25th September 2018
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Autonomy could mean millions more for isles coffers

95 comments, , by , in Headlines, News
John Tulloch sets out his vision at Lerwick Town Hall. Photo: Stephen Gordon

John Tulloch sets out his vision at Lerwick Town Hall. Photo: Stephen Gordon

Shetland would be at least £172 million a year better off it gained British overseas territory or similar status – according to the organiser of the new multi-party campaign group.

More than 60 people attended Wir Shetland’s launch night at Lerwick Town Hall on Wednesday evening.

Former Shetland resident John Tulloch set out the vision of the group, which says it wants to protect the long-term interests of Shetlanders by achieving self-governing autonomy, in line with the democratic wishes of residents.

Mr Tulloch explained that the group wants to achieve a status similar to the Falkland Islands and would also leave the EU – as it is damaging to Shetland and its fishing industry and the reasons for remaining a member are weak.

Wir Shetland also aims to secure legal rights for Shetland residents and businesses and develop trade and cultural links between Shetland and her political and geographical neighbours.

Mr Tulloch referred to most recent figures in 2010 and said the full turnover of the Shetland economy was £1.1 billion GDP. Its balance of trade was £131 million.

He claimed self-governing powers for Shetland, similar to British overseas territories, would mean control of taxation, spending, and an exclusive economic zone – potentially of 200 miles around Shetland – that would mean taking control of fishing and oil and gas.

Wir Shetland chairman John Tulloch. Photo: Ben Mullay

Wir Shetland chairman John Tulloch. Photo: Ben Mullay

 

“Shetland on its own would be miles and miles better off financially than it is now and you have control of everything,” Mr Tulloch said.

The £172 million figure was conservative and he had used crude calculations.

The surplus included tax gains from companies and offshore oil and gas workers, as well as a substantial amount of money from expanded fishing grounds.

Mr Tulloch said the group would initially be engaging with parties and candidates for both parliamentary and council seats, but if they could not work together then Wir Shetland may look to create its own party and put forward a political candidate for the Holyrood elections next year.

He criticised the Our Islands Our Future Campaign between the Scottish government, the SIC, Western Isles and Orkney councils and said: “Their approach has been to go with a begging bowl and say ‘please sir can we have some more?’ but there has been no worthwhile movement in the Our Islands Our Future movement.”

The Scottish government, by having a consultation with all islands, was “kicking the can down the road” until after the Holyrood election, Mr Tulloch argued.

Now was the right time to negotiate as the whole “UK political situation is fluid at the moment and it’s malleable” and “if you don’t ask you don’t get”.

He said: “While Scottish independence is a hot issue we have to approach the British government and say: ‘A lot of folk want to go with Scotland. If you want Shetland to stay with Britain you better give us something to vote for’.”

Mr Tulloch spoke passionately about education and the closure of schools being a last resort.

According to his calculations, Shetland education had been underfunded by a minimum of £70 million by the Scottish government since 2008.

“School rolls are falling because the the communities that they are serving are depopulated,” said Mr Tulloch.

If a community was suffering from depopulation then closing a school left communities “on the verge of collapse”.

He argued for reversing depopulation and said that with quality broadband, decent roads and fixed links there was no reason communities could not thrive.

• For full story see tomorrow’s Shetland Times.

About Adam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Press and Journal, The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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95 comments

  1. Chris Johnston

    “He claimed self-governing powers for Shetland, similar to British overseas territories, would mean control of taxation, spending, and an exclusive economic zone – potentially of 200 miles around Shetland – that would mean taking control of fishing and oil and gas.”

    I suspect the Orcadians, the Faroese, and the Norwegians might not be receptive to this claim.

    Reply
    • Duncan Simpson

      Nobody means literally 200nm around Shetland, the basic rule is 200nm or equidistant with your neighbour. The borders with Faroe and Norway would not change.

      Reply
    • Henry condy

      I suspect your average Shetlanders is not really interested in this, as they will look at it from the ” just another Tier of government ” as Shetland would still be tied to Westminster, and then you would have the elected officials with their snouts in the money trough, looking after number one. They have seen it before , it goes on today, and their view is ” Why Bother “

      Reply
      • Duncan Simpson

        You are missing the entire point Henry. Yes people are tired of the current set up and class of ruling politicians, that is a reason to support this campaign not dismiss it!!

        We are after full autonomy. This would mean we set our own laws and have our own Government. It would mean people in Shetland would actually have a say in how they are governed. It would not be “just another tier of government”, we would no longer be under the control of the EU, Westminster or Hollyrood. We would be loosely tied to the UK but we would be free to run our own affairs however Shetlands people see fit.

      • Gareth Fair

        Henry,
        I have to disagree with your ‘just another tier of government’ statement.
        The exact opposite is true, please see the definitions of Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories below.
        In both situations they are self governing and do not form part of the U.K. or are they members of the EU. They do however have a relationship with both that is beneficial to trade and can allow residents to remain as UK citizens.

        British overseas territories here:
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Overseas_Territories

        Crown dependancies here:
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Dependencies

        As for the ‘elected officials with their snouts in the money trough’ comment, well that would be down to the constitution, the organisation of the government and the judiciary.
        There is a good opportunity to eradicate this kind of behaviour and legislate against it ourselves. personally I can see opertunity here for an independent Shetland that would safeguard against this and simply not tolerate it.

      • Michael Garriock

        A strange conclusion you seem to have reached there, Mr. Condy.

        Care to explain how Shetland becoming a BOT or similar is “just another tier of gevernment”. *If* Shetland were to go through with such a proposal, surely we’d be disposing of two existing tiers of government, namely the Scottish Government and the EU, neither of which Shetland can be said to ever have been in any way enthusiastic about, if my memory serves correctly.

        Some form of local legislature would replace the SIC, and Westminster would play a much lesser role then either it of Holyrood does right now. How doing so constitutes “adding an extra tier” is beyond me, surely by concentrating the vast majority of government within a local legislature, that is consolidating and streamlining mostly within one tier what is currently fragmented and scattered across four tiers, rather than adding a fifth tier.

  2. iantinkler

    “Nothing to lose and everything to gain.”. Not my words, Duncan Simpson’s I believe, how very, very true.

    Reply
    • Duncan Simpson

      It was actually Ali Inkster’s words I believe! Not our campaign motto but sums it up pretty well!

