Debate independence

The last debate of the Althing’s season next Saturday is also likely to be the most controversial and hotly argued.

The motion is “The time is right for Scottish independence” and speaking in favour will be Mike Mackenzie, an SNP list MSP for the Highlands and Islands, supported by Danus Skene, a former LibDem and Labour candidate but now a local SNP activist.

Opposing them will be local MP Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary of State and leading member of the “no” campaign and Ian Duncan, a leading Scottish Conservative from Perthshire.

Because of the large audience expected for this debate the Althing will move from the school to the neighbouring Tingwall Hall for the evening. The debate is on Saturday 22nd March starting at 7.30pm.


Add Your Comment
  • Charlie Banham i Cullivoe

    • March 10th, 2014 14:27

    Looking forward to this! -I have a lot of very awkward questions for Mr Carmichael to answer
    Can anyone tell me if you have to reserve a seat or just show-up at the door?

    If any of you have read my previous posts in Shetland Times, The Scotsman, Daily Record Scotland and Herald Scotland newspapers, you will already know full well how I intend to vote in September.

    My ‘YES’ vote has been well thought-out, researched and pondered to no end. It has not been affected in any way by the negative so-called ‘better together’ campaign, which in my honest opinion is creating a hostile atmosphere between voters inclined to vote either way, not to mention the large percentage of undecided voters – who really have the power to ‘tip-the scales’ in deciding who wins in September. Ignore them at your peril

    Me? I have absolutely no doubt that Scotland will thrive after independence – no matter what currency we use. Central Bank? we do NOT need one – one of the richest and best performing economies over the pat 50 years is Hong Kong (which has NO natural resources, NEVER had a central Bank ‘(Neither was it ‘propped-up’ by the misnamed ‘Bank Of England’ or any other Central Bank for that matter.
    It is wise to note that Hong Kong’s success, now that it has been seceded back to China is still thriving – and to this day is the template used to build a rapidly growing and thriving of China.

    Of course, An Independent Scotland will not become another China. Scotland is unique – and I love it the way it is. At the present time, only one thing is missing- Our ability to run our own affairs. We now have the opportunity to change that.

    Revenue from the North Sea Oil, no matter how much or how little it is every year will still go much further when there are only 5.3 million of us as opposed to UK’s 63 million population

    Another valid reason for my decision to vote yes is the UK National Debt – which as of today is £1.337 TRILLION – an eye-watering amount which, by 2017 will grow to £1.8 TRILLION this debt cannot ever be paid off! to do so would require 117 YEARS of using just the entire tax revenue from North Seal Oil (based on 2012 oil prices)
    And that is only the tip of the iceberg – I ask you to all log-in to this site and see exactly what our UK government’s, over the last 60 years have got us all into. You will be truly shocked. these figures are supplied by the UK government, but most of it has NEVER been released to the public

    Here is the link:

    Well worth a watch – even though the ‘numbers’ accurate and easily verifiable they are, nevertheless quite disturbing

    See you at the meeting in Tingwall? – I hope so

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 10th, 2014 15:42

      Have you ever been to Hong Kong Charlie? and if that is what you envisage for a independent Scotland then god help us all should it ever come to pass.
      As for your constant harping on about North Sea oil and how it is going to fund a fairer more just Scotland, as someone who has spent his working life in the oil industry I’m telling you now to forget it. England is sitting on the largest concentration of Shale gas in the western hemisphere, and if Scotland does vote yes then You can bet your house on it being developed rapidly and it is much easier and cheaper to produce than oil from the North Sea. As for myself and most others in my line of work we will now be able to work onshore probably monday to friday for the same money we are on now and as it will all be earned overseas ie England it will also be free from Scottish taxes. so it is win for me, a win for England and a loss for Scotland.
      If Scotland votes no then the English shale deposits will still be developed, I’ll still get to work onshore monday to friday and scotland will get to benefit from English gas, a win win win.

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 10th, 2014 16:03

      And as for the national debt a fair bloody chunk of it is due to Scottish labour Chancellor Brown just the kind of muppet we will be stuck with in an independent Scotland, yes the UK debt is rising but that is because of the massive deficit left by labour, I’m sick of hearing from labour voters how the tories have failed to bring down the debt, and just to be clear I’m sick of the tories telling us that their austerity measures will work, because it will need a lot more than looking to pennies to save pounds this time.

