Despicable attitude (John Tulloch)

Given the despicable attitude of the SNP government to the council’s request for justice following their seizure of the SIC’s housing support grant from London paid – in good faith – via Edinburgh specifically to compensate SIC for building houses during the 1970s oil boom, it’s little wonder the SNP Shetland branch is “sae blate” these days.

Well done, local SNP politician Iain Morrison for plucking up the courage to publicly support the campaign to write off the £40 million debt incurred by SIC at government’s request during the 1970s oil boom. Too bad his branch colleagues have “gone to ground”.

As a Shetlander living in Argyll, unaffected by SIC spending cuts yet incensed by the £40m debt injustice, I am dumbfounded that so few Shetland residents have so far signed The Shetland Times petition.

Watching the signatures coming in over the last three weeks I’ve been shocked to see only three people out of the thousands of relatives, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and class-mates I knew during my 40-odd years in Shetland signing the petition.

Is the legacy of “down-treading” of the Shetland population by Scottish lairds so complete that my own generation, many of whom masquerade as Viking warriors, meekly accept the seizure by Alex Salmond of London’s housing support grant to the SIC?

The reign of terror of Scottish earls and lairds was ended by the great English Liberal William Gladstone when he enacted the Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act – at Westminster – in 1886.

How ironic then that no sooner have they gained power than Scottish SNP ministers in Edinburgh have moved to exact “tribute” from Shetland tenants. And that’s “before” we have voted “yes” to giving them more power!

Is our “mortification” so complete that we meekly allow the SNP to keep the interest payments from London on our £40m housing debt? That we can’t even muster the fury to sign a petition delivered on line and in the paper to our houses?

Think of that next time you sing:
When the fight for freedom rages,
Be strong and bold as they.

Get aff your backsides and sign the petition!

John Tulloch


Add Your Comment
  • Ian John Hughson

    • June 24th, 2013 9:30

    The last thing I wrote wasn’t allowed but I’m in total agreement with you.

  • kay wiseman

    • June 24th, 2013 10:16

    too many shetlanders dont give a jot now adays ..its very sad thay are all covered in footprints with the scotish council walking all over them ..home rule for shetland I say ..the other two one is as bad as the other .

  • kay wiseman

    • June 24th, 2013 10:17

    for gods sake get off yur buts and do something before we are too late.

  • Martyn Fisher

    • June 24th, 2013 10:56

    I fail to see how this is the Scottish Governments fault. The Scottish parliament did not even exist at this time. Yes people should be signing this petition as i have myself done. However i dont think it helps when people try to hijack a campaign for political reasons it puts people of signing, and believe you me that is what John Tulloch’s letter is about” nothing to do with the debt, more about having a go at the SNP. A typical tactic from “Bitter together”
    Are we not all in this together best to put party political differences aside for this one me thinks.

  • John Tulloch

    • June 24th, 2013 11:45


    I am not a member of any political party or campaign group. I am on record saying the SNP government has been broadly more competent than its Labour predecessors i.e. THIS IS NOT A PARTY POLITICAL POINT.

    I am simply an aggrieved Shetlander taking advantage of an openly available public “forum” to argue my case.

    The London government, at least, had the decency to cover the interest on the loan, as promised by then Secretary of State for Scotland Bruce Millan, by payment of the housing support grant which after devolution was passed from London via Edinburgh.

    The SNP government has seized the payment and I take issue with that.

    After independence Shetland must deal with one of the two governments and it is important that the one we deal with can be trusted. You may not wish to hear this however on their track records the London government is clearly the more trustworthy of the two.

    If you can’t read or understand this ask someone to explain it to you – step by step.

  • Martyn Fisher

    • June 24th, 2013 12:28

    Now my point is this Danny Alexander has just told the Shetland Times that Housing was devolved to the Scottish Government since 1999. So Scottish Labour, Liberals governments, should have had this sorted long time ago. However if you really want to play the blame game then a lot must go to the Shetland Council of that time.. They should have had it in writing…

  • John Tulloch

    • June 24th, 2013 12:58


    What’s this, surely not a “party political” point? In your very next breath?

    Until SNP seized the SIC’s housing support grant, all was well.

    Now all isn’t well. And the fact that the SNP have cancelled all meetings with SIC clearly indicates their guilt and lack of an argument to support their moneygrubbing. They can see the longships and have pulled up the drawbridge.

    This is why Danus Skene and the SNP Shetland branch have scurried back “underground”. Only Iain Morrison has had the guts to publicly support the campaign to get Shetland’s money back.

  • Douglas Young

    • June 25th, 2013 7:34

    Moderators no longer on here?
    Debate reduced to personal comments.
    Not encouraging new people to put their points forward.

