More about the future (Brian Nugent)

I am not a member of the SNP. I will be voting “yes” in September. The referendum is about more than one political party; it is about the future and what we can do with it.

The point about Norway that Gordon Harmer (The Shetland Times, 14th Match) misses is that they control their own affairs, they make political choices about their country, in their country.

Scotland devolved can only make limited decisions while in an independent Scotland voters can choose the policies that they want and whatever parties they want to implement them.

Via the tax we all pay, Scotland has contributed to British fixtures and fittings, we are part owners of the pound, embassies, the armed services, BBC etc.

After independence, we can use the pound in a negotiated agreement with the rest of the UK which would seem the sensible way forward for both sides. Alternatively, Gordon will be aware that the pound is a fully tradable currency, so, we can use it anyway.

Brian Nugent

Yes Shetland





Add Your Comment
  • Gordon Harmer

    • March 19th, 2014 20:47

    The separatists disastrous currency policy has been remodeled numerous times in the past few years creating total uncertainty for anyone trying to make an informed decision on independence. For many years they claimed we should join the Euro because the pound was, in Salmond’s words, “a millstone around our necks”.
    Then the Euro zone went into turmoil and the Euro became a liability. Then ironically, they proposed creating a Euro zone style Sterling zone between Scotland and the UK as neighboring states.
    There is absolutely no doubt that the SNP cannot promise but can only assert that we would keep the pound as part of a currency union.
    Yes supporters and the SNP and Brian have said that we own the pound as much as the rest of the UK. But the pound is not a concrete asset, it is a system. This isn’t like carving up a CD collection after a divorce. If Scotland leaves the UK and the UK’s monetary organization, like the Bank of England and UK Treasury, we leave the UK pound, end of story.
    There is no Sterling zone now, we are one UK with one UK currency, the pound. The notes may differ sometimes, but the pound is a single UK currency and the UK’s interest rates are set by the Bank of England.
    To keep the pound after we have abandoned the UK, we would need to ask the country we had just jumped ship from to set up an uncertain Euro zone styled Sterling zone. After the disastrous failings of the Euro zone, and given that the rest of the UK would already have the pound and the security of the Bank of England, would it be sensible to go out of their way to set up Euro zone type arrangement?
    Salmond’s ex economic adviser, Professor John Kay has said that the tight controls placed on Scotland by such a deal would be incompatible with the idea of independence.
    Clearly this is not about England maintaining that Scotland couldn’t stay in the pound. If we choose to leave the UK, it would be us leaving the UK pound, there is no simple or assured way to be let back in. After having been rumbled on EU and NATO membership, the SNP and Yes campaign should stop disingenuously asserting that Scotland will automatically inherit things it has no right to, in a desperate attempt to reel in undecided voters.
    Therefore, even if both an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK could agree a deal to create a Euro zone style currency union, we would be giving up control of our taxes, our budget and our interest rates to what would effectively be a foreign country.
    The separatists have refused to plan for an alternative, other than getting a currency deal with the UK. This is most definitely not a strong position from which to enter into negotiations. We would have no choice but to accept whatever conditions the UK government of the time demanded.
    We cannot sensibly, as the SNP, Yes Shetland and Brian Nugent assert, just use the pound informally, in the way Panama uses the Dollar. This would mean no central bank standing behind our banks, our mortgages and our savings.
    It is not defendable for Salmond and Co to pretend they have no plan B. Even they would not be so irrational as to leave us without a usable currency policy (or would they?). Why don’t they tell us what the plan B is? Is it because we would not like it and would be more likely to vote no.

    The unappealing choice the nationalists are offering is losing the pound or losing governance over our economy. It is little wonder many separatists such as the Greens are now demanding for there to be a separate Scottish currency.
    The only way to keep the UK pound as Scotland’s currency and avoid the uncertainty of our economical future is to vote No and stay in the UK.

    Brian I think if you do your research an independent Scotland will have no claim to any of the British embassies, the only claim to any concrete (as in buildings) assets will be those that are in Scotland.

    The Norwegians may control their own affairs but it does not alter the fact that they pay extremely high taxes and have a massive national debt even with something like four times the revenue of the UK from their oil going into the governments coffers. If they have high taxes with four times the oil revenue what do Scottish workers have to look forward to on less than half the wage of a Norwegian with a much poorer government? One massive hike in the tax they pay is the truthful answer.

    • Victor Young

      • May 14th, 2014 22:52

      That is quite the best letter that I have seen in this whole sorry saga of Independence. I am afraid that the SNP went into this on the back of Brave Heart without much understanding of independence actually means.

      I am glad to see that the Sheltlander’s in here have cottoned to the fact that independence is all about an asset grab for the North Sea oilfields. All the SNP promises, to the mainland, are based upon this oil.

