Trying to start racism (Ian Selbie)

Is The Shetland Times so hard up for news/headlines that you have to devote half a page to the vile-mouthed Lemn Sissay.

If the shop keeper was black and selling pink dolls would he have made the same racist/insulting comments? I doubt it. It’s bigots like him who go to places where there is no racism then try to start it up and then clear off.

Does he want to burn at the stake the black dolls/gollywogs that our grand/great grandchildren have? What is the diferrence between white kids playing with black  dolls/gollywogs and black kids playing with white dolls?

What about those who play with animal dolls? Will he call the animal charities or the RSPCA?

In my view the best part of Sissay’s act was when he went on the plane/ferry to the mainland. Shetland doesn’t need the likes of him.

Ian R Selbie
17 Twageos Road,


Add Your Comment
  • lemn sissay

    • September 14th, 2013 12:02

    I shall visit your fine Island soon. Maybe I’ll be invited to read poetry there. again. Maybe I could visit your fine schools again. It was after one such visit i saw the dolls. I am dismayed but unsurprised that your own MP hasn’t seen fit to take this issue by the scruff of its neck. I guess it’s left for people like you to tell people like me that we’re not welcome. I guess the gollywogs will stay and normal service will be resumed shortly. At least its on record. Shall I pop up? There’s much to talk about.

    Lemn Sissay

  • Craig Russell

    • September 14th, 2013 14:43

    Come up to the island if you want, I’ll give you a talking to. You think you’re perfect but your not, your poetry is rubbish and you have done little for our community, so if I had my say I’d tell you to clear off and not come back.. It’s pretty pathetic that this is the way you are trying to promote your work

  • Ron Stronach

    • September 14th, 2013 16:56

    I cant understand what the fuss is all about, Golly’s have been around for years and surely bears no resemblance to any actual living creature???

  • Douglas Young

    • September 14th, 2013 17:42

    I think if Mr Sissay were to read Mr Selbie’s letter at no time did he say Shetland would not welcome him in Shetland. He stated quite clearly Shetland had no “need” for him.
    Reminds me of the recent wound-licking-I’m-mortally-offended Mr Farage visit to Scotland.
    Come awa Lemn, all welcome in our beautiful Island hame. Just leave the widden spoon ahint.

  • Susan Jolly

    • September 14th, 2013 17:52

    The only ‘Lem’ from down sarf I’d like to see in Shetland is the one from Motorhead – Shetland Arts take note!

  • Rebecca Dickie

    • September 14th, 2013 18:42

    These toys are certainly not ‘pc’ anymore, but is it really the policy of the Shetland Times to so openly condemn a local shopkeeper? The lady explained in an honest and reasonable way, her intention in selling these dolls without underlying racial intent. This article must have been humiliating to read, and it may have been more appropriate for Mr Sissay to have voiced his concerns to her in a more tactful way. Shetland has a strong sense of community and rightfully look to defend their own, this is not to say that incidents of racism are ignored or accepted here, they simply are not.

  • George Gillon

    • September 14th, 2013 19:00

    I invite the race-baiting ‘Yorkshireman’ to peruse the Longrider blog site where my wife and I shared his despicable behaviour towards Mrs Leask. As far as ‘Yorkshireman’ goes, if a dog is born in a stable it doesn’t make it a horse……

  • Sandy McDonald

    • September 14th, 2013 19:04

    Here’s a bit of poetry:

    There was a chap by the name of Sissay,
    Who really was rather quite prissy
    His visit to the shop
    Inclined him to strop
    But his motives were really quite fishy.

  • Kath Gillon

    • September 14th, 2013 20:08

    I can assure Shetland Times readers that Mr Sissay has caused quite a controversy on the blog site where I am a contributor and none of it in Mr Sissay’s favour, it seems to the readership of this Blog that he is a pathetic small minded man trying to “Big up” his own career with little or no regard for the elderly shopkeeper.
    What a rude and devious little bigot he is.
    I sincerely hope the locals show him a good old Shetland welcome next time he graces their shores.

  • David anderson

    • September 14th, 2013 21:33

    Every bloody thing is supposedly racist nowadays, you cant even call a rubbish bag a black bag anymore as it isn’t “pc”! What is the world coming to? There is no place for racism in this day and age, but selling a black doll is hardly racist is it! Folk needs to get a grip. There’s more to worry about in this world than to worry if something is racist or not.

  • Stella Smith

    • September 15th, 2013 13:03

    I think Mr Sissay must have a big chip in this shoulder, ( I had never heard of him )
    I always thing of Robertson’s jam when I see Golly’s, you collected tokens & got pin badges, the world has gone to pot with all the PC, why can’t we just be kind & thoughtful to each other, we all arrived in this world & will all go the same way.

  • Richard Mutimer

    • September 15th, 2013 17:12

    I’m assuming it is just ignorance that gave rise to the letter above and associated ravings. This piece is informative:

  • John Tulloch

    • September 15th, 2013 21:22

    Mr Mutimer,

    May I draw your attention to my comment on the other thread which I’ll reproduce for your convenience:

    “Meaning of “projection” in psychology:

    “a. The attribution of one’s own attitudes, feelings, or suppositions to others: “Even trained anthropologists have been guilty of unconscious projection of clothing the subjects of their research in theories brought with them into the field” (Alex Shoumatoff).
    b. The attribution of one’s own attitudes, feelings, or desires to someone or something as a naive or unconscious defense against anxiety or guilt.”

    This isn’t “bad” it’s something we’re all well capable of, it’s subconscious from earlier conditioning and it causes a hell of a lot of trouble in the world.”

  • Kevin Sterling

    • September 21st, 2013 7:21

    As a black man and having and still living in Shetland for more than 20 years all this Golly wog thing has been blown up out of proportion i don’t object to this and i don’t lose sleep over it. Yes i worked for a London council nearly 30 years ago who stopped buying Robertson’s products because of this and at the time i thought it was a storm in a tea cup and i think there are more important things to talk about and write about.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.