18th September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Don’t vote SNP (Graham Johnston)

Sometimes, maybe not often, politics is too important to leave to the professionals and the deeply unrepresentative minority of party activists and campaigners.

The voters of Scotland, and Shetland in particular, recognised just such a moment in the referendum last year, and turned out in huge numbers to engage with the issue and to vote to firmly reject the divisive calls for Scottish independence and the dangerous uncertainty that would have caused.

I contend that the UK General Election of May 2015 is another vital political moment, also deserving all our attention and participation.

The central issue of this election, the democratic government of the UK in accordance with the will of the vast majority of its citizens, is of such great importance that all the sound and fury around individual policy differences needs to be put in its proper, lesser, place.

The little Englanders of Ukip and the little Scotlanders of the SNP threaten to wreck the proper government of the UK and use their tiny minority position in a hung parliament to impose extreme policies which the vast majority will reject in the election.

The SNP, in particular, have no role to play at Westminster other than to disrupt the UK and pursue their rejected aim of Scottish independence. They claim otherwise, but deep down everyone knows this to be the essential truth.

There are many problems in Shetland, Scotland, the UK, Europe and the world in need of serious attention. Poverty, climate change, inequality, the dysfunctional world financial system, terrorism, over-mighty and unaccountable multinational companies and institutions, are all issues crying out for serious attention.

But greater human division, and a real dividing line from the Solway to the Tweed between England and Scotland, are the answers to none of these problems. On the contrary, breaking up the UK would be a major problem in its own right, and a terrible example in a dangerous world, where nationalism and other -isms are causing real distress in many places.

The valid answers to all these issues, and others I haven’t mentioned which are no doubt important to you, lie somewhere on the political spectrum which comprises the social democratic, liberal and conservative philosophies.

These cover the views of the huge majority of UK citizens. If you don’t think the parties which represent those political views are currently making a good job of doing so (and there is definitely a case to answer) then get involved in changing those parties.

But don’t, whatever you do, think that giving the UK parties a bloody nose in the UK General Election is a good idea. What that means is don’t vote Ukip, and in our part of the world it especially means don’t vote SNP. Such an action will only open the door to political chaos and disruption, the outcome of which is uncertain and potentially very dangerous.

In Germany in November 1932 the electorate decided to give the political establishment a bloody nose when 33 per cent voted for their nationalists. Within three months that led to a Nazi dictatorship, and within a few years that led to a bloody nose for everyone between the north of Norway and the south of New Zealand.

So the conclusion has to be that we shouldn’t play with political fire in the UK General Election. Vote for the UK party that most closely reflects your views (and get involved if they don’t adequately do so) and don’t vote SNP.

Graham Johnston
69 Gilbertson Road, Lerwick

113 comments

  1. Robin Macleod

    What is actually more dangerous for the people of Shetland and indeed Scotland and the wider world, is people like you writing over the top, utter drivel like the above

    To associate the Snp to the Nazi’s is to treat your reader like an idiot, who would believe that 1930s Germany has ANY relevance to the 2015 political set up of these isles and is a mere cheap attempt at using base level scare tactics to talk down the biggest and fastest growing party in Scotland

    The SNP are so popular these days, and indeed the true voice of the Scottish people, that Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives have to resort to peddling nonsense rhetoric like this or downright lies (yesterdays Telegraph) to maintain any chance at winning a seat in this country. I wasn’t an Snp voter at the last election, but I am now, and that is where my vote will lie for Shetland in May

    You talked of “poverty and inequality”, the snp seem to be the only party that care for these things as the want to break free from the austerity measures all three of the others voted for and as for “the dysfunctional world financial system” you mention, Labour and the Conservatives are complicit in all it’s failures over the last few years and the Lib dems coalition with the conservatives show they are no different. Vote change and accountability at Westminster with the snp, not fear politics and the terrible ideology this article seems to want to protect

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Any plans for regaling us with your articulate opinions in the Shetland Times ‘Readers’Views’, at all?

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        All in good time John, I get the impression you’re getting rather excited at the prospect?… am I wrong? 🙂

      • John Tulloch

        Are you Robin MacLeod, as well as Robin Stevenson then?

        Norman Howell?

        Any others?

  2. Mark Ryan Smith

    Graham Johnston says that ‘SNP threaten(s) to wreck the proper government of the UK’, but the ‘proper government’ is, of course, the one formed on the basis of who people vote for. The SNP might well get lots of votes, because they are the only party (except for the Greens) who are offering an alternative to the austerity policies the other parties are committed to. If the other parties standing in Scotland (especially Labour) adapted similar moderately left-leaning ideas, instead of spending all their energy flinging hatred at anything the SNP does, then maybe they might make some gains.

    And linking the SNP to UKIP or the Nazis is a pretty tired trick these days. Lots of commentators on this website are fond of doing it, but paranoid hyperbole doesn’t contribute much to political discourse.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Mark,

      There is no point in the SNP et al attempting to demonise the word “austerity”. It simply means living strictly within your means and it applies just as much to our own finances as it does to companies and governments.

      If you suffer a cut in income, you have to spend less or fall foul of the Victorian admonition about “bankrupts, living off their capital”.

      Reply
      • Mark Ryan Smith

        The problem is, John, that the coalition’s austerity policies have made it far harder for lots of people to live within their means. The government have been very successful in making people believe that the national economy and household debt work in the same way (Labour maxed out the country’s credit card and so on). The thing is, though, economies don’t work like Mastercard bills you can’t pay off. A recent essay by Simon Wren-Lewis in the London Review of Books (link below) makes it clear how damaging the austerity policies you are fond of have been.

        http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n04/simon-wren-lewis/the-austerity-con

      • John Tulloch

        Mark, I am not “fond of austerity policies” and I agree and disagree with individual facets of the cuts.

        We can argue about where the cuts should fall, however, there’s not much of a debate to be had about whether cuts are necessary, they’re inescapable at some point.

        Someone quoted the other day that we are paying £46 billion per year in interest, growing with every year the government spends more than it receives in tax and other income.

        And to be fair to the coalition, the Inland Revenue is a lot more aggressive in their approach to tax evasion than they were five years ago.

        Don’t forget, a hell of a lot of clever minds are constantly applied to keeping a step ahead of the tax man, as he attempts to plug the holes in the various laws and regulations to net the tax truants.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Fear ye not John, Thanks to our wonderful Chance-a-lot Osborne and his wonderful insight into economics it looks like we’re on the way to recovery, and should have managed to pay off UK debt by 3020, Ok, fair enough we may not be here, but we must think of our great great great grandchildren?

        http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn05745.pdf

        Could I suggest page 4 where the prediction looks as though in 2019-20 we’ll be a mere £1.627 Trillion debt paying as little as £57.4 Billion pa interest.

      • John Tulloch

        Cheers, Robin, you’ve made my argument for me.

        Unless we start spending less than we earn, we’ll never be ‘debt-free (not even), by 3020′.

        You’re complaining about economies made to control the deficit/debt, yet simultaneously, complaining that the debt is still growing, you – the SNP – need to decide which you want.

        Once more, we’re back to “toffee an’ a’penny, lad,… ya can’t ‘ave both!”

      • Michael Cavanagh

        Austerity does not mean to live within your means – it is an extreme of living on very little and really only applies to most vulnerable in society in the modern context.

      • Robert Duncan

        John, might I ask your opinion on this piece, by well-regarded economist Paul Krugman:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/06/opinion/paul-krugman-economics-and-elections.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=1

        “Britain’s economic performance since the financial crisis struck has been startlingly bad. A tentative recovery began in 2009, but it stalled in 2010. Although growth resumed in 2013, real income per capita is only now reaching its level on the eve of the crisis — which means that Britain has had a much worse track record since 2007 than it had during the Great Depression.

