Insult to intelligence (Alex Orr)

There can be no better example of why people have such little faith in the current political system than George Osborne’s claim that he has halved the UK’s £1.7bn EU budget surcharge (8th November).

This statement is a highly disingenuous attempt to mask what is in fact a diplomatic disaster for the UK government.

The UK will pay two interest-free sums next year totalling £850m, instead of the larger lump sum by 1st December. However  the UK rebate of £785m from Brussels due in 2016 has simply been brought forward to cover the other half due.

To therefore argue that this was some sort of “victory” by the UK is patent nonsense and an insult to human intelligence.

Alex Orr
Leamington Terrace,


Add Your Comment
  • Charlie Banham, Cullivoe

    • November 10th, 2014 20:40

    Well said Alex – the sheer ‘brass neck’ of the Westminster lot is no longer shocking or even surprising.
    As Cameron famously said, “We are all in it together” – of course “WE” in his context did not include us, the voters, not then, not now not ever.

    Pity us, we missed a golden chance on 18 September 2014 and I more than suspect that many of those who voted ‘NO’ in the referendum blindly trusting Brown/Cameron et al to deliver on their ‘promises’, already regret that fateful decision.
    The rest of the ‘NO’ voters of course are either entirely satisfied with the status quo or waiting for the ‘VOW’ to be fulfilled, but we should all know that with Westminster, promises made are promises broken.

    To put it bluntly, this time, we actually DID get what we voted for but not what we really wanted or deserved.

    None Are So Blind As Those That Will Not See

    Hell, mend us!

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 11th, 2014 14:51

    And furthermore, there are none so deaf as those who will not listen.How was it possible for intelligent Scots and Shetlanders to listen to the promises spewed out from Westminster. We’re all in it together? Who are WE? The old public school lot, that’s who. Scots? Let them eat haggis and porage.

    • Steven Jarmson

      • November 13th, 2014 13:29

      Just to point out. The statement “we’re in it together” is about sharing cuts. So I assume you mean the “We” isn’t those in power but us ordinary people.
      On the topic of the referendum.
      I voted no because there was nothing independent about the idea SALMONd and the other fishy gnats were trying to sell.
      What’s independent about sharing a currency, so instantly upon independence our economy would have been controlled by a foreign power. The Euro was obviously plan B. No chance I was voting yes to join that economic disaster.
      I also started getting more and more annoyed by some of the anti-English retoric.
      I also thought it childish to say no more Tory governments. No more David Cameron if you vote yes. But as soon as you slagged SALMONd or Sturgeon or the SNP people jumped up and shouted about it not being about individuals or political parties. Hypocrisy is no basis to start a new country on.
      Can everyone please grow and realise people voted yes or no for a multitude of reasons. I couldn’t care less about the “vow.”
      I think the Scottish Cooncil has too much power already. They’ve centralised even more than Thatcher ever dared.
      Closet Tories among the SNP maybe.

  • Ali Inkster

    • November 11th, 2014 17:54

    Funny you should mention porridge Haydn because the only thing Shetland ever got from scotland was dear meal and greedy ministers, some things never change.

    • Brian Smith

      • November 13th, 2014 8:48

      If you look at the Truck Commission evidence, Ali, you will see it wis born-and-bred Shetlanders who racked up the price for meal at der shops. See what Commissioner Guthrie says aboot da Grutness shop, for example.

      • Ali Inkster

        • November 13th, 2014 14:01

        Bruce, Hay, and so on SCOTY lairds Brian using a scoty system of oppression on Shetlanders, A system that did not exist here before 1469. Now if you want me to say there is no such thing as a born a bred Shetlander that did not participate then I won’t let you get your hopes up. But the system was introduced by Scots to the detriment of Shetlanders and you can’t get away from that fact no matter how you dress it up. Another thing that you failed to mention if that the findings of the truck commission were reported in Edinburgh and very little if anything changed, until westminster intervened with the crofting act.

