18th April 2019
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‘Positive atmosphere’ as Yes Shetland launches its campaign on independence

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Around 50 people came to Islesburgh last night for the launch on the Yes Shetland campaign in the run-up to next year’s referendum on Scottish independence.

Chaired by local staunch nationalist Brian Nugent, the meeting featured speeches by Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins, SNP education minister Mike Russell and Celia Fitzgerald, from Labour for Independence. All stressed their vision for a more egalitarian society, based broadly on the Scandinavian model.

Opening the proceedings, Ms Fitzgerald explained that the desire for independence was not solely the preserve of the SNP – there were people of all political persuasions in favour. In fact, she said, the SNP needed that support as it could not win the referendum on its own.

For her part, Ms Fitzgerald said she had watched the UK become a “more unequal and more unjust” society. And with the death of Robin Cook before the Iraq war “the last hope for an ethical foreign policy died”.

Her wish for independence was fuelled by “optimism” for the future and “anger” about inequality in the UK, in which oil wealth had been misused.

Her vision, Ms Fitzgerald said, was for fairness, equality and justice, keeping the NHS and welfare state and ensuring free education and health care for all. That, in keeping with the Scandinavian model, could mean higher taxes.

Mr Russell said the referendum, a “once in a lifetime opportunity” was “much bigger than party politics”, and not about voting SNP. He said people would vote with their heart and their head, and “each of us knows what needs to change”.

He questioned why an oil-rich country had become poorer, and said income from renewables should be invested for the common good.

Mr Russell said he realised years ago that Scotland was not going to get the government it chose, and mentioned that he had not been able to speak at the European Fisheries Council on the cod recovery plan, a topic relevant to him but not to the UK minister who did speak.

He said he wanted Scotland’s voice to be heard in the world and the work now was to find people who can be convinced.

Mr Jenkins said the Yes Scotland campaign, which was “grass roots based”, was the only one he had ever been involved in. It was “much bigger than politics”. Its three pillars, he said, were democracy, prosperity and fairness.

He said a lot of business people would welcome it, and would like to see “strong free market principles”. His belief was that decisions were best made by the people affected, and society should be fair

“It’s very important we care for one another and don’t leave people behind,” Mr Jenkins said. “That’s the kind of society we want.”

Now was the time to draw up a wish list for Scotland, he added, not to be tied to someone else’s agenda, and to ignore the scaremongering from the other side.

Mr Nugent said after the launch that from his point of view it had been “a great meeting” with a large turnout.

He said: “We had a very positive atmosphere and three good speeches. Anne Bain read out her brother Aly’s statement supporting independence and then we moved on to the question and answers where we had six or seven very good questions.

“Overall I think it was a terrific meeting. Now we intend to go to the Voe Show on Saturday and we hope to be at the future agricultural shows as well. Then we’ll look into whatever activities we might be doing into the future.”


About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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  1. Oil revenues misused is tway speak for they did not spend them on my pet projects, therefore they were wrong !

    Scotland is tied to the UK agenda which includes Scottish MPs all of the UK is tied to the UK agenda . There is no national significance in the ‘agenda’ !

    Well if there is one way of ensuring that Scotland’s voice will not be heard in the world it would be to vote for independence. In case he had not noticed, Scotland is a small nation of about 5,000,000 individuals . Who is going to listen to Scotland then ?

  2. Garry Oman

    Hopefully the Scottish Government in an Independent Scotland will listen to the 5 million + citizens, unlike the current situation where the UK Government ignores the people they are supposed to be SERVING!

  3. Douglas Greig Young

    Well done to the Shetland Times, your article has currently over 400 likes on YES Scotland Facebook page and has been shared over 60 times! It is being commented on and is a very balanced record of the proceedings.
    This is something many national papers are unable or unwilling to do. This can only help the debate from both sides.

  4. Thomas Robinson

    Vernon Young

    Does that mean that the similarly population sized Norway was in error when it split from Sweden in 1905?

    Has Norway allowed its oil wealth to be destroyed in the way that Scots have allowed Westminster to waste our oil wealth?

    A Norwegian would laugh at you if you suggested to them that Scotland would be foolish to vote for independence-they KNOW the best people to look after the inter interests of their 5 million are themselves-obviously!

  5. Joe Johnson

    I’m voting No in the referendum next year. I still believe that Scotland will be better in the U.K. “Scaremongering” is that what the Yes campaign calls it? what rubbish! If Scotland breaks away from the U.K we are going to be worse off despite what the SNP says. I’m a proud Scotsman and love it whenever Scotland beats England at sport, really want Scotland to beat England at Wembley in 2 weeks time but I still want Scotland to stay in the union. Only 50 people turned at that meeting. that’s not many.

  6. ian tinkler

    Thomas has made a good point. Just think if Scotland had followed Norway’s example and become independent of the UK in 1905, it would, like Norway, have fallen to Nazi Germany and Hitler,s loving, care in 1941. O how that would have helped the Scott’s gain wealth from oil, if there were anyone left alive!! Clever point Thomas.

  7. David Spence

    ‘ UK Government ignores the people they are supposed to be SERVING! ‘

    It does not surprise me at all Gary, that this vile Tory Government is ignoring the people of this country. Their agenda is, and they are hell-bent on it, on the complete and utter destruction of ALL state run services and transferred to the private sector.

    No doubt, like the private water and rail companies, there will be quite a few vile Tories who will prosper as a result of the privatization (board member’s, share-holder’s etc) and it is them who will gain rather than the people of this country. Instead of gaining a better service, once the vultures of the private sector completely devour what is left of Local Authority (due to years of cutting their budgets) Services and what they did for the community, we shall look forward to massive increases in charges for a very much more sub-standard service.

    As for this farce of a story we are being spoon fed by this vile Tory Government about having to cut Local Authority Services because the previous Government borrowed too much…….What utter rubbish……..It is the perfect excuse being used to a) Slash the budgets of Local Authorities to undermine their ability to do their job and b) Preparation for the privatization of those services once done by the Local Authorities, and no doubt spend billions of pounds (of the money we were lied to by this vile Government that we did not have) giving the new owners (private companies) a helping hand to establish themselves properly in taking over.

    Is it not disturbingly amusing that this vile Tory Government spoon feeds us the tripe of having to cut Local Authority Services (hence the drastic cuts to our services here on the islands as well as elsewhere) but has more than enough money to give to the banks (and we are talking billions) and finance projects costing the Tax Payer billions that we do not need (Aircraft Carriers, Trident Missiles, Putting in the pockets of the private sector etc etc)?

  8. Douglas Young

    Just for the record, nearly double the people turned up for the Yes meeting compared to No.
    The Yes Scotland page on Facebook has over 10, 000 more followers, and the combined total of Scottish, Tory and Labour followers on Twitter can’t come close to Wings over Scotland.
    But numbers mean nothing without positive debate, which is lacking from the No campaign thus far.
    And are you aware of any government in history, who after six years in government lead the polls by such a huge margin, that they overshadow the total of all 3 unionist parties?

  9. Gordon Harmer

    “But numbers mean nothing without positive debate, which is lacking from the No campaign thus far”.

    So lets debate Douglas, you can start by positively answering all the unanswered questions on here and the Shetland News website I have asked you over the past weeks.

    Then you can explain to us how much tax we will pay, how much pension we will receive, etc, etc, etc, in an independent Scotland.

    Where will the cash come from to set up all the government bodies and departments in the transition / negotiation period leading to independence.

    We need to know these things before we vote, this is the sixth time you have said lets have a positive debate, I am inviting you to come on and join in.

    I am away for three weeks so that should give you time to dream up some answers. I look forward to hearing what you have to say (some hope).

    Oh and well said Ian Tinkler.

  10. Gordon Harmer

    Oh and Douglas the reason there are 10,000 more likes on the Yes campaigns page than on the No campaigns page is that all the No campaigners have liked your page to see what crazy claims you guys are making.

  11. Brian Spence

    I am not a supporter of the Scottish National Party, but firmly believe that as a country we deserve the right to elect a government which reflects the will of the people and – crucially – is in keeping with the social values held dear by the vast majority of Scots. We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tackle social inequalities, protect our public services, avoid participating in illegal wars and to determine our own fate.

    I hope that people can seperate the independence debate from SNP policies – this referendum is about obtaining the right to decide our own future, and not have it dictated by toffs at Westminster who quite frankly couldn’t care less about Scotland, let alone Shetland.

    Over the next fourteen months I hope that undecided voters look into the great things an aspirational, independent Scotland can achieve, and that they vote with hope and optimism as opposed to conformity and fear.

  12. John Tulloch

    Is it true that Celia Fitzgerald who spoke at the Above meeting purporting to be representing “Labour for Independence” is actually a long term SNP activist who recently joined the Labour Party with a view to destabilising it ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, in the best “Trojan horse” tradition?

    Or is the Herald report inaccurate?