        Yet as Britain prepares to go to the polls, the leaders of the coalition government that has ruled the country since 2010 are posing as the guardians of prosperity, the people who really know how to run the economy. And they are, by and large, getting away with it.”

        There is an alternative to austerity. Managing an economy is not simple book keeping. Unlike homeowners (or local authorities with limited borrowing powers…) it is not a simple given that national governments must cut their cloth in times of need. Yes, some cuts are required, some are even desirable, but there is a very fair debate to be had over the extent and swiftness of those cuts. Other economic measures are available and many economists would argue they would provide greater benefit to our nation’s welfare.

      • Robert Smith

        Robert Duncan,
        I liked what the head of the Swedish Riksbank had to say about Krugman:

        “Krugman should read more and write less.”

        I couldn’t agree more … he’s such an idiot, they gave him a Nobel prize.
        He can take his place amongst the rogues gallery including:
        Barack Obama (Awarded after twelve days in office)
        Al Gore (Charlatan extraordinaire)
        The EU (Need I say more!)

      • Robert Duncan

        Perhaps you could address the points of his article, rather than levelling ad hominem remarks at him.

      • John Tulloch

        Thanks for that, Robert. Having just read the article, it seems Mr Krugman hasn’t said very much of interest, at all, to anyone who is interested in an alternative to – “Bw-oo-oo-ah!….. Austerity!”

        In fact, no disrespect to your good self, it’s a lamentably weak article of the kind you might well read in the Guardian, but not in the Financial Times.

        Krugman noted that growth returned to the UK economy in 2009 and then faltered in 2010.

        This is quite true, however, he fails to mention that, at that time, the UK’s main trading partner(s), the EU, encountered devastating problems which all but collapsed the mighty ‘Eurozone’. Fortunately, we were not part of that, however, we were still badly affected as Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain and Ireland all went into simulataneous economic meltdown. And even France, helping to bail these out, wasn’t far behind.

        The austerity visited on these countries by the financial ‘heid eens’ of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF makes ours look like “Christmas every day”.

        And this, btw, is the organisation the SNP insists an independent Scotland should join, exchanging the Bank of England for the Bundesbank and its effective extension, the ECB.

      • Robert Duncan

        John, I would agree that the article is somewhat sparse. I’d have liked to have seen Mr Krugman go into more detail on his arguments. Of note however, were his comments regarding the Tory’s successful weaving of the narrative, and the poor standard of public economic debate. He is correct to say that there is far from consensus on the issue of deficit among leading economists.

        You make some fair points, the struggles of nearby countries are important to note. They should also be noted, however, when we are told that we are growing faster than others in the G7. Not so great when half of them are directly involved in such struggles.

        A nuanced and reasoned debate on the economy is still required and the SNP (as well as, to a lesser extent, the Greens and Plaid Cymru) are to be welcomed in bringing those arguments into the public dialogue. At a national government level, things are not so simple as, “earn less, spend less”.

    • Graeme Tough

      Except of course the SNP aren’t offering an alternative to austerity. Why? Because they can’t say how they would pay to reverse cuts or balance our budget. Such basic economics doesn’t matter to them though, ultimately all they desire is division, regardless of the social or economic costs.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        So, I take it you didn’t hear of the SNPs further borrowing of £180 Billion over 5 years to invest in infrastructure and job creation then Graeme?

      • Mark Ryan Smith

        John Tulloch and Graham Tough’s contributions are evidence of how effective the coalition’s economic propaganda has been. The moderate spending increases advocated by the SNP aren’t, as Graham imagines, contrary to ‘basic economics’, but are consistent with Keynsian economic theory. An actual economist might correct this, but my understanding is that stimulating the economy through investment is the best way to increase growth. That’s what the SNP are proposing.

        Persecuting the poor, on the other hand, as the government have been doing for the last five years, has very little to do with economics. It is the work of privileged ideologues who hate working-class people, public services, trade unions, and the welfare state. The deputy prime minister is in the papers today speaking about how George Osborne is the most dangerous man in British politics. He might well be right (although Nigel Farage would run the chancellor close), but you wonder why it’s taken him five years to notice.

      • John Tulloch

        Mark, you SNP folk have been complaining about HS2, an example of classical Keynsian economics – infrastructure investment to stimulate the economy. They have also taken measures to encourage housebuilding, to which the same applies.

        The Tories don’t usually go a bundle on Keynes but there’s a place for his ideas, notably, during economic downturns when private sector investment tends to be low and that’s what they’re doing now.

        Not only that, they have used the extreme monetary policy measure of “quantitative easing” – effectively ‘printing money’ and releasing it into the economy, on top of holding the Bank of England base interest rate at half a percent for the last five plus years.

        Next breath, you’ll be complaining that the national debt is still growing and blaming the coalition for that, too, while also demanding they increase government borrowing so they can spend even more.

        You’re wanting to ‘have your cake and eat it, too’ and you can’t, it doesn’t work.

      • Mark Ryan Smith

        So presumably, John, you think that taking money and services away from poor and disadvantaged people does ‘work’.

      • Robin Stevensonr

        John, as you well know “Keynesian economics” worked very well for us at the end of WW2 to get the UK out of a major depression to stimulate growth and productivity, back to “Speculate to accumulate”, I not quite sure why you’ve thrown in HS2 in the same sentence? as that has nothing to do with “stimulating growth”, but merely draining our necessary resources on a overpriced London project. [that we’ll have to pay dearly for with NO advantage whatsoever to Scotland]

        We can quite easily have “Our cake and eat it”, by investing in growth while paying off our debt, without the harsh suffering imposed by another 5 years + Austerity?

      • Robert Smith

        Robin Stevenson,
        Please don’t use Keynes to back up your argument.
        The left always forget the second half of his doctrine:
        When the economy has recovered the debt amassed during the recession will be REPAID.
        He never envisioned continual borrowing and overspending and certainly never condoned it.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Robert, If you scroll up you’ll see that it was John who brought up the subject of “Keynesian economics” initially. However, from what I’m led to believe, that this approach to our present economic “depression” strikes me as a more constructive way forward, in it’s initial concept, rather than facing many more years of “slash and burn” policies?
        I am in no way an expert on economics, but what i do know is, trying to pay off an massive £1.6 Trillion debt at the expense of the poor, without actually “creating” wealth is a pointless and painful exercise.
        perhaps there was a particular economic model you had in mind yourself Robert?

      • Robert Smith

        I certainly do have an economic model in mind – the Austrian model.
        I completely agree the wealth has to be created, and on a grand scale in order to wipe out the deficit and start on the long road of getting rid of the debt.
        The *only* way to create wealth is by reducing taxes, regulation and government, freeing private small business and entrepreneurs to flourish.
        The government can create nothing apart from the conditions favourable for enterprise.
        This cannot happen within the corporatist EU.

      • Mark Ryan Smith

        The crucial point here is that no economic model is the “only” one available. The coalition have made lots of people believe that they have behaved in the way they have done because of some objective, ineluctable logic; that they have had no option but to cut benefits and destroy public services, while at the same time handing out welfare payments (in the form of tax cuts) to rich people. But vindictive austerity policies are a matter of choice, not necessity. Neoliberalism is a very powerful force, but as the election of Syriza in Greece and the popularity of Podemos in Spain show, there is a growing appetite in Europe for different ways of thinking and organising. The SNP are hardly radical leftists, but at this election they are presenting an alternative to the harmful policies the government has chosen to follow for the last five years. Their programme of decent treatment for disadvantaged people, protection of public services, open-mindedness on immigration, and moderate spending increases is much more appealing than the slash and burn approach of the Tories or, even worse, the combination of cranky economic liberalisation and racism offered by UKIP.

