Not for walking away (Beatrice Wishart)

In conversations with women of all ages about the referendum, many have the same questions about independence as men.

They understand as well as anyone just how important it is for jobs, for businesses, and for families, that we get the answer right in September, and the need to balance the practical, sometimes complex, issues of life with the emotions of our national culture and identity.

Many household budgets in Shetland rely on incomes from the oil and gas employers, and recognition of the benefits of the energy sector within a strong UK economy are not exclusive to men.

Childcare is often assumed to be of interest only to women. That is a rather outdated view. But parents are right to question the Scottish government’s pledge to improve childcare after the referendum when they have had seven years in which to do so. That it finally acted to improve childcare for two-year-olds only came about after pressure from the Liberal Democrats.

Who doesn’t want a Scotland where everyone has a decent place to live, with access to first-rate health and social care, and an education system which gives our children and grandchildren the skills they need to go out and take their place in today’s modern world? Where the growing number of older people in our society are respected, and cared for with dignity?

Do we not also care about these issues for our family and friends in Wales, Northern Ireland and England? The union may not be perfect but we can achieve and improve much more from within the safety and security of the United Kingdom than walking away from it.

Voting “no” to independence is not voting for the status quo. The powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament mean we already have control over things like transport, health, education, childcare, justice, agriculture, fisheries and rural affairs, and more are to come.

Substantial new powers were agreed under The Scotland Act 2012 – including a new Scottish rate of income tax – and the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservatives have either published or are in the process of setting out their proposals for more devolution, building on the Scottish Parliament’s success of the last 15 years.

Voting “no” to independence does not mean that Scotland will stand still, or that you are anti-Scottish. Far from it, but if Scotland leaves the UK there will be no going back. It’s permanent. The referendum isn’t like an election where you can change the result next time you are in the polling booth.

We have the opportunity to continue to build on what we’ve got from within the safety and security of the UK family. Sharing resources, risks and successes across a population of 63 million instead of across Scotland’s five million. The best of both worlds. Better together.

Vote “no” on 18th September.

Beatrice Wishart
Stouts Court,


Add Your Comment
  • Gaye Somerville

    • May 26th, 2014 12:59

    Couldn’t agree more – I would like to add also my concerns as to our standing should we go independant in relation to armed forces, in my opinion we will be a stronger unit if we stay together.

  • David Spence

    • May 26th, 2014 22:10

    I am intrigued as to where the balance is between both parents needing to work (why?) (primarily to suit a ever increasing consumer based society at the behest of the corporate companies perpetually brainwashing everybody about having to buy this, buy that….get the latest fashion, gadget, take out a loan etc etc) whilst at the same time complaining about the breakdown of society, breakdown of social and moral values, their rights as parents being undermined consistently, the self, self, self society (typical trait of a capitalist based society) and how all decision, including moral judgement, social judgement and every other decision people have to make, including religion, is totally based on money, the banking system and worst of all, profit, greed and shareholders…………if money is the value of the beginning and the end of today’s social decisions, it is no wonder this world is in the mess that it is in…………the sooner nature eradicates this, the better.

  • Carl Pickard

    • May 27th, 2014 15:50

    I resent these statements of “more powers to come” – they are quite simply a lie. It’s as if we’re to believe that every supporter of the Union was given some secret insight into Westminster’s plans… No party has promised further significant powers for Scotland following a No vote, and none will be delivered. There’s a reason Devo Max is not an option on the ballot paper.

    It’s also peculiar how every piece of writing from the “Better Together” troupe concludes with an instruction: “Vote “no” on 18th September” / “Vote NO in the referendum”, etc.

    I’ll make up my own mind. And expect other free-thinking people to do the same.

    • Ali Inkster

      • June 3rd, 2014 10:03

      Just like we should not trust the Snp when they tell us they will give more powers to the isles when they get a yes vote. So until the Snp are willing to give me and everyone else north of the Pentland firth the same right to self determination that they want for themselves then Why should I or anyone else vote for them. We have Danus of the Snp telling us that we should have more autonomy in stages, well what’s the odds that those stages will last just as long as the oil. by that time our fishing industry will have been sacrificed on the EU alter.

      • John Tulloch

        • June 4th, 2014 14:26

        The chances are about 100 percent, Ali. The salami slicing will last longer than the oil.

      • Leigh-Ann McGinty

        • June 6th, 2014 14:37

        “So until the Snp are willing to give me and everyone else north of the Pentland firth the same right to self determination that they want for themselves then Why should I or anyone else vote for them.”

        You aren’t voting for SNP. You are voting for or against independence.

        Independence is what SNP have set out to achieve and once (if) we get it, SNP will have fulfilled their purpose and, come the general election in 2016, they will cease to exist. Yes they will become a knew type of party but then, just like the current Westminster government, if you don’y like their policies then vote for a different party who you do support (who knows, there might be a party seeking independence for Shetland!).

        in an independent Scotland SNP will no longer be the only Scottish political voice to be heard.

