26th January 2020
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Skene stands down to focus on election

Danus Skene has stood down as chairman of the board of Shetland Arts to avoid any conflict with his recently announced candidature as MP for Shetland and Orkney.

The decision was announced at last night’s meeting of the board of Shetland Arts when Mr Skene stood down. It follows the intervention of MP Alistair Carmichael in a consultation on restructuring Shetland Arts Development Agency.

A statement from SADA said that Mr Skene wanted to focus his energies on his candidature for the SNP in the forthcoming Westminster elections, and dd not want the best interests of SADA to be jeopardised by the possibility of its affairs being dragged into the arena of party political conflict.  He will remain a trustee of the organisation.

His fellow trustees would like to thank him for his work and leadership over the last two years, it added.

Danus Skene speaking at the Althing debate on Scottish Independence.

Danus Skene has stood down as chairman of Shetland Arts.

In line with SADA’s policies and procedures there will be a vote amongst the trustees to elect a new Chair at next month’s board meeting.

SADA is the leading arts agency in Shetland, developing and promoting a year round programme of festivals, film, music, theatre, literature, craft, visual arts, dance, and comedy events.

Mr Carmichael wants the SADA consultation being undertaken by general manager Graeme Howell, to be held in public. He was contacted by several staff members concerned about the direction and rapidity of the process.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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  1. Robin Stevenson

    I`d like to wish Danus the very best of luck with his upcoming candidature as MP for Shetland and Orkney 🙂

    • John Tulloch

      I wish Danus the best of luck, too, he’ll need it.

      With views like his on Aland-style autonomy for Shetland standing in such stark contrast to those of his masters at Gordon Lamb House/Holyrood and indeed, those of his local party colleagues and other nationalist contributors to this blog, his candidature will be readily exposed by opponents as a fig leaf to mask the less palatable SNP agenda for Shetland which lies beneath.

  2. iantinkler

    With Mareel and Shetland Arts in financial trouble, yet again, is this the time for the chairman of the board of SADA to step down to pursue a personal ambition? Not what I would consider a true act of a leader, more reminiscent of sinking ships and brown rodents, There again it is The SNP is it not that this man is embracing. I feel truly sorry for those whose jobs are threatened at Shetland Arts, perhaps now you may get more dynamic leadership.

    • Robin Stevenson

      “is this the time for the chairman of the board of SADA to step down to pursue a personal ambition?”

      “Personal ambition”?…hoping to be elected to improve the lives and welfare of these Islands, indeed, an entire nation, to make a difference to how each and every Shetlander/Scot lives and works, to fight for their community to get the best possible benefits for all?…Hmm…doesn`t really sound like a “Personal ambition”, tbh, it sounds much more like a selfless act to benefit, not one man, but all people. I have to disagree with you Ian, it sounds exactly what I`d consider “a true act of a leader”.

  3. Steven Jarmson

    Shetland and Orkney each voted by more than 60% against independence.
    Skene will need more than luck to even get his deposit back.

    • Robin Stevenson

      I take it Steven that your fully aware that IF a candidate achieves 1/20th [5%] of their constituency`s vote then their deposit is refunded?… [by your logic] some “63% voted against independence”, ..thus, 37% voted For independence, Therefore, are you suggesting that by some magical reason that Danus would [somehow] lose 33% of those that voted Yes?…and let`s not forget that there were also a number of SNP members that also voted No? [at this time]

    • Bill Adams

      Your sarcasm is exceeded only by your ignorance of basic electoral politics, Steven.
      For your information, it is only candidates who poll less than 5% who forfeit their deposit.
      I think even you would concede that Mr Skene will poll considerably more than that.

  4. Bernard Smith

    Keep on the sunny side
    Always on the sunny side
    Keep on the sunny side of life
    It will help us every day
    It will brighten all the way
    If we keep on the sunny side of life

  5. iantinkler

    “a true act of a leader” Leaving SADA to the wolves when peoples employment is at risk. Some charman of the board Skene turned out to be! Cut and run to purse a hopeless quest. Next to no chance at all of winning a seat and leading anything. Rat off a sinking ship deserting to join a band of no hopers. I feel truly sorry for those whose jobs are threatened at Shetland Arts, lets hope the next chairman of the board of SADA shows his employees a touch more loyalty.

  6. Sandy McMillan

    We wish you all the best as the SNP Candidate for Shetland, Shetland is in need of change and your the man Mr Skene who can take us forward into the future, Good Luck we believe in you and there is no reason why you cant do it.

  7. john irvine

    The SNP have done Scotland no good at all, thank God common sense prevailed and the majority quite rightly voted against independence.

    Here`s hoping that any of the other party`s (except the Greens) can gain the overall majority needed in the upcoming election.

    • Sandy McMillan

      John it is not the SNP who have done Shetland no good it all stems from Westminster they are holding Scotland to ransom, what happened to all the promises they made prior to the Referendum, The Westminster Tories and Lib Dems, are out to destroy Scotland, The sooner that Shetland has a new Skipper at the helm the better for all, The Lib dems have got them selves to cosy up here, We need a change and Mr Skene by all accounts fits the part, give him a chance he cant be much worse than we have had for years

  8. Angela Sutherland

    Why keep harking on about the referendum? That was September 2014. What’s happening now is a General Election. If Shetland and Scotland are to have a louder voice in Westminster then we need to vote for the one party that’s guaranteed to speak up for Shetland and Scotland; the surging SNP and not a crumbling impotent LibDem party with its history of broken promises, its HQ in London and “honest” Nick Clegg’s string of humiliating leadership failures. In May we’re not going to be voting for just an MP but the party he represents. The SNP represent us, not Westminster. The more SNP MPs we have in Westminster, the stronger we will be represented. Westminster must be forced to keep its vow.

  9. Gordon Harmer

    “Yes Shetland
    4 hrs ·

    SNP now predicted to win Orkney and Shetland!
    It’s game on to oust Carmichael, SNP predicted to beat Liberal Democrats in May.
    Danus Skene for MP.”

    The above post is on Yes Shetland’s facebook page, and it just goes to show the utter contempt that the yessers hold even for their own followers. The Electoral Calculus page this was taken from was the Shetland South ward, not the Orkney and Shetland constituency. I was informed of the above post by a friend and to put it mildly was totally shocked, until I researched it, by going to the Electoral Calculus web site where I found that they predict a win for the incumbent MP. I wonder if it was a certain press officer from a very assertive political party who posted it. He is after all a resident of the Shetland South ward as well as an administrator on the Yes Shetland page responsible for this deceptive piece of propaganda.

    • robert Smith

      Sorry Gordon I think you have misread the sight, it clearly states SNP win, here is the link


      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert go look at the Electoral Calculus 2015 prediction page and you will see I am right

        Plus look at the post on Yes Shetland and it clearly says Shetland South ward.

        What you see is something someone has predicted themselves, this web site allows an individual to enter their own predictions and that is what your link goes to and someone has taken a snapshot of this and is using it falsely.

        Go and look at the web sit properly and you will see what has been done to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.

        This is what is on the real page.

        Seat 2010 majority (%) Predicted 2015 majority (%) Second party
        Orkney and Shetland 51.32 % 13.31% NAT.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Let`s not forget that these are only prediction calculators using various opinion polls.

        Robert Smith is quite correct using the “eletoralcalculus” model, as Gordon Hamer is as well, using the “New Statesman`s” model, both models have crunched their numbers and have come up with different results in Shetland and Orkney.

        Both models allow the readers own input to come up with their own predictions, however, in Robert`s model the prediction was created by “electoralcalculas” themselves, NOT by “someone has predicted themselves”, as Gordon had [ungraciously] suggested.

        As Mr Hamers “New Statesman” model predicts : that in 2010 the Lib Dems had a majority of 51.32%, which, [according to their model] will be reduced to a mere 13.31% majority, this can only be perceived as a massive swing to the SNP, this would mean, that it`s still all to play for, which can only be good news. 🙂

      • Robert Duncan

        I don’t disagree that there is next to no risk of Carmichael losing his seat but Gordon, you are linking to a different website with a different methodology.

        The May 2015 website is managed by the New Statesman and unconnected to the Electoral Calculas site.

        Of course, the extremely limited sample of Shetland and Orkney voters appearing in any official polling make the projections from both sites close to pointless. He may find it is a noticeably reduced majority but I don’t think any impartial punter would predict anything other than a Carmichael win.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson,

        Isn’t the Electoral Calculus prediction intended for predicting the outcome in new parliamentary seats in which the boundary has changed since the last election?

        If so, why are you discussing it here as a serious prediction for this election of MP for the Orkney and Shetland seat?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, check out the post code and the ward in this post which was used by Yes Shetland. If Electoral Calculus have used one ward (which is what it looks like) it is not a very accurate example to base the whole of Orkney and Shetland’s voting intentions on.


