Having recently read, with interest, many articles and letters in the local media, I now feel compelled to write.
“Da Brig ta Bressa” saga finally died down, but the debate rumbles on with regard to windfarms. I must say that I was disappointed that the letter “Why the Rush” by Jonathan Wills contained a final paragraph that I’d personally have preferred to see edited out, as I felt it was blatant pre-election canvassing. On the subject of Dr Wills, I was equally disappointed to read his “misunderstandings” in the public notices (Shetland Times 30th March 2012). I had always considered Readers’ Views to be just that, and “Public Notices” to be of interest to the public at large – I’d prefer from now on that when he wishes to “throw his dummy out of the pram” that we, the general public, no longer have to be subjected to his private and personal agendas – please?
But, concerning windfarms – in Eire they’ve been embraced to form part of their “eco-tourism”: tourists can now travel up the roads to the turbines, enjoying spectacular panoramic views. We have to admire the Irish for their sense of humour and their ability to “turn a negative into a positive” thus seizing the “window of opportunity”!
On the topic of “turning a negative into a positive”, I was delighted to read Gary Peterson’s positive message to others. Having had numerous polyps removed myself, I fully support the bowel screening programme. I would like to echo Gary’s plea: use and return your kits – it could save your life or your family’s.
Finally, on the subject of the forthcoming elections, of the seven candidates for Shetland North, only three have taken the trouble to visit me thus far. They all appear to have some valid arguments as to why I should vote for them; however, I did note in Colin Arnot’s statement that he is aware that Nesting is actually a part of Shetland North, and he is also aware of issues of fair public transport.
There is currently a hidden problem in that regard. Just last Tuesday, I had to concede that a consultation at our doctor’s surgery would not be possible that week, as I could not afford a taxi to Brae. Dr Scott recommended I book the early Dial-a-bus/feeder service to Lerwick (07:30-08:30); take a service bus from Lerwick to Brae; attend an appointment with himself and a nurse; return to Lerwick by bus; do my grocery shopping; and then return home by our Dial-a-bus/feeder service, leaving Lerwick at 17:05, bringing me home at about 18:00. He did kindly note that this would be less costly than hiring a taxi. “That’s the price you have to pay for living in a rural community.” I was sure that this was the year 2012?! Hmmm! About 10 and a half hours’ travel for about a 10 and a half minute appointment. Arthritis, back pain, nausea and incontinence would not need to be among your ailments, methinks!
Please can we get back to the basics, and to what we in Shetland were once so proud of: a fair and equal existence for us all? In the present climate, where “cutbacks” is a by-word, and SIC services are being threatened, I can only hope that due credit is given to the voluntary services, which are vital to the community and which people fought so hard for. The late T M Y Manson, Cecil Eunson, Dr Hunter, Edward Thomason, John Jamieson a’ Gluss and most of my ancestors must be birling in der graves. As L Williamson (Whalsay) said to me, “we hae ta look eftir wir ain first”. I think the problem has now become that it’s far too much about looking after “Number 1 first”, and not enough about “wir ain”.
I would like to say more, but this (unlike some) is my first Readers’ Views letter, and all I wish for is that the prospective members for Shetland North realise that I, for one, won’t be voting them in just because I know they’ll “rock the boat”: I want someone with “teeth”, not “lip-service”, who will be prepared to stand up for the underdog, and equally understand that they won’t win any popularity contests for doing so.
To quote the Up-Helly-A’ slogan – “we axe for whit we want”. “Na, na, my boy, du can aye axe, but du’ll only git what we tink wir willing ta pairt wi wance wir sure dat aa da Lerook eens haes aa dir needs an wants met first!”
Can we all take this “window of opportunity” and see how many “negatives can be turned into positives”?
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