      • Robert Smith

        Mark Ryan Smith
        Let me enlighten you on the Greek situation:
        There was this guy called “Lucas Papademos” – the head of the bank of Greece – who together with Goldman Sachs, cooked the books so that Greece could join the Euro. Absolutely everyone knew that Greece nowhere near met the criteria for joining – its economy was completely unsuited. Did he go to jail for this fraud? No, he was appointed deputy head of the European Central Bank.
        Years went by with French banks – at the behest of Christine Lagarde (the then French finance minister) – and German banks fire hosing cheap credit into Greece who – as usual – spent and borrowed and didn’t pay their taxes.
        When the inevitable and fully predicted crash came and the Greek Premier had to go to the IMF (Now headed by none other than Christine Lagard) and the ECB/EU commission for help, he was given a raft of economic measures (savage austerity) that he had to comply with before receiving help. He – quite correctly – told them he would have to put these measures before the Greek electorate in a referendum before he could accept.
        They ousted him.
        In his place – without the “inconvenience” of democratic elections, the IMF/ECB/EU commission parachuted in a new Prime Minister.
        Who was this person?
        Mr Lucas Papademos. The very man who caused the disaster in the first place.
        Still want to be in this club?

    • John Tulloch

      All good points, Robert D., including G7 growth. Of course, the G7 includes Japan, Canada and the United States, which was the first country to recover from the 2008/9 crisis and austerity ‘champion’, Germany, which has weathered the EU implosion pretty well.

      In my opinion, deficit reduction is imperative, however, the rate and nature of cuts are up for debate

      The poor quality of public debate may be due to Labour having presided over the collapse, which was caused by the global banking crisis but exacerbated in the UK by Labour’s high public borrowing when Gordon Brown, perennially, broke his own ‘Golden Rule’ of financial prudence, leaving the country more vulnerable to the crisis and Labour in a policy corner.

      Labour also planned to cut the deficit and in their anxiety to live down their track record, would have been little different from the Tories, if re-elected – fiscal austerity plus monetary easing. Labour’s post-Brown/Darling calls for higher spending have been seen for what they are, a cynical vote-seeking exercise.

      The Liberals joined the coalition and Cable and Alexander became ministers, so it’s hard to see where any quality opposition could come from for public debate.

      Certainly, demonising the word “austerity” has no place in it, it simply means living strictly according to your means which, as the Greeks now know, covers the ability to service and repay one’s debts.

      The coalition has halved the deficit in five years and the Tories aim to eliminate it over another five – ten years, in all – which seems not unreasonable, especially, now that the world, including the EU, is in recovery mode.

      Deficit reduction could, quite reasonably, be achieved at a slower pace, allowing growth and inflation to steadily erode the relative size of the (total) national debt IF our politicians could be trusted to stay on track. But that’s ‘a big IF’.

      Within that, where individual cuts or investment spending fall is debatable. However, with steadily increasing employment levels, it would be reasonable to expect tax receipts to rise and total benefits paid out to fall, a virtuous circle.

      It isn’t at all clear to me, however, that that is what the SNP are advocating; rather, they are calling for increased spending, while criticising the large size of the current deficit and the level of total national debt, which raises the suspicion that they don’t want the UK finances to recover so that they can hammer away at “Westminster’s incompetent economic management.”

      That is not a position I could ever support.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Apparently, Nicola Sturgeon wasn’t so “brilliant” in last night’s debate, it seems she was outclassed by Ruth Davidson:

        “Ms Sturgeon’s weakest area in content was on budgetary issues where she could not convincingly answer Andrew, an audience member who asked why she thought it responsible to pay for her increased UK spending proposals by borrowing – driving up the deficit to be repaid and the interest rates on government borrowing?”

        http://forargyll.com/2015/04/scottish-leaders-debate-a-clear-win-for-davidson/

        “Toffee an’ a’penny,… ya can’t ‘ave both!”

      • Brian Smith

        Wishful thinking, John. ‘Andrew’ was boneheaded.

      • Robin Stevenson

        It’s all opinion John?… bearing in mind that Nicola’s party is the one in government I’d expected a more united attack from all 3 leaders?…. however, I think she got off rather lightly and quite easily handled the guy in the audience who seemed to be asking more pertinent questions than the other 3, personally I found Ruth was a bit of a bully and tended to shout more than debate, most of her claims could be quite easily shot down but that would have just wasted time rather than talking about progressive politics.

        I do agree though that “she wasn’t so brilliant”,[as last week] but then again she was in the firing line, and performed just as well as Ruthy, [but less aggressive], Slim Jim, added the humour and did “No too bad”, and poor wee Willie Rennie, got a pretty hard time from the audience, hopefully tonight’s audience will nail Ruth with the questions they were throwing at Mr Rennie? Ruth got off very lightly.

        Most media comments claimed that both women stole the night, I’m inclined to agree.

  3. Robert Smith

    Graham,
    Thanks for your input, but isn’t it clear that the “social democratic, liberal and conservative philosophies” do not represent the hopes and aspirations of the vast majority and that people are waking up to the fact.
    The political middle ground is no such thing, it is a construct of the chattering classes and the ruling elite.
    The actual middle ground, the reality of how most people live and think is libertarian capitalism. I suspect that you may be one of us.
    P.S. I’m neither “little” nor English” 🙂

    Vote UKIP

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Robert, “social democratic, liberal and conservative philosophies”, ALL in the one sentence, really?
      There is “Nothing” social democratic about either the Conservatives OR Liberal [these days]

      The hopes and aspirations of the vast majority lie with a “Truly” Social democratic party, fortunately [for Scots] there’s a choice of 2 parties that fall into this category, the Greens and the SNP.

      After Thursday night’s fiasco from yer pal Nigel, “Barge-pole and touch” spring to mind.

      Reply
      • Robert Smith

        Old Nige did okay – although I didn’t watch. First equal with Cameron and Snotty isn’t bad.
        The “one sentence” was quoted from the author of the letter.
        As for the SNP and Greens, I don’t think that I’ve met anyone that lives the life or wants to live the life that those parties envisage apart from a few far left activists. Even they – in the stark light of reality – *live* as libertarian capitalists. I suspect you do too! 🙂
        I took time and read the greens manifesto this morning and I don’t believe you would defend it.

      • Robin Stevenson

        You’re right I probably wouldn’t vote Greens in Scotland, however IF I lived in England then I probably would, [simply because there’s no other choice]
        I can understand the appeal of “Ole Nige”, the sort of guy you’d have at a party where you’re permitted to smoke indoors perhaps? that “One of the lads” appeal, but policy wise?…that far right?…No thanks.
        Having said that, I don’t agree with “Far left” policies either, somewhere in the centre will do me fine, a bit like….and you’ve guessed it,..the SNP 😉
        Perhaps, in an Independent Scotland, I’d consider a “Libertarian” model? Hmm…but what a choice there are?

  4. Robin Stevenson

    Such a shame Graham, you started off reasonably well there and raised a couple of points [which we’ll come to in a sec] Then sadly, by the end of your post it just became the “bog standard” Scaremongering, snarling drivel we’ve come to expect from the “Usual suspects”.

    You say:

    “The SNP threaten to wreck the proper government of the UK and use their tiny minority position in a hung Parliament to impose extreme policies”

    What “extreme” policies are these Graham? do you mean their policy of trying to redistribute wealth fairly among ALL people, rather than the 1% of the wealthiest? or do you mean wanting to get rid of renewing Trident? or perhaps you mean, not allowing the NHS to become private? what “extreme” policies are you talking about?

    You also said:

    “There are many problems in Shetland, Scotland, the UK, Europe, the world in need of serious attention. Poverty, climate change, inequality, the dysfunctional world financial system, terrorism, over-mighty and unaccountable multinational companies and institutions, are all issues crying out for serious attention”.