      • Charlie Banham i Cullivoe

        • March 11th, 2014 13:41

        With regard to the debt Ally you are correct – the rapidly growing debt (on which we (UK) pays £67bn in interest EVERY YEAR speaks volumes – will NEVER be paid off No matter who is to blame for it – they all had a part to play, and they all had a chance to stop the rot before it was too late. But now it is too late
        With regard your assertion that I wanted to model an independent Scotland on Hong Kong – that is NOT what I wrote – so read by post again please!
        I used Hong Kong in the context of a successful economy without the use of a Central Bank – Hong Kong has always , and still does, trade in US$, £ Sterling and many other world currencies. THAT is what I want for Scotland – a self-sufficient country, with a moderately sized financial sector that is regulated to prevent the type of criminal behaviour that brought the world to it’s knees Big, (as in London) is not better (except those making obscene amounts of money and bonuses from ‘investing’ OUR money for which we get a pittance, or sometimes nothing in return – except for heartache and shrinking pension pots. And the bankers are STILL at it – and nothing is being done. If WE the people of Scotland don’t do anything about it then we are, in reality, the Mugs that the banks treat us like

        Time for radical change don’t you think?

    • Chris Darroch

      • March 10th, 2014 17:18

      Thanks Charlie. Agree with you completely and that video will be tweeted and retweeted by me and hopefully a section of my current 850 followers.

      • Charlie Banham Cullivoe

        • March 11th, 2014 15:13

        Thanks Chris – hopefully, those 850 followers, will each have 850 followers and so on, and so on
        Keep spreading the word, and hopefully, some of the undecided and potential ‘No’ voters will see the light


  • Neil Anderson

    • March 10th, 2014 18:17

    No No No , a horrendously bad and ill thought idea !

    Finances based on a finite resource , recipe for disaster !

    • Charlie Banham i Cullivoe

      • March 11th, 2014 15:05

      Neil, with all due respect, that is not what I or any other sensible person would expect either.
      An Independent Scotland will have many other streams of revenue, and of course, will have some manageable debt
      My point was that the oil revenue, no matter how much or how little it may be in future years, would go a lot further when wisely used for 5.3 million of us Scots – as opposed to the UK model of continually squandering oil revenue (and most other revenue) as they have done for the last 50 or so years
      So the ‘recipe for disaster’ that you describe really applies to the UK with the staggering national debt’

      Sad for rUK population though, is that same ‘recipe’ is already cooked, on the shelf – a ‘delicacy’ that their government is trying to force-feed to them, but the people know all to well that they cannot digest it.

      We, in an Independent Scotland, will have our own recipe – made in Scotland – For Scotland
      Home Grown is far better – it is all in the taste Neil.

    • Charlie Banham Cullivoe

      • March 11th, 2014 15:36

      Neil, the ‘Recipe for Disaster’ that you describe for Scotland is already over-cooked in the Westminster oven – not fit for human consumption, and unless you are very rich, it is impossible to digest.
      But hey! if you are satisfied with the ‘menu’ with what is served up to you, good for you
      Have you thought about what the ‘Condemns’ (sic) will have on the menu for the next hundred years?

      ‘None are So Blind As They That Will Not See’ comes to mind

  • Ali Inkster

    • March 11th, 2014 15:25

    Prior to the reunification of Hong Kong and China Hong Kong was backed by the UK,, and propped up by the simple fact that it was a route for cheap Chinese goods to reach western markets. Low wages and terrible working conditions also contributed greatly to Hong Kong s success. so your comparison to Scotland is without any merit.
    now back to the debt, 13 years of labours economic miracle brought to us by a scotsman brought us to the point where the interest was greater than the countries net worth, so don’t brush it off with the comment “whoever was responsible”
    Like a lot of yeSNP you ignore reality and keep up the rhetoric.

