Shetland’s oil (Bob Gardiner)

We are told that Alex Salmond is holding a meeting today near Aberdeen to discuss what’s happening with “Scotland’s” oil if he wins the vote in September.

Is there someone down there from Lerwick pointing out to the soothmoothers that a huge percentage of it is Shetland’s oil and not Alex Salmond’s?

Bob Gardiner
East Yorkshire.


Add Your Comment
  • Daniel Hughson

    • February 24th, 2014 15:43

    Says the man in east yorkshire…

    • David Toney

      • February 25th, 2014 5:36

      Your point is Daniel ?

      • Bob Gardiner

        • February 25th, 2014 15:28

        Daniel has a point, Kirkbymoorside is in North Yorkshire, not East. Well spotted.

  • Victor Walker

    • March 16th, 2014 20:06

    Bob Gardiner. The whole thing about the SNP is oil. Currently the oil belongs to the United Kingdom, but the SNP claim it is Scot’s oil. Although I don’t think the rest of the UK claims that its various enterprises are , say owned by England, or Wales, or Northern Ireland. They are United Kingdom. The SNP have reasoned that through independence they can grab ownership of the oil fields from the rest of the UK, and they will become rich. However, as you say, if it is their policy to claim that oil and industry in Scotland belong only to the Scots, there is nothing to stop the Shetlands from calling it Shetland’s oil. Meantime, I suppose Cornish china clay becomes Cornwall’s, Rolls Royce and British aero space become English. Shale Gas is also England’s. and Welsh steel belongs to Wales, and Harland and Wolf belongs to Northern Ireland…. In short the SNP speak piffle

    • Ivan Coghill

      • March 19th, 2014 17:55

      So, ad hominem a la Bob Gardiner, Cameron is “helping” Scotland and Shetland to spend the oil money. Yes, Victoria, Cornwall can keep its pasties etc, and London can keep the national debt if it wants. Shetland does not have an independence movement because it does not have the will. London is booming while the rest of us stand by in supplication. The biggest “piffle” comes from the London media and, if you can’t see that we are not all in this together, you have perhaps had too much of that brand of piffle. Yours, A Yes Campaigner (neither a ScotNat nor a BritNat)

      • Nigel Sollitt

        • September 15th, 2014 9:09

        You’re right about London but wrong about Shetland who have said that they want to be no part of an independent Scotland and do not regard themselves as ‘Scots’. They have the alternative options of remaining with the UK or becoming independent themselves or with Orkney. It has even been mooted that they could turn to their Norse brethren and become part of Norway; then what becomes of the oil? I find it difficult to believe that in all the debating about the forthcoming referendum where oil features so prominently in terms of the economy of an independent Scotland, the sovereignty of Shetland in the event of a YES camp win has barely been mentioned!

  • iantinkler

    • March 19th, 2014 20:00

    Speak for yourself Ivan, stand in supplication if you wish. I can assure you the rest of us do not. Your choice. We are what we make ourselves, I am an independent free spirit and supplicant to no one. I abhor tribalism, xenophobia, prejudice and nationalism. Humanity has no chance if we are unable to stand united. I just hope most of us realise that.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 19th, 2014 21:24

      Ian… You abhor Nationalism?

      I take it then that your love and avid unending support for a United Kingdom is not what you call nationalism ?

      Please explain- spell it out for us and give us your spin on this contradiction.


  • David Spence

    • March 27th, 2014 0:07

    In the most destruction social/economical ideology there is, Capitalism only serves the selfish and those people who only put their own greed and wealth ahead of anything else……..Capitalism most certainly divides and fragments societies and people……and brings out the worst in human nature and behaviour.

    As for it being Shetland’s oil and NOT Scotland’s……….please prove to me that Shetland is a separate state or sovereignty from Scotland/United Kingdom…………..oh, sorry………Shetlander’s do not have the stomach or bravery to stand up against the status quo (the present system of power brainwashed into them) or those who rule over them because it would mean Shetlander’s having to actually justify their existence and that Shetlander’s do have the power, if they truly want it, to question authority, where greater autonomy can be granted to the people if the people themselves stand up against those in position of authority where that authority itself can be question to its legitimacy over these islands.

    Would Shetland be better ruled under Scottish or Scandinavian or by the people of Shetland.

