Gone to the dogs (Roddy Nicolson)

I voted for Gary Robinson in the last local elections because he survived, and said his piece, in a completely dysfunctional council.

I haven’t been keeping up with the news, and maybe it would be better if I hadn’t. But I’ve just found out with horror that apparently the Aith Junior High School (and others) is scheduled to be downgraded to a primary school.

This is an abomination. It means an 11-year-old child will have to travel at least 21 miles to get to the Anderson High School and back every day. Of course the majority of councillors in Lerwick and nearby won’t care. Thank goodness that my son has just finished school.

Then there’s Gary Robinson, my constituent councillor, who I’ve known since childhood; so any harsh words I say with regret. But it always seems to be the case that once somebody reaches a position of power, they “go to the dogs”.

I will never vote for Gary Robinson again if the Aith secondary closes. But maybe he won’t care, because he’ll be “parachuted” to a “safe seat” somewhere else.

I’m utterly sick of Shetland politics, and I haven’t even mentioned those diabolical windmills. I intend to “hide” in my house at Tresta with all the doors locked.

Roddy Nicolson
Da Kupp,


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • July 22nd, 2013 11:43

    Having played badminton with Aith Badminton Club for several years, one of my favourite life memories is playing our home matches at the school gym.

    The school was kept in shining condition, the staff welcoming and the kids were the nicest you’ll meet anywhere. It was a super place which will be a real loss to Shetland and I’ll be deeply saddened if it is forced to close.

  • john irvine

    • July 22nd, 2013 13:53

    It is a disgrace, and the whole of Shetland should get behind the threatened closures, all this talk about closing schools/communities when this council continues to squander money needlessly, pathetic.

  • james A. Pottinger

    • July 28th, 2013 15:40

    Whilst I can appreciate the concerns re closures of any local school it is with a certain irony that I read of threat of travelling 21 miles every day from home to attend a secondary school at Lerwick. Before the Burra-Trondra-Mainland bridge was built whilst attending the Lerwick Central School in the 1950’s it was possible to get home at weekends in summer months only as the Tirrick did not sail in late afternoon in winter time. So apart from holidays at Easter, Christmas and Summer we were stuck at whatever lodgings we were billeted at.

  • Johan Adamson

    • July 29th, 2013 11:08

    The bairns dont all stay in Aith. They will be travelling more than 21 miles (Sandness, Walls, Skeld, etc). Perhaps more acceptable at aged 14 than 12 like the other schools which have been reprieved?

    Why attack Aith and Sandwick when really we are still quite a wealthy council and could choose to put education above other things to spend money on? And there are large question marks over the savings in closing Aith and Sandwick anyway. It costs money to educate a bairn where ever you do it. And busing is going to be expensive and will congest Lochside and disrupt the Lerwick bairns education (but no one worries about this).

    The west side is depopulating now faster than the north, I would have said. Its sad to see that there is now very little left. Our council could choose to do something about this economic decline. Closing Aith secondary will be the last straw (and this will devastate an area which is actually one of the nicest in Shetland with good land and sunshine when Lerwick and the south is shrouded in mist!).

  • Johan Adamson

    • July 29th, 2013 15:08

    Gary Robinson seems to be the only councillor who does not support his own community. The other areas seem to be able to rely on their councillor for their support. Shame on him.

    I wont be voting for Vaila in central either, the architect of this very depressing plan.

  • David Spence

    • July 29th, 2013 16:10

    ‘ Gary Robinson seems to be the only councillor who does not support his own community. ‘

    Johan, what else would you expect from a Tory (Conservative) ? lol Like all short visioned capitalist’s, they only think of themselves and what money they can make out of any situation. Self, Self, Self is the philosophy of most capitalist’s and this Vile, Despicable Tory Government lol

  • John Tulloch

    • July 29th, 2013 16:25

    As political leader of SIC Gary Robinson has responsibility for the effect of council policy overall.

    If he was stridently insisting that his own constituency be spared there would be a very long line of correspondents calling on him to resign over “pork barrel” politics.

    I will be dismayed if the schools have to close however it is up to those defending them to point out the flaws in the arguments put up for closure, as is happening.

    Meanwhile all those concerned about schools and housing should sign the Shetland Times petition demanding the SIC’s 1970s oil boom housing debt be written off. It takes less time than writing a comment here and is available at


  • john irvine

    • July 29th, 2013 18:14

    If Gary Robinson can`t stand up for his own community then he is not much of a councillor. If he was any man at all he would support those who voted him in!

