It was a week in which a major event – the eruption of a volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier – caused enormous disruption to the travelling public and displaced the general election from the front pages of the national newspapers. It is a surprise, given the vicious attacks they mounted on him yesterday, that the right-wing press did not blame Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg for the flight chaos. They may have been nasty, but he will have taken the rather feeble slurs as something of a compliment; he has succeeded in altering the trajectory of a British election in a way no party leader has in this country for 30 years.
The prospect now arises, if the polls are to believed, of Labour winning the largest number of seats having come third in the popular vote behind the Tories and the Lib Dems. Then discussions over a coalition, a familiar concept to us here in Scotland, will begin. At the heart of them would have to be a serious discussion about reform of the electoral system, especially if Labour was to remain in government on such a basis.
Meanwhile the campaign locally remains lacklustre. The Shetland Times was out on the stump in Fair Isle this week with Tory candidate Frank Nairn and will be again with Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael, who has held the seat since 2001, this morning in the West Side, and with the SNP’s John Mowat next week.
However, Labour’s Mark Cooper will not be in Shetland until after our pre-polling edition has gone to bed, nor will the Orkney-based UKIP candidate Robert Smith.
Nonetheless, they give food for thought with their views on the proposed Viking Energy windfarm in this week’s edition in response to our poll questions of last summer. Four of the five are in favour, with the inevitable caveats, cutting against the grain of the poll findings.