        Input from individuals to Electoral Calculus do in fact influence the predictions they forecast, therefore in the absence of voting intentions from other Orkney and Shetland wards these predictions should be taken with a very large pinch of salt.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, please tell me how you know this, are you privy to information I am not?

        “Both models allow the readers own input to come up with their own predictions, however, in Robert`s model the prediction was created by “electoralcalculas” themselves, NOT by “someone has predicted themselves”

      • John Tulloch

        OK. So the calculation is done using past election results and an opinion poll?

        Which opinion poll was used, who carried it out and what was the basis of sampling?

      • John Tulloch


        Re your South Mainland post code link:

        Talk about “footprints in the snow”!

      • Robin Stevenson

        I have used each postcode from all ward`s John and the answer`s the same, I`d imagine that “Electoral Calculus”, has taken ALL wards and given an overall calculation? the fact that it had “Shetland South” in the ward box is immaterial.
        IF you look further down from the ward box you`ll notice :

        Orkney and Shetland: Overview

        Prediction: NAT gain from LIB

        MP: Alistair Carmichael (LIB)
        County/Area: (East Scotland)
        Electorate: 33,085
        Turnout: 58.5%

        Happy to help 😉

      • Robert Duncan

        The post code is just a search result. You put in a postcode and it returns a ward. The projections, however, are for full electoral constituencies, not single wards. You can see that the results are the same if you try postcodes from multiple wards.

        These projections are close to nonsense given their small sample size, of course.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Yes John, footprints, I think that is the scientific approach they talk about.

      • Robin Stevenson

        UK’s top General Election predictor

        Electoral Calculus predicts the next British General Election result using scientific analysis of opinion polls and electoral geography.

        We have been making election predictions for twenty years, and were the most accurate pre-poll predictor at the last General Election in May 2010.

        These pages last updated on Sun 01 Mar 2015 12:07.

        Hmm….seems pretty accurate to me Robert?….I guess there goes your theory?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin S/Robert D,myou guys seem to understand how this works so, perhaps, you can help me.

        I’m not trying to be funny, here, I’m genuinely mystified.

        Can you explain to me how inputting the post code of a council ward provides any kind of credible prediction of the outcome in the forthcoming Orkney and Shetland parliamentary election?

        Robin, you said above that these predictions were derived from opinion polls, whereas, the site itself refers to use of 2007 local election results in council wards, compared to 2010 general election results? I do realise that the results of opinion polls could be used, but have they been?

        I’m unaware of any opinion poll having taken place in Shetland South or any other part of the constituency. Has there been one and was it used for this prediction?

        Or were the 2007 local election results used, in which case, can you explain how the results for a 2007 council, comprising only independent candidates, can bear any relation whatsoever, to the outcome expected in May 2015?

      • Robin Stevenson

        No, John I won`t help you understand, [you`ll just use it against me]…LOL

      • John Tulloch

        Thank you, Robin, That tells me all I needed to know.

      • Brian Smith

        It doesn’t really matter what happens in Orkney and Shetland. Voters here are still drooling over the Crofters Act and Lloyd George’s old age pension. Far more significant are the Scottish polls in general:

      • Robert Duncan

        RE: John Tulloch’s point above,

        “Can you explain to me how inputting the post code of a council ward provides any kind of credible prediction of the outcome in the forthcoming Orkney and Shetland parliamentary election?”

        When it comes to Shetland, the council ward isn’t relevant to the prediction. It is just a secondary function – you put in your post code and it tells you the ward, as well as the wider constituency within which it sits. The projections are based on constituencies. As has been said, if you search any Shetland postcode, you will see that while it names different wards, the figures remain unchanged.

        The Electoral Calculus site uses a slight variation on Uniform National Swing, which allows a projection based on previous election results and current polling. If you’re particularly interested, you can read here: http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/newmodel.html

        The site does make use of Council ward data elsewhere as I believe it initially started out as a means of predicting the outcome of votes following boundary changes. I must admit I’ve never taken the time to read how they go about that, as it isn’t and most likely never will be relevant to Shetland.

      • Robert Duncan

        And I would add that I wouldn’t describe the projection given – for Shetland – as particularly “credible”. Uniform National Swing gives an okay overview of the country as a whole but I think it has significant limitations and shouldn’t be taken at face value when boiled down to individual seats.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robert Duncan,

        Thanks for that. I had read the bit about boundary changes which seemed a reasonable way to get some idea of the effect of changes, however, I couldn’t find the energy to look into the details of the way in which the other, bizarre, claim was derived.

      • Robert Duncan

        I assume you mean the claim that the SNP were being projected to win the seat. Which they were, based on previous voting shares and an application of “uniform national swing” from recent polling. It’s a very crude projection and to be taken with a pinch of salt.

        However, whilst any SNP supporter thinking they are on course to win this seat is probably deluding himself, it’s probably a cause for great optimism that they are polling so well for it to even be the case with UNS.

    • Bill Adams

      Choke on your cornflakes did you, Gordon ?
      Things not going to plan in line with your biased prejudices ? Tough !

      • Gordon Harmer

        Don’t eat corn flakes at 2100 Bill, but when people see what has been done you will choke on your words.

  10. robert Smith

    John, I am surprised that you state that the SNP have done no good at all. Is the negation of the bedroom tax nothing ?, is the free prescriptions for all nothing ?, are no tuition fees nothing ?.
    I think you need to think your voting position through if you want to keep the union together. If you choose Conservative there will be a vote on Europe that might lead to the UK leaving ,and thus opening the way up for another referendum, (the same can be said of the Liberal democrats, although irrelevant if poll’s are correct). If you choose Labour, nothing will fundamentally change except the growth of the Independence movement, who would win at the next referendum. I see only one choice if you really do want the UK to stay together and that is vote SNP and get the Smith commission delivered completely.

  11. Iantinkler

    robert Smith to quote “if you really do want the UK to stay together and that is vote SNP.” My goodness, does this man really believe this? Even in the fairyland of the SNP I have never read such drivel. If you wan Cameron in Westminster Vote SNP, it is not great to see the Scottish Socialists so divided, could not happen to a nicer bunch of people!

  12. Henry Condy

    I love reading letters from the same protagonists , it gets boring after a while Gordon, oops, you can quote all the statistics you like, you can urge tactical voting in an almost hysterical state against Salmond you really must calm down, but the Scottish population will not be fooled again, Mr Jim Murphy ( the million pound expenses labour leader ) and labour are dead in the water, as are the Tories in Scotland , ( one Mp ) Lib dems, P45’s in the post. It may even irk you to even think ( I don’t think the SNP should close the door to a coalition with the conservatives, keep all options open ) that Alex Salmond. could be the next deputy Prime minister, what a scenario, and Cameron would find he is a different kettle of fish from Clegg . and all because of Cameron’s sleekitness, he thought he was fly ,but its returned to bite his backside, that is why he and Haig have been trying to ram through English votes English MPs, and with the NHS in Manchester, the break up of the NHS, every week Cameron goes on about the Welsh NHS, run dimensions

    with no cash, what will Manchester do, PRIVATISATION, to the Highest American bidder, so buy your health insurance now, my Mancunian friends. He must think we are stupid, I look forward to the forthcoming weeks, the Statistics, the opposing facts, the we are right ( the no brigade ) YAAAAWWNN, after the referendum in May, Ooooops sorry the General Election , Scotland will guide this country to honesty, ( see Rifkind and Straw as latest examples of avarice ” I need the cash I can’t live on £67,000 a year ). And prosperity, oil prices will rise, the109 pence a litre didn’t. last long in Shetland ,our greatest asset is our people, so I look forward to a new day, play a song by the Corrie’s called the ” Dawning of the Day ” the video is on YouTube , this song and video explains in the clearest fashion what Scots are, roll on May, once again not only a fascinating time in Scottish Politics but British Politics where Scotland can be the fulcrum in so many dimensions

    • Gordon Harmer

      For Henry Condy’s information a new grassroots campaign for the Union will identify constituencies around Scotland in which tactical voting could be used in the general election to defeat the SNP. With polls predicting major gains for the nationalists, the Scotland in Union group says it has anecdotal evidence of voters all over the country considering a tactical vote to halt a nationalist bandwagon in May. It says it will not tell people how to vote, but will provide information on seats where, for example, Conservative supporters backing Labour, or vice versa, could secure a victory for a pro-Union candidate.

      Set up by former No campaign activists, it plans to carry out analysis of key constituencies to provide the tools to help people make their own decision. It has already received donations that it plans to use for research and polls in constituencies, and has a particular interest in Gordon, where Alex Salmond takes on Christine Jardine, the Lib Dem candidate who is going all out to defend the seat formerly held by Sir Malcolm Bruce.

      Just the tip of the tactical voting iceberg Henry Condy here are a few links out of many many more to show you we are on the move to stop the Snp in their tracks.


