Times Past

25 Years Ago

Further meetings were being held yesterday and today between Nor­way and the EEC over the disputed share-out of North Sea herring. Norway is claiming the right to catch 120,000 tons of herring from the North Sea out of an EEC total allowable catch of 340,000.

This figure is hotly disputed by the British fishing industry which believes the Norwegians should be offered four per cent of the TAC, a figure based on scientific evidence.

Shetland Fishermen’s Asso­ciation like the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association argues that the very most Norway should be offered is 20 per cent or less than the British fleet is being offered.

With little prospect of agreement in this latest round of talks there is increasing likelihood of confront­ation between Norway and the EEC.

The Scottish fleet, particularly Peterhead boats, relies heavily on access to white fish in Norwegian waters and it could be excluded if the dispute escalates. But Nor­wegian boats also rely heavily on mackerel and other species from EEC waters so the dispute threatens both countries fishing industries.

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A strange complaint was received by the police early on Saturday morning. A man telephoned to say that his boat, which at 4 am had been sitting peacefully at the side of house at Voehead, Weisdale, was now neatly parked on the road.

Assuming there was not an exceptionally high tide that night the police would welcome any information about the incident.

50 Years Ago

News has been received this week of a very fast travelling bottle mes­sage dropped in Shetland waters and picked up in Norway 34 days later. Seventeen year old Jim Mor­rison of Craigpark Road, dropped the bottle 12 miles west of Shetland while en-route to Foula on the MB Hirta on Sunday 9th August 1959. He has now received a letter stating that the message was found at Tustna on 12th September, by Arne Tomervag. Tustna is an island a few miles north of Kristiansund.

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The winner of the Rechabite Hall renaming competition was announced at a dance in the new Planets Ballroom last Wednesday evening, he is Tom Georgeson.

100 Years Ago

The Lerwick School Board Again – We would recommend our readers to make a careful study of the report of the proceedings of the Lerwick School Board, which took place on Tuesday evening, and which we publish in another column to-day. It is a great pity that the reproduction of the words used at the meeting, as presented in “cold print,” could not convey the scene as it took place; but that cannot be. The ratepayers would have required to have been present at the meeting before they could have fully appreciated what was really taking place. Of course, it was no great departure from the ordinary methods of some members of the Board, but it was none the less regrettable on that account. Might we offer a suggestion to the School Board for their future guidance? In these very dull times, instead of a concert or other similar entertainment, they might advertise an “Exhibition” in the Town Hall, and then hold a “rowdy meeting.” Of course, they could charge for admission, and the sum thus acquired might be devoted to reducing the rates in some form or other – say, paying off the debt on that wonderful erection – the new Infant School. By some such method, the School Board members would get their “fling,” the public would be amused (or disgusted), and the ratepayers would be decidedly benefited. Some public-spirited member of the Board should consider the advisability of having a committee appointed to enquire into this suggestion at an early date.

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On the broader question of the conduct of public business by public men, it might be suggested that the exhibition given at the Board meeting was one that can scarcely be described by any other word than “disgraceful.” It is a most deplorable thing to see members of public bodies forgetting the dignity which popular opinion attaches to their office, and conducting them­selves generally with the language and the manners of costermongers. However ardently it may be be­lieved by some, there is a very large majority who do not believe that “cheek” is manliness, or imperti­nence the sign of independence of mind. Of course, at the meeting there was a good deal more tub-thumping than real business; but surely our public bodies are elected for other purposes than engaging in wordy gladiatorial combats, and throwing insinuation and innuendo at those against whom they feel they have a grievance. And what­ever wrong, or fancied wrong, there may be, the least to be expected is that the question should be dis­cussed in a moderate, gentlemanly fashion, so that its merits may be laid bare, and not have it covered up in floods of passionate verbiage, which obscure the main issue, and tend to lead the main performers into personalities and individual reflections, which lead to no good, and but lower the tone of procedure at public bodies and stultify public business. There is no need of a display of temper. If a man is in the right, he can afford to state his case calmly and without heat – honesty and truth are bound to prevail in the end. Passion is always misplaced in vindicating a just cause, and insinu­ation without substantial grounds, has a peculiar habit of conducting itself after the manner of the boomerang.


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