think we, in Scotland, are now beyond that type of thinking. I’m not altogether certain about Westminster and their love of Nukes though. Nukes that they seem reluctant to base in England incedentally! Finally. If you read my post I think you’ll find that I said being ruled FROM England, not BY England. Westminster was in England the last time I looked!

  12. ian tinkler

    Colin, about time for a history lesson, since WW2! Perhaps you should check your facts before displaying such a lack of knowledge. Canada, N Z and Australia were independent nations long before WW2… With regard to India, have you heard of the cast system? Be female and take a bus ride, equality under the law, you must be joking!! With regard to Westminster, just how many Scottish MPs and Prime Ministers have sat in Westminster? I hardly think us Scots were underrepresented in the corridors of power, certainly no better or worse than say the North of England peoples or The Mainlanders or The Welsh. Anglophobia and anti-European dogma, spout on, you do argument down well, Salmond would be proud! With regard to sectarianism in Scotland, try a Celtic / Rangers match and get in the wrong stand!! As for Nuclear basses, being exclusive to Scotland, try Devonport, Scampton, Portsmouth or any other NATO, RAF or RN base. Ignorance is such bliss in the irrational and fallacious arguments The Nationalists and Yes lobby tend to use.

  13. Martyn Fisher

    So Gordon Harmer i have to leave my home where i was born, to go somewhere else. So where to England maybe. I am packing as i write (no easy thing).. Yes i will go to England and visit my masters.. However i have tried this before and they did not seem to want me called me “Haggis” and “Jock” told me to go back to Scotland… So if i go is it ok go start a campaign to have Scotland thrown out of the union…

  14. Gordon Harmer

    Well well Martyn, I can see why the English would want to banish you back to Scotland.

    “Its more about Scotland than Shetland, I don’t care, I just want Different, what’s in it for me, I am fed up”.

    Then you have the nerve to say you are fed up with this selfish behavior.

    If that is the kind of egocentric attitude you portrayed in England there is no wonder you were told to go home.

    Its definitely the reason I said you should go live somewhere different.


  15. Colin Hunter

    Oddly enough Ian, I did check my “facts” because I knew you wouldn’t be able to help yourself. It is true that these Nations were largely autonomous and self governing before that, but it may surprise some people to know that Australia was not TRULY indenendent until the Australia Acts of 3rd March 1986 came into force. Likewise with Canada, the process was long and protracted, with a milestone in November 1945 when Canada became a free voting member of the United Nations. Then in 1947 the Canadian citizenship act came into force. Before that the people had been “British Subjects”. In fact they only ceased being referred to as British subjects in their passports in 1977! Some say that Canada was not truly independent until well through the 1980s. Likewise The New Zealand Constitution Amendment (Request and Consent) Act 1947 was the point at which that countries Government were granted full legislative powers. I must admit to knowing (or even caring) very little about India and it’s vagaries, although I have no doubt that the Caste system in India existed LONG before that country became independent. I have no doubt that Scotland was fairly represented per Capita in Westminster, but when you consider that it’s neighnouring English County, Cumbria, has more MPs than does the whole of Scotland you can see what the Scots are up against, numbers wise. It won’t matter to me one bit if you think me an uneducated buffoon who is unaware of facts and history. All I know is that I have a wish to live in a Scotland which is Governed by Scots, from Edinburgh. By our people and for our people. What’s wrong with that?

  16. Martyn Fisher

    So i am not welcome in the British Isles. So banished to Forvik Isle am i then ?.. Well Gordon the Hulk Harmer. I cant take you seriously, now behave or i will set Stuart Hill on you..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_State_of_Forvik

  17. scott miller

    @John Tulloch
    Yes Shetland are on record and we have even posted here, in the Shetland Times and social media, that we support more autonomy for Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles. We believe that the only way for this to happen is through an independent Scotland.
    If Westminster had wanted Shetland to have more autonomy then they would of given it to us by now.

  18. ian tinkler

    What a load of utter rubbish Colin. You stated “ruled by Westminster” that simply was not true, a simple lie. I have made no indication as to what I regard you as, I do not know you well enough to have an opinion, but I do not accept a dishonest argument to try and justify an opinion, one which is truly subjective, such as yours. Distorting of history and truth does your argument down and discredits yourself and the Yes campaign.
    You end ” All I know is that I have a wish to live in a Scotland which is Governed by Scots, from Edinburgh. By our people and for our people. What’s wrong with that? Why not Colin, just try, “All I know is that I have a wish to live in Shetland which is Governed by Shetlanders, from Lerwick. By our people and for our people. What’s wrong with that?” Whoops sounds a bit familiar!

  19. John Tulloch


    Thanks for that. You don’t specifically say you support the “Our Islands, Our Future” campaign by the island councils or what degree of autonomy you are calling for however it puts you ahead of “Better Together” who seem to have “lost their tongues” as we used to say and on the whole, seem particularly reclusive for a political campaign group.