      Somebody recently said that if the Shetlands remain in the UK and Scotland is independent, then Scotland would have the oil fields on the basis that the Islands would be an enclave in Scotland’s territorial waters. I think that is poppycock. If Shetland remains in the UK, then the boundaries would not change , because they are still UK waters. In effect, Scotland, which is inserting itself into these waters would become the enclave within UK waters

  • Ali Inkster

    • March 20th, 2014 10:30

    What’s in it for Shetland? You are quite happy to say to 50 odd million UK citizens “screw you it’s our oil money and we’re taking it with us” based purely on geographical location. So explain to me and every other reader why Shetland would not only be better off doing the same, but what benefit there will be from being ruled by left wing central belt scotland. Every argument put forward for an independent scotland actually makes more sense when you apply it to Shetland. Culturally we are less scottish than the Scots are British, oil fund we could actually build up an oil fund while scotland will have it spent before the oil is even produced.
    Remote from the seat of power we are further from Edinburgh than Scotland is from London.
    Politically Shetland has consistently voted differently from Scotland.
    So come on Brian what is actually in it for Shetland?

    • Robert Sim

      • March 20th, 2014 19:30

      Ali, Brian can answer for himself but I would have thought that Shetland would have proportionally greater influence in an independent Scotland which has many other rural authorities and the natural and increasingly influential alliance of the island authorities than as a tiny and mostly overlooked part of a UK dominated by the interests of the south-east of England. The UK government may be courting us now but in the event of a No vote that will quickly evaporate, I am sure.

      Speaking of the vote, I see from today’s Herald that the gap is now very narrow in terms of voters’ intentions:

      • Gordon Harmer

        • March 22nd, 2014 9:05

        Robert, a poll conducted by Panelbias is hardly representative of the Scottish voter as there is a campaign on Yes Scotland’s Facebook to encourage members to join Panelbias and influence the poll.
        More recent polls give a better and fairer view, You Gov, No 53%, Yes 35%, Don’t Know 12%, Mori Poll, No 57%, Yes 32%, Dont Know 11%.
        To go along with that the Ipsos MORI survey for STV found 34 per cent of undecided voters are more likely to vote ‘no’ in September’s referendum following Mr Osborne’s warning the remainder of the UK would refuse a formal deal to share the pound.
        Even with Yes Scotland members trying to influence the poll your Panelbias poll still gave the No voters a lead.

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 22nd, 2014 9:20

        I’m not suggesting remaining with the rest of the UK.

    • Brian Nugent

      • March 24th, 2014 20:14

      The article here sums up my feelings quite well.

      I see Shetland as part of Scotland, you see Shetland as part of somewhere else.

      Not much common ground there. We will have to agree to disagree.

      • John Tulloch

        • March 24th, 2014 23:29

        Good article, Brian, here are a few highlights from it re the “Our Islands, Our Future” conference in Orkney, last September.

        1. “From the beginning, the three council leaders have shown a willingness to work not just with the Scottish government but also with the coalition in Westminster. They are making all the right moves, and it seems already that everyone is dancing to their tune.”

        Really? I see plenty of condescension, ‘Local Politician of the Year’ awards and ‘free beer tomorrow’ – plenty of ‘dancing’ – but no hard commitment to anything other than to “work towards a concordat with Westminster (in the of time).”

        2. “Jean-Didier Hache, an expert in the constitutional status of European islands, told the conference that Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles were currently the odd ones out in Europe. Most other island regions have already negotiated special status within their nation states and within the EU. “You are not at all breaking into new ground”, he said.”

        Doesn’t it surprise you that the Scottish islands are the ‘autonomy-lacking odd men out’ in the EU, even the isles under Westminster have special deals with EU and a seat apiece in Brussels?

        Why do you think that’s the case in this Nordic-orientated Scotland that we’re building, the Isle of Man was Norwegian, too, and they have autonomy under Westminster?

        The councils are, quite rightly, pursuing the best opportunity to improve the islands’ local empowerment in three, if not five, hundred years. They have, so far, sensibly remained neutral as to which country, if any, Shetland might eventually throw its lot in with.

        That is a matter for the islanders themselves, not the population of Scotland, to decide.

        EVERYTHING the councils could possibly ask for, short of full independence, is possible without leaving Scotland, including being in or out of the EU, so if the Scottish government’s intentions are shown to be honourable, a local referendum would be a formality?

        You say: “The article …… sums up my feelings quite well. ….
        ……I see Shetland as part of Scotland…etc..”

        Does this mean that if you and your ‘Yes’ colleagues get the result you want in Scotland, that you want it to be imposed on Shetlanders, even though a local majority may have voted ‘No’ themselves?

