New council needs vision (Vic Thomas)

When the next SIC administration comes into being it would be in both its and the rest of Shetland’s interests if it heeded some basic common sense that has been sadly lacking for years.

So when the meetings start to discuss and decide the pruning of the great Shetland money tree, pay heed to the principles a skilled gardener would use. Prune out the dead wood but leave the branches and shoots that will bear fruit next season.

As fuel prices rise beyond an affordable level to drive into Lerwick it might be prudent to re-open closed schools in the rural areas and add to them a council outreach office to enable delivery of all local services in the rural community. Allow council employees resident in these areas to man these outposts or work from home with set outcomes.

Direct development assistance to rural business start-ups that prioritise businesses that produce local food or essential products to address the demise of the supermarkets, the internet, mail order and the Royal Mail as they crash with the failure of the cheap fuel systems that they rely on.

The continuous drift and centralisation to Lerwick is a route to disaster as there is not enough room in “da toon” for all of us. Failure now to lose sight or ignore the future and focus on the rush to cut is the most serious threat to these islands and the sustainability of our existence in the approaching new global high fuel environment.

We will need to grow and produce significantly more food and produce, be more efficient and less wasteful in every aspect. In the post cheap fuel era it’s only Shetland’s rural areas that will be able to provide any solutions at all and not Lerwick.

The present financial situation in Shetland is nothing compared to what looms. So think before you act and act with a vision. If you have no vision you shouldn’t even be there.

Meanwhile the announcement that Scottish ministers have given the go ahead to Viking Energy’s blot on the landscape is a death knell for the islands’ pristine marine environment, the future of the tourist industry and a high-quality place to live.

The fact that the SIC supported the application was based on some members’ vested interests and their collective involvement. True democracy should have dictated that the SIC’s role should have been excluded.

Democracy has failed Shetland and we will all be at a great loss for this.

Vic Thomas


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • April 5th, 2012 11:49

    The SIC’s recent actions have been very damaging to the flourishing, vibrant culture in Shetland’s country places and the inexorable drift to Lerwick which will be accelerated by the decision to industrialise the central mainland, will lead ultimately to a a “duelling banjos” scenario of remote outposts of a few elderly, ill-aff folk.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the fuel price in the long term however; as I’ve said elsewhere it’s likely to drop sharply over the next few years as shale gas production develops in the UK.

    How about a piped gas supply for locals then if gas is going to be so cheap and Total is onshore at Sullom Voe? There’s a nice little earner for local entrepreneurs and the SCT – I’d even put my own money into it!


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