    The only recent thing I’ve heard from them is a scare story along the lines that an independent Scotland might not be allowed to join the Commonwealth. This was based on a statement from the Commonwealth that entry would not be automatic but would have to be approved by the members.

    The suggestion that members might not approve Scottish entry is, of course, well into the realms of fantasy.

  20. Colin Hunter

    So, at no time in the past, have any of these countries ever been governed (or ruled) by or for the benefit of the British Government in Westminster? What then was the “Commonwealth”? (read “it’s yours really but we’ll have it”). Does that sound familiar too? The difference between my dream and yours, Ian, is that mine is on offer and on the table for a free vote in September next year. Yours will never be.

  21. John

    I’ll be honest I personally don’t know much about what level of autonomy that the SIC and others want, at present. That I believe is all at early stages, so there is a lack of detail at the moment but. the nearer we get to the referendum, the more information will come to the fore regarding ‘Our Islands, Our Future’. I fully support our council with this and trust them and the other councils involved but it is a bit hard to say what I want as I don’t have the full facts at present to make a fully informed choice.

    Yes the scare story about the commonwealth made me smile a little, especially as we would still have the queen as head of state. Not to mention that she is also a major landowner in Scotland (best not mention the Crown Estates claim on the sea bed 😉 )

  22. John Robertson

    Scott, “If Westminster had wanted Shetland to have more autonomy then they would of given it to us by now” the same could be said for Hollyrood.

    The SIC have only just begun our campaign for more autonomy so in reality neither have been in a position to grant it.

    The diddle e donk who made the gaff about the commonwealth was a nobody trying to score points just as you have tried to score points with your little remark “If Westminster had wanted Shetland to have more autonomy”.

  23. ian tinkler

    Yours will never be! Shetland will never have a free vote. Honest comment at last from you Colin.good to hear the true Yes position at last.

  24. Robert Sim

    In response to Ian Tinkler’s last post to Colin Hunter, just in case anyone is misled, the only position the Yes campaign has in this referendum campaign, as I understand it, is that the voters should vote “yes” in a year’s time. Beyond that, the campaign has no position on anything, including autonomy for Shetland. It can’t have: its only raison d’etre is to affirm the case for independence. I speak as a member of no political party but as someone who did attend the launch of the local Yes campaign.

  25. Well said Robert.

  26. Gordon Harmer

    Robert, you seem to be at odds with Scott Miller on autonomy for Shetland would you like to enlarge on your statement.

    Scott, what do have to say on this as Robert seems to have thrown a spanner in the works of the Yes campaign. Unless of course there is a distinct difference between the Yes campaign on the whole and Yes Shetland.

    Scott, what John Robertson says is true. if Westminster had wanted us to have more autonomy they would have given us it by now, is a random thing to say. If Hollyrood wanted the same thing they have had chances to show this by now, their biggest chance was during the issuing of the contract for the lifeline ferry service.

    By involving the SIC they would have had input from the Shetlanders perspective and maybe we would not have controversial and unsatisfactory service we have been lumbered with by the SNP.

  27. John Tulloch

    Er,…come again, Scott?

  28. Robert Sim

    Happy to enlarge on what I said, Gordon, and to stand at least partially corrected. I have just checked the Yes Scotland website and I see that there is indeed within that a statement of support for greater powers for the various Scottish regions – but only after independence, which is the point I was trying to make. For your information, the website states the following (see http://www.yesscotland.net/undecided_centralbelt):

    “…we believe that bringing power closer to the people through independence will not stop in Edinburgh, and that with full powers to shape our own government and structures, we can ensure much more powerful communities and regional authorities – for example, through enshrining powers and rights in a written constitution.”

    There is therefore no conflict between Scott and I. More powers for Shetland indeed – but a topic to be addressed only once independence has been achieved. That is the starting point for any real and lasting change.

  29. ian tinkler

    “just in case anyone is misled, the only position the Yes campaign has in this referendum campaign, as I understand it, is that the voters should vote “yes” in a year’s time. Beyond that, the campaign has no position on anything,” Thanks for that Robert, you clarify the situation so well. Rather makes the Yes lobby look mind blowingly stupid. Yes at any cost! Yes regardless of any consequences, just have to vote yes.. How very ovine, . Talk about a load of sheep, truely frightening

  30. John Tulloch

    “Free beer tomorrow” from Robert Sim.

  31. Gordon Harmer

    Robert, you are living in cloud cuckoo land if you really believe that after independence, Scotland’s central belt will not take over from the south of England and be the centralised hub of Scotland.

    Where is all Scotland’s industry, motorways, main rail links, largest populated towns and cities, international airports with freight capacity? In the central belt, even now there is more government money being invested there than any other part of Scotland; the new Forth bridge, Glasgow / Edinburgh road and rail corridor, Prestwick air freight center.

    That does not include sports facilities for the Commonwealth games, all in Glasgow and not something that can be moved some where else. The only big project to be developed out side of the central belt is the Aberdeen bypass.