        That doesn’t sound very ‘Nordic’ to me?

        So will you support and sign the ROTI petition calling for referenda in the islands?

        Go on, go for it, the SNP can’t do anything to you, now that you’re no longer a member – will you sign?

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 25th, 2014 0:03

        if you really do believe that then you will sign the petition, what could be more about empowering the people who live in these islands than giving us a referendum.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 3rd, 2014 21:02

        I take it that’s a ‘No!’ Brian?

        Not that terribly ‘Nordic’ then, are you?

  • Sam Thomson

    • March 20th, 2014 15:20

    Let’s not be economical with the truth. While you are not currently a member of the SNP. You have been in the past have you not?

    • Brian Nugent

      • March 22nd, 2014 0:29

      I was a member of the SNP.
      I left in 2003.
      11 years on, I am not a member of the SNP.

  • James Howitt

    • March 20th, 2014 20:11

    Er. There will be no currency union post independence.

  • Ivan Coghill

    • March 20th, 2014 20:14

    Sam “McCarthy” Thomson, I agree with Mr Nugent and I have never been a member of the SNP.

    • Sam Thomson

      • March 25th, 2014 16:51

      I was making a point that while he may not be a member now. A fact I was already aware of he did not mention he was previously a member. With regards to the “Mccarthy”. I can assure you that is not my middle name.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • March 21st, 2014 5:59

    This is apparently international law and makes it clear an Independent Scotland would have no claim to any British embassies.
    The UK’s assets and liabilities, would fall to be apportioned equitably between the rUK and an independent Scotland. The apportionment of the UK’s assets and liabilities would constitute a large part of the separation negotiations that would have to follow any Yes vote in the referendum. Whilst the details would be a matter primarily of political negotiation, those negotiations would take place within a broad framework of international law. International law provides a number of presumptions that are likely to shape such negotiations. Among these presumptions are the following:

    The UK’s fixed property in Scotland (e.g. Government buildings) would become the property of the new Scottish State; conversely Scotland would have no claim on the UK’s fixed property in the rest of the UK or overseas
    The UK’s movable property in Scotland would become the property of the new Scottish State where it is specifically for local use
    Other assets and liabilities would fall to be apportioned equitably. This may be calculated by such means as share of population or, possibly with regard to the national debt, for example, by share of GDP. Historical contribution appears to be of no relevance: thus UK fixed property in Scotland would become the property of the new Scottish State even if its construction had been paid for UK taxpayers as a whole, and no compensation would be due to the rUK
    Working out how these principles and presumptions would apply in the context of unpicking a 307-year-old Union is inevitably going to be a complex task.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      • March 21st, 2014 18:55

      Gordon – very interesting post!

      I would be very interested in reading, for myself, the ‘International Law’ you have used to make your points.

      Could you please put me in touch with your official source?

      Many Thanks,

      Charlie Banham, Cullivoe

      • John Tulloch

        • March 21st, 2014 21:28


        The following attachment will probably provide much of what you need.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • March 22nd, 2014 6:50

        I found it on the internet, go look yourself Charlie. I said it is apparently international law, my caveat as I found it posted by someone else.

      • Robert Sim

        • March 22nd, 2014 9:55

        Charlie, I googled Gordon’s text and the source is evidence given to the House of Commons Select Committee on Scottish Affairs by a Law Professor at Glasgow Uni. It’s on p. 22 of the following doc:

        It does make very interesting and thought-provoking reading. It does make one realise that, given a Yes vote, the process of setting up a “new” nation will be a considerable task. That hasn’t altered my basic stance on the vote; but it does open your eyes a bit and I am grateful to Gordon for having posted it.

  • Brian Smith

    • March 21st, 2014 8:06

    Nugent, are you or have you ever been.

  • Stephen Gordon

    • March 21st, 2014 13:12

    Smith, is that Ted Nugent?

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 21st, 2014 14:39

      Gordon, is that citizen Smith (wolfie)?

      • Gordon Harmer

        • March 22nd, 2014 6:55

        Don’t know Ali, are we urban enough up here to lay claim to having an urban guerrilla on the loose? I think with the beret on he would look more like Frank Spencer.

  • Robert Sim

    • March 22nd, 2014 18:04

    Gordon, on your response on the polls, fair enough. Except that at a recent Ipsos MORI event in London held on 4 March they were reporting that 39% of the undecideds were inclining towards Yes and 29% towards No. There is still therefore leeway.

  • Thomas Robinson

    • March 23rd, 2014 11:37

    The very latest poll (ICM) published today (23 March 2014) in the Scotsman also captures the trend to Yes: Yes 45% +2; No 55%-2 (excludes undecided at 15%).

