Independence best for fishing sector, says Sturgeon

44 comments, , by , in Headlines, News

The Deputy First Minister has insisted Shetland’s fishing sector will be in safer hands post-referendum if Scotland gains its independence.

Nicola Sturgeon criticised consecutive Westminster governments for branding the industry as “expendable” following her arrival in the isles today, just over three weeks ahead of the vote.

Ms Sturgeon told of the “frustrations” experienced by Scottish fishing minister Richard Lochhead in his attempts to secure an adequate deal for fishermen at Brussels.

The Glasgow MSP also outlined what she described as “very real risks” of remaining in the union, and the possibility of being taken out of the EU in a future UK vote.

Her comments follow recent fears that Scotland may be left out of the EU in the event of a yes vote on 18th September.

Pro-Union fishing leaders have recently outlined concerns a derogation protecting the UK share of the EU total allowable catch in commonly-caught species such as haddock, whiting, cod and herring, will no longer apply to Scotland if a yes vote is returned.

They have also been irked by a failure from Mr Lochhead to visit the isles and hear directly from local fishermen – something Westminster has achieved with separate visits from UK fisheries minister George Eustice and, even, Prime Minister David Cameron.

“Richard [Lochhead] spends all of his time engaging with fishing, farming interests and that includes the fishing industry in Shetland,” Ms Sturgeon told The Shetland Times.

“We’re determined … that engagement gets stronger, and I’m sure it won’t be long before you see Richard here again, engaging the way he does with the industry.

“The fishing industry is of fundamental importance to the Scottish economy, much more so than it is to the UK economy as a whole – which is one of the reasons we believe so strongly that, when it comes to representation in Europe for example, we’re going to get a better deal for the industries.”

Ms Sturgeon insisted there was a lot of support in the fishing industry for independence.

“Where the interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK coincide – if we become an independent country within Europe – then it strikes me that is only to our benefit, because instead of having one member state arguing for a particular point of view, you’ll have two member states.

“But where the added benefit for Scotland comes is where our interests don’t co-incide, and we then have the ability to make sure our voice is heard in a way that it’s not heard just now.

“Westminster governments down the decades have been known to describe our fishing industry as ‘expendable’ in terms of the bigger picture within Europe. I don’t think any Scottish government, of any colour, would ever see the fishing industry in that way.”

Ms Sturgeon pledged to listen to concerns felt locally that the recent ban on discards was too stringent given the rich diversity of fish in waters around the isles.

She added: “Part of the reason I’m here today … is to hear people’s views on the things that we, as a government, need to be responding to.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor is a reporter at The Shetland Times

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44 comments

  1. joe johnson

    Im still voting no Ms Sturgeon.

    Reply
  2. Bob Gardiner

    Beware this woman, she has her sights set on Shetland’s wealth:

    “Shetland is on the cusp of a “second oil boom”, the deputy first minister has predicted during a visit to the islands. Nicola Sturgeon said Shetland had “shown the rest of Scotland the way” by setting up an oil fund in 1976″

    The SNP are desperate to get their hands on it. You are warned.

    Reply
    • don mckenzie

      well said bob gardiner your oil fund that was set up in 1976 was for the benefit of people of the shetland isles and whats in the pot has nothing to do with anyone outside the shetland isles dont let anybody take over your oil gas and fishing industries this is the future of your children and grandchildren dont lose them

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Good point.

        Don’t anyone forget the Scottish government wanted the SIC to use its oil reserves to make up the shortfall caused by them seizing the SIC’s housing support grant.

        This was money paid by Westminster to compensate for the SIC’s oil boom housing debt, taken on at Westminster’s request to speed up the oil developments.

        “Wicked Westminster” gave the SIC £10 million and ironically, are still paying the housing money to Holyrood, equivalent to having the income from the SIC’s £40 million invested but now going into Holyrood’s coffers.

      • Robert Duncan

        What’s in the pot would continue to have nothing to do with any other authority. That is unaffected by independence.

