Isles should be allowed to remain in UK if they reject independence – Tory Lord

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Shetland and Orkney should be permitted to remain part of the United Kingdom if voters in the islands reject independence in a referendum.

That’s the view of ex-Conservative minister the Earl of Caithness, who has tabled amendments to the Scotland Bill currently going through parliament at Westminster. It will be discussed in the House of Lords later this week.

A “yes” vote in a Scottish independence referendum should, he argues, be succeeded by a nationwide referendum on the issue.

The earl’s amendment reads: “A vote in a referendum … which results in Scotland leaving the United Kingdom shall not be binding on the residents of the Orkney Islands or the Shetland Islands unless a majority of the residents of the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands who voted in such a referendum voted that Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.”

Shetland voted against devolution in the 1979 referendum but for the creation of a parliament at Holyrood in the 1997 referendum.


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  • ian tinkler

    • January 24th, 2012 14:56

    Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. My voice and prayer has been answered. At last the people of Shetland have political allies. Just watch Salmond’s Anglophobic and neo nationalist fantasies fall to dust. Crown dependency within a United Kingdom with or without Scotland. Just the ticket for Shetland.

  • robert mcnaughton

    • January 24th, 2012 15:25

    The Earl also thinks Rockall should remain part of Greater England so the oil in that sector can also go into England’s coffers down the track.
    This idea was being planned in the 70’s when the SNp were doing far too well, although the volume and value of oil revenue was talked down in case it brought about increased nationalistic fervour. The same thing is still happening there. More oil than Qatar and it all seems to go to pay for roads and rail links in London as well as new airports and an Olympics.
    Easy to spend someomne else’s money, despite being in debt for squillions.
    Like matters in Iran, in Westminster it always seems to be just about oil, and if you do not have it then the battle is not worth fighting.
    Let us not forget that at this stage that the poor Iraqis who should be getting richer have got very little out of it as the money has tended to go elsewhere… perhaps it comes down to who is more trustworthy. Tory peers or Salmond?.

  • John White

    • January 24th, 2012 17:08

    An unelected Tory Troll playing divide and rule. Did he think this up all on his own?

  • Colin Hunter

    • January 24th, 2012 18:00

    This smacks of typical English Tory desperation! If Orkney and Shetland remain with the “Union” (Read England) that would give Westminster control of much of the sea area which rightfully belongs to Scotland, AND THAT INCLUDES US! It is exactly the same as the situation in the Falklands just now where many South American Countries have closed their sea ports to Falkland Flagged ships. Would we then have to sail to Newcastle on the boat? I can’t see the Westminster mob bending over backwards to give us anything, in my experience, they just take! They only want to hang on to the Falklands because of the fishing grounds and mineral (read oil) reserves. It’s got absolutely NOTHING to do with the wishes of the population to remain “British”. It’s just because they are now ripe for stripping of their natural assets. Exactly the same as here!
    It may have escaped your notice Mr Tinkler, but at the last election the Tories polled so few votes here in Shetland that the candidate lost his deposit! And yet you maintain that the SNP, who came a very respectable 3rd, and won the list seat, have no mandate here. The Edinburgh Zoo Pandas have as much right to Govern Shetland than the Tories!!
    I did hear that Micheal McIntyre was looking for new talent for his comedy roadshow. Perhaps you and the Earl Of Caithness would be more at home on the stage at the Appollo!

  • phili smith

    • January 24th, 2012 18:57

    Nationalist Salmond boot licker’s with chips on their shoulders going back 1000 years.

    I hope Englaland go’s independant, and the rest can just get on with it.

    Crown dependancy for Shetland if the folk of Shetland vote NO to Scottish Independance !!!

  • john gray

    • January 24th, 2012 19:10

    As an English-born person (who has never heard of the Earl of Caithness) it strikes me as unlikely that you in Shetland would welcome being told by anyone – the Earl, the SNP or a Westminster elite – what you should do … but, as far as I can see from the reports, that isn’t what’s happening here, the Earl’s proposed amendments appear to draw attention to the logical extension of the principle of self-determination to your part of what is at the moment the UK.

    When I’ve heard people say similar things in the past it’s usually been a challenge to Scottish nats who claim a “will of the people” right to independence at Scotland level (which I for one certainly respect as Scotland’s right, without personally wanting it to happen) whilst being unwilling to countenance the same right applying to smaller regions within/linked to Scotland.

    Once politicians start disturbing boundaries, boundary effects are sometimes unpredicatable. I suspect that many UK citizens – Scots, English, or other – worry, like me, that a dangerously unpredictable chain of events is being set in motion just now.

  • Lars Alvik

    • January 24th, 2012 20:19

    I’m pretty sure the Norwegian government would be more than happy to pay the Scottish crown that 410 kg of gold and welcome Hjartland back into the fold.

  • John White

    • January 24th, 2012 20:51

    Ultimately, if the electorate of the Shetland and Orkney Isles did not want to be part of an independent Scotland, I don’t think there is any evidence an SNP administration would stand in their way. The world would be their oyster and it would make more sense to be independent or associate with Denmark or Norway than the English Union. I think Malcolm Sinclair’s intervention is cynical in the extreme – his interest appears to be in partition, an old Imperial trick, to allow areas of a prospective Scottish state which might have long-term oil wealth to remain within the rump UK. He seems to have no concept of the logistics of extracting and processing any oil pumped from the sea. The Scotland Bill has to be passed by the Scottish Parliament to become law and frankly, if this is the standard of amendment we can expect, it does not have any chance of entering the statute book.

  • ian tinkler

    • January 24th, 2012 21:41

    It is really very simple. It is called democrassy, if Shetlander folk wish to stay in the Union they can vote to do so. Nothing at all to debate, the absolute right of self determination, is that not exactly what Salmond has preached all along? I am sorry those living a medieval past, xenophobic spluttering about Greater England belong in the history books, we are talking about the individual freedom of Shetland folk to decide their own future, not to be tied to the bigotry and neo racism of a vocal minority. I am sorry if it sticks in the craw of the Anglo phobic minority, but Shetlanders have a choice, the Union or Salmond’s vision of Scotland.

  • Scott Wilkinson

    • January 24th, 2012 21:44

    @ john gray

    John, would I not be correct in saying that if Shetland voted NO and Scotland voted yes, then Shetland would come under immediate direct control of Westminster.

    Doesn’t that also mean that there will be no NHS Scotland so it will end up as an outpost of the English NHS that is getting privatised.

    Same with education. There wouldn’t be the Scottish system. The kids would have to use the GCSE system and they would be instigating their market philoophies on the island.

    Perhaps most worryingly would be the fact that they would end up with immediate Tory Government. No more buffer from Holyrood.

    It would probably be better to barter with Salmond for more autonomy so as to give the island something to vote FOR rather than picking the least worst option.

  • Gregor Mc Gregor

    • January 24th, 2012 22:02

    Tell it as it is Colin Hunter’s right in all the points he makes.