      Reply
    • ROBERT SIM

      One thing we have potentially to lose, Ian, is the hard-won understanding that the council’s finances have to be used sensibly and that there is an overriding imperative to balance the books. That has taken the last ten years anyway to sink in. Promises of endless riches need to be tempered by that experience.

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        “One thing we have potentially to lose, Ian, is the hard-won understanding that the council’s finances ” Robert Sim, I for one could live with that. As for endless riches, self determination is absolutely priceless. As for money I really couldn’t care less, must be my age or something.

      • Ali Inkster

        A simple line in the new constitution would sort that out, The Shetland Government must live within its means.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robert,
        You might find these sites relating to the Falkland Islands government structure interesting.

        http://www.falklands.gov.fk
        http://www.fig.gov.fk

      • ROBERT SIM

        @Ian Tinkler – I am glad you have experienced a Damascene conversion regarding self-determination. That’ll be one more vote for Scottish independence now that you have accepted that nationalism is not the devil incarnate.

        @Gareth Fair – thanks for the links re the Falklands. Interesting and certainly impressive. I am not however deliberately being negative in pointing out that there is a huge difference between a territory which has been running its own affairs since at least 1881 and an area of Scotland which in 2015 is intimately tied into the machinery of the Scottish and indeed the UK state. Scotland as a whole can contemplate independence because it is already halfway there in terms of its institutions and recently-devolved areas. Not least, it has a devolved administration. Shetland is not in that position any more than any other part of Scotland. I am sorry if that sounds defeatist. But is it up to those behind the autonomy project to demonstrate how they would get Shetland from where we are to at least the equivalent level of services under whatever autonomous setup is preferred.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robert,
        I agree, definately valid points.
        Just putting a case together there is an awful lot to consider, a lot of work to do.
        This is going to be a huge project for the Wir Shetland group.

  3. Shane Schofield

    Shetland would be far better off with autonomy. It’s dangerous to think that the majority could vote to stay with the UK, but the rest of Scottland voters could have torn Shetland out.
    Shetland is blessed with abundant natural resources, it should be up to her people to determine how best to utilize them.

    Reply
  4. Robin Stevenson

    John

    This issue has never been resolved:

    “An exclusive economic zone – potentially of 200 miles around Shetland – that would mean taking control of fishing and oil and gas”.

    Really?….So the Scottish mainland is just going to give away their EEZ which Shetlands EEZ encroaches upon, I don’t think so John, and I’m fairly certain neither would the laws of the seas, [UNCLOS] ALL factors have to be taken into account, population, landmass, historic economic interests, this [as you well know] has been looked at in the past and a detailed plan of what Shetlands territorial waters would look like in the event of seceding from Scotland, it is one thing to say “Yes we have all our own wealth” but it is quite another when that that wealth is based on your present territories, which may no longer exist.

    How would you imagine [for example] Shetland’s economy, look like in the event of having a mere 12nm from your shoreline? It is not a given John and I don’t want to burst your bubble, but ultimately, could I suggest looking at the “Worst” possible scenario after negotiations? Is it then still viable?

    Reply
    • iantinkler

      Robin Stevenson, do not worry, it so very simple indeed, wait until after discussions and negotiations before making any final decisions. Perhaps the UK could really help here, as they were with the granting of Crown Dependency to the Channel islands. Chris Johnston, The Orcadians may well follow us in their own wish for autonomy. The Faroese already enjoy autonomy, linked to Denmark. Our Island status really has nothing to do with Norway, however my Norwegian friends feel it is a fabulous idea. They after all, they have as many inks to Shetland as Shetland does to the UK. We could and would , Norway, Faroe and Shetland, all be in the same position of control of our own fishing waters. We could perhaps share resources to police the fishing grounds together.

      Reply
      • Henry condy

        Yes Robin, have no fear once Shetland gains autonomy , Westminster to make sure everything in the garden is rosy, and it will be a roaring success for Shetland , will grant us everything , oil and gas rights, 200 mile boundaries for fishing etc, zero travel fares to Scotland , 10p a litre at our petrol pumps and to make it Kosha and binding they will endorse it in a written VOW peace brother.

    • Gareth Fair

      Robin,
      It’s not about giving away Scotland’s (or currently the UK’s) EEZ it’s about sharing out the EEZ based on International Law, if the Shetland people choose to become independent.
      Exactly the same principal as it would have been under Scottish Independence.

      Shetland does not lie in Scotland’s (or UK’s) 12nm territorial waters. The EEZ in itself implies no sovereignty.
      The advice sought by the House of Lords over Scottish Independence stated that Shetland and Orkney would be entitled to its EEZ, which could even be included as part of the U.K. EEZ if Shetland and Orkney stayed within the U.K. That estimates around 30% of oil and gas revenues going to Shetland and Orkney’s share of the EEZ.

      http://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/economic-affairs/ScottishIndependence/OnlineEvidenceVolume%5B1%5D.pdf

      Indeed Studying previous UNCLOS rulings suggests your 12nm example isn’t going to be realistic.

      Considering Shetland has voted against Scottish independence by 64% to 36% wouldn’t it be sensible for Shetland to explore other options rather than potentially be forced into a situation it has already demonstrated it does not want?

      It seems that’s all that is happening here, determining the precise EEZ would be part of that.
      Be fair, give them a chance to make a case.

      Reply
    • Aaron Smith

      The EEZ would be determined in negotiations with the UK government. Scotland would have no part in the decision. If the UK government would see this as a threat to possible future Scottish independence then all the better for Shetland.

      Reply
    • Steven Jarmson

      Already been looked into Robin.
      Even with the 12 mile limit, Shetland would still be in a stronger position.
      I really don’t understand your animosity?
      All we want is more say over our islands, it ok for Scotland to get more say, but not for Shetland?
      I find that rather contradictory.
      We don’t want to break away from the UK, but we want more powers to keep our unique islands unique.
      I really don’t understand the problem?

      Reply
    • Steven Jarmson

      Even, in the unlikely event, if Shetland only had 12 miles, the numbers would stack up favourably.
      The oil is a bonus, its a small percentage of Shetlands wealth.
      The fishing would still benefit, albeit different types of fishing, but, even at 12 miles, the numbers are favourable.
      I don’t get your animosity Robin.

