Campaign leaders collect public service award

ST14-51 oiof awardThe leaders and chief executives of Scotland’s three islands councils have won another award in connection with their work on the Our Islands Our Future campaign.

Launched in June 2013 the campaign aimed to tackle a range of shared issues on the back of the opportunity presented by the independence referendum.

The campaign gained commitments from both the Scottish and UK governments. Those behind it have won the Leadership category at the Scottish Public Service Awards on Friday.

Following the ceremony the SIC’s political leader Gary Robinson said: “This award is recognition of the unprecedented joint work between the three islands councils. I welcome the acknowledgement of our national lobbying to promote the needs of our islands and to find solutions that best fit our communities.

“Work is now ongoing with both the Scottish and UK governments to deliver on their respective pledges. I’d like to thank all those involved who have worked on and supported the Our Islands Our Future campaign since the start of 2013.”

The leaders of the two other islands councils – Orkney Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) – spoke of their delight.

Orkney Islands Council convener Steven Heddle said: “This is recognition of the work we’ve done in the islands, collectively and in our island groups. It shows that thinking differently is both relevant and appropriate, and vindicates our key argument that one size should not fit all, and that we need the flexibility to find islands solutions to make the most of our opportunities and address our issues.”

Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Angus Campbell, added: “The referendum in Scotland opened up a unique opportunity for the island areas to enforce the fact that the needs and status of island areas are different and need to be clearly recognised in the new era for Scotland. I am delighted that through this joint working since the launch of the project back in June 2013, we have demonstrated what a cohesive and innovative approach can achieve in bringing real benefits on issues which are of importance to our communities.”

As part of the commitments from governments a newly-created islands’ portfolio has been handed to MSP Derek Mackay, while

Westminster created an Islands Working Group, comprised of the three councils and the Scotland Office, which will meet a minimum of three times annually to discuss and “help drive forward” economic and social priorities, with input from “lead UK government departments.”

There will also be an annual meeting between the secretary of state for Scotland – at present Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael – and the three island councils.


Add Your Comment
  • Charles Forsyth

    • December 16th, 2014 20:20

    There is nothing like self praise is there; pray tell what has the our islands our future campaign actually achieved?

  • Raymond Hamilton

    • December 16th, 2014 20:32

    Which organisation has handed out this award the article doesn’t really make it clear. I do hope it’s not a public sector body which would mean someone has been wasting our tax money on a self-serving night out presumably requiring tax funded flights for the councilors to attend which no doubt included tax funded drinks and canapés and entertainment. Could the money spent not have been better used supporting a food bank or other worthy charity?

    • Allen Fraser

      • December 17th, 2014 11:11

      This was Holyrood magazine’s attempt at satire and should be applauded for being spot on.

    • Gary Robinson

      • December 17th, 2014 16:29

      As others have pointed out, it was Holyrood magazine that was behind the Scottish Public Service Awards event with corporate sponsorship from organisations including Ernst & Young, Lockheed Martin and The Law Society of Scotland – to name a few.

      My travel and accommodation was booked early for a series of engagements including the COSLA Convention meeting – held the same day, so there was no additional cost involved in attending this event. In fact my efforts to secure value for the council meant that travel and accommodation was booked before I even knew this event was on or that we’d been shortlisted. I know that the other islands’ leaders and chief executives were also in Edinburgh on other business last Friday.

      I’m proud of what our campaign has achieved to date and I firmly believe those achievements will become all the more tangible in the very near future as we seek to implement the pledges of both governments.

      In the meantime, if the Italian government as the last vestige of the Roman Empire lays claim to fracking rights in Lancashire…..

      • John Tulloch

        • December 17th, 2014 23:51


        The UK’s sovereignty over Lancashire is not, to the best of my knowledge, open to question. Perhaps, you know otherwise and will share your insight with us, as Stuart Hill has done with the Northern Isles?

        What we do know about Lancashire shale gas is that tax receipts from its exploitation will be used to finance a sovereign wealth fund for development projects in North West England.

        Given the hundreds of billions in tax receipts which have flowed to the Exchequer and tens of thousands of jobs created on the back of oil exploitation in Shetland waters, don’t you think there’s scope for a similar arrangement for Shetland?

        Then we might be able to stop bickering about cuts and closing country schools.