      There are two months of campaigning to go to the election and new tactical voting web sites, blogs and facebook pages are popping up every day. Delusional comments like Salmond will be Deputy Prime Minister will only help our cause, keep up the good work Henry and thanks for your help.

      • Robin Stevenson

        How bad must things be when two main rival parties of [supposed] opposite views, have decided to encourage their Scottish voters to vote against their very own political views and aspirations?

        As the “Establishment” try to steamroller over whatever political stance you thought you held and sell your principles in an attempt for THEM to keep power.

        They`ve tried “Operation Fear”, they`ve tried “Love bombing” us, they`ve tried “Threats”, and now what have we got?….sell your soul to keep us in control, DON`T let the Nats in because their NOT one of us.

        This is a democracy, there is ONLY one party that doesn`t answer to London, follow your head or follow your heart, but at least, when you place your cross, it`s YOUR decision.

      • Robert Sim

        I see from a Scottish sunday paper that all three unionist parties in Scotland, in particular Labour, are advising their supporters to ignore ‘Scotland in Union’ and to vote for them. I don’t think many, if any, ordinary voters will find this attractive. in a general election, most ordinary voters vote either for the candidate or the party or a combination of both: they don’t vote on the constitution.

        However, If you want to think tactically, consider the simple fact that polling shows that the SNP is on track to have the biggest number of Scottish MPs after the election (as your post says); and having an MP who is part of that important group at Westminster will help to promote the interests of one’s constituency. Having an MP who is isolated in Scotland and part of a powerless group at Westminster isn’t much use.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson,

        You’re right, it is a democracy we live in and the Yes campaign lost the independence referendum – resoundingly, in Orkney and Shetland – a mere six months ago.

        Think on that.

      • Gordon Harmer

        That is where you are so wrong Robin the parties are not advocating tactical voting, they want voters to vote as they normally do, it is a grass roots movement who are advocating tactical voting. If you had read the links you would see this, all party leaders have said no to tactical voting.

        Robert the idea of having so many SMP MPs is not to represent anyone in Scotland it is to force Westminster to give Salmond his dream and the aim of this gang is to wreck the UKs constitution and force either another referendum or independence. We are awake to this and that is why there is a ever growing move at grass roots level to vote tactically and spoil the undemocratic actions of a single mandate party who are not listening to the majority. The MP we have now has worked his proverbial off for us and has done a lot more as Scottish Secretary than he could have as an MP. To dump him for someone with a single mandate would be political suicide, and just for the record I am not a Lib Dem but am a Shetlander and know what is best for us. Which is not being party to electing a government in Scotland who want to spy on our children and introduce back door ID cards for the rest of us in a country where centralisation is the name of the game and totalitarian rule is the aim.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Agreed John, the “Yes” campaign didn`t win in Sept…., “Resoundingly”?…well, that`s debatable.

        But this isn`t about the referendum, this is about the up coming GE in May, and the concern is, why would ANY political party vehemently encourage their very OWN voters to vote for their lifelong opposition political enemy?

        The choice is simple, vote for one of three London parties that [supposedly] serve the interests of the UK, or vote for a Scottish party that serve the interests of Scotland.

        IF, [as has been suggested,] that there is a “Grand coalition” between Lab/Con, then I`m afraid, sadly, that democracy will become dead in the water, and the Etonians will remain in power.

        What`s scary about this is, ALL recommendations from the “Smith commission” will be either, diluted to near nothing, or [more than likely] kicked into the long grass, further austerity cut`s and a possible departure of the EU.

        The remains of ANY credibility in ALL UK parties Lab/Con/Lib Dems will be gone [but at least the Establishment will continue to hold the power, without being bothered by those pesky Nats asking awkward questions]

        IF, this turns out to be the case, then I can see no other way for Scotland`s voice to be heard.

        [Well,…maybe one other way…:D ]

      • Robert Sim

        @Gordon H. You say that “…the idea of having so many SMP [sic] MPs is not to represent anyone in Scotland it is to force Westminster to give Salmond his dream and the aim of this gang is to wreck the UKs constitution and force either another referendum or independence.” Actually, recent speeches and announcements by the SNP leadership make it clear that, in a hung parliament, the SNP’s priorities will be to back alternatives to the current “austerity economics”, such as increased investment across the UK over the next parliament to boost the economy, creating more jobs and opportunities. Ensuring that further devolved powers are delivered will be part of their agenda; but a further referendum is not a priority.

        You go on to say that you are “…a Shetlander and know what is best for us. Which is not being party to electing a government in Scotland who want to spy on our children and introduce back door ID cards for the rest of us in a country where centralisation is the name of the game and totalitarian rule is the aim.” Gordon, the election in May is for the UK parliament. The Scottish Government elections are next year.

      • Gordon Harmer

        You can put all the spin you want on the SNPs intentions Robert but Douglas Young’s revelations below contradict you.

        Thank you for telling me when the next Scottish election is I had no idea. For your information the SNP are in power now and are implementing these totalitarian policies as we speak and this government want to hold the balance of power in Westminster in order to arrive at an independent Scotland. Both Salmond the back seat driver and Sturgeon have said since the referendum independence for Scotland is their goal. Let me ask you what are your views on ID cards by the back door and SNP spies to spy on our children and now we hear school children will have ID cards to clock in and out of school to keep tabs on them at all times.

      • Robert Sim

        @Gordon H. In reply to your last response to me, Gordon, I see in your post exactly the same points as you made the first time and therefore I would simply refer you to my reply. I would just add that the polls suggest that the significant percentage of Scottish voters seem quite happy with the SNP’s stated aims at this election – enough to indicate that the SNP will take the majority of Scottish seats. Good progress from the referendum.

  13. Kathy Greaves

    I don’t see what’s so good about any party, whatever its colour, in giving free prescriptions to all – even those who can easily afford it, free university education/tuition fees to everyone, when many families don’t need financial help. When the cost of those free prescriptions (and free car parking at hospitals) could be better used to provide more nurses and medical staff, and schools are cutting back due to lack of funding, I think that some policies need to be thought out again.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Kathy, when the Scottish government calculated costs for “means testing” it worked out MORE expensive than just offering free prescriptions to all.

      There are many students, [or parents of students], who simply CAN`T afford university or college fees, and [unlike] the English model, the Scottish government offering free tuition fees have been welcomed and utilised to the benefit of thousands of students across the whole of Scotland, giving the opportunity to students that, otherwise, could never have afforded to go on to further education.

      The free hospital car parking, was actually aimed [in part] AT the staff of hospitals as well as many cancer/day patients and their families, who have to attend hospitals, on a daily basis, paying for parking fees, with those on a tight budget, became pretty crippling. [If you pardon the expression]

      • Gordon Harmer

        Total rubbish Robin, what the SNP asserted was that it was more expensive to do the admin for prescriptions that had to paid for than to give them free, or that is the spin they put on it. Which in its self is rubbish because even free prescriptions have to be accounted for and carry an admin cost as well as a cost to the tax payer which as Kathy says could have paid for more nurses and hospital beds.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Sorry Gordon, but I`m not quite sure what you`re talking about?..Come to think of it, I`m not quite sure YOU know what you`re talking about?…. you said :

        “Total rubbish Robin, what the SNP asserted was that it was more expensive to do the admin for prescriptions that had to paid for than to give them free”.

        So, basically your point is, it is MORE cost effective to set up a department to analyze 5.3 Million people, and then work out, who can afford to pay for prescriptions and who can`t?…baring in mind, that this dept would be continuously monitoring these millions to make sure that those that have suddenly been employed should cease receiving free prescriptions, and those that have lost their job or have suddenly become ill should then, receive free prescriptions, not to mention those that are on benefits that have them stopped, all of a sudden, [because they didn`t fill in the form properly] their prescriptions would stop too, because they didn`t quite reach the criteria?..Have you ANY idea of what the cost of that set-up would be Gordon?

        That is exactly why [through stringent financial analysis] it was FAR more cost effective to give free prescriptions to all. The administration costs are negligible in comparison.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, more smoke and mirrors from you I see, they didn’t have a department just to analyze 5 million folk it was up to the person claiming free prescriptions who had to prove they were due them free.
        So what you are saying is that when free prescriptions were introduced a whole department were made redundant, get a grip, a grip on reality would be good.

      • Robin Stevenson

        This sounds like the VERY successful UK enforced legislation, that in order to get something [ie : unemployment, disability, etc], you first have to prove that you deserve them?… Well!…that certainly works Gordon?…talk to ANYONE on any kind of welfare and ask them “How easy is it to make a claim?”

        The extra workload and resources needed [not to mention those that are refused housing/unemployment but STILL need medicine] would be a complete nightmare, particularly with a coalition government determined to rob the less well off to pay for their incompetence at running the country. Free prescriptions lessen the workload, but that`s not to say, you can pay for your own IF you chose to?