  13. Steve Laughton

    I will be voting for Scottish independence. Orkney and Shetland have been de jure part of Scotland since 1469 (over 540 years) and de facto within Scotland rather than Norway for much longer than that as the Sinclair Earls were loyal to the Scottish rather than Norwegian King.
    Most of the people in Orkney and Shetland transplanted in there by the Stewarts came from the Lowlands of Scotland hence the prevalence of Scots Lowland (and Highland) names in many parts of Orkney hence the disapearance of the Norn dialect and appearance of Lallans instead.
    The Highlands and islands of Scotland were made up of a mixed people as the Vikings held territories all over the North including the Western Isles. The Fionn Galls (Norwegians) mixed with the Gaels (Scots) to create the Gall Gaels. Folk of the Northern Isles are Gall Gaels primarily and there is no sense in this idea that we are somehow completely different from the other islands in Scotland. In the Highlands and Islands, although Gaelic is an influence, most place names are mainly Scandinavian in origin, The only difference between us is that the languages spoken in Orkney and Shetland were originally Pictish then Norwegian and finally Scots Lallans for a time without a Gaelic period between.
    The unionists are conducting a campaign of propaganda against the SNP in Scotland to prevent Scotland from having autonomy – which Orkney and Shetland are part of. If Scotland was such a drain on the UK, Westminster would be desperate to ditch Scotland but the truth is, they are doing all they can to prevent it. Scotland is an oil rich country with huge other natural resources which we can all benefit from – but not if we have to keep subsidising the remainder of the UK. Scotland is almost as big as England alone with only a 10th of the population (just over 5 million people) and has a great deal to share with all within its borders – never mind that it supplies 40 million people in the UK with petrol and oil, there is water (Loch Ness alone contains 1% of the worlds fresh water, natural electricity in excess of its domestic need, fishing waters, a thriving Whisky industry and various other things – Orkney needs Scotland but it gains nothing from being part of a foreign power in London having more in common with America than the countries of Europe.
    I for one do not believe any of the scare stories about Scottish independence and I will certainly not be turning my back on the country we belong to in favour of what rightly is a foreign state nearly 800 miles away from Lerwick. Shetland is a fantastic place and we should be proud of it as a region of Scotland but we should not be allowing ourselves to be used as a pawn against our fellow Scots and our fellow islanders in the West. Let’s face it, this isn’t all about what each individual can get extra for ourselves, its about self belief and a chance for a better future. America didn’t fight Britain for its independence because it thought it might get better subsidies from France – it believed it could do better and stand on its own two feet without a foreign power in control of its people’s destinies.
    See ye at the referendum. It’ll be here in a blink!

  14. John Tulloch


    Your long letter of justification of your position is wasted due to what I consider to be the gaffe in your opening paragraph.

    You state categorically that Scotland has had “de jure” sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland sice 1469.

    Unless you have access to some history I am unaware of the isles were mortgaged by the Danish king, in perpetuity. This gave Scottish kings the right to collect taxes and run the territory – but only by rule of Norwegian law with the language also protected; and the Danes retained the right to redeem the pledge, in perpetuity.

    A copy of the document is available from a variety of sources, have you read it?

    If the Scots were not allowed to change the law they could not have had “de jure” soverignty and indeed they acknowledged that by not imposing Scottish Law for 140 years, following the Union of the Crowns.

    To gain legitimate “de jure” sovereignty would require a treaty and/or a ruling by an international tribunal, I would have thought?

  15. Douglas Young

    Well written Steve Laughton, and I will join you in a positive future for Shetland within an Independent Shetland and far from being a “justification” is a concise, personal opinion of a positive future.

  16. Douglas Young

    Possibly “within an Independent Scotland” , too many “Shetlands” there, although I don’t think you could ever have that!

  17. John Tulloch

    No, Douglas, as far as I am aware, there is only one Orkney and Shetland, nowhere else in a Scottish context is the subject of a redeemable pawning document.

    The Danes have never renounced their “right to redeem” which was specifically written into the pawning (“impignoration”) document.

    Of course, in this day and age, redemption could not possibly occur, even via an international tribunal, without islanders’ support owing to the importance now placed on “peoples’ right to self-determination”, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter, Article 1.

  18. David Spence

    I am rather intrigued that when you mention the United Kingdom, people tend to forget that Scotland, Wales and what was part of Ireland are countries in their own right.

    If I asked the Simple Question : Is Scotland a country ?

    I would expect most people was say ‘ YES ‘ but some may say ‘ NO ‘ (the vile Tories and Unionists) it is not a country, it is part of the United Kingdom.

    My question would then be : What lands make up the United Kingdom ?

    Some may say Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    What is Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

    Oh (the vicious circle scenario….they are part of the United Kingdom)…….but most people with a brain between there ears would moreorless say they are countries?

    If Scotland and Wales are recognized as countries, what gives one countries (England) Right to rule over them?

    We rejoiced when the breakup of Russia (perestroika) happened and many, what was then, States of the U.S.S.R becoming independent and self governing countries in their own right.

    If it is good enough for the massive country of Russia, it is good enough for the United Kingdom.

  19. Ali Inkster

    Yet another enlightening piece from comrade Spence, he really rejoiced at the break up of the USSR. I seem to mind that he wisna happy at all that the great socialist experiment ended in disaster.
    After all there were no vile greedy capitalists to exploit the workers of the USSR, and they all lived in perfect social harmony. They were the first to introduce bus lanes so that the common man could watch his fraternal socialist brothers in the politburo whiz through the traffic on the way to their dachas at the weekend. They kept those vile greedy capitalists in check all right. Everyone had a job whether they were able or not. Where you got promoted on your ability to spout party dogma rather than your ability to do the job. Where free thinking was rewarded with holidays in Siberia. (which proved rather popular going by the numbers that were sent there) So why rejoice at its demise since that seems to be what you want for Shetland, going by your letters to this paper

  20. David Spence

    Ali, once again, you add drivel to your argument to justify the drivel you spout without any evidence to backup the drivel you spout.

    Please provide evidence that I said

    ‘ Shetland, specifically, would be better under a socialist based political system. ‘

    As far as I am aware, I have not said anything of the kind. I have not even said ‘ Scotland would be better under a socialist based political system ‘ either…..although as far as I am led to believe, if Scotland was to become independent from the UK, a PR (Proportional Representation) system would be the political system adopted by the New Parliament.

    So Ali, in your vast knowledge (preferably if it doesn’t involve making money or profits) of the political arena, please enlighten myself with what political system you would prefer for Shetland or this of Scotland if Independence was the prevailing choice of the people of Scotland?

    Mind you Ali, you may move to England or America since you seem to worship (support making profits at all costs (including all aspects of any atrocities which may be committed in the great cause of making profits) …….geee, I am misinterpreting what you may be saying…….how wrong of me to do so lol) Capitalism so much and supports any system where profits are paramount regardless of any evil acts which may be committed in the process.

  21. Steven Laughton

    For those who would embroil themselves on pointless debate over the exact clauses of impignoration of over 500 years ago, (eg John Tulloch) jist keep remindin’ yersels that it disna metter” – Scottish sovereignty and law has applied all over the Kingdom of Scots in the whole of that period. Even then, from the Siclair Earls onward, their allegiance was allways to the Scots Crown in keeping with their Lowland Scots ethnicity. There is no precedent at all for allowing any outside powers (foreign or domestic) to exploit Scottish aspirations for the reinstatement of government autonomy – merely as it existed before it was taken away from the ordinary Scottish people (Highland, Lowland, Gaeltachd or Northern Isles) through no choice of their own in 1707. Scotland can remain in the UK but be independent like any other Commonwealth country keeping the status quo of a Royal head of state but at the end of the day – these are all things which can be fine tuned AFTER independence. The SNP themselves have said they are only be in the driving seat until the first free Scottish elections after independence.

  22. John Tulloch

    @steve laughton, thanks for your reply.

    It only “metters” insofar as the rule of law “metters”.

    I understand you are suggesting that, because the pawnings (impignorations) took place over 500 years ago, they have no legal force today? If so, I would take issue with that view.

    1. Magna Carta was signed by King John at Runnymede in 1215AD, 800 years ago. It established that even kings must obey the law and confirmed a variety of rights, including “habeas corpus” (the right not to be illegally imprisoned) which was already established and upheld in Magna Carta as “the law of the land”.

    2. The land and title rights of ancient noble families, churches, etc., from long before 1469 are, likewise, upheld by the continuing “rule of law”.

    So the impignorations having taken place over 500 years ago doesn’t necessarily rule them out for consideration in law.

    You need more than that.

  23. Ali Inkster

    So Steve it is wrong to take the freedom as you say of the Scots against their will. But perfectly ok to take the freedom of the people of Orkney and Shetland against their will.
    I for one am glad to know this is the rational of the yes to Scottish independence fraternity.
    But correct me if I am wrong but was it not the Scottish parliament that went cap inland to Westminster to bail them out after they bankrupted the country in a certain overseas colonial venture.

  24. John Tulloch

    @steve laughton, in response to your claims about Scottish law and Scottishness in the Northern Isles prior to 1468-9:


    “………. in the year of grace 1266,……..this composition and final agreement was entered into ………. concerning the ……. Islands of Mann and the Sodors, and set at rest by …..the Princes, lord Magnus the IV.,….King of Norway, …… and Lord Alexander III…..King of Scotland,…… that ….Lord Magnus, the King of Norway…… for Mann, with the other islands of the Sodors and all the ether islands of the south and west part of the great Haffue, ……Magnus the King of Norway, …….amicably and socially, conceding, resigning, and quitting claim for himself and his heirs,…… to be held and possessed by the said lord Alexander III. the King of the Scotch, and his heirs, with the lord-ships,…, etc.,…. and all rights belonging to the said islands, …………but excepting the Islands of Orcadia [Orkneys] and Hethland, which the said King of Norway, …….has… specially reserved to his own dominion,……..etc..”

    i.e. Norway RETAINED “de jure” sovereignty over the Northern Isles in the treaty which was signed on to by Scotland “on the day of Venus, next after the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul”, 1266!

    Scottish overlords isn’t the same thing as Scottish law. Norwegian language and law survived until about 1610 when it was abolished by application of “de facto” (physical power) sovereignty.


  25. Steve Laughton

    Ach Mr Tulloch,
    Ye’r pittin an affa lot o’ effort intae convincin’ us that we should vote against the best interests oh oor ain country…. oh’ coorse, ye dae ken that wi a name like Tulloch ye’ve a vested interest in ancestors fae mainland Scotland…. probably either Rosshire or Aberdeen.
    Good for you, if proving a point of medieval law which is no longer relevent is more important than national patriotism then so be it.
    ps. The Magna Carta has nothing to do with Scotland – including Shetland which by rights was Pictish and stolen from the Picts, thus belonging to this landmass rather than the Norwegian landmass. As a descendant of mixed Pictish, Norwegian and Highland blood, I am in no doubt about which country I belong to – and it isn’t Norway or Denmark – which is no longer a German region simply because my Scottish ancestors with their allies fought to liberate them just over 60 years ago.
    I’ve said my piece, folk like you will never change your mind, even when reality stares ye in the face…. if you and your like did opt to stay in an English federation, then you can look forward to Tory governments ad perpetuam rei memoriam…. and any benefit from natural resources from the North Sea will continue to be spent on Trident and adventures abroad in other people’s countries…. strange how the Falklands Conflict in 1982 lasted only 6 weeks but nearly bankrupted Britain and yet… petrol tax has risen and risen and risen and we have been at war in the Kosovo and the Middle East for 22 years. Still, if yiu want to be a pawn in the bigger game of ” Britain winning hearts and minds” on ye go!
    A’ the Best fae me

  26. John Tulloch

    @steve laughton,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Like every “Yes” campaigner who has taken me on to date you assume – wrongly – that I am opposed to Scotland gaining the degree of independence it wants. I am not. Scottish voters will have their say and their will should be heeded by politicians.