        And there would be no need to devastate the Central Mainland with 100+ 450ft wind turbines.

      • John Tulloch

        • December 30th, 2014 18:30


        If you said that you’ve added substantially to what I said.

        I didn’t say the Norwegian PM and Queen came to Shetland as a result of Stuart’s work, I suggested the Norwegians and very likely others, will be interested by it reaching the highest courts of both Scotland and the UK.

        They came to Shetland because of “our common history” as referred to by Mr Stoltenberg and because of the historic conundrum over sovereignty.

        In the context of Scottish independence, Shetland’s future constitutional arrangements will be of great interest to Norway and if it isn’t, their foreign office isn’t doing its job properly.

        As long as Shetlanders continue saying they are “Shetlanders”, as opposed to “Scottish” or “British”, the Norwegians have still not been “bowled out” and will maintain an interest and foster good relations.

        That is why Stuart’s work is likely to be of interest to them and it’s why Alex Salmond put up £10 million for the Dales Voe rig base, simultaneously, with Mr Stoltenberg’s visit to Shetland – to get Scotland in on the act.

  • John Tulloch

    • December 16th, 2014 22:09

    I understand why the winners of the award are pleased and while I have repeatedly criticised their lack of ambition, I recognise they are conditioned by the roles they currently occupy which, inherently, produce low expectations of response from government. That is how the system works and is intended to work.

    The OIOF council leaders also won the pro-independence Glasgow Herald “local Politicians of the Year” award and somebody also started up a Scottish Conveners Association, of which Malcolm Bell was appointed an inaugural Vice President.

    We seem to be doing great in anything newly-started, for some reason?

    While poor old Stuart Hill is busy ploughing a lone furrow to the UK Supreme Court, I can’t help feeling a bit queasy about our leaders receiving the inaugural award for public service from the Holyrood Magazine.

    Why doesn’t somebody from government or the establishment recognise Stuart’s huge, unpaid contribution to Scottish/UK history, law and politics?

    • joe johnson

      • December 17th, 2014 15:57

      Stuart Hill might as well just give up on his campaign. Don’t get me wrong, he has the rights to his views and it’s a free country and he has freedom of speech, but he is just wasting his time and no one is taking him seriously. I’ve listened to his views and read some of his work and I’m not convinced that Shetland is not part of Scotland. Shetland is part of Scotland and under Scottish law which Stuart Hill must respect. Time for Stuart Hill to get a grip on reality.

      • John Tulloch

        • December 17th, 2014 22:50


        Have you read Stuart Hill’s book, “The Stolen Isles”?

        Are you content that the St. Ninian’s Isle Treasure was taken to Edinburgh?

        Are you content that the Crown Estates take rent for salmon farms?

        When there is no legal foundation for these and other “sleights of hand” by the Scottish judiciary?

        When Scottish and UK courts are unable to demonstrate they have jurisdiction in Orkney and Shetland because there is no legal basis for sovereignty?

        You are someone who I would have expected to believe in the “rule of law”, yet you are upholding Scottish Law, for which no legal basis can be shown. That’s why Udal Law still counts and why the Scottish judiciary overrule it, “by their fiat”, whenever it suits them. Their power accrues, simply, from “overwhelming presence”, as opposed to (legal) “sovereignty de jure”.

        I’m surprised by your attitude, perhaps, you feel more comfortable lining up with the ruling establishment, than with the “rule of law”, which takes courage and tenacity.

        Stuart Hill has got those – in spades!

      • Robert Duncan

        • December 18th, 2014 15:00

        How is Crown Estate money a sleight of hand by the *Scottish* judiciary? Until very recently Scotland had no control over that, and now that they do we look set to have it devolved further.

      • John Tulloch

        • December 18th, 2014 19:35

        A reasonable question, Robert, the answer to which is because the cas was heard by the Court of Session, Scotland’s supreme civil court.

        From the paper by Michael Jones, “Playing the indigenous card? The Shetland and Orkney Udal Law Group and indigenous rights”, Geo Journal 2010.