    Where is the money coming from to change this, (don’t say oil revenue as Salmond has that paying for every thing else). You really are naive if you believe what is in that link.

    I spent 22 years driving long distance all over Britain and believe me I know where the money and investments, industrial estates, etc, etc are in Scotland. To change it would cost billions and take years, Robert it will never happen.

    Goodness man, look at England. investment in the south of England never changed, look at Canary Wharf, they could have invested that kind if money elsewhere in Britain but no it stayed in London.

    Why did that happen? because it is not governments who decide where to invest it is private multi national companies who need the best infrastructure to operate.
    What ever your YESNP dreamers promise, nothing will change because all the infrastructure big business needs to expand and operate lies in the central belt.

  32. Colin Hunter

    May I just clarify that I have nothing whatsoever to do with the “Yes” campaign, other than my intention to vote yes in September next year. I was merely expressing a personal opinion that Ians desire for Shetland to become a Crown Dependency will never happen. Or at least it is highly unlikely. The vote for Scottish independence, however, will happen. It has taken many years of campaigning to get this far, and I find it is a shame that so many people are of the opinion that we “can’t make it on our own” because we’re too small. How many countries are there, with fewer people than us that seem to do quite nicely thank you? Countries that seemingly have less going for them than we ourselves do? I will say once more, that this is the chance of a lifetime, a chance many people who have long since gone to their graves dreamt about but never saw. It would be a shame if we wasted it.

  33. Robert Sim

    Ian, it is not a case of voting yes “regardless of consequences”. If you read the Yes Scotland website and in particular the section headed Firm Foundations, you will see there a detailed case made out for why an independent Scotland would in all likelihood be economically successful. That should help to reassure an undecided voter about the consequences of voting yes.

  34. Gordon Harmer

    Calls for additional powers and resources to be given to island communities, regardless of the outcome of the 2014 independence referendum, have been welcomed by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore.

    In a speech at Sabhal Mor Ostaig college on Skye, Michael Moore emphasised support for home rule within the UK and the transfer of more powers to local communities.

    Mr Moore said: “I don’t see devolution as being about the simple transfer of power from one central parliament to another.”

    “I want individuals and communities empowered too.

    “So that, where possible, decisions are taken by those directly affected by them by those who best understand the challenges they face. Power should be pushed outwards as well as downwards.

  35. ian tinkler

    Robert Sim, I thank you for your candour, ” the voters should vote “yes” in a year’s time. Beyond that, the campaign has no position on anything,” Seems to me Robert that these words of yours are very true. However, Yes Scotland website is no more than a propaganda wish list, hardly a non-partisan document and view.
    With regard to yours Colin I ask you the following question, you state “How many countries are there, with fewer people than us that seem to do quite nicely thank you?” I challenge you name a single small country about the size of Scotland which gained independence over the last hundred years or so was either not invaded and subjugated by a foreign power or has otherwise failed and become effectively bankrupt. I cannot think of any in Europe, perhaps you know better! Food for thought?

  36. John McPhail

    “In the central belt, even now there is more government money being invested there than any other part of Scotland; the new Forth bridge, Glasgow / Edinburgh road and rail corridor, Prestwick air freight center.”

    Blah Blah Blah.

    Every year over 25 million is spent providing a link to the mainland of a country most on this website continually slag off and clearly despise. £25 million for a population of 25,000. My home town has the same polulation. Boy what they would give for that amount of money. And that is just the ferry. Why does shetland foster so many new businesses. Of course the haters will focus totally on the rosey view that Shetlanders as special and more entrepreneurial (they have to be, they live on the edge), but maybe, just maybe, it’s because the council and Enterprise companies as rather good at giving out money. The amount of support given to Shetland firms would make the blood boil of those entrepreneurs in my home town who struggle to get a penny from their enterprise companies as there is no. Shetland has the highest standard of living, all subsidised and yet this lot still have the chip on the should.

    I find it tiresome. The referrence to vikings and years of oppression from Scotland and blah blah blah

    Shetland is only part of the UK because of the rest of Scotland. There is noe Shetland and Scotland. Shetland IS Scotland. An amazing and special part of it but part of an amalgam of special and amazing bits, all as special in their own way.

    To equate us with rapists on buses in India and to imply if independant we would degrade to such a level is quite frankly pitiful. It also tells us you view this country as merely a colony like all those you mention. Says it all really.

  37. Robert Sim

    Ian, you ask Colin to name “…a single small country about the size of Scotland which gained independence over the last hundred years or so was either not invaded and subjugated by a foreign power or has otherwise failed and become effectively bankrupt.” I am not sure why you bracket independence in the last hundred years or so, invasion and failure together, as one can point to Norway, which achieved independence in 1905 and is extremely successful despite its invasion during WWII.

