Chance to quiz Salmond and his cabinet

Scottish government ministers will be quizzed on their vision for the country’s constitutional future when they hold a cabinet meeting in the isles for the first time this month.

Senior Nationalist MSPs are conducting a summer tour of the country to discover more about what matters to people in communities.

Ministers will host a public discussion session, focusing on the government’s vision for Scotland, at Mareel on 25th July.

They will answer questions from audience members about Scotland and its future.

Speaking to The Shetland Times ahead of the cabinet visit, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I am delighted to be bringing the cabinet to Shetland for the first time.

“On my last visit I had a chance to meet students, staff and trustees at the fisheries college marine centre at Scalloway, and to visit the old library centre in Lerwick, as well as chairing the Convention of the Highlands and Islands.

Alex Salmond during his last visit to Shetland.
Alex Salmond during his last visit to Shetland.

“Our visit to Shetland this month marks the start of our fifth annual summer cabinet programme, bringing ministers to communities across the country – with other events planned for Hawick, Campbeltown and Fraserburgh.

“As in previous years, we want to engage with the public directly in their own communities and give the public opportunities to ‘buttonhole’ ministers on the issues that matter most to them.

“We want to talk about, and hear the public’s views on how the Scottish government, our agencies and public sector partners, are working to meet their needs, how our policies are improving education, healthcare and other services, strengthening commun­ities, supporting regeneration and supporting key sectors of the economy such as fishing, farming, energy and tourism.

“And, of course, we want to discuss our future vision for Scotland, including people’s views on the constitutional debate and next year’s referendum.

“For more than a decade, the task facing MSPs has been deciding how to allocate resources given to us by Westminster. But now, we have a real chance in deciding Scotland’s future and making sure that all decisions on our future are taken by those who care most about Scotland – those who choose to live and work in Scotland.

“This is an exciting time and as a government we want to join communities across Scotland in a positive debate on the future of our country. We want to outline to you why we believe it’s important for Scotland to have the same economic and financial powers as other nations.

“As we look forward to the year ahead sustainable economic recovery, investment with jobs for our young people will remain our absolute priority. We want to hear what the people of Shetland have to say about what and how we invest in the future. I would encourage readers of The Shetland Times to join with us as we discuss that future.”

The public discussion event is being held from 12.30pm to 2.15pm.

Attendance is free but spaces are limited, so those who wish to attend are asked to register by calling 0131 244 2262 or emailing


Add Your Comment
  • Stephen Howarth

    • July 13th, 2013 18:04

    1. If Scottish independence happens, what will mainland Scotland do for Shetland? What benefit would independence bring to Shetland?

    2. If Scottish independence happens and if Shetland chooses to remain within the UK, what will mainland Scotland do without Shetland?

  • Douglas Young

    • July 14th, 2013 14:39

    1. The benefits are huge and varied, including the preservation of free-at-point-of-use NHS, free tuition, continued subsidising of lifeline ferry services, abolish the Bedroom Tax, more investment in social housing and speeding up of green energy projects. Getting rid of Trident may seem like a distant benefit but will save money.
    2. N/A

  • John Tulloch

    • July 14th, 2013 16:20

    1. Green energy projects being speeded up is the last thing an independent Scotland needs – unless the English politicians continue to force their people to pay for electricity generation at twice and three times the price of conventional fossil fuel generation for onshore and offshore wind, respectively.

    And will the hated transmission charges be waived by London for an independent Scotland when the UK has one of the biggest shale gas resources in the world in Lancashire which may well halve the price of UK gas and greatly reduce our dreaded “carbon emissions”.

    Fat chance!

  • ian tinkler

    • July 14th, 2013 16:26

    Wow Douglas, a real something for nothing, Socialist Utopia. Pity Shetland, if part of an Independent Scotland, would pay dearly for most of it! Now an independent or Crown dependant Shetland would not need to finance Salmond’s self-serving dreams.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • July 14th, 2013 17:53

    According to Douglas Young, “The benefits are huge and varied, including the preservation of free-at-point-of-use NHS”.