    Let`s deal with “Poverty” first then, £1.5 trillion UK debt, source Wikipedia :

    “Due to the Government’s significant budget deficit, the national debt is increasing by approximately £107 billion per annum, or around £2 billion each week”.
    Hmm, not too sure about anyone else, but I have a sneaky suspicion that this is NOT helping poverty too successfully throwing £2 Billion a week down the drain? [And absolutely NO chance of paying this off before 2017 as claimed by Osborne? but then again, it`s not the first time he’s failed to reach his target]

    “Climate change”, As the SNP Scottish gov are “miles ahead” of the rUK with regard to renewables, and trying to phase out “fossil fuels” surely you’d have to agree that it’s a step in the right direction?

    “Inequality”? [see above]

    “The dysfunctional world financial system”, Would this be the UK Gov giving our banks “Carte Blanche”? or perhaps HSBC fiasco, or do you mean Off shore tax havens for big business like Amazon, Starbucks etc? either way this is a UK problem and absolutely NOTHING to do with the SNP?

    “Terrorism”, When did terrorism ever exist in Scotland before “Tony Blair” decided to take us into an illegal war? one of the biggest problems with being in this United Kingdom is, that Scotland has NO voice and No choice regardless of what war London chooses for us to fight? The ONLY person that stood up against that “Illegal War”, was non other than Alex Salmond.

    IF you truly believe Graham that these, “are all issues crying out for serious attention”. Then why on earth would any sane person chose the VERY people of the VERY political parties that have got us into ALL this mess in the first place?

    There is ONLY one party than are prepared to speak up and make the necessary changes that benefit the “Entire UK” [Not just Scotland] and that’s the SNP, Scots know it, and thanks to Thursdays leaders gathering the English and now well aware too.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Balderdash – and humbug!

      You are conjuring up a fanciful demon of a private enterprise health service, while the reality is YOU, THE SNP, took the North Isles ferry contract away from Cal Mac and gave it to private enterprise – and you’ve played ducks and drakes with the RET formula to prevent Shetland and Orkney getting any benefit.

      Now you come, expecting the ‘fatted calf’ to be brought out for Danus Skene – vote for us guys, we’re the party of “fairness” – aye!

      Shetlanders aren’t as dull as you like to think.

      Reply
      • Robert Sim

        “Shetlanders aren’t as dull as you like to think”. Maybe Shetland voters can look at the wider political picture as we approach the election, John, and can see for themselves that, if the LibDems (say) are returned here, Shetland will have an MP excluded from an SNP group at Westminster which is going to have a very significant influence on UK-level policy after May. They will have an MP who will in fact be impotent at Westminster level. Is that what you really want for Shetland?

      • Robin Stevenson

        A very good point Robert, Ali Carmichael [secretary of state for Scotland] had his time to “shine” [which by all accounts amounted to very little], Of course this latest “Smear” of Nicola Sturgeon has completely annihilated any credibility he ever managed to glean, and proved that he’d stoop to gutter level simply to retain his position and be looked kindly upon by his masters.
        IF, as you say, a block of SNP MPs head to Westminster, then, I’d imagine, the best way of achieving further benefits for your community would be, to be a part of that block, and fight your case along side those trying to achieve the same aims?
        Failing that, Shetland would be [possibly] represented by the Only Lib/Dem politician left in Scotland?

      • John Tulloch

        Robert/Robin,

        Robin said: “Ali Carmichael [secretary of state for Scotland] had his time to “shine” [which by all accounts amounted to very little].

        He achieved a great deal more for Shetland during his short reign than the SNP have done during their substantially longer reign.

        Haven’t you read the fine article about the Scottish Office report on the difficulties faced by islanders and island authorities in the ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ Group?

        Read that, then come back and we can discuss education funding, housing support grants, ferry fares, fuel poverty and food banks for as long as you like.

  5. Ian tinkle

    The more I look at the SNP the more I see what is fast becoming a cult. Irrational dogma and a fanatical following. Salmond has gone, for now, but his replacement is as devious and just as divisive. I was hoping Sturgeon, might show more integrity and principle, sadly not, as has recently been clearly shown. Just a single example at this time. Wee Nicola has firm opinions on Nuclear weapons. She joined CND before the SNP at 16. She has just attended one of three CND political rallies in George Square. She, as always, spoke eloquently about getting rid of Trident and nuclear free Scotland. How very deceitful of her, she fully backed Scotland, if Independent, being a full NATO member. She knew fully well that would have meant NATO nuclear armed Ships, Submarines and aircraft having an absolute right to use any and base and military facility in Scotland, with no questions asked. Even the Trident submarines that she so campaigns against, could have berthed and been stood by in Shetland ports. She has well demonstrated no principle or integrity. I ask any of the SNP member, is it deceitful or not to campaign against Trident and have full membership of CND, yet sanction NATO nukes on Scottish territory without question. Just how can you praise and follow a leader so deceitful?

    Reply
    • Ian Brannan

      Iain Tinkle

      There is nothing deceitful about the SNP’s stance on NATO. Of the 28 current NATO members, only three countries (the US, the UK and France) possess nuclear weapons. Norway refuses to have nuclear weapons on its soil, as does Spain, yet both are in NATO. Indeed, Here’s a short account of Spain and NATO, on page 3 of that report is a list of some of the concessions made by the Spanish government in order to get backing in parliament for NATO membership. Straight in at no.4 is “the non-nuclearisation of Spanish territory”.http://www.cvce.eu/content/publication/2010/4/28/831ba342-0a7c-4ead-b35f-80fd52b01de9/publishable_en.pdf

      In addition the Director-General of NATO is Jens Stoltenberg of Norway. In March 2013, Norway hosted a conference attended by 130 nations in which it called on the entire world to abandon nuclear weapons see here – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-dear/norway-calls-the-world-to_b_2862919.html

      Reply
      • Iantinkler

        Source: The Scottish Government (SNP official comment)
        While they are both strong advocates for nuclear disarmament, both Norway and Denmark allow NATO vessels to visit their ports without confirming or denying whether they carry nuclear weapons. We intend that Scotland will adopt a similar approach as Denmark and Norway in this respect.
        https://www.scotreferendum.com/questions/will-nato-members-with-nuclear-armed-vessels-be-allowed-to-enter-scottish-waters-or-dock-at-scottish-ports/

      • Gordon Harmer

        You have answered your own criticism of having nuclear weapons by saying the whole world needs to disarm. Multi national disarmament is the only way forward not unilateral disarmament, this would be crazy not to say suicidal. All the countries in NATO who do not carry nuclear weapons come under the umbrella of the three who do. The SNPs stance is deceitful because they don’t want these weapons on their soil but they still want to part of NATO and come under the umbrella of the USA or France, both deceitful and NIMBYish.

    • Ian Brannan

      Is anyone else getting tired of the SNP being compared to nazi’s when the only fascists in the referendum campaign were on the Unionist side? For example the first person to register as an official campaigner in the Scottish independence referendum on the pro-union side, was Alistair McConnachie a Holocaust denier who has publicly questioned the existence of the gas chambers.

      McConnachie, 48, was Scottish organizer of the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party between 1999 and 2001 and stood as a Ukip candidate five times. However, he was expelled from the party in 2001, following comments he made about the Holocaust.

      “I don’t accept that gas chambers were used to execute Jews for the simple fact there is no direct physical evidence to show that such gas chambers ever existed,” McConnachie wrote in an email to party members. “There are no photographs or films of execution gas chambers … Alleged eyewitness accounts are revealed as false or highly exaggerated.”

      McConnachie also claimed the Pope was duped over the Holocaust and accused the Board of Deputies of British Jews of “seeking to establish a monopoly in the marketplace of ideas” because it complained to the BBC for running two interviews with the Holocaust denying historian David Irving.

      In addition Scots were treated to the unedifying spectacle of triumphant Unionists rioting and performing nazi salutes in George Square on September the 19th 2014.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Quite so Ian, the pro-union – anti-SNP brigade – struggle to find the “Worst” possible despot throughout history and have come up with ridiculous comparisons like Hitler, or Nazi’s, or some other equally ludicrous character to frighten the gullible, unfortunately for them, they played that card in Sept, will it work again? I doubt it, in this election people have had their eyes open to the “Scary stories”, in fact the “More” nonsense they come away with, the “More”, they expose themselves for being the real tyrants.