  • John Tulloch

    • June 25th, 2013 9:42


    If you’re referring to Martyn’s paranoid personal comment asserting some imagined anti-SNP party-political partisanship on my part, I agree with you. It was quite insulting to a non-aligned amateur:

    “However I dont think it helps when people try to hijack a campaign for political reasons it puts people of signing, and believe you me that is what John Tulloch’s letter is about” nothing to do with the debt, more about having a go at the SNP.”

    Martyn’s comment was not edited out and I have no complaint about that because he lost the exchange. I wouldn’t have thought it part of the Moderator’s role to exclude perfectly reasonable comments about heavy duty local politicians who have become inexplicably shy about taking part in the debate.

    The Argument: The SNP have seized the SIC’s housing support grant from London paid annually to compensate SIC for building houses during the oil boom and have locked out SIC people from making their case at Holyrood. That is an injustice.

    The SNP Shetland branch, lead by their experienced 2012 SIC election candidate Danus Skene have scurried away into their underground burrows to avoid comment, Iain Morrison being the honourable exception.

    Skene is chairman of Shetland Arts Trust who, correct me if I’m wrong are getting less money than promised from the SIC due to the parlous state of its finances. As a leading local SNP politician Skene should either publicly support the campaign to have the money restored and sign the petition or resign from the Arts Trust.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • June 25th, 2013 12:27

    What does Douglas know about debate? On many occasions I have asked questions of him, on independence and SNP policy, but he never replies. His silence is an ominous tactic to stifle healthy debate.

    This thread is to support the Shetland Times petition to claw back money owed to the SIC. People like Douglas are on here as quick as a flash when there is something derogatory to say about SIC policy or actions. Its just a pity they are not so quick to sign a simple petition, lets have some positive action instead negative apathy.

  • sean jamieson

    • June 26th, 2013 7:30

    I have come to the conclusion that John Tulloch is somewhat of a troll. Provocative and hateful and it’s all designed to seek a reaction.

    This idea of victimhood is really tiresome. While the bile spouted towards Scotland is nasty and unecessarily vitriolic.

    Strange how he now lives in what he would call Scotland.

    Sign the petition but leave the chip on the shoulder behind.

    Shetland Times- would be good to here from someone other than this continual provocateur. Since when has a paper become a mouthpiece for the same gobby pain in the neck?

  • John Tulloch

    • June 26th, 2013 11:24

    On the contrary Sean, I like Scotland and the Scots very much and I have said several times here that the SNP government is broadly more competent than its feckless Labour predecessors.

    As a Shetlander what I don’t like is the despicable way this particular SNP government are treating Shetland. I reserve the right to speak out against the seizure by SNP of SIC ‘s housing support grant from London.

    I think it’s a poor show that SNP Shetland, unlike Jean Urquhart MSP and YES Shetland, are unable to support the campaign to get Shetland’s money back.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • June 26th, 2013 14:15

    Definition of a troll, “one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument”. For further clarification read above comment by Sean Jamieson.

  • Martyn Fisher

    • June 26th, 2013 17:06

    Yes well said Sean, Gordon and Duncan, Can we now get back to the business of getting this housing debt sorted once and for all. So Shetland Council can plan for the future. Please !!.

  • John Tulloch

    • June 26th, 2013 20:43

    Quite right, Martin.

    I wholeheartedly agree we should stick to discussing the SNP’s seizure of SIC’s housing support grant money from London to compensate them for 1970s oil boom housing they built at London’s request, incurring a debt of £40m.

    As opposed to trying to divert the thread into any other area in which the SNP are less glaringly-obviously vulnerable to criticism.

  • Stewart Mac

    • June 27th, 2013 10:55

    I have read all of the above and after a little chuckle particularly at some of Martyn’s comments have signed the petition as we all should.

    So its not the SNP’s fault for taking the grant money from Westminster and not passing it on? So who’s fault would it be exactly then?

    I do agree that they probably should have got everything in writing, but then if you cant trust the “honourable” politicians then who can you trust? If it had been in writing, just like the Busta House Agreement then nothing could have gone wrong could it? oh wait didnt they backtrack on that written agreement too? …..

    I guess the only answer then is not to trust politicians at all. Only trust the actions they take – so where does that leave us now then? Who can be trusted?

  • John Tulloch

    • June 28th, 2013 18:59

    Well put, Stewart – “in a nutshell” as they say!

  • Victor Young

    • July 12th, 2013 19:36

    I presume that the SNP, which is in power, can make this right. But, in truth, I suspect it is earmarked for Salmond palace to be built if there is a yes vote

  • John Tulloch

    • July 24th, 2013 8:54

    I’m a Shetlander first and my vote will be cast in that light, irrespective of the fact I live in Argyll where, incidentally, the SNP hierarchy haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory by allegedly ordering local SNP councillors not to participate in a coalition administration but to remain in opposition where they could avoid being tarnished by difficult decisions ahead of the referendum and look good opposing them.

    Needless to say there has been an almighty row and an attempt is under way to thwart these nefarious dealings.

    Chapter and verse on the build-up below:

    It’s a shocker!


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