    As a Shetlander I want fair play for the isles and recognition of their distinct history and culture. If Scotland can have more autonomy so should the isles be able to have greater autonomy. If that is available, while I’d have some reservations about their trustworthiness, I would be willing to stick with Edinburgh.

    If my history and geography serve me right the Scots came from Ireland and ousted the Picts at around the same time as the Vikings arrived in the isles and Norway is nearer to Shetland than Ireland. Extending your argument about the “same land mass” the British Isles, including Scotland, might be considered a province of France?

    The sovereignty issue could be readily resolved by applying the “right to self-determination of peoples” set out in Article 1 of the United Nations Charter however both Edinburgh and London seem reluctant to give any ground, hoping instead that it will all be forgotten about “in the fullness of time” – it won’t, the cat is out of the bag!

    Shetlanders have been shafted by both Scots and English for over five centuries and it’s still ongoing – witness the £80-odd million a year surplus going to the Treasury and the current stooshie about the £40m oil boom housing debt.

    So if Yes Shetland/Scotland are so into fair play and democracy how about some support for the isles’ bid for greater autonomy – well, how about it?

  27. Steve Laughton

    John, By your own testimony you reveal that playing with words is more important to you than revealing the reality of truth.

    Shetland is an integral part of the Nation of Scotland – to state otherwise is complete nonsense. The islands already enjoy high levels of autonomy and more can be provided I am sure in terms of local authorities within Scotland.

    Shetland is no more an independent country than Cornwall is in England and it is misleading to suggest that the modern Scottish Government in an SNP administration is “shafting” Shetland or Orkney. The SNP have done a great deal to try and create better social and democratic conditions for the whole country and will continue to do so…. you cannot rely on Mr Cameron’s pseudo Thatcherites to do anything to support Shetland out of altruism for the islanders.
    As for the Scottish takeover of the Picts…. as you will know, there are conflicting theories including that the Picts were a subject people of the Irish Kings and that Dalriada / Argyle was simply a part of the Scottish tribal territory originally. The Picts and Scots did have conflict but against outside invaders such as the Romans, Saxons, Angles and Britons, they were invariably allies.
    I’m glad you are pro Scottish but you should be careful of what you speak as you are contributing to the propaganda war in favour of a British establishment hell bent on retaining and controlling the Northern Kingdom at all odds… regardless of the political will of the Scottish people.
    If you want us to prosper like Norway – then we need to work together and aim for that succesful model.

  28. John Tulloch

    @steve laughton, I have never described Shetland and/or Orkney as an “independent country”. There is however no reason why they shouldn’t become so if that is the wish of the people who live there; just as Iceland seceded from Denmark and indeed, the SNP wish Scotland to secede from the UK.

    You said Denmark and Norway would be part of Germany if it wasn’t for your (and my) ancestors fighting to repel their invaders and also, by physical power – “de facto” sovereignty (the kind Israel has in their occupied territories) – that Shetland “is an integral part of the Scottish Nation”.

    Scandinavian countries, of course, occupy the top positions in the table of democratic administrations, so Iceland, Faroe and Greenland have all been granted the degree of autonomy they each wished for. Notwithstanding that their peoples were previously “an integral part of the Danish Nation”.

    With respect, seizing power illegally (various annexations of the isles) and hanging until everyone forgets or gives up hope, is a medieval attitude to sovereignty and alas, it seems to be common parlance among the “Yes” fraternity.

    Is this typical of the “Yes” Campaign’s attitude to “the right to self-determination of peoples”?

  29. Ali Inkster

    John your wasting your time expecting any sense of fair play from a Scottish nationalist, self determination is the sole preserve of those living to the south of Pentland firth.
    Unless of course the folks in Sutherland decide they want no part of a foreign Gaelic culture then they too will be denied that right.

  30. Steve Laughton

    Mr’s Tulloch and Inkster,
    Your real intent to ignorantly do Scotland down is betrayed by the twisted words you use to justify an emotional argument about mispercieved difference from your fellow Scots not based in fact.
    You well know Gaelic is no more foreign to Sutherland than Norm was to the Northern Isles or indeed the Western Isles prior to Somerled Lord of the Isles and yet, it is Scots now predominantly spoken in both places anyway. The Western Highlands and Islands are every bit as “Nordic” Orkney and Shetland, only Gaelic was reinstated in the West and “Pictish” did not re-appear in either area…. IT IS A ROMANTIC ILLUSION TO BELIEVE DIFFERENTLY. The Northern Isles are part of Scotland, always have been apart from the period where they alternated under different factions of Vikings in control, sometimes a foreign king and sometimes a local Yarl…. in fact, if we want to get sticky about this – where did the Gallowglasses come from – not the Northern Isles, at least the West Highlands and Islands kept their Viking cultural traditions in arms, which is more than can be said of Orkney and Shetland. Where did the iconic Scottish / Highland symbols of longswords (Claymores) and round shields (Targes), shortbows (Bogha), Galley ships (Birlinns) etc etc etc come from – Norway.
    No-one is saying that the Northern or Western Isles cannot have more local autonomy but they are all integral to the sovereign territories of Scotland, though being used as pawns in a bigger Unionist game by Michael Moore the pretender to a political throne (currently held by His Majesty, David Cameron the Tory) but with no mandate to speak for Scotland.
    We as islanders cannot allow ourselves to be a disgrace to our descendants for all eternity for having been exploited and gullible in this way as pawns against our legitimate country…. much as the Cherokee are now in the political games used against the Native American peoples as a whole were.
    You can sit there and argue about it as much as you like, but you know you don’t make sense and you know too that most people know it…. modern autonomy for the Islands is a good thing, but don’t keep trying to harm your own country as no good can come of that in the end.
    I have nothing more to say on the matter. Do the right thing or not…. its up tae yersels!

  31. John Tulloch


    I know little about Sutherland so I’ll leave it to Ali to keep you right on that.

    I’m not surprised you have nothing left to say, one can only bluster for so long in the way you have been doing, throwing out wild allegations and pseudo-historical claims like an American machine gunner in a haunted house after midnight, without running out of ammunition fairly quickly.

    I prefer to work from evidence and have provided it above to refute several of your claims, notably, the ones about sovereignty over the isles i.e. in fact, Scotland/UK has NEVER had legal sovereignty.

    The late, eminent Scottish historian Gordon Donaldson once asked “If Britain does have sovereignty de jure an historian would like to know….from what point such sovereignty can be dated?”

    Like others before you, you have been unable to answer Donaldson’s straightforward question.

    As I am interested in the truth of this I will be pleased when you bring some hitherto unknown facts, supported by evidence, to the discussion.

    As the bard so beloved of your Great Leader once said, “Facts are chiels that winna ding”.

  32. Gordon Harmer

    Steve, having a Laugh at your comments, if Cameron has no mandate to speak for Scotland then Salmond and the SNP have no mandate to speak for Shetland.

    I note you speak the well rehearsed SNP rhetoric by offering us “more local autonomy”, what do you mean by local? Yeah we will have the power to name our streets and buildings but any greater decision making will be made in Holyrood, which in my book is Gaelic for Westminster.

    As Ali said, “Steve it is wrong to take the freedom as you say of the Scots against their will. But perfectly OK to take the freedom of the people of Orkney and Shetland against their will.” With what rhetorical gobbledygook do you justify this.

    We as islanders cannot allow ourselves to be a disgrace to our descendants for all eternity for having let the SNP turn these islands into another Greece.

    To find the true history of these island you would do well to follow John’s example of refined research, instead of reading and quoting Salmond’s re written version of Scottish history for primary schools.

  33. Ali Inkster

    Steve where have either myself or John put Scotland down. We have been rather critical of the Scottish nationalists two faced hypocrisy when it comes to Orkney and Shetland. And like your snp cronnies when faced with a differing point of view you prefer to tell us what we really mean after all we can’t know our own minds now can we. The rest of your nonsense I will refute when I get to a computer instead of typing on my mobile.

  34. Brian Smith

    What exactly is the ‘1469’ group trying to achieve? To preserve the status quo?

  35. John Tulloch


    In answer to your question, I am certainly not advocating the status quo, nor am I a member of any formal or informal “group”.

    I am aiming at spin and deceit from any quarter so that when the time to cast my vote arrives I can do so with the best possible knowledge and understanding of what is best for the future of Shetland.

    The points about 1469 are highly relevant because they undermine the case for both Scottish and UK sovereignty and therefore greatly strengthen the SIC’s and OIC’s argument for greater isles autonomy. Because the bare mention of these events induces panicky blustering denials and attempts to rewrite history and international law by “Yes” campaigners as clearly evidenced above and in previous discussions (e.g. the well-debunked “12-mile Economic Exclusion Zone” fib), I have been drawn to attack those positions.

    The constitutional conundrum can be readily resolved by reference to the United Nations Charter, Article 1, which emphasises “the right to self-determination of peoples”, a right, incidentally, spectacularly upheld in 1982 when a UK task force whose soldiers outnumbered Falkland Islanders by four to one retook the islands from Argentinian invaders at great cost and with great loss of life on both sides.

    In this day and age, no constitutional change, including redemption of the 1469 pawning, can legitimately proceed over the heads of the islanders. It follows that Edinburgh or London would be well advised to acknowledge, at least privately, the weakness of their legal position and take heed of and support the islanders wish for greater autonomy. Given fair treatment – which they haven’t enjoyed over the last five centuries – islanders are unlikely to vote for a return to Scandinavia.