    You also describe the Yes Scotland website as “…no more than a propaganda wish list, hardly a non-partisan document and view.” However the point of the campaign is to be partisan – to support one side of the debate. I had a look at the Better Together site and found it to be partisan too. And its arguments are based on playing on our fears about the future. Not really the way I want to see my nation develop.

  38. Gordon Harmer

    Mr McPhail, that £25 million provides a 210 mile road link to Aberdeen which we pay dearly to use. A 1.5 mile bridge over the Forth will cost in excess of £ 2.5 billion to build let alone the maintenance costs for its and the old bridge over the next years and it is free to use.

    Your home town on the mainland has thousands of miles of roads to all parts of the UK plus their upkeep, so I recon you have more than £ 25 million spent on your little community.

    If you had not noticed, what you call Scotland’s oil comes ashore on our door step and that oil needs infrastructure. Hence the reason Shetland fosters so many new businesses to provide that infrastructure to allow you to claim it as Scotland’s oil.

    That infrastructure needs materials to operate; those materials arrive here on a £ 25 million, 210 mile link to the mainland. Once again just so you can claim that it is Scotland oil and therefore Scotland’s revenue to finance independence.

    You say “Shetland Is Scotland” therefore all the money spent on Shetland is spent on Scotland so what are you mumping about, you can’t have it both ways. But then again that is indicative of the YESNP you want your cake and boy do you want to eat.

    As far as your last twisted paragraph goes I sincerely hope Ian Tinkler deals with you in his own special way.

  39. Brian Smith

    Stuart Hill and John Tulloch (Shetland Times, passim) think there is a legal solution to Shetland’s alleged problematical relationship with governments. Instead of röding on about the subject endlessly, why don’t they just take the 1468 treaty and 1469 impignoration along to the International Legal Office – and get the situation sorted out forthwith?

  40. John Tulloch

    John McPhail is right about Scotland being “an amalgam of special bits” however the rest of what he writes is, not to put too fine a point on it, tosh.

    As to whether Shetland is “part of Scotland” we need, first, to know what he means by that.

    Shetland is arguably less “part of Scotland” than Scotland is “part of England” – there is after all, 100 miles of sea between Shetland and Caithness – or if we go down the ancient language route, Scotland might be considered “part of Wales” (e.g. ABERdeen, ABERystwyth), the remaining vestige of the ancient Britannic people of “Great Britain”.

    I’m not arguing for or against Scottish independence, here, simply pointing out that we need to know what “part of Scotland means” before we make assertions about what is “part” or “not part” of what.

  41. John Robertson

    So Robert, you want to ignore peoples genuine fears about Scotland’s future as an independent nation. Because there are many genuine fears and the Better Together site highlights fears of everyday folk.

    While the Yes Scotland site ridicules peoples genuine fears but does not provide answers that will calm those fears. Both you and Douglas have a chance to calm those fears on this thread but you choose not to probably because you cant.

    You may want to go into independence with your eyes closed but some of us have our eyes wide open and can see the pitfalls ahead

  42. John Robertson

    John, you say “I find it tiresome. The reference to Vikings and years of oppression from Scotland and blah blah blah”

    As those in the Yes camp use the same old same oppression from England argument, you seem to be saying this argument being identical is also tiresome.
    Not that anyone on here has ever said such a thing.

    Thank you, its good to hear someone from your side of the fence admitting this.

  43. Bill Adams

    Well said Brian. And when the two gentlemen present these documents to the International Court , I would suggest that they also furnish such documentary evidence they can find to support their claim that these island parts of Pictland
    were ever “de jure” under Danish/Norwegian sovereignty.
    This whole debate is as far removed from real life as the arguments between Medieval scholars as to how many angels could dance on the tip of a needle.

  44. Gordon Harmer

    Mr Adams let’s get a couple things straight. First, you’re misquoting the saying in question. According to unimpeachable sources, it’s not how many angels can dance on the head of a needle, it’s how many can do it on the point of a needle — which, of course, makes more sense.

    I used to think this was just a pointless question that scholastic theologians had in the middle ages. However, I have grown to see that it is really asking what is the nature of reality. Do angels have corporeal ontology or do they have only a spiritual ontology. So let me open this up. Philosophy is generally not my thing so I am interested in basically lurking and seeing how y’all will treat it.

    Na don’t bother I am just taking the mickey, lol, smiley face.

  45. John Tulloch

    Bill Adams has awoken, Rip van Winkel-esque, from his slumbers to the thunder of Crown Estates sea beds trundling towards the SIC and asks for proof that UK/Scotland does not have “de jure” sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland and alarmed by the shaking earth demands “proof”.

