Absolute power … (Dr Stephen Clackson)

For many years I kept an open mind about Scottish independence, sometimes believing it might be a good idea, other times thinking it might not. It is the behaviour of the SNP in power that has finally convinced me that it would not – certainly not for Orkney and Shetland.

Having seen the way, since it got into government in 2007, the SNP has blatantly bullied the Northern Isles for not electing SNP MSPs, and how it is now attempting to deploy divide and rule tactics to drive a wedge between Orkney and Shetland over the refit of the Hamnavoe, I ask myself why anyone would trust the party to rule over us without the safety net of the higher authority of the United Kingdom.

In 1979 Shetland voted 5,466 to 2,020 against devolution for Scotland, and Orkney voted 5,439 to 2,104. In the 1997 referendum, Orkney was the least enthusiastic of all regions for a Scottish parliament and voted against it having tax-varying powers.

Before unconditionally ceding allegiance to the state that unilaterally annexed these islands in 1471/2, the peoples of Shetland and Orkney should thoroughly investigate what other options might be open to our two maritime counties, such as remaining with the United Kingdom, returning to Norway or Denmark, or gaining a degree of autonomy for ourselves as Crown dependencies.

Devolved power at Edinburgh already seems to have corrupted. Before handing over any more, let us not forget that absolute power corrupts absolutely!

Dr Stephen Clackson
West Manse,


Add Your Comment
  • Douglas Young

    • January 16th, 2012 17:42

    I do take Dr Clackson’s point about the ferries, a matter that has been badly handled, but the safety net of a higher authority, after 300 years of rule and still telling us (wrongly) we are being subsidised, holds little sway.
    Having watched dozens of Countries, including USA, New Zealand , South Africa and India, gain independence from Westminster, it is high time we were afforded the same freedom.
    Independence is not about money; indeed the SNP has shown courage in giving the RET to the Western Isles, and not to us, as their economy was in a far poorer state. Sharing where the money is needed most is a new concept in British Politics, and I am pleased to see a struggling Island group being helped.
    Independence is not for the SNP, it is for us. Grab it or suffer another 300 years of ya! boo! politics.

  • Dave Heaney

    • January 16th, 2012 18:12


    Why don’t you take a look at the SIC and SCT before you dare to accuse an elected political
    party. The Scottish people which includes the Shetlands & Orcadians are well looked after
    and they can see the Scottish assembly/Scottish Government works very well in protecting
    Scottish interests far better than any Tory, Libs and Labour have done or will do in the future.
    Hollyrood is the home of Scotlands Government, not the corridors of Westminster the people of Scotland have never voted for a conservative government yet we had Thatcher thrust upon us for years we suffered one after the other john Major was next we remember him and now we David Cameron a millionaire and his side-kick who of course just happens to be another millionaire they both come from well to do families with fortunes handed down to both of them. I also have yet to meet a poor GP who has not grown rich through his work for the NHS.

  • Vernon Yarker

    • January 16th, 2012 22:53

    Sorry David Heaney

    But is it not the case that Shetland and the Orkney’s could not look after themselves even better, if they were not a part of Scotland. After all, the same rabid comments you make about alleged conspiracy of the government of the United Kingdom, could equally be made by Shetland against governance by Holyrood House ???

    And, Cameron, has that now become an ‘English’ name now to suit your argument, if so then to suit mine ‘Fleming’ seems to sound rather Dutch to me !

  • Kevin Tullock

    • January 17th, 2012 8:52

    Mr Clackson has been spouting his diatribe for a considerable period of time now in the Orcadian. As an Orcadian, I can only apologise to the Shetland community, as apparently you now have to listen to his rantings.
    Mr Clackson is an “English” Unionist, which is why he wrote what he did above. When he says he considered the SNP (Scottish Independence), he probably gave it the same amount of thought that he gives when considering what drawers to wear in the morning.
    Again, apologies Shetland.

  • Stuart Timms

    • January 17th, 2012 14:16

    With its abundance of natural resources, Shetland is extremely well placed to take advantage of the forthcoming referendum and gain more autonomy. Rather than being controlled and exploited from Edinburgh, why not campaign to become a self-governing part of the UK similar to the Isle of Man and Channel Islands? They have the benefit of being outside the EU and enjoy a low tax regime. Shetlanders are a distinct race of people, with closer historic ties to Scandinavia than Scotland, and should not automatically follow the self-interested political ambitions of Alex Salmond and his cronies. Shetand has the potential to become one of the most affluent regions of Europe, with a quality of life similar to that enjoyed by Norway. The options deserve careful consideration.