    There IS a real trend to “Yes”, though I probably should not be discouraging unionist complacency-still, in the pursuit of truth…..

  • Ali Inkster

    • March 24th, 2014 2:16

    I wonder if Brian could answer this, why has the yes Shetland facebook page deleted any post about the petition?
    Could it be that when folk hear about it they sign it, or could it be that their idea of self determination does not extend to us, or maybe they don’t think we are able to think and decide for ourselves what is best. Whatever the reason censorship is the first tool of the dictator, but never their last.

    • John Tulloch

      • March 24th, 2014 8:16

      And yet, Ali, a leading ‘Yes’ campaigner, prominent local politician and Althing debater Danus Skene, wrote a fine Shetland Times ‘Spaekalation’ piece, calling for an Aland-style constitution for Shetland, within an overall Scottish context.

      Something which has approximately zero chance of becoming a reality without there being held a local referendum.

      And yet we are being asked to vote for Scottish independence on the basis Scotland ‘going Nordic’?

      “Free beer tomorrow”, Ali, hadd me back!

      • Brian Nugent

        • March 24th, 2014 21:44

        Read the column in this weeks Shetland Times to see how Shetland could attain the Aland type situation.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 3rd, 2014 21:09

        Is that the basis on which ‘Yes’ campaigners are opposing the local referenda?

        It’s interesting that Danus Skene, who proposed the Aland-style idea (nothing wrong with that, by the way), has also said he won’t support a local referendum in which Shetland residents, including English ones, can vote for Shetland to stay with rUK.

        None of this sounds terribly ‘Nordic’ to me?

  • Ali Inkster

    • March 24th, 2014 9:18

    Ah it turns out they think were not capable, but then this is from folks that think they own our oil.

    Yes Shetland shared a link.
    19 March
    Anyone from anywhere can sign, not just the residents of the islands!
    As it is a petition you are unable to say No, only Yes for a referendum or three.
    Can you imagine Shetland running it’s own finances?
    And finding the money to subsidise both the ferry and air fares.

    Petition for independence in the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney
    A PETITION to seek independence for the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney has been lodged with the Scottish Parliament.

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 24th, 2014 12:13

      I know where we would find the money, how about the £86 million surplus just from direct taxation, or how about from the increase in wealth due to being able to catch our own fish, or maybe after the party we use a few percent of the interest from our oil fund.
      Will we make mistakes? I’m sure we will but I also believe that we can manage our own affairs.
      Shetlands sons and daughters have been remarkably successful they have run companies with far larger annual budgets than the council has in the piggy bank, they have founded cities and even been prime minister of an independent country, yet for some reason that is beyond me folks seem to think we can’t run our own affairs. with independence our children and grandchildren and on for ever more wont have to leave Shetland to gain these sorts of opportunities they can flourish right here.

      • Brian Smith

        • March 24th, 2014 21:19

        I thought you wanted BUPA to run it, Ali.

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 25th, 2014 14:59

        Nothing more than a single line from the eminent historian. Come now Brian why are you so negative? surely no one will vote for your socialist brothers and comrades of the revolution unite party Shetland after we gain our independence if you keep up the constant negativity.

  • iantinkler

    • March 25th, 2014 7:59

    Let’s face it, some yes campaigners would vote yes if their new leader was a donkey leading a nationalist parliament made of sheep. From the above comments we hear, ” Once I was a SNP supporter but not now”, I will just vote yes whatever the outcome and whoever the new leader.. Now that is so very typical, fortunately very much in the minority. The sad fact is a Yes vote gives us Salmond, O shudder at that prospect! Salmond the RBS adviser, not too good an omen as he is a trained economist. Did a great job there did he not with his congratulation to Fred the Shred just before the bank folded. Salmond could not see the bank folding, now a Yes vote lets him run a country!!, o dear me. A ray of sunshine though:

  • Stewart Mac

    • March 26th, 2014 12:50

    Great to See Mr Tinkler calling “some” Yes campaigners little more than sheep following the party Flock, but being very sheepish himself in regurgitating the No campaigns rubbish utterings of late. Presumably “Sheep” if voting yes but more likely “Well informed” if voting No.

    And even better to see the Hootsman coming up with a Survey that swings wildly away from all the others, even those “accepted” by the No campaign – Long live the right to biased opinions being portrayed in print and passed off as News.

    For the record I have not decided how I will be voting as yet, but the absolute tripe emanating from Westminster and “some” NO campaigners on an almost daily basis is certainly pushing me away from their lines. A Sheep? perhaps but I for one do not take kindly to Mr Cameron or others effectively telling me I, and the rest of Scotland are too incompetent/ill equipped/just plain stupid to run our own affairs. The entirely negative focus of “Better Together” is doing them, and their followers a great dis-service in this debate.

