22nd November 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 vacuous 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,
Lerwick.

38 comments

  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

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

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
      • 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.

      • Ali Inkster

        You mean the white paper that the author has admitted was a complete fabrication. The other differences are the people rejected the snps folly even when presented with fantasy figures dressed up as fact, and the people also rejected the remain sides doom and gloom dressed up as facts.

      • Ian Tinkler

        Your Brain hurting Brian? The Tories are in power in Scotland, Scotland is part of the UK!! Heard the one about the Unison branch secretary who argued for the Snoopers Charter? Unison members rejected it, just like EU and UK law (infringed Civil Rights law). Ignorance is such bliss.

      • Ian Tinkler

        Robert Sim, I accept free speech, my personal view is to object to mindless perpetual whine!! Now get over it. Shetland rejects Nationalism.

      • Robert Sim

        Ian T – “…my personal view is to object to mindless perpetual whine!!” I am just the same, Ian – that’s why I find myself objecting to a lot of your posts.

      • Ian Tinkler

        But Robert Sim, I am celebrating the confusion and utter failure of the Nationalists to carry forward their divisive agenda on Shetland at every level. That is a real reason for jubilation and certainly nothing to whine about. Whyever should I whine and winge about success, that is the prerogative of the defeated. Now accept the result and quit your moaning. Nationalism, of the Salmond/Sturgeon type, is dead for a generation (lol).

      • Robert Sim

        You certainly have nothing to celebrate Scotland-wide, Ian, given that the SNP continue to dominate Scottish politics. That must be a bitter pill to swallow.

      • Ian Tinkler

        Really, Robert Sim, my interest is in Shetland, not Glasgow and the central belt. People generally get the politicians they deserve. Very, fortunately, most of Shetland folk, have rejected narrow Nationalism, divisive xenophobia, Independence from the UK and the SNP. Ask Miriam Brett about that. That is a real reason for celebration. Recent polls would suggest the peoples of Scotland have seen through the narrow mantra of the SNP, ask the great has been, Alex Salmond, about that.

    • 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.

      Reply
      • Robert Sim

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

      • Brian Smith

        It wasn’t until I read Mr Tinkler’s latest that I realised the Tories were in power in Scotland and that they had a majority of Scottish MPs at Westmiknster.

  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). !!!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  6. Shuard Manson

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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.
    http://www.shetnews.co.uk/letters/842-the-fence-will-wear-out-the-fence-will-wear-out

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      I’m sure dir’s plenty a dem in da government wha lik Sim have no intention of respecting da democratic will o da people, peety on dem when it blaas up in dir faces.

      Reply
      • Robert Sim

        Lol – “I’m sure dir’s plenty a dem in da government wha lik Sim have no intention of respecting da democratic will o da people”. Do you think I am leading some sort of terrorist cell, Ali?

        And you know you’re famous when you are referred to only by your surname. I am sure it’s not just bad manners.

  11. Vernon Yarker

    The usual old comments, herein, concerning the need to end austerity……Well everybody would love to end austerity, including the Conservatives. The words in favour to end austerity, unfortunately do not come with a solution, just the demand to end it. So lets unpick it a bit:

    To end austerity would involve the governments requirement to borrow more. That in turn would lead to a downturn in the UK’s credit rating, making it more expensive to borrow, hence accelerate UK’s debt , currently running at £43,000,000,000 per year – just for the interest payments alone. So the ‘end austerity, back of a cigarette packet, economists would like to see this increased to £50 or even 60, 000, 000, 000 per year, at which point the world would probable cease to lend us money because they would judge that we were incapable of paying it back. The second option available is a massive hike in income take, for several years. Unfortunately the spin off of this that the public have less personal money to spend. Result, companies go out of business, jobs are lost and income tax revenues from companies is reduced. I am afraid that the last Labour government’s spend spend spend and forget tomorrow, has crippled the UK for years to come yet, and we have got to buy our way out of it

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Thank goodness, for common sense!

      Regarding something markedly less sensible, namely, the utterances quoted from SIC councillors and officials in the (“Comments off”) article about about electric cars, a serious question springs to mind.

      Fuel duty and VAT levied on petrol and diesel reportedly amount to 62-64% of the price we pay at the pumps. This amounts to a tidy sum (perhaps, £3-5 billion p.a.-ish?) that will accrue, with Scottish independence, to the Scottish Treasury.

      Once everyone is driving electric cars, that money will be lost and must somehow be recouped.

      How might a future Scottish Finance minister recoup his/her lost duty/tax revenue? Surely not by raising the tax on electricity bills which less well-off consumers can already ill afford to pay, far less own electric cars? How then?

      Reply
      • Peter Henderson

        John, just a point. Instead of moaning away on a news website, why not spend your time finding out what you want to know, in this instance by contacting the Scottish Government, for example? Instead of posting irrelevant and needless off topic rants at the SIC or Scot Gov.

        How would that be for common sense!

      • John Tulloch

        Peter Henderson,

        The point of my “question” was to highlight to others that a serious issue will arise for an independent Scottish government when their chickens come home to roost.

        When everyone is driving electric cars an SG will receive no duty or VAT from fuel sales and as I pointed out, that will amount to a tidy sum, perhaps, £5 billion p.a, that will have to be recouped by other taxation or paid for by cuts, elsewhere.

        I hope it isn’t just shunted on to the price of electricity, we have more than enough people in fuel poverty, already.

        I’m sorry if you don’t like to hear that.

  12. paul barlow

    oh please stop with the constant squabbles. the facts are we have perhaps the most incompetent government trying to talk to people who dont care. if you think this lot can get us a decent deal i think people will be very upset in under 2 years. just try to stay on topic and lose the name calling.

    Reply

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