    But I guess, like most people which have been spoonfed the bile of Scotland ruling over them without question, nothing…… per usual………will be done……and Scotland will claim the oil and gas for itself and Shetland will, as per usual, take second place.

    • Malcolm Henry Johnson

      • March 27th, 2014 14:53

      Absolutely David. “Capitalism only serves those who put their own greed and wealth ahead of anything else” and as you say, it “most certainly divides and fragments societies and people.” That’s why those greedy Scots want to break away from the U.K. and that’s why our failure to “stand up against the status quo” means that “Scotland will claim the oil and gas for itself.” (Tut tut.) If only people would take your advice then Shetland could get more “autonomy” and we could get a MUCH bigger share of the oil and gas money for ourselves. Just think! We would all be rich, RICH I tell you. Only then would we be able to live our lives free from the greed of capitalism.

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 27th, 2014 18:47

        That works fine for me Malcolm. Except looking out for todays and future generations of Shetlanders and not wanting to rely on the goodwill of either Edinburgh or London is not greed it is just good aald midder wit.

  • David Spence

    • March 28th, 2014 0:38

    Well Malcolm, it is not so much about whether Shetland would become a richer place due to the oil being processed on the islands or that there are several pipelines coming into Sullom Voe to process the oil and gas thus giving Shetland greater wealth, it is Shetlander’s having the will and determination to question the legitimacy of Scotland claiming it’s right and sovereignty over the islands when history tells a different story.

    As you will know Malcolm, Shetland, as it is now, has done very well with the oil and gas industries establishing themselves on the islands, and given future exploration of gas near to the islands, Shetland will further benefit from this for many a year to come.

    My point is not so much to do with economics, more to do with history and Scotland’s legitimate right to rule these islands without providing any proof that it has sovereign rights to the Shetlands, thus any wealth gain is also Scotland’s as well.

    People in Shetland have mocked and made a fool of Stuart Hill, but atleast he has the tenacity and courage to actually question whether Scotland has jurisdiction and sovereignty over these islands……..which is more than can be said for the local population who are quite happy to be spoonfed any story as long as it does not rock the boat or affect their lives, mentality.

    Shetlander’s brag and boast (especially towards the end of January) about ‘ our Scandinavian Heritage ‘ ‘ We are from Viking Blood ‘ ‘ Up Helly Aa enforces this cultural Scandinavian tradition ‘…….but when it comes to Shetlanders actually wanting to support, embrace and prove that they have stronger ties to Norway, Denmark as per usual, nothing is done about it.

    • Malcolm Henry Johnson

      • March 28th, 2014 18:38

      Aw-shucks guys! You take me far too seriously. I wasn’t trying to champion one constitutional model over another. I was just questioning how David was going to rid the World of capitalism whilst simultaneously making £millions by selling oil, gas and petro-chemicals on the World market. lol ?

  • iantinkler

    • March 28th, 2014 7:39

    Charlie Banham – Cullivoe, Try to understand. Nationalism: Thesaurus UK: ” Jingoism, chauvinism, xenophobia, ” Just a few alternatives to the word “nationalism”. Now try “national socialism” and “tribalism”, not too far different in meaning. I have unending support for a “United Humanity”, hopefully eventually Europe and all mankind. That is our best hope for survival, not dividing ourselves up into competing little. tribes, clans or whatever. Be that little England, The socialist Scottish state of Salmond or whatever. I truly do abhor Nationalism that divides and separates peoples. This whole independence stupidity is a prime example of how to divide and antagonise peoples. CyberNats and all their vitriol is a prime example of xenophobia encourage by this independence debate, are they not? I do strongly support a United Kingdom and hope in time a far greater Union of mankind will develop, that will never happen if Nationalism continues (Jingoism, chauvinism, xenophobia).

  • David Spence

    • March 28th, 2014 11:00

    I take your point Ian, but you also have to take into consideration not only a countries borders, but also cultural, language, customs and even, to a degree (as NI proves) religion as marked differences between people and how those people see themselves in relation to what has been previously mentioned.

    I agree wholeheartedly Ian, if humans could put those differences aside, we probably would be better off as a species……….but what about those values which identify certain traits of either a social culture, language or even environmental differences ?