      • Christopher Ritch

        • November 13th, 2014 14:37

        Was the Grutness meal siddy as well Brian, or just dear?

      • Michael Garriock

        • November 13th, 2014 16:00

        A smidgin disingenuous there Brian.

        Any shopkeeper then a days that wasn’t a “laird’s man” and doing his bidding, wouldn’t have been a shopkeeper very long.

      • Brian Smith

        • November 13th, 2014 16:47

        These matters have to do with class, Ali, not genetics. The system practised in Shetland, by Shetlanders, from 1700 until the 1880s, was a system, par excellence, of local autonomy. No ‘Scoty’ had anything to do with it. And one additional point: Sheriff Guthrie reported to Westminster, not Edinburgh.

      • John Tulloch

        • November 13th, 2014 17:28

        Was Scottish Law not in (de facto) force at that time, then?

      • Brian Smith

        • November 13th, 2014 19:12

        Truck has nothing to do with Scots law.

      • Ali Inkster

        • November 13th, 2014 19:39

        That’s the problem with history Brian, the folk that interpret it. I leave de believing yun alang we da notion dat broughs are lookout towers biggit in da ebb stanes

    • John Tulloch

      • November 13th, 2014 21:35

      I was asking whether Scottish Law was in force during the period covered by the Truck Commission and if it was, then Scots had plenty to do with what had been going on.

      Shetlanders have no prior claim on sainthood versus Scots, however, the Scots, by “overwhelming presence”, abolished the Norwegian Law Book and imposed Scottish Law in Orkney and Shetland, in 1611. They did so, illegally, in fact, as it wasn’t permitted under the pawning agreements of 1468/9.

      If Scottish Law was in force during the period when these events occurred and the Scots had reneged on the pawning agreement, then they were “up tae dir ocksters” in it.

      Either their laws permitted exploitation of the local crofters or they failed to administer justice under the law (or both). My understanding is that the former, at least, was the case and that was what prompted the English Liberal Gladstone’s Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1886.

      So, was Scottish Law in force between 1700 and 1880?

      • Brian Smith

        • November 14th, 2014 13:16

        Of course Scots law was in force in Shetland between 1700 and 1880. But the economic arrangements here during that period had nothing to do with Scots law – just as truck in mining communities in England at the same time had nothing to do with English law. You might just as well argue that Danish law was responsible for the grinding economic oppression in the Faroe Islands in the second half of the seventeenth century.

        These arrangements were the result of oppression by classes, not nations – and during the period 1700-1880 the oppressors here were Shetlanders, with their own local economic system and rules. That is why the Shetland witnesses who gave evidence to the truck commission in 1872 didn’t complain about Scots, or Scots law – and, let’s face it, they knew much more about the situation than us. They complained about the Shetland ruling class and its local practices.

      • Ali Inkster

        • November 14th, 2014 18:47

        And because of the way scots law worked in Shetland the ruling classes were predominantly scots Brian.

      • John Tulloch

        • November 14th, 2014 20:54


        Then, surely, the law of the time, Scots Law, must have been inadequate to prevent this “on-carry” or it was not administered effectively.

        Under the old Norse Law was it not the case that every time a land owner died, their land was split equally between their offspring and that land owners made the local laws via the Tings.

        so that, outside of royalty and nobility like holders of the Lordship of Shetland, this type of thing would not be possible.

        How did these “Shetlanders” become “upper class”?

      • Michael Garriock

        • November 15th, 2014 2:14

        Yes, but Brian, you’re now arguing semantics.

        Almost without exception Shetland’s ruling classes, although by the period you referencing may well have been technically “born and bred Shetlanders”, were descendants of Scots transplants, who with a few exceptions only married, and consequently bred their legitimate descendancy lines with those they considered of equal class – ie. relatively pure Scots blood and heritage. They lived a vastly different lifestyle to the general population with whom they mixed little if any with socially, some even going as far as refusing to be seen in their company unless in exceptional circumstances. Some followed religious creeds or political persuasions at odds with the masses.