      • Ali Inkster

        • June 6th, 2014 15:04

        Leigh-Ann McGinty, Voting yes on sept 18 is not voting for independence it would just be voting for another master, one that we have had before. And as da aald folk alwis said “da only thing we ever got fae Scotland wis dear meal an greedy minsters.” Now tell me whit’s changed? Dir still strippin wis o money ta pay fir dir trinkets.

      • Leigh-Ann McGinty

        • June 7th, 2014 16:04

        The INDEPENDENCE referendum is Scotland deciding whether or not to be, funnily enough, INDEPENDENT from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

        My point to you Ali was that you claimed we are voting for SNP specifically, we are not. We are voting for or against INDEPENDENCE. So I really do fail to see the sense in your comment “Voting yes on sept 18 is not voting for independence”

        And I am intrigued as to how you think an independent Shetland would be any different? Someone (a government) will always be in charge and be “the master” will they not? To be honest, the fact that you used a word such as “master” says far more about you and your views than it does about the reality of the upcoming referendum.

        If you want to vote no then you have every right to do so, but please stop telling everyone who disagrees with you that they wrong. We are all entitled to our own views and to come to our own conclusions on this.

        Also, incessantly insisting that Shetland should be independent (and suggesting that it actually COULD be independent) will not chance the fact the this referendum will take place on September 18. Neither Westminster nor the Scottish Government is going to look at the possibilities of an independent Shetland while the current referendum is looming. How about waiting until this one comes to a conclusion and then start putting together a sensible proposal to which ever parliament we are governed by. Stop just shouting about it on the internet like it actually means something at this stage.

      • Ali Inkster

        • June 7th, 2014 19:45

        Leigh-Ann it may be Scotland voting for Independence but how is it Shetland voting for independence?
        Edinburgh is hundreds of miles away and they are the ones that are reducing our rebate. So how are they not acting like our masters? SIC cutting funding to rural areas against the wishes of the residents of those areas so how are they not acting like they are our masters. none are so blind as those that will not see.
        And why the EMPHASIS on the COULD, that says more about your attitude to Shetland and Shetlanders than anything else you have written. I think I won’t bother with you any more since you have such a low opinion of Shetland and our ABILITY.


    • May 28th, 2014 19:49

    A new experience – I (almost) agree with Carl Pickard. I will vote no.

  • Ernie lockwood

    • June 3rd, 2014 1:19

    Beatrice, it is not Shetlanders you must convince but gleaming-eyed Scots.

    • Peter Smith

      • June 7th, 2014 21:00

      OK Leigh-Ann, we’re voting on independence, not the SNP. But you cannot deny we’re being asked to vote yes by the SNP inspired and lead campaign.

      So what exactly do they say I get if I vote yes? The queen as head of state, the pound, membership of NATO, membership of the EU, still play the National Lottery, still get BBC and ITV.

      What do I get if I vote no? See above

      Hmm, difficult choice.

      • Robert Sim

        • June 8th, 2014 7:49

        Yes, Leigh-Ann can deny that the Yes campaign is SNP-advised and led. From the Yes Scotland website: “The Yes Scotland Advisory Board is chaired by former Labour MP Dennis Canavan, and also includes the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Greens’ Patrick Harvie and the SSP’s Colin Fox, as well as people who have no party political background.” The referendum is separate from party politics.

      • Brian Smith

        • June 8th, 2014 14:21

        Robert, I am afraid the point you make is too complex for most people. I am a Yes-voter but voted Labour in the European election. That will be incomprehensible to nearly everyone on this site.

      • Leigh-Ann McGinty

        • June 8th, 2014 23:08

        Peter Smith, to sum up only the things that will stay the same and make no comment about what will be gained by voting yes does not really count as a reasonable argument.

        More importantly though, I was not making any reference to what will or will not change. I was simply pointing out that the referendum is about independence and our future, not solely SNP. Robert Sim has provided evidence of this.

        SNP is a means to an end. Most people vote for them now to ensure that end can be achieved. However, a lot of people will stop voting for them in an independent Scotland as they will have served their purpose.

        I think other Scottish parties need to begin being more vocal about what policies they would propose in an independent Scotland. I think this would help to distance SNP and Salmond from the campaign and give people comfort that they would not be stuck with him in charge.

        SNP isn’t perfect, but if we want the opportunity to have a government that we do trust in the future then SNP is currently equipped to take us to that point.

      • John Tulloch

        • June 9th, 2014 4:27, actually, Brian, it’s entirely consistent with the goal of transforming Edinburgh into “Little Moscow”, sadly to the cost of our erstwhile “brothers” in England who will be saddled with a permanent (“vile” – h/t David Spence) Tory government and thus, not in the least surprising.