      Reply
    • Gareth Fair

      Robin,
      Sorry to press you on this but can you give us more information on your statement regarding the EEZ as it is an important point.
      Is the plan you refer to available? Do you know who carried it out? Are there any links to it online?

      The Falkland Islands obviously has its EEZ up to 200nm.
      The Channel Islands do not seem to have an unfair EEZ boundary.
      See page 5 of the below document, all the maps I can find look the same.

      http://www.seaaroundus.org/doc/publications/wp/2015/Gibson-et-al-UK-and-Channel-Is.pdf

      The Isle of Man has a unique situation in that it has signed up to the ‘Common Purse Customs agreement’ .

      ‘In October 1966, the Manx and UK governments entered into an agreement whereby the Isle of Man was to receive a share of royalties and rentals from oil and gas exploration on the whole of the UK continental shelf, through what was then called the Common Purse Customs agreement.
      In return, the Island relinquished any interest it had to oil and gas exploration and production beyond its territorial waters.’

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Purse_Agreement.

      http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/isle-of-man-has-right-to-oil-fields-cash-says-karran-1-1743594

      The advice given to the Select Committee on Economic Affairs seems to back the case for us having a sizeable EEZ.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Gareth

        From the link you gave me by Professor Robert Rowthorn he states:

        “Media reports claim that a quarter of current UK North Sea revenue derives from
        resources located within the potential EEZ of the Orkneys and Shetlands. This is about 30
        percent the North Sea revenue that Scotland might otherwise expect to enjoy following
        independence”…The key word here is “potential”, in others words it has yet to be negotiated.

        http://www.ejil.org/pdfs/12/1/505.pdf

        Could I draw your attention to page 105 map 2 where Dr Mahdi Zahraa has drawn out the most likely scenario of an agreed EEZ zone based on equidistance. He gives the most likely comparison with the “St Pierre Et Miquelon case”

        His research and subsequent paper is based on UNCLOS

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

      • Ali Inkster

        keep on repeating the same old nonsense Wrobin. You must be getting worried. But why is it that the ones most vocally against this idea seem to be yourself and a few other scotnats. If we are only going to get 12nm leave us to it you have nothing to worry about. And if we do get more then surely as the fair minded folk you are you will congratulate us on our good fortune and wish us well for the future. Unless…..

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        Thanks, interesting article.
        That seems to me to be consistent with the Wir Shetland view.
        The example you are using where Shetland and Orkney become part of ‘England’ is not being considered at all. They are considering the Independence option (preferably with a status similar to Falklands) as discussed on page 102 by Dr Zahraa. This uses the equidistant (median ) line as a start point shifted North for proportionality. (As the Malta / Lybia case).
        I think that may be the sort of arrangement Wir Shetland is suggesting.
        Dr Zahraa doesn’t give a map for this but seems like it could well be in line with the view of Professor Robert Rowthorn on the quarter of North sea revenue if you look at the distribution of the oil and gas fields.
        It differs in that he is talking about Shetland and Orkney being part of the U.K rather than England offshore of an independent Scotland, I’m not sure if that is significant. Either way Wir Shetland is talking about independence so that whole bit is not relevant.

      • Gareth Fair

        Thanks again Robin,
        I think this looks quite encouraging for Shetland.
        Libya / Malta EEZ boundaries on page 12.

        http://www.seaaroundus.org/doc/publications/wp/2015/Khalfallah-et-al-Libya.pdf

      • Christopher Ritch

        Interesting link, Robin.

        page 103: “First, the enclave method seems to be the most equitable solution available for the Orkney and Shetland Islands. This enclaved zone, however, does not have to be restricted to 12 nautical miles. Rather, it can be left to the parties, or the tribunal to decide the various widths of this zone taking into account other elements such as historic rights and fishing rights. It is also important to note that an equitable solution should not deprive the Orkney and Shetland Islands of mineral deposits off their coasts merely because they were detached from the mainland state.”

        Not restricted to 12 miles.

        Not deprived of oil and gas.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        Perhaps you may be looking at the negative impacts and missing the benefits this could bring to both areas.
        Jersey, for instance, brings huge benefit to the UK economy. Not having a similar offshore arrangement in Scotland could actually harm the Scottish economy. Making it harder to compete.

        The report carried out in 2013 revealed that Jersey helps the UK generate around £2.3 billion in tax revenues each year and supports 180,000 British jobs.

        https://www.jerseyfinance.je/news/new-report-shows-the-value-of-jersey-to-the-uk#.ViNPLpR4WrU

        Comparing that to the oil and gas bulletin published by John Swinney, that reveals revenues could be as low as £2.4bn in total over the next four years.

        In the bulletin (when oil was at $63), Swinney’s officials believe tax receipts in 2016/17 will actually be between £500m and £2.8bn.

        http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jun/25/scottish-government-accused-of-trying-to-bury-report-on-falling-oil-revenues

        Even if you take the upper estimate at £2.8b for 2016/17, Shetlands Share of that estimated at 30% would account for £840m.
        At the lower end it is £150m.

        In an environment similar to Jerseys relationship with the U.K., this starts to look like a much more positive thing for everyone.
        Additionally Scotland would inevitably sell a number of services to an independent Shetland (in Health and Education for instance).

      • Robert Sim

        @Gareth – you say: “Additionally Scotland would inevitably sell a number of services to an independent Shetland (in Health and Education for instance).” That begs a whole lot of questions. First, if we take education, for example, what incentive would the Scottish Govt have to “sell” services to an independent Shetland? I cannot think of one that would be to the benefit of Scotland as opposed to Shetland. In addition, there is absolutely no precedent for an arrangement such as you outline. The SG does not “sell” any of its education services (eg the inspectorate) at present.

        What would have to happen is that Shetland would have to replicate the Scottish education system in miniature – and that has huge problems such as the question of how schools would be externally assessed. Overall, educationalists in Shetland could easily be excluded from the important exchange of ideas at a national level.

        If you think it can be done, then you have to accept Shetland starts from a position of considerable weakness at the bargaining table. And, as education is entirely a Scottish matter, there is no chance of playing the SG and the UKG off against one another.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robert,
        I was thinking of University places both undergraduate and postgraduate.
        I don’t think it would be practical or necesserily desirable to create this in Shetland.
        Obviously as external students they would be charged external student fee levels. In order to keep the same opportunity for Students in Shetland, this would need to be paid for by Shetland.
        I think I read the Falklands do this.

