Viking windfarm supporter Chris Bunyan referred to Sustainable Shetland’s petition for a judicial review as “the last throw of the dice” in the local media.
His gambling analogy is rather apt. Viking Energy has been visiting the turf accountant since 2008 with money taken from our purse. Initially they were backing a horse called “Saving the Planet” but that creature has since been sent to the knackers’ yard. Now they’re backing a horse with an equally, perhaps even more seductive name: “Immense Riches”.
They’re gambling with Shetlanders’ physical and emotional health, the environment in general, Shetland’s unique landscape, peat carbon sinks and wildlife in particular, and of course our entire savings.
In common with many habitual gamblers, Viking Energy is secretive and evasive, stops at nothing and nothing is sacred. Promises such as “if the population of Shetland doesn’t want the windfarm, it won’t go ahead” were breached, because they were never meant to be honoured in the first place – just useful tools to lure the population into a false sense of trust and security.
Now Sustainable Shetland is also visiting the bookmaker, but backing a very different horse. The horse has many names: scrutiny and full consultation. Giving a voice to those who feel unheard, ignored and powerless. Trusting in the independence and impartiality of the Scottish judicial system.
Unlike Viking Energy, Sustainable Shetland is using its own money. To date, the generosity of our members regarding the Judicial review gamble has been nothing short of overwhelming, and continues as I write, demonstrating just how deeply folk feel about the Viking Energy threat hanging over these islands, and how closely bound they are to their homes, the land they have worked for generations, and the hills they love and know like the backs of their hands.