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