        Of course students could opt for any University in the UK but Scottish Uiversities would be an attractive option.

      • Ali Inkster

        There are any number of international education models we could emulate or even join. this would open up Shetland youngsters to important exchange of ideas on a global level.
        Wouldn’t it be great if all these folk scrambling around trying to find negatives spent a bit of their time looking at the many many positives.

      • Robert Sim

        @Gareth, I understand now that you were referring to the higher-education sector. But it is not therefore accurate to say that the SG would “sell” education services to Shetland. Universities are autonomous bodies which charge any student from anywhere for their services. We wouldn’t be getting some special deal from Scotland. In fact, we would be losing out, as tuition fees would, as you say, have to be paid when at present they are picked up by the SG.

        @Ali – it may be annoying that I am pointing out aspects of the reality that would follow from Shetland not being part of Scotland. But it’s not my fault that those aspects potentially exist. Saying that we could emulate or join “any number of education models” fails to address challenging questions like how we would select the new model; and how long it would take to move from our existing system to the new one – years? Decades?

      • Ali Inkster

        @ Robert I am not saying problems don’t exist, I’m just saying if that’s all you look for that’s all you’ll find. If you can see a possible problem look for solutions you’ll find them too and who knows you may even find better ones than me. So wouldn’t that be a better way to spend your time.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robert,
        I did read somewhere that University students from the Falkland Islands not only get their fees paid, they also get money for travelling expenses and living expenses.
        Wouldn’t that be great, it shows what can be done in a similar situation.

        Fair enough governments not selling education but Universities get half their funding from the Government so the net effect is similar.

      • Robert Sim

        @Gareth – thanks for replying on the higher-education question. You say that you read somewhere that Falkland Islands university students “…get money for travelling expenses and living expenses.” What’s to prevent the SIC doing that right now?

      • Duncan Simpson

        Robert,
        What prevents the SIC from doing this right now is funding. They are struggling to pay for schools in the islands as it is (even though Shetland is a massive contributor to the exchequer and national economy?). An autonomous Shetland would have much greater revenue and could therefore look at providing the funding Gareth is referring to.

      • Steven Jarmson

        Robert, what is preventing the SIC fully funding students now is a dwindling amount of cash “gifted” to Shetland.
        The original point already said, if Swinneys figures are correct, Shetland would have a very conservative £150m per year to pay full costs for our students.
        And, we could also pay to join any educational system we chose.
        I have to this is an entirely personal view. But I wouldn’t want to be part of the Scottish school system.
        I’d rather we went for a system that gives those who try hard and achieve something worth more than toilet paper. As the new national system gives. My son doesn’t even need to sit an exam to get a pass!
        Pandering to the lowest common denominator doesn’t achieve excellence, it achieves a race to the bottom.
        Something most people I know don’t like.

  5. Steven Jarmson

    Surely a great idea.
    A good positive debate will follow, I’m sure.

    Reply
  6. David Spence

    If Shetland was to be granted the same status as the Falklands, then it should, I think, take a leaf out of our fellow neighbours the Norwegians and have very strict fishing laws and regulations. This would also include very heavy fines for fishing which breached such laws/regulations.

    However, like in many parts of the world, the problems with the fishing industry here in Shetland, as well as Scotland, was not the EU, but this of selfish greed. Fishing boats became much, much larger, technology became more sophisticated to the point you could track where fish were, but most of all, over-fishing the sea’s to the point where the EU was forced to introduce Quota’s, and times and area’s of the North Sea which could be fishing could take place. In affect, the Scottish/Shetland Fishing created its own demise.

    If the Scottish/Shetland Fishing Industry wants to blame the EU, I would suggest it looks in the mirror first before it starts to blame other sources. Selfishness and Greed are the main reasons why the fishing collapsed………..and Salmon/Mussel Farms filled in this void.

    Reply
  7. David Spence

    If Shetland was to be granted the same status as the Falklands, then it should, I think, to take a leaf out of our fellow neighbours, the Norwegians. They have very strict fishing laws and regulations. This would also include very heavy fines for fishing boats and personnel if such laws/regulations were breached.

    However, the problems with the fishing industry here in Shetland, as well as Scotland, was not the EU, but this of selfish greed.

    Fishing boats became much, much larger. Technology became more sophisticated to the point you could track where fish were. Most of all though, was over-fishing the sea’s. This is where the EU was forced to introduce Quota’s. This was, I assume, to try and sustain an industry hell-bent of creating its own demise, just like it did with the whaling years and years ago…………and they say one should learn from their past mistakes. lol

    If the Scottish/Shetland Fishing Industry wants to blame the EU, I would suggest it looks in the mirror first before it starts to blame other sources. Selfishness and Greed are the main reasons why the fishing collapsed………..and Salmon/Mussel Farms filled in this void.

    Reply
  8. David Spence

    I sincerely hope this will be the start of Shetland having a greater say in its future, as well as being in a position to prosper economically from its position and influence of the oil/gas industries already established here on the islands.

    However, I would hope Shetland would benefit more from the recent expansion of Sullom Voe (I believe a figure of around £1.3 billion has been spent on the expansion/upgrade of the terminal, but I may be wrong?) and for the SIC to be in a position to renegotiate the terms regarding Sullom Voe, where Shetland will also benefit as a result of the expansion of Sullom Voe Oil Terminal?

    I would like to ask people if they know if the SIC has, prior, during or after the expansion, had any negotiations with the relevant owners of the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal?

    Maybe 1 of our Councillors could answer such a question?

    Reply
    • Duncan Simpson

      David what expansion is this you are referring to? Absolutely no idea where the £1.1billion figure is coming from either? That maybe the type of figure Total has spent on the Laggan-tormore project but nothing like that has been spent on SVT.

      There was a refurbishment project which was, if I recall correctly, something like £50 million per year, supposed to be for three years. This was merely to extend the life of the old systems not install anything new.

      The proposed gas sweetening plant is still to be constructed but I believe it has been scaled back. None of these things are going to bring large new revenue streams into SVT. Due to the collapse of the oil price the future of SVT is not as bright as it was just over a year ago.