  • ian tinkler

    • January 17th, 2012 19:58

    What have, The Isle of Man, The Bailiwick of Jersey, and The Bailiwick of Guernsey and its dependencies and Faroe, all have in common. ? They are all free, self governing, wealthy unique communities, all with the ultimate in local democratic processes. They are free of the shackles of distant monolithic government but share a common defense and freedom under the law. They are all either Crown Dependancies or self governing dependancies under the Kingdom of Denmark. Surely this should be the way forward for Shetland if the Union of the Kingdom is to be disbanded. How can we let Salmond plunder Shetland resources in his purely selfish and xenophobic wish for an independent Scotland? Must we allow his idiotic wish of Scotland Gloriana to proceed at such a cost to Shetland and the rest of the United Kingdom? Shetland and Shetlanders are truly in a unique position; no distant government can truly represent the best interests of Shetlanders. The paradox is we are as far from Holyrood as Scotland is from London. How can Salmond and the SNP with their parochial and narrow agenda possibly be beneficial to Shetland?

  • Dave Heaney

    • January 17th, 2012 23:02

    Some people seem to think this is site to address people personally its not, its a medium to print out opinions on issues and topics of the day. For instance can anyone please say in
    plain speak what Verno Yarker is on about?

    Here we have another person who made a living from the NHS service fixing peoples teeth
    now turning into a politician who wants to break away from Scotland because he sees Edinburgh as the big boggie man could it be that he feels London was his origonal political home. Here is some breaking news for all my friends above : 70% of Labour supporters say the dont believe in Milliband, David Cameron is to meet Alex Salmond for talks on Independence as English turn their backs on Union: Ref Daily Mail 16/1/2012

  • Dave Heaney

    • January 17th, 2012 23:26

    Why is it that some of the writers on these pages are so Anti-Scottish? in the words of that famous Manchester comedian Bernard Manning: ” If you dont like it here go somewhere else”

  • Colin Hunter

    • January 17th, 2012 23:43

    Probably a lot more benefit than some people manage to be!

  • ian tinkler

    • January 18th, 2012 10:44

    O dear, Dave Heaney displays his ignorance; I do not work for the NHS. Perhaps he should check his facts before proving himself ill informed and such a writer of ignorant fiction. With regard to his dislike of wealthy and successful individuals, I quote him, “David Cameron a millionaire and his side-kick who of course just happens to be another millionaire” “I also have yet to meet a poor GP who has not grown rich through his work for the NHS” he really ought to curb that jealous chip on his shoulder, his personal prejudices are hardly relevant to this argument. He would appear again a bit foolish to criticize Cameron et al without considering Salmond’s background. A rather over indulgent and well proportioned banker, not my idea of a perfect role model or leader for Scotland.

  • Colin Hunter

    • January 18th, 2012 12:15

    Why is it that some people can write in this forum and express a point of view without name calling and petty points scoring, and others seem to find this impossible, preferring instead to attempt to belittle other contributors by insinuations of jealousy and low intellect. This type of behaviour does nothing to contribute to the discussion, and merely serves to make the people who employ such tactics appear like name calling school bullies, who, as we all know, are usually using such tactics because they need a “whipping boy” to make them feel superior.
    I quote, once more, from Burns in order to make a point! Surely even they can recognise the wisdom in his words!

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
    An’ foolish notion:
    What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
    An’ ev’n devotion!

  • Kathy Greaves

    • January 18th, 2012 15:25

    I agree Colin, it puts people off writing in, when they really should not be put off – all points of view are worth considering – even if we don’t agree.

    This is a form of bullying, and is like being shouted down in conversation and should be ignored.

    And I always agree with Burns. Or is that too contraversial?

    Kathy Greaves

  • Cliff McQueen

    • February 4th, 2012 18:55

    I am English from a Scottish family. I have lived and worked in Shetland for 24 years. As an outsider it is sometimes easier to see things not obvious to those on the inside. The SNP has taken ownership of the coming referendum in it’s own interests. The SNP’s constituency is in the central belt and has shown scant interest in the Highlands and Islands.

    Shetland has a wonderful opportunity to express it’s unique identity and self determination. It should also realise that the rights to the oil, if they were to be devolved, should be negotiated. The SNP should be made aware that they do not have a monopoly of the opinion. Shetland is a beautiful and extraordinary place and it’s people are warm and friendly but individual and proud. You should grasp this opportunity with both hands. You owe it to your children.


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