        “Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me”.

      • Robert Smith

        I sincerely hope you aren’t trying to associate me with those views!

      • Ali Inkster

        Oh dear yet again the Scoti does not know his history. The so called Nazi salutes were in fact red hand salutes. This is a common salute among sections of Scoti and Northern Irish society. The same members of Irish society that fought against the Nazis. Unlike the Irish Nationalists who collaborated with the Nazis.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Ooh!..I see Ali, so it’s just a “misunderstanding” that the red hand of Ulster salute and the Nazi salute is kinda similar then? Perhaps you could inform all these Red hand of Ulster saluters that they’re suppose to show the “palm” of their hand rather than extend their arm with their fingers pointed? it would appear that these “Thugs” don’t even know how to do their own salute?

      • Ali Inkster

        An arm extended with finger pointing is just someone pointing, or maybe just a visual sign of the score 1-0. How else do you show the palm of your hand without extending your fingers? Anyway it is a problem restricted to Scotland and not relevant to Shetland and Orkney. Yet another example of why we would be BETTER AFF CLEAR O DA LOT O YOU.

  6. william mccover

    Wow. Its people like you that make others scared of change. I couldn’t believe my eyes reading this absolute drivel. This is your opinion not a story and I feel the need to contest your views as they are so lost in the past I’m at a loss for words. Get a grip mate, we need change, personally I wont be voting SNP but how dare you just try to force your opinion on others. Disgraceful.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Unfortunately William, by voting for ANY of the Pro-Union parties then absolutely “Nothing” will change. they’ve all signed up to 5 years more austerity, they’ve all signed up to £30 Billion more cuts, they’ve all signed up to renewing trident, so I guess you’ll just have to chose your colour of Tory? [unless ofc you chose to go even “Further” to the right and go with the Kippers]

      Reply
      • laurence paton

        Correction, if you want the people we directly elect to actually run the country and be accountable at all levels then you have to vote UKIP.
        Anything else is a vote for the continuation of highly paid technocrats running this country from Brussels, totally unaccountable to the electorate.

      • Graeme Tough

        No, they have not committed to a further £30bn of cuts, they committed to a balanced budget (so some could come from tax rises). SNP ignore such economic realities.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Are those the same “economic realities” where we’re paying £46 Billion pa interest on a £1.6 Trillion debt then Graeme? is that Your idea of good economics? £46 Billion, almost £1 Billion a week chucked down the drain? brilliant…….You’re right about one thing [come to think of it] when we add all this interest to the £30 Billion of cuts that “Every” UK party signed up to that’ll be about £52 Billion pa down the drain….perfect a nice round £Billion a week for the next?…who knows?

  7. Sandy McDonald

    Does voting for the SNP necessarily mean you are in favour of an independent Scotland? No. It is not necessary to agree with ALL policies that the party you support may put forward, or to claim that the political head honcho is above reproach (show me a politician that hasn’t at some time in the past contradicted him or herself). To think otherwise is to assume, as Iain mentions above, that you are in fact in a cult.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      That’s true, Sandy, however, until the issue of legal sovereignty is finally resolved, which in this day and age (UN Charter, ‘right to self-determination of peoples’) can only be by means of negotiations between Shetland and the UK/Scotland which must be ratified by a local referendum.

      Shetlanders – and Orcadians – must beware of sliding into the habit of voting SNP and/or in favour of Scottish independence before then as a vote for Scottish independence would be construed by the SNP as affirming Scottish legal sovereignty.

      Legal sovereignty over the isles must NEVER be given away for nothing.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Your argument on this matter [as previous arguments] on this subject, have shown to be utter nonsense John, by your “Bizarre” logic, you vote for a pro-union UK party, thus, the issue of legal sovereignty remains unaffected? however, you vote for the SNP a UK democratic party, and somehow [magically] your legal sovereignty becomes under threat?
        As before, it makes not one blind bit of sense, your sovereignty is completely unaffected “whichever”political party you choose?

      • John Tulloch

        Debating with you, Robin, is relaxing, meditative – I get to constantly repeat the words.
        “Wrong again, Robin.” 🙂

        Shetlanders are at liberty to vote whatever way they like and I don’t mind, provided they do so in the full knowledge of the possible consequences of doing so and all I’m doing is trying to ensure voters are aware of the pitfalls of voting ‘Yes’ for Scottish independence, prematurely.

        In the absence of a persuasive case and in light of the SNP’s track record in the isles, I happen to think it would be wiser to remain linked to the rUK, however, it’s a matter for the local residents to decide, when the time comes.

        Meanwhile, it’s vitally important that Shetlanders and Orcadians should not paint themselves into a corner by inadvertently handing legal sovereignty to another party, most likely, Scotland, by allowing themselves to be seduced by ‘siren voices’, singing of a wonderful, mythical land to which they should travel but from which, if they do, they can never leave.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        On your point about voting for a pro-Union party, the point is only strictly relevant to independence referenda, in which voting against Scottish independence means voting for the status quo – which means voting for no change to the existing (illegal) arrangement.

        Voting ‘Yes’ for independence could be construed by the SNP Scottish government as consenting to Scottish sovereignty.

        The danger, meanwhile, in this General Election, stems from the ‘siren voices’, of whom you are one, attempting to lure them, ever closer, to accepting ‘Scottishness’, unconditionally, which, as you know, I believe would be extremely ill-advised ahead of a sovereignty settlement.

        I’ve argued many times to your SNP Shetland colleagues, if you want Shetland you need to change your attitude and and your ways and show some genuine ‘good faith’.

        People aren’t fools.

      • Robin Stevenson

        You seem to be confused with the difference of voting in a General Election and voting in a referendum John? IF you scroll up you’ll find that the issue in question was the general election, posed by Sandy, it was YOU that mentioned the “sovereignty of Shetland” was [somehow] under threat based on a GE? or did you mean, let’s ignore the general election and talk about a referendum, even though that’s not even a option at the upcoming GE?
        So, just to be sure, do you agree that by voting SNP in the “general election” in May, it would have absolutely NO impact on Shetlands sovereignty?

        Furthermore on your point of voting for a pro-union party ” which means voting for no change to the existing (illegal) arrangement”. This is a futile argument, simply because IF the present set-up is deemed [in your eyes] to be an “illegal arrangement” then what makes you think that by voting “No” in a referendum the legitimacy of the arrangement remains illegal? and IF it does remain “illegal” then by voting “Yes” then this arrangement [all of a sudden] makes it legal in the eyes of Scotland but “illegal” in the eyes of the rUK?…As I said above, “Bizarre”.

        I accept your comment that the people of Shetland “aren’t fools” but this over complicated, panicky misinformation you’re espousing helps no-one?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        1. In my opinion, the General Election, per se, has no impact on isles sovereignty. If I appear to have suggested otherwise it was certainly inadvertent.

        My problem with returning an SNP MP is that it would become more likely, following a serenade of seductive siren songs, to achieve an independence referendum ‘Yes’ vote.

        2. A ‘No’ vote is a vote against Scottish sovereignty. The question was, simply, “Should SCOTLAND be an independent country?” which, clearly, has no bearing on UK sovereignty over the isles.

        A ‘Yes’ vote, by contrast, while it may or may not ‘hold legal water’, would provide a splendid, free, argument for the Scottish government to claim that Shetlanders (and/or Orcadians) had “voted for Scotland to become a sovereign country and it is quite clear that they accept such sovereignty for themselves; otherwise, they would have voted ‘No’.

        I’m repeating myself, however, that would be a ‘free gift’ to Holyrood from Shetlanders/ Orcadians which it would be extremely ill-advised to give, without first negotiating a proper settlement,mto be ratified by local referenda in Shetland and/or Orkney.

