19th December 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Allusion also crass (James Mackenzie)

I really think Les Lowes does no favours to himself and his opinion by referring to the subject of his letter as … I have no wish to repeat the name. Might not his allusion also be crass and insulting enough to merit an apology?

I’ve certainly seen and heard Jonathan Wills write and say things that I have considered to be distasteful or hurtful, but in this instance, ill-timed and offensive as the gesture and remark were, he apologised while the meeting was still in private, and had the event not been leaked to The Sun, that might have been an end of the matter, unless it had been slipped into the usual gossip and rumour mills of Shetland.

However, as his action and the nature of the meeting were now in the public domain, surely he was entitled to explain himself, which he did on Sunday.

It’s important to focus on what his protest was about, rather than the form it took, ie the very lack of free speech that Les Lowes upholds as a hallmark of democracy. If councillors at meetings are forbidden to speak in support of their resolutions at the whim of the chair, that is surely an unacceptable stifling of debate.

Furthermore, that such a meeting be held in private is questionable to say the least.

Councillor Wills may lack tact, as may we all in the heat of the moment, but it seems to me that, in this matter, he is scrupulous in his interpretation of democratic procedure.

James Mackenzie
The Lea,


  1. Les Lowes

    James, it is the form of protest that is so important and so apalling, nit the context in which it took place. If Jonathan had merely protested at apparently being silenced, no-one would be criticising his actions. It was the form of protest that he used which is offensive to a great many people, particularly so close to the recent tragedy in Norway where a right-wing protester gunned down hundreds of innocent young people.

    Indeed, I understand that the members and officers of Shetland Islands Council had just observed a minute of silence out of respect for our Nowegian neighbours and the tragedy they have just suffered at the hands of this man.

    So, Jonathan could hardly have found a better way to guarantee to cause maximum offence to most people in the community that elected and pay him to sit as a member of our council.

    How can you possibly defend what he did, James?
    Or did you just want an opportunity to attack me?

    Les Lowes

  2. James Mackenzie

    I am well aware of the circumstances in which Jonathan Wills made his “ill-timed and offensive” (my words) gesture and remark – which I do not defend.

    Nor do I just take a cynical opportunity to attack someone. I found the obvious allusion in Les Lowes’ letter to a Nazi war criminal to be in very poor taste, and worthy of comment.
    Unfortunately many British people still seem to be fixated on the 2nd World War and its villains at the expense of rational argument or civilised behaviour.

    I am also concerned about the way local democracy functions in the council chamber. however inappropriate Councillor Wills’ protest was on this occasion.

  3. Ian Tinkler

    How can you, Mr Lowes, have any idea how many people Jonathan Wills may or may not have offended? (Wills should resign; SN 11/8/11)

    You know as well as me his unfortunate gesture was made in a closed, private session of the council. Only those present could have been offended.

    The truly offensive person was whoever leaked the story to The Sun and thus caused offence to the general public.

    Please note whoever leaked the story did not have the balls to lend his name to the leak. Typical of the gutless fascist-type behaviour in the council chamber, by those, who hold private sessions to keep their dictates secret?

    No democracy here, just a group of provincial fools lacking the courage to make their own, narrow and self serving views public.

    Jonathan Wills made his gesture in a private session; to the person it was aimed at it does not seem wholly inappropriate, though perhaps not in good taste amongst gentlemen – very few of those were present in that chamber!

    Only a sanctimonious busybody would regard this private gesture as more than a defiant protest with perhaps more than a slight element of truth in it.

    Ian Tinkler

  4. David Hume

    And yet Is this not EXACTLY what Councilor Wills did in the past in the Clarke debacle? Is this not what eventualy entitled that man to hundreds of thousands of our pounds? Did you express your disgust at him then? Live by the sword…


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