    If the islands were autonomous within either UK or Scottish overarching sovereignty, analogous to the position of Faroe/Denmark, then the resources and strategic location would be safely tucked away, at least, until such time as local people decided otherwise. The counter force to that argument is greed, based on “de facto” (physical power) sovereignty only – hypocrisy, given the 1982 stand.

    The alternative to answering islanders democratic demands is “business as usual”, a scenario guaranteed to increase dissatisfaction which might, ultimately, result in islanders taking the issues of redemption and “right to self-determination” to an international tribunal.

    Taking that, perhaps, fanciful scenario to its logical conclusion one possible outcome could be a situation similar to the Aland Islands where Finland is the sovereign power yet there is local autonomy and the Swedish language and culture are protected in the Finnish constitution.

    From the isles’ point of view overarching Scandinavian sovereignty with Faroese-style autonomy and the Scottish/UK language and law protected would be hugely beneficial as they would become a fulcrum for Anglo/Scottish/Scandinavian relations and trade in the centre of a vast triangle stretching from Greenland to London to the Northern Baltic, a real “gate-way” to Scandinavia.

    Any scenario involving greater autonomy for the isles is likely, of course, to result in closer contact with Scandinavia and, as well as strengthening their case for obtaining “de jure” sovereignty, at least, some of the trade/relations benefits described above would inevitably accrue to Scotland/UK.

    The Scottish/UK governments would do well to “listen up”.

  36. Brian Smith

    ‘The points about 1469 are highly relevant because they undermine the case for both Scottish and UK sovereignty and therefore greatly strengthen the SIC’s and OIC’s argument for greater isles autonomy.’
    They don’t. They are irrelevant to any such debate.

  37. John Tulloch

    Why don’t they, Brian – by your fiat?

  38. Ali Inkster

    I can’t and won’t claim to speak for anyone else Brian but my aim is to shine a light on the crap spouted by yourself and the like of Steve as to the history and legal status of these Islands.

    Steve you claim that we were part of Scotland prior to the Vikings settling here, which Scotland would that be, for as far as I am aware (and my assumptions are backed up by historical fact) Scotland did not exist as a nation at that time.
    But there certainly was an independent kingdom of Shetland, Orkney and Sutherland (see the clue is in the name) that was quite separate from the various kingdoms in what is now called Scotland. Strathclyde was even part of the welsh kingdom at that time.
    We had various kings and were even part of king Cnuts Scandinavian empire while he also had the crowns of England, Denmark and Norway, but Scottish no.
    The west highlands and islands were part of Nordic kingdom as you say but the people there were more or less replaced by the Gaels and it is to this ancestry that they look to for there culture, not so with us.
    I will leave it to you and anyone else to research the history for themselves and they can make up their own minds as to the truth of it or not.

    You might ask why I am so against Shetland having any part of an independent Scotland.
    The answer is quite simple really a quick look at more recent history should be more than enough to convince any right thinking person the folly of trusting Edinburgh to look after the interests of the people here.
    Shetland was a prosperous place until the Scots took control we had trade with much of northern Europe that kept a larger population than today in work fed an clothed, till the green eyed monster from south decided to ban all trade with Europe and forced folk off their land and into serfdom.
    And I will be honest and tell you I don’t even trust Edinburgh to look out for the interests of the scots that live outside the central belt.
    The lairds cleared the land to make way for sheep and king Salmond will clear the land to make way for windmills.
    So not much change there then.

    Then we have the oil fund built up because Westminster allowed us to negotiate with the oil companies unfortunately we allowed a scot to do our bargaining for us, and he sold us down the river for a penny a tonne,(before going on to take a job with the same oil companies) a fraction of what we should have got so we were still being fed the crumbs from our own table.
    Then we allowed another scot to renegotiate with the oil companies and he threw even those meagre crumbs away.

    And then we get to the housing support grant paid by Westminster since the 70s to service a debt built up to house oil workers and taken by Edinburgh to serve their own ends. Even when we offer to pay down £10 million with Westminster matching that Salmond does not want to part with any money to provide housing for the new influx of workers coming to Shetland, (but he still wants to keep the £2.3 million a year paid by Westminster)
    So to conclude if Scotland votes for independence (and I doubt they will) why would Shetland and Orkney want or need to have anything to do with them, we (Shetland)have an £80 million surplus even without the oil revenues from our territory and Orkney could manage quite nicely as well without subsidising Salmonds dreams.

  39. Ali Inkster

    “‘The points about 1469 are highly relevant because they undermine the case for both Scottish and UK sovereignty and therefore greatly strengthen the SIC’s and OIC’s argument for greater isles autonomy.’
    They don’t. They are irrelevant to any such debate”

    Why is that Brian? please enlighten us

  40. Steve Laughton

    The Falklands were always British and were so before Argentina even existed as a country.
    The people there hated the Argentinians and suffered considerably under the Argentinian yoke in 1982.
    The Argentinians committed atrocities against their own people (soldiers) in the taking of the islands to try and prevent them from giving in, running away or refusing to fight…. your comparisons with Shetland and Orkney are irrelevent.

    The Falkland Islanders absolutely do not want a foreign (South American) power to come in with no precedent and impose third world values on them – oh and before you try and deny the events which happened in the South Atlantic 1982 and the islanders attitudes – I was there (in 1982).
    It is the rump UK which needs to worry about being like Greece when Scotland votes to go its own way. Scotland will be a prosperous nation like others in Scandinavia as like them, it is neither unresourced or over populated nor over spending in futile attempts to seem like a world power.
    Those who thing they are being clever arguing in favour of a Tory driven rump UK or anti Scots Nat stance (at this time) are indulging themselves in harmful rhetoric which can only harm Shetland or Orkney in the end that’s all.

  41. John Tulloch


    The Falkland Islands were NOT always British, go away and check, it’s all readily available in that great organ of truth, Wikipedia. You need look no further.

    The UK government despatched the Task Force on the heads that “the islanders right to self-determination is paramount”.

    Readers may judge the rest of your comment in that light.

    Oh, I thought you said you had no more to say?

  42. Brian Smith

    Cos no-one except conspiracy theorists think that such matters are ‘highly relevant’ with regard to contemporary politics.

  43. Ali Inkster

    Cos it dus yeah, come on Brian surely a man of your infinite wisdom and learning can come up with better than that.
    Just what are we paying you for if that is the sum of your knowledge on this matter.

  44. John Tulloch


    With respect, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I started from a point of being sceptical about such ideas and it was only after I became interested and began to look at historical evidence about the pawnings that I came to the opinion I currently hold i.e. such sovereignty over the isles as is held by Scotland/UK is restricted to power over the territory by physical presence (“de facto”) and when called for, force. The history of which I am aware indicates, I suggest, to any fair-minded person that Scotland/UK does not have legal (de jure) sovereignty.

    While the Scots certainly adopted every trick available to hang on to the isles I don’t see it particularly as aconspiracy, more the naked use of physical power by the then Scottish authorities to seize control of the isles and hang on to them by “hook or by crook” until everyone else forgot about them or lost interest and gave up. They gambled on the Danes having more pressing business to attend to on their doorstep than going to war over distant islands which, in any case, belonged to their Norwegian subjects; and hitherto, at least, they have got away with it.

    The main conspiracy theory I am aware in this connection is one advanced – speculatively, if I may say – by you, namely that the Danish king Christian I and James III cooked up the whole episode between themselves with a view to Scotland keeping the isles, permanently. If true it would be a particularly shameful episode.

    Too bad no evidence of that exists.

    As I said above, when someone brings new historical evidence which shows my present view to be wrong I shall be happy to resile from it and reshape my arguments in light of the new information.

  45. Gordon Harmer

    Contemporary politics, for ever, have been concerned with right or left instead of right and wrong.

    A conspiracy theorist is someone who hasn’t yet grown out of being an attention seeking psycho babbler. A very mediocre kind of troll, prone to one line attacks on anyone who disproves their regal word.

  46. Steve Laughton

    Och! Ah near forgot tae mention tae ma gallant antagonists….

    Praps the good folk oh Moray (havin’ been a kingdom in its ain right at one time lang, lang ago could get intae the fray an a’. Why should they be left oot?…. and wi them bein’ the nearest neighbours tae Orkney (and the Yarl’s Southern lands – Sutherlands), mebbe they’d hae a claim on the Northern Isles seabeds an a’ ?
    Mebbe the Lowland incomers tae the Northern Isles might want tae think about whether they are with or against Moray’s claim?

  47. Brian Smith

    You’re too hard on yourself, Gordon.

  48. John Tulloch

    Gentlemen (Brian and Steve),

    Your skyimp is wylcum bit ower muckle o’ hit dusna become you!

    As you are falling back on jibes, irony and name-calling, as opposed to the logical argument I was hoping for, I must assume you are fresh out of ideas.

    Let us know if you think of something worth listening and if worthwhile, replying to.

  49. Brian Smith

    If I could, John, I would be as nuanced and sophisticated as Gordon and Ali. But I just can’t get the hang of it.

  50. Robert Sim

    Maybe I can have a go at explaining why 1469 and all that is irrelevant to the current debate around Shetland post-independence? I say post-independence because I am taking it for granted that the only way in which those desiring greater powers/autonomy for Shetland will see their wishes realised is under an independent Scotland. There is absolutely no incentive for the UK government to change things after a “no” vote. And indeed I cannot see Westminster even understanding such a desire.

    The reason why the finer points of medieval law and history are irrelevant in this debate is because the argument for giving Shetland more devolved powers is dependent on the fact that islands have special circumstances which require a different approach from the mainland – eg in maintaining income from tourism; and that has got nothing whatsoever to do with questions regarding.whether Scotland does or does not have historical jurisdiction over Shetland. We need to focus (and the SIC is doing just that) on the economic side of things. The historical points are of interest; but they are just that – history; and the danger with being too bound up in the past is that you miss what is happening in the present.

    The point about the different nature of island authorities of course applies equally to Orkney and the Western Isles, which is why all three authorities are working together.