    • Robert Sim

      • March 11th, 2014 17:32

      Ali, I was under the impression that the monetarist policies followed by Gordon Brown and “New Labour” were begun by the Thatcher governments of the 1980s. It is irrelevant that Gordon Brown is Scottish: the same ‘boom-and-bust’ policy has been followed by UK governments of whatever hue for the last 30-odd years.

      I find it ironic, given the British economic mess of the last four decades, that those who oppose independence paint the economic picture for a self-governing Scotland as black as possible. The fact is that the Scottish economy is overall in a healthy state and there is no reason to suppose that we can’t do quite well on our own. In any case, the point is that the Scottish people would be making all the economic decisions for themselves.

      • John Tulloch

        • March 11th, 2014 20:14

        Robert, the same style of economic policy isn’t appropriate all the time, it’s ‘horses for courses’ i.e. ‘monetarism’ by which I assume you mean tight control of the ‘money supply’ and public expenditure is appropriate in times of high inflation whereas Keynesian policies of high public expenditure are appropriate in times of recession, depression and deflation.

        The wonderful irony is that the Tories are currently forced to deploy an ‘extreme Keynsian’ regime of sky-high public spending and borrowingwith record low interest rates and money-printing to boost the money supply, following ‘Prudence’ Brown’s management of the economy.

        The Tories quite reasonably described Brown’s policies as “failing to fix the roof when the sun was shining” because he consistently broke his own ‘Golden Rule’ by increasing government spending when the economy was doing well, instead of paying back debt.

        Not to mention the de-regulation of the banks and splitting the Bank of England’s supervisory responsibility three ways so that nobody knew what was going on, nobody could be blamed and they all kept their jobs and/or moved on to similar ones.

        Do you know of a country which has discovered how to avoid the economic fact of life you refer to as ‘boom and bust’?

        There’s nothing to stop Scots taking their own economic decisions and doing it acceptably well but they won’t be the first to “end boom and bust”.

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 11th, 2014 20:36

        Scotland as part of the UK is in an overall healthy state yet England is screwed, That seems to be your position Robert. But it does rather trump your separatist arguments.

      • Charlie Banham Cullivoe

        • March 11th, 2014 23:33

        Well said Robert, I agree with all of your points
        Sadly, for whatever reason there are many (like Ian) who seem to be afraid of change and not believing that things could be much better than the status quo.
        As the old saying goes, ‘there is nothing to fear except fear itself’.
        Start-Up for Independent Scotland will not be easy. There will be problems, there will be challenges – but there will be solutions – OUR solutions.
        I just hope that this opportunity to build a new Scotland brings all of us together, rather than create division and animosity. We will all be better for it – and so will our grandchildren.

        Bottom line is there is much criticism of and by both sides, but let’s keep the debate civilised, open and honest by expressing our true feelings, realities as we see them, while still respecting each others views – whether we agree with them or not.

        Challenge each other? yes by all means!

        Criticism? I think it was Aristotle who said “You can only avoid criticism
        If You Say Nothing
        If You Do Nothing
        If You Are Nothing

        So, thinking caps on, and let the stimulating debate continue!

  • iantinkler

    • March 11th, 2014 16:33

    “If WE the people of Scotland don’t do anything about it then we are, in reality, the Mugs that the banks treat us like” Well, Charlie Banham, follow the Greek model. Vote “Yes” and impload. lose the Banks and financial businesses. BA will love the nil airport duty. Quite a tourist attachment watching a great country going third world, after all the wild country is now a wind farm, not much left to see.

    • Charlie Banham Cullivoe

      • March 11th, 2014 22:59

      You write as if you are very angry Ian – what is the matter son?

      Very revealing Ian that you shy away from addressing my comments regarding the UK banking System and the devastation that it has brought upon us. it is almost as if you are a shareholder in one of these monoliths? or perhaps you just subscribe to the Tory line and cannot recognise what is really happening all around you?