        While your argument may technically be correct, it is only so on an extremely superficial level. In practice where they were born and raised was of less than minimal relevance, as they ensured for the most part that their future generations carried virtually equally as pure Scots blood as the first of their ancestors to set foot on Shetland soil did, and lived their lives cocooned in the cosy little world of their own kind and their ostentatious little estates, emulating their countrymen to the south, with nothing but indifference, disdain and contempt for the local population who were not of their clique. Integration and inclusion never existed, you may argue it was a class difference, but you cannot ignore that class and roots almost invariably went hand in hand those days, and the ruling class were for the greatest majority of Scots descent, who very consciously did everything in their power to ensure their ranks was not infiltrated by blood other than their own. The “them an us” mentality was rife in both directions, but there’s little doubt it was more potent from the top down, than the bottom up.

        Those people were Shetlanders by name only on account of accident of birth, they chose to live as their compatriots in Scotland lived, created as far as was practical a “little bit of Scotland” in Shetland to live on, and used every means possible, both fair and foul to ensure nothing or no-one rocked their little kingdoms.

      • Brian Smith

        • November 15th, 2014 13:38

        The experts on this subject were the scores of Shetlanders who gave evidence to the Truck Commission in 1872. None of them said anything about ‘blood’, Scots, Scots law or the like. They were practical people, who knew intimately what the Shetland problem was: the unique economic system here. You might as well say that zero-hour contracts in modern Britain are the brainchild of Norman oppressors.

      • Ali Inkster

        • November 15th, 2014 18:19

        So Brian thinks that when scots left scotland for Shetland they left their traditions and ways behind them and immediately integrated completely with the local population and considered themselves and their children from that day forth as Shetlanders. Where as those of us in the real world realise that the profusion of highland games throughout the world tells a different tale. Also the Afrikaans nickname for someone of Scottish descent is “Salt Willy” (With one foot forever in Scotland and the other in Africa their bits were hanging in the atlantic ocean). All over the world you will find folk that are separated from Scotland by hundreds of years and many generations that still consider themselves Scottish, And many of them only marry other “scots” to keep the blood pure. But out of all the places on the planet that scots colonised the word according to Brian is that they behaved differently in Shetland than everywhere else.

      • Michael Garriock

        • November 15th, 2014 19:48

        Brian, you’re being disingenuously pedantic again. Of course they blamed the system in place, as it was being used by a minority privileged, as you prefer to term them, class, to oppress the rest of the population.

        You are conveniently forgetting to mention, as your argument relies totally on ignoring it, that the problem system that was being complained about, was brought to Shetland by Scots and their descendants, put in place by Scots and their descendants, operated, maintained and enforced by Scots and their descendants, to their great benefit, without so much as a bye your leave from the population they put under their thumb using it.

      • Brian Smith

        • November 15th, 2014 20:47

        On the contrary, Michael, the economic system we are discussing came into existence 250 years after Scots first came to Shetland. It wasn’t ‘brought to Shetland’ by Scots; it was created in Shetland, by Shetlanders.

      • Michael Garriock

        • November 15th, 2014 23:39

        Brian, You choose to identify them as a “class” of Shetlander, presumably because of where they were born and raised, I choose to identify them as Scots, as that’s what they were in every conceivable way, regardless of where they were born and raised. Its still all semantics, as we’re both talking about the same people, and it changes none the actions they were responsible for or party to.

        Did they consider themselves Scots or Shetlanders, only they can say, and its now a little late to ask them, so we can only call it as we see it.

      • John Tulloch

        • November 16th, 2014 0:36


        I think you’re telling Michael that, even after 250 years of ‘de facto’ Scottish rule and a hundred plus years downstream of the imposition of Scottish Law, that, either, the law permitted such abuses of the population which, prior to 1469, would have been impossible, or that Scotland was not, actually, in control of Shetland, ‘de facto’, or otherwise?

        Is that what you’re saying?

