Policies for the rich (James Whitworth)

The SIC continues to follow policies designed to increase depopulation of the islands and prevent the poor from travelling to cut costs in order to support Mareel, which public transport timings exclude most events to the carless outside Lerwick.

But councillors and managers think [of] Lerwick and the rich, not the poor and remote.

Dial-a-ride bus services used to be booked by ringing the operators but a few years ago the SIC decided that it would take over booking.

If storms (as on 28th December) mean that outer isle residents decide to postpone a Lerwick trip from Friday to Monday, SIC policy is to stop it as no buses can be booked.

Did the councillors or the management of transport consider this? Well they do have an emergency line for ferries (car owners matter) but decided to provide no such emergency service for the poor who rely on “dial-a-ride buses”.

The current transport review intends to make more bus services dial-a-ride (or book a fortnight in advance) as the SIC designs its service. But this allows more cancellation to fund the £600,000 loan (grant) to Mareel.

Arts for the centre and the rich. Well done SIC.

James Whitworth
2 Old School,


Add Your Comment
  • ann henderson

    • January 9th, 2013 12:13

    Now take into account that the government is talking about taking away the bus(ferry) pass and the winter fuel allowance for most pensioners.

  • Robert Lowes

    • January 11th, 2013 20:03

    Service provision has nothing to do with any money that went to Mareel. You can’t cut transport or schools and move the cash to capital spending – it’s illegal.

  • Robert Wishart

    • January 11th, 2013 21:45

    I’m not sure Mr Lowes is right. The new funding for Mareel does not create an asset for the council so how is it a capital spend? An earlier discussion on this website elicited the following from our political leader. It seems quite clear and surely implies that the money is coming from existing budgets or reserves.

    He said:

    “To further clarify, the use of the council’s Capital Fund is governed by national legislation that prevents the council from spending (by way of grant or loan) on any project which doesn’t create or enhance an asset for the council.

    “On the other hand, the Zetland County Council Act makes provision for the council to spend its General Reserve Fund “for any [other] purpose which in the opinion of the council is solely in the interests of the county or it’s inhabitants.”

    “I won’t make any comment on the merit, or otherwise, of the funding bid prior to the meeting on the 5th of December.

    – Gary Robinson
    November 27, 2012 “

  • ian tinkler

    • January 11th, 2013 22:10

    Was not the £60k from the Reserve fund? It could have been used for anything the Council wished. Certain council Donkeys preferred Mareel and 3D Hobbit to the care of our elderly and the education of our children. That’s immoral, not illegal, but I suppose it kept you employed Robert. Money well spent? Let us know if I am wrong.

  • ian tinkler

    • January 12th, 2013 7:44

    Now £6.6 million and rising of Shetland funds in Mareel. Well worth the closures?

  • Brian Smith

    • January 12th, 2013 10:00

    There is no doubt at all that the Council is indifferent to the effect that cuts will have on the poor in Shetland. It is never discussed. But blaming Mareel is a red herring.

  • Robert Lowes

    • January 12th, 2013 19:48

    Kept me employed? I don’t work for Shetland Arts, Ian. And I strongly resent the implication that I have somehow done something immoral by association. Not that building Mareel is immoral anyway – as I’ve said previously, the capital spending programme is nothing to do with finance for service provision. Service provision includes care for the elderly, roads, infrastructure and education. No schools will be shut, nor old folk neglected, nor ferries tied up because of Mareel. That premise is completely false. I don’t know why you can’t quite grasp that reality, but it does you no credit to keep making such disingenuous statements. So yes, you’r wrong.

    I’d be more concerned with the council making nonsensical decisions like not financing the refurbishment of community halls, in the face of promised support and in spite of hard won money from other sources being in place. Or seemingly endless U-turns that have led to the proposed site for the new Anderson High being the same one they were talking about 20 years ago, with two interim sites, contractors appointed and several million spent without a brick being laid. That, to me is a far greater failing than providing money to build a thriving arts centre which is educating the entertaining the Shetland public.

    PS, I’m sure I saw you at the screening for the Hobbit. You kept bleating something about “The Precious” and throwing a wobbly when you didn’t get your way.

  • ian tinkler

    • January 12th, 2013 21:56

    Of course Brian, £13.6 million is a red herring; Shetland and taxpayers monies wasted on the now insolvent white elephant. Funny thing is my byre at Flawton has fabulous creative design, more history (perhaps 500 years plus) than any metal, glass and plastic gin palace. To date nothing new, original and creative at Mareel could not have been created and better performed in my byre and croft (excluding films) at far, far less cost… not a penny in public funds needing to be spent and wasted. Such as is done, Mareel is purely showcase for other people’s art, run by pseudo artists at Shetlanders expense.