    • Robert Duncan

      This is not a logical comment. Do you think the UK government is any less interested in oil wealth?

      Reply
    • Sean MacDonald

      Mr. Gardiner. I’m sure you know the mechanics of how the fund works though I’m not equally sure you understand who owns the rights to the seabed and by extension the oil. We can agree that the oil is not Nicola Sturgeon’s, or the SNP’s, but I’m curious as to who you think it does belong to now and who it would belong to in an independent Scotland.

      There are also alternatives to landing in Shetland. Obscenely expensive and logistically retarded alternatives, sure, but just how big do you think that hand of yours is? Do you think that, should these finds prove to be as lucrative as all of the data leaking out implies, Shetland will be allowed to become the Monaco of the northern extremities while the rest of the country continues to try and hang onto the first rung on the poverty ladder?

      The SNP are desperate for a boom like everybody else in Scotland, Mr. Gardiner. It would benefit the entire country and it would benefit Shetland disproportionately as it has done for decades. No one has complained about that to the best of my knowledge. Equally, no one is saying that there aren’t issues – including hardship issues – that need to be addressed in Shetland (or some other less fortunate islands).

      Of course, if it stays in Westminster’s hands then I’m sure they’ll get over their initial disappointment in discovering the new boom before reluctantly getting down to the business of dividing it up equally between all Shetland islanders. To hell with everyone else and away with those major infrastructure programs we used to fund with all this stuff. This would surely be all about ensuring that the UK holds onto the fine people of Shetland no matter the cost.

      As to your own oil fund, I’m aware that there’s been some accusations that the Gov. has tried to force you to dip into it by withholding funds allocated for other expenditure and I agree with Mr. McKenzie’ sentiments – what’s in the pot is yours and you shouldn’t be blackmailed into spending it to cover government shortfalls. However, if you think that you’ll be getting the same deal (from either government) once production really moves up a few gears then I think you’ve had it, I’m afraid, no matter what Mr. Cameron’s promised you. You’re in a convenient location from where it’s easy to support field development and production but there are no nodding donkeys on Shetland I’ve seen – a lot of wind turbines but no oil in the ground beneath them.

      Reply
      • Ali Inkster

        And now we have Sean McDonald expert on oil as well as fishing telling us that we will just have to accept whatever crumbs Edinburgh decides to throw us, because it is Edinburgh that has our best interests at heart when using our resources as a bargaining chip. BETTER AFF CLEAR O DA LOT O DEM.

      • Laurence Paton

        If Shetland Islands became an independant “British” sovereign nation then we would be entitled to our EEZ the same as every other country
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EEZ.
        The same status as the Falkland Islands . Why not ?
        “Under the 1985 constitution the Falkland Islands ”
        “Effectively under this constitution, the Falkland Islands are self-governing with the exception of foreign policy”
        “With the establishment of the FICZ, the Falklands Fisheries Department issued licences that enable foreign vessels to fish in Falklands waters. Initially there were seven classes of licence, but as of the 2009 season, this was increased to ten classes of licence. Each class of licence has its own characteristics – species or combination of species that may be taken, net sizes that may be used and seasons when the licence is valid. The main fishing areas are in waters that are up to 200 metres (660 ft) deep with principal concentrations close to the confluence of the FOCZ, FICZ and EEZ to the north west of the Islands and also on the Burwood Bank – a shallow water to the south of the Islands.[30] Initially licences were issued on a total allowable effort (TAE) but in 2007, the toothfish longline fishery became the first fishery in the Falkland Islands to be issued on a total allowable catch (TAC) basis.[30] Apart from the Islander’s own fleet, the principal fishing fleets come from Spain, Korea and Taiwan. When the Falkland Islands first opened up her waters, the Polish fishing fleet had a presence as did the Japanese, but the Poles stopped fishing in the area in the mid-1990s and the Japanese in the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century.[30] By 2002 the license revenue was so great that the island government had no debt and had built up more than £80 million in savings”

  3. John Tulloch

    If, as Ms Sturgeon claims, the fishing industry will be better served by an independent Scotland that joins the EU, why are Iceland and Faroe not in the EU?