    • Johan Adamson

      I think the point about the free prescriptions was that lots of us never paid for them any way. There were very few left paying so more admin costs for v little return. The long term sick and children and pensioners didnt pay. What is so wrong with a free NHS? Its amazing when you need it, and why do you want people to financially struggle, or their families, when they are ill – in trying to visit a hospital or pay for treatment?

      As for the free tuition, I think I had that when I was at uni, this is not a new thing. If you got a grant, you automatically got your fees paid (and travel expenses which was a godsend coming from here). I dont know anyone who paid, although there was a queue for ‘fees only’ at matriculation, and I guess the Etonians may have paid.

  14. iantinkler

    Free prescriptions and a devolved, SNP micro managed, Health Service, which is an utter disgrace, Royal Cornhill out of analgesics due to lack of funds. NHS Shetland out of General Dental Practitioners, huge shortage of General Medical Practitioner and endless short time locums. Magically, funds earmarked and promised by Sturgeon, when Secretary of Health, for Montfield Dental Clinic, vanished into nothing. Lost and used to finance the Salmond, give it away bribe fund, diverted to pay for pre referendum sweeteners. Free tuition for undergraduates, greet idea, pity Scottish Universities are so cash strapped, their quality of education is diminishing fast, comparable Science standards falling remorselessly, lunatic arty courses being created everywhere, qualifying students in the Creative Arts, wow, how very useful. Even now Shetland college can not fund the fodder to fill their arty courses!. Never mind soon, Scotland will set its own levels of income tax, which will have to pay for all the SNP freebies and assorted lunacy. Just watch the brightest and most able leave in a new Brain Drain to gain better prospects and pay less tax in the remaining UK. Look forward to the higher income tax, I will retire just in time to benefit from The SNP social revolution of social justice, perhaps maybe rather work, but with everything for pensioners free, and higher income taxes, why bother. Go to it Danus, we pensioners deserve you.

  15. Kathy Greaves

    Robin, to pick one point – it is not beyond the wit of man to set aside one section of a hospital car park for nursing staff and outpatients, and charge other users which would help fill NHS coffers in some small amount.

    • John Tulloch

      We pay road tax, petrol duty and VAT on peteol,and cars (and VAT on the duty!) so if they don’t want us to park on the roads, the authorities should provide adequate free parking.

      We also pay National Insurance tax (ostensibly, for the health service) and car parking is a necessary feature of health services.

      So between the two, I see no justification for parking charges for any of staff, sick people or their distressed visitors – it’s taxing the sick, for being sick.

      If more money is needed for the NHS, I would argue that NI tax should be increased and the money used for that purpose, not for anything else.

      IMO, parking charges have become a knee-jerk “money-spinner” for public bodies who are failing to work within their budgets and it needs to stop.

      So, Robin Stevenson et al, please note credit being afforded to the SNP on one of the rare occasions on which that is appropriate.

      • Robin Stevenson

        I bow to you greater judgement John 😉

      • John Tulloch


        In the absence of a Shetlamd Independence Party, I’m unaligned and free to say what I think.

        Much the same applies to bridge tolls as to parking charges, however, Ian makes some interesting points about prescriptions and I’m undecided on that and also student fees, as I don’t know enough about the detailed arguments.

        Ian, however, is an NHS practitioner who has first-hand knowledge of those issues.

        For me, there are plenty of other areas in which the SNP are skating on very thin ice, indeed, so, disagreeable as it may be, I’ll likely have to mention some of those – “occasionally” – from time to time, between now and May.

      • Robin Stevenson

        I appreciate your candour John, nothing beats a healthy debate, [especially the ones that you agree with,… kidding].. It`s a learning curve for many who [up until recently] took NO interest in politics, the SNP, [love them or loathe them], have at least woken the electorate up and showed them that an individual CAN make a difference, hopefully the days of “Sleepwalking” into either one of the London parties is a thing of the past.

        What surprises me is, you saying “In the absence of a Shetland Independence Party”. IF you believe Shetland should be Independent of Scotland and Indeed the UK, why on earth would you choose to vote for a Larger Parliament? sharing and pulling your resources for 66 million people rather than a smaller Parliament, sharing and pulling your resources for 5 million? in other words, IF you imagined your resources were a “Big Cake” how many slices would you rather cut it into?

        [As I posted on another topic]

        “And surely that accords with Grimond’s and Steel’s vision: Get the power first, then decide how you want to delegate”.

      • John Tulloch

        Several reasons, Robin, but this one is sufficient on its own and, not wishing to dilute it among other reasons, I’ll let it stand, alone, here:

        It’s clear from Stuart Hill’s research and campaign that neither Scotland nor the UK can show evidence they have legal sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland.

        The only way, in this day and age, that this can be satisfactorily resolved is with the consent of the people currently resident in Orkney and Shetland (“right to self-determination”, per UN Charter, Chapter 1, Article 1).

        Had the Orkney and Shetland people voted for Scottish independence, that could – and very likely would – have been used by the SNP as confirming consent of Scottish sovereignty, and that simply wouldn’t do.

        Shetlanders must NEVER GIVE AWAY legal sovereignty over their home without negotiating meaningful autonomy in exchange, along the lines of Faroe or, as your parliamentary candidate Danus Skene used to call for before becoming the SNP candidate, like that enjoyed by the Aland Islands, in the Baltic.

      • Robin Stevenson

        As far as I`m aware, nether Scotland OR the UK have legal sovereignty over Shetland or Orkney, therefore I assumed that these Islands were quite happy being a part of Scotland [independently, a bit like The Isle of man is to England]
        What I don`t understand is IF the people of these islands aren`t content with [and I may be out my depth here, in fact I am] either UK government or indeed, Scottish government, what`s to stop, or who can stop you, declaring UDI [unilateral declaration in Independence]…although, I really don`t think you`d even need that, so long as everyone agreed that that was the best way forward?

        Neither the UK OR Scotland can claim legal sovereignty over Shetland or Orkney so [I`d imagine] it makes not one blind bit of difference whether you vote for a UK party or a Scottish party, it really confirms nothing?

        So let`s say, S&O voted Lib/Dems in 2010 GE…does that mean you gave away your sovereignty to the UK? [after all they`re a UK party]…So, what makes you think that by voting SNP they`d [all of a sudden] steal your sovereignty?…they simply can`t. It would merely confirm that you`ve chosen to be a part of a Scottish government rather than an English government.

        Personally, I`d have FAR more faith in gaining autonomy with a Scottish government any day of the week, than an English one that are doing their damndest to throw everything at us to keep Scotland shackled to them.

        Don`t get me wrong, IF we had [truly had] Federalism, and were treated and given the mutual respect of an equal neighbouring country, then perhaps full independence would not have been necessary, but at this stage, with few crumbs on the table and having to send as many Scottish MP`s to Westminster as possible, merely to do their best to wrestle powers back to Scotland?…what kind of FAIR partnership is that?

        Perhaps our struggles may not be so different after all John.

      • John Tulloch


        “Our struggles” may well be “not so very different”, however, until I see evidence to the contrary, I remain to be convinced they are mutually-supportive.

        I hear what you’re saying about the GE, I was referring to the referendum. The GE result should have no direct impact on sovereignty.

        An SNP win, however, would lead to an implicit acceptance of Shetland being part of an (independent) Scotland, which brings me to another reason why I am unable to support Scottish nationalism.

        I am inclined to believe that the most secure future for Shetland would be with Faroese-style status, outside the EU, and linked to the United Kingdom or rUK, as opposed to an independent Scotland. This has brought great benefits to, for example, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

        There is no similar precedent for Scotland, past or present, indeed, the hallmark of this first SNP government has been relentless centralisation of power.

        The SNP is committed to remaining in/rejoining the EU which Iceland and Faroe, similarly blessed with excellent fishing grounds, have not joined. Why would it be better for Shetland to remain in the EU, I don’t know?

        If, alternatively, – forgive the skyimp! – Shetland was autonomous, outside the EU and linked to Scotland, who would defend the fishing grounds when the Scottish Navy (fishery protection vessels) is diverted to intercept the Russian fleet, I don’t know?

    • Robin Stevenson

      I agree Kathy, ” it is not beyond the wit of man” ….but when we consider that a great number of these “Free” parking spaces would [more than likely] be snatched by other drivers who simply didn`t want to pay, [or perhaps, were in no position to], How should we police this?…employ someone? what would it cost?..install and maintain a barrier perhaps?…A token or a card machine maybe?..The family and friends, or husbands and wives, or mothers and fathers, visiting daily their loved ones [who may be in hospital for weeks] should be made to pay?…Hmm tough call.