    While you weren’t watching us Bill, the issue of “de jure” sovereignty was settled beyond dispute in a treaty between Norway and Scotland in 1266. To bring you up to date, from the comments thread at : http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2013/07/26/positive-atmosphere-as-yes-shetland-launches-its-campaign-on-independence


    “………. in the year of grace 1266,……..this composition and final agreement was entered into ………. concerning the ……. Islands of Mann and the Sodors, and set at rest by …..the Princes, lord Magnus the IV.,….King of Norway, …… and Lord Alexander III…..King of Scotland,…… that ….Lord Magnus, the King of Norway…… for Mann, with the other islands of the Sodors and all the ether islands of the south and west part of the great Haffue, ……Magnus the King of Norway, …….amicably and socially, conceding, resigning, and quitting claim for himself and his heirs,…… to be held and possessed by the said lord Alexander III. the King of the Scotch, and his heirs, with the lord-ships,…, etc.,…. and all rights belonging to the said islands, …………but excepting the Islands of Orcadia [Orkneys] and Hethland, which the said King of Norway, …….has… specially reserved to his own dominion,……..etc..”

    i.e. Norway RETAINED “de jure” sovereignty over the Northern Isles in the treaty which was signed on to by Scotland “on the day of Venus, next after the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul”, 1266!

    Scottish overlords isn’t the same thing as Scottish law. Norwegian language and law survived until about 1610 when it was abolished by application of “de facto” (physical power) sovereignty.


    Bill, if you want to argue about this you need to answer Gordon Donaldson’s question, in short “if Britain has de jure sovereignty from what date did it transfer from Norway/Denmark?”

  46. John Tulloch


    The reason why I keep roding on about it is because people like Steve Laughton and you keep bringing it up and roding on about it and when I look into what you say I find your pro-status quo arguments don’t stack up.

    Clive, Stephen, don’t blame me for your impending breakdowns, it’s Brian and Bill Adams who started it this time (as Steve Laughton started the last round).

    There are “twa’rtree” reasons why I don’t take it to the International Legal Office:

    1. I’m looking for fair treatment for the isles taking account of their history and culture, not to give the whole thing back to Norway, so I regard legal action
    as a last resort. The UK and Scottish governments are auditioning their “siren songs” just now and we need to see what comes out of that first, before we worry about legal action.

    2. Should legal action ultimately become necessary it would be with the support of the “islands’ people” in line with their “right to self-determination” and I would expect the SIC to pursue it; they have both a huge interest and access to the the necessary legal and other resources as well as the ability to determine the level of local support for such action.

    It should be noted however that a retired lady from Kilchrenan, in darkest Argyll, has successfully pursued a complaint to the UN that the UK (and Scottish) government(s) are in breach of the Aarhus Convention for, in short, rail-roading wind power developments through without adequate consultation so the minnows can bite back (The Independent, last week).

  47. ian tinkler

    Robert Sim, I note you mention Norway as an example of small independent state that Scotland could well follow. Has it not crossed your mind that democratic Norway would not exist today if The United Kingdom of Great Britain had not existed united in 1940? We were united and strong, able to stand up to Hitler alone in 1940. Today, Norway would and could well now be, an occupied Nazi tyranny, if it were not for The U K. An independent isolated Scotland alone 1940 could and would most probably also fallen to Nazi tyranny with England and all of Europe. Are you and the Yes campaign truly blind to the lessons of recent history or just so fervent in your ideals not to care less? To state the blindingly obvious United we stand and are strong, divided we are nothing more than tribal enclaves. Thank God for a United Kingdom, otherwise no free Norway!

  48. Gordon Harmer

    Breaking news; the latest YOUGOV poll puts support for Independence at 29% whilst support for the union has increased to 59% (with 10% unsure).

    This gives the NO campaign an impressive 30 point lead.

    This comes after a terrible summer for the Nationalists; from the revelation that “Labour for Independence” is nothing but an SNP front to the embarrassing news that YES Scotland paid a supposedly “independent” academic to write an article supporting Independence and then pretended to know nothing about it.

    It seems that yet more lies and deceit coming from YESNP Scotland is fooling nobody.


  49. Brian Smith

    John, I hope you and Stuart have made contact with the queen of Norway to make certain that she is onboard with your plan.

  50. John Tulloch


    I like that one, very droll!

    Stuart Hill, as Steward of Forvik, may be able to arrange that for himself however I’m not on his Foreign Office staff and I don’t have “a plan” of any kind. What I am is a Shetlander who enjoys debating issues of the day, especially, those relating to the well-being of my island home.

    By participating in debates I have learned a great deal and tend to comment mostly when I notice something appears not to “stack up”.

    As you keep referring to Mr Hill I assume you’re suggesting that because I commented recently on one of his colourful court appearances, I am somehow in league with him in his campaign? I am not, I was simply pointing out some “interesting comparisons” between Lord Pentland’s judgement and the (your) article in question as well as a few historical statements which appeared not to “stack up”.

    My main concern relates to the possibility that, as a result of this judgement, Lord Pentland’s questionable (IMHO) historical statements may be used as guidance in future cases despite apparent conflict, not only with your own article but also with other with fairly well-established history when he (Lord Pentland) had actually refused to allow input from historians.