  • Lee Jakeman

    • January 24th, 2012 22:07

    I can see Scotland becoming fully independent. This is because there are all sorts of patronising idiots, like the Earl of Caithness, who are placing all kinds of petty obstacles in Scotland’s way. This will have the predictable effect of making the Scots ten times more nationalistic than they already are. I am an English nationalist, myself, yet my sympathies have been entirely with Scotland over this issue. “We won’t support your whisky!” says William Hague. He might as well have stuck his tongue out and added “so there!”. My only criticism of the Scots is the way they see the opposition as being ENGLISH. It isn’t. The opposition is BRITISH. The opposition comes from Unionists (English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish), not from nationalists (English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish). A nationalist England would have no problem with a nationalist Scotland.

  • Dave Heaney

    • January 24th, 2012 22:34

    So much has been written ,tweeted, analysed and cogitated over the past week for Scotland’s constitutional position. Amongst the shifting sands of opinion, posturing and position there is no doubt that the constant has been the democratic right of the sovereign people of Scotland to determine our democratic future, interesting times indeed.

  • David Spence

    • January 25th, 2012 2:43

    What I find amusing is if the people of Scotland voted for Independence they would still require the approval of Westminster to grand them that independence…….in other words….independence for Scotland is totally at the jurisdiction of the english…….cough, cough…..I mean Westminster.

    As for Shetland going on its own without the SNP or any other scottish political party having its claws grasping at whatever economic benefits Shetland has…….wouldn’t a) Scotland have to prove the Shetland Islands belong or are part of Scotland (100% concrete proof) and b) Even if Shetland wanted to become independent of Scotland, what powers would it have in which to force this independence and who or what countries would support it?

    • David Hamilton-Williams

      • August 27th, 2014 15:26

      Why do you find that odd? Scotland entered into a Union that was binding between its parliament and that of England. It became part of a United Kingdom in 1803. If you recall that in 1861 the USA had a civil war because some of its states broke away without consent it was called by the North the war to preserve the Union. Perhaps like Mr Salmond you do not value treaties and financial obligations. However, the rest of the World do. As to the Shetland Islanders, it’s up to them if they wish to stay with the Union. The Falkland Islands had a referendum last year and unanimously chose to stay with the UK. Racist hatred for the English is not a good argument, its one used by such politicans as Hitler and Stalin. Myself, I am from a Scottish-Welsh background and equally proud of both.

  • Peter Dodge

    • January 25th, 2012 6:44

    The asylum remains open.
    The “Throwback” has spoken.
    He remains but a cuif.
    For a that.

  • ian tinkler

    • January 25th, 2012 10:35

    A few simple facts, in the 2010 general election 89% of those who voted in Shetland and Orkney did not support nor vote the SNP. In the 2011 election to the Scottish parliament 88% of those who voted in Shetland did not vote for the SNP. That was a very comprehensive rejection of Salmond’s mantra; no amount of political spin and outright dishonesty can hide that stark fact. Now please someone tell me why should Shetlanders be denied the right of self determination to either be allied to the Union as a democratic crown dependency or remain in the Union with or without Scotland? The natural resources of Shetland and Orkney should not be plundered by Salmond’s Scotland, the times of the Scottish lairds dominating the Northern Isles have long past. As a Crown dependency Shetlanders will truly control their own destiny, resources and environment.

  • Sandy Cluness

    • January 25th, 2012 11:01

    If we join up with Norway, does that mean the Norona will come back?

  • Dave Heaney

    • January 25th, 2012 12:16

    After Independence Scotland & England will still share a ” social union” ties of families freindship and economic links will still be strong. Scots should oppose all manoeuvers by Westminster to deny Scottish people the right to democratically determine whether or not they wish to remain controlled from london.

  • Derek Marshall

    • January 25th, 2012 12:19

    Maybe the Shetlands could remain in a Union with Scotland under a devo max arrangement. This would mean that the Shetlands could retain the benefits of such a union while retaining the oil revenues.

  • ian tinkler

    • January 25th, 2012 12:29

    Sandy as a Crown Dependency we could own the Norona. Think about it.

  • Dave Heaney

    • January 25th, 2012 13:13

    The rejected Tories cannot impose their will on Scotland Camron like his hero Thatcher treats the scots with contempt. David Cameron the Tory PM of the United Kingdom- a man whose political party has NO political mandate in Scotland only one MP !
    The SNP is the political party most clearly in support of re-establishing our country as a normal independent nation, with full powers necessary to govern ourselfs at home and represent ourselfes on the world stage. We have the people we have the politics and we have the determination to succeed. We should place no limits on the role we all can play in securing our countries independence.

  • Colin Hunter

    • January 25th, 2012 15:00

    For those of us given to quoting “simple facts”, the simplest one of the lot is that 89% of the Orkney and Shetland people did NOT vote for the Tories either, but we still ended up with them in power in Westminster. We just have to get on with it and accept them (and their Lib Dem cronies) as the democratically elected Government of the United Kingdom as it now stands. I suppose that, seeing as how almost 62% of us voted Liberal, we only have ourselves to blame for the ensuing treachery! That’s democrassy for you! Or should I say, Democracy.
    With regard to the Scottish elections, I am still of the opinion that, had Billy Fox not stood as an independent, but as an SNP candidate, which I appreciate he could not do, or that if some other local person of equal standing in the community had done so, then the results may have been very different. However, there is no point in dwelling upon what might have been. We must make the best of what we have. Democracy once more!
    I am actually more in support of “Devo Max” with resultant full control of taxation and spending, than I am of full independence. It would at least prevent Westminster from plundering the mostly Scottish based Oil industry when they need a bit extra for English bin collections and the like! However, if full independence is what it takes to stop such interference, then so be it!
    We don’t have to be a Crown Dependency to own and run a ferry service. There are enough qualified seamen in Shetland (and Orkney) to man and run such vessels, with people to spare, and such people, if they are listened to by Management, could make suggestions as to how the service and the ships could be better designed to suit the purpose. The current ships are way off the mark in my opinion. There is enough expertise and money here to do it, perhaps a better use for the Charitable Trust and it’s millions would be to set up such a company and tender for the contract.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • January 25th, 2012 15:56

    Dave what good are people, politics and determination with out sound policies Salmond has none, just rhetoric, the same as you. David Cameron might not have a mandate to govern Scotland and neither does Alex Salmond have a mandate to take Shetland along Scotland’s independence pipe dream road.
    Instead of offering Salmond style rhetoric how about answering some of the questions posed on this forum, I have put this challenge to you before but you choose to ignore it, why?

  • Sandy McMillan

    • January 25th, 2012 21:55

    The Earl of Caithness, wants to keep his noise out of Shetland, and Shetlanders buisness, there is plenty of them, infact 22 of them making a mess of Shetland as it is, so Earl away and bury your head some where in Caithness.

  • Derick Tulloch

    • January 25th, 2012 23:44

    Mmmmhmm. Earl of Caithness?

    born 1948
    educated Marlborough Public School and Royal Agricultural College Cirencester, England
    resident of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
    neighbour of Jeremy Clarkson, what’s her face with the red hair from the News of the World and Cameron, D.