  16. ian tinkler

    Get Real, Robin Stevenson, what do you know about prescription drug costs? For the benefit of the so ignorant, it costs £500,000 a year to the NHS in Scotland simply for collecting and destroying unused prescriptions, and that is just the reported waste. Many, many more prescriptions are simply flushed away by the patients. Something for absolutely nothing is seldom valued. Outside Scotland a very small prescription charge prevents this utter waste. Those in true need are exempted in any case. Free prescription was simply a PR ploy by the SNP to try and bye popularity and a total waste of scarce resources. More political votes bought that way than in better primary care or actually having a single NHS, independent, dentist on Shetland.

    • Robin Stevenson

      The entire UK medical wastage is £300 Million pa Ian, that equates to Scotlands share being roughly 10% of the UK, around £30 Million, and yet, by your own figures Scotland`s wastage is a mere £0.5 million, I simply have NO idea how Scotland manages to SAVE £29.5 million, considering our prescriptions are free and the English NHS pay for them?….perhaps they have more money than us to squander?


      Looks like it may NOT be me that`s ignorant after all?

  17. iantinkler

    Robin Stevenson, my figures were ” collection and disposal” for Scotland, not the total amount of wastage, not really comparing like with like, however lets not be pedantic, we are talking about Scotland here. The total estimated waste across Scotland is estimated £44 million, the £500,000 was purely for recover unused drugs. Quite whom commissioned your referred site is a bit obscure (perhaps SNP spin). The site below is official NHS.

    • Robin Stevenson

      From the website you linked Ian :

      “GPs and pharmacists in NHS Grampian, Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles have joined together in a bid to educate patients about their treatment and to help patients understand more about their medicines and the options they have”.

      “One of the main concerns is medicines on repeat prescriptions, which are ordered and collected by patients, but are not used. It has been estimated that between 40-50% of patients do not take or use their medicines as prescribed*. This can occur for a number of reasons, including:
      patients not believing the medicine is necessary
      possible side effects
      fitting taking or using medicines into daily routines
      choosing between medicines if patients feel they are taking too many, and
      cutting down or stopping medicines they have been taking for a long time”.

      You ARE a member of the NHS in Shetland I believe Ian? I take it you`re doing your best to educate your patients?…This is the SG fault because?…..because they`re giving people these prescriptions for free?…or is it Doctors or dentists or Pharmacists who are willy nilly prescribing them? [because let`s face it the SG don`t actually prescribe prescriptions]

      Tell you what, why don`t you blame the Scottish government for forcing you to make a decision about what is supplied FREE to health boards and then blame THEM for wasting what others prescribe?

    • John Tulloch

      Yes, I actually saw that exchange, too, Gordon. The first thing that struck me was that independence is, itself, “a single issue”.

  18. Gordon Harmer

    @ Angela Sutherland who said “Why keep harking on about the referendum? That was September 2014. What’s happening now is a General Election.”
    Maybe you should get the official party line on this, as it seems to differ from what you are asserting.

    Douglas young on the 12th of February this year gave several answers to a comment from Johan Adamson on the Yes Shetland facebook page contradict what you are saying. If I am not mistaken Douglas is the press officer for the SNP in Shetland and what he says on a public social media page regarding SNP policy should be taken at face value and be taken as official SNP policy.

    Johan posted “Finding it hard to reconcile wanting an inde Scotland with SNPs support of windfarms following the heart breaking news re Viking Energy.”

    Douglas young’s replies are, “Independence for a nation is bigger than any single issue so we’ll grin and bear it.”

    Next he said,” No keen either but to reject independence because of a 25 year wind farm Johan after 300 years of Westminster rule is not a price worth paying for the next generations.”

    Then added after a comment by Johan,” You’re jumping around topics here Johan. You either want independence or you don’t.”

    Next he asked Johan,” do you want independence?” His final comment was,” Possibly the first voter I’ve come across who decides on a single issue on how to vote. Nearly everybody I’ve come across in the last two years have many reasons on choosing a party.”

    That party being the SNP and Douglas an office bearer putting independence before personal views and worries of a concerned member as a policy that we all now know to be the main aim of the SNP in the general election.

    Proof, if proof were needed that the general election is about the SNP gaining independence and not about having many MPs there to represent us and do our bidding.

    • Angela Sutherland

      I can assure you that Douglas Young is not an SNP office bearer. The Yes Shetland facebook is not SNP, while I admit that its supportive of the SNP its also supportive of many other parties. Try the SNP Northern Isles Alliance facebook.

      • Ali Inkster

        Douglas Young is the press officer of the organisation that you are the branch organiser for Angela, namely the SSNP. Did you forget or just following party doctrine of deny everything? You could stick to the party line and blame Westminster for getting Gordon to confuse you.

      • Robert Duncan

        Douglas Young is an office bearer in the local SNP branch, Angela. “Press and Publicity Officer” if memory serves me rightly.

        That is not to say that all independence supporters are SNP voters, but in this case the man involved is a vocal member of that party.

  19. Ianitinkler

    Robin, just to enlighten you. I am not practising in the NHS, I did for many years, however when the Scottish Government withdrew funding, (formerly promised by Sturgeon as SNP “Secretary of Health”), myself and two other NHS Surgeons found we had nowhere to work in Shetland. I went independant (private) the other surgeons withdrew from purchasing a practice in Lerwick (Alan Owen’s) and went to England to work. There is no independent, NHS dental practice is in Shetland now thanks to Sturgeons Volte Face on Montfield funding. It was the SNP that withdrew funding from the devolved NHS, definitely not Westminster’s fault, pure Sturgeon here.

    • Robin Stevenson
      • John Tulloch

        Bare-faced electioneering.

        Why is NHS Shetland getting less than NHS Orkney?

    • Robin Stevenson

      Indeed John, just as you say : “bare faced electioneering”.

      BBC quote :

      “The funding comes from an additional £127m of Barnett consequentials passed to the Scottish government”.

      So why have we just received this now?…While very welcome, is it just a coincidence that we`re coming up to a GE and to prove the point that they Love us after all, and they`re sorry for the wait?

      • John Tulloch

        Doesn’t the Barnett Formula do the required sum, automatically, then?

        Why would Westminster invent some unexpected cash to give the SNP to electioneer with?

        If the SNP Scottish Government was being short-changed by Westminster, why didn’t they notice? Asleep at the wheel?

      • Robin Stevenson

        It would seem that the SNP are “damned if they do and damned if they don`t” by your logic John?…Your automatic assumption that IF the SNP don`t get what they`re due from London then it`s “THEIR”, [the SNPs] fault for being asleep at the wheel?

        Wikipedia :

        “The devolution legislation states only that the Secretary of State for Scotland (or Wales) will make a grant of such monies as Parliament makes available. This is seen as relying too heavily on the good will of the Westminster Parliament, and infringing the independence of the devolved Executives”.

        Looks like you`ll have to ask “Yer man “Alistair Carmichael”, why it`s taken till now?

        [OR just blame the SNP anyway for…erm….whatever?]

  20. Gordon Harmer

    Tut tut Angela; taken from the Shetland news web site, “Peter Dodge remains as treasurer and Kate Massie was elected branch secretary. The increase in workload for the branch also necessitated the election of Angela Sutherland as branch organiser, with Louise Giblin taking on the roles of woman’s officer and political education officer and Douglas Young branch press and publicity officer.

    Douglas Young branch press and publicity officer; officer = anyone holding an office or position of authority in a government, business or society etc, making him an office bearer.

    Yes shetland primarily supports the SNP as well as the Greens end of story. Do you want to take back your assertions or will I copy and paste more comments from Yes Shetlands facebook to prove my point.

    None of what you say detracts from the fact (and one you cannot deny) that this general election campaign as far as the SNP are concerned is all about a back door approach to independence. Not only that, the SNP are a single issue party, all we need to do is look and we keep stumbling over the evidence as there is so much of it. You may be indynial not only of the referendum result but the true intentions of the SNP but your denial just shows this party is not to be trusted with Scotland’s future.

  21. Henry Condy

    No mention of Jim Murphys astronomical expenses ( £1,000,000 ) one million pounds, no mention of Manchester being the right in your face break up of the NHS, no mention of Rifkind or Straws greed, Rifkind jumped before he was pushed, Jack Straw with the biggest brass neck going said ” I am taking a position on the board of the companies I helped, from my office in parliament, but only when I retire ” it’ so bare faced its laughable, politics is fascinating, my point was the Scots were lied to , bullied , cajoled, but twelve hours after the no vote , the sight of Cameron coming away with ad – hoc decisions, unbelievable. And the Smith Commission, laughable, petrol prices rising from 109 a litre to I think 115, how can this be is the price of a barrel of oil going up, surely not, and it will go higher, and it is perfectly feasable for Mr Salmond to be Deputy Prime Minister, I will say this if the SNP is strong in Westminster I do not think the Tories will ride rough shod over them as they did the Lib – Dems. Which can only be good for the whole of the UK . But what do we get, its there in black and white, “. I am going to get my gang , and they will tactical vote Salmond and the SNP out of power, I honestly can’t see that happening, because of the actions of the gang of three , before , during , and after the referendum , It all seems so childish to me, this present tactics, I honestly don’t know what I will read after the referendum in May, Ooooops sorry the General Election, I will certainly miss these pages, so Thank you Gentlemen.