    Under the SNP, there are fewer nursing staff than a few years ago. Yet despite fewer nurses, demand for health services is increasing. It is this sort of pressure that sees the BMA warning of ‘burn-out’ amongst medical staff. These warnings are ignored by the SNP Government, it’s time for them to sort this growing mess out.
    It is clear that health boards have cut staffing numbers too far and too fast. It is clear that despite all the spin and rhetoric from the SNP, our NHS is working on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, with no proper planning, no effective strategy and no clear vision for the future. That failure of leadership lies at the door of the Cabinet Secretary and his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon, who began the cuts when she was in charge.
    The shortage of key staff is becoming a critical issue across Scotland. The SNP Government’s failure to work with the medical community to properly plan for the future will see expensive short-term fixes such as agency and locum staff continue to rise. With that increasing cost, vital resources are diverted away from improving patient care. When it is cheaper to hire full-time staff, it makes no sense to be spending more on temporary agency nurses and locum doctors. Something is seriously wrong in our NHS when these bills continue to increase, despite the number of nursing staff being fewer now than as far back as 2007. We will be lucky if there is a Scottish NHS left come September next year. This along with education are the main services that the SNP are solely responsible for and cannot blame Westminster for their demise.

    As for subsidising of lifeline ferry services, the SNP have made a right mess of that and all on their own. They have awarded the contract to a company who put profits before passengers and shareholders before Shetlanders.

    Getting rid of Trident will not help Shetland in any way all it will do is put more than 15,000 Scottish workers on the dole.

    They could increase investment in social housing in Shetland right now by reinstating the millions they have siphoned away from us to pay the interest on the £40 million we are owed.

    Just now the whole of the UK are subsidising Salmond’s Green energy fantasy. In the unlikely event of an independent Scotland that subsidy will be paid by the Scottish electricity consumers, forcing their energy bills up by an enormous percentage.

    Once again Douglas has proved he has no real answers to serious questions asked about the “benefits” (laugh out loud) of independence on Shetlanders.

  • sandy mcmillan

    • July 14th, 2013 20:43

    Why condemn Alex Salmond before he has had a chance to answer your questions,
    We all might get a surprise, or not, if the questions asked are the ones that matter as far as Shetland is concerned, and the answer is favourable then fair enough, but don’t get your knickers in a twist until such time as you know why he is making this visit,
    It’s more than David Cameron and his millionaire troop have done, and after all we are getting no sense out of Tavish Scott, or Alaistair Carmichael.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • July 15th, 2013 5:08

    Douglas Young’s answer to Stephen Howarth’s question 2 is N/A, which stands for “Not Answered”. This will be the answer to all questions put to Salmond and his cabinet.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • July 15th, 2013 7:10

    Judge Salmond on what he has done, not what he says he will do. I would not trust any politician further than I could kick them; however just look what Salmond’s green agenda and financial housing money grad has done for Shetland. A true snake in the grass. (The biggest of the five areas currently earmarked around Shet­land is N7, which is 1,074 square miles between Whalsay and Sumburgh, with another 670 square miles around the West Side and Eshaness, called N5, 482 square miles off Foula and Fitful Head called N4, 186 square miles off the north-east end of Unst called N8 and 138 square miles north-west of Yell called N6. And by the way Alex Salmond rolling up in Shetland next month like Santa Claus restoring the housing support grant or even repaying the £40M debt in a blaze of publicity will not wash. We are not so dull as to fall for that little ploy. )
    I would rather castrate myself with a rusty tin can than support Salmond, just my view!!

  • Johan Adamson

    • July 15th, 2013 9:58

    Surely Salmond is having a referendum on his party no longer being in existence as clearly there will be no need for an SNP if their aims are met? They will revert to voting Liberal or Tory or Labour in the independant scottish parliament.


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