        “……. Finally, in the seabed case of 1990 (Shetland Salmon Farmers Association v Crown Estate Commissioners) the Shetland Salmon Farmers Association contested the right of the Crown Estate Commissioners to charge rent for the use of the seabed by salmon farmers. The salmon farmers claimed that under Udal,law the Crown could not be the owner of the seabed off Shetland and Orkney as the Norwegian Crown had never claimed the seabed. The Crown Estate Commissioners claimed ownership of the seabed off Shetland and Orkney as elsewhere in Britain. The Court of Session found that the seabed belonged to the Crown as part of its sovereign rights not its rights as a feudal superior.”

    • Brian Smith

      • December 17th, 2014 17:57

      Because there are no honours for wishful thinking.

      • John Tulloch

        • December 17th, 2014 23:13


        The longer people continue to display the level of “learned helplessness” exhibited by Our Islands, Our Future and by you and Joe Johnson in your above comments, the longer the Scottish and UK authorities will be able to straight-bat Stuart Hill’s courageous, ingenious, campaign – or anyone else’s – with “but nobody up there is interested, where is the political campaign group”?

        i.e. meek acceptance will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        A local campaign group is essential to act as a political lash for OIOF to sharpen them up to refuse to be patronised by this procession of “Uriah Heep” awards which invite the suspicion they have been created to keep OIOF sweet – and pliable.

      • Brian Smith

        • December 18th, 2014 18:01

        You are credulous, John. Anyone with an eetimtation of wit knows that Mr Hill’s ideas and campaigns are risible. Going into battle with nonsense simply reinforces the status quo.

      • John Tulloch

        • December 19th, 2014 10:58

        This sounds like more “learned helplessness”, Brian.

        Stuart Hill’s arguments were heard in the Scottish courts where they weren’t found “risible”, nor in the case of RBS v Stuart Hill were they addressed head on, they were adroitly side-stepped.

        I understand the UK Supreme Court hearing went ahead as planned, so, presumably, Stuart didn’t get a hearing there and until more is known, we can only speculate that some procedural flaw was detected in approach which permitted the court to bypass his challenge.

        If the authorities have proof of sovereignty, why the hell don’t they put it up so we can all see it and then go about our business without all this?

        If Stuart Hill had,minstead, challenged the Scottish/UK courts’ jurisdiction in, say, the Hebrides, evidence would have been produced without delay and there would be no more argument?

      • Michael Garriock

        • December 19th, 2014 15:48

        Undoubtedly much of Stuart Hill’s ideas and activities are very probably nonsense, they certainly have all the appearances of it to many casual observers. However, which parts of his ideas are nonsense and which may have either partial or total validity, are always going to remain a subject of discussion and speculation, until and unless all relevant facts, evidence and claims are made available in the public arena, claims and counter claims debated over by impartial experts in the relevant fields, and a conclusion or judgement reached on the issue once and for all.

        It is “nonsense” that’s not going to go away anytime soon either, as its already survived largely intact for over 500 years, and it is nonsense that cannot be dismissed by either the professional “opinion” of an expert or two who have their wages paid by one of the parties involved, nor by the judicial system which is an integral part of the same involved party.

      • Ali Inkster

        • December 19th, 2014 15:49

        How about providing some form of proof that his position is risible Brian, so far all anyone has provided in answer is opinion, which is never borne out by any facts

      • Brian Smith

        • December 19th, 2014 17:59

        The best dismissal of Mr Hill’s arguments to date is Kate Anderson’s:

      • Ali Inkster

        • December 20th, 2014 16:22

        A dismissal without any proof attached, is little more than opinion Brian.

      • Brian Smith

        • December 20th, 2014 16:50

        You’re going to have to start learning to read, Ali.

      • John Tulloch

        • December 20th, 2014 17:42

        Quaneence at I gyit aa me Chrissmas praisints towed up am gyaain ta hae a brawly guyd fun wi yun article at du posstit, Brian.

        Quhaa is hit at rinks at yuns da best een?

      • Robert Sim

        • December 20th, 2014 20:37

        Thanks for the link to Katherine Anderson’s article n your later post, Brian. To any reasonable-minded person, that settles the matter.

      • Brian smith

        • December 21st, 2014 14:13

        Not if minds are made up in advance, Robert!

      • Michael Garriock

        • December 21st, 2014 15:28

        “To any reasonable-minded person, that settles the matter.”

        Of course it does, to the question the court was presented with, even with the liberal usage of terms like “may” and “seems to” throughout. Terms, IMHO which have no place where points of law are concerned.