    • John Tulloch

      • March 26th, 2014 16:03

      Personally, Stewart, I’m not overly-concerned about which way the Scottish independence referendum ultimately swings, provided Shetlanders – and indeed Orcadians and Western Islanders – are given the opportunity, separately, to decide whether or not they wish to be part of the outcome.

      Holding these local referenda would demonstrate the sincerity of the ‘Yes’ Campaign’s ‘Nordic’ pretensions.

      Just to be sure Scottish/UK governments understand islanders won’t be fobbed off this time, solid public support is needed for the ‘Referendum on the Islands’ (ROTI) petition which can be signed at:

      Have you signed or do you intend to?

      • Robert Sim

        • March 26th, 2014 19:23

        To me, your first paragraph gives the impression – however unintentionally – that the Scottish referendum somehow doesn’t matter as far as Shetland is concerned, John. We still have to make a decision in September along with the rest of Scotland. I guess that for those supporting the ROTI petition a consideration will be which form of government is most likely to deliver on their aspirations. But the decision which way to vote – or not to vote at all – in the Scottish referendum still has to be made.

      • Brian Smith

        • March 26th, 2014 21:12

        John, who is promoting this petition, and what is their platform?

      • John Tulloch

        • March 27th, 2014 12:30


        As I understand it the petition is being promoted by a group calling themselves ‘Referendum on the Islands’ (ROTI), of which I am not a member, nor am I in contact with anyone who is.

        I am only aware of the group and their petition by what I read on here and SN, however, I understand they include some islands councillors and associates.

        As I understand it they have a neutral position on the Scottish independence referendum and their ‘raison d’etre’ is purely to ensure islanders win the right to determine their own future, via a referendum in each island group at the appropriate time.

        That is an eminently reasonable, democratic viewpoint which I strongly support and which will be difficult for any ‘Nordic-leaning’ politician to deny.

      • John Tulloch

        • March 27th, 2014 13:17

        I accept that people will vote as they will vote in ‘Da Muckle Referendum’, Robert, and it may well matter a great deal to Shetland which way the referendum goes.

        My own vote, believe it or not, is still undecided and much will hang on how Shetland is treated by the Scottish and UK governments when I make a final decision.

        The point I was making is I’m personally not over-concerned which way it goes as long as Shetlanders and other islanders are empowered to decide which country, if any, Shetland should join after ‘Da Muckle Referendum’.

        That’s why it’s imperative that the local ‘Peerie Referenda’ be granted by the Scottish Parliament and why it’s important that as many people as possible support the petition and sign it.

  • iantinkler

    • March 26th, 2014 17:02

    Stewart Mac, try and read my letter again. I made no reference to Yes voters as being sheep. I was actually referring to hypothetical non SNP Scottish parliamentarians who may follow an independence vote. Perhaps a bit deep for you to follow. Good also to see you use the word “Hootsman” as a criticism of myself. Have you an iota of the meaning of the word?. I think not, try please to enlighten us all as you appear to be writing gibberish.

    • Willie Nicolson

      • March 27th, 2014 9:41

      I think that your phrase ‘hypothetical non SNP parliamentarians who may follow an independence vote’ is a bit deep for most of us to follow! For your information ‘Hootsman’ is Scottish slang for ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper.

  • Stewart Mac

    • March 27th, 2014 12:58

    Now now Mr Tinkler, are you saying the Sheep-like reference is not there?

    “Let’s face it, some yes campaigners would vote yes if their new leader was a donkey leading a nationalist parliament made of sheep”

    That certainly doesn’t imply you were referring to your “hypothetical non SNP Scottish parliamentarians who may follow an independence vote” as you put it

    I await your response since you will always have the last word on these pages 🙂

  • Stewart Mac

    • March 27th, 2014 13:04

    And again Mr Tinkler,

    Please do not assume every comment is made as a personal attack or slur on your goodself, that starts to smack of a mild form of paranoia.

    As Mr Nicolson rightly pointed out the term “Hootsman” as a well known and oft used expression to describe the Scotsman “Newspaper” to which your post referred. I am aware of its use in common parlance for well in excess of 20 years. I am so very sorry, I has assumed that someone as well versed as your good self would be entirely familiar with the term. No personal offence was meant and I apologise for any caused by your misunderstanding of same. Still looks like we all live and learn huh Ian?

  • Robert Sim

    • March 27th, 2014 17:50

    So which vote in the Scottish referendum will deliver on the desired Shetland referendum, John? Yes or No?