      What Scotland needs is a solid, old fashioned retail/business – orientated and strictly regulated banking service, where we know that our money is in safe hands – for us the customer. A system that does NOT include Investment Banking on the London Model

      I realise that the ‘Bitter-Together (sic) gang are singing the same song as you Ian, all gloom and doom. But it is strange that many of them, especially the London based media and Westminster MP’s are trying sooo very hard to keep Scotland in the UK, quite the opposite stance to when they preached that Scotland gets a lot more money from the UK than it actually puts in – which, in fact is not true. but the myth is still alive and well, especially south of the border, where, by the way, I was born, back in 1941 – so I have ‘no axe to grind’ by preferring the Saltire to the Union Flag
      (By the way, I also prefer ‘Flower of Scotland’ to that dirge of a National Anthem God Save The Queen (is she in danger?) What an embarrassment: Singing a National Anthem that that pays tribute to a PERSON rather than your COUNTRY – Think about it! North Korea and Zimbabwe don’t even do that, yet us ‘British Subjects’ (lest you forget…we are not even citizens due to royal edict imposed on us ) yet we are expected to pay tribute in this ridiculous way? Not ME – EVER!
      We must be the laughing stock of the world – quite unlike former colonies like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, among others which, with good manners, politely replaced that dirge with their own anthems.

      Tell me Ian, can you not even see one single benefit in favour of an Independent Scotland?
      All you can forecast for an Independent Scotland is gloom and doom
      Not that I have anything against gloom and doom – I feel that way quite often, most of us do. In most cases though I honestly believe that this feeling has stemmed from perceived helplessness by average working people that are under a gathering darkening cloud, that tries to conceal the fact that their hard-working contributions to UK society, after all, counts for virtually nothing.
      We are paying the price for the evil deeds of others, while the perpetrators are still at large and thriving, they quietly laugh at us while their banking employers hand them fat, obscene bonuses while at the same time use very clever accounting to avoid tax by declaring an artificial multi-billion £ operating loss. I have no problem with hard working business people being well-paid, but what has happened and is still being sanctioned by the UK government is a disgrace and a slap in the face for all of us
      No wonder the UK is broken – and well beyond repair
      Enough is enough!

      We deserve better – much better – the UK has not done it for us and it never will. We tried it for 300 years and it failed us miserably. An amicable divorce is the only way out – so vote ‘YES’ to ‘Send Them Home To Think Again’
      Your grandchildren will thank you for it

  • Peter Corne

    • March 11th, 2014 18:32

    The big question is, “What about Shetland?”

    We should be annoyed that the UK government banned the Scottish government from holding any referendum other than the Scottish independence one on 18 September.

    I am informed that a petition will be published by the Scottish Parliament before the Althing debate, calling for referenda to be held on the status of Shetland, Orkney, and the Western Isles – one week after the Scottish referendum.

    The Scottish result will of course be known by then.

    The options in Shetland will be:

    – Shetland independence
    – Shetland to stay in Scotland

    And if the Scottish result was ‘yes’, there will be a third option:

    – Shetland to leave Scotland but stay in the rump UK.

    It is about time people in Shetland got a chance to decide the status of these islands. The same goes for Orkney – and I know at least a few people on Lewis who think the same about the Western Isles.

    • Brian Smith

      • March 11th, 2014 20:44

      How aboot people in Linlithgow?

    • Charlie Banham Cullivoe

      • March 11th, 2014 23:55

      Very interesting post Peter – and what a teaser for us living in Shetland

      In principal, I would, with certain caveats favour Shetland remaining with ( may not be the correct word – some may say join) Scotland after a ‘YES’ vote in September, then after a few years if we are not satisfied with the way the new Scottish Government looks after Shetland, we could then petition for Shetland Independence.

      My ‘caveat’ if I may put it that way, would be that, in the event of a No Vote, Shetland should immediately petition for independence from the UK

      Just one big question (for now) – Just who would ‘run’ Shetland government? unemployed Mr Alistair Carmichael or SIC councillors? Perish the thought! – Frying Pan/Fire comes to mind