    I am not and never have been a member of any political party or lobby group nor am I (politically) beholden to anyone. I do however strongly support the island councils’ “Our Islands, Our Future” initiative which has the potential not only to transform the islands but also to bring major benefits to Scotland/UK through improved relations and trade with Scandinavia, especially, important should the UK opt to leave the EU.

    Shetland’s Viking history is the core from which such benefits could flow so when I see politicians and/or lobby groups denying or falsely rubbishing it it suggests they are propelled by short-term greed and a crude desire to continue wielding power over the isles which, alas, is consistent with islanders’ experience of the past 500+ years.

  51. Robert Sim

    Ian, interesting point about Norway. I note you don’t disagree that it provides a good model for an independent Scotland. And you are right about the fact that the UK stood up to Nazi imperialism. However to claim that this is a lesson from “recent history” is frankly absurd: it was roughly 70 years ago. And I am no military expert but it seems obvious to me he nature of warfare and the possible threats to an independent Scotland have changed hugely over the decades since the end of WWII. We need to look at the reality around us now and forward as far as we reasonably can rather than back with rose-tinted spectacles.

  52. Gordon Harmer

    Robert, Ian is not looking back with any kind of glasses, he and I unlike you and those like you have learned the lessons of the past. They are there to be learned from and are extremely relevant when a nation intends to go down the independence road.

    You also have to look forward but minus the rose tinted glasses which is something else we do and you don’t. You and those like you when looking in either direction have both blind fold and blinkers firmly in place.

  53. ian tinkler

    I am sure in 1932 Norwegians felt safe and secure under the protection of The League of Nations. Pity they were so wrong, how many millions killed a few years latter. Today only a total idiot would regard the world as more safe and secure than in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Europe is on the point of financial breakdown and threatened with break up (Italy, Greece, Spain, Eire bankrupt may be UK opting out). Putin in Russia is hardly better than his Soviet forbearers, repression of minorities and censorship becoming the norm. As for the Middle East, already perhaps nuclear and nerve gas armed certainly (Civil war and extremist neo Nazi views flourishing)!!!. The UN, is absolutely as toothless as the former League of Nations. Hardly a time for the Rose Colored Spectacles. Even Salmond has accepted NATO as necessary although he appears to overlook (conveniently) NATO is nuclear armed and Faslane and Holy Loch are NATO basses, Rosyth is a nuclear base by any definition.

  54. David I Smith

    Breaking news, more and more people are making the right decision, latest poll puts YES vote ahead. http://www.newsnetscotland.com

  55. Bill Adams

    Gordon , lets get one thing straight – the tip IS the point of a needle !
    John , I think you are being deliberately obtuse when you say that Norway RETAINED “de jure” sovereignty over the Northern Isles.
    My point (sic) was to question whether or when Norway ever ACQUIRED such
    “de jure” as opposed to merely “de facto” sovereignty by fact of conquest over
    Orkney & Shetland.

  56. Gordon Harmer

    David I Smith, the survey you quote was conducted for the YESNP by PanelBase and reported by Newsnet. YouGov published the poll I related to, now out of the two polls’ I know which one I would believe.

    PanelBase is an online survey panel operated by Dipsticks Research Ltd., based in the United Kingdom. Members of PanelBase receive cash in exchange for their online survey participation, however additional bonus prize draw entries are also often provided.

    So people who take part in their survey get paid to do so, I don’t think this makes for a credible survey from a random sample of people.

    Newsnet are a pro YESNP, pro independence news media organisation. This is what “auldacquaintance” who runs a pro independence blog has to say about Newsnet.

    “Auldacquaintance” “I am not a member of any political party. I am however a strong supporter of Scots Independence. Any views which I express in this Blog are purely my own. We on the Independence side of the debate have to make sure that we report accurately, and we get the positive information out there. We have plenty to work with what we do not need is doubts being placed on our own veracity. So please can I ask Newsnet, and indeed any other pro independence site to stick to the facts, and if we make mistakes, then own up to them!”

    YouGov have proven that its opinion polls are most accurate when compared to its competitors and in particular that its online methodology is more accurate than traditional polling methods. For example, YouGov has contended that its opinion polls in recent UK elections have been consistently more accurate than traditional opinion pollsters who repeatedly overestimate the Labour vote This pattern was evident during the United Kingdom general election 2005 campaign, when most traditional polls reported Labour’s support in the range from 38 to 41%, compared with the 36% it achieved on polling day. In contrast, YouGov’s nine polls during the final three weeks of the campaign all showed Labour on 36 or 37%, although gave the most accurate forecast in their final poll before the election.

    To put it in plain British I truly believe your poll is a typical YESNP lie.

  57. John Tulloch


    You appear to working from a definition of “de jure” sovereignty with which I am unfamiliar. Perhaps you’ll be kind enough to share it with the rest of us?

  58. Bill Adams

    OK John, “de jure” sovereignty is by definition sovereignty as recognised in
    International Law . If you have difficulty in accepting that I would be most interested in hearing how you define the concept.