  22. Henry Condy

    ” Dawning Of The Day “. / ” We fished stormy waters , when fish were a plenty, we ploughed the wild heathland till it bloomed like a rose, we built the great ships , that sailed all the oceans, toiled underground , natures treasures exposed, we’ve travelled the world ,we’ve known kings we,ve known princes, discoursed with scholars, reasoned with fools , we served with distinction all down through the ages , but still in our homeland a foreigner rules. / Dawning Of The Day by the Corrie’s on Youtube

  23. iantinkler

    Nice to see a bit of Cyber Nat xenophobia from Henry Condy, is it Tony blair or George Brown you are referring to as a foreigner Henry? or just everyone South of the border?

  24. Henry Condy

    It’s a beautiful day in Shetland, people you can listen to the rhetoric, by some almost fanatical people, who seem to live politics 24 hours a day, who have an almost seemingly hysteria about Mr Alex Salmond and the SNP, of course the SNP want independence, I think the title gives it away , but firstly Scotland is a. NATION, who are more than fit to run their own affairs, I am actually Unionist, my Grandfather came from Ulster, but the way Cameron and Osbourne have hammered the poor over the last five years while benefiting the rich, and Osbourne with a smile on his face says ” We are doing a good job but there are five more years of this austerity or hammering the poor, Cameron yesterday said we kept the winter fuel allowance, no mention of the £50 he stole from pensioners three years ago. These are the men who with their actions will give sway to the SNP. I am not delusional ( petty insults are boring ) Nick Clegg became DP after all, the point it is the Scottish people who will decide their future, and in my view messers Cameron and Osbourne are doing everything possible for Scots to do exactly that. I believe in fairness to my fellow man, if he is hungry , feed him a very simple philosophy, Cameron talks of eight new destroyers two new aircraft carriers although they won’t get planes for eight years, he is cutting the armed forces by twenty thousand , leaving not enough to defend these Isles, and the soldiers that are left are Territorial army volunteers, all respect to them but hardly a highly trained army, at one time years ago they would be the Home Guard. As usual everything on the cheap with Cameron, so my friends think on, don’t blame the SNP for their astounding success in Scotland blame the gang of three.

    • Gordon Harmer

      None of the names Mr Condy has had a go at would take Scotland back to 1930s Germany only an SNP Scottish Government would do this. A report by the SNP envisages pupils being swiped in and out of each school lesson with their attendance logged and monitored. They would also be given rewards for state-approved behavior (would this include swearing allegiance to the SNP every day at school assembly) such as using public transport and eating healthy food. Put together, the information could create a comprehensive dossier of a youngster’s daytime movements for around 40 weeks of the year. The revelation comes as SNP ministers face accusations that they are trying to build a national identity register, talk about big brother watching you. This along with a state appointed guardian for every child up to the age of 18. 16 to 18 year old’s will be brain washed into voting for the SNP through their state guardian and at school while they are being indoctrinated on how to comply with state approved behavior. Why don’t we all just vote for Putin at the Scottish election, we would be no worse off than under such a totalitarian regime that the SNP are turning into.


      • Robin Stevenson

        Thankyou for the link to this “Toryrag” Gordon, however, the fully expected “Project Fear 2” doesn`t really kick in for another couple of weeks yet?

        However you should note that at the bottom of this piece of journalistic bile, that these are “Recommendations” which are NOT being implemented….


        “The Scottish Government last would not discuss the report’s ­contents but claimed it currently has “NO plans” to introduce the recommendations”.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, “recommendations” means some one is thinking up these draconian policies, someone in the employ of the SNP. This then reflects the road in which we should expect a more powerful SNP to go down in the future. You cannot deny the facts appertaining to the state guardian and a national identity register or claim they are propaganda from a “Toryrag”. Facts are facts and the spin you put on them is fooling no one.

      • John Tulloch


        You quote from Gordon’s linked article:

        “….SG…currently has no plans…to introduce the recommendations.”

        Shouldn’t the words, “at least, not until AFTER the election” have been added at the end?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gordon, before you start listening to the nonsense in the MsM that an ID card is an “infringement on our civil liberties”, “Draconian measures”, “Snooper society”, or whatever Scary story they`ll sell you, this was simply, an idea to “Streamline” ALL your data on one ID card, let`s face it, we`re ALL numbers anyway?..Bank account, passport, mortgage, driving licence, National Insurance, NHS number, to name but a few.

        The idea seemed fairly reasonable, but that`s ALL it was, an “Idea”…For the moment. it`s been rejected, which is fine, I believe there should be far more consultation with the public anyway, but let`s be honest, while we`d like to think that we`re NOT numbers we`re free men/women, try getting some money out of the “hole in the wall” using just your name?

  25. Gordon Harmer

    Its a beautiful day in Shetland, or is it when Henry Condy’s SNP tells us, that food banks are a bad thing, which they would get rid of; yet surely food banks exist to help people, therefore are a good thing, for those who need them. Why don’t the SNP tell their sheep like followers, what they would replace food banks with? Nothing is the answer because it would remove a political pawn that is used to bash Westminster with.

    They’ve had plenty of opportunities to act, they could of replaced every food bank in Scotland a hundred times over for the next ten years at least, with the half a billion pound under spend they managed to achieve, while trying to make Westminster look like it didn’t care about Scottish services, the Scottish NHS or Scotland as a whole during the referendum year.

    • Robin Stevenson

      I believe that the “half Billion pound underspend” that you`re referring to Gordon was the “Labour Spin” of the £444 Million that was earmarked and accounted for the following years NHS budget?
      The same as EVERY other Scottish government does year in and year out.

      Quote :
      “It simply brings together budget and out-turn information already laid before the Scottish Parliament and published in the audited accounts of the bodies that make-up the Scottish Administration.

      The Lab-Lib running of the then Scottish Executive: “In 2000 the underspend was £435m, but this rose sharply to £718m the following year, before falling to £643m in 2002.

      • Gordon Harmer

        As well as as the £444 million under spend, which is money not used, not even to alleviate poverty I wonder if there is any Nationalist out there who could definitively explain to me why they would for example, defend a policy for bilingual road signs. Signs that has cost over £26 million for a minority of 1.1% of the population over and above any policy to alleviate food poverty in 1.4% of the population which they’ve spent nothing on, save weaponising the fact that they exist and blame Westminster, who already gave them money to tackle it, but which they spent elsewhere. Could they also, I wonder, explain to me where this comes under the jurisdiction of a “fairer, more caring and socially just Scotland”? (their words). And please try not to answer with the same spin as Robin Stevenson.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gordon, did you fail to read “Earmarked and Accounted for the following years budget”?…This isn`t new. this has ALWAYS been the case, with EVERY government, the money is carried over to the following years budget because it has already been spent/accounted for the following year.

        I`m quite sure there are a great number of Scots [and visitors] that are quite happy keeping alive our traditional language, culture and history, and placing it on road signs [as they do in Ireland and Wales] is another way of displaying that Scots actually have their very OWN identity, I`d imagine what these signs cost Scotland, is a fraction of what our £1.6 Trillion UK debt ridden government are planning to pay for [completely unnecessary] Union Jacks, on…well…everything?

        In answer to your last statement Gordon, the best way of getting rid of ANY kind of poverty, is by creating wealth, personally, I`d say Scotland is ahead of the rUK because we have a “Socialist” agenda, this is part of the reason why England are so upset at our “Freebies”, but what these “Freebies” actually are, are helping those that otherwise would go without, Sounds “Fairer” and more “Caring” to me.

      • Ali Inkster

        Whose language and culture is being represented on road signs? Not mine or any other Shetlanders that’s for sure. And not 90+% of residents of North Britain. It is representative of the culture of Irish invaders.

      • Brian Smith


      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, England are so upset by our freebies because they help to pay for them it is as simple as that.
        Whats more socialism does not work and never has, there are plenty of countries with socialist style governments and their poor are really poor and make our poor look really well off. Scotland is heading down a very slippery slope where at the bottom the poor will emulate the poor of other socialist countries and your words and Sturgeons words will come back to haunt you.

      • Robin Stevenson

        I have to laugh at those that often use the term “Spin doctor”, generally, when they struggle to come up with a competent response to a reasonable explanation over some issue or other.

        But the latest “Schoolboy Howler” has to come from yourself Gordon Hamer, supplying me with complete and utter tosh taken from the “Daily [broken] Record”,..Headline : “£26 Million for road signs”…..Really…did you seriously fall for that?…or did it just suit your [and the Records] SG and Nat hatred?..[just write any old tripe and hopefully no-one will ask us to explain?]