    As I say, looking backwards means you fail to see what is in front of you. At present, that is the referendum next year.

  51. Steve Laughton

    From that great repository of knowledge Wiki. One need look no further….

    ……………Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin (c. 1345 – c. 1400) was a Scottish and a Norwegian nobleman. Sinclair held the title Earl of Orkney under the King of Norway (see Earl of Orkney: Scottish Earls under the Norwegian Crown). He is sometimes identified by another spelling of his surname, St. Clair. He was the grandfather of William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness, the builder of Rosslyn Chapel………….. Henry Sinclair was the son and heir of William Sinclair, Lord of Roslin, and his wife Isabella (Isobel) of Strathearn.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Henry Sinclair’s maternal grandfather had been deprived of much of his lands (the earldom of Strathearn being completely lost to the King of Scots)………… It is not known when Henry Sinclair died. The Sinclair Diploma, written or at least commissioned by his grandson states: “…he retirit to the parts of Orchadie and josit them to the latter tyme of his life, and deit Erile of Orchadie, and for the defence of the country was slain there cruellie by his enemiis…” We also know that sometime in 1401: “The English invaded, burnt and spoiled certain islands of Orkney.” This was part of an English retaliation for a Scottish attack on an English fleet near Aberdeen. The assumption is that Henry either died opposing this invasion, or was already dead.[6],,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    You’ll notice that the ties to Scotland before Impignoration were very clear. Now this really is the end of my contribution and sorry Sorry my statements arna skyimpin, A’m affa serious as these metters are far too important tae be played wi!.

  52. Steve Laughton

    Sorry…. just a bit about the origins of Shetland from that great organ Wiki from which one need look no further……………

    In early Irish literature, Shetland is referred to as Inse Catt—”the Isles of Cats”, which may have been the pre-Norse inhabitants’ name for the islands. The Cat tribe also occupied parts of the northern Scottish mainland and their name can be found in Caithness, and in the Gaelic name for Sutherland (Cataibh, meaning “among the Cats”).[7][Note 2]
    The oldest version of the modern name Shetland is Hetlandensis, the Latinised genitive form of the Old Norse name recorded in a letter from Harald count of Shetland in 1190,[9] becoming Hetland in 1431 after various intermediate transformations. It is possible that the Pictish “cat” sound forms part of this Norse name. It then became Hjaltland in the 16th century.[10][11][Note 3]
    As Norn was gradually replaced by Scots, Hjaltland became Ȝetland. The initial letter is the Middle Scots letter, “yogh”, the pronunciation of which is almost identical to the original Norn sound, “/hj/”. When the use of the letter yogh was discontinued, it was often replaced by the similar-looking letter z, hence Zetland, the misspelt form used to describe the pre-1975 county council.[13][14]
    Most of the individual islands have Norse names, although the derivations of some are obscure and may represent pre-Norse, possibly Pictish or even pre-Celtic names or elements.[15]

  53. John Tulloch

    Welcome, Robert, thanks for your contribution, some interesting points there. Perhaps, you will consider this:

    If your family had rented a house for several generations from a landowner who insisted that his contract gardeners must harvest and remove your vegetables, leaving only enough for your own family’s consumption and selling on the vastly greater proportion left over and you found an ancient document in your loft which clearly showed that the landowner didn’t own the property but had acquired it as security on a perpetually-redeemable mortgage on money loaned to a relative of your ancestors several hundred years ago, what would you do?

    I expect you’d do the same as I would, approach the landlord with a copy of the document and explain that you were discontent with the present arrangements.

    I expect he, in turn, might scoff at the ancient deed and proclaim it to be irrelevant in this day and age. What would you do then?

    I expect you might look into the legal aspects involved with a view to regaining autonomy over the property your family have always inhabited.

    The SIC and OIC, as I see it, are trying to gain autonomy over their very large “vegetable patch” and while they are unwilling to stir up conflict over the ancient deeds, at least, for now, a junior relative who lives away from home, troubled by the injustice, will not shy from holding up a copy of it for public scrutiny while asking for counter-evidence to be produced.

    This is why I consider the events of 1469 are “highly relevant” to any discussion about autonomy.

  54. John Tulloch

    Steve, thanks for confirming the strength of the Norwegian hold over the isles. Quoting your own comment (incidentally, my own great-grandfather was Henry Sinclair of Sooth Punds, Levenwick):

    “Sinclair held the title Earl of Orkney under the King of Norway (see Earl of Orkney: Scottish Earls under the Norwegian Crown”.

    A wise act by the Norwegians which I expect helped to keep the peace in the North.

    Do you still say there was nothing unusual about the isles history?

    “I rest my case”.

  55. Ali Inkster

    Steve your argument against Orkney and Shetland being free of Scotland hinges on your belief that they are legaly part of Scotland, surely that same argument could be used as in Scotland is legaly part of the UK and is therfor an integral part of the sovereign territory of the UK.
    This being the case your independence claim is NOTHING OTHER THAN A ROMANTIC NOTION.
    Whats good for the goose eh

  56. Stephen Gordon

    Rest your case! please do Johnnie and pals perhaps put it up back on top of the wardrobe ,I fear for us all if you’re going to go on like this constantly till September 2014.

    Stephen Gordon

  57. Steve Laughton

    You’r like the character played by Jim Carey in “Dumb and Dumber”. When told by the leading lady that there was only a one in a million chance she would go out with him, his answer was…. “Wow! so there is one chance, that’s fantastic”….

    It is I who rests a case.
    Bye Bye

  58. John Tulloch

    Aahh, Smirk, me owld pal!

    I’m flattered you think my silly old “romantic” ramblings are cause for so influential a Shetland journalist and satirist to “fear for us all”.

    Indulge me a little more with the reasons for this psychotic “fear” induced by my assault on your Scottish sensitivities.

  59. John Tulloch


    Thanks for the lively foray.

    As SG has brought me back in I can’t resist this little closer, once again, from our old friend the “repository of knowledge WikiP”:

    “The Scoto-Norman surname Sinclair comes from the Clan Sinclair whose progenitors conquered England with William the Conqueror then moved to Scotland and were given the land of Roslin, Midlothian by the King of Scots.”

    Very Scottish, indeed – NOT!

  60. Steve Laughton

    You haven’t a clue what you are saying half the time and your determination to batter the keyboard in fits of pique doesn’t make your arguments any stronger – only angry and half baked.
    Your earlier historical lecture was full of innaccuracies -and an indication of your actual political leanings which seem to be allied south of the Scottish Border (oh dear that’s rather awkward)
    There was no Viking Kingdom in Scottish territories – only an Earldom centred in Man and Orkney. The Norwegian Earls (who only existed in the Northern Isles until 1236 – over 760 years ago when superceded by Scottish Earls) were at war with the Norwegian Crown as much as the Scots, Irish and English (though lets not forget that the GallDubh or Dark Strangers / Danes were the Vikings in England while the Fionn Gall or Fair Strangers / Norwegians were the Vikings in Scotland -different races and nationalities.
    King Haakon was defeated at Largs in 1263 but that was unique really as in the main, the Viking Earldom in Scotland was usually defiant of the Norwegian crown as I said and for example…
    …………….The two main sources for Sigurd’s life are the Norse Heimskringla and Orkneyinga sagas. According to the sagas, after the Battle of Hafrsfjord unified the Norwegian kingdom in or after 872, the Orkney and Shetland islands became a refuge for exiled Vikings, who raided their former homeland. The king of Norway, Harald Finehair, subdued the pirate Vikings with the aid of Rognvald Eysteinsson of Møre……………… WIKI (JT’s favourite source and I quote you Ali in his “refined research”).

    You spoke about the Clearances in the North which were a continuation of the genocide and a direct result of the laws enacted by Britain eg……..
    ……..The Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act 1746 (20 Geo. II c. 43) was an Act of the British Parliament passed in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745. It abolished the traditional rights of jurisdiction afforded to a Scottish clan chief.[1] The Act implicitly repealed article XX of the Union with England Act, 1707, which had promised that all inheritable positions in Scotland would continue without change.[2]
    ………………………….. The powers previously possessed by Scottish lords were transferred to sheriffs appointed by the King and the hereditary justiciarship of Scotland, held by the family of Argyll, was to be purchased and transferred to the High Court and Circuit-courts of Justiciary. Parliament granted £152,000 for the purchase of heritable jurisdictions.[4] The Prime Minister Henry Pelham considered this the most important measure in dealing with Jacobitism in Scotland.[5]
    Lord Hardwicke argued in favour of the Act by asserting that if the powers were restored to the crown it would enable it to secure the allegiance of the people: “The people will follow those, who have the power to protect or hurt them”. ………………………………….. Britain, however, was not in that position. …………………………….King George II, in a speech written by Hardwicke, praised the Act as measures for “better securing the liberties of the people there”.[9]
    ……………………………………. Most of its provisions have since been repealed, but it still specifies that any noble title created in Scotland after 6 June 1747 may grant no rights beyond those of landlordship (collecting rents).[12]

    These laws and others alongside the crippling conditions of tax applied to Landlords meant that the conditions for clearance were forced on the people of the North…. Lets not forget too that while the Northern Isles escaped the worst ravages of the clearances – there were pressures exerted in the islands too and many left for the Colonies for a better life one way or another – after the Union of the Crowns in 1707.
    You talk about double dealing Scots selling the Isles down the river – well that highlights my point – mealy mouthed Scots with one foot in Whitehall seem to have a vested interest in doing their own country down. That is verything to do with Unionist outlooks than any patriotic Scot would do.