        ‘Bang!’ goes international socialism.

  • Duncan Burgess

    • June 7th, 2014 20:28

    No, never Independence would be bad for Scotland and Shetland.

  • ian tinkler

    • June 7th, 2014 21:52

    “So what exactly do they say I get if I vote yes? “The queen as head of state, the pound, membership of NATO, membership of the EU, still play the National Lottery, still get BBC and ITV.”
    The queen as head of state: no Charlie boy, Camilla, Andrew et al. The pound, No. Membership of NATO, maybe, but only if nuclear weapons can be deployed anywhere in Scotland. (3 megaton Soviet aimed at Unst) Lesson there somewhere. Membership of the EU, maybe, have to wait at the end of a long queue, maybe Turkey first, who knows. Still play the National Lottery, still get BBC and ITV. Who with half a brain cares about the National Lottery, BBC and ITV ?

  • Gordon Harmer

    • June 8th, 2014 12:51

    What about the white paper, the blue print for independence, put together by Salmond, Sturgeon, Sweeney and the SNP. Nothing but a manifesto for independence from the above mentioned; the bible of the grass roots campaign for independence. We would not be having this debate if not for Salmond and the SNP claiming a mandate for independence with only 23% of the Scottish electorate behind them. This debate is led by Salmond and the SNP it is all about them. Salmond speaks on the international stage on our behalf about what will happen in an independent Scotland. Independence is all about Salmond, Sturgeon, Sweeney and the SNP they talk eat and sleep it while services like the Scottish NHS fall apart. Every pro independence blog, web site and Facebook page are full of speeches by the above mentioned, there is no getting away from it, independence has got Salmond and the SNP stamped all over it. I can sympathies with those who wish to dissociate themselves from such a liability to their grass roots campaign but I am afraid you are stuck with him and his cronies.

    • Leigh-Ann McGinty

      • June 8th, 2014 23:13

      Again this is missing the bigger picture. Yes they are delivering the referendum and they are taking the brunt of the work and responsibilities that go with it. But SNP is not the be all and end all of an independent Scotland.

    • Bill Adams

      • June 9th, 2014 18:31

      Sweeney ? Who is Sweeney? The” Sweeney” is Cockney rhyming slang for Flying Squad, but presumably you
      mean Scottish Cabinet Minister John Swinney. If you are incapable of getting his name right, it suggests to me that the rest of your diatribe is also totally inaccurate.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 10th, 2014 8:36

        Not much of an argument there then, but whats new.

  • Bill Adams

    • June 10th, 2014 15:57


    • Gordon Harmer

      • June 10th, 2014 19:35

      Once again no argument Bill, all you did was pick up on a spilling mistook as there was nothing else you could bring a credible argument against. What I said about this referendum being about Salmond and the SNP has been vilified by Salmond himself yesterday and the leader of the Greens Patrick Harvie in 2012.

      Yesterday Salmond asserted that in a newly independent Scotland he and the SNP in their first term in office would cut airport tax by 50%. Now tell me how he could make a statement like that without believing he will be in power after the referendum and consequent negotiations.

      Next I have copied and pasted an article containing a statement from Patrick Harvie the leader of the Greens who as a bedfellow of the SNP in this bid for independence which states that “Yes Scotland was an entirely SNP vehicle” and he saw this as far back as 2012.

      Alex Salmond’s efforts to build a cross-party movement for Scottish independence suffered an early blow after the Scottish Green party leader withdrew from the yes campaign.

      Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green co-convenor and MSP, shared a platform with Salmond at the launch of Yes Scotland, publicly signing a declaration with other prominent green activists.
      Two weeks later, Harvie distanced his party from the campaign, accusing Salmond and other Scottish National party (SNP) officials of failing to create an inclusive and cross-party organisation. He said that failure could lead to defeat at the referendum in 2014.
      “We are not full participants in Yes Scotland as an organisation because there was no basis on which to do so,” Harvie said.

      “We’re pretty frustrated that that hasn’t happened. It should’ve happened before the launch: they chose the date, they chose the format and they chose the message. They’ve have not done the relationship-building which should have been done beforehand.”
      Harvie said Yes Scotland was “an entirely SNP vehicle”. His efforts before and after the launch to negotiate a more collaborative approach with Salmond and Angus Robertson, the SNP leader at Westminster and the independence campaign’s director, had failed, he said.

      The Scottish Greens’ leading role in Yes Scotland was due to be endorsed at the party’s ruling council last week, but it decided to postpone that decision until its party conference in October.
      The party believes that Salmond’s campaign has failed to set out a sufficiently radical political and constitutional blueprint for a post-independence Scotland.

      Now Bill let me see you pick credible holes in my argument without the slightest touch of fallacious ad hominem.


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