        Once a deal has been negotiated, Shetlanders should vote for their preferred option of ‘guardian super-power’ or outright independence however they so wish, and I shall have no complaint whatsoever about the outcome.

        You – the SNP – need to show good faith in your dealings with Shetland, at least, until you have undone the damage wrought during your post-2012 term of office.

  8. Robin Stevenson

    Ian, firstly, let’s not pretend that you’ve only NOW thought of the SNP as a “Cult”, you’ve been spouting that nonsense for months?
    Secondly, as you are “blatantly” anti-SNP, why are you bothering to “Kid on” that you were “hoping Sturgeon, might show more integrity and principle”?…. What, would that have made you vote SNP then? when you had absolutely intentions of EVER voting for them in the first place, regardless of how much “integrity and principle” she showed? [which indeed she has done]

    CND campaigns for Nuclear disarmament, the current Secretary General of NATO is Jens Stoltenberg, the former Prime Minister of Norway, who also advocates decommissioning nuclear weapons, however nuclear weapons cannot be “Un-Invented”, and as such, they exist unfortunately.
    I have never understood the logic of possessing WMD on our shores, much like the other 25 state members of NATO that DON’T have them either, however, if each state chooses to be a member of NATO and fall under the protection umbrella of the US, then each state is obliged to play their part ie: allow the US to use their ports/airports etc. This does, in NO way detract from the fact that you’d rather NOT have WMD [as this is still the ideal scenario] but while we continue to have a world threat from certain less responsible, volatile countries, then it would seem that, until such times, nuclear weapons were completely abolished, this “Shared Deterrent”, is unavoidable.
    Campaigning for Nuclear disarmament, is NOT hypocrisy, it is a hope, that one day they will no longer exist, but while they do, and while there exists a threat to world peace, then we should be a part of that discussion?

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Jens Stoltenberg, Robin, wasn’t he the Norwegian prime minister who passed up a meeting with Alex Salmond on Norway’s National Day to travel to Scalloway to open the Scalloway Museum?

      Prior to that, the Queen of Norway had opened the Lerwick Museum.

      Don’t you find these events somewhat disquieting – Shetland not inviting Alex Salmond or any other Scottish or UK political or monarchic figure to perform these highly symbolic opening ceremonies?

      I wonder why they invited the Norskes to do it?

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Hmm,…I’d imagine that some Shetlanders feel they have an affinity with Norway, I suppose historically a good part of Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, Northern France and Northern Spain came about by the same invaders? but geographically Shetland is closer, and besides, they both worked together closely during the war with the wartime resistance movement the “Shetland Bus”. it’s far more exciting than associating yourself with boring old Picts and Scots? [you don’t even get to burn a boat with them?]
        I’d tell you about my days in Canada and the Viking connection, but you’d probably just say “Wrong again Robin”?…lol

      • John Tulloch

        You forgot a couple of ‘minor details’, there, Robin. Shetland and Orkney were ruled by Norway for about 600 years and Norwegian Law still applied until 1611 when the ‘Scotys’ illegally ended it.

        That’s why udal law still applies in some cases, today, and why there have been so many court cases over the likes of St Ninians Isle treasure, sea bed rights, etc..

        Cases in which the Scottish courts have ruled in their own favour, by force of ‘overwhelming presence’, as opposed to legality.

        So there’s a bit more to it than your simplistic notion of the Up Helly-Aa Committee (effectively) inviting the Norskes to open the museums.

      • Robin Stevenson

        I’d imagine I forgot “more” than just a couple of details John? this is obviously your territory and as such I bow to your greater knowledge.

      • John N Hunter

        The Scalloway museum is run by the Shetland Bus Friendship Society who are dedicated to keeping up the links forged between Scalloway and Norway during the Second World War. The Society invited Jens Stoltenberg (who was on his way to Faroe and the USA that day) to open the museum on the basis of these links and I resent the attempt of any one to read any political associations into such an invitation by an independent group. Representatives of the UK and Scottish governments were there also.

    • Ali Inkster

      Unless you are going to remove the knowledge from the mind of man (which seems to be the aim of the SSnp) then nuclear weapons will always exist. And as long as they do it is better to have them than not. Do you think the Americans would of dropped the bombs on Japan if Japan had the ability to drop one on America in return?

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Ali, could I suggest scrolling up and “Actually” reading what I posted on the subject of trident,CND, and NATO?

  9. Iantinkler

    My question Robin Stevenson, A yes or no will suffice. ( is it deceitful or not to campaign against Trident and have full membership of CND, yet sanction NATO nukes on Scottish territory without question?) erm?. erm? a bit deep for you to answer Robin?

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson
    • John Tulloch

      @Robin,

      The prime minister of an independent Scotland being a lifelong member of – and elected by – the votes of CND members, a pacifist organisation, leading the newly-formed country into joining the most formidable military alliance the world has known whose defensive strategy is based on nuclear weapons would, surely, be a tad inconsistent, some might say, “humbug”?

      It’s back to “toffee an’ a’penny, …. ya cant’t ‘ave both!”

      Seems to be a recurring theme with the SNP fantasy wishlist?

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        I’m really not quite sure what you’re struggling to grasp here? so let’s try to make it simple:

        1/ Do nuclear weapons exist?..Yes
        2/ Are we a member state of NATO?…Yes
        3/ Do we want Nuclear weapons permanently on our soil?…No
        4/ Do we have to abide the rules and regulations of NATO?…Yes
        5/ Would we like to see ALL nuclear weapons abolished throughout the world?…Yes
        6/ Is being a member of CND hypocritical when you allow access to your state for NATO?…No

        As explained [above] While there are volatile countries with nuclear capabilities that could perceived as a possible threat, then choosing to come under the NATO umbrella would seem the best course of action, until such times as ALL nuclear weapons are abolished, does this mean we have to have our “very own” nuclear deterrent then?… NO…Does this mean we shouldn’t strive for complete disarmament?…NO

        “toffee an’ a’penny”? aye ye can.

      • Robert Sim

        I see you and Ian are still manfully fighting the referendum, John.

  10. Iantinkler

    With reference to Hitler, I do not see Sturgeon as a direct threat or as a Nazi, I see only the lunatic fringe of “ultra nationalists” on both side of this debate following that path. Sadly division stokes that type of idiot, (flag waving painted face brigade), however Putin is an entirely different story. He most certainly shows much of Hitler’s idiosyncrasies and behavior. His brand of Nationalism was praised by the SNP leadership and Salmond never recanted nor apologized for that comment, Sturgeon was stunning in her silence. Now unilateral disarmament, with Putin rampant, is not a very sane move. O yes, Sturgeon publicly states it is, privately she has different views. I heard that somewhere else, did I not,? strange lady!

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      No it wasn’t Ian, Salmond never ever said that he “Praised Putin’s form of Nationalism”? please stick to the facts? you’ve come out with that Tosh before and I really CBA looking up for you again, only to have you “NOT” reading it, which is why you’re repeating it once again? ../sigh

      Reply
  11. David Spence

    If Graham is suggesting we vote for the Conservatives, and keep them in power for another 5 years, then his dribble about nationalists is drivel of the extreme, if you compare to what the vile Tories are promising what to do with this country and their agenda of looking after themselves and their business partners at the cost of everybody in their illegal and immoral campaign of privatising every single Local Authority Service, including the NHS, through the backdoor. Remember, in essence, the vile Tories are Capitalists in disguise, where people who put profit, greed and selfishness ahead of anything else, and are willing to lie, deceive and be dishonest in all aspects to achieve their goal of selfish aims to better themselves.

    Graham, I would suggest you only have to look across the pond to see a population of a country totally subservient to their Government, and what this Government will do to achieve its goal regardless to the suffering it will cause to millions in other countries as long as the USA benefits from it militarily, economically and geographically. A population of over 310 million brainwashed from their first day at school until their death with nationalism of every kind permeating in all aspects of their life, from education to entertainment to military dominance and obsessed with violence of all sorts. This is the ideology the vile Tories would love to emulate, and to have the UK’s economy run like our so-called ally across the pond.

