25th February 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Billions plundered (Colin Hunter)

, by , in Readers' Views

In reply to Neill Hall (Squandered billions, The Shetland Times, 28th February) regarding the undervalued sale of Royal Mail, there are indeed many precedences of botched and undervalued “privatisations” from Westminster over the years.

Even “New Labour” (read thinly-disguised Tories) had a crack at a few, and Gordon Brown’s sell-off of the UK gold reserves at the bottom of the market, followed by a multi-billion pound plundering of private pension schemes should not be forgotten lightly.

A plundering so effective that it led to the collapse of the gilt-edged “final salary pension” within the private sector.

And all that from a man who now has the temerity to come north of the border and lecture Scots on how they can’t afford to pay state pensions after independence. Not even JK Rowling could make that one up.

The post office was once the final bastion of national pride, now it is in private hands the cost of sending mail can only ever rise in order to feed the ever more ravenous “shareholders”.

The Tory led coalition with the Lib Dems (read even more thinly-disguised Tories) is now in its death throes. What’s left after the next general election?

Another right wing debacle in Westminster, or the Scottish government “you” choose in Holyrood? Your choice. Use it wisely in September.

Colin Hunter





  1. Ali Inkster

    Gordon Brown came north and lectured the Scots? Surely as a Scot he went south and ruined the economy, and now you want to give more of his country men and women the opportunity to do it to us. And does anyone else get the feeling that better together are not really trying. After all an independent Scotland would mean an instant lowering of rUK s deficit by £8 billion / year.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      Ali, nothing personal, but you are not exactly the ‘happiest chappie’ in Shetland are you?
      Always so negative, especially about Scotland, never anything good thing to say, all gloom & doom!

      Lighten up sir, you will feel much better – look to the future, the dawning of a new age, new challenges for Scotland and it’s people, by welcoming the dramatic changes that independence will bring, not just for us, but more importantly for our future generations.
      Yes, there will be growing pains, there will be obstacles, but we can and WILL overcome these and be much stronger for doing so.
      You see Ali, I have a much more positive outlook on life (73 years old, born in England, so ‘no ‘axe to grind’) and can visualise nothing other than a much better, fairer and just country for all of us.

      Like it or not, the UK system is broken beyond repair, it is literally financially and morally bankrupt (surely I don’t have to elaborate?)
      What an opportunity we have to change all that by voting ‘YES’
      Time to answer those that ask why, by asking ‘Why Not?
      The ultra negative scaremongering, and many downright lies ,especially the London-based Daily Mail & Sun in their so-called ‘Scottish’ editions only serve to reinforce the ‘YES’ campaign, I smile and ask myself, just why (if as you say Ally) rUK would be £8bn better of without Scotland) are they trying so very hard to keep Scotland in the UK? Truly baffling isn’t it?

      It is obvious Ali, that your mind is made up to vote ‘NO’ and that you are content to continue your ‘love-in’ with your Westminster Tories, which, as it should be, is your democratic right.
      So think ahead Ali, after a ‘YES’ vote, there will be 40-odd less annoying Labour MP’s in Westminster, giving your Tories free reign ad infinitum.
      Perhaps THAT will put a smile on your face?

      • Ali Inkster

        Yes the system is broken but there is nothing that will convince me that Scotland has anything better to offer Shetland except a change of accent of the folk helping themselves to our resources. I don’t know how you get the idea that I have some sort of love for the tories as I see them as only marginally better as labour but that still means I think both are useless. Could it be Charlie that you envisage a Scotland run by left wing politicians and could it be this that has you so enamoured of the idea of an independent Scotland? Are you wishing to have your own love in with central belt labour? The same tactics and scare stories used by better together are used by the yeSNP when faced with the idea of an independent Shetland. 12 mile limit for fishing and no mineral rights. So you tell me where is the difference? What do they have to offer Shetland that we don’t already have?

      • Ali Inkster

        What is their to be happy about in the current situation Charlie. We have Edinburgh and Westminster arguing over who will best spend our resources. Our council is unable to balance the books but then again neither are the 2 governments to the south. We on the other hand are unable to balance the books because we are stuck paying for the governments in Westminster and Edinburgh to the tune of £90 million a year on taxation and £billions a year in oil revenue. We keep getting told we are oil rich here in Shetland but we can’t even afford to keep open public toilets never mind the schools. As for a fairer society by the way of Edinburgh, don’t make me laugh, when faced with the idea of an independent Shetland they trot out some strange concept that Shetland would not be covered by the same international law that they are.

        So Charlie whether it is Westminster Tory or Edinburgh Trotsky.

        We in Shetland will be far far better aff clear o da lot dem.

  2. Ali Inkster

    Oh and just so you are clear Charlie and don’t waste your time again. My position is certain and has been unchanged for nearly 40 years BETTER AF CLEAR O DA LOT O DEM.

    • Brian Smith

      Ali, you are going to have to be explicit about how the independent Shetland will be organised. All we have heard from you so far is that BUPA will run the health service.

      • John Tulloch

        How about ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ being specific about how THEY will run the islands?

        In particular, is a £billion grid link part of the thirty pieces of silver?

        As predicted, we shall only find out what the SIC’s ‘deal’ is after it’s ‘fete accomplis’.

        We must wait and see what comes out of Alistair Carmichael’s hat when the Westminster proposals are published this month, however, I’m not optimistic.

        I sincerely hope my reading of the situation is wrong.