      • Brian Smith

        • November 16th, 2014 17:29

        Your argument might lead us to the conclusion that you are a wicked Scot too, Michael.

        John, I suggest you take a look at the older Norse laws before you argue that this or that was impossible before 1469.

        Racial interpretations of social developments are invariably nonsense.

      • Michael Garriock

        • November 16th, 2014 22:37

        “Your argument might lead us to the conclusion that you are a wicked Scot too, Michael.”

        You can regard me as whatever you so wish, that is your right to hold whatever opinion you choose, as is it your right to self-identify however you wish. Conversely, it is my right to regard you and self-identify as I so choose. Whether we agree on the labels we put on each other, or whether we choose polar opposites is of little relevance as there is no provable right and wrong where opinions are concerned. You call it the way you see it, and I do likewise, and we proceed on that basis.

        Scots came to Shetland, they bred with other Scots, either direct imports as well or the descendants of earlier direct imports, and kept those bloodlines remarkably pure throughout their inheriting descendants lines for centuries, so “pure” in fact that their selective breeding program arguably caused many to die out for want of heirs. If you wish to label such individuals as Shetlanders of another “class”, that is your perogative, I’ll stick with “Scot” as I tend to believe it to be more descriptive and accurate of those individuals. Regardless, it has no bearing on the people being referenced, we both know exactly who we are talking about without this going round the houses approach.

        “Racial interpretations of social developments are invariably nonsense.”

        Oh, I agree that they frequently are, however that does not automatically prove all such interpretations are nonsense. When you factor in that the problem system was created by, operated, enforced and maintained by one distinctly exclusively “racial” element, and that same element were profiting excessively while the vast majority of other participants struggled to survive. Simply dismissing a system which effectively enslaved one distinctly “racial” element and gave them minimal realistic opportunity to avoid joining it or to escape from it, but allowed another distinctly “racial” element to live in relative ease and luxury side by side, as a “social development” for other and non-racial reasons, its a description that doesn’t stand up very well. Quite arguably it was not, as you put it, “a system, par excellence, of local autonomy”, but a system of the greatest and ugliest excesses of Capitialism.

        Were your assertion that the system was simply a local non-racially influenced “social development” was correct, it would be equally accurate to state that the system in place in the North American slave states in the same era was a local non-racially influenced “social development”. Perhaps it was, but if so, you have an awful lot of Black Americans who’ve been playing the “racial” card for generations to argue with.

      • john Tulloch

        • November 16th, 2014 22:38


        I did qualify the word “impossible’ in an earlier post and I take your point on that.

        However, in a situation in which it was difficult to build up large tracts of land because of the splitting of it on the death of the owner, it would have been more difficult to oppress citizens in the way described.

        Under the feudal Scottish system, in which the king, ultimately, owned the land and dished it out to various relatives and place men, it was easy.

        So, either, Scots Law must have been inadequate to prevent this exploitation or the government was not sufficiently in control of the territory to administer the law effectively (or both)?

      • John Tulloch

        • November 17th, 2014 10:25

        Brian Smith says,

        “Racial interpretations of social developments are invariably nonsense.”

        With respect, Brian, that statement is absurd.

        Social development doesn’t occur in a vacuum, it has to be influenced by the surrounding conditions and pressures which may include the presence of invading colonists of a different race.

        Ask Nazi-era German Jews, black South Africans, Native Americans or, for that matter, the Picts!

        My argument, however, relates to the rule of law which, in the case of abuse of Shetland residents by lairds, either, was permitted under the law, or, if not, the authorities failed to implement the law.

        The imposed change in the law, language and political hierarchy applied a different set of social pressures than what had gone before so race is an inescapable ingredient, here.

        If the law permitted the exploitation of ordinary Shetland folk, the law was unjust. If the law didn’t permit such abuse, the authorities could not have administered it, effectively, and the territory could not be said to be under the government’s control.

        If I understand your historical point correctly, Shetland was, in fact, being run by renegade descendants of Scottish colonists, “Shetlanders”.