    Reply
  12. Robin Stevenson

    Really Ian?…Are you kidding? The Daily Mail? The Telegraph?..and the Spectator?

    Gimme a break, I prefer Andrex, it’s a lot softer and easier to flush 🙂 ..Sheesh!!

    Reply
  13. John Oakes , Manchester England

    If Shetland people want to retain their culture identity then educate the youngster more in the original language. Instead of plying for work in the rest of Scotland or further education in universities, seek Norway as the ultimate resource. Currently we in England have the megacity one poisoning us with ideas of what right for us great unwashed. But at least we can see the political elite parties agenda. This country needs blood letting and since the dividing of the nation when devolution was introduce, the idea of SNP winning only harden most of us English wanting Scots to go. Most of today youth here and newcomers only see Shetland as a boxed islands floating around on the daily weather map anyway. I myself proud to lived there for 18months and still miss fondly. But accepted Scotland is a lost cause to be linked now as people. We have enough troubles to worry about in England even being English marked out as automatically racist by certain parties. We wish you well and I keep a fond eye as your lands move on the weather maps prodded by some blonde bimbo called Buffy.

    Reply
  14. Ian tinkle

    Robin Stevenson , my opening comment, your irrationality confirms my belief, “The more I look at the SNP the more I see what is fast becoming a cult. Irrational dogma and a fanatical following. ”
    Now yet again : My question Robin Stevenson, A yes or no will suffice. ( is it deceitful or not to campaign against Trident and have full membership of CND, yet sanction NATO nukes on Scottish territory without question?) erm?. erm?
    Salmond Putin referances; http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/30/alex-salmond-vladimir-putin-remarks
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-27241489
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/04/27/alex-salmond-admires-putin-nigel-farage-gq-interview_n_5223425.html
    http://news.sky.com/story/1250812/alex-salmonds-admiration-for-vladimir-putin
    I Are you still in a state of denial, irrational and fanatical in your odd cult? Now your silly comment, just think about this, “Gimme a break, I prefer Andrex, ” Perhaps you should wipe your mouth with that Robin, may well be more appropriate and suitable!!.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, just how long do we have to endure this “Faux outrage”?

      What Alex said and how that was interpreted is for the individual to make their mind up? so let’s examine what was said?

      “I don’t approve of a range of Russian actions, but he is more effective than the press he gets and you can see why he carries support in Russia.”

      Secondly : this interview was carried out “Before” the annexation of Crimea.

      And let us Not forget that Journalists and politicians who know better are happy to ignore completely Cameron’s sycophantic fawning of Putin when he recently sought his support against Scottish independence.

      I hate to say it, but I used to like “Rolf Harris”,…Should I be hung, drawn and quartered?

      Reply
  15. iantinkler

    “No” Robin. as I said, irrational and fanatical, very cult like following.

    Reply
  16. Gordon Harmer

    To add to what Graham said the other unbelievably totalitarian legislation which now appoints a state guardian from birth to legal maturity for every child born in Scotland, with that state guardian having rights that supersede the authority of parents. This is the worst possible example of the fast track legislative route for a party with an overall majority ramming through to the statute book ill thought one size fits all legislation without the care, as in this case, to refine legislation to protect the specific sectors in the child population most likely to be vulnerable to abuse; and to limit or remove the authority of the most likely sources of their abuse. Here too the current Scottish Parliament was no protection against the imposition of so socially and politically dangerous a measure. Imagine the democratic utility of this chamber when there are substantially fewer ‘opposition’ members as, barring ‘events’, is now highly probable after the Scottish Election in May 2016. Here is the inability even to see the interests of the nation as a whole, unless that nation is of one kind, of one view and of one voice, and unless that oneness is aligned to the single mind of the SNP. Here is an utter determination not to see the Scottish Parliament with the second chamber that will be the only hope of the protection of justice, of just legislation and of just decision taking in a country which is speeding fast to becoming a one party state, with no dissent tolerated, even internally A one party state, in a manufactured monoculture, with a single party parliament, minimal formal opposition and with measures of whatever necessary kinds deployed in the suppression of the ‘dissent’ of alternative and contrary views, can only be a prospect of the most serious concern. If this is what Scotland sees as an enviable distinguishing character to mark this country as ‘different’ from the rest of the United Kingdom, as the sort of national identity which it proposes to create and to revel in at the earliest opportunity, so be it. This will be the brand of the Scotland the great majority will have been led to make of it. Like it or not, if this is not stopped, returning sanity later will be unable to reverse even the ground already gained on the road to fascism along which the majority are happily dancing blindfold. Even more sound reasons to heed what Graham has said and not vote SNP

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      “The other unbelievably totalitarian legislation which now appoints a state guardian from birth to legal maturity for every child born in Scotland, with that state guardian having rights that supersede the authority of parents.”

      Would you mind giving an example, Gordon, of a scenario where the “state guardian’s” rights “supersede” those of the parents?

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Yes Robert, considering this draconian policy has not officially rolled out yet I find these two accounts somewhat disturbing.

        http://nosnp.com/2015/03/26/snp-state-guardians-a-parents-story/

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RIxlQDNEiDc

        There is also a Facebook page devoted to stories in the same vein as these two but I cannot find the link to it but will post it when I do.

      • Robert Duncan

        “She then mentioned SHANARRI (safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, included) and GIRFEC “Getting It Right For Every Child” – followed by a spiel about the Named Person – all of these being the euphemisms for the SNP’s plan for making all Scottish children wards of the State, undermining the role of all Scottish parents, brainwashing our children with vile inward-looking nationalism and consigning the family unit to the dustbin of history.”

        Well, that escalated quickly.

        The story in question isn’t even related to the “named person”, which as you say has not yet been fully rolled out. Social care and health workers already ask many of those questions of young people, and are already bound by confidentiality clauses refusing the right to divulge any answers to parents. So I’ll ask again, what are the rights of parents that are being “superseded” by the introduction of Named Persons?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert your question is something of an oxymoron if that is the right word, how can I give an example of what has not been rolled out yet? What is so very wrong about the state guardian scheme is that state guardians have rights that supersede the authority of parents. Not only that we are beginning to see things that point to the indoctrination of our children from an early age. You answer me why was a school teacher allowed to take a class of eight year old children to an anti austerity event? Why was a convicted criminal Tommy Sheridan allowed into a class of children to lecture about austerity? A left wing extremist who would never have been given a full disclosure to allow access to children in school. Robert you read something different in the links I gave you because you don’t want to see what is happening in Scotland. Many a mickle makes a Muckle and the mickles are mounting up and do not need to be searched for they are becoming more visible every day. This is the only bit of my original comment you question, why are you not questioning the silencing of SNP MPs and MSPs by the party elite? Because it is happening and you cannot question that.

      • Robert Duncan

        It is not an oxymoron in any sense. The scenario can be hypothetical. You said the named person will have rights that will “supersede” those of the parents. I’d like an example of these rights.

        The rest of your comment is unrelated to the named person scheme. You refer to the actions of one teacher. I am not defending those, nor are they particularly relevant.

      • Gordon Harmer

        It was not a teacher Robert it was an unknown someone claiming to be a health worker. The rights are the right to know what answers your child gave during an interview, an interview which was held without the parents consent or knowledge. A child is the sole responsibility of a parent unless that child is in school where the responsibility falls on a teacher. No outside agency should have the right to interview any child without either the consent of a parent or for the parent to be present. The police cannot interview a child without the parent being there so why should some government appointed busy body have the right. This is a classic case of big brother, or sister taking over, it is a step too far.

