19th December 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Fairer Shetland? (Peter Hamilton)

While the move to allow the Shetland electorate a possible one off chance to direct the future of Shetland Charitable Trust is welcome news indeed, one very important argument has not yet been put.

The argument got close to where it needs to go next a couple of weeks ago when Gordon Dargie rightly argued in favour of a beefed up education trust. Great future thinking this. Let’s see Shetland made fairer (and smarter) with most support given to those students whose parents never attended university and laptops given free to all bairns in upper primary.

Presumably a beefed up education trust would need to be funded through future cutbacks on the other trusts. If that’s the public wish so be it, but such a change to historically set priorities and spending patterns could only occur if it was found, through public discussion and reasoning, to reflect Shetland’s changing needs. If other needs triumph, well then no laptops bairns, but possibly a fine new golf course for the Ness!  Updating community priorities can only properly occur through public reasoning. How else are folk to be sure the oil money is put to best use?

The prospect of free elections for a fully independent Shetland Charitable Trust raises the possibility that any individual, or group, will be able to put forward proposals about the best use of these community funds and get a fair hearing. There would be no privileged access or selective hearing to favour the pleas of SIC councillors or their cronies.

Given the incredible mess councillors have undoubtedly made of the council’s finances for years, despite many a warning, surely putting the SCT sweetie jar on a high shelf in full public view would be no bad thing.  Councillors would then have to join the queue and ask, just like anyone else.

Money put to best use with no privileged access – that is the double dividend of democratically electing a fresh set of fully independent and trusted Shetland Charitable Trust trustees. Indeed Shetland might yet also see more capable trustees and better motivated councillors. Imagine that! That is one option. The other options are more of the same or worse again still. Fairer Shetland anyone?

Peter Hamilton
Guangdong,
China.

4 comments

  1. James Moir

    Spot on Peter. It has been with great dismay that i have followed the political scene in Shetland over the last few years. It has been my experience that those in power seldom seem to be able to trust other people to make sensible decisions. It must be a great thing to be favoured with such powers of infallibility. Let all the trustees be elected by the ballot box and if councillors want to stand let them. The trust should reflect the views of all residents of Shetland and not just the few.

    Reply
  2. George Smith

    I am puzzled as to why an election of trustees to the Charitable Trust would suddenly throw up a better calibre of candidate than what we have in the Council. If there are all these worthies out there please can I ask them to think seriously about standing for Council next May. We certainly need them !

    Reply
  3. jim leask

    I am sure that Peter’s statement about the Shetland Charitable Trust, “Let’s see Shetland made fairer (and smarter) with most support given to those students whose parents never attended university” was not meant to be as condescending as it seemed. I mean what better use could you find for our oil reserves than to tend to all the poor peerie bairns who are unfortunate enough to be born in to a family with parents that have not been through university. All university graduates go on to be great parents and providers, while non-university educated people who build business from nothing, undertake apprenticeships, work on a fishing boat, a croft or in a shop do not???
    There is good intent in your idea Peter, just a bit misguided. There are a large number of young people in Shetland that could benefit from even a tiny proportion of the money that is spent by the SCT each year but let’s have a bit of a harder think about the means of support & distribution.

    Reply
  4. James Moir

    “The prospect of free elections for a fully independent Shetland Charitable Trust raises the possibility that any individual, or group, will be able to put forward proposals about the best use of these community funds and get a fair hearing. ”

    ______________

    This is the main argument that Peter is making. Allow the residents of Shetland to elect who they want to the trust.

    As far as George’s point: You may be correct that we get the same people standing, however, I would hope that the pool of candidates would be larger where people might be able to give up the time to sit on the trust as opposed to standing for councillor, which involves sitting on several committees in addition to attending council meetings.

    Whatever way you look at it making the trust more representative of peoples wishes is surely a good thing

    Reply

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