    Your closing statements do nothing other than prove your lack of understanding of your own country’s history.
    Scotland as an identifiable nation existed from circa 843 ad until the Union of the Parliaments in 1707 – 860 years. The English used their foreign influences and crushed the Darien Scheme so that yes Scotland as a whole suffered (including the Northern Isles). This along with greed in many of the Nobility and Merchant classes meant that the ordinary people had the Union forced on them without mandate (and there were riots across Scotland) – this returning of Scotland to political independence under a united crown, is only a return to our original status as an independent country. The Northern Isles have no precedent to claim the same sovereign status. To act against Scottish interests in that way is to act against our sovereign nation…. who would defend SIC or OIC territorial waters against aggression (which already comes from Russia, or possibly terrorism – indeed what about Icelandic claims on fish – or dare I say it – English claims of annexation such as David Cameron hinted at recently?
    Would it be the Shetlanders in their traditional role as Gordon Highlanders? – oh no, sorry, it couldnt be as Whitehall has shut down the Gordon Highlanders as a Scottish military asset and disassociated them from Shetland…. as they did with the Seaforths and Lovat Scouts in Orkney.
    If you are going to have something to say about this – do try and research your assertions properly because to those of us who have a lifelong tradition of support for Scottish interests have already done so.
    There is nothing wrong with being pro Northern Isles but for goodness sake, we can do so from a rational point of view based on truth – not what we want it to be. The Northern Isles will never be a Scandinavian Utopia full of fermented fish, Viking ardour and speaking the Norwegian tongue just so we can say we are as culturally identifiable as the Gaels…. even the Norwegians themselves are not that militant.
    Bye Bye to you too.

  61. Gordon Harmer

    Steve Laughton this is about the fifth time you have put your case to rest, it strikes me it is so full of bruck you just can’t shut it.

  62. John Tulloch

    Steve, Steve,

    You’re starting to remind me of the peerie drunk guy outside a Glasgow pub on a Saturday night, shouting abuse at the bouncers who put him out because he’s annoying the other customers by boring them to tears, crying his heart out into his pint.

  63. Steve Laughton

    Sorry Gordon Harmer,
    I do take your point. Thank you for drawing it to my attention.
    Unfortunately, Unionists like to go out of their way to sling innacurate nonsense around (sometimes even dare I say it – porky pies) and when it remains unchallenged, people can be left with the impression that it is because they are right and that the Yes campaigners don’t actually know the facts. Therefore, every time someone does that I feel obliged to answer and undo the mud they are throwing around in an effort to make it look like they know what they are talking about – or just insult those who do – much like you are doing now and for instance John Tulloch who is once again letting his desire to senselessly batter keyboards with innaccuracies again…. The Normans who were asked by the Scots Crown to settle in Scotland became naturalised Scots – just as did the Norse in the North and West and Angles in the South East. The Norman families who went on to form Clans etc – are naturalised Scots (despite Johns attempts to bend the truth)

    … I aplogise if the truth is getting to you. Do watch the blood pressure, it does nobody any good to get worked up.
    Bye Bye, have a nice referendum!

  64. John Tulloch


    Re the blood pressure, I’d say,

    “Physician, heal thyself!”

  65. Brian Smith

    May I change the direction of this thread from attempts to relate ‘1469’ to contemporary events, towards some thoughts about their historical significance? I am not the first person to suggest that there was collusion between the Scots and Danes about the mortgage of Orkney (and eventually Shetland). In 1968 the Danish archivist Thelma Jexlev, an expert on the transaction, suggested that Christian I ‘had no intention to redeem the islands’, and that the Danes’ copy of the 1468 treaty ‘was probably put down according to the draft the Scots had brought’ to Copenhagen. (That draft, interestingly, was written by the scholar John Stobo, whose wee signature is in the bottom right-hand corner of the document.) In my view the best proof of collusion is the fact that the bishop of Orkney, once the servant of King Christian, featured in 1468 as part of the Scots delegation, no doubt because of his linguistic knowledge. The idea expressed by some historians that the bishop was on the Scots side under duress is disproved by the fact that after the transaction Christian asked King James of Scotland to employ the bishop as his daughter’s tutor, no doubt as a reward for his assistance. The events of 1468 were an exceptionally cosy piece of diplomacy.

  66. Gordon Harmer

    Steve, the thing is you feel obliged to answer but continually get it wrong and even after saying umpteen bye byes you have to come back and get it wrong again, and again, and again. This creates much fun from the right end, bye bye.

  67. Laurence Paton

    Surely it’s not independance if we are still ruled from Brussels?.
    For the political class it’s the biggest trough of swill around and the SNP have made it clear they will be keeping their snouts in it
    So when we cease being part of the united kingdom will anything actually change?
    Will we not just be a smaller province in Europe, still dumping half the fish we catch and watching our fishing fleet slowly wither away.
    I am fairly sure the majority of people in Shetland would’t give a hoot’s mon! (or anything else…) if Scotland becomes independent or not. Unless of course it interferes with things like the viewing time of coronation street etc.
    Achieving autonomy similar to Faroe or the Isle of Mann could be a great due to the vast wealth in the seas around us.
    The big fly in that particular ointment though is the worrying track record of our council management and political representatives.

  68. John Tulloch


    Thanks for this, some of which is new to me.

    I’m sorry if I gave the impression I thought the collusion theory was your own, I was aware that others have subscribed to it – and opposed it – previously, so it would have been more accurate if I had said you “supported” rather than “advanced” it.

    Setting aside that the evidence you offer here is circumstantial, the outcome of the alleged collusion was a legal document whose content protected the rights of the Danes and hence, ostensibly, the local people by stipulating a “right of redemption” in perpetuity. That would appear to make the alleged collusion irrelevant from a legal perspective.

    Furthermore, when the next Danish king, Hans, received intelligence that James III was planning “ethnic cleansing” of the isles by removing Norwegians and replacing them with Scots, en route to changing the law and the language, he and his Danish council were moved to anger.

    I know you know all this however our interpretation of it differs slightly so it’s worth fleshing it out a bit. A copy of James III’s reply to Hans’s letter exists in which James is clearly alarmed, indeed, reading between the lines of James’s reply, it appears the Danes were offering to go to war:

    (Electronic copy courtesy of “Forvik.com”)

    “Letter from James III to John (Hans – JT) King of Denmark and Norway and elect of Sweden EC 1486 (Edinburgh University Library, Laing MSS, La. III – 322, pp 16-17)”.

    “Last summer Rothesay Herald brought Hans’s letters to James, from which he understood that Hans was moved [to learn] that subjects of the isles of Orkney and Shetland were to be taken from their birthplace and James’s subjects brought over to inhabit those islands and be governed by Scots language and laws, which had caused no little indignation among Hans’s councillors. In truth he has removed no inhabitant of those islands from his native place nor has he changed the language or laws of Norway. Pacts still in force were concluded and sealed between Hans’s father and James, He will have these looked at and will take care that their terms are observed on his part, thinking that Hans will not go against his father’s contracts and agreements,………. . Therefore James hopes that firm friendship and goodwill may continue between them and that the cause of this conflict and controversy should be suspended and not taken further by armed force until next summer, when a fleet will bring his embassy furnished with the fullest powers,………etc.,” (NB “John” changed to Danish “Hans” for continuity – JT).

    Whatever happened in 1468 it appears that King Hans was certainly not in collusion with the Scots and James III acknowledges the terms of the pawning document, in particular, that he does not have the right to change the language and/or laws i.e. James III acknowledges he doesn’t even have “de facto” sovereignty, he is entitled to only limited control over the territory under the agreement.

    That appears to confirm the collusion theory, true or false, intriguing as it is, to be irrelevant to any discussion of the legality of Scottish/UK sovereignty.

  69. Steve Laughton

    A conspiracy theorist is someone who hasn’t yet grown out of being an attention seeking psycho babbler. A very mediocre kind of troll, prone to one line attacks on anyone who disproves their regal word.
    – Gordon Harmer
    August 20, 2013

    Oh and Douglas the reason there are 10,000 more likes on the Yes campaigns page than on the No campaigns page is that all the No campaigners have liked your page to see what crazy claims you guys are making.

    – Gordon Harmer
    July 30, 2013

    Steve Laughton this is about the fifth time you have put your case to rest, it strikes me it is so full of bruck you just can’t shut it.

    – Gordon Harmer
    August 21, 2013

    Steve, the thing is you feel obliged to answer but continually get it wrong and even after saying umpteen bye byes you have to come back and get it wrong again, and again, and again. This creates much fun from the right end, bye bye.

    – Gordon Harmer
    August 21, 2013

    Steve, Steve,

    You’re starting to remind me of the peerie drunk guy outside a Glasgow pub on a Saturday night, shouting abuse at the bouncers who put him out because he’s annoying the other customers by boring them to tears, crying his heart out into his pint.

    – John Tulloch
    August 21, 2013


    Re the blood pressure, I’d say,

    “Physician, heal thyself!”

    – John Tulloch
    August 21, 2013

    Indulge me a little more with the reasons for this psychotic “fear” induced by my assault on your Scottish sensitivities.

    – John Tulloch
    August 21, 2013

  70. Brian Smith

    But surely you have spotted, John, that James IV and his successors, were determined that King Hans and his successors should not get their hands on the islands. and outwitted them all along the line. The mortgage documents of 1468 and 1469 did the Danish kings no service between 1486 and 1667, and they are equally irrelevant 500 years later.

  71. John Robertson

    Wikipedia is created by users. The validity of the answers depends on who entered the answer, what references they used and how much they really know. Any good researcher will tell you never to trust what is there, but to always check it against valid sources.

    I would trust most of it as “probably true”, but don’t take everything you read there as serious fact, as the user who wrote/edited the article might not of known what he/she was talking about (a lot like Steve). In other words sometimes it’s true and sometimes it’s not.

  72. Sandy McDonald

    Can something that happened almost 600 years ago really be considered as having any legal grounding today? I don’t think so. Otherwise the UK should go right ahead and hand back all it’s overseas territories. Cheerio Gibraltar! Then there’s the renumeration for centuries of slavery… (Although many would say we should be held accountable for that) Where does it stop?

    I would be interested to know if there is an example of a centuries old succesfully disputed contract that has a similarities to the one being discussed above. It’s all about precedence after all.

  73. Steve Laughton

    FAO. John Robertson….