  • Sandy McDonald

    • January 26th, 2012 3:39

    Nae doubt we will be as ignored by a Hollyrood government as we have been by Westminster. As we are not of the tartan and shortbread tin mob we can count on little interest from the SNP. This is despite having a great deal of resources within our 200 nm EEZ. As I’ve said before, show me the figuires! How can we be expected to make an informed choice without knowing at least some of the consequences. The reason can’t just be “freedom!”.

  • Wayne Conroy

    • January 26th, 2012 8:18

    Salmond in control….
    Tories in Westminster in control…
    S.I.C in control…

    Ever get the feeling that we’re in trouble whatever way you look at it?

  • Brian J L Cole

    • January 26th, 2012 12:39

    A Crown dependancy looks good to me, just think Shetland as a tax haven with offshore accounts, an inflow of financial institutions, high grade work for an exceptionally well educated workforce. This added to the oil revenues you will have to have restrictive residency qualifications for tax exiles , further enriching the community. Plus a benevolent UK government picking up the defence tab. If you play your cards right you might be able to obtain the services of John Nettles and have your own island TV detective series called Bergerac or Bergan . The possibilities are endless.

  • Martin Tregonning

    • January 27th, 2012 0:32

    Far too much is being made of how bad the Tories are, as if that is sufficient reason to vote for independance.
    Most of the indepence campaign either harks back to William Wallace (which was before we were part of Scotland) or preys on anti-Tory/English sentiment. The SNP arguments have been remarkably thin on the details of how this new indepenant Scotland will work, and from listening to Nicola Sturgeon last night, the SNP are long on assertion and short on detail. The SNP have made huge assumptions on how this will work, and are arrogant in assuming that they can dictate terms on things such as currency, trade, border controls, fiscal policy to the remainder of the UK and to the EU.
    But getting back to Lord Caithness (and I don’t care where he is from or where he went to school – and that shouldn’t be how we judge his argument): surely their is a logic which says that if the majority of Shetland do not want to be a part of independant Scotland, then they should have the choice (not be forced) to remain part of the UK or form a Crown Dependancy.

  • Carl Pickard

    • January 27th, 2012 8:45

    @ ian tinkler: “It is really very simple. It is called democrassy”

    Most I’ve laughed in a while, cheers.

  • stuart buchan

    • January 29th, 2012 10:10

    right,shetland was scottish before the union,if scotland vore independence then shetland would be part of a independant scotland.if they wished to become independant it would have to leave scotland post independence.i dont know why this is even being talked about.its like aberdeenshire voting to stay part of the uk.its ridiculous…..and from what i beleive when it came to sharing out the north sea it went by how much coast line you had,and so shetland would not have that much share of the oil fields….as for rockall is that not part of invernesshire?

  • Steve Wall

    • January 29th, 2012 10:31

    As a previous visitor to the stunning Shetland Isles, and half Welsh half English resident of England, I think independence is a matter for the people affected by it – and don’t think I should pronounce an opinion.
    The Earl may indeed be michief making.
    However, i don’t understand why the Shetlands would NOT want to make this decision for themselves – rather than be bound by the Scots result. Surely everybody would agree that this is your right!

  • Colin Hunter

    • January 30th, 2012 16:58

    I have to agree with Stuart Buchan. Like it or not, Orkney and Shetland are part of Scotland, and have been since they were given as security in lieu of a wedding dowry. This excerpt is from Wikipedia. ” In 1468 Shetland was pledged by Christian I, in his capacity as King of Norway, as security against the payment of the dowry of his daughter Margaret, betrothed to James III of Scotland. As the money was never paid, the connection with the crown of Scotland has become perpetual.[Note 7] In 1470 William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness ceded his title to James III and the following year the Northern Isles were directly annexed to the Crown of Scotland.” Various people have tried (and failed) over the years to prove that the islands enjoy some kind of “Special Status” and that we’re not really part of Scotland and the United Kingdom. It doesn’t matter that we are perhaps the most recent additions to the Scottish realm. It doesn’t mean that we can automatically become “English” overnight if the people here vote against Scottish Independence. All that will happen is that we will become Independent along with the rest of Scotland. NOT English!

  • ian tinkler

    • January 30th, 2012 21:36

    “It doesn’t mean that we can automatically become “English” overnight if the people here vote against Scottish Independence. All that will happen is that we will become Independent along with the rest of Scotland. NOT English.” How about Norse?

  • Ron Stronach

    • January 31st, 2012 12:22

    I have to be careful as I live among the English, but I would never want to be one. “Ingerland” and wearing Wite and Red would never suit me at all.

    Why would we have to be anytihng other than Shetlanders!

  • ian tinkler

    • January 31st, 2012 14:52

    Very good point Ron, let Shetlander folk decide their allegiances. Crown Dependant, part of the Union or tied to Salmond’s socialist utopia. Self determination is the right of free choice under democratic process. Every argument for an independent Scotland can be applied to the case for a Crown dependant Shetland. Strange but try, The Scots share more DNA with the English than Shetlanders do with the Scots. Must be all that prima nuptia or whatever in Brave Heart.

  • John Ross

    • February 1st, 2012 14:25

    Reading such contributions as…

    I have to be careful as I live among the English, but I would never want to be one. “Ingerland” and wearing Wite and Red would never suit me at all.

    Why would we have to be anytihng other than Shetlanders!
    – Ron Stronach


    It would at least prevent Westminster from plundering the mostly Scottish based Oil industry when they need a bit extra for English bin collections and the like!
    – Colin Hunter

    …is a salutary reminder how debates such as these are always a sentence away from becoming so fatuous that, over time, the wider public loses interest. It is vital, if we the voters are to have an intelligent conversation about independence, that the political class engages the public in a meaningful debate NOW so that the whole process is not hijacked by such demagogic language.

  • Colin Hunter

    • February 1st, 2012 19:49

    Say what you like about my comment John, but that’s more or less how it seemed at the time. In the Budget, George Osborne levied an EXTRA £2Bn on the oil industry, and a short time later, announced a grant of several hundred million to English councils so that they could re-instate weekly rubbish collections. Simplistic and fatuous it may be, but it’s still, unfortunately, true!
    Our other “Bete Noir” Mike Penning, The “Shipping” Minister, also claims that Westminster cannot afford £32M ( For FOUR years) to keep the four Emergency Towing Vessels (Tugs) on station and says the Oil and Shipping industries should pay their way and fund it. If a tax burden of £8Bn a year isn’t paying your way then I don’t know what is! Apparently the decision to re-instate weekly rubbish collections was because “Two week old rubbish is smelly”! Well so is Crude oil! Especially when it’s spread all over the coastline. Politicians seem to think we all have short memories, but you only have to remember three things to know what good value those ETVs were. Those three things? “Torey Canyon”, “Braer” and “Sea Empress”.
    Some of the comments on these pages are light hearted and a bit tongue in cheek at times, and I daresay are meant to lighten the tone. Laugher is free, just now at any rate! Westminster hasn’t got round to taxing it…………YET!