  • iantinkler

    • March 27th, 2014 18:51

    Stewart, no offence taken by myself, no slur assumed or intimated. It appears you thought the Sheep reference was to yourself or the electorate, it was not, however as to my of previous comments, the sheep and donkey reference was referring to politicians. I am sorry you misunderstood that. Please read my words carefully “some yes campaigners would vote yes if their new leader was a donkey leading a nationalist parliament made of sheep” Is that really too hard for you to understand? No colloquial slang was used , just simple English. It would need a smack of a of severe paranoia to feel that the sheep reference was meant as a slur or insult to yourself or the electorate. Do you feel insulted at that sheep reference? if so I am sorry for you, please do not take offence when non was intended.

  • Cliff McQueen

    • April 23rd, 2014 17:47

    As an Englishman with Scottish heritage who worked and lived in Shetland for more than 20 years, I have an outsider’s viewpoint with some insider knowledge and a love of Shetland.

    It’s my feeling that this independence campaign has already generated a lot of ill feeling which will persist in some quarters no matter what the result. The SNP is trying to portray the “Westminster Government” aka the Conservative Party, as an evil conspiracy of rich English posh boys out to exploit innocent vulnerable Scots? Is this really justified? Is it sensible to throw away 300 years of unparalleled success in which we built together the greatest Empire the world has seen and extended the reach of British Culture to every country on the Planet?

    Shetland does extremely well as part of the UK. The “Westminster Government” does not interfere and the benefits are second to none. Certainly compared with England. So what is to be gained by having Edinburgh running Shetland instead of London? The Chinese say that you should be careful of what you wish for. The English say that you never really appreciate something until it’s gone. Forever.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • April 24th, 2014 8:52

    One only has to look at the level of insults thrown by the Nationalists at anyone whom seeks to preserve The Union to realise how detestable and divisive this whole independence issue has become. It is a matter of simple fact Scotland has prospered in a fair and liberal democracy for the last 100 years within the Union. Scottish folk have played no small part in defeating some of the worst tyrannies the world has ever seen. Hitler, Saddam, Galtiere, Slobodan Milosevic, President Radovan Karadzic and Gadaffi are just a few. Nazism, the imperial Japanese, Sierra Leone the West Side Boys, ,” the Evil Empire( USSR), the Argentine Junta and the tyrannies stemming from the breakup of Yugoslavia all were defeated with sacrifices from a United Kingdom. I ask the Scottish people, are you not proud to have fought, and some died, fighting such evil? I also ask would a broken and divided United Kingdom be able to put up such courage and strength to sacrifice against such tyranny or would self interest and Salmond’s left wing pacifism be a better option?

    • Carl Pickard

      • April 24th, 2014 14:03

      I hate to break this to you, but the times have changed.

      It’s a long time since the United Kingdom took part in any kind of “just” war, for noble reasons. The politics of the mid-twentieth century are gone. An independent Scotland will see actual power further devolved to the people, and I find it flabbergasting that anyone can vote against that.

      If the Union is really such a good thing for Scotland – why do “Better Together” include so many flagrant lies in their campaign material?

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 24th, 2014 19:54

        When they were campaigning for us to vote yes in the referendum to get a devolved parliament in Edinburgh we were promised that devolution would not stop at Edinburgh, but would see actual power further devolved to the people, well if anything power has been centralized since Edinburgh gained their power. and I find it flabbergasting that folk will fall for the same lie twice. What is they say fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  • Scott Miller

    • April 24th, 2014 14:24

    Ian. No I am not proud to have fought the conflict I was involved in. Neither are a great many that I know wherever in the UK they came from. We, the good guys, did some unspeakable and unsavory things, Like the over use of nuclear weapons in the form of depleted uranium. Have a look at the birth defects of Southern Iraq. That was us that caused them. Not too mention the ongoing health issues that the troops have and the spraying of everything with DDT and other organophosphates, Nerve Agent pre-treatment tablets. Any War Pension for injuries have had to be fought for and have driven many an ex-serviceman to their death. At every turn MoD and Westminster try and stop the serviceman receiving their due. So long answer short. No I am not proud of this country. I am happy that I was part of the liberation of a country but not proud of it.

    I am not proud of country that has Circa one million people using foodbanks. I am not proud of a country and Parliament that retrospectively alters the law, when the law had found them guilty, so they don’t have to pay compensation. I am not proud of a country that does not look after it’s vulnerable citezens. I am not proud of a country that allows family courts to have secret hearings where the defendent has no right to be heard (I know that this is only applicable in England as is the next one). I am not proud of a country that sells it’s Blood Bank to an American hedge fund.

    Never presume to talk for all ex-servicemen. Go to Combat Stress and talk to the survivors and ask them how many of them are proud of the UK. The answer might just surprise you.