    • Colin Hunter

      A nice breath of fresh air and reason from Charlie, followed by yet another (and another) xenophobic rant from Ali!
      Charlie is absolutely right in my view. It is indeed a time of challenge and uncertainty, particularly with every Westminster MP (SNP Excepted) trying to muddy the waters by regurgitating the same outright lies and (at best!) half truths. They tell us all the things we can’t do without giving any coherent reason other than “Because I said so”. Doesn’t cut the mustard with me anyway.
      The Tory led “Better Together” brigade must be the most negative bunch I have ever seen. They even say we will be expelled from the EU, while all the while planning to hold a refferendum to take the UK OUT anyway, should they get the “right” result.
      I was actually against Scotland having a devolved parliament at the time of that refferendum, thinking, as I did, that we didn’t need yet another tier of Government. Since it’s inception I have changed my mind to the point that I still think we have one tier too many, but the one we don’t need is now in Westminster. That is why I said that Gordon Brown came north to lecture to us. He is a Westminster MP and doubtless the reason he was chosen, first as Chancellor, then as Leader and Prime Minister by his Party is probably because he and Tony Blair were the pick of the bunch. If they were the best, what were the rest like?
      As has often been said, if your Gandchild asks you why you voted “No” in the refferendum, and you say, “Because I didn’t like Alex Salmond” they will probably say “Who”?
      That’s not what it’s about anyway, it’s about whether or not you wish to live in a Country that runs itself and spends its monies IN that Country and for that Country. Not Squandering Billions on Nuclear Weapons, Dodgy foreign wars and High speed rail links that only come as far as Leeds and Manchester. To name but a few utter wastes of money by Westminster! All of which Scotland had had to pay for, and will continue paying….. Until September!

      • Ali Inkster

        Xenophobic Charlie? What makes my wish for control of Shetlands resources to be in Shetlands hands any more (racist for thats what you mean) than your wish for Scotlands resources to be in Scottish hands?
        As for lies and half truths. How about the yeSNP lie about a 12 mile limit for an independent Shetland.
        Or the one where they use percentages of GDP instead of actual cash figures Scotlands GDP £56 billion, government spending £64 billion yet the yeSNP use the figures Scotland 9.8% of UK GDP but 9.3% of government spending and then use the 5% point difference to claim that Scotland puts more in than it gets out when the truth is even with the oil there is an £8 billion deficit. (that we here in Shetland will have to pay for)
        There are two layers of Government we don’t need and they are both hundreds of miles from Shetland, yet it costs every Shetlander on average just short of £4000 a year in direct taxation just to pay for them not to mention the oil revenues and fishing effort in our waters lost for all time under either of those two governments.
        As for needless spending The Aberdeen bypass, the new forth bridge, HOLLYROOD etc etc.

        Brian there are plenty of small island nations for us to take our lessons from, but one lesson we need to learn is to get rid of useless civil servants, who are only serving themselves. And as for BUPA running our health service it started as an online quip but you prompted me to contact them and they can offer a premium cradle to grave service for every Shetlander like the NHS only better for less than we currently pay for NHS Scotland and our care homes. And they will still make a profit. how can they do that? It will also cover us no matter where in the world we happen to be when we need it.

      • John Tulloch

        That’s £4000 a year for every adult and child currently alive in Shetland i.e. £16,000 a year for a couple with two kids!

        And that’s before you start counting the oil billions.

        I expec’ we cud laekly keep da Nortru’ an Nortmaven skuyls oppen – an mebbe da Hamnavoe lavvy an aa’ – fir a fraction o’ dat munney?

  3. Gordon Harmer

    It strikes me Charlie is a bit of a visionary. Visionaries by the very nature of their calling are allowed to make it up as they go along, unburdened by anything as tedious as evidence or facts.

    • Charlie Banham - Cullivoe

      So, you describe me as a visionary?
      Thank you, I will take that as an undeserved compliment

      As far as your assertion that ‘Making it up as you go along’ is the mantra of a visionary, why would you think that? I am just an ordinary person who wants to help make my adopted country a better place. Just because my views differ from yours doesn’t make one of us right and the other wrong
      Personally, I admire Visionaries, there have been many, over the centuries, that have literally ‘moved mountains’ to make the world a better place, and of course, there are those that failed to leave their mark in history, but nevertheless, I commend them for trying (This reminds me of a great teacher I had in Primary School, he said “Those that CAN, do, those that CAN’T Criticise)
      My personal views are based on the results of many years of person experience in this wide world of ours, (in the UK and overseas, followed by many months of intense research, combined with calm, sober and reasoned debate and a huge dose of reality with facts to reinforce my case. No ‘axe to grind’ no hatred and absolutely no xenophobia or racism
      ( no matter what Ali Inkster says, writes or thinks)

      In reality Gordon, your quip …’making it up’ would be much more appropriate if you directed it to the ‘tunnel VISIONARIES’ that make up the ‘No’ campaign

      Non are so blind as they who will not see?

  4. David Spence

    ‘ We in Shetland will be far far better aff clear o da lot dem. ‘

    I tend to agree with your there Ali, about our so-called political representatives having our interest at the heart of their agenda…………utter rubbish….I think they regard Shetland as a deep wishing well full of gold, and pay no attention to what the people of Shetland or what autonomy the people of Shetland would like that would be best for the islands and the people of these islands.

    The campaign ‘ Our Islands, Our Future ‘ is questionable at best as to who exactly will be pulling the strings, whether it be Westminster under the vile Tories (god forbid) or the new Parliament (I believe the new Scottish Parliament will be Proportional Representation) in Edinburgh, where, I feel, Shetland’s right to have greater control and have greater say in the islands future is the least of matters on the politicians (in both Parliaments) mind…………unless one mentions oil and gas, and Sullom Voe will be the only location in reference to the islands these politicians will know………voting Yes or voting No, in both cases, Shetland (as Kilroy Silk once expressed) will be shafted……..either way, the islands, I feel, will not be any better off under either Parliament.