        Let`s not even mention the fact that bi-lingual road signs [in Scotland] was first announced in 2001 by the then “Labour Government”. in fact just read it yourself, but please Gordon, in future, try to at least, make the minimum of effort before posting such nonsense.


      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, to expand, socialist radicalisation is creeping across Scotland, it is the only thing that can explain the migration of voters from Labour to the SNP. They are being radicalised with the promise of an independent Scotland where everyone will be rich, where benefits will be beyond belief. A Scotland where there will be jobs for everyone, free tuition for all whilst having the strong arms of the EU wrapped around us for good measure.

        They have been so radicalised the are blind to the creeping manipulation of social engineering, of virtual ID cards for all, guardians for all children who will have to conform to state recommended behavior to gain brownie points on the path to being a good comrade. So radicalised they don’t see or want to see the implications of the centralisation of all the emergency services, the covert arming of of the police along with the Americanised privatization of our health service.

        The evolution of this radicalisation will result in a one party state with the absence of other parties at its Holyrood heart to reign it in before it self destructs.

      • Robin Stevenson

        To explain why voters are moving from the usual “Bog Standard” parties to the SNP is really quite simple Gordon, UK parties do NOT give a jot for the working class, the poor, the pensioners, or anyone else deemed to be NOT making money for them, UK Labour are FAR more interested in attracting the votes from middle England than a few unruly “Jocks” [who for some reason, imagine their opinion counts]

        England and the rUK look West for their inspiration, I`d much rather Scotland looked North, in order to break away from capitalism where 1% of the entire planets population hold 50% of wealth, we, simply, HAVE to distance ourselves from the rUK and embrace the welcome from the family of nations in Scandinavia, but AS an Independent country.

        I certainly DON`T believe in a one party state Gordon, [despit what you think] but right now, IF that ONE party [and NO other] can take me to my ultimate goal, then they`ll have my vote.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, bi-lingual road signs [in Scotland] was first “recommended” by Labour which in your own words means nothing.
        The big difference is that the SNP will implement this costly policy while people go hungry.

        I use the word spin for your diatribe because what I would like to call it would not be printed. Because what you do contribute to this debate is nothing but spin, I will now take a leaf out of Douglas Young’s book and consider any future posts in this thread “not worth responding to”.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gordon, The “Levenson inquiry”. which I linked …[that you obviously didn`t bother reading]…was an investigation into the claims made by the MSM that bi-lingual road signs in Scotland were costing £26 Million, this was proved to be complete and utter nonsense, NOT spin Gordon, facts.
        Each and every one of your complaints about the Scottish government have been systematically been knocked on the head.

        Shock horror, “£444 Million under spend by the SNP”.
        Shock Horror, “Bi-Lingual road-signs cost £26 Million by the SNP”.
        SHOCK HORROR, “England pay for Scotlands FREE prescriptions”.

        And YOU lap all this “Guff” up Gordon?… could I possibly suggest you take your nose out of The Daily Record/Mail, in fact, EVERY one of our 97% of Pro -Union papers, that print this garbage to convince the gullible, like yourself?

  26. iantinkler

    So, Henry, the Referendum result, can be put down to “The Cameron the gang of three” and the resounding success of the SNP? Well bless me!

  27. Iantinkler

    Strange is it not Robin Stevenson NHS funds can be found in an election year! Just the very same promise Sturgeon gave NHS Shetland when Secretary of Health before the last election. Pity she lied then. So very sad for the people these funds only seem available only after the next election, just a few years late. We have no GDPs now, no facilities for any now. SNP promises for tomorrow are a bit late, if you can believe them at all, Sturgeon,s past promises came to nothing, Salmond withheld half a billion pounds, why should we trust this divisive band of self servers now, all they wish for is a broken UK, at any cost to us. All they have achieved to date is division amongst the Scots and derision amongst the rest of the UK and free world. mind you Salmond had Putin’s blessing along that of North Korea, funny old world is it not.

    • Robin Stevenson

      I`m surprised Ian, that being a former employee of the NHS[yourself] that you`re completely oblivious to the fact that in EVERY NHS annual budget, there is always an amount carried through to the following year which has already been earmarked? the £444 Million was [carry over] was marginally over the expected 1% of budget as it came to 1.3% of budget, would you have preferred had it been “Over” budget Ian?

      I`m also surprised that didn`t realize that the SG DON`T employ NHS staff, whether it`s doctors, dentists, nurses etc, the SG fund the NHS, it is entirely up to the hospitals, or private managers, to hire and fire staff? The Scottish government can only supply funds WHEN there is money to do so, perhaps you`d rather have an English NHS as it slips into inevitable privatisation?

      Your comments “and derision amongst the rest of the UK and free world”. “Free world”?..get a grip man, behave yourself.

  28. iatinkler

    Bit tetchy are we Robin? Finding simple truth a bit hard to handle? anyway enough said 55% says it all. As for the Free World, if you prefer another definition let us hear it, if you have the gall, that should prove amusing.

  29. iatinkler

    Sorry Robin Stevenson, facts wrong, yet again. I was never employed by the NHS, I was in independant contractor working with the NHS. You really should do a little research before spouting on, your ignorance and wrongful assumptions do little to forward your arguments, in fact they make you look a little silly.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian,…Please take a long breath and focus,…this is your quote:

      “Robin, just to enlighten you. I am not practising in the NHS, I did for many years”, let`s repeat that last part : “I did for many years”…..I`m now confused?

      So, did you or didn`t you? …I can only hope that your lapse of memory hasn`t made me look TOO silly.

  30. Henry Condy

    Who destroyed the shipyards, who destroyed the most productive steel works in the UK, ( Ravenscraig in case you forgot under the stewardship of our good friend Malcolm Rifkind ) although they had a ” Golden share ” who has hammered the most weakest in our communities, Who has reduced our country, England to in certain regions to a charity shop / hamburger joint / food bank, country I won’t tell you , it’ s not to hard to work out, my salient points never get answered, usually some reply at a total tangent to my comments, and to say we are heading back to 1930’s Germany I find an insult to the dead of two wars, who has increased the wealth of the richest, and the gang of three will reap their rewards, you know it ,I know it, it’s weeks till the election, and some folk are going apoplectic, calm down and debate sensibly, and honestly without any made up stories, oh this is about politics so that’s that out the window, Lol, well time for my Horlicks I will look in tomorrow for some more political wisdom, I love it , absolutely brilliant. PS for 19 years there was a one party system in this country,I pray never again unless it is by an honest , fair government for the people. Night all

    • Ali Inkster

      Ship yards, coal, steel mills. how about something with relevance to Shetland? Windfarms, tunnels, centralisation. Two of which are on the SSnp agenda. Can you guess which two?

      • Robin Stevenson

        I take it you feel that you or your family, friends or anyone else that`s lived or living in Scotland has never benefited from ship yards, coal, steel mills Ian?….I`m quite sure that the good people that worked in all of those industries appreciate YOUR appreciation of their efforts.

    • laurence paton

      Henry, our ship building and steel industry simply could not compete with the rise of industrialisation of the “East ”
      I have had been to various shipyards in the far east and have spent time chatting to the general workforce.
      Tell me how Scottish / Britiish shipyards can compete for business against companies who pay qualified welders – $16.00 U.S – A DAY – For a 12 hour shift ?
      You are talking about base industries that are truly globalised whether we like it or not.
      That of course rules out U.K shipyards winning commercial contracts from international companies but I think it is a scandal that 4 specialist vessels for the UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary ended up being built in Korea over the same period that a further shipyard closed down in the UK ( Portsmouth if I recall correctly).
      In any case I am pleased to see Robert Smith of Orkney standing again for UKIP in the coming G.E.
      It is quite clear that if you believe in
      a.) True democracy from the national level
      and would like to see :-
      a.) Viking Energy wind farm cancelled
      b.) National control of fish stocks
      Then Robert Smith is the only candidate to vote for.

      • Robin Stevenson

        That sounds great Laurence, so along with ALL these wonderful promises do Ukip still believe that NHS waiting times and undercutting British workers are the fault of Immigrants?

        Do they still advocate that EU membership is a burden on the UK?

        What about International aid is unnecessary and needs to be cut completely?

        Along with, believing that Climate change is a myth?

        And are Ukip still for the NHS introducing compulsory abortion for foetuses detected to have a disability?
        Or, the unemployed shouldn’t be allowed to vote.?

        Let`s not forget about Ukip wanting to re-introduce the “Poll-Tax” at a flat rate of 31% for every single person in the country, regardless of income?

        I wonder Laurence, are the Kippers still opposed to the promotion of the rights of LGBT, women, and ethnic minority groups?

        And it certainly makes sense when they say that employers should not employ women of “child-bearing age”, because of the apparent cost of maternity leave.

        Finally, UKIP want to establish “boot camps” for young offenders (*cough* concentration camps! *cough*), to double the number of prison places, and scrap the Human Rights Act.