    And I know indeed just which opinion polls Gordon Harmer chooses to believe !
    But I note that Gordon coyly omits to mention that the YouGov poll he quotes was in fact commissioned by the Devo Plus group – not exactly a disinterested
    party !
    Interestingly the Devo Plus chairman is quoted as saying that an “unexpected”result in the findings was that “only three-quarters of Labour voters plan to vote against independence”. The fact is that there many dyed-in-the wool Labour voters who favour independence over devolution but would never
    countenance voting SNP but will be voting “Yes” next year in the Referendum.
    If Gordon had bothered to come down to Lerwick for the launch meeting of the
    “Yes Shetland” campaign he would have heard a sincere and impassioned speech by Celia Fitzgerald of “Labour for Independence” which certainly struck a cord with me and quite frankly was a much better speech than Blair Jenkins made.

  59. Brian Smith

    John: if Norway does have sovereignty de jure, an historian would like to know – and I think he has a right to know – from what point in time such sovereignty can be dated. Any thoughts?

  60. Gordon Harmer

    Bill, sorry to be pedantic but a needle has two tips but only one point.

    My point is an allusion to the theological question “How many angels can dance on the point of a needle?” Such a question cited to debunk medieval angelology in particular and scholasticism in general. Since angels are non-corporeal and do not occupy space, an infinite number of them could be present at a single “point” (point being the operative word) in space simultaneously.

    Get my point?

  61. John Tulloch


    Touche! You’ve turned the tables on me.

    No-one has so far answered either Donaldson’s original question or my paraphrasing of it in which I asked:

    “If the pawning documents held legal force for James III in 1486 (he agreed the pawning deals in 1468-9) yet, as recently claimed, they are irrelevant today …. from what point in time can such irrelevance be dated?”

    Your own question both calls for precision and is reasonable so, with a degree of trepidation, let’s see where it takes us:

    Bill Adams’ defintion is too vague so here’s a suggestion: “A de jure government is the legal, legitimate government of a state and is so recognized by other states. In contrast, a de facto government is in actual possession of authority and control of the state.”

    You are are doubtless aware that in 1965 the distinguished Shetland journalist and historian Dr TMY Manson who is credited with initiating the first Viking Congress in Shetland in 1950 (which returned to Shetland for the first time last month) said it was “absolutely essential” that an international treaty be concluded between Britain and Denmark to confirm the British right to the islands.

    Q. Why would he say that?

    A. Because he had researched the history of Shetland in depth (he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Aberdeen University for his work in 1951) and concluded that Britain/Scotland does not have de jure sovereignty, that it lies with Denmark and that the only way properly to resolve the situation is via a treaty – a legal document – which would cede sovereignty de jure from Denmark to Britain.

    Q. OK. Why Denmark, we were talking about Norway having sovereignty?

    A. Because Norway entered into the “Kalmar Union” with Denmark in 1397 under Danish monarchy so Norwegian sovereignty of the isles accrued to Denmark.

    Q. OK. But when did Norway acquire sovereignty de jure in the first place?

    The earliest possible date is debatable given that Scottish kings permitted Scottish noblemen, potential rivals, to be appointed earls of Orkney by the Norwegian king, swearing allegiance to him, suggesting they struggled to maintain control of their own country, great swathes of which were under Norwegian control.

    Whether Norway held sovereignty de jure however is clear; they did.

    If not before, Norway gained sovereignty de jure “on the day of Venus, next after the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, 1266″ when the above-mentioned treaty between King Magnus IV of Norway and King Alexander III of Scotland was signed granting Scotland undisputed sovereignty over all sources of territorial conflict except, specifically, Orkney and Shetland, sovereignty over which was “reserved” by Norway.

    By signing the treaty Scotland relinquished any claim to sovereignty de jure over Orkney and Shetland in exchange for Norway reliquishing her claim to the rest of the disputed territories. That was reinforced when the English (post-1603 Union of the Crowns) signed the Treaty of Breda in 1667, so acknowledging the validity of the Danish redemption claim and thus of the pawning documents themselves.

    Without having seen the text of Dr Manson’s actual argument it seems reasonable to speculate that the Norway/Scotland treaty of 1266, the Kalmar Union of 1397, the pawning documents of 1468-9 and the Treaty of Breda in 1667 formed the basis for his conclusion that a new treaty between Denmark and Britain was “absolutely essential” to legitimise British rule of the isles.

  62. Gordon Harmer

    Bill whatever I omitted to mention does not alter the fact that out of the two polls the one conducted by YouGov is the most credible.

    Talking about coyly omitting vital information you forgot to mention that it has been alleged that Celia Fitzgerald (SNP member till end of 2012) is part of a conspiracy to infiltrate the Labour Party to support the deception that some Labour Party members support independence.