    Wouldn’t the Shetland fishing industry benefit most by getting out of the EU, with Faroese-style autonomy?

    Reply
    • Laurence Paton

      Well said John ,
      The SNP are no different from that other party the liblabcon, all determined to keep their snouts in the EU trough regardless.
      This independance campaign is a complete farce.
      Vote yes to become a smaller province of an undemocratic EU.

      Reply
    • Sean MacDonald

      Are you implying an exit alongside the UK after they hold an in-out referendum? It’s hard to see how that wouldn’t benefit the fishing industry, but at what cost?

      The Faroes also receive a substantial direct subsidy from Denmark.

      It’s a perfectly valid line of reasoning I suppose but would it be the best outcome overall?

      Reply
      • Ali Inkster

        Brussels, Westminster, Edinburgh all have one thing in common, none of them give a flying duck for the people of Shetland only how they can carve up our resources for their own ends. BETTER AFF CLEAR O DA LOT O DEM.

      • Brian Smith

        How’s da petition,. Ali?

      • Ali Inkster

        I don’t see dy name on it Brian, good job as I would worry about my sanity f du wis ta agree we me.

  4. David McNair

    It would be helpful if Ms Sturgeon were asked to supply before the date of the referendum the occasions and names of individual UK government representatives who used the word “expendable”.

    Reply
  5. Neil Anderson

    Its a Yes for me , Shetlands oil fund will continue , the rest of Scotland will be much better off as an independent country.

    Its fear and the the thought of change that stopping the no voters saying yes !

    Reply
    • John Thomson

      Fear and the thought of change aren’t the reasons many folk are voting no but if it helps you rationalise that others choose to disagree then carry on. I can’t wait till Sept 18th because which ever way it goes it will be a democratically made decision by a majority of the country. However if as most polls show it will be a NO then can we really expect the Yes campaigners to accept that outcome? Sadly I suspect not.

      Reply
      • Robert Duncan

        Given that even conservative estimates show 40% of the electorate back independence, and that support is larger still in younger demographics, it’s not an issue that is just going to disappear. Most supporters of independence will, I am sure, accept the result of this vote. I am equally sure they will campaign for another.

      • John Tulloch

        Robert,

        Since the pawning episodes of 1491-2 the only non-local politicians who’ve done anything significantly beneficial for the isles have been the English king, Charles II, who created the Crown Dependency which, sadly, fell by the wayside due to corrupt Scottish politicking during the Union of the Parliaments, 1707, and English Liberal William Gladstone who passed the Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1886, which freed the crofters from the tyranny of the Scottish lairds.

        Tavish Scott and Alistair Carmichael are wining and dining on Gladstone’s actions to this day.

      • Brian Smith

        John Tulloch’s latest shows how dangerous it is to immerse yourself in the Stuart Hill school of Shetland history.

        1. Charles II’s acts in 1669 were about removing Orkney and Shetland from the Earl of Morton, and installing his own rent-collectors – nothing at all to do with creating a beneficial ‘crown dependency’. A good argument could be made that the period 1669-1707 was one of the most miserable in the islands’ history.

        2. The Crofters Act freed Shetland’s crofters from the tyranny of Shetland landlords, not Scots ones.

        3. Goodness knows what the ‘pawning episodes of 1491-2′ might have been.

      • Robert Duncan

        John, I am not clear on your point or its relevance to my own. I don’t particularly care which politicans did best by Shetland several lifetimes before my own, I care about which will serve it best in the lifetimes to follow. As things stand, I’m far from convinced that is the UK government and increasingly convinced a Yes vote is the best of realistic options.

      • John Tulloch

        Thanks for the date correction to my inadvertent error, Brian. Of course, it should have been “….the pawning episodes of1468/69″!