  • Linda Tait

    • July 30th, 2013 7:28

    So what would you all rather have – Shetland descends into bankruptcy because none of the councillors are willing to stick their heads above the parapet and suggest that money needs to be saved? They won’t get it right all the time, and at times like this who would want to be in their shoes, but do try and work with them to find ways to save money instead of this obstinate “you can’t close my school” mentality. If you don’t, Shetland really will go to the dogs.

  • Johan Adamson

    • July 30th, 2013 9:03

    John Tulloch then the only decent thing for him to do is abstain from voting when Aith is discussed, not vote to close and destroy his community. But then he was not brought up wast o da scord o Tresta, how would he know how long it takes to get to school? Did he even go on the bus trip?

  • Johan Adamson

    • July 30th, 2013 11:08

    So you think Linda Tait that we should close all the schools and ship them all to Lerwick to save nothing in reality and keep spending on all the things we dont need? Surely Education should be a priority. I am surprised Sandwick will be closing too. A lot of bairns to be put on the highway to Lerwick every day.

    You could close my school if it was under 10 bairns and their education would suffer as a result, but not when it is a healthy environment, producing the highest educational acheivement in Shetland, with efficient costs and dedicated teachers.

  • Sheila Tulloch

    • July 30th, 2013 12:14

    Linda, ‘work with them to find ways to save money’ is exactly what our working group is doing. Everybody, I am sure, knows they are between a rock and a hard place.
    And Johan, I am glad you said it! I would have thought that wherever you are, you would expect the elected councillors for your area, to stand up for the people & services in that area. It is evident there is an exception to the rule.

  • Johan Adamson

    • July 30th, 2013 14:03

    Maybe he has an agenda. Clear Aith for the windmills. Clear the rest of the Wastside by closing the school.

    He might just find out how dependant he is on people who live in the sunny bit efter the Weisdale shop.

    And can anyone in Lerwick actually tell me what they have lost with council cuts? The ability to travel or empty their bins? A bus service? (no, the toon service bus still goes around in the hope that folk want to go in-ower whilst people take their cars to Tesco) Schools? Street lights? Toilets? The flooer park? Oh no but I forgot. They have these amenities for our use too. So useful when you need a pee in, say, Sandness when you are working at the one and only salmon farm left).

  • Johan Adamson

    • July 30th, 2013 14:12

    Linda, there was a brilliant suggestion or two put forward by the school councils to save money and work with the Education department. These have been ignored and we are back to the same old rediculous plan to close the junior highs (well, that is, close the secondary departments of the two that have not yet been reprieved).

  • John Tulloch

    • July 30th, 2013 16:04

    I hope all these admirably passionate folk contributing here have signed the Shetland Times petition and are raising the subject in their homes, workplaces, clubs, pubs and other social gatherings.

    There’s no point thumbing your noses to the council when they’re trying to get more money, it can only help and signatures are needed.

    If you haven’t already, sign now and get campaigning!


  • David Spence

    • July 30th, 2013 18:45

    What I find quite staggering is the agenda this vile Tory Government is executing where the majority of people, especially those people in the greatest of needs, are being subjected to this Governments plans to, literally, dismantled, destroy and fragment the very structures which makes up our society for those who, in affect, only think of themselves and what they can gain financially, and where big corporations and business dictates what form of society we live in.

    Don’t be surprised, if this vile Tory Government gets it’s way, in a few years a handful of private companies totally control every aspect of our society at the behest of greed, profit, power and total domination.

    A system and society where the majority of people suffer, but are forced to support the very system which forces them to be totally submissive to them all in the name, as we are being spoon fed, of freedom and our so-called democracy (and we complain about other countries fixing, rigging elections) as those in power see it rather than the ordinary citizen.

    This vile Tory Government is already laying down the beginnings of the foundation of this new society by fragmenting, destroying and eradicating any form of society which represents socialism or the Government taking any responsibility for it’s citizens, but still expecting the citizens to contribute their Taxes or National Insurance which will be directly transferred to the private sector, despite the private sector still charges us for their measly services/products.

    The more commercially based Government we have the greater the corruption, the deceit, lying, dishonesty, exploitative and more controlling this Government will become………afterall, money rules the roost, and it will be commercial profiteering which will dictate morality (this morality based on the value of the pound).

  • Roddy Nicolson

    • August 9th, 2013 20:08

    So much for locking my doors !
    David Spence presumably doesn’t realise that education in Scotland is under the governance of the Scottish Parliament and Government. Which doesn’t mean that educational matters will be necessarily be any better here with this Council.
    As for Johan Adamson’s comment, a more careful look at my letter points out specifically at least 21 miles.
    I thought I’d better point out these anomalies.


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