Carmichael’s referendum plea with six months to go

A vote for independence would be a gamble that would break the most “successful social, political and economic union” ever, according to Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.

With six months to go until the referendum the Northern Isles MP urged voters to remember the 18th September poll is “not like an election”.

“You cannot change your mind in five years’ time if you do not like the choice you make. Once the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland has been unpicked there will be no going back.

“The UK has been the most successful social, political and economic union that the world has ever seen. The decision to end it is not one that any sensible person would want to take lightly.

“It’s important to realise that a vote for independence is a gamble – there are simply too many unanswered questions, particularly regarding currency, pensions and the economy. Why would anyone want to leave a successful union – which has helped Scotland prosper for generations – for such an uncertain future?

“That’s why, as a Scot, I appeal to all voters to get the facts and consider what is best for our future. And we also need to remember that it’s not just our future which is at stake – what kind of Scotland do we want our children and grandchildren to inherit?”


Add Your Comment
  • Iain giblin

    • March 17th, 2014 14:09

    “Successful”, I suppose it depends if your eating out from food banks or not!!

  • Ivan Coghill

    • March 17th, 2014 19:41

    Yes, it is “not like an election”. It is an “election” to have meaningful elections and rid ourselves of the disgrace of poverty in a rich country.

  • Dave Cooper

    • March 17th, 2014 23:27

    ‘The poor will always be with us’. As true now as it was 2,000 years ago.

    • Ivan Coghill

      • March 18th, 2014 16:42

      Indeed … but in differing levels and with greater and lesser differences in wealth. Take a look a Britain today, take a look.

    • Ivan Coghill

      • March 18th, 2014 20:01

      Dave Cooper – in the UK, the 5 richest families have the same wealth as 12.6 million other UK citizens. (From Oxfam GB)

    • Robert Sim

      • March 19th, 2014 23:13

      When read in context, the Biblical text you quote does not mean that the poor are a social ill that will always be there and we can do nothing about. It is not correct therefore to use it as a justification for poverty.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • March 17th, 2014 23:48

    Why should we Shetlanders be dictated by a guy who is only looking after his own interests, I may have missed out but I have never heard,
    Alistair Carmichael MP Minister for Scotland, let us know why he is not supporting the Shetlanders, He may think he is,? he has not come forward to let us know as to which way would be best, A YES Vote or A no vote, and the reason he thinks so.

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 18th, 2014 9:38

      I think he has been very clear Sandy He’s a better together man, as for me I’m a better of clear o da lot o dem man, and have yet to hear or read anything from the yeSNP that would make me want any part of their daydreams.

      • Sandy McMillan

        • March 18th, 2014 14:35

        My argument is why does the Chancellor at Westminster have the right to control Scotland’s finances, Ali I do not what age you are, I am of Pension age, I have just received the paper work for my pension for the coming year 2014-15, I am to get a £4.00 increase, as my pension is below the liveable wage I receive pension credit, when it comes to April I lose part of my pension credit it goes from £19.00 down to £14.10 a lose of £4.90.
        As you see I am given £4.00 by one hand. Then £4.90, this has gone on since this the Tory- Lib Dems Came in to power; therefore I have been losing out.
        This I have brought up with Alistair Carmichael MP Scottish office, The Department of Work and Pensions in Blackpool, And the Pension Credit lot in Newcastle,
        You get the same answer no matter who you ask, if your STATE PENSION goes up down comes you PENSION CREDIT, as the £4.00 increases in State Pension Takes you up to the threshold. The Westminster lot can’t give a legitimate answer,
        As the Scottish Government has no control over pensions and the like you cant ask them at the moment, well until after September 2014,there were Pension Departments in Scotland, for some reason the Westminster Government have taken them across the border (I WONDER WHY)

      • Ivan Coghill

        • March 18th, 2014 16:45

        And in September you will have three choices: Yes; No; abstain.

      • Ivan Coghill

        • March 18th, 2014 16:49

        Ali Inkster, you will have three choices in September: abstain; No; Yes. If the running is close, an abstention will be, in effect, a Yes or a No vote.

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 19th, 2014 19:49

        Ivan, unless salmond sets in stone that we will get our own referendum with the same deal for the isles as he is seeking for Scotland then I will most definitely be voting no. After all what’s good for the goose.