        I was just wanting you to feel a bit better after the Radio Shetland independence debate (What is “Plan B”, by the way?).

        Perhaps, you’ll also enlighten us as to how the “Shetland landlords” you refer to above got their land?

        If Charles II only wanted to install his own rent collectors in Orkney and Shetland, why was Queen Anne so willing to give it back to the Earl of Morton?

        Had Charles II’s Crown Dependency survived the corrupt dealings of the Scottish parliament during the Union of the Parliaments period, Shetland would be in a much better position than it is, today, and we would have been spared the embarrassment of “Our Islands, Our Flop”.

        Channel Islands, Isle of Man – how would we be placed now if we had the same self-governing status as those Islands?

      • John Tulloch

        Thanks, Robert.

        The point was simply that young people often have beliefs that they don’t subscribe to in later years (thank goodness I’ve changed, I was supporting the SNP when I was 18-20) and that, even in these days of wall-to-wall spin, the effects of Gladstone’s Cofters’ Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1886, are still wired into Shetlanders” political genes.

        My granny lived with us while I was growing up and her parents were freed by Gladstone, just five years before she was born. So it isn’t that long ago.

        Her story was that a chain of bonfires was lit in succession, on hilltops, to convey the news of the Act’s passing to the isles, such was its importance.

      • Robert Duncan

        It is a fair point that folk become more conservative (small c) with age, but I don’t think the majority of young folk in Shetland are even aware of the 1886 Act, let alone influenced by it in their political ideologies.

        I would have to go back six generations to find a direct relative that was even school aged at the time of its passing.

      • John Tulloch

        I know what you mean, Robert, and I don’t want to argue for its own sake, not least, because the Gladstone thing is mainly of interest to crofting counties, especially, Shetland.

        You might always have found a higher level of support for nationalism among younger people, especially, with the SNP’s purported left wing leaning and as we get older we learn more, as well as experiencing the practicalities of life, not to mention becoming more cynical about politicians and their grand “bandwagon”wheezes for advancing their own careers and getting themselves into the history books.

        I know they aren’t all like that, by any means, but your Salmonds, Blairs, Millibands and Gores are at the top of the list, throw in “Husky Dave” Cameron, too, if you like.

  6. Hansen Black

    More negativity and fantasy from the SNP. In all my years attending talks in London and Brussels I have never heard anybody describe the fishing industry as ‘expendable’. In fact the SNP were allied to the Greens within the European Parliament and were key drivers in agreeing an unworkable discard policy.

    The derogation to the CFP negotiated by the UK is known as Hague Preference. The Hague Preference allows certain member states to receive additional quota in recognition of socio-economic vulnerability, when quota levels falls below certain trigger points. The UK and Ireland have been invoking this for years. If Scotland votes Yes it will have to reapply for entry to the EU and this derogation will fall for any new entrant – the EU have been trying to get rid of it for years. However, the UK will still have access to the derogation and be able to invoke Hague Preference therefore gaining additional shares of the quota from others. This is a very worrying situation where the UK will be able to effectively take quota of key stocks from Scotland and others for the benefit of the UK industry. Please remember that a Yes vote will make Scotland a competitor to the UK – not a partner in a Union and the UK will have to negotiate on behalf of its industry which has very different needs to that of the Scottish industry.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Very interesting comment.

      Discard bans and wind farms – from the SNP and the Greens.

      All interested in the fishing, please note this and remember it on 18th September!

      Reply
    • Sean MacDonald

      “UK will have to negotiate on behalf of its industry which has very different needs to that of the Scottish industry.”

      The UK economy in general (and London in particular) has very different needs to that of the Scottish economy, Mr. Black. That’s been one of the key drivers of this independence referendum.

      I suppose the question comes down to whether or not you feel local fishing interests have been well served by the UK Gov. and will continue to be well served. Would Scottish fishing rights be as high a priority to an/any independent Scottish Gov. as they are to a Westminster Gov.? I know what the arithmetic would say but given your expert knowledge in this area there may be more to it that you could elaborate upon for the rest of us?