      • Robert Duncan

        It was a single teacher who both organised the visit to an anti-austerity measure, and the visit from Tommy Sheridan (in addition to Johann Lamont and another Labour MSP). Neither that nor the case you mention involving the healthcare worker or interview are directly related to the named person policy.

        I hoped to have a coherent explanation of how the named person has “rights that supersede those of the parents”. That does not appear to be forthcoming in your Change.org link, which starts from the same presumption of agreement on the terrible ills of this policy and has very little in the way of explaining how we get from “a named person available for every child” to “a gross intrusion into family life”.

  17. iantinkler

    Robin, whom cares about wee Alex, yesterdays man for now. Putin however was the point of my comment. very much a probable latter day Hitler, a nuclear armed one with 3000 plus missiles. many pointing at us and he is threatening to activate them. Now is that a good time to elect a CND pretendy bleeding heart, promising the abolition of our deterrent, well at least publicly campaigning for that. In private wanting to stay in NATO, maybe that was just a leaked memo, from the SG. (another dirty trick)!!
    https://www.scotreferendum.com/questions/will-nato-members-with-nuclear-armed-vessels-be-allowed-to-enter-scottish-waters-or-dock-at-scottish-ports/

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, this about having permanent nuclear weapons on your soil, OR being a part of another 27 state members under the protection of NATO, Yes, Scotland would be obliged to allow NATO vessels using their ports/airports, but that’s a far cry from “Housing” our own [very expensive] WMDs?

      CND [Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament] ultimately would like to see ALL nuclear weapons done away with, but while they exist, let’s [at least] share the responsibility between ALL members states and stop pretending the Britain is somehow a superpower, housing weapons we can’t even afford?

      Nicola Sturgeon has laid out quite plainly and publicly that she is against nuclear weapons, but also realises that [until] we have world disarmament we would remain a part of NATO

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        Is it CND policy that an independent Scotland should join NATO?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Nope, and it isn’t Nato policy in an independent Scotland to join CND either [but you can if you wish to, and that will not be a problem]

  18. Brian Smith

    I feel sorry for Labour’s candidate in Shetland and Orkney. Here we are, less than a month before the general election, and a prominent Labour member in Shetland can’t bring himself to advise people to vote for his party.

    It’s exactly like the referendum, when members of Shetland Labour Party canoodled with the Tories and Lib-Dems for several months, and then fell asleep again the day after.

    I don’t know if Graham has noticed, but the Tories have caused havoc during the past few years. We need a Labour government again, and if Labour’s own record makes that outcome insecure, some sort of arrangement with the SNP will be necessary. After all, the SNP has a programme that is more like Labour’s from the pre-Callaghan era. Graham’s bizarre idea that they resemble the Nazis suggests that he is losing his marbles.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      LOL…Brian, I didn’t have the heart to say that, but I take yer point 🙂

      Reply
    • Robert Sim

      You highlight the point, Brian, that we are in all likelihood going to see Labour governing with the support of the SNP. The SNP (in the person of Nicola Sturgeon) has in turn said that it will help to make sure that Labour sticks to a more socially-just and balanced approach to policy. That is all likely to happen because the SNP is (still) on course to take the majority of Scottish seats, enough to hold the balance of power. The question for Shetland voters is therefore whether we want our MP to be part of that Labour/SNP group, with direct influence on UK policy, or to be an isolated figure, looking in from the sidelines.

      Reply
  19. Donald Urquhart

    Graham, oh Graham, you seem very frightened.
    To follow your ludicrous argument to its conclusion, the world would be a better place if all the colonies, formerly under London rule, returned and gave up their independence.

    To link the SNP to the Nazis, means you’ve lost the argument no matter what else you say.

    Man up and vote for change.

    Reply
  20. iantinkler

    Robin Stevenson, rather a change of tune here and the usual slanted rubbish from your script advisers. Firstly CND is not advocating multi-nuclear disarmament but unilateral disarmament. Nicola Sturgeon has made no such plain statement about NATO nuclear weapons deployed on Scottish soil. in fact she has kept those views as quiet as she can, (rather like her Tory leanings towards Cameron , perhaps) most SNP supporters have absolutely no idea she had such views. You only have to read the letters above and the epistles of Douglas Young, former Press Officer of Shetland SNP. Also the poor ill advised Shetland Women for Independence and so many more duped people. I challenge you to state Just where did Sturgeon make her views public on allowing NATO Nuclear armaments including British nuclear armed Trident Submarines to be deployed to Scottish ports, if Scotland were Independent. I accuse you,the SNP and Sturgeon of subterfuge and dishonor here, very close to pure dishonesty. Only a “Cult” follower would and could disagree.

    Reply
  21. Douglas Young

    Vote for who you want to vote for and don’t be told by a pro-unionist, or anyone else, how to vote.

    Good to see “The Six” on form going round in circles as usual.

    Reply
    • Geordie Pottinger

      Yes, Douglas, “The Six Must-Quote-Here’s” even out-doing the French originals in their quest to be involved in all, in their eyes, ‘injustices’.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Geordie, would alleged injustices be the ones that brought on a serious case of the “Dort-On-Yon” day in September for the Yes campaign.

  22. Craig Sheridan

    Comedy gold that piece. It’s so angry in tone and wild in accusation that it implodes of it’s own volition. On a more serious note though, there are important issues at stake here and this sort of unionist bigotry only deflects from that, which I guess is the point.

    We live in a plutocratic society where a powerful system is in place protecting their power and their wealth which is largely earned at the expense of the poorer end of the spectrum. We are being cheated and lied to on a daily basis but thankfully an unstoppable change is taking place as Scots realise it does not have to be this way.

    The corrupt system can be changed for the common good of all no matter what you voted in ref or where you come from. Vote SNP and let’s get this real change in place.

    Reply
  23. Bibbit

    I can’t believe a sane editor printing this political OTT hysteria! That is the worse thing about this letter! D-Day, Stalingrad, Belsen, Dachau etc. etc. = ‘a bloody nose’… How insulting to the dead of WW2.

    Reply
  24. iantinkler

    Sorry people, my Trident bit has been superseded by Nicola Sturgeons latest nonsense… She will block Cameron and the Tories from power in Westminster as a matter of utter principle. That actually means she must back Miliband and Labour on all crucial votes. Now labour and Miliband are actually supporting a Trident replacement and that is a manifesto commitment. Has not Sturgeon rather kicked CND and anti-nuclear Scotland somewhere under the belt? Sweet Nicola is just so devious. Yes to NATO nukes, Yes to Labour with their Trident replacement and Yes to CND with their unilateral disarmament agenda. Will someone in the SNP tell me what the actual policy is, how about it Douglas, Danus or Charlie, it is a tad confusing?

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      As ever ian, quite wrong, Nicola has drawn a red line with regard to trident, she may be a member of CND [and rightly so] but she is NOT for turning with regard to replacing trident? where do you hear this nonsense, the torygraph? or did you just make it up? incidentally, you said “She has to back Miliband and Labour on all crucial votes”, again, utter nonsense, it is entirely her choice whether to back or not any proposal Labour come up with, she is certainly NOT obliged.
      It would seem pointless trying [once again] to explain Nicolas stance on her CND membership, as it has been explained before on more than one occasion? perhaps you could read it twice through? who knows maybe some of it will sink in?

      Reply
  25. Gordon Harmer

    Some letter from Graham, it has 327 shares and 91 tweets, must be a record, unbelievable, it must have hit a cord with a lot of people. 327 shares that must be more shares than SNP members in Shetland, nice one Graham. I thought I would just mention it especially for Douglas Young who loves using figures and percentages to show support for his campaign.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      LOL…Did you bother to read the tweets Gordon? alls perhaps not as rosy as you seem to imagine?

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin you cannot put spin on this, 327 likes and now 92 tweets going up as we speak, three times the amount of any other good letter to the Times. Like I said the likes outnumber the Shetland SNP membership.

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