    That Bill, is why I didn’t bother coming to listen to her (ha ha) “sincere and impassioned speech.” Her speech was the same old, no guarantees, no answers YESNP rhetoric as the rest of them.

    Had she come to tell me how much pension I will receive upon retirement and who do I claim it from i.e. Westminster or Hollyrood. If I take part time employment when retired, how much tax will I pay? Does she support lowering corporation tax to attract business to Scotland and will that mean I will pay more income tax to fill the shortfall in tax receipts? I may well have bothered to go hear her but she did not.

    Did she give a 100% guarantee that Shetland would have more autonomy if Labour were elected after independence? Did she give a 100% guarantee that when money is short after independence that a Labour government would not force the SIC to spend the cash in the charitable trust on public services? Or that Labour would not litter Shetland with wind farms to meat green energy targets, etc, etc?

    One simple answer, No she did not answer any of the above questions and a thousand other unanswered questions about what happens after independence were not answered and have not been answered by her, you or anyone else on the Yes side of the fence.

  63. Bill Adams

    Gordon, you are missing the point. A needle has two ends but only one point
    (at the sharp end). Any needle I have seen has an eye at the other end.This debate is getting increasingly pointless.

  64. Robert Sim

    I would like to return to the point of this thread by attempting to address Gordon’s fairly powerful argument above regarding the unanswered questions about life after independence which he says remain. I acknowledge the apparent strength of Gordon’s point.

    Some of the questions Gordon wants answered are economic in nature (eg regarding taxation). They are also very detailed. It seems to me to be clear, however, that no-one can answer detailed economic questions like that until after independence has actually been achieved and a new Scottish government begins to implement its policies and direct the economy. No-one has a crystal ball.

    However what is clear to everyone is the state of the present UK economy. We know how much real incomes have fallen recently. We know that living standards will continue to decline in the near future. We know that over the last thirty years the UK’s economy has been based on rewarding the very wealthy and abandoning savers, the old and the sick. We know that the UK government has tried to plug the holes in the economy by cutting funding to local areas.

    That is the economy we live with now. We do, however, have the opportunity to do better under an independent government. Since the Scottish economy is in a healthier state than the UK, it seems to me a good opportunity.

  65. ian Tinkler

    “Since the Scottish economy is in a healthier state than the UK, it seems to me a good opportunity.”
    – Robert Sim
    Wow, that selfish plundering Westminster Government does no appear to be doing Scotland down after all!!. Well said Robert, it is good to hear your observations, even if somewhat contradictory to most nationalist dogma!

  66. Gordon Harmer

    Well said Ian. Robert if no one has a crystal ball why is Alex Salmond promising a utopia where Scotland will be a land of milk and honey?

    I ask my questions because I want to know what what facts lie behind his promises or should I call them empty promises after what you have just said.

    Robert that is twice in one comment that you have actually disproved the YESNP’s own rhetoric.

  67. Robert Sim

    Just a footnote, with Ian’s comment in mind, that the facts about the relative health of the Scottish economy are quite clear and can be read here – scroll down to the section on Recent Scottish Economic Developments: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Economy/state-economy/latestSofE

  68. Gordon Harmer

    “It seems to me to be clear, however, that no-one can answer detailed economic questions like that until after independence has actually been achieved and a new Scottish government begins to implement its policies and direct the economy. No-one has a crystal ball.”

    So the YESNP are going into this with their Eyes firmly shut Robert! You have to remember that once Scotland is independent there is no vote to get out of it, when it goes belly up. That is why those questions and many more need answering.

    In a general election you would not vote for a party with no manifesto, think about it.

  69. Gordon Harmer

    New ‘super poll’ shows biggest majority yet of Scots against leaving UK and that independence is ‘wrong priority’

    A majority of Scottish voters are opposed to Alex Salmond’s quest for independence, with most believing it is the wrong priority.

    The three polls published on Monday include a “super poll” of 10,000 voters earlier this year that showed just a quarter of voters supported independence with 65% against, while a second survey found only 36% felt the referendum was the right priority for the Scottish government.

    That finding is the largest majority against leaving the UK detected in opinion polling so far, and the largest sample yet surveyed. It also found 20% of SNP voters opposed independence, with 14% of Labour voters in favour.

    Asked what they thought the Scottish government’s top priority should be, more than 40% of voters questioned last month believed the economy and unemployment should be top, with independence in fifth place on 3% support, behind improving the NHS, improving schools and welfare reform.

    In a further setback for Salmond, the super poll recorded his first negative popularity rating. While a very large majority of voters knew of him and had an opinion about him compared with other Scottish party leaders, 49% of voters had an unfavourable view against 45% favourable.

    \this poll reinforces voters complaints that Salmond’s party had put Scotland on pause while they focus on breaking up Britain. It’s time for Alex Salmond to stop putting the referendum first and Scotland second. Alex Salmond is increasingly out of touch with Scots who want government to focus on getting our economy growing, creating jobs and fixing our NHS and education.


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