      Have Scottish fishermen been well served? Could a Scottish Gov. with a greater stake of its economy on the line take a stronger approach to negotiations and, equally as important, would it have strong cards to play?

      p.s. the questions are generalised. I’m not voting for the SNP on September 18th and I don’t know anyone else who is.

      Reply
  7. Kathy Greaves

    The headline should be ‘Independence best for Sturgeon’, although, being a pedant, I think it should read ‘ Independence better for Sturgeon’.

    Shetland is the SNP’s honey pot. Oil, fishing, wind farms. What about the people.

    I’m voting NO, thanks.

    Kathy Greaves

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      Kathy, I note in your letter elsewhere, “Different Budgets”, you question how much the visits of Salmond and Sturgeon cost the SIC.

      I’m not sure which Salmond visit you refer to, but Sturgeon’s visit was organised by a voluntary pro-independence group (Women for Independence) and of no expense to the Council. A rather more drastic case of Different Budgets!

      Reply
      • Ali Inkster

        So sturgeons trip here won’t be appearing on her expenses claim then.

  8. Peter Lyon

    I arrived at this commentary from a link in the Daily Telegraph comments on a Scottish independence related story. I must say the level of civility in this section is a pleasure to read in comparison to the bile displayed by both sides of the argument in the Telegraph.
    Best Wishes.

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      I’d say all three sides where the Telegraph is concerned, given the nasty tone of so many of their news articles!

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Yes, look at the poor MPs having to suffer all that poisonous venom about their meagre expense claims!

        :-)

  9. Sean MacDonald

    http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_e.pdf

    Suggested reading since it is not, and never will be (unless we live in some kind of bubble in which international law doesn’t apply), “Shetland’s Oil”. Shetland has some huge cards to play, however, in terms of servicing the industry and has done well from this in the past. It could do even better in the future.

    The question Shetlanders’ should ask yourselves is, “who/what will give you the best deal for our community?” An SNP or other independent government in Edinburgh? Or an independent Shetland government? The latter would still have no oil but would probably remain in a strong position to bargain in other areas where cooperation was needed by the Scottish Gov. – the question is, is Shetland’s position stronger as part of Scotland or as an independent country? And to take that line further, could Shetland become entirely self-sufficient off the back of any revenues it made or would it need outside assistance to maintain services? On what terms would this assistance be wrought? Would an Edinburgh government have alternatives to Shetland in terms of moving their forward operations shore base for the WoS area of operations, sidelining the island completely? Finally, there’s the option of joining the rUK. Assuming for a moment that this was feasible (and it isn’t, for a host of political reasons, not least in terms of how UNCLOS would be applied but also because it would look and smell too much like an “annexation” but let’s run with it anyway), is there a feeling that the UK would offer a better settlement than Edinburgh and, more importantly, honour it?

    We’ve listened for months as the establishment press and the No parties have let it be implied that it isn’t Scotland’s oil anyway; or that it is but it could be divided up on a per-capita basis as opposed to geographical (rendered nonsense by the legal position linked in this post but our media are happy to keep up the pre tense anyway).

    Then we were told that it was too volatile and the challenges of moving from a good year to a fantastic year back to, say, only a great year would prove too much for us to manage in our small country. 10-15% of GDP is a fairly large number and I suppose that even though this is essentially a bonus and our GDP per capita is still on par with the rUK even without it (Financial Times, S&P, Dominic Frisby, a few Nobel laureates not worth mentioning) the worry is more that since we might not have our own central bank we’d have no where to put all this bonus money if we couldn’t find things to spend it on (because oil funds don’t work in the two major oil producing countries that don’t have them and we’re one of the two by default). We’d probably end up burning it all to try and solve that problem we have at the moment of our elderly people dying because they can’t afford to heat their homes. Some believe that best way to deal with this volatility is to split the money over a population of 60m rather than 5m and then you barely notice it. Or just fritter it away on major infra-structure projects in the South-East. Either way, the problem of figuring out what to do with these ridiculous sums of money is solved and we don’t have to set up an oil fund that couldn’t work like it does everywhere else.