    As you may well know Ian, there is, I believe, a campaign (very much in its infancy) to try and breakdown those barriers which cause division, segregation and conflict (to a degree) by having a global economic single super power……also known as a ‘ New World Order ‘ ?

    However, who decides the criteria for this and on what basis should certain attributes, take religion, be more superior to other’s? Having a New World Order maybe fine in terms of economics, to a degree, but again, in whose interests would this best fit?

    I suspect the countries (today’s Super Powers – China, Indian, Russia, USA and Europe) who would more than likely benefit most from it……..this again being no different than the dominant controlling to a level where it keeps and sustains power at the behest and subjugation of all overs (just history repeating itself but on a far larger scale).

    I also believe that America, Canada and Mexico are hoping to get together to form a new global currency in competition with the Euro and this of the far east? However, this is, I believe, just hearsay.

    I would say the main problem in trying to have an unified global government would be, as history has proved time and time again, this of religion and the Wests (predominantly the USA – since the breakdown of the cold war, religion via Muslim religion (conveniently on oil rich muslim countries) is the new enemy of the State (USA – launched on 9/11) and how perpetual propaganda since 9/11 has fed this into the population for certain governments in the west to use this to restrict and curtail the people’s rights and freedoms is yet again sanctioned by the people themselves under the guise of protection when it is nothing more than certain governments destroying the very fabric of our society we call ‘ freedom and democracy ‘.

  • iantinkler

    • March 28th, 2014 18:55

    David, 1500 years ago England was several warring Kingdoms, Scotland was dozens of warring Clans, goodness only knows what the Welsh and the Irish were doing but the fact most were killing each other. Now we are nearly all united and most of the killing has stopped. Humanity has come a long way since 500BC, however, racism, nationalism, extreme capitalism and extreme socialism ,raw prejudice, religious prejudice and other bigotry are the curse of humanity today. Hopefully in time humanity will culturally evolve to unite and reject this utter stupidity. . That will never happen if educated and hopefully intelligent people divide themselves under the banner of nationalism. That is about as intelligent as fighting each because we support different football teams. That distorted “nationalist” emotion is behind so much of the independence argument, apart from greed, xenophobia, the belief we are better, et al..

  • Laurence Sim

    • March 28th, 2014 19:07

    I agree with everything David Spence is saying. Shetlanders do have the power to claim independence from Scotland. Shetlanders have never been faced with such an ideal opportunity to stop Salmond from splitting up the UK. The question now is how do Shetlanders start the island’s independence ball rolling ?

  • David Spence

    • March 29th, 2014 12:16

    It is not surprising that there is a large amount of what could be perceived as xenophobia and nationalism going around in regards to the independence debate with Scotland. However, why question would be, given the marked differences, why should Scotland not have the right to self determination, autonomy and have greater control of its affairs?

    I may be wrong, and no doubt one will be corrected on the issue, but I believe the UK is the only situation where 1 parliament (Westminster) controls 4 separate countries? Yes, there is a parliament in Scotland and Devolved Assembles in Northern Ireland and Wales……..However, despite the huge and unjust expense, these institutions are nothing more than puppet’s with little power and where the strings are still controlled by Westminster.

    In today’s world, the institution with the greatest amount of power, greater than the church, oil and gas industries or even Governments to a degree, is the control of a system which has complete dominance in the west, this of our banking system and more so capitalism. As the 2008 bank crisis proved, we were spoonfed the bile that the whole of western society would totally collapse if we did not bail out the banks….the very institutions, as a consequence of their own greed, meeting financial targets etc. who caused the problem in the first place. What a perfect system the banking institutions have created where society helps them regardless to what mistakes they may make in order for themselves to get richer, wealthier and have greater control of the societies to which they have designed to be in a win-win situation.

    The banking crisis proved without a shadow of doubt that there is something seriously wrong with western societies if one aspect of it, the banking system, has so much control and power without proving its justification for such power, and where it has permeated in every aspect of our lives without us questioning its greater role in society and where, practically, the whole of western societies are dominated by such institutions.

  • iantinkler

    • March 29th, 2014 19:29

    Shetlanders do have the power to claim independence from Scotland. Shetlanders have never been faced with such an ideal opportunity to stop Salmond from splitting up the UK. The question now is how do Shetlanders start the island’s independence ball rolling ? Any ideas anyone. Crown dependency within the UK and Europe ASAP. We are just a bit time limited. Time for a real fight, not half baked discussions by nowhere politicians.