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 4th, 2012 16:34

    So President Salmond, “Scotland’s saviour” has awarded the contract for supplying the steel for the new Forth Bridge to companies in China, Spain and Portugal. He has totally blackballed the Dalzell steel plant in Motherwell who had in a rival bid as part of a consortium. Who I wonder will Alex Salmond blame for the loss of Scottish steel industry jobs now as these workers join the 200 Scottish workers a day joining the dole queue’s.

    There is no wonder firms based in Scotland are jumping ship and moving south of the border to ensure survival. Boyd Tunnock and MJM, two massive Scottish successes, are now considering the move south because the delay on the referendum on independence will harm Scotland’s economy.

    Salmond wants Scotland to be independent and yet he wants to keep the Queen as head of state. He also wants to keep the pound which means having the bank of England as his central bank so why bother going down the independence road at all.

    As for going down the road of the so called devo max option, why should we trust some one who wants to use Irelands blue print for running a country to run Scotland. Ireland is bankrupt, unemployment is rife there and all thanks to being in Europe and the Euro. Yet Salmond is still insisting this is the way forward for Scotland. Civic Scotland have joined the debate and said this is too important a decision to leave to politicians. I agree especially a politician who used to be a banker, the very people who brought the country to its knees. Give a man a bank and he will bankrupt the whole country, give a banker a country and there will be nothing left to bankrupt.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • February 5th, 2012 0:25

    Gordon, Scotland has to get as far away as possable from Westminster, and these two millionaires, Cameron, Clegg, they are not going out of there way to help those in need, if you are a banker or the like you will be cared for, a pensioner, a bairn, or disabled, you will suffer, Westminster are doing the complete opposite of that guy they called Robin Hood, Cameron and company are robbibg the poor to pay the rich, who in right mind would sanction a bonus of a million or two to a guy that earns 1.4 million a year as it is, who deserves this ammount of cash, when the country is near bankrupt, the sooner Scotlandstand on there own two feet the better, and believe me Scotland can, so can Shetland.

  • ian tinkler

    • February 5th, 2012 15:13

    Cameron and Clegg? “Westminster may have two millionaires”? maybe not, not that that has much relevance. Strange fact, Shetland voters actually cast more votes for the combination of Tory and Liberal than they ever did for nationalists; the paradox is, Westminster MPs represent Shetland far more proportionally than Holyrood. I however agree Westminster is a bit far away to understand the interests of Shetlander folk. Now let’s look at The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, banker, formerly Assistant Economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland. As first Minister of Scotland and with an MA in economics also one time adviser to The Royal Bank of Scotland spectacularly failed to see the collapse of this Scottish Bank and the need for a United Kingdom led bailout. Alex is the man whom only recently formally congratulated Fred the Shed ex Sir Fred Goodwin, on his magnificent service to Scottish banking by way of mergers with bankrupt foreign banks. This was a man uniquely placed to see the risks and danger of banking collapse. With such great judgment, foresight and perception, Salmond? Just the person to lead an independent Scotland, does that not just give one confidence. If ever there was a need for Shetland to avoid tying itself to Salmond and his cohorts this is just only one example…If Scotland votes for independence, so be it, but do not let it drag Shetlanders along without a democratic Shetland mandate, Crown dependency has to be a better answer.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 5th, 2012 16:13

    Wise up Sandy it was the last Labour government who agreed the contract for the RBS bosses, get your facts right, it had nothing to do with the present government.
    Scotland has no chance of standing alone at this point in time. We should have done it in the beginning of the seventies when the oil began to flow, when Scotland had productive coal mines and a successfully ship building industry.
    Not now with Scotland’s share of the country’s deficit we will be more than £150 billion in debt to start with, the oil is more than half gone we have next to no coal production or ship building industry no manufacturing industry. All we have is a little rotund loud mouth winding every one up with rhetoric about leaving the UK, staying in Europe keeping the pound (he thinks) and you think we will be better of.
    Sandy look over the water at Ireland, nearly a mirror image country to Scotland and they are bankrupt, and its their blue print for self governance that Salmond wants to follow.
    Don’t quote Norway at me either Sandy they have a fantastic standard of living I know, all because they spent their oil revenue wisely from day one and improved the country’s infrastructure. Allowing company’s to develop and create plenty of jobs and good wages for the workers. We cant be compared with Norway as we earn a lot less than they do and in turn they pay a much higher rate of tax than us.
    Do you think we should go independent and pay those rates of tax here on the punitive wages paid in this country, because that is what will happen. Then not only will Scotland go bust but every one in it, the only way out is for Shetland to look into Ian Tinklers proposal and see if it will work for us.

  • Vernon Yarker

    • February 6th, 2012 15:27

    What does come through in these pages is the stupidity of those who claim that it is some kind of anti Scottish government in West Minister. The Government of the United Kingdom sits in West Minister and it includes the elected MPs from England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland. In other words the Scots voted in many of the MPs who represent them in West Minister. The other even more stupid bleat is that ‘We did not elect a conservative government’ is equally the retort of numbskulls because many people in Scotland will have voted for the Conservatists as those who voted Labour and Lib Dem, and for those to have the SNP Representing them in Parliament is probably just as frustating.

    Should Scotland become independent that (in all likelyhood) which is probably a majority of Scots would probably find themselves being ruled by the SNP, which they did not vote for either. I am afraid in democracy you often do not get the party of choice. That is the nature of democracy, although from some of the rabid comments in here it would seem that, come devolution, then anybody who votes for other than the SNP will be regarded as some kind of traitor to Scotland, which is the language of dictatorships. Indeed, seeing some of the comments herein would make me afraid to be Scots !

  • John Lamont

    • February 8th, 2012 13:27

    I’m from Lerwick born and bred.

    It has not escaped Shetlanders attention that the only interest in the Northern Isles from Unionists is greed, and to conspire to keep oil revenue flowing to London, not Edinburgh.

    If oil was not a factor, not one Unionist would give two hoots about Shetland, Scottish independence or not.

    The very fact that someone based in London is trying to float the idea of partition a la Northern Ireland say much about the real motives.

    Ugly ugly stuff. This will backfire badly, and rightly so.

  • ian tinkler

    • February 8th, 2012 13:57

    John Lamont, Crown dependancy would not flow oil to Westminster or Edinburgh. It would be sold on world markets to whom Shetlander’s chose. Partition is a gigment of Nationalst
    dogma. Ugly ugly stuff is nationalism, all in xenophibic little tribes.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 8th, 2012 17:09

    Seems strange to me that those who oppose Shetland breaking away from Scotland are the very people who advocate Scotland leaving the UK. Smacks of double standards to me, nationalism seems to say do as I say not as I do and that smacks of a dictatorship. Having someone dictate to you is certainly ugly ugly stuff but that’s nationalism for you. So John Lamont just what is Holyrood’s interest in Shetland then if not to rake in the revenue from the oil that lies off these islands.