      Reply
      • David Spence

        Hi Duncan, I must confess I cannot recollect exactly where the figures came from. I am sure I was told that Total was spending around £800 million and BP were spending around £500 million on SVT, in regards to the upgrade etc etc.

        I was also informed that Total were £300 million over-budget at the present time with the work being carried out at SVT?

        I will have to my figures right? lol

        I apologise if the information I gave is wrong.

  9. Duncan Simpson

    David,

    I think you are a bit confused with your acronyms. BP operates Sullom Voe Terminal (SVT) and Total are constructing the £800 million Shetland Gas Plant (SGP).

    Total are well over budget but I don’t know an exact figure, Shetland News reported £300 million but that was 6 months ago.

    BP had plans to construct a £500 million gas sweetening plant but these plans have been postponed (and rumour has it scaled down) due to the crash in oil prices.

    Reply
  10. iantinkler

    Robin Stevenson, why quote a man whom is strongly influenced by Karl Marx and a vehement anti-capitalist. Professor Robert Rowthorn, Professor of Economics, is not a specialised in international law and his views are no more than that. Just an opinion, probably as biased and prejudiced as yours. I realise that Shetland autonomy may threaten your hope of an all dominant centralised dictate from a Nationalist SG. Now do you not feel it fair for Shetland to seek more autonomy? After all that is what you endlessly preach and pontificate about for the poor enslaved and endlessly exploited people of Scotland.

    Reply
  11. iantinkler

    Robert Sim, will you ever get into your head, autonomy and self-determination, have never been a problem to me, “Nationalism” is the problem. We now see the SNP trying to take over the BBC for its own propaganda purposes. Lunacy like “BBC of producing more ‘lies’ than Nazis”, just a favour of SNP mind set. (Recent SNP conference) and calls to devolve the BBC to the control of the SG. (vital for Scotland independence!!!!)

    Reply
    • Henry condy

      Ok, from now on ( although Scotland is a Nation in it’s own right , and we are treated as a minor region ) we will be known as the Scotland Party, problem solved , back to you Ian , peace brother. And please in a lot of your posts you rant on about Nazis, German practices from the SSnp, please desist from these comments , if anyone is dangerous it’s you Ian .

      Reply
    • ROBERT SIM

      @Ian – I have certainly got it into my head that you have mastered the art of doublethink. You see, Scottish nationalism is all about the desire for self-determination. I am sure you know that in your heart of hearts, Ian.

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        Sorry Henry, better check your facts; “BBC accused of telling ‘more half truths and lies than the Nazis’ at SNP conference” The accusation came from an SNP delegate not myself. Your insult “if anyone is dangerous it’s you Ian .” is so typical SNP, get your facts wrong, make unpleasant claims, throw unfounded insults! Quite meaningless puerile and wholly ignorant. Now have you the courage to apologise, Henry Condy? Me dangerous? to whom may I ask? (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/bbc-accused-of-telling-more-half-truths-and-lies-than-the-nazis-at-snp-conference-a6697761.html)

      • iantinkler

        “You see, Scottish nationalism is all about the desire for self-determination” Robert Sim, if that were so, why all the fuss about Shetland going for “self determination”? Truly a double standard if ever there was one. Just what is the present SNP view on Shetland self determination? You , Henry and Robin do not seem to be very much opposed, I can not imagine why!!!

      • Henry condy

        Ian over the months I have read your posts some of which are breathtaking in the ignorance to Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon not having children, half quotes from what are regarded as raving loonies in the Usa , and not once have you ever apologised, why because in your arrogance you are never wrong . You mocked the ten people or so who were at the market cross to mark one year since the referendum , there was a wir Shetland meeting in Clickimin at which sixty attended, you are really whistling up a storm, and this in a nice warm venue. You seem to not understand should WS ever get autonomyf they are still tied to Westminster, and from there , you will get zilch. See the trouble Holyrood has with their budgets being slashed by Westminster.the moans about tax credits being cut, the Tories told you before the election they would do that. And more to come, the English public were conned with vote Labour get Snp’s in Westminster , Cameron must be wondering how daft people really are , but it got him four more years, hard lines on Saturday, a really good match, so cruel

      • Gordon Harmer

        Henry Condy, over the months I have read your posts and the inaccuracies are mind boggling, on one subject alone where you claim Westminster has slashed Scotland budget, get it right man. Accusations of Westminster austerity have been disproved by figures showing the Scottish Budget has not been cut over the past seven years.
        The money given to Scotland to spend on devolved areas has remained constant in real terms since the financial year 2008-09.
        It now stands at just over £35billion and the Scottish Government’s own figures show there has been no cut even when inflation is taken into account.
        The revelation is an embarrassment for a party that has just spent three days at its conference criticising UK Government austerity supposedly imposed on Scots.
        On the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson was asked how much Scotland’s budget was but struggled to answer. ‘Well, the SNP has had to deal with very, very difficult circumstances,’ he replied. ‘Government budgets across the UK have been cut and in Scotland too.’
        When told there had been no cut, according to the SNP’s own figures, he tried to shift the focus back onto the UK Government.

      • James Watt

        Inaccuracies are flying around in abundance today, Gordon I’m afraid your good friend Andrew Neil wasn’t entirely honest during his interview on Sunday. The figures Angus Roberson had been asked about included money for non devolved services such as public sector pensions, tax credits and welfare, in other words, money that is spent as UK government policy dictates.
        The true figure spent by Holyrood has gone from £31.1 billion in 2010/11 to £28.0 billion in 2015/16, but don’t just take my word for it, check out what Audit Scotland says on the figures between 2010-2015, page 10, from paragraph 18.

        http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/central/2014/nr_140605_public_finances.pdf

  12. Gareth Fair

    Ian,
    It was me using the reference to Prof. Rowthorn.
    As he was chosen to advise the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, I suspect his opinion is well regarded.
    From my reading of it.
    Prof. Rowthorn supporters the idea of a sizeable EEZ for Shetland even if it stayed part of the U.K.
    The reference Robin used for Dr Zahraa supports the case for a sizeable EEZ based on an independent Shetland but not if it remains part of England.
    As we are debating Independence for Shetland this difference isn’t relevant.

    I do think the sooner this is cleared up beyond any doubt by getting legal advice the better. It is just clouding the real debate we need to have.

    Reply
  13. iantinkler

    Point taken, Gareth. An authoritative legal position would help. I understand at this time it would be a negotiated position between Shetland and the UK, that could determine the boundaries..