    • John Tulloch

      • March 30th, 2014 21:22

      Ali is right Ian, the first thing we need to do is secure a local referendum and the best way to do that is for everyone – and I know you have already – to sign the petition.

      I suspect quite a lot of Shetlanders, especially, younger people – and I don’t mean youths – are only barely aware of ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ and even of Stuart Hill’s existence, far less understanding what it’s all about.

      I can’t understand why, for example, people from the fishing, business and sporting fraternities haven’t switched on to the enormous benefits of increased autonomy.

      All our fishing folk seem to do is moan about Faroe when instead they should be saying “why can’t we have the same?”

      The answer is simple, “because you didna ‘axe fur quhat you wantit”!

      The Faroese did and they got it.

  • Willie Nicolson

    • March 31st, 2014 8:15

    I have been very interested in the discussions on this forum regarding oil ownership and the possibilities of an independent Shetland since I recall having fervent discussions with friends on the possible establishment of a Shetland independence movement over 50 years ago. At the time we decided it was not a viable proposition but that was before oil and things may have changed since. With regard to the suggestions made by some of you that Shetland separating from Scotland may be the answer may I add my “tippence wirt” as to how you should proceed. The first steps would be very mundane – public meetings, setting up a steering committee and raising funds. Then you will have to decide on your manifesto – whether Shetland would set up its own health system or stay with NHS Scotland; whether it would still use Scots Law; etc. You should then obtain Counsel’s Opinion on whether Shetland’s claim to oil round her shores might be recognised under International Law. I am by no means a legal expert but last time I read an opinion on the matter it seemed that if Shetland were to break away it might be regarded as an enclave of Scotland and as such would have rights only up to 12 miles from the coast. (The same would apply if Shetland decided to remain part of the UK.)
    You would have my sincere good wishes since, although I want to see an independent Scotland my main motivation is not any financial benefit which might accrue. I mainly wish to see an end to a corrupt political system where the parties are financed by wealthy individuals who expect – and get – favours in return. This system has made us the fourth most unequal country IN THE WORLD and has produced politicians of such incompetence that the debt mountain they have created will continue to be repaid by our children and grandchildren for years to come. In the meantime our politicians look out from their well feathered nests without being affected themselves by the mess they have created.

    • John Tulloch

      • March 31st, 2014 11:16

      Interesting comment, Willie.

      From my understanding of Mahdi Zahraa’s paper in the European Journal of International Law, Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) are limited to 200 nautical miles and the group of oil fields which might reasonably be described as ‘Shetland’s Oil’ are over 200 nautical miles from John O’ Groats so if Shetland became independent, like say Iceland, Scotland would have no claim on those oil fields. Even Orkney, I think I’m right in saying, is over 200nm from most, if not all, the fields.

      My reading of it is that, as a minimum, Shetland would also be entitled to a channel of sea extending northwards into the open sea in addition to the 12nm zone and there are concepts like history and equitability which come into it as well so it isn’t clear-cut, not least, because of the sovereignty issue highlighted in Scottish courts by Stuart Hill.

      And if Orkney and the Western Isles also became independent, it would really put a cat among Alex Salmond’s pigeons.

      Formal legal advice on this is essential so we have a better idea of how we stand.

      It would be good if somebody would get an organisation off the ground as you suggest, it’s badly needed now.

  • iantinkler

    • March 31st, 2014 8:51

    David, we all have a right to self determination, but not if selfish motivation damages the rest of mankind. Scotland has no more right to self determination, than Shetland, Fairisle, Forvick or Clousta, especially so if the motivations are nationalistic and selfish (our oil etc.). With regard to your endless gripe about “The Banks” and capitalism, to a point I agree, but do give it a rest. ” The Unions” in the 60,s and 70,s were just as big a pain in the arse and damn nearly wrecked us all. They opened the door the Thatcherism, not the Banks. As I have said before extreme Socialism is just as damaging as extreme Capitalism.

  • David Spence

    • March 31st, 2014 15:30

    Ian, Willie is correct in what he says about our political system has a ‘ care not attitude ‘ as long as they themselves benefit from it……..I hasten to say this Ian, but such a political system is very much the symptoms of a capitalist system where the main objective of it, whether it be a company or an individual, is ‘ look after number 1 at all costs ‘.