  • Miranda MacDonald

    • February 8th, 2012 17:29

    Why does everyone in these debates ( both in Shetland and mainland Scotland ) seem to think that an independant Scotland would always be led by Alex Salmond and the SNP ? The SNP government would only be in place until the next general election of 2016. The voters of an independant Scotland might then return the Scottish Labour party to power ( most likely- and they seem to have over-looked this very point as well ! ) or the Scottish Liberal Democrats ( if they havent shot themselves too much in the foot by then ) or the Scottish Greens. What I think we can very safely assume is that the 2016 election would not return a Scottish Conservative government to power ( only one Scottish MP at the moment ). Could that have something to do with why they are so opposed to Scottish independance ? The SNP may well bring independance to Scotland but it does not mean that they would remain in power ever after ! And in response to the comment “Alex Salmond wants to keep the Queen as Head of State”. The Queen IS monarch of Scotland ( she is also monarch of England ). That was the position of James VI ( or 1st ); Charles I; Charles II, James VII ( or II ); William & Mary and Queen Anne up until 1707. It wasnt a problem then so why should it be now ? Republicanism is an entirely different matter. Lastly, whilst a lot of people here are bashing Ireland, I would just like to point out that they have not cut benefits there, wages have been cut from the top down ( starting with the President and then the MPs ), their exports still exceed their imports so their balance of payments is far healthier than the UK and they are likely to be out of the recession long before the UK as their debt repayments are ahead of schedule. I would be quite happy to follow Ireland as a blueprint !

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 8th, 2012 20:28

    I don’t see how pointing out Ireland is bankrupt is bashing Ireland, it would be foolish to understate Ireland’s difficulties. Depressed wages and higher taxes mean there will be little improvement in average living standards for a while. The fiscal crisis will take time to resolve, even with help from other European countries to ease the burden of the banks. But painful decisions now will lay the groundwork for an eventual return to growth and exports do play an important role in Ireland’s growth. What is helping this growth is the discoveries of base metal deposits at Lisheen, Galmoy and at the Tara mine. None of this detracts from the fact that Ireland is broke as is the UK, subsequently so would an independent Scotland be especially with its share of the UK’s debt hanging around its neck.
    Just to make a point the Scottish Labour party is opposed to independence and they have a lot more than one MSP in Holyrood.
    Alex Salmond is nearly guaranteed to be Scotland’s First Minister for a number of years because the only alternative to an SNP majority is an SNP Labour coalition with the SNP holding the most seats. Unless of course by 2016 the Scottish electorate can see that they have been led down the road of their total demise by Mr Salmond.

  • ian tinkler

    • February 8th, 2012 20:47

    South or North Ireland? Miranda, the broke bit or the relatively prosperous bit? With regard to a non SNP government of Scotland, we could all have a new act of Union as the other parties are all for the Union, apart from the Greens who don’t know. Now there is an idea!! (My brain now hurts more than usual!!)

  • Bill Brown

    • February 9th, 2012 22:18

    Well, it’s been interesting to read these exchanges over the last week or two. Shetland has also been discussed more in the national papers in the last month then it has for the last decade and while it’s fine to have a bit of media attention we might suspect that there’s a few not-very-well-hidden agendas lurking here. Could it be that Crown Dependency status for Shetland would conveniently kill Scottish independence off for good? On the other hand could Scotland’s case for independence hang together if Shetland had more local autonomy within Scotland? Would it maybe be better to encourage depopulation and economic decline so that it can become a willing, custom-made windfarm/oil refinery for the New Nation? (It might be an idea to amalgamate it with the Highlands just to make sure. Anyone remember the Wheatley Commission just as oil was discovered in 1969) Interesting times – nobody has the full picture of possible Holyrood rule yet and the Lion of British Democracy in Westminster has revealed itself, over the last couple of years, to be an ‘oagin krang’.

    There are some interesting choices to be made for the future.

    Shetland could:

    (a) Get fully behind the idea of an independent Scotland. (Make sure there’s a ‘yes’ vote because Scotland won’t be happy if they vote ‘yes’ and Shetland votes ‘no’.)
    Advantages might be that being ruled by Edinburgh is at least a bit nearer than London and Shetland is essential for balancing Scotland’s books in the short term.
    A disadvantage may be that Holyrood has so far shown itself to be just as keen to centralise power as Westminster. Another might be that if Scotland votes narrowly against independence in 2014 then the whole country will be punished financially by Westminster for years to come. (We can’t have any more separatist nonsense.) There’s an even worse scenario if there’s a decisive ‘no’ vote in Shetland and it can then be made a scapegoat for the rest of Scotland.

    (b) Hold hands with the Earl of Caithness and become a Crown Dependency of the (rest of) U.K. This has to be done before 2014 if the SNP are to be properly humiliated and annihilated.
    Advantages are that the ways of Westminster are familiar – everybody knows who they’re being forgotten by. A grateful U.K. would probably be willing to subsidise Shetland financially – at least for a while. There would be financial control over most functions of government.
    Disadvantages are that the ferry trip to Newcastle would take longer – especially since it would have to give the Scottish coast a very wide berth.

    (c) Begin negotiating greater autonomy from the Scottish government. This also needs to be done before 2014 if the best terms are to be reached.
    Advantages are that it doesn’t require an unthinkably large leap and that pre 2014 there’s likely to be enough goodwill. It would be useful for the Scottish government’s image abroad to be able to demonstrate how relinquishing power over a territory could be done amicably and fairly. There’s the possible option of leaving the EU if sufficient powers return to Shetland. (It worked for Greenland.)
    Disadvantage – it makes greater autonomy conditional on Scottish independence.

    (d) Independence – go the whole distance. Keep the Royal Family possibly – it works for Faroe and there’s no logical reason it couldn’t work in Shetland.
    Advantages are total self-determination and ability to decide on entire fiscal policy, EU membership, EFTA, etc.
    The main disadvantage is that it’s a big step to take. People may feel there isn’t the expertise in Shetland. (Answer: borrow some Faroese expertise.)

    (e) Try to maintain the status quo. Pretend it will all blow over, vote ‘no’, ‘krog innunder a broo’ and wait to see what happens.
    Advantages are that it might be the same as now, though probably a lot poorer as the UK-wide recession bites ever deeper and Scotland loses revenue in retaliation for the independence referendum.
    Disadvantages are that – well, let’s face it – UK politics is not going to be the same ever again.
    One way or another there will be a lot of grumpy people after 2014.

    We live in interesting times.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 10th, 2012 12:36

    A very clever bit of scaremongering and pro independence rhetoric Mr Brown, all the way through your comment you insinuate that Westminster will punish the Scottish population if there is a no vote in the independence referendum. You are obviously a nationalist trying to make out you sit on the fence and are Mr nice guy pointing out the for and against options. What you have actually done is insult the intelligence of every one in Shetland. Westminster are not in the business of punishing people who vote either way in any referendum, they may punish Alex Salmond after a no vote and cast him off into the political wilderness where he belongs.
    We in Shetland have nothing to fear from a no vote but face economic and social ruin should there be a yes vote.

    Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  • Bill Brown

    • February 10th, 2012 19:11

    On the contrary, Mr Harmer, the real problem for Shetland is over-centralised government, and whether it’s in the control of Westminster or of Holyrood will make very little difference. At the moment the SIC, as a local council, has no more control over its finances than any other local authority area. Around 80% of tax/spend is in the hands of central government with only 20% raised locally. In addition there are numerous areas of ring-fenced spending, spending caps, etc. as well as a council tax freeze imposed centrally. The UK has less local democracy than any other country in Western Europe, and the centralisation feeds a burgeoning but inert bureaucracy at both local and national level. It has also meant that local government is seen as irrelevant and the turnout at elections continues to plummet. In Scotland, for all the promises of the SNP, this situation shows no sign of changing; Holyrood politicians are part of the centralising tradition. (Witness the moves to centralise Police and Fire services or the recent Marine Protected Areas.)
    By contrast, Norwegian municipalities are in control of about 50% of tax/spend, with central taxation being used to a large extent to equalise provision between wealthier and poorer areas as well as for defence, foreign policy, etc. It occurs to me that I should have added:

    (d) A return to Norwegian Sovereignty as suggested above by Lars Alvik. They would have no problem redeeming the pawn ticket from their well-managed oil reserves. 410kg of gold would hardly make a dent.
    Advantages: would be in being within the sovereignty of a country with a tradition of fostering the development of outlying areas and of running a decentralised economy. The national economy; fishing industry, oil industry, agriculture, renewables, etc. reflects Shetland’s own. Shetlanders would get to learn Norwegian in school.
    Disadvantages: Shetlanders would have to learn Norwegian in school (It’s not a difficult language.) – apart from that I can’t think of any.

    Lykke til!

  • James Howitt

    • February 11th, 2012 5:30

    There is utter fatuous nonsense on here. Having no vote on the future of my country rankles, that country being the UK – as even a devo max option will fundamentally alter the constitutional structure without the rest of the UK being able to have their say.

    Be that beside the point – firstly Southern ireland has cut benefits, in fact in the last budget they were annihilated to meet EU/IMF demands; it is also charging for stuff like 3rd level education, which currentrly does not happen to Scottish students. Then there is the claim that Westminster is robbing Scotlands Oil for extra bin collections – as the UK does not actually hypothecate taxation, that is unsubstantiated nonsense as well. Who knows, that Oil money may actually be paying for the wages of the coastguard, or your neighbours benefits. There are other ways of raising revenue – the imposition of a higher rate of CGT and the restriction of Higher rate pensions relief (Liberal Democrat ideas in the coalition) will raise £5.5bn a year – much more than any “oil raid”.

    Then there is the guff regarding Westminster being anti Scottish. The last time I checked, there were over 50MP’s sitting at Westminster from Scotland. Elected directly by the Scottish people, some of whom have larger electorates than those sitting at Holyrood. The recent Scottish government elections saw turnout of less than 60%, with the SNP only garnering a minority (appx 48%) of those votes, so by implication the majority of the country did not vote for them either.

    Which leads us onto the next point – Westminster only ruling for “England”. Well, if Scotland wishes to maintain sterling post independence it’s interest rates and monetry policy will continue to be set in “England” by the BoE, so perhaps the oft repeated (and subtly anti English) that Westminster is only interested in London’s economy and nothing else is nonsense as well.

    Finally – I find it rather ironic that post independence Scotland will rejoin the European Union. Suffice to say that Scotland will have to join the Euro (article 169 of Lisbon) and will therefore have it’s monetary policy set in Frankfurt. And some may have noticed that recently at the German behest all Euro member states will have their budgets peer appraised to make sure that they do not run excessive deficts, or perhaps not set anti competitive tax measures…so bang go the dreams of using a declining resource (Oil) to spend on tax cuts for x, extra spending for y and a general party as any budget passed in Holyrood will be subject to veto (by QMV) in Brussels……

    Oh…finally. You do realise they are drilling for Oil off the south coast of the UK? If they find, and find big – shouldn’t that OIL belong to the UK as a whole and not just England?

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 12th, 2012 18:36

    Good Luck to you to Mr Brown, I think a return to Norwegian Sovereignty would pose massive problems and learning the language would be the least of them. Having said that I believe Shetland has a lot more in common with Norway than it does with Scotland.
    It is not centralised government that is the problem it is too many tiers of government, especially when one of those tiers gets to big for its boots and thinks it can fix something that is not broken.
    This extra tier of government has cost the British tax payer dearly and not just the cost of paying this tier but providing a home for them. I hate to think what it will cost the Scottish tax payer if independence becomes a reality, the presidential palace will probably cost us an extra 5 pence in the pound on our tax bill.
    Maybe we should adopt Norwegian Sovereignty just think of all that oil suddenly becoming Norwegian I would love to see the colour of Alex Salmond face, Scotland’s oil !! what Scotland’s oil? Viel Glück

  • stuart buchan

    • February 15th, 2012 7:40

    i think you will find if you read up on it, shetland will get very a very litttle area of sea bed which hold no oil fields, this is the truth…it would be the same situation as the chanel islands….honestly read up on this and you will find this out…..we are one scotland,

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 15th, 2012 10:32

    No Stuart we are one United Kingdom, and if Scotland has the right to break away from the UK then Shetland has the right to break away from Scotland and the dictatorial nationalists who would drag us all to disaster.
    Where on earth do you get the idea that if Shetland took on Norwegian Sovereignty we would have no sea bed, the truth is that Scotland would loose more than half its oil fields what ever rhetoric you present us with.
    Most of this is a hypothetical discussion but you have proved beyond doubt with your contribution just how dictatorial nationalists can be, so more reason for Shetland to beware of Scottish independence.

  • frank clarke

    • February 19th, 2012 20:43

    I can only advise Shetlanders to do what they think best for their long time benefit. I would caution them that the tone of the NATS on the mainland makes it clear they will not allow you to seperate -only they have the right to self-determination. So, if you want one , get your referendum in first—Salmond and his crew will ensure you won’t have one with the Nats in charge.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • February 20th, 2012 9:53

    Is it not the truth that Scotland under Salmond would have no Navy? If Shetland declared UDI. Salmond could do very little but posture. Mind you he is quite good at that. A militarily neutered Scotland, outside NATO would truly be a toothless haggis. Lets lope the auld enemy remains non bellicose.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • February 20th, 2012 11:08

    Who says we don’t have a Navy of course we do we have EIGHT of the most modern ship afloat, the only snag they are tied up for 8-10 months of the year, with a little alteration here and there, a lick of camouflage paint, and a couple of ack acks fore and aft, what more do you want, our army or ground forces are billeted in the Town Hall, and the Fort, our Air force is stationed at Tingwall, to join the Tingwall Squadron we have a powered hand glider which is as good as any stealth aircraft, would you not say we are well covered from a erts

  • Alice Bower

    • February 20th, 2012 23:24

    Strange how he isn’t suggesting this opt-out for all the less oil-rich Scottish islands. And, I must say, I’d trust Salmond more with oil than I would Cameron. Salmond’s offering a program similar to the Norweigan one, by which the country profits long-term from the oil. Cameron, however, is probably most likely to follow in Thatcher’s footsteps and squander it so that 30 years later, there’s no trace of it to be seen.

