Savvy king-maker (John Tulloch)

Much as I’d prefer to dwell on how Drew Ratter’s gloating face cackling gleefully from every Shetland Times windfarm article reminds me of Cut-throat Jake having boarded The Black Pig after the feckless Pugwash and his crew abandoned ship at the last election leaving Tom the Cabin Boy to send for Cap’n OSCR’s marines, it behoves me, alas, to pass more serious comment.

Looking at the distribution of power in the new council and Shetland Charitable Trust I am reminded also of Drew’s pre-election call for like-minded candidates to ally themselves together. Only those who know can testify as to whether that has quietly transpired, however, my early impression is there is one pretty savvy “king-maker”, a Shetland “Svengali” who picks the tune and pulls the strings while others dance.

I can live with that as long as the arguments are sound and seated in a genuine desire to do what’s best for Shetland without trampling unlucky people under-foot and to be honest, I’m encouraged by the opening performance in that the peculiar spectacle of Viking Energy formally running the charitable trust has ended and there now appears to be some prospect of competent political management and serious concerns being heeded.

That “prospect” may be unlikely to appease die-hard opponents of the windfarm. However, some rhyme and reason entering the proceedings is welcome, indeed.

On the other hand, what could have been more reasonable from opponents than a proposal to grant “only” £3 million until there is better visibility of financial viability – that would have allowed the project to proceed without providing a blank cheque for the project managers to do what they like with the £4.5m of public money about which they are unable to tell us why it is needed (£1.8m accounted for of the total £6.3m).

Less encouraging too was the element of indecent haste objected to by Vaila Wishart as “blackmail”. This could have been resolved by accepting the £3m option as there would be no need for the delay referred to by “Doc” Goddard.

While there may have been an element of theatre in some speeches there were, at least, signs of trustees being both aware of the issues and willing to speak out. It’s said, of course, we shouldn’t listen to what politicians say, but watch what they do so we’ll watch their actions and let time be the judge.

What’s that? Is “Doc” Wills the Svengali? Er, “you might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.”

John Tulloch


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