    Gordon, you are quite right Norway does have higher taxes than we do but they also have much higher wages. Take for example an apprentice joiner at 16yrs old.
    UK: £2.65 per hour
    Norway £15.00 per hour. Now which one after taxes, etc do you think is a livable wage?

    And that Ian is another reason that I am not proud. We place no value on our young and see nothing wrong with saddling them with excessive debt and ignoring their voice’s.

    • Gordon Harmer

      • April 24th, 2014 21:43

      Scott, an apprentice joiner’s “minimum wage” is £2.65 an hour; most are on more than that as you well know.
      I suggest you or anyone else who thinks that Norway is some kind of utopia that Scotland could emulate in the unlikely event of a yes vote take a good look at the two links below. I would also advise you to read the comments below the articles from folk who live in Norway.

      Property in Norway is unbelievably high; a house that would cost two hundred thousand pounds over here would cost double that in a rural community and three or four times that in city like Bergen. People who rent pay twenty seven to thirty percent of their income in rent. Cars cost double what they do here as there is up to one hundred percent tax on them; very few folk own the cars they drive in Norway.

      Parents with families have both to work to survive or they go without; every trip to the doctor has to be paid for, imagine what that would cost an average family. A typical Norwegian family may have a greater income than a typical family in the UK but their out goings are immensely greater.

      Scott, try giving us an example of what an oil worker in Norway would earn compared to an oil worker in the UK and then take away the respective countries deductions and living costs. I know it would come out in favour of the good old UK.

      Finally, if you are not proud of this country, instead of advocating ripping it apart and dividing the Scottish population with an unnecessary referendum; how about you and those like you go and live in the utopia called Norway. At least if you don’t like it you would be welcome come back whenever you want, unlike separation which is irreversible.

      • Laurence Paton

        • April 25th, 2014 16:50

        Gordon, you are probably right that there are people struggling to ” make ends meet” in Norway, but I can assure you they are in general enjoying a better standard of living and much better services for the taxes they pay. Your attempts to paint them as poor and not enjoying quality social and welfare services is quite frankly ridiculous.
        Yes you said you have seen their marina’s and that it reminded you of here, it may well appear similar to the untrained eye but I can assure you the value of the average craft in a Norwegian marina will be significantly higher than the average one on our side.
        Although it’s not about who is enjoying the best pleasure craft, it’s about being in an independent sovereign country and being fully in control of what happens within that territory.
        I will be voting UKIP for the euro elections or not at all . I would rather see a united UK outside Europe and Shetland as an autonomous region the same as Faroe’s relationship with Denmark.
        But I would just be happy with Shetland enjoying that status with an independent Scotland, perhaps more so if it meant we got clear of the royal family.
        I will be overseas in September but doubt it will come down to my single vote !
        Wear your kilt with pride Gordon, it’s the future !

  • ian tinkler

    • April 24th, 2014 19:00

    “If the Union is really such a good thing for Scotland – why do “Better Together” include so many flagrant lies in their campaign material?.” How about a few references Carl Pickard! I am sorry you are not proud Scott Millar, however, for your information, depleted Uranium is not a Nuclear weapon, nor a weapon of mass destruction but an AP round. It is no more teratogenic than lead or any other heavy metal. DDT was used extensively before the sixties and saved countless millions. Its persistence as a chemical proved a problem, however there is not a scrap of evidence it damaged anyone in Iraq. You will find organophosphates insecticides’ on sale in most garden centres. Hardly warfare products, killing thousands! I fail to see how much of your comment is relevant to this argument, food banks? your lack of pride in the U K and absolute negativity to it, appears somewhat contrived and somewhat propagandist. Just how is independence going to alter your negativity and restore your pride? How would it possibly make things better? Now Carl and Scott, please answer with hard references as all you have stated so far are unproven opinions and no more.
    References: The World Health Organization, the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations, states that no risk of reproductive, developmental, or carcinogenic effects have been reported in humans due to DU (depleted Uranium) exposure
    15 Sep 2006 – The World Health Organization today announced a major policy change. It’s actively backing the controversial pesticide DDT

    • John Tulloch

      • April 25th, 2014 9:35


      Much of the separatist argument boils down to:

      “The London government is ‘bad’.

      We recognise they are ‘bad’ and condemn them.

      Therefore, we are ‘good’.

      And of course, it will all be different when we are rid of them.”

      That’s why the rump of 1970s ‘Old Labour’, the Willses and the Smiths, are so much in favour of independence – recent converts if I may say – they see it as a last glimmer of light in the tunnel for establishing “Little Moscow” in Edinburgh.

      Whatever happened to ‘International Socialism’, they’ve all retreated into a nationalist socialism bunker with no word of what will become of their erstwhile English ‘brothers’ left to the ravages of the permanent rUK “vile Tory government once the ‘People’s Republic of Scotland’ has been established.

