I attended the BBC hustings debate for the Scottish Parliament on 22nd April, held at the Shetland Museum and Archives.
Most of the panellists spoke well, and one of the best two was forceful, lucid and authoritative. By no means did I agree with all that he said, but he was credit to his party, and I’m sure would make a good MSP for a constituency someplace.
One of the hottest topics debated that evening was the Viking Energy project, and the chap spoke robustly in favour of the scheme. It so happened I was seated next to some supporters of the candidate, and because I’d asked a question on the windfarm, as the audience filed out these supporters and I sparred on the issue.
My chief adversary amiably declared that the windfarm was a necessity because he’d do “whatever it takes” to defend public services. I retorted that decisions borne of desperation were unlikely to be good, and that Shetlanders shouldn’t have to accept the Viking brand of snake oil or none at all.
One of his companions tersely snapped that we had to accept this project, because if we didn’t someone else would “build them in the sea then we’d all have to look at them!”
A third spoke up, and thus hopelessly outnumbered, I left the trio with The Candidate, one of them muttering about the evening’s debate: “As usual, so much disinformation about the windfarm.”
As I got into my vehicle, I noticed that I was parked next to the campaign car of the political party in question. As I looked at the flashy vehicle with its costly personalised number plate, I reflected on the irony. Which party is so besotted with Scottish & Southern Energy’s moneymaker, the chums of the banks and windfarm developers? “Vote Labour”, the car intoned.
I can’t compute: Liberals are in coalition with Conservatives, and Labour are the champions of monster capital and environmental desecration. What would William Morris or Keir Hardie have to say about all this?