    If only we were as big, clever, and as rich as Norway. They manage it with oil upwards of 20% of their GDP on the back of a much less diverse economy but we probably just have to accept that Norwegians are better than us (as someone who worked in a management role in Norway and elsewhere in Scandinavia for several years, I didn’t notice this at the time but in fairness I was distracted by all the working infrastructure, fantastic public services, and the increased disposable income I enjoyed in my new job – same as my old job back home – despite paying over 50% of my entire income in tax.

    Perhaps London do know best and would do what’s best for Shetland. Who’s to say they wouldn’t just hand over all of the business of collecting and spending oil revenues to the people of Shetland directly? It’s been known through the ages, after all, that Shetland is the “Special Daughter” of London and as such shouldn’t be treated with the same disdain as the rest of us Scots. Westminster’s altruism in this area is well established, I’ve heard it said, so what have they offered so far and how does it compare to the prospectus put forward by the Scottish Government? I’m betting there are some clear offers on the table that I haven’t heard about yet, many too good to be true – another case of the MSM deliberately sitting on good news stories from BT, I suppose. Can you give us some hints? I’d love to hear about them!

    Anyway, I digress. Since it looks apparent that Scotland will soon become an independent country and our brethren in Shetland have recently inclined to us that they are British first, Norwegian second, Shetlanders’ third, and Scots nth – apologies if I’m misinterpreting anything but I’m basing my interpretation entirely on all of the major articles I’ve read of late in the Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Telegraph etc. or I should say entirely on the opinions of Mr. Carmichael and Mr. Scott (he speaks for you too, right?) – I have only one favour to ask…

    We often hear talk of how Scotland could act as a beacon of encouragement, signalling reformers in England to raise support for their own reform agendas while we uphold ourselves as the exemplary nation. Putting that piffle to one side, it’s become clear to me now that Shetland should instead act as a beacon to Scotland and show us how, as part of the UK, a fair and equitable government representative of all of it’s internal demographies ensures that all parts of the country get a fair deal. I’m sure it would only be a matter of time before Scotland would become the first country in history to come crying with its begging bowl to the doorstep of Westminster.

    Note: I have 20 years in the offshore oil and gas industry. Having studied engineering in Aberdeen, I went on to work in offshore and then corporate HQ operations before spending several years in a compliance role in which one of my main responsibilities was to work with shelf authorities (continental, flag etc. so in UKCS outfits like DECC). I’ve worked on every continent on Earth with the exception of Antarctica but the bulk of my career has been spent in the North Sea (UK, Norway, Denmark). At the moment, I’m part of a team working on enhanced recovery projects that will have applicability in the WoS and beyond. It is Scotland’s oil – of that there is no legal doubt – but one thing we can do is try to ensure the people of Shetland have more to show for their contribution than say, the people of Aberdeen have been given over the past 30 years. If the people of Shetland think you can do better with London then all power to you but, if that’s the case, why do you think there’s been nary a peep about what’s been happening up your end?

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      nowhere in da linked article does it say we would be an enclave in scottish waters sean

      Reply
  10. David Spence

    It would be great if the SIC could use their powers to give the islands far greater powers, and to use these powers to benefit the islands instead of most of the benefits going straight to Westminster.

    I know many people will say ‘ the islands have benefited immensely as a consequence of the greater wealth oil has brought to the islands ‘……….I would say ‘ yes, the islands have benefited ‘ but most of that benefit has been due to Taxes being paid rather than the small contribution oil has made to the islands.

    Practically every aspect of these improvements have been the result of the SIC’s budgets being increased to improve the infrastructure(s) (schools, housing, roads, ferries etc etc) within the islands. I believe as a consequence of this extra wealth the islands have had, the Thatcher Government (yes, the vile Tories) tried to force the SIC to use its oil revenue funds for Local Authority services by cutting the budgets for the SIC in such a way it invoked the SIC having to do restructuring on more than one occasion to prevent it being forced to tap into its own funds.