    And, furthermore, who would want their one ferry to Britain to only go to a country they’re no longer part of? Plus tuition fees for Shetland students (supposedly even in Scotland if they’d get the same deal English students currently do) and way less central government subsidy for schools, transport, etc?

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 21st, 2012 6:27

    Sounds a bit like a Navy Captain Pugwash would command Sandy, come to think of it, our would be leader resembles Captain Pugwash. He even resembles Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army, so he could command your ground forces too Sandy. He is so full of hot air you could tie a bit of rope around his ankle and use him as a barrage balloon as a defence against incoming hang gliders.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 21st, 2012 13:36

    Alice it is far to late to do what the Norwegians have done, Scotland should have gone independent in the early seventies to make a go of it. The Norwegians used their oil money from day one to invest in the countries infrastructure and built a wealthy nation from that groundwork. We are more than half way through the life time of oil in our waters and Britain, including Scotland has to much debt for Scotland to make a go of it. Scotland’s annual bill for welfare and benefit payments is more than double the governments revenue from the oil.
    As I have said before the debate about Shetland taking on Norwegian Sovereignty is a hypothetical debate not a serious one.
    As far as trusting Salmond more than Cameron that is a joke as Cameron has actually more to gain from Scottish independence as it would wipe out any chance of a Labour Government in England without Labours Scottish MPs in Westminster. Hence all the posturing against independence by Miliband and the Scottish Labour party. Salmond has not put forward one sensible believable policy on any subject concerning independence all we get is we will be ok. If you believe that kind of rhetoric and you believe we will still have free prescriptions, further education and bridge tolls, post independence then you live in a land of clouds and cuckoos.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • February 21st, 2012 21:45

    Gordon, Mr Salmond our Leader, (tee he) is keeping all the goodies for a rainy day, I ken dirs been plenty o rainy days but it needs to rain for Forty days and Forty nights before Mr Salmond opens the goodie bag, your no to get to impatient then Gordon, just keep calm and watch your BP

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 22nd, 2012 17:05

    Sandy after your last comment I am not sure whether you have special access to Alex Salmond’s
    policies or if you have special needs. Lets presume you have special access to Salmond’s policies and ask you just what they are as the whole of Scotland would love to know.

  • Derick Tulloch

    • February 22nd, 2012 21:03

    Twartree facts to dispel the ‘cloud cuckoo’s as Gordon wid hae it!

    GDP per head(2009)
    Norway $54,708
    ‘bankrupt’ Iceland $36,718
    ‘bankrupt’ Ireland $39,750
    World Power UK $34,511

    UK defence budget (2007/2008 MOD figures) £25,920m
    Scottish contribution population share UK defence budget 8.6% = £2,229m
    Actual UK defence spend in Scotland £1,560m
    Opportunity Cost (defence) of Scottish Independence 2229-1560 = £669m p.a
    Bairns, you can do a lot wi £700m a year (nearly enough ta pey for Tavish’s Trams), an a lot more as you need ta hire a spare boat!

    Same picture for BBC.
    Scotland licence fee £230m.
    BBC Scotland annual budget £120 million
    Opportunity Cost (TV) of Scottish Independence £110m p.a

    Banks, rather small liability for bailing out and Alisdair Darling’s tosh discredited by assorted learned professors.

    Scottish budget currently budget roughly in balance with UK

    Scotland Deficit on current account 10.6%
    UK Deficit on current account 11.1%
    (Both too high incidentally)

    Meanwhile Mr Cameron supplies a fact free diet of rose tinted cotton wool. Full text of Edinburgh speech

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 23rd, 2012 11:05

    Derick you definitely live in cloud cuckoo land you are speaking about a few million an independent Scottish Government could rake in. When an Independent Scotland at today’s figures will start with a debt of nothing less than £150 billion as its share of the UKs deficit..
    And as Salmond wants to stick with Europe, as a new country Scotland will not have a triple A credit rating so borrowing money will be at a rate totally unaffordable. Salmond also wants to keep the pound therefore he will have no control over interest rates as these will be set by the bank of England.
    Revenue taken in from the oil companies will only pay half of Scotland’s welfare and benefits bill, Scotlands roads are falling to pieces. Scott’s are loosing their jobs at a rate of 200 a day, companies are abandoning Scotland already in anticipation of it going bankrupt if.
    independence happens.
    Not much of a foundation to start up a new nation, but a perfect example of cloud cuckoo land.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • February 23rd, 2012 11:31
    Gordon hear is a we link fir de tae read

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 23rd, 2012 13:35

    Sandy that means nothing, all it is, is Salmond’s pipe dream, he does not say how he is going to pay for it, or should I say how we are going to pay for it.
    There is not one coherent policy statement in that white paper or in fact one statement on how he is going to raise the money to full fill his pipe dream.
    It is a wish list that you and me are going to pay dearly for if it comes off.

  • Derick Tulloch

    • February 23rd, 2012 17:41


    Well, if we get a share of the UK’s astronomical debt (which share we already have, and pay just more than our share to service), we also get a share of the UK’s assets. If we don’t get the share of the assets, we don’t get the share of the debt.

    In the Czech/Slovak case the debt and assets were split on a population share – e.g. the Czech Republic got the embassy in Washington, and the Slovak Republic got the embassy in Ottowa.

    In the case of the Baltic republics they point blank refused to take on ANY share of the former Soviet Union’s debts and didn’t get any ‘Soviet’ assets.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 23rd, 2012 23:38

    Derick the uk has no assets, we don’t manufacture anything we don’t mine anything we export very little we import loads we survive on service industries, just like Greece and look at what has happened to them. The UK is a bit like a successful and well established family business which is passed on to the son to run but instead of running it successfully he runs it into the ground. Then the son, from a distance lectures others on financial issues, does this remind you of anybody? An ex Labour leader or someone closer to home maybe. As far as Scottish independence goes Salmond will have to negotiate what’s what not dictate what will be what. He will have to accept Scotland’s share of the national debt which according to most pundits at the present time stands around £150 billion. He will have to borrow as all countries do but at what rate of interest because there is no way an independent Scotland will have a triple a credit rating
    Derick here is part of a recent article from a Scottish news paper, and you advocate we should follow this egotist into independence and certain disaster.