    Reply
  14. iantinkler

    Robin and Robert, just food for thought. “Angus MacNeil, SNP. MP, Has told the BBC that both Shetland and Orkney would be permitted to remain part of the UK regardless of the referendum result “if there was a big enough drive for self-determination” among their residents.

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Wonderful food for thought, indeed, Ian – if if you are hopping into a time machine and going back to 2012, when Angus McNeil said this in the middle of an interview on The Daily Politics. So it isn’t some kind of official statement of the SNP’s current position, which is clearly what you intended to misleadingly intended to imply.

      That’s five minutes I won’t get back.

      Reply
      • Ali Inkster

        Food for thought indeed. During the 2 year long referendum campaign the snp were dropping hints that they were open to more Shetland autonomy, now it’s over the truth is out and they have no intention of ever allowing it.

      • iantinkler

        Just what is the SNP’s current position Robert Sim. Do you mean they no longer support “self determination? or only when it suits their own agenda? There is a word that describes that, your a man of words, you tell me.
        That’s five minutes I won’t get back.lol.

      • Robert Sim

        I am not making any statement regarding the SNP’s current position on this question, Ian. I just didn’t want anyone to be misled by you into thinking that that the words you quote from an SNP MP were uttered recently rather than three years ago. You wouldn’t want that, would you?

  15. John Tulloch

    That’s right, Ian. Sticking with Mahdi Zahraa’s paper which is the preferred choice of our opponents, Dr Zahraa’s view is in line with other authorities i.e. the preferred route is negotiation between the parties with reference to a tribunal if they fail to agree an acceptable solution.

    For example, in the case of the Falkland Is./Malvinas, the dispute has been rumbling away ever since the 1982 war between the UK and Argentina yet the UN position is still that the matter should be resolved by negotiation between the parties.

    Reply
  16. John Tulloch

    Robert Sim,

    You, Robin Stevenson and others have scoffed at my ideas too many times to count, insisting there was “no support” among the Shetland population for self-government and challenging me to start an autonomy campaign.

    First, thank you for inspiring me with your suggestion.

    Second, will you now accept that there is strong support for local powers. 🙂

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      John

      You seemed to have misunderstood my argument here, I’m not saying I’m against autonomy, in fact hopefully every region in Scotland will be far more autonomous in the future [within Scotland], but let me pose a question John, imagine that 2 or 3 or 4 – or so – of Scotland’s wealthiest regions decided to do exactly what you propose, in fact, imagine that they just couldn’t wait until Scotland was independent and approached the UK government and declared themselves Crown dependents of the UK, what do you think would happen to the question of independence?…So, basically we’re back to square one, [only Scottish independence is no longer an issue], each little chip/area/region/constituency that breaks away dilutes the entire question until that very question is no longer an option.

      “will you now accept that there is strong support for local powers”?…Yes John, but your timing sucks!!!

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        What a fallacious and hypocritical argument Robin Stevenson, so typically SNP. It’s OK for Scotland (SNP Scotland) to split and fragment the UK , under the guise of self determination, but quite wrong for any other region to wish and follow the same path!!! Now I think John’s timing is great, exposes the SNP for what it is. The clue is in the name “Nationalist”, right of “self determination”? just for whom?

      • Ali Inkster

        Wrobin if each area decided to split off on their own then surely they would be independent, From your statement above it seems you are not after self determination but are after everything being determined from Edinburgh.

    • Robert Sim

      I don’t recall “challenging you to start an autonomy campaign”, John, but good to know that the motivation behind WS was all about John Tulloch proving a point on the Shetland Times discussion forums.

      What interests me is your choice of the moderate phrase “local powers”, which makes your challenge to Robin and me a bit less than ringing. Of course there is support at a local political level for increased local powers: we have seen that through the OIOF campaign, which has in turn influenced the Scottish Government in its consultation on an Islands Bill. All that we knew before the advent of WS. You can’t claim that as support for your group, if that is what you are trying to do. No doubt those behind those collaborative pieces of work will keep on labouring away at the discussions and negotiations which bring about results.

      If you are suggesting that there is support for self-government as outlined in what I read on here about WS, I think so far we can see that 70 people have declared their support for your group. No-one can claim that is “strong” support. Having said that, good luck with your efforts.

      Reply
      • Duncan Simpson

        Your information is out of date Robert. In less than a week our membership has almost doubled and that is despite many people being away working or on October holidays and our online registration facility not being fully operational yet. Our memberships is not going to shoot from 70 to 1000 overnight but it is certainly on the increase.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robert,
        I think there is a bit more to this than a forum discussion, although the debate on here may well have helped in some way.
        It could be argued that Shetland was nearly removed from the UK against its will.
        With hindsight it is now clear that this would have, at best, been to an extremely challenging economic environment.
        The collapse of the world oil price is still a challenge for the UK as a whole.
        Unless Scotland can somehow reduce its reliance on oil revenues, the Independent Scotland ideal may now realistically, have to wait until there is either a significant recovery of the oil price, or a firm expectation of a recovery.
        on the face of it, Shetland independence looks much more viable in the current climate.

        The SNP has around 114,000 members or approx 2.2%. If WS can get around 500 members (a similar percentage) would you then concede this is decent support? How about 1000?
        Time will tell, this has only been going a couple of weeks, there is a lot to work out before people can make a decision as important as this.

      • Robert Sim

        Thanks for the update, Duncan. At the time of writing, all I had to go on was the ST story. Gareth asks when I will concede there is strong support for WS. I am less worried about the numbers game than I am about what is best for Shetland. The main point I was making in the post to which you are both replying is that there are established mechanisms for obtaining increased powers which have the backing of both governments. Fully engaging with those processes would seem a responsible way for WS to proceed.

      • Steven Jarmson

        But that’s just the point Robert Sim.
        None of those engaged in OIOF was elected to negotiate additional powers, none have asked for any decent powers, and, the Islands Bill going through the Scottish Parliament doesn’t actually change or to anything that’s not already in place, either by practice or law.
        The while idea is born out of frustration that current system doesn’t work, or at least, it doesn’t work for anyone outside of Central Scotland.
        Shetland is just a cash cow for both the UK and Scotland, once the oil is gone, we’ll be forgotten. And, we’ll not even have much fish left if Scot and we’ll nit even have any fish to keep our economy going as Scotland will no doubt give what little there is left to get a seat at the EU gravy train table.