        Hill however has always been asking the wrong question, and still is, in very probably the wrong places. So he will in all probability continue to receive the same answer until and unless he realises, or is made to realise where he is going wrong. Unless of course, someone else asks the right question in a probably more appropriate justiciary.

        Hill is running a sideshow, which can never get beyond its present state, and will never answer any question on anything. Why he persists, only he can say.

      • John Tulloch

        • December 21st, 2014 18:27


        Gordon Donaldson is quoted in the article by Aberdeen University law student Katherine Anderson as accepting Scotland had gained sovereignty over the isles “by acquisitive prescription through peaceful, open, continuous and effective exercise of sovereignty over the territory.”

        Donaldson is also quoted in your own article (“When did Orkney and Shetland become part of Scotland?”, New Orkney Antiquarian Journal, No5) as saying:

        “If Britain does have “sovereignty de jure” an historian would like to know – and I think he has a right to know – from what point in time such sovereignty can be dated.”

        Assuming these conflicting statements are accurately attributed, how do we reconcile them?

      • John Tulloch

        • December 22nd, 2014 11:16


        What is the “right question” and where will Stuart Hill find the “appropriate judiciary”?

        While we may, safely, expect both Scottish and UK judiciary to close ranks against Stuart with every delay, obfuscation and sleight of hand they can muster, Stuart is stinging them – way above his weight – in places where to quote “Dad’s Army’s Corporal Jones, “they don’t loik it up ’em, Cap’n Main’rin’, they don’t loik it up ’em, sah!”

        He is taking his argument to the highest courts in the land, making little ripples throughout the political elite, doubtless, watched closely by Britain’s friends and allies in Norway and Denmark.

      • Brian Smith

        • December 22nd, 2014 11:44

        ‘When I looked this morning, the jelly I prepared last night had set. But being a historian, I am curious to know exactly when during the night that happened.’

      • Brian Smith

        • December 23rd, 2014 17:29

        ‘making little ripples throughout the political elite, doubtless, watched closely by Britain’s friends and allies in Norway and Denmark …’

        Evidence, John?

      • John Tulloch

        • December 29th, 2014 21:49

        Evidence, Brian?

        Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg opened the Scalloway Museum on Norway’s National Day, passing up the opportunity to meet First Minister Alex Salmond in Oslo, suggesting the Norwegians have more than a passing interest in Shetland.

        “Paying tribute to the assistance Shetlanders provided between 1941 and 1945, Mr Stoltenberg said: “Today we commemorate an important part of our common history: that of the fight against Nazi German occupation during the Second World War.”

        “…an important PART of our common history, etc.,….”

        That caused sufficient “little ripples through the political elite” for Mr Salmond to simultaneously announce £10 million of Scottish government support for the oil rig decommissioning development at Dales Voe.

      • John Tulloch

        • December 29th, 2014 21:57

        Evidence, Brian?

        Didn’t the Queen of Norway open the new Shetland Museum and Archives?

        Why did we invite her to open it?

        Why did she accept the invitation?

      • Brian Smith

        • December 30th, 2014 14:59

        Goodness. I bumped into Mr Hill at lunchtime, John, and told him about your theory that the queen and prime minister of Norway had come to Shetland after being inspired by his writings. He looked surprised, as I was.

  • Ali Inkster

    • December 17th, 2014 11:50

    High praise for low achievement.

  • Rachel Buchan

    • December 17th, 2014 23:18

    These people have earned an award for achieving nothing.

  • David Spence

    • December 18th, 2014 1:03

    ‘ no one is taking him seriously ‘

    That’s because Shetlander’s are weak minded people who would let anybody rule over them as long as they have an easy life, Joe.

    Even if Stuart Hill was right in his facts on Scotland’s illegal sovereignty over these islands, Shetlanders would do nothing any way……….They are too easily fooled into believing anything as long as it does not interrupt their easy way of living.

    Shetlander’s don’t have the courage, bravery or intelligence to question those in authority to which they are governed by……….pure and simple. A Shetlander’s voice will always be quiet as long as those in power control them.

    • joe johnson

      • December 18th, 2014 20:24

      That’s a horrible thing to say David, “shetlanders are weak minded!” You are being unpleasant and I have the rights to my views.