    Rab C Nesbitt, Govan’s philosopher (or rather the actor Gregor Fisher), was asked what he thought about Scottish independence. “I think in this day and age we should be all coming together, not splitting up,” he said.
    Alex Salmond’s administration is less a government and more a marketing campaign to win the referendum, cherry-picking polices where they can to appeal to right or left without a coherent strategy for social change and progress. Salmond himself cites three tests by which he should be judged. First, he claims to have established competence in his first term. Yet flagship policies such as the local income tax were abandoned, private finance initiative reintroduced in a renamed form, and teachers and nurse numbers slashed even as budgets continued to rise pre-recession.
    His second test is solving Scotland’s deep-seated problems such as sectarianism and alcohol. In fact, he derided sectarianism as an issue for four years, before launching a media bandwagon after an Old Firm incident only to produce legislation which has been described as the worst ever presented to the Scottish parliament. He refused to build consensus on minimum pricing of alcohol, and would not even debate the measure’s legality.
    His third test of ambition is too often addressed by hyperbole rather than vision. Alex Salmond describes his own renewable energy vision as “the greatest leap forward since the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture 10,000 years ago”. Yet last year, Scotland generated less renewable electricity than the year before. Even the industry describes his plans as “heroic”. In recent weeks he has hailed the success of his own economic “plan MacB”.
    Yet the truth is Scotland’s growth trails the rest of the UK excluding the Shetland Isles. To say this is derided as negativity by a first minister who clearly believes you can create progress simply by asserting it. After almost five years in power Alex Salmond’s vision of an independent Scotland remains hazy. He cannot tell us when his referendum will be, what the question is, what currency we will have, how we will be defended, will we be allowed to stay in Europe.
    It would appear we will have Nordic social democracy and low tax rates. Even Rab C Nesbitt knows you can’t have both. So do sensible Scotts. That is why 65% of Scots want a strong Scottish parliament in a devolved United Kingdom.

  • James Turbert

    • April 1st, 2012 17:09

    To be honest, I find this absolute nonsense. As a Scot, the Orkneys and Shetland Islands belong to the Kingdom of Scotland. They were part of Scotland before the Union, and they will be again after the Union.
    If the Islands want out of the Kingdom of Scotland, then they set up a referendum. But they can only do this after Scotland is independent.
    And if we are talking oil rights here, the Islands may find that the Exclusive Economic Zone doesn’t extend as far as they think. From the tip of Scotland just north of aberdeen would run in a straight line to a point where it meets Norway (see Plus, if they did, there would have to be some serious negotiations. How do the Islands think they will get their oil to Westminster, because it will run through Scottish Waters (no pipes run to Norway due to a massive rift in the sea bed). As others have said, then comes tuition fees, no free subscriptions, etc. Personally speaking, I think the Islands would be happen to remain with Scotland. I can only see an independent Scotland being a good thing. We know where we are going (free education, free NHS, Green Energy all over Scotland). The oil is just a bonus. Green Energy is the real future of power. And I would love to have the Islands to be involved in that with the rest of Scotland.

  • ian tinkler

    • April 2nd, 2012 12:10

    James Turbert, “I can only see an independent Scotland being a good thing. We know where we are going (free education, free NHS, Green Energy all over Scotland)”. No such thing as a free dinner, unless you trust the Salmond spin machine!. Just what and whom will pay for all these political give aways? “Green energy quite literally all over Scotland, one huge concrete jungle of wind turbines where once there be heather.

  • Ron Stronach

    • April 2nd, 2012 12:28

    I dont think you are right on the “Green Front”, renewables are simply not effective enough, Nuclear is probably the only way forward in order to cope with the demand we face in the future.
    On independence:
    I’d prefer to continue with a United Kingdom, I believe we are a stronger nation as British Citizens than Scots, English, Welsh or Shetlanders.
    However, if the vote goes for a split, there needs to be another in order to make sure my homeland becomes a Crown Dependancy and not still just another Scottish County.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 2nd, 2012 15:49

    @ James Turbert
    “To be honest, I find this absolute nonsense. As a Scot, the Orkneys and Shetland Islands belong to the Kingdom of Scotland. They were part of Scotland before the Union, and they will be again after the Union”.
    So Shetland belongs to Scotland and was part of Scotland before and will be after the union, long live the union. Funny I got the impression you were a nationalist, but you are actually a lack of researched informationist. If it was a legitimate argument, the oil does not need to go to Westminster, Teesport would be far enough. There are existing pipelines to Teesport including two from Norway, E55 from Ekofisk and E117 from the Ormen Lange field. Making it possible to send oil to Norway if needed as well as sending it to Englandshire.
    I can promise you if Salmond manages to separate Scotland from the UK nothing will be free any more, in fact we will be lucky if we get away with only paying double of what we used to pay for all the free sweeteners we get now.

  • stuart buchan

    • October 26th, 2012 12:38

    gordon harmer,
    why do you think we would join norway? if any one it would be denmark as it was them who ruled over us before scotland, i am currently working in the nowegian sector and i mentioned this to some of the guys out here and they couldnt stop lauging…there is no hope on earth norway would accept us going cap and hand to them any way….we have two options in the event of an independent scotland…..stay with scotland or become an idependent island

  • Gordon Harmer

    • October 26th, 2012 20:26

    Stuart buchan, I am laughing at your comment, you obviously have not read all my comments before you made yours. Go back and read every thing I have said including the bit about joining Norway being a hypothetical argument. We have one option and that is steer well clear of Salmond and an independent Scotland.

  • stuart buchan

    • October 26th, 2012 23:57

    just look at all the comments made to scottish folk music on utube, e.g mcphearsos rant.//how many norgies do you see loving our culture and links,they feel we have ethnic and cultural links…..also when doing a coarse in stvanger everone went for lunch….i did not know anyone to go with so stayed in the class room…when everone left this high flying norgie started asking all about scotland and most inportant a band called runrig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he was quick to tell me that they had a huge following in scandinavia and the he was going to see them the following month……i couldnt believe that he knew about run rig and when everyone came back into class he played loch lomond and most knew the song…we scots have more in common with scots than anglo…… the way i have lerwick/fraserburgh parents

  • Gordon Harmer

    • October 27th, 2012 17:19

    You may have a Lerwick parent but you are more out of touch with Shetland culture than any one I know. If you knew anything about Shetland you would know we have strong and lasting links with Norway. We have more in common with Norway and Norwegians than we do with Scotland and the Scots.

  • Joanna Cicchiello

    • October 30th, 2012 6:49

    devolution sounds like a backward move and nothing more.

    what, pray tell do you think will come of shetlands minerals assets under Edinburgh?
    Do you think a half-assed start up country is seriously going to be more generous than westminster?
    best get that in writing!!…and dont forget to read the small print!

  • ivan coghill

    • April 20th, 2013 16:19

    Can Joanna Cicchiello (comment above) or anyone tell us about the ways in which Westminster is “generous” with “Shetland’s mineral assets”?

  • Ali Inkster

    • April 20th, 2013 20:05

    Oh we ken westminster is no very generous we wir assets but at least dir no reliant on dem Ivan, unlike yun peerie banker in Edinburgh.

  • Craig Michaelson

    • September 26th, 2013 22:15

    Shetland is a Crown Trust Dependency, not officially part of Scotland and should therefore be awarded the status of British Overseas Territory or a Crown Dependency. all about the British Empire 21st century


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