    In short, if Scotland does become independent, I sincerely hope the SIC use this opportunity (excluding the feeble attempt by the OIOF campaign) to gain greater powers for the islands, and an even better opportunity to decide its own future just like various other islands.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      David,

      Didn’t the Scottish SNP government also try to force the SIC to deplete its reserves (oil money) to fund local services when they seized the SIC’s housing support grant, paid by Westminster, annually, to compensate for the £40 million invested by the SIC to expedite the 1970s oil boom?

      Money which was paid, unfailingly, by Westminster governments, including the Thatcher and other Tory administrations, until the creation of the Scottish parliament, when it was sent, in good faith, via Holyrood.

      The housing support grant money is still being paid to Holyrood, by Westminster.

      The SNP decided to “huff” that money for the purpose of “sweeteners” for their referendum campaign and Westminster generously put up £10 million, leaving the SIC, effectively, £30 million out of pocket.

      These are the folks who gave OIOF nothing and on whom Brian Smith and Jonathan Wills are depending on to realise their fantasy of establishing “Little Moscow” in Edinburgh.

      To coin a phrase, “Caveat elector”!

      Reply
  11. Stewart Mac

    John,

    and which of those Governments which “unfailingly” made the payments was it exactly that reneged on the agreement to pay off the debt in its entirety? Do remind us please.

    Caveat elector indeed

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Stewart,

      None of them has repaid the debt but, as long as the interest was covered, the SIC was never out of pocket. That said the present Tory-Liberal coalition, “let them be the Devil, himself,” put up £10 million when matters came to a head, recently.

      The interest is still being paid to Holyrood, who decided they were “gaun tae huff it.”

      Ideally, Westminster would cut the money to Holyrood and repay the rest of the debt incurred on their behalf by SIC.

      The biggest shysters are the ones in Holyrood.

      Reply
  12. Charles L. Gallagher

    Sorry John Westminster asked for the expenditure and promised to repay it. It was Westminster who over the years have reaped the profits but have reneged yet again from a promise made. So do not blame Holy Rood and given that your Lib/Dem MSP who was in Government for eight years and your Lib/Dem MP who is in coalition have done hee-haw until the Lib/Dems were out of Government in Scotland before they made an issue out of it. So if you want to mouth off at anyone start with Tavish and Alistair for that is where your ire should be directed.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Alas, no. As I’ve said above, Westminster paid the SIC money to cover the interest in the debt which was taken out at their request. This money was paid as “housing support grant” and has been and is still being paid, all along.

      The problem began with the creation of the Scottish parliament because Westminster started paying the money , in good faith, via Holyrood. There were no problems with this arrangement until last year when the SNP Scottish government decided to keep the SIC’s interest money for themselves to use as “sweeteners” for their referendum campaign.

      Westminster are still paying the interest cover to Holyrood and Alistair Carmichael has negotiated a £10 million payment from Westminster, leaving the SIC, effectively, £30 million out of pocket.

      Where I do agree with you is that Westminster should repay the remainder of the outstanding debt, however, they should stop paying the interest cover money to Holyrood, who have “pulled a fast one.”

      Why any Shetland voter would entrust their future to a crowd who behave like that is beyond me.

      Reply
  13. Gordon Harmer

    The evidence is there to be read Westminster gave Holyrood money to give to the SIC which payed the interest on the money owed. Holyrood kept the money and probably spent it in the central belt because that is what you do when you want to create a fairer society.

    The next step under independence to create a fairer society will probably be to stop all payments to the SIC and make them use up the trust fund because that will be fairer to those who live in the central belt.

    Just to make a final point; to mouth off = To declare in a pompous manner; declaim: mouthing his opinions of the candidates. To utter without conviction, facts or understanding.
    Of the two statements above Johns is factual full of conviction and not at all pompous.

    Reply

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