        Either way, claims of Scottish/UK sovereignty over the territory are tenuous.

      • Brian Smith

        • November 17th, 2014 18:21

        Give me strength.

        Most people know that it was Nazis who had racial theories about Jews, not vice versa. Lads, these views of yours about race, ‘pure’ blood and the like are distasteful, to put it mildly.

  • Andy Holt

    • November 11th, 2014 18:50

    I voted no, not for Brown, not for Cameron, not out of any especial loyalty to a Westminster based government of whatever colour but simply no thanks to the man with no plan and yes to maintaining the Union. Simple. And I suspect, but cannot prove, that the majority of those who voted no did so with similar motivations and similar doubts and suspicions. And porage is spelt porridge. And please, can we stop this pathetic whinging about public school. Most children do not have a choice about where they are educated, and none about their social “class.” Back to Alex Orr’s point, well said!

    • Charlie Banham, Cullivoe

      • November 12th, 2014 13:07

      Andy… not exactly nit-picking about porridge/porage but the revered Scottish-based Brand Scotts has, since it’s inception, and still does to this day, call its oats PORAGE – clearly labelled on all of its packaging, website and advertising.

      So perhaps your ‘cuisine’ just favours the name ‘Porridge used by other brands?

      Anyway I still enjoy my ‘Porridge’ (Tesco Value Brand @ 74p per kg) being my choice

      To paraphrase William Shakespeare….’That which many, (including inmates of HMP) call Porridge, would taste as good by any other name’, – especially Scotts PORAGE! LOL!

      Enjoy your breakfast and have a great day!

  • Michael Garriock

    • November 12th, 2014 13:35

    “How was it possible for intelligent Scots and Shetlanders to listen to the promises spewed out from Westminster.”

    The exact same argument can be equally applied to promises spewed out of Holyrood. How was it possible for intelligent Scots and Shetlanders to listen to them either? Politicians are politicians, whatever their colours or wherever they sit. What made the politicians of Holyrood suddenly become any more trustworthy than their Westminster counterparts?

    Anyone and everyone who voted on the strength of politician’s promises, whichever side they came from, has already gotten what they voted for, absolutely nothing.

    I agree with Andy Holt on this one, insofar as I would hope that all voters on both sides, voted on the strength of their own convictions that either a United Kingdom or an independent Scotland would be the best option going forward, based on their own opinion from history, and from their vision of the probable long term future. Not on who waved the tastiest carrots in front of their nose before the fact – as it was a given they’d all vanish before the ink was dry on the ballot papers.

    • Derick Tulloch

      • November 13th, 2014 14:50

      Agreed, people voted Yes or No mostly out of conviction.

      But we should not forget that the No vote has left Scotland continuing to subsidize the rest of the UK by billions of pounds every year. A situation that has pertained every time the books have been examined in the last 100+ years. In the year 1900 only 29% of taxation raised from Scotland was spent in Scotland. Since 1980 being part of the ‘Union’ has cost Scotland £150bn – see Note on calculation of Scotland’s notional cumulative fiscal balance, assuming it had become independent in 1980 in this link

      Over that century Scotland has suffered quite huge emigration due to lack of opportunity at home. Not unrelated to the extraction of huge sums from our economy by our neighbour.

      This is what British Unionists mean by ‘Pooling and Sharing’. We share our money with London; it pools there. The End.

      Personally I think that money could be more productively spent at home

      • Ali Inkster

        • November 13th, 2014 16:31

        And the only change for Shetland would have been we share our resources with edinburgh and it pools there.

        Personally I think those resources would be better used seeing to Shetlands needs now and into the future.

      • John Tulloch

        • November 13th, 2014 16:44


        Don’t you mean “It leaves SHETLAND subsidising the rest of the UK by billions year”?

      • Derick Tulloch

        • November 18th, 2014 10:24

        The difference is that Scotland has been subsidizing the rest of the UK, and to be blunt – England – for at least 130 years and will continue to do so far into the future.