  • IanTinkler

    • March 12th, 2014 10:07

    Charlie Banham Cullivoe; your quote,”We deserve better – much better – the UK has not done it for us and it never will. We tried it for 300 years and it failed us miserably. so vote ‘YES’” I am so very Sorry Charlie that you feel so very dissolutely let down by a Scotland United with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You may feel you and Scotland have failed miserably under the Union, but please understand most of the Scots do not share your view, having indeed prospered within the Union. 50% plus resident in Scotland already have decided to support the Union, unfortunately many, many more living out with Scotland have been disenfranchised and are unable to vote for independence at all. Maybe if a positive case made for independence was argued the situation would change, but endless moaning and negative arguments fool no one. We, as a Scots, are not all anti English, anti Westminster, anti the Union and anti banks. I think xenophobic, socialist dogma fools no one. We are not that silly as not to see through Salmond’s bull and bluster, a negative argument fools no intelligent person. You should try a positive argument, that could help.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 12th, 2014 22:41

      So, what is YOUR point Ian?
      According to you, the Independence debate has already been won by the ‘NO’ campaign?

      So, instead of ‘attacking’ us via your keyboard, why don’t you just sit back, relax and enjoy watching us dreamers in the ‘YES’ campaign making fools of ourselves spouting nonsense, while we wave the Saltire ?

      In reality though, the tone of your comments tells a quite different story, because despite what the polls say, the campaign is far from over – and you know that all to well.
      The only poll that will count is the one when the votes are counted on 18th September 2014

      We all have opinions on this Independence issue – and I express mine mostly with reasons why Scotland should leave the UK . So I do leave myself open to being criticised by those who believe that I am being negative.
      Quite the contrary really – I consider my comments to be very positive about the Negative. Comments based on verifiable facts ( such as the rapidly growing UK National Debt etc) these are real issues, not scaremongering, just legitimate concerns that have affected and will continue to NEGATIVELY affect all of our lives. Surely any fair-minded person would not see those comments as negative?
      Unless of course you say they are ‘negative’ just because my views differ from yours?

      You may disagree, but I am sure that many people consider that the tactics of the ‘NO’ campaign, so far are nothing but negative – not one solitary valid reason offered exactly why Scotland should remain part of the UK – just scaremongering, predicting gloom and doom, no facts, just opinions of those who have a vested interest in the status quo
      All the negativity,(conveniently disguised as concern for us Scots) of course, is based on the assumption that an independent Scotland would follow the same UK’s reckless fiscal irresponsibility model that has, ultimately caused the it’s suicidal self destruction.

      Don’t ‘shoot the messenger’ Ian, I am just a bearer of bad news, but I believe there is good news to come, in fact very good news, for all of us
      C’mon Ian, vote ‘YES’ you know in your heart it makes sense
      Me? I use my head and my heart

  • IanTinkler

    • March 12th, 2014 10:15

    The intelligent opinion: Glasgow Caledonian University, saw a 63% majority in favour of keeping Scotland as part of the UK.

  • Dave Cooper

    • March 12th, 2014 10:32

    How about a devils advocate getting a word in.
    Shetland has around 23,000 inhabitants. Scotland has about 5,000,000. So guess where the power lies.

    Has anyone on Shetland asked the majority of central belt electorate about the previous comments. Some ask why subsidise Shetland to it’s current level. Many central voters would be happy if Shetland became purely a dormitory for energy industry workers.
    Don’t rely loyalty. Flags can be very emotive & Shetland has shown they are not totally committed to the rest of Scotland by choosing to have it’s own.
    Just depopulating three or four of Shetland’s outer islands could mean more cash for the central belt. Just think how much more could be saved if Shetland’s population just drifted away.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 12th, 2014 12:59

      Good Point Dave
      It’s also good to remember that the Scotland 5,000,000 people compared to the rest of the UK’s 58million – makes it simple enough even for an idiot to figure out where the real power is, and where it will stay ad in finitum if there is a ‘NO’ vote
      I shudder at the thought!

      • Dave Cooper

        • March 12th, 2014 13:57

        Correct Charlie. A yes vote will make it politically easier & financially more attractive for the central belt to nudge inhabitants away from Shetland.

      • John Tulloch

        • March 12th, 2014 17:43

        The Central Belt of Scotland doesn’t subsidise Shetland, it’s the other way round.

