24th July 2017

Political inability (James J Paton)

Firstly to Alistair Carmichael’s Letter from Westminster. I must take issue with his assertion that the current minority Conservative Government “can not continue in this way” in regard to Westminster business in general and UK leaving the EU in particular.

One of the reasons for this is that he, and his very small group of Liberal Democrat MPs, have absolutely no power or authority to stop them.

The inability of any one, or indeed all, opposition parties to act progressively and co-operatively in unison, will mean that most decision-making, despite Westminster hot-air debates, will not significantly alter, or stop, the government’s legislative programme and EU legislation repeal in particular.

Caroline Lucas of the Green Party has been the only voice calling for co-operation in the national interest. Alistair’s party’s “remain” position is as vaccuous as that of the SNP, whose opposition has been significantly reduced due to its folly of stupidly calling for a (vote-losing) second Scottish independence referendum during the election campaign, instead of much-needed improvement in governance and administration at Edinburgh.

Only another five years of Tory rule with ever-increasing austerity (except for Northern Ireland) and NHS and other public service privatisations will convince a majority of Scots that Westminster is at odds with a modern progressive, more equitable social and economic policy direction.

Secondly in relation to your article on Lerwick Port Authority’s new Mair’s Pier official opening. What exactly was Tavish Scott’s role in developing and funding (money from the Bressay laird’s estate?) this new facility that affords him the brass neck to imply such by yet another mugshot in your paper, in place of a diary of his activity and achievements(?) in the Scottish Parliament.

Tavish and Alistair may be grateful that I’m only home for a week. Perhaps both of them could exercise their minds and efforts on dealing with the significantly under-used eyesores of the old and new BT buildings opposite Water Lane, to provide much-needed single and young couple housing and green amenity.

James J Paton
c/o 14 Water Lane,


  1. John Tulloch

    I’m sure the prospect of you staying in Shetland has Tavish and Alistair ‘shaking in their boots’ – with laughter!

    From above: “Alistair’s party’s “remain” position is as vaccuous (sic) as that of the SNP, whose opposition has been significantly reduced due to its folly of stupidly calling for a (vote-losing) second Scottish independence referendum during the election campaign,…”

    Why do the Scottish Greens escape your ire? They, more “vacuously” than anyone could hope to emulate, voted in favour of the SNP Holyrood motion to ask for a second independence referendum – otherwise, it would have failed.

    They also thwarted the Scottish LibDems attempt to dilute the austerity in the ‘Tartan Tory’ 2017-18 budget by doing a deal with the SNP that resulted in money allocated for Shetland’s inter-island ferries being diverted to some other, presumably, green folly, purpose.

  2. Robert Sim

    You need to get your facts right, James. The SNP did not “[call] for a (vote-losing) second Scottish independence referendum during the election campaign…”. The Scottish Parliament voted in favour of a second referendum well before the miserably ill-timed and self-destructive calling of the snap General Election. It did so in line with the SNP Holyrood manifesto commitment of 2015 that such a call would be made if there was a material change in Scotland’s circumstances, such as being dragged undemocratically out of the EU against the will of the Scottish people. The latter event is of course what came to pass a year ago when Scotland – including Shetland – voted in favour of Remain.

  3. ian tinkler

    Well the bottom line here is, Robert Sim is that Shetland rejected Miriam and the SNP, completely and decisively. Clearly, wicked Ali C, nasty Tories and Brexit did not sway the Shetland vote towards Nationalism. End of story really, SNP wholly rejected by the Northern Isles. Whoop, whoop.

    • Robert Sim

      SNP biggest party in Scotland – at all levels. Whoop, whoop.

  4. ian tinkler

    “SNP biggest party in Scotland,” Robert Sim, what an excellent reason for Shetland/Orkney autonomy. You make my point for me so well. The SNP does not represent Shetland and has been and is rejected by the huge majority of Shetland folk. 16,000 votes Unionist parties, 6700 SNP votes, for the Northern Isles. Not exactly an endorsement for Scotland’s biggest party.

    • Robert Sim

      ‘“SNP biggest party in Scotland,” Robert Sim, what an excellent reason for Shetland/Orkney autonomy.’ What magnificent anti-climax at the end of that sentence, Ian. (I see by the way that Wir Shetland is now Wir Northern Isles – how bizarre.) As far as I can see, there has been zero or at best glacial-speed progress towards the goal of Shetland autonomy since the formation of Wir Shetland two years ago or thereabouts. While the SNP operates in the real political world, WS appears to be utterly absent from any realistic political means of achieving its goal. But that has been said innumerable times, so it’s tedious to keep repeating it.

      As I said at the time when there were lots of posts on here hailing the new dawn, I am not opposed in principle to Shetland autonomy. However all of this is beside the point when there is no-one asking for a vote under that banner. Indeed, at the last local elections, the WS members ran as fast as they could away from their group. Isn’t it time that it constituted itself as a political party and removed the pointless barrier to standing candidates? That’s what I would be arguing for if I were a member.

      Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that no-one actually wants change – they just want to have a moan. Happy (or should I say “good”) moaning, Ian!

      • Duncan Simpson

        Robert Sim I rarely comment on here but I feel compelled to correct your factually incorrect statement regarding Council candidates and Wir Shetland. You accuse; “at the last local elections, the WS members ran as fast as they could away from their group.”

        I cannot speak for the other candidates but certainly for my part this is utterly false. I am proud to be a founding member of Wir Shetland. I did not run away from anything, in fact I discussed WS and autonomy at length in my manifesto, here is an excerpt; “The abundant resources (fish, oil & gas, renewables, tourism etc), if managed properly, could not only sustain us but could allow us to develop a fair and prosperous society, free from the shackles of Westminster or Holyrood. Belief in the above is why I am a member of Wir Shetland”.