      No word of where the money’s coming from, either. I suppose Vlad the Impaler and Xi Jinping will pay well for berths at Faslane?

  • Ian Tinkler

    • April 25th, 2014 8:31

    A point of interest. Salmond and his NATs frequently state the Afghanistan war as unjust, and have repeatable requested the withdrawal of UK forces. Is it not somewhat paradoxical that a supposed and very vociferous supporter of women’s rights, Alex Salmond, would withdraw UK forces from Afghanistan and allow the Taliban to regain control of that country? I can think of nothing more evil than allowing a regime (the Taliban) to again start mass executions of women by stoning or a head shots to young girls (Malala Yousafzai) just because they want to go to school and become educated . Perhaps the newly formed Shetland Women for independence would care to give this some thought and give me Salmond’s justification for such action, Perhaps Carl Pickard and Scott Miller may also. I simple regard him (Salmond) as an opportunist hypocrite and utterly amoral man pandering for women’s votes.

    • Robert Sim

      • April 25th, 2014 17:09

      Have you written to Alex Salmond and told him what you think of him, Ian?

  • David Spence

    • April 25th, 2014 13:55

    Ian, for years the west stood by (under the control of the US) and did nothing about the atrocities the Taliban were doing to not only women, but anybody who remotely opposed their regime and the way in which they ruled the country. The only reason this is coming to light now was because the west (predominantly the USA) was supporting the Taliban against their fight of the Russians (illegally invading but we’ll say nothing about that……don’t want to appear to be hypocrites do we?) occupying Afghanistan since 1980.

    Not only was the USA supporting the Taliban, they also used their special forces to train the Taliban in terrorist and military tactics to cause as much disruption to the Russians infrastructures and life as was possible. I believe it was the USA who created the organisation against the Russian’s called the Mujahideen and also, what irony, Al Qaeda in the late 1980’s of which Osama Bin Laden (he was alleged to have created the organisation) was one of the leaders.

    Amazing how facts can be changed depending on whether a person is a friend or foe.

    Just because the USA is our so-called ally, does not deter from the fact that the USA is just as responsible for what we would perceive as hypocrisy, double-standards in its foreign policy and military campaigns to expand their own concept of what the USA see’s as economic and commercial interests taking greater priority than anything else……………despite the propaganda being spoon fed to us about democracy, freedom, justice etc etc.

  • ian Tinker

    • April 25th, 2014 14:30

    fascinating, David, but just what has your comment got to do with Salmond and independence or women’s rights? just a red herring or part of your socialist OCD?

  • Joe Johnson

    • April 25th, 2014 15:14

    David Spence, I read a lot of your comments on the Shetland times readers views online. Just a couple of questions, you always seem to complain about capitalism “vile tory government” etc, are you a communist and if you were the prime minister of the U.K how would govern this country? Just curious.

  • John Tulloch

    • April 25th, 2014 22:32

    On the subject of where the money’s coming from or not, as the case might be, I came across this truly excellent short article on another blog.

    In it, former chairman of Scottish Power Sir Donald Miller discusses the proposed extension of Cruachan pumped storage power station, the illogicality of the rationale for it and how it relates to wind power and the need for investment in new base load (i.e. 24/7, reliable) capacity in Scotland.

    Sir Donald is actually a real engineer and knows what he’s talking about – it shines out throughout this splendid article – and he is, quite rightly, appalled by the shambles of the SNP government’s energy policy.

    It’s highly readable and impossible to recommend too highly so, if you’re interested in energy policy, do take the no more than five minutes needed to read it – it’s well worth it.

  • David Spence

    • April 26th, 2014 0:27

    Well Joe, just because one objects or questions to USA Foreign Policy does not automatically deem that person to be a communist or socialist (no doubt years and years of US/British propaganda has forced you to think the way you do about an individual who questions our so-called allies political objectives?).

    All I am pointing out is the hypocrisy and double-standards in its political preaching when its economic principles completely preach the complete opposite………in other words, the want for money, greed, power and domination……will bring out the worst in human nature…….as US Foreign Policy has dictated over the past 100 years or so.

    I cannot say how the country should be governed or run, but I would most certainly have made the banks more accountable for the mess they have put us into due to lack of regulation, accountability, a bonus fed system of greed, a bonus fed system of taking great financial risks, the banking system having too much control over society and peoples lives without themselves being responsible in any way for the damage they do.

    It is the only system where they, the banks, are in a win-win situation (as the 2008 banking crisis proved) regardless to massive mistakes they themselves have made………..they have designed society to be so dependent upon them that they have now become too powerful and arrogant beyond belief.

    Any way……… back to the subject at hand lol


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