        Shetland hasn’t

      • Derick Tulloch

        • November 18th, 2014 11:37

        No, I don’t mean that. Scotland has subsidized rUK for at least 130 years. Shetland hasn’t

      • Ali Inkster

        • November 18th, 2014 14:40

        If scotland has subsidised the rUK just how has it done this if as you say Shetland hasn’t?

      • Derick Tulloch

        • November 19th, 2014 14:08

        Because Shetland has never been predominantly industrial over the last century, and Scotland has.
        Because Scotland has more good agricultural land than Denmark, and Shetland doesn’t
        Because Scotland has Whisky and Shetland doesn’t
        And so on.

      • laurence paton

        • November 20th, 2014 9:35

        Not industrial over the last century ?
        Do you not count the long history of catching, farming and producing seafood?
        Presently worth hundreds of millions a year , although much of that removed from Shetland waters by vessel’s from other countries.
        The oil industry ?
        Still many billions worth being shipped out yearly and set to continue for another 50 plus years as Western reserve’s are extracted.

  • Andy Holt

    • November 12th, 2014 16:48

    Charlie, thank you for correcting me, I’ll pay closer attention next time I’m in Tesco’s. Apologies to Haydn also due.

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 12th, 2014 18:05

    It seems likely that Andy Holt doesn’t eat porage or if he does and chooses Scotts,then he has failed to see how their product is described. It’s PORAGE Andy!! Whilst in nit picking mode,there should be an e in whingeing .So, you got that wrong! To use an athletics analogy, a false start stemming from being too quick off the mark results in disqualification. As for the wealthy old boy Public School ruling classes, how can they possibly relate in any way to the ordinary common men and women who were not born with silver spoons in their mouths? “We are all in it together” they claimed. Not from where I’m standing. To brush this aside is short sighted and disingenuous

  • Ali Inkster

    • November 12th, 2014 19:39

    Scotts porage oats are more than twice the price than porridge oats from scoop. Dear meal indeed

    • Charlie Banham, Cullivoe

      • November 12th, 2014 20:51

      Well, That’s it settled? Porage for the Public School Boys
      Porridge for those educated in State Schools and & HMP Inmates

      Porage twice the price of Porridge?

      But then again, Government & Council Procurement methods have a long history of
      paying well over the market price for everything they buy – so perhaps in the case of Porridge for HMP inmates it will be even more expensive than Scotts Porage on the supermarket shelves – and we the taxpayers will be paying for it ?

      Oliver Twist…….”Please Sir, Can I Have More?….. “YOU WANT MORE”!!!!!?

      OK guys, enough about Porridge – at least until breakfast time tomorrow!

      • John Tulloch

        • November 13th, 2014 9:08

        Ok, Charlie, I like that and it has inspired me to mention this, just for the final record.

        According to “”, the correct spelling is “porridge”.

        They also have a list of “common misspellings” with percentage occurrences for each, based in 15 million-odd samples,,which amount in total. To 97 percent of all misspellings and – guess what?

        “Porage” isn’t even on the list!
        Maybe that’s American, they don’t know how to spell over there?

      • Robert Duncan

        • November 13th, 2014 10:14

        The porage spelling exists only in the branding of Scott’s Porage Oats, as far as I can tell.

        I’m not sure what they set out to achieve with that spelling, but it seems to have been them that created it.

    • Maurice Smith

      • November 13th, 2014 9:50

      The old saying went “Shetland got nothing from Scotland but dear meal and greedy ministers”. Maybe there are more greedy ministers in Holyrood and Westminster these days?

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 12th, 2014 20:50

    Ali has a point. Maybe it’s time to boycott Scotts in an attempt to force their prices down.The German owned Aldi and Lidl supermarkets seem to be having success by doing that very thing. The German owner/ brothers are pretty cute and are having big effects on the major supermarkets in Britain.