  • iantinkler

    • March 18th, 2014 9:35

    I may have missed out but I have never heard, Alex Salmond SMP, First Minister for Scotland, let us know why he is not supporting the Shetlanders, He may think he is,? he has not come forward to let us know as to which way would be best, A No Vote or A YES vote, and the reason he thinks so. Not too original, but very relevant!!! lol.

  • Brian Smith

    • March 18th, 2014 13:12

    People with disabilities and severe illnesses are being made to wait for more than six months to find out if they are eligible for financial support from Mr Carmichael’s Government. That is ‘success’ for Mr C., but unacceptable to some of us.

  • Iain giblin

    • March 18th, 2014 14:23

    1 in 5 children are growing up in poverty in Scotland. Hague and Cameron go to Brussels to defend bankers bonuses worth millions. To me Carmichael is no more than a quisling. To say its a successful union just shows that he is already an honorary member of the Eton Boys Brigade.

  • David Spence

    • March 19th, 2014 10:38

    When it comes to the vile Tories and their responsibility to run the country, they only (typical trait of capitalism) look after themselves and their business buddies. Just recently, David Cameron gave £1.5 billion of NHS Contracts to his business buddies, despite what he said prior to the election ‘ The NHS will be save in our hands ‘. What he really means is in the hands of the highly corrupt, profit and greed private sector who put profits, greed and feeding the equally greed orientated shareholders first before any service or product. Basically, a substandard services at double (if not more) the cost……that is your caring private medical sector.

    As for the worst scum in our society, the Bankers, they truly to represent what the Bible says ‘ For the want for money is the root of all evils ‘……..never more so said than with the principles the vile Tories represent and how our banking system is run.

    • Scott Graham

      • March 20th, 2014 18:58

      The vile Tories have done a wonderful job rescuing the country for the brink of ruin. Unemployment in down the economy is growing, people at all levels of society are getting richer. It must rankle greatly given your polarised position. What exactly has happened in your life to make you so angry?

  • Ali Inkster

    • March 19th, 2014 14:07

    Having had the misfortune to use both the NHS and private medical services, I would have to say that standard of treatment and care in the private sector was light years ahead of the NHS, as for cost diagnosis and treatment was prompt reducing time off work saving money and increasing the tax take. Earlier diagnosis also reduces the cost of treatment not just financially but physically as well. So David your diatribe about greedy self serving capitalists does not ring true when it comes to health care. I mean why would anyone pay for substandard treatment when they can get it from the NHS for free.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 19th, 2014 23:15

      Ali, we all have opinions, and so we should. And you express yours with great passion

      Private Health Care, for those that can afford it, is a great thing,
      Most of us CANNOT afford it
      But I do take exception that we :
      a) get substandard care from the NHS
      I have been very fortunate, (age 73) with my health, but on 5 occasions over the past 10 years I have been well cared for in various NHS Scotland Hospitals, my treatment, the staff and the overall experience was to my entire satisfaction
      b) we get it for ‘Free’
      Just where do you get that idea Ian?
      Have you not heard of National Insurance?
      You know Ian, the chunk of money that is deducted from our wages every pay-day.
      The key word Ian, is INSURANCE – a covenant responsibility of our successive governments to take care of us when we need medical treatment, welfare, pensions etc
      We paid for that insurance Ian, and just because the government did not invest or save ANY of our INSURANCE PREMIUMS, instead, they poured our premiums into a black hole to the point that the UK is virtually bankrupt and cannot afford to pay-out what it was and still is, legally required to do. Our trust was broken, and yet WE are paying the price.

      Granted, unlike private health care facilities we do not have to prove that we have insurance or the means to pay for our care, but like you Ian, we have paid our Insurance Premiums, albeit, to a different exchequer than your strictly regulated one

      Advertising Watchdog – where have you been all these years?

      However as far as the NHS is concerned, what was once a great institution and a valuable asset for all of us that needed it, has been ruined. Not by shareholders, not by profiteers, but by successive government’s – non more-so than the present lot in Westminster – forever tinkering and changing a system that DID work
      Look at the shambles, a change of cabinet posts once or twice a year, moving all of the failed performers around expecting them to perform better this time? Appointing people who have absolutely no expertise in the Health Sector
      Never did work, never will work.