    What emphasizes this point further is the clash of 2 political ideologies which are, at best, at odds with each other. Yes Ian, I take your point, and I am sure most people would agree, about the unions in the 1970’s taking the country to almost a ransom situation where such powers were literally crushed when Thatcher took over in 1979……..and her campaign thereafter was to reduce the power the unions had and to privatize, to the benefit of her and the vile Tory Party, state run services under the guise it would be better for the country, but not necessarily the people.

    Ian I am sorry if I keep harking on about socialist ideals and principles, but compared to the alternative and what benefit it would be for the country, I would rather pay higher taxes than pay a private company whose sole purpose is to provide a half-baked service/product and charge double the price…….where profit and greed are the main factors which drive a capitalist system but does not necessarily provide an adequate service or product. You only have to look at the global statistics to see that the USA (a country the vile Tories would like the UK to emulate) is very is very much lagging behind many other countries in the west when it comes to the basic structures of what makes up our society……..something I would rather not follow. The greatest control of a capitalist system is the very system which has caused much of the problems we are facing today, this of the banking system…………..which has totally dictated USA Foreign Policy for the past 100 years. It does not surprise me that the representatives of a capitalist based political system is predominantly the banking and financial institutions, where their power dictates (the power of money) every aspect of that society…….as the USA very much demonstrates.

    Getting back to greater autonomy for Shetland………I would definitely say we could possibly learn lessons from the Faroes, Isle of Man or other island communities where they have greater control of their affairs in proportion to national controls. Shetland is very much in a unique position, economically, to, I believe, had greater say and to reap greater benefits for the people of Shetland than it will ever have. Whether Scottish independence will fuel this drive for shetlander’s to stand up to the powers that be (again, this should be questioned as to Scotland’s right to rule these islands) and to gain greater independence similar if not more than the Faroe’s. Given the economic importance of Shetland and what it brings to the Scottish/UK economy, I would think that such power may be difficult to obtain……….but that should not stop us Shetlander’s from pursuing what should be rightfully ours in terms of self determination and have greater say in our affairs………….I just hope that shetlander’s do take this opportunity instead of the usual…..Well, why rock the boat….we’ll do nothing……….mentality.

  • iantinkler

    • March 31st, 2014 20:37

    David, now is not the time to fight over Socialism versus Capitalism, USA versus USSR and all that contradictory ideology. I would prefer a strong United Kingdom with a liberal (NB small l) government within a strong Europe. That may well be threatened by nationalist “self servers” motivated by the most primitive aspects of human nature. I am sure most Shetlanders have absolutely no truck with Salmond and his divisive ideology and unpleasant appeal. That is why Shetland must unite and fight hard to stay within the UK with as much autonomy as is practicable (Crown Dependency). I am and always will be the first to pour scorn and ridicule on our own political Donkeys (SIC), but at least they are our own, several I regard as friends and a few I respect.

  • David Spence

    • April 1st, 2014 14:47

    I take your point Ian, in regards to focusing on the bigger issue of whether or not Scotland should break away from the Union, and for Scotland to have greater control and say in its affairs.

    The problem I see, as was demonstrated when I asked a couple of teenagers (old enough to vote though) ‘ What did they think of Scottish Independence ‘, their reaction was ‘ They were voting No! ‘.

    However though, one of the teenagers did say ‘ it was difficult to make a proper decision due to the lack of information ‘. I agreed with them, but also pointed out that ‘ this was not a vote, as many people perceive, for Alex Salmond and the SNP Party, but a vote for Scotland to be independent and not under the control of another countries parliament (Westminster).

    Later we discussed Shetland’s role as to whether or not Shetland would be better under Scotland or United Kingdom as a sovereignty? I said ‘ that under both situation’s Shetland would not benefit much from it. ‘. This was emphasized by the debate on what powers Shetland could or should have depending on the result of the vote in September.

    Looking at it from a very basic point, if shetlander’s voted Yes, then this could be interpreted as Scotland having sovereign rights over the islands………if on the other hand, shetlander’s voted No……this could also be misinterpreted as Shetland wishing to be part of the United Kingdom…….in either vote, Shetland would not fair well…….or the interpretation of such actions could be used against it.

    I told them I was very much on the fence as to which way I was going to vote.


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