        Interesting to see your take on WS and calls for autonomy having zero progress. I would say three members being elected to the Council is quite an achievement. Surely if there was so little support for the idea then the voters would have rejected those of us who championed it in our manifestos.

      • Robert Sim

        Duncan, I recall that you stood as an independent. Your membership of WS is therefore an interesting personal angle but that’s all.

      • Duncan Simpson

        If you read back I took issue with the accusation that I “ran away” from the group in order to stand, totally false. I don’t know how many times this has to be repeated but we stood as independents because legally that is the ONLY definition we could have stood under. Registered political party or nothing – it really is not that complicated.

      • Robert Sim

        Duncan, I guess we will have to agree to differ. You think that electing an independent councillor who happens also to be a member of a non-political group advocating Shetland autonomy is progress. I think that the cause of Shetland autonomy won’t make real progress until a political party advocating that policy puts up candidates and shows us clearly what the real support is. No Scottish or UK political party (including the Lib Dems, whom WS enthusiastically supported at the last Holyrood election) is promoting the cause, so wouldn’t the logical thing be to make WS a political party?

      • Ali Inkster

        Duncan du needna try an explain it ta dem, dis is da sem folk dat tink a vote ta leave da EU really means biding in da single market, biding in da customs union, sticking we free movement and still submitting ta da european coort. So it seems dir is a lot a fairly simple concepts dat dey struggle ta come ta terms we. 😉

      • Robert Sim

        No worries, Ali – Brexit is well on the way to collapse. Simple enough for you?

      • Ali Inkster

        Is it Robert? If the UK can’t extricate itself from a 40+ year union how will scotland extricate itself from a 300+ year union?

      • Robert Sim

        The difference between the two situations, Ali, is that in 2014 the Scottish Government had a published plan for leaving the UK and in 2017 the UK government has no plan at all for leaving the EU. That is how Scotland will leave the UK when the time comes. The plan will of course be an amended one; but at least there will be one.

        Meanwhile, I note that the Guardian reports today that the dramatic drop in the pound’s value since the EU referendum result hasn’t resulted in a greater volume of exports. Instead, “…the latest set of official trade figures found that a rise in exports was accompanied by an even bigger increase in imports. In May, imports grew by 4.8%, almost double the 2.5% increase in exports, and, as a result, the UK trade deficit in goods widened by more than £1bn to £11.9bn.”

        What a shambles. Why on earth would an independent Shetland, if that ever comes to pass, wish to ally itself with the incompetent government in Westminster? Labour are no better – they are completely split over brexit.

    • Ian Tinkler

      Robert Sim, are you so simple as not to realise, Westminster, warts and all, is far preferred, by a majority of nearly three to one (last election figures) than the alternative of a Nationalist SNP regime of the Sturgeon/ Salmond type. Now just quit your whining, and get over it Independence Referendum; Nationalists Lost. All Shetland elections (Westminster and Edinburgh), Nationalists; Lost. EU referendum Brexit; Brexit Won, Europhiles lost. Dannus lost. Miriam Lost. Snoopers Charter, blown out of the water as in breach of EU civil rights law (lol). Salmond outed by a Torie! Is that not simple enough for you to understand? Can you not see a trend here? You do not need to read the Guardian to see the writing on the wall.

      • Robert Sim

        “Now just quit your whining”. You want to ban free speech now, Ian?

  5. Ian Tinkler

    Nothing to moan about regarding the Westminster election Robert. Superb result for Shetland. A lot has been said about the Tories losing 13 seats and holding 318. Take note, the SNP lost 19 and held just 35. Not difficult to tell who lost the most, Salmond being the star jewel, to a Torie (lol). !!!

    • Robert Sim

      “Superb result for Shetland”. In what way? The elected MP is part of a tiny and irrelevant group in Westminster with a third of the MPs the SNP has.

  6. Shuard Manson

    It’s amazing how far the bald men will fight over a comb.

  7. ian tinkler

    Robert Sim, you seem to be of the belief that all elected Parliamentarians are irrelevant unless they hold the majority and are the largest party. What a wholly ignorant view. Have you heard of the DUP? Remember Salmond trying to court them? Now they hold the balance of power in Westminster. Now, look at Sturgeon prostituting herself and the SNP with the Greens in Edinburgh (she showed May the way). For an educated man you hold strange ill informed opinions. This election result for Shetland was superb, it showed Shetlanders had the courage to stand up for what they believed in, rather than that being Ali C, that was the utter rejection of the Nationalists and the SNP.
    I note Shuard Manson, has not lost his profound intellectual sharpness and incisive wit, about as sharp as wet putty! What a profound comment, clever boy Shuard, now try a constructive observation, that would refresh us all.

  8. Stuart Hannay

    “Now, look at Sturgeon prostituting herself and the SNP with the Greens in Edinburgh”

    Whatever your views, I find this comment insulting and a bit mysoginistic.

  9. Ian Tinkler

    Sorry Stuart, giving away monies earmarked Shetland to gain favours. Perhaps it is the Green’s prostituting themselves to Sturgeon!! Incidentally, both males and females can both be prostitutes so perhaps it was only in your politically correct perfect mind misogynistic could be imagined. The last time I accused a politician of prostituting themselves I was referring to Tavish, does that make it PC OK!!!! Now grow up, please.

  10. Davie Gardner

    Ali – re de comments on Brexit and local understanding of ‘ fairly simple concepts’. Those appear to be the same ‘fairly simple concepts’ the government themselves are currently struggling wie.


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