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 13th, 2014 18:42

    A and R Scott started making Scott’s Midlothian Oat Flour in 1880 in the Kingston Docks of Glasgow.The product was actually called porridge but in order to distinguish it from its competitors, the word porage was coined and registered as its trademark in 1914 PORAGE, purely for commercial reasons. It was the amalgamation of the old Scottish word poray and the French word potage which may well have harked back to Norman times in Britain. In 1982 Quaker Oats bought out Scott’s so hopefully,armed with this list of information, we can all get back to enjoying our breakfasts without feeling the need to get worked up about a spelling error. That’s assuming nobody wants to start analysing gruel or groats !!

  • David Spence

    • November 14th, 2014 2:06

    ‘ According to “”, the correct spelling is “porridge”. ‘

    John, I hope whatever website or business software you were using was set to ‘ English ‘ and not ‘ Yank ‘ sorry, USA lol You know the yanks, they are supreme in everything, including spelling…….such a colorful, sorry, colourful, language. lol

    Mind you, having the vile Tories in power, I am sure it will not be long before everything is yank is some form or another (privatisation)…….apart from their none violent, tasteful and self bragging movies (Rambo, Captain America, Westerns (White Supremacy rules the roost lol)) they come out with. lol

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 14th, 2014 14:23

    Whilst I have some sympathy for the views of David Spence , it should be kept in mind that English is and has long been an evolving language. The English used by Chaucer only vaguely
    resembles the language we use in 2014 and is likely to be very different again 100 years from now. Technology/ computer speak has already brought many new words and expressions into daily use—- words which would have had no meaning for our grand parents.So, I think there is a need to be inclusive and accept that Latin, French, Saxon and languages of Scandinavia have all played their part in producing a mongrel language. It certainly is not pure. One final point—USA :potato( potatayto ). Tomato (tomayto). Phonetically, that seems logical surely. So , why do we say “potayto but then tomarto ?” Is one right and the other wrong? Or is all on a similar plane to regional accents in ALL languages?

  • David Spence

    • November 14th, 2014 23:16

    Haydn, I am not so sure if you noticed that I was being rather sarcastic in my comments and reference to the yanks, and the vile Tories obsession, as Thatcher was said, for the UK to be the 51st State of the USA.

    Of course language, like the influence of technology, changes through the times with various causes due to other languages, dialects, location, social changes, interaction with other cultures or other outside influences all contributing to the way a language, dialect or even accent is defined.

    However, when another country takes your language and deliberately changes it, but still using the same pronunciation in english, purely for the purposes of trying to separate or distance itself from the source ( by changing certain words but still has the same meaning using other substituted english words ie english – pavement, yank – sidewalk – both using the same language) then one should question the legitimacy of such a change.

    I was talking to a latvian friend by phone (we have always communicated via email) and I was very surprised when she spoke english, how american sounding her voice was. I even told her she sounded very much like an america, although to her, this did not seem the case……..strange but interesting lol I also have Latvian friends over here in Shetland, and they certainly do not sound american when they speak english.

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 15th, 2014 17:50

    Yes David, of course I noticed your use of sarcasm but since it has no useful place in what purports to be intelligent discussion, I tend to dismiss it as being unworthy of consideration. On the interesting matter of language, especially the “desecration” by the Americans of the English language , questions arise.America was settled largely by Europeans ( despite native Americans already being there) and many emigrants were Irish.St. Patrick’s Day is still celebrated in a big way.Have you not noticed the similarity between the spoken sounds of Irish English and American English? You surely don’t believe that an organised, deliberate attempt was made to corrupt the English language do you?I. I thought it was already agreed that language evolves and changes. We may have a PENCHANT (French) for porridge ( !! ) whilst they look forward to LE WEEKEND. Point made?? Incidentally, I noticed that you made use of lol in your most recent email.Are you aware that the acronym , along with many others, comes courtesy of Usenet devised in 1979 by two Americans,Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis of Duke University, USA. So, you’ll have to change your ways!! I too had a long time Latvian friend from Riga (now deceased) who lived in Yorkshire having come as a refugee. He spoke perfect English but always sounded Latvian!Why not Google him? Laimonis Mierins artist.