    Gaelic Name: MacDhonnachaidh
    Motto: Virtutis gloria merces (Glory is the reward of valour)
    Badge: Bracken
    Lands: Struan
    Origin of Name: Son of Robert
    Pipe Music: Teachd Chlann Donnachaidh (The Clan Donnachie has arrived)
    Clan Chief Gilbert Robertson of Struan

    The Robertsons claim to be descended from Crinan, Lord of Atholl, from whom sprang the royal house of Duncan I, the King of the Scots. The Robertson clan is more properly called ‘Clan Donnachaidh’ from their ancestor Duncan, who was a staunch supporter of Robert the Bruce, and who led the Clan at the Battle of Bannockburn.
    The general surname of the clan Robertson was taken from Robert Riach (Grizzled Robert) the clan chief, who was known for his intense loyalty to the Stewarts. Riach was responsible for capturing the murderers of King James I, and was rewarded by the crown for this act by having his lands at Struan erected into a Barony.
    The clan was also granted a symbolic memorial by additions to their coat of arms – subsequently the chief of clan Robertson bore as his crest a hand holding an imperial royal crown, and underneath a man in chains, representing the regicide. About a century later, the Robertson family lost the lands of Struan to the Earl of Atholl but the family regained them in 1606.

    However in the seventeenth century, after the final defeat of James VII, all Robertson estates were forfeited and the chief of the Robertson clan joined the exiled court in France. To this day the chiefs of the clan Robertson still have the right and privilege of interment in the family burial ground at Struan.

  74. John Robertson

    Oh dear noo dis is more serious as I toucht, poor Steve o da YESNP, as well as takin Wikipedia to be gospel the poor soul canna coont. I aye toucht a wan liner only hed wan line in it, no as muckle as four lines and two sentences.

    So so, da YESNP wir always prone tae exaggerate, come du Steve tae Shetland and we will discus dis ower a cup o tea and a jaffa chake.

  75. Robert Sim

    It’s interesting but probably ultimately fruitless to debate whether Shetland is legally part of Scotland or not; and equally fruitless to hanker after either being part of Scandinavia or having some kind of crown dependancy. The fruitlessness of it all is acknowledged by John Tulloch at the end of his letter in today’s Shetland Times newspaper.

    However – to return to the point of this thread – Shetlanders, whether domiciled at home or living elsewhere in Scotland, do have a realistic if once-in-a-lifetime opportunity along with the rest of Scotland in 2014 to start the process of building a society that is more like those in Scandinavia – fairer and better than we presently have as part of the UK. That really would be a worthwhile fulfilment of the current focussing on Shetland’s unique links to our neighbours across the North Sea.

  76. ian tinkler

    Thank God most of Scotland is seeing through the Yes campaigns idiocy. All that matters at the end of the day is The Right to Self Determination. Be that Scotland’s or Shetlands. If the latest Poll readings regarding the Yes campaign are true this debate is futile. (http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-independence-poll-drop-in-yes-backing-1-2924728 )
    Now let’s move forward regarding Shetlander’s voice, autonomy and right to self-determination within the UK.

  77. Steve Laughton

    Thank ye for your kindly offer of a lovely Jaffa but I think there are enough Unionists in Scotland getting het up ower unpalateble Orange stuff, aready as it is wi oot you and me addin’ tae it needlessly. There’s a good few thoosand oh them an those that prefer cabbage green doon Sooth as it is. Even Westminster is fed up oh they kinds oh attitudes fleein aboot the place – that’s how they pulled the HMRC plug on the True Blues… afore it got oot oh han’.

  78. John Robertson

    @ Steve Laughton.

    The surname Laughton originates in Englandshire. People of the feudal era in England did not have surnames as such. Their given name and some association such as their profession would identify them.

    For example, the local blacksmith, John, would be called John the Smith or simply, John Smith. The local tailor, William, would be William Tailor. Landholders were called Lord.

    This title would be coupled with the name of their domain. The Lord of the domain, Essex, would be called Lord Essex. Sometimes, the domain would be named after the founding Lord. Sometimes the Lord would assume the name of an existing domain.

    A simple Shetland example would be Lourie o Slantigarth; christian name Lawrence who lived on the croft named Slantigarth.

    The surname Laughton means, “Laugh”; to express mirth, pleasure, derision, or nervousness with an audible, vocal expulsion of air from the lungs that can range from a loud burst of sound to a series of quiet chuckles and is usually accompanied by characteristic facial and bodily movements.
    “Ton” a large extent, amount, or number. Often used in the plural: has a ton of work to do but insists on interacting with his betters on the Shetland Times web site, Laughton.

  79. John Tulloch

    Robert Sim, picking cherries out of context, has not yet grasped the argument I’m putting forward, I’ll try again, briefly:

    1. I don’t want to return to Scandinavia.

    2. I want Shetland to gain Faroese-like autonomy with the fall-back security of being linked to a larger – trustworthy – country.

    3. I would prefer it to be Scotland or the UK.

    4. If neither of these countries will deliver the goods on autonomy, a highly favourable fall-back situation for the isles would be an Aland-style constitution with, either, overall Scandinavian or even, joint sovereignty with the isles’ language, laws and culture protected in the appropriate constitution(s).

    5. The weakness of the case for UK/Scottish legal (de jure) sovereignty would help the isles to mount a strong case based on the “right to self-determination of peoples”.

    6. There are huge potential gains for an independent Scotland including better trade, diplomatic and strategic security partnerships, etc. which would flow from having autonomous northern isles which will build on existing links with Scandinavia.

    7. It appears Edinburgh would rather continue the conniving of the past, trying to “outwit” Islanders in the name of short-term greed and keeping their hands on the levers of local power.

    8. I can’t understand why the “Yes” Campaign won’t support the councils’ claim for autonomy which, once implemented, would bind the isles, once-and-for-all, to Scotland.

    And Robert, “jam tomorrow” won’t cut it,… Oh… what’s the latest on the “ministerial working group” that was announced in a blaze of publicity – we hear down in Argyll that the government is “considering” whether to include the Inner Hebrides in the group in an attempt to water down the demands.

    Any truth in that?

  80. John Tulloch


    From a previous comment of mine, above:

    “While the Scots certainly adopted every trick available to hang on to the isles I don’t see it particularly as a conspiracy, more the naked use of physical power by the then Scottish authorities to seize control of the isles and hang on to them by “hook or by crook” until everyone else forgot about them or lost interest and gave up. They gambled on the Danes having more pressing business to attend to on their doorstep than going to war over distant islands which, in any case, belonged to their Norwegian subjects; and hitherto, at least, they have got away with it.”

    So, yes it might be argued the Scots “outwitted the Danes at every stage”.

    Your proposition amounts to this: because the Scots evaded the law “at every stage” over a couple or more centuries the laws they evaded must be irrelevant. Putting it bluntly, the “rule of law” was suspended to facilitate Scottish territorial hegemony.

    How exactly does the Scots managing to wriggle out of honouring their side of the agreement imply that the pawning documents were legally “irrelevant”, then or now?

    We have established above that the pawning documents were relevant in law to James III who made the agreement in the first place and conceded in his 1486 letter to King Hans that he had only limited authority under the pawning agreement so, paraphrasing Gordon Donaldson’s unanswered question in which he asked to be informed of the date on which sovereignty “de jure” accrued to Britain, we might ask:

    “If the legal force of the pawning document was acknowledged in 1486 by James III yet is irrelevant now, an “interested amateur historian” would like to know….. from what point in time such irrelevance can be dated?”

    Anyone who asserts the pawning documents are now irrelevant needs to answer that question; then we can weigh the evidence, if any, for and against the proposition.

  81. clive munro

    Dear Mr. Moderator. If you exist which, frankly, I’m starting to doubt, please step in and end this madness. It’s starting to cause me nightmares. Lately I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat, with words like “de jure”, “de facto”, “sovereignty”, “pawn” and “autonomy” swimming around in my head. Even when I open my eyes they’re still there, glowing and floating around the bedroom ceiling. There are names up there too, like Denmark, Norway, Magnie Carter, Gerard Depardieu? and, of course, John Tulloch. Worse still, sometimes, right there in the middle of the ceiling I see John’s head smiling malevolently down at me. Fortunately the image only lasts a few seconds before cackling, turning 360 degrees, Exorcist-style, and slowly fading away. I’ve no idea, Mr. M, if you know Mr. T by sight but trust me when I say that this vision is more than a little un-nerving. I’ve tried my best, really I have, to stop visiting this site. I’ve even tried some lighter reading to take my mind off it (last night I read the book of Revelations), but I keep getting drawn back in, like a moth to a flame. So, Your Excellency, I beseech you to do the right thing, use your powers wisely and end this morbidly fascinating, but terminally tedious, thread right now. Please!

  82. John Tulloch

    Hmm! Prodigiosum!

  83. ian tinkler

    Just think Clive, we have a whole year to go yet!! What a horrifying thought, Salmond certainly has a lot to answer for. I can feel Royal Cornhill threatening. (no surprise there, thought I better say that first)

  84. Gordon Harmer

    Clive, actually, in reality, it is a fact (de facto) that you don’t have to read this thread.

    According to the law and by right (de jure) you could totally ignore this thread.

    You could always switch off your computer (de activate) and listen to a CD.

    If that didn’t work you could instruct your computer not to go on this web site (de bar).

    You could use will power to curb your extreme need to read Johns letters (de ny).

    Or you could even join in with the thread you despise and give your point of view (de bate).

    Better still you could use some proper propriety and offer John an apology (de corum).

    But most of all you should not adopt one of the YESNP traits of curbing free speech (de cline).

  85. John Robertson

    If only closed minds came with closed mouths.

  86. ian tinkler

    John Robertson, Does it not occur to you that closed mouths allowed Hitler to come to power in the1930s? Perhaps a better phrase may be that “a closed mouth is the privilege and infliction of the apathetic or simple mind.”