  • David Spence

    • December 18th, 2014 1:08

    ‘ I’m not convinced that Shetland is not part of Scotland. ‘

    Where is your evidence Joe, to say that Scotland has full 100% sovereignty and rule over these Islands or are you one those Shetlander (if indeed you are one) who believes in any fairytale those in an illegal position of power tell you? lol

  • Iantinkler

    • December 18th, 2014 7:27

    For once, I am truly lost d for words!!

  • Chris Johnston

    • December 18th, 2014 15:52

    This article and photo remind me of a song from the 1956 Broadway musical “Happy Hunting.” The lyrics say, “We belong to a mutual admiration society, my baby and me.”

    The Orkney Convenor has the same facial expression in every photo of him I’ve seen. I can’t decide whether it’s a smirk or a scowl.

  • David Spence

    • December 18th, 2014 16:33

    Ian, let me take a note of this miraculous event into my diary lol No doubt, such an affliction shall be short lived? lol

  • iantinkler

    • December 18th, 2014 18:19

    Happy Christmas David, and to all my cyberNUT friends, both antagonists and protagonists. Have a good one.

  • joe johnson

    • December 18th, 2014 18:24

    If Stuart Hill succeeds in gaining independence for Shetland john tulloch should be made first minister of Shetland and david spence should be his deputy as they are all seeing and all knowing. Lol!

  • David Spence

    • December 19th, 2014 15:18

    and a very Merry Christmas to you Ian, and I extend this in ‘ Wishing Everybody a Joyful and Happy Christmas Cheer ‘.

    I hope that the year of 2015 will be filled with hope, prosperity and understanding of what we have and what we can do to make a better world for all.

  • Iantinkler

    • December 20th, 2014 21:13

    Thank you David, just let us all remember, whatever are Creed or prejudices, Christmas is about love. In the end , nothing else matters at all. Have a good one all of you. xxx

  • John Tulloch

    • December 21st, 2014 19:06

    Malcolm Bell has kindly contacted me to point out that the Scottish Provost Association was actually created in 2006 but “lapsed” due to lack of interest and was “re-created with a revised constitution in 2014” and that his appointment as vice president was not, therefore, “inaugural”.

    I’m happy to accept that as I like to think the council/negotiators will not allow themselves to be compromised and are aware of the risks associated with becoming too cosy and/or accepting awards for achievements when the negotiations have a long way to run.

    The opportunity which currently presents itself will not last for ever and may not come again in any of our lifetimes. And OIOF may be sure that, as soon as they are no longer needed by Holyrood, many doors which are now open, will close.

    I’m unsure the previous existence of the SPA was made clear in media reports at the time?

  • Ian tinkler

    • December 27th, 2014 21:57

    Not surprised to see the Sturgeon person wallowing in the photo call. As for the others, I expected better.!! Silly me.

  • John Tulloch

    • December 29th, 2014 21:26


    In your enigmatic way, you wrote above:

    ‘When I looked this morning, the jelly I prepared last night had set. But being a historian, I am curious to know exactly when during the night that happened.’

    1. Mr Donaldson wrote “IF (JT emphasis) Britain has sovereignty de jure…etc.”, suggesting he was unconvinced the “jelly had set”. He had not “prepared the jelly” and was trying to establish its true condition.

    2. As said above, the jelly of concern to Mr Donaldson was not prepared by him and he knew from his own detailed enquiries that it had not been prepared in the normal way, on the instructions of a restaurateur of dubious character.

    3. And what if Mr Donaldson had studied detailed records of regular checks on the jelly during the night which told him that the jelly did not meet the scientific criteria required to fulfil the definition of “set jelly”?

    4. And what if the “restaurateur” who prepared it had no gelatine but had simply frozen berry juice and glazed it to give it the appearance of “set jelly”, only occasionally allows it to be taken out of the freezer and put, briefly, on display in a locked, cooled, glass case, surrounded by an electric cage?

    5. And if you were now paying rent to keep this purportedly “set jelly” in this way, what would you do next? Wouldn’t you, at least, ask if you could poke it to see if it wobbles?

    6. And if it didn’t “wobble”, wouldn’t you ask, as a noteworthy “gadfly” jurist has done, for another check on its scientific properties?

    • Brian Smith

      • December 30th, 2014 15:23

      You’ll have to read Donaldson’s article, John.


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