  • David Spence

    • November 17th, 2014 16:04

    Thank you for your recent comments, Haydn.

    Yes, you are correct, language does evolve and change, in many cases in today’s world due to technological advancements, I would say, as you have shown by myself using abbreviations as a mode of short-hand (want for a better description) in using the phone or other forms of technological hardware in communications. Whether this is due to laziness in the use of the language or the confines of using the technology due to its small size could be debated, but in the present form, much of this is accepted as the norm.

    Whether these abbreviations come from the USA or another country is irrelevant, as most people using the English language will not really care as to its origins as long as it fits in with the technology being used. Although, in saying this, I would suspect you wouldn’t use so many abbreviations if you were typing an email and viewing it on a much larger monitor, lets say. So, one must ask, is the technology forcing people to abbreviate their messages or is it the case people being forced to use the language in a lazy (abbreviated form) manner because of a) the technology or b) time or c) a combination of both? I know that the Oxford English Dictionary has included many abbreviations as legitimate expressions within the English language. I am familiar with the abbreviation of lol (laughs out loud or lots of love).

    I am sure we could debate the origins of a language and its changing faces through time, but it is digressing a little from the main subject. It was nice conversing with you, Haydn.

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 17th, 2014 19:06

    David , I really enjoyed reading your reply today. These exchanges really keep the grey matter active. Much credit to The Shetland Times for making it all possible! I do hope that you will google Laimonis Mierins, my late Latvian friend . We were fellow students in London. To make it easy, add “artist” after his name. I don’t live in Shetland though I have visited Cullvoe and Foula so I know what a lovely place it is.My surname is quite well known in the isles but very rare where I live. Research seems to suggest that my ancestors were either Scots or Shetlanders. If interested, google my name followed by “artist”. No need for speech marks of course. The wonders of technology and language. All good wishes from south Wales.

  • David Spence

    • November 18th, 2014 23:06

    Haydn, I must commend you on your fantastic art, and the style in which you use as a means of expression.

    I know this is nothing to do with the subject matter, despite my previous comments, but I do a little bit of art myself as a past time. I mostly work with graphite, acrylics and pastels in doing portraits and wildlife. I am also an avid amateur photographer, and a keen astronomer as well. Have you ever been to these islands to view the aurora Borealis in the winter time?

    I am not so sure Haydn, what your views are on art today, and whether or not art has been downgraded (in terms of skill and talent) so much to the level that one should indeed question what constitutes art and what is regarded as commercial opportunism within art? As I once said to a fellow artist ‘ If the artist tells you their art in open to your own interpretation ‘ then, as far as I am concerned, it ceases to become art and is nothing more than the degrading of an unique skill and talent held by the few to allow the many to be on the same level, even although the skills levels are vastly different…………but when it comes to commercialism, skill and talent within certain styles of art have no value whatsoever.

    Sorry to say this, but competitions like the Turner Prize or places like the Tait Modern Art Gallery, do art a dis-service by promoting the concept anybody can do art as long as it has a price tag on it.

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 19th, 2014 17:00

    David. Thanks for your comments on my paintings and on art in its wider perspective.I am totally in accord with you in regard to the commercial exploitatation of artistic endeavour but,sadly, the money seeking gurus seem to have so many things by the scruff of the neck. So far nobody has made any offers for my unmade bed !! ( Tracy Emin my a”s* ) I could go on at length but instead let me suggest that you google these two painters ::Jos van Riswick—–he’s obviously a Nederlander and his work is wonderful.The second one is called Jake Baddeley and I taught him in a college in Yorkshire.He was a bit of a mystic obsessed by mythology.He lives in The Hague, also in Nederland . I believe that art over there has not become degraded or infiltrated by the kind of rubbish paraded at theTurnerPrize event.What an insult to use that great artist’s name for a nonsense like that. I’ve noticed that you make frequent comments in the letters columns ; do you ever go to bed????!!!!!


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