      • Garet Fair

        Robert,
        Can’t we use the ‘established mechanisms for obtaining increased powers’ and look at this option as well?
        If anything it may help move that along.
        I for one am very interested in what will be proposed.
        Clearly this is going to be a lot of work. It will need to be credible and very detailed to understand how this will work before people can be convinced. It is a huge step.
        As with Scottish independence, this is an interesting proposition , the detail of it will decide if people support it or not.
        You never know, you might like the proposal once you see it.

      • Robert Sim

        I hadn’t intended to comment again on this topic but I think Steven’s comment that “…the Islands Bill going through the Scottish Parliament doesn’t actually change or do anything that’s not already in place, either by practice or law” needs a response.

        First, it’s still a consultation on what might be in an Islands Bill – it’s not yet going through Parliament. There is time up to 23rd December to make group and individual views known to the Scottish Government. And second it is indeed proposed that the new Bill would introduce new powers. Part of the consultation is on “Empowering Island Communities – what additional powers and functions could be passed to island councils to benefit or better protect the island communities they serve”.

  17. iantinkler

    So Robert Sim, the last authoritative comment from an SNP spokesperson was from Angus MacNeil, SNP. MP, Has told the BBC that both Shetland and Orkney would be permitted to remain part of the UK regardless of the referendum result “if there was a big enough drive for self-determination” among their residents. That statement has never been rescinded, indeed as yourself and so many SNP officials and supporters have so frequently stated . If the principle of “self determination” is the driving force which motivates the SNP, It seems reasonable that self determination should be a right of all Shetlanders also, would it not? We would not want anyone to be misled into thinking the SNP regard self determination as their right only! That would make them a party of Nationalists hypocrites . You wouldn’t want that, would you, Robert Sim?

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Ian, if you want to know the SNP’s present position on something, find it out. Look on the website. Email party HQ. Ask the local SNP SG candidate. Don’t just rely on three-year old comments in a TV interview. And don’t ask me – I would have to find out the same way as you!

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        Errata “I look forward to Wir Shetland flourishing as a forum that brings together everyone interested in arguing a case that Shetland would be enhanced by having more political autonomy.” from Danus, Robert. No contradiction of Angus MacNeil, SNP. MP’s words there. Looks like my quote from the past holds true.

    • Henry condy

      Ian I have no idea about the Snp position on autonomy but I guess from the multitudes that showed up for the WS meeting at Clickimin, Shetlanders are not interested in another tier of government , with a lot of snouts in the gravy train , very sensible folk.

      Reply
      • Duncan Simpson

        Henry your views are as negative as they are incorrect. Almost 70 people turned up for our meeting (at the town hall NOT the clickimin) which is a considerable number at short notice in the middle of the October holidays when many people are away.

        We are planning on REMOVING tiers of Government not adding them. If you are at all concerned about “snouts in the gravy train” you would do well to support our campaign since that is precisely the type of behaviour we are trying to end. Hopefully the “sensible folk” of Shetland will see past all the negativity being thrown at us and make there own choices based on the merits of our campaign.

  18. iantinkler

    Henry Condy, you have spectacularly missed the point, or are you intentionally misinterpreting the facts in an intentionally perverse and silly way? There is no extra tier of Government being proposed here, exactly the opposite, as a matter of fact. At present there are four levels of administration draining Shetland resources, dictating silly rules and bureaucracy. Brussels, London, Edinburgh and at the bottom, the SIC. For example the CFP being one set of rules. One of the major objectives of Wir Shetland is to establish Shetland as “British Overseas Territory” type autonomous island group, with its own home self-government. The EU, London, Edinburgh and the SIC would no longer be relevant to Shetland, nor have power here. Wir Shetland proposes three less tiers of Government in fact, I simply cannot see how you misunderstood that at the meeting, unless perhaps you were asleep.

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      You have certainly put the WS case very clearly, Ian. At the heart of the campaign is the idea that “…at present there are four levels of administration draining Shetland resources, dictating silly rules and bureaucracy. Brussels, London, Edinburgh and at the bottom the SIC.” You give the CFP as an example of the silly rules and bureacracy. What would be others? Which laws, for example? In other areas, would you consider how schools are inspected as silly bureacracy? Or procedures around child protection? Or the audit section of the Scottish Government telling the SIC it has to balance its books? I look forward to your or WS’s list of how the Scottish and indeed UK state is failing at present to protect us and tie us up in red tape. With specifics, mind you.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        @Robert Sim,

        There are numerous examples we could waste time getting bogged down arguing with you arguing however we need concern ourselves with only a handful of issues, for example, the need to win our own EEZ, to control our own taxation and spending regime and to be responsible for our own constitutional and governance issues.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John

        I’m really not quite sure how you manage to “win your own EEZ” when you’re still a part of the UK?… It is because of the UKs EEZ [and the position of where Shetland lies] that its EEZ exists, It is ONLY in the event of an iScotland that the negotiation process would have to take place, while we are part of the UK then there is nothing to negotiate, or indeed, “win”?

        Robert raises a very good point, of what difference it would make by replacing one tier of bureaucrats with another, to control your own taxation, spending, constitutional and governing issues? Would not, the very same people [that already do these jobs] not simply, reapply and end up doing them anyway?

      • Robert Sim

        John, your reply to my post asking about which bits of red tape WS dislikes worries me a lot. You say you don’t want to waste time “arguing” with me – although I am only asking questions – and that instead “…we need concern ourselves with only a handful of issues, for example, the need to win our own EEZ, to control our own taxation and spending regime and to be responsible for our own constitutional and governance issues.” Well, the issue of governance is where my questions were focussed. I will wait patiently until you can tell me the detail of how you envisage institutions such as the law and education being run under BOT. I assume you have all that worked out? Or maybe you need time?

      • Robert Sim

        Quick supplementary, John. I didn’t notice that you had said “there are numerous examples” of useless red tape. I don’t mind taking time to read them. Are they on your FB page?

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        I think you may misunderstanding the concept of independence for Shetland.
        As with Scottish independence, if Shetland becomes independent we would no longer be part of the U.K.