  • Iantinkler

    • March 12th, 2014 16:03

    Charlie Banham To quote you “It’s also good to remember that the Scotland 5,000,000 people compared to the rest of the UK’s 58million – makes it simple enough even for an idiot to figure out where the real power is, ” just what is the point you are trying to make? How about “, 5 million Scots compared to 733 million Europeans. Now try and put that into perspective, perhaps Scots in the Yes camp need their very own planet!!

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 12th, 2014 23:14

      Calm down Ian!
      By the way, I quite like your comment “perhaps Scots in the Yes camp need their very own planet!
      Should your comment have ended with a question mark rather than two exclamation marks – unless, of course, you are trying to tell us that you don’t’ want us?
      No matter Ian, we are not going anywhere, so get used to it

      Yes we DO ‘want our own planet’ – it will be ‘Planet Scotland’ which has a nice ring to it
      A ‘planet’ where all are welcome – Yes voters and No Voters alike.

      Surely Ian, if a ‘YES’ vote prevails you wouldn’t want to turn our beautiful country into a divided nation like Ireland & Northern Ireland just because the vote didn’t go your way?
      Whatever the vote, we should all accept the result and move forward

  • Gordon Harmer

    • March 12th, 2014 21:02

    The YESNP’s economic case for independence has suffered a significant blow after it emerged Scotland had a £12bn deficit last year following a sharp fall in oil revenues.
    Scotland’s annual accounts show the country’s share of North Sea oil revenues fell by 41.5% in 2012-13, leaving the Scottish economy with a worse deficit level than the UK, with the overspend paid for by the UK’s taxpayers.
    The annual Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report showed the Scottish geographical share of oil receipts was £5.6bn last year – £4.5bn less than the previous year and £1bn less than the devolved government had predicted.
    Soon after its publication, Yes Scotland deleted data on its website.
    Alistair Darling, chairman of the pro-UK Better Together campaign, said: “This is the day that Alex Salmond’s own figures made the case against independence.
    “If Scotland was independent today we would have no option but to cut spending on services like schools and hospitals or put up taxes – or probably both. Today as part of the UK we don’t have to do that.
    “Oil revenues are a major source of Scotland’s income, but are a relatively small part of the UK economy. The drop in oil revenue is so big that it is the equivalent of the entire budget for Scottish schools.”
    Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, said the deficit last year was nearly £500 worse per person in Scotland than the UK and was forecast to widen to £1,000 per person by 2016-17.
    “Whatever the Scottish government says now, the government of an independent Scotland would be forced to raise taxes and cut public services. We are better off together.

    • Robert Sim

      • March 13th, 2014 0:21

      Gordon, here is a more balanced and intelligent report on the GERS figures by a respected political corespondent:

      Brian Taylor makes clear in his article that the picture is complex; that it is a matter of how you interpret the figures; and there is plenty of reason to be positive as regards the future of the Scottish economy. The fact remains that the economic questions can’t be reduced to a one-dimensional, simplistic analysis.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • March 13th, 2014 16:56

        Robert when the figures were the other way around you did not bother about the complexity of them or how any one else interpreted them, you used them to push your point for independence. I am using them to make my point that we will not be able to rely on oil revenue to finance everything in an independent Scotland as some claim. With fluctuating oil revenue higher taxes will be the order of the day to pay for public services and all the promises in the white paper.

  • Dave Cooper

    • March 13th, 2014 10:13

    John Tulloch claims that Shetland subsidises the rest of Scotland. But when it comes down to it. In the independence debate perception counts. When people are stood round a smartphone in a central belt golf club looking at the Shetland Recreational Trust website jealousy can creep in.
    All these facilities for 23,000 people when their local swimming pool etc are facing reduced hours or closure. Is that right ? It does not stop there. Overall Shetland residents appear to have more public money spent on them per head than the average Scot. That’s not really fair. London can’t do anything about it because it would be seen as attaching a Scottish region. Independence can change that allowing the money to be spread out more evenly.

    • Gordon Harmer

      • March 13th, 2014 17:01

      So Dave are you saying publicly that if we have independence the Scottish government will confiscate our £200 million nest egg and dish it out evenly among the rest of Scotland. Because that is what has paid for what we have extra up hear to compensate for the disturbance caused by having the UK’s oil come through here. This means I was not scaremongering when I said this would happen if we vote yes in September.


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