  87. clive munro

    Gordon, I’ve known John since we were at Sunday school together in the mid-sixties and, as such, I’m fairly certain that he has no need of an apology from me for what were, in my opinion, a few light-hearted comments. He himself merely described them, if I’ve got this right, as bizarre and, given that I was on a powerful cocktail of pain-killers when I wrote them, he may well be right!
    Also, regarding your assumption that I despise this thread, the fact is that I initially found it quite interesting but I just feel that it’s ended up disappearing down some arid historical cul-de-sacs which are going to have no bearing whatsoever on the eventual outcome of next year’s referendum.
    As for your invitation to air my views on the independence debate, I have to confess that I’m still trying to weigh up the pros and cons. To that end I’m currently reading Iain MacWhirter’s “Road To Referendum” and would welcome suggestions for any other unbiased information on the subject. My initial, emotional response to the prospect of independence is, however, that it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to rid ourselves of the self-serving elite which has ruled British politics for far too long. Alex Salmond and the SNP have their faults, for sure, but they’re small beer compared to the serial injustices currently being heaped on the majority of their own citizens by Cameron, Clegg and Osborne. In any case the SNP wouldn’t be the government of an independent Scotland unless, of course, democratically re-elected in 2016. I also feel that, as far as greater autonomy for Shetland goes, that’s far more likely to happen in an independent Scotland than under the status quo. I certainly don’t remember it ever being part of any of the Westminster parties’ manifestos in the past, though I might easily be wrong about that.

  88. Douglas Greig Young

    I am delighted to announce that three polls carried out independently now show a narrowing of the gap between Yes and no, the latest being by the Daily Express this weekend. Only 6.5 % swing over the next 12 months means we will be Independent.

  89. John Tulloch


    Nothing stays secret on an island. You’ve obviously heard that Messrs Cleese, Palin and Idle have arrived in Shetland to patrol Westerloch in the “Looney Detector Van”, diverted from Holyrood to an emergency call in the isles.

    I assumed you might be suffering flashbacks due to post-traumatic stress acquired during your days at “Thunderbox Records Intl., Inc.”.

    (“Prodigiosum” was a response from James VI about a possible redemption initiative; in those days it meant “ominous”).

    I agree we are living in a momentous time, possibly unique in any of our, our kids or grandkids lifetimes – but for Shetland, in particular.

    Shetland has an amazing future if we can gain more control over our own affairs. That gain must be substantial.

    If you have been following the arguments over the last year – and I realise that may not have been easy – you will have noted that not only the SNP but also, even, YES Shetland appear not to support the “Our Islands, Our Future” initiative but in many cases, have set their faces against it. They are determined to yield nothing, “squat”.

    I started from a position of mocking Shetland autonomy ambitions but when the referendum arrived, accompanied by some competent political management at SIC, the penny suddenly dropped.

    Shetland is a fantastic place, in a fantastic location, with fantastic history and culture and fantastic potential. This opportunity must not be missed.

    The point about the history is that from “day one” of the pawning Scottish (and English) authorities connived, obfuscated, delayed and lied to Danes and islanders alike and I’m sad to say Alex Salmond is still trying to “outwit” us, as Brian Smith described the events from 1486 to 1667 above.

    The more I look into the history the more I see that they may well not be legally entitled to their £80 million a year surplus and indeed, the harder they try to deny and avoid the issue the more fascinating the story becomes because their arguments seem not to stack up.

    The history of the pawnings is anything but an “arid cul-de-sac” – can’t you see how much they hate the bare mention of it (c.f. Blackadder saying “MacBeth” to the 18th century theatrical luvvies – available on Youtube, don’t miss!).

    Sit down in the cold light of day, read the above comments and other threads like the “12-mile Economic Exclusion Zone” fabrication and anything else you can get get your hands on and apply your considerable intelligence to pointing out where you see the flaws in this line of argument.

  90. Robert Sim

    Well said, Clive.

  91. Gordon Harmer

    Nice try Douglas, I see you still practice Salmond style politics and you, like him think the rest of us are stupid. So here are a couple of links that tell the truth and point a finger at who is really stupid.



  92. David B Spence

    I’ll be keeping my opinons to myself regarding the subject matter, but I feel the need to comment as this is excatly why the referendum may be doomed to fail.

    Casual voters dont want to, or rather won’t bother, to sift through endless hellery like this to help them make a decision.

    Endless debate may be fun for some, but if you really care, make your case in 100 words or less then wheesht!

  93. Steven Laughton

    Re: John Robertson,

    We can look at it as either a pity that John has demonstrated fully the low levels that unionists will stoop to in order to “win” any discussion or debate – essentially demonstrating a propensity to insult and hinting at vioence (and even possibly a hint of sectarianism) just because anyone proves him wrong by debate and factual evidence…. alternatively we could applaud him for simply exposing the nature of his own character and of the standard of the unionist argument.

    I did not insult John by demonstrating that his Highland name originates in Scotland – and that it is a prominant name in the Gaeltachd (and from an accepted source other than WIK, (which I only used in the first place because another unionisty on this thread was so keen to promoite it as a source to me). He has however, also resorted to once again reporting innaccurate facts and in a manner intended to insult personally. In the first instance, I can clarify for John that my surname dates back in Orkney to at least the mid 15th century. It has obscure origins – possibly in Ireland from the Pictish period and is entirely unrelated to the English name of similiar modern spelling. It is most likely to be a mix of the Nordic from Lochlannach and Celtic Thane.

    Laughton: John Lauchtane, Easterbister, Holm, 1492 and
    ‘Lachtane and his falowis’, Cultisgrew, Shapinsay, 1492:
    the early form of this surname suggests that is an old Celtic first name
    rather than the English surname Laughton: “lighten” is the traditional way
    of pronouncing this surname: a common surname in Orkney today with a high
    concentration in Holm and Kirkwall.

    ………..Langskaill, Larquoy, Laughton, LEASK, Linay,………………..


    I don’t think I want to stoop to the same level as John and get into playground behaviour and I don’t think that would be the most appropriate basis for any visit by me tae Up Helly Aa or the Folk Festival…. some of us have proper responsibilities to maintain and I certainly put that sort of thing to rest on leaving the forces but perhaps the moderator of this thread should be dealing with this sort of nonsense at this stage… before we have any other people bumpin’ their gums innapropriately in that way.

  94. Gordon Harmer

    Maybe not so well said eh Clive, I think your Sunday school relationship has somewhat deteriorated.

    As for your views on independence, as you said are an initial emotional response. Well after reading them I think you should take your heart out of the equation and put your brain into gear and re think them.

    You emotionally claim Salmond and the SNP have their faults but are small beer compared to Cameron and Co. You are forgetting one thing here they are all politicians, all of the same variety and genre with only a few exceptions. Salmond is far more accomplished at dirty tricks and lies than anything Cameron could ever aspire to be.

    More autonomy for Shetland is not on the SNP’s manifesto either, all that is on the table is the somewhat dubious offer to talk about it, and taking Salmond’s penchant for confidence tricks this is definitely one.

    This once in a lifetime opportunity you talk about could just as easily but more likely will be a step into a black hole from which there is no return and that is probably the only 100% true fact of the whole debate. No one from Salmond, Sturgeon and Co right down to Douglas Young and Robert Sim can categorically tell us otherwise because they don’t know.

    I for one, on those grounds alone and thinking with my head and not my heart would not wish to dump that prospect on my children and grandchildren.

  95. John Tulloch

    David B,

    This is the biggest political decision you will ever have to make and if you think about what you have written, I hope you may change your opinion.

    The reason why it is important is because it is a “once only” chance to shape Shetland’s future for the better – “big time” better, at that.

    I assume you include yourself among these “casual voters” who can’t be bothered to “sift through endless hellery”. Most of us could make a case in a hundred words IF WE HAD MADE OUR OWN MINDS UP however it would not explain the reasoning behind it. That’s what the argument is about.

    If you can’t be bothered to sift through this information that a number of people have spent a lot of time and effort researching, then don’t. Do something else as you would have to do if the contributors had not made their contributions i.e. there would be nothing to read.

    An alternative would be to send in a letter on a subject in which you and other “casual voters” find of interest and so create your own thread – better than wasting your breath bleating about this one.

  96. David B Spence

    I realise how big a decision this is, which is exactly why it is so vital to keep any argument, for or against, extremely concise and palatable, and most vitally of all, relevant to the future and what changes this will bring.

    Over the next year or so, lets hope those as yet undecided can see past all the party politics and take an optomistic view of the future, our future.

    Plenty of time after the decision to debate the origins of surnames!

  97. John Tulloch

    David B,

    Thanks for the clarification, I hear what you’re saying about some of the stuff.

    Just for the record, it took you 157 or so words to justify your argument.

  98. clive munro

    Gordon, although it was neither particularly long, nor complicated, you seem to have failed to grasp the essence of my last contribution to this thread, so let me try to explain myself again. My initial, emotional response, as I put it, to the idea of an independent Scotland was, for the reasons I gave, one of unbridled enthusiasm. I’m also aware, however, that this is a massively important issue which is why I stated, quite clearly, that despite those gut instincts I’m trying to keep an open mind on the subject. I’m following the debate, gathering information and, as I said before, weighing up the pros and cons, and will continue to do so until it’s time to cast my vote. That, surely,is what we all, yourself included, should be doing but I get the impression, rightly or wrongly, that you’ve made up your mind already.

  99. Gordon Harmer

    Yes Clive I have, and only because the YESNP do not give us any idea what to expect in an independent Scotland. So from day one I have researched what independence will mean and I truly believe we as individuals and as a nation will be substantially worse of in just about every way possible.

    I have made my decision not just on what Salmond and Co seem to be promising but also on what Cameron or Miliband or who ever is in power is likely to give Scotland when the time to negotiate the terms of independence is here. My mistrust of Cameron and Co is nearly equal to my mistrust of Salmond and Co hence my total objection to independence for Scotland. This also fuels my belief that greater autonomy for Shetland under the present regime is the way forward.

    That does not mean that the way you are going about it is wrong and you are free and right so to do. I sincerely hope you make the right decision and for the right reasons, good luck with your pros and cons.

  100. martyn neeson

    SHETLAND BREAKING AWAY FROM SCOTLAND?!?! mabey if scotland failed to break away form the uk then shetland going for it might not be too bad. but, another thing is theres not a single effin and blinding person on that council that i would trust to run shetland without help. solutions simple, vote yes to the uk split and watch shetland thrive!! and scotland of course


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