      I love the NHS, but it badly needs help, but not the kind of ‘help’ that Cameron/Osborne have undertaken – they have brought the system to it’s knees.
      What it needs is drastic changes – getting rid of the ‘fat-cat’ NHS Trust managers who are too busy doing nothing but try to perpetuate their existence

      Interesting to note as well, George Osborne recently announced that the term ‘NATIONAL INSURANCE’ is to be changed to some sort of a TAX (sorry I cannot remember, but I think it is WORKING TAX)

      Finally, an admission from a politician that all along, that what we were led to believe was ‘insurance’ was in fact a tax, but by another name.

    • Ivan Coghill

      • March 20th, 2014 15:48

      Ali, re your comment above, about “Salmond” offering an isles referendum: why do you fail to request this of “Cameron”? This stance is one which will make people suspect that you – and people like you – are a Unionist in the guize of one who seeks autonomy for the isles.

  • Iantinkler

    • March 19th, 2014 15:56

    David Spence, you must love Salmond, not only did he work for a Bank, RBS, but he is ultimately responsible for The Scottish NHS. Health and social care are devolved issues in the United Kingdom. Not those vile Tories after all.!!!!!!

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 19th, 2014 23:27

      Ian, I noticed that you used the term ‘Vile Tories’ (without quotation marks)
      A chink in your armour, or just a Freudian slip ?
      No matter Ian, We Welcome You Aboard the ‘YES’ Campaign

  • Ivan Coghill

    • March 19th, 2014 18:04

    For the Shetland folk who wish for greater autonomy – go for it! And now is the time. However, on September the 18th the door closes. Who do you want to deal with after that date, who?

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 19th, 2014 22:05

      I can appreciate your concerns about Shetland and it’s people being short-changed by government, and unless there is a drastic change (wishful thinking I know) the only opportunity we will have is to vote ‘YES’ on 18 September 2014
      I honestly believe that government cuts from Westminster have been the never – ending problem – with Scotland’s ‘meagre handout’, being reduced year-on-year, the Scottish Government is in the firing line, when in reality that shrinking handout that has required the Scottish Parliament to cut costs that has hurt all communities in Scotland,
      Shetland & Orkney being particularly hard hit.

      As far as Independence for Shetland is concerned, in principle, I would vote for that – but with one caveat. I am a great believer in ‘One-Step-A t -A Time’:
      Vote ‘Yes’ in September, get us rid of Westminster , give the Scottish Government 5 years to get the country up and running and then see how we in Shetland fare.

      If Scottish Independence does not do it for us, there is then the incentive and the will to get independence for Shetland.
      Thoughts anyone?

  • Iain giblin

    • March 19th, 2014 21:38

    Ali I’m not sure the comparison your making between actual private health care which you would pay extra for compared to the west minster idea of privatised health care wich is sell the nhs off to private buyers who take a cut which therefore leaves less money for an already strapped for cash nhs. Simple maths dictates if you put the same amount of money in and expect someone to take a profit out standards will decline. Might have picked you up wrong on that but wasn’t sure if it was what you meant.

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 20th, 2014 13:02

      Current spending on NHS = X
      Current spending on private health care = Y
      total spend = Z = X+Y

      Under the current system the benefit to the general population of Y is not realised, and from my experience the service received for Y was a hell of a lot better than X. But those spending Y are getting the benefit of spending X, so why not merge the two systems so everybody gets the benefit of Z = X+Y

      Now if all health services were to have the same working practices as the private sector where a fraction of the money is spent on administration and is instead spent on what it is supposed to be spent on ie front line health care then savings would be massive. Big enough for there to be a profit in it.

      Also if the service you receive is not up to scratch you take your problem and your money else where forcing improvements in service.
      The reason private health care is so much better than NHS is competition and the simple fact that private hospitals will spend money where it will create a return ie actual health care whereas politicians will spend money where it will create a favourable sound bite. Or in the case of Labour spend the money once and announce they spent the money 3 times, more sound bites for your pound so I guess they were being cost effective at least.

      So if you want a health care system every bit as good as that received by private patients then privatised hospitals seems to be a wise choice.

      some articles containing comparisons of health care from around the world make your own minds up to what is best

  • James Howitt

    • March 20th, 2014 20:22

    Er..Health is a devolved matter, so ranting on about Dave and the NHS is a bit silly. Secondly, the top 5% (those evil bankers) siupply around 45% of the tax take throughout the UK as a whole (dwarfs the revenue from Oil), so your pension and the money for the devolved NHS comes from… drumroll those evil bankers.

    Any doubt: Check the Treasury Red Book.


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.