        It is possible to retain a relationship with the U.K. while still not being part of the U.K. Indeed during the Scottish independence debate the SNP seemed open to the idea of keeping the queen as head of state.

        http://www.theguardian.com/politics/wintour-and-watt/2011/may/25/alexsalmond-queen

        Crown dependency
        noun
        a territory that is under the sovereignty of the British Crown but does not form part of the UK. The Crown dependencies are the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

        British overseas territory
        noun
        a territory that is under the sovereignty of the UK but does not form part of the UK itself, such as Bermuda, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands.

  19. iantinkler

    Henry Condy, a brief response to your diatribe above, regarding my previous comments. Please re-read my letters, all are archived on the internet (Shetland Times), it is clear you are intentionally misunderstanding and misquoting or simply unable to understand the points I made. Indeed most of your raving are totally nonsensical! I now understand how you so misunderstood last Wednesday’s “Wir Shetland” meeting so spectacularly. You were in the wrong building, the Wir Shetland meeting was in the Town Hall, I cannot imagine how you got that wrong as you claim you were actually at that meeting. What you attended, WS meeting at Clickimin, (your words) that was nothing to do with Wir Shetland!!! Perhaps just another flight of fantasy?

    Reply
  20. John Tulloch

    “@Robert Sim,

    Wir Shetland does not rule out making a submission to the Islands Bill Consultation however we have difficulty in recognising the relevance of a dilute solutIon, applicable to all Scottish islands, to Shetland’s unique circumstances.

    Do not imagine that we shall fall into the same trap the Shetland Movement and Our Islands, Our Future have fallen into before us.

    We shall not be “soft-soaped” into accepting some “one size fits all” solution of the kind that will emerge from the Islands Bill Consultation.”

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      A very principled position, John. The only difficulty is that if proposals become a Bill which is approved in Parliament, there won’t be any “soft-soaping” going on – it will be the law and everyone will have to accept it. In that case, maybe better to engage as strongly as you can at this stage?

      Reply
    • laurence paton

      @Robin , These are my personal thoughts. Surely ” Wir Shetland” is at the start of a long road to build support for this belief that Shetland can run it’s own economy and manage our resource’s locally and democratically.
      United nations international law. ” All peoples rights to self determination”
      If the movement proves a democratic majority it has the law on it’s side. The next step I would imagine will be to have a detailed plan for what we want to control locally and what we want to leave under the management/guidance of our protecting ” parent” nation, who knows that may be a UK , Scotland or RUK ?? As has been pointed out, the planned UK /EU Referendum could have monumental consequences…?
      If this movement reaches that point there will clearly be a detailed negotiation and I would hope that “if” that point is reached the strategy will be to convince how this local control can be beneficial to both parties. It’s not the impossible, there are several similar prosperous examples that can be studied , we will have to wait and see.

      Reply
  21. Henry condy

    Gentlemen I apologise for my mistake in venue in my post, and for ” another tier of government ” comment . Don’ t write when you are tired , my thoughts were what with a referendum, a General election , and another election next year , Shetlanders are over dosed on politics , I cannot see autonomy ever being realised, thus your average Shetlanders would say ” I can’t be bothered ” say they did get it would there be elections for officials, would these more or less be the same officials that are in position at present, in the SIC , more voting for the Shetlanders Alistair Buchanan showed up , free house free travel, wage went from £90, 000 to £ 150,000 and at the end of the day said you are spending to much, Shetlanders could have told him that. I read Shetland had half a billion in the bank it’s now quarter of a billion, where did it go,since interest I believe on one million per annum is £30,000 . Shetland should have went for Autonomy at the start of the oil boom, they had clout then, I wish you well, can’t see it happening. Sorry

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      But these multitudes of elections that everyone is so tired of would be no more we would only need two sets of elections one for the Shetland government and another for the local councils, to be held at an interval determined by the people of Shetland. This would remove any need for holyrood, westminster and EU elections. So it would seem you are trying to invent problems that only exist in your own mind Henry.

      Reply
      • Henry condy

        Ali , I am trying to put forward how Shetlanders may feel, after so many elections, sick fed up with politics , will they benefit when they still are held by Westminster, of course I would agree if there was benefit, but on westminsters past record I won’ t hold my breath, this is how I think Shetlanders may feel.

  22. iantinkler

    Basically Robert, I see no problems. I am a member of Wir Shetland, but please remember. I am not their official spokesperson, so the views expressed here are my own interpretations of what may be done in future. I see you are finding problems which do not exist, nit picking on a grand scale. For all your voiced concerns admirable, excellent solutions already exist. Education, law, defense, inspection protocols are well catered for, by all of the British Overseas Territories. There is no problem whatsoever in using precedents already set up and functioning there. The solutions for all you niggling doubts are there for all to see and working well. In fact far better than in Shetland at present, with are massive underfunding from the SG in education and health for example

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Ok, Ian, I’ll remember you are not a WS spokesperson if you remember I’m not an SNP one. 🙂 I am also trying to picture those giant nits which are measured “on a grand scale”.

      However I am reassured that all the questions I raise can so easily be answered by off-the-peg solutions from the Falklands, the Faroes etc. Oh! One small point – our education, legal and health systems are Scottish and all the systems in the BOTs as afr as I can see are based on the English system (certainly law and education are). But what am I worrying about? All our teachers and lawyers will easily adapt overnight.

      Reply
  23. iantinkler

    Robin Stevenson October 21st, 2015 14:19 “Robert raises a very good point, of what difference it would make by replacing one tier of bureaucrats with another, to control your own taxation, spending, constitutional and governing issues?” Robin, Robert, surely by now you still have understood, or are you intentionally being a fatuous? There is no extra tier of Government being proposed here, replacing just one other. At present there are four levels of bureaucrats draining Shetland resources, dictating silly rules and bureaucracies. Brussels, London, Edinburgh and at the bottom, the SIC. For example the CFP being one set of bureaucratic hogwash. One of the major objectives of Wir Shetland is to establish Shetland as “British Overseas Territory” type autonomous island group, with its own home self-government. The EU, London, Edinburgh and the SIC would no longer be relevant to Shetland, nor have bureaucratic power here. Wir Shetland proposes three less tiers of outsider Government bureaucrats dictating to Shetlanders. Surely Robin Stevenson, Robert Sim, that cannot be too hard for you to understand?

    Reply

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