  • John Tulloch

    • January 13th, 2013 9:30

    Ok Ian, why not get on with it, organise a show or two in your byre, competition is usually a good thing – show Shetland Arts how it should be done.

    Of course, should Mareel close as you recommend, all that grant money would be up for grabs – you might be able to retire on the heads of another Glastonbury, at Clousta?

    BYOBSG – bring your own beer, siwester and galoshes?

  • Gordon Harmer

    • January 13th, 2013 10:46

    You could put on one of your tidy barbecue’s as well Ian.

  • ian tinkler

    • January 13th, 2013 11:16

    John, I tried for an open air with “The Quo”, Malcolm was not too keen. Will have another try soon. Barbeque, Rock and Roll with Shetland Jazzercise in Burlesque. They do that great. Rock on Girls, may be a bit cold though. Love to Toyah, Louise, Moira and all. You are a great talent.

  • leslie sinclair

    • January 13th, 2013 12:04

    I dont know much about where the money has come from for Mareel, but after the North Star cinema closed there was nothing for people to go to besides the clickimin centre. Perhaps the cinema would have been enough because there are plenty of venues for music in Shetland.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • January 30th, 2013 20:26

    What was wrong with the Garrison Theatre for showing films, I used to take my bairns then my Grand bairns they thouth the Garrison Theatre was excellent

  • JIm Leask

    • January 31st, 2013 14:21

    Sandy, the good old “What was wrong with the Garrison” shout has surely been well and truely blown out of the water now! Anyone that has made the ‘Garrison’ statement and has taken the time to visit Mareel and watch a film surely must have had the answer delivered too them in full 3D glory! The Garrison was uncomfortable,if you weren’t the tallest your view was often spoiled or blocked by people in front of you and the over all ‘movie going’ experience was pretty poor. I have already been to watch more movies in Mareel in the space of a couple of months than I had ever been to see at the Garrison and I plan to keep this up.

  • Robert Lowes

    • January 31st, 2013 16:24

    To answer your question Sandy, pretty much everything. The films were on traditional 35mm reels, which are extremely heavy and expensive to ship. Because Shetland is so far out of the way, it could take weeks to get hold of a print. If the availability of a print didn’t co-incide with the monthly film screenings, it’d have to wait until the following month. You can’t show films when they actually come out on that basis – merely when most other places are finished with them.

    The sightlines in the Garrison Theatre are not ideal for showing movies. It’s designed as a theatre, not a cinema. The two are completely different.

    As the films arrived on multiple reels, they have to be spliced together by hand onto one large reel for projection. This is extremely time consuming and takes as long as the film itself runs for.

    Monthly film screening at the Garrison impacted on use of the building as a theatre.

    There was no real provision for installing digital projection equipment in the Garrison. Upgrading the building to modern standards was completely cost-ineffective and would have meant the loss of use of that building completely for a protracted amount of time. In addition, you would not have any of the learning facilities the Mareel has available, nor the concert auditorium cafe bar.

    Years ago, I had an old 4:3 telly made by Pye. It was in horrible faux wood veneer and had a mono speaker, 3 channels and an RF input and was hooked up to a Goldstar VCR. Reception was horrible and fuzzy and prone to interference. They did the job and was perfectly adequate at the time because it was all we had. However, I’m not going to pretend that it was just as good as my 32″ HD widescreen LCD television, hooked up to a Sony Blu-Ray player, Sky+, DVD/DVR/Freeview box and a 5.1 surround sound system because that’d be as nonsensical as claiming that there was nothing wrong with the Garrison.

  • Jane Leask (Clousta)

    • February 1st, 2013 7:17

    Ian – if you are planning an event at Clousta then I suggest you might need a health and safety review of the place. I will not be buying a ticket!

  • ian tinkler

    • February 1st, 2013 7:52

    Jane Leask!?. I will not have a problem with that, nor will my friends and quests.

  • John Tulloch

    • February 1st, 2013 8:35

    Me is beginning to thinks she doth protest too much?

  • ian tinkler

    • February 1st, 2013 8:45

    Even guests!! (Freudian !!!). Dancers and Go Go girls sorted. Page 35; I’i Shetland. Rock on Girls, you will all be welcome.

  • ian tinkler

    • February 2nd, 2013 19:42

    Now who to play Flawton? Dylan, The Who, The Stones, The Quo, any ideas anyone. How about an all-nighter, playing all for free. Free admission; just bring your own loo role and spade. Keep health and safety happy. (Wild life Croft could use the phosphate ande nitrate). Otherwise, we could just have a Barbecue, if previously mentioned unavailable. Keep you informed about artist’s availability. Should be fun. PS: We may need a few groupies!


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