        Yep a vote for UKIP is a vote for democracy…..[Aye…Right]

      • John Tulloch


        “Climate change” has been ongoing for about five billion years, often in spectacular fashion, ranging from alligators in Spitzbergen to ice sheets over England. Just about any physical entity that you or I could think of, animate or inanimate, affects it in some way and there is no doubt that humans, by their very existence, affect it.

        The question is, how much do we affect it and conflating the human component of it with naturally-induced changes is both disingenuous and unhelpful.

        It isn’t at all clear that the human component of it is, at all, “dangerous”, indeed, the predictions of rising global temperature on which expenditure on the likes of Viking Energy has been justified, have, so far, flopped. Temperature has hardly moved for nearly twenty years, during which atmospheric CO2 levels have risen steeply.

      • John Tulloch


        When was the world’s climate the “correct one” that you and the SnP imagine wind farms will restore?

  31. Henry Condy

    Ian, I am sorry , I was confused by your comment about the astounding success of the SNP, what I meant was the gang of three with their antics , moving goalposts during the referendum, Labour in bed with the Tories, this has resulted in success of the SNP in the polls at the present moment, I hope this clears the point up, polls are polls but I honestly believe we are in for a whirlwind in Scotland come the Election, due only to the gang of three.

    • laurence paton

      Robin Stevenson,
      I dont know where you found your list of alleged ” UKIP policies” but I have not detected any of your claims from their official site – http://www.ukip.org/policies_for_people
      The only one where you may have been close is saying they believe climate change is a myth .
      Close only in the fact that there is precious little mankind can do to stop it changing, do you think it can be managed at some optimum level through how many engines we stop or start ?
      And in any case I think your idea (where ever you got it…) of boot camps or a domestic form of national service for young offenders is a great idea.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Laurence, Most of what I asked was found on various websites, however, I didn`t check the date on each, some may have been as far back as 2014 and [no doubt] the Ukip policies will have changed since then?
        It`s not particularly easy to find a website that explains what`s good about voting UKIP [apart from Ukip`s own] but there seems to be plenty telling us what`s bad?
        With regard to climate change, I`m afraid the juries still out on that one, but let`s take some of the others I`d mentioned, are they all still Ukip policy or have they had second thoughts?..particularly towards women and ethnics?…Ooh…and why such an emphasis on military personnel?



      • Ali Inkster

        I’ve read that it is SSnp policy to expel all English after independence, I won’t be as crass as you and suggest it is an actual policy, but I have read it. And I will say that a fair number of yes voters and SSnp members wish for just that. what we do know is that the SSnp have “political education officers” Louise Giblin holds that particular post in the Shetland branch, (unless she too has departed the role without a relevant press release). We also know that a state appointed guardian will have the power to over rule parents, (god help us when they get together with the political education officers). We also know that the SSnp have centralised police control away from the communities they are supposed to serve, (god help us when they get together with the political education officers). The police already have the power to arrest folk for making political statements near a football ground, how long before that is extended to anywhere in public, then to in front of your children. They may not be using the term “Salmond Youth” yet, but with the direction they are openly heading with your blessing it won’t be long. They do say for a con artist to be really good their marks have to think that they are going to profit from the scheme. Well the SSnp con artists have certainly conned the 45% that think it will be a land of milk and honey once they stop subsidising the English.

  32. Iantinkler

    Sure Henry, a whirlwind that will do nothing but divide the Scottish people further. At the same time hand Cameron and the tories real power on a plate. I find it sad to see socialist divided and fighting like ferrets in a sack thus handing power to the tories I find it even sadder to see the Scots following a nationalist agenda. Never really cared much for nationalism, breeds Putin, Hitler ,Milosevic and over assorted monsters.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian it is YOU and every other Pro-Union voter that handed the Tories real power on a plate, The blue Tories, the red tories, and ofc, the orange Tories, take your pick?
      There isn`t a socialist between them, the only way you can tell the difference is with the colour of their tie.

      Nationalism : Nationalism is a belief, creed or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with, or becoming attached to, one’s nation.

      Integral Nationalism : radical extremism, and aggressive-expansionist militarism. Nazi Germany, and Mussolini`s Italy are examples.

      Quite different Ian, but thanks for giving us another “Scary story”.

    • laurence paton

      UKIP Manifest 2014 – http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/themes/5308a93901925b5b09000002/attachments/original/1398869254/EuroManifestoLaunch.pdf?1398869254
      Again no sign of these policies you mentioned , so come on provide some credible sources to back up your claims .
      I have read through your links to ” huffington post” and ” Left foot forward” and fair enough some journalist has quoted remarks overheard from prospective UKIP Candidates etc … in the past…..
      These are individual remarks , not policy .

      No doubt there are still nutters out there in UKIP colours , but name any party and you will find plenty of deranged lunatics :-

      So please tell me who to vote for if you want the establishment to act on the 3 matters listed below:-

      1.) A U.K. clear from the undemocratic E.U. bureaucracy & 9 billion PER YEAR membership fee
      2.) Scrapping V.E. Windfarm
      3.) National control within our 200nm E.E.Z.

      And finally – http://www.we-feed-the-world.at/en/film.htm This film demonstrates all that is wrong with supranational bodies such as the E.U. which directly support the interests of giant corporations.

  33. Henry Condy

    On a lighter note , that advert with Sharron Osbourne in it , where the guy gets out the car in the denim shorts, and the over sized derriere, do you not think he looks like Putin, Lol better watch what I say , I understand he is a black belt in Origami

  34. Iantinkler

    My employment status has no relevance whatsoever to this discussion, Robin Stevenson, but please before making ignorant and irrelevant comments about other peoples employment status, Just research your facts first. I am and always have been self employed as an independent dental surgeon, at one time working with the NHS (Independent principle being the formal title). if you must cloud the argument with irrelevancy, just for once, try and be factually accurate. (disregarding RN service)

  35. Henry Condy

    Ian ,once again my point is the divisions in Scotland , ( you see divisions I see Scots uniting against two parties you could’nt slip a razor blade between. ) are the results of the leaders of Labour ,and Lib Dem who have no cohesive policies, and Labour stopped being Labour a long time ago, and traditional Labour Supporters saw this and left the party in droves, the Scots are saying enough is enough There will be another coalition government because the public is sick of the politics of both major parties in England, so there will be no real power to the Tories, interesting times indeed

  36. David Spence

    Ian (and I suspect this would be 100% supported by the vile Tories) Don’t forget the USA support and the promotion of terrorism in Mexico, Venezuela, South Korea, Cambodia, South Vietnam, Iran, Uzbekistan, Liberia, Sudan, Chad but to name a few countries where the USA has provided weapons, military training, logistics Support, Terrorism Tactics and fighting, Arms Sales and Support and many other means in which to maintain conflict, war and misery to millions……… but as long the USA makes a profit, right ?

  37. ian tinkler

    Robin Stevenson, I was an Independent contractor with the NHS, I was self employed, never employed by the NHS, SG or anyone else for that matter. Do you now understand your claim I was employed by it NHS is wrong, tripe, ignorant like so much of your bluster. Just check your facts before writing twaddle. Now with regard to Ravenscraig, the Shipyards and very nearly Grangemouth, they went belly up due to priceing themselves out of the competition. Endlessly undercut by the competition. Far too expensive a workforce to compete internationally, sad but a self inflicted wound. As always the SNP and nationalists will blame Westminster, The English anyone outwith Scotland. That tune grows a little dull after a while!

    • John Tulloch

      Aye, Ian, I don’t think they care how daft they look – as long long as Skene’s article gets into the Guinness Book of Records for the most comments.

      *Bogus “Electoral Calculus” predictions of SNP victory in Orkney and Shetland,
      *Accusing opponents of “inaccuracy” an takkin’ da dorts ower alleged “vitriol”,
      *Dougie Young isn’t an SNP office bearer (?!?!?)
      *Etc., etc.,

      Still, it diverts attention away from SNP energy policy increasing fuel poverty and use of food banks – and that’s the stupidest thing they’ve done, by a mile!

      Anything would be better than opponents talking about that!

  38. Ian tinkle

    Now think on this, Robin Stevenson and SNP acolytes, Putin and Russian Nationalism, was recently praised by Alex Salmond. Sturgeon, as far as I am aware has never distanced herself, nor the SNP from Salmond’s praise of Nationalist Russian sentiment.
    April 2003 – Liberal politician Sergey Yushenkov assassinated near his Moscow home, July 2003 – Investigative journalist Yuri Shchekochikhindied after 16-day mysterious illness, July 2004 – Forbes magazine Russian editor Paul Klebnikov shot from moving car on Moscow street, died later in hospital, October 2006 – Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya shot dead outside her Moscow apartment, November 2006 – Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko died nearly three weeks after drinking tea laced with polonium in London hotel, March 2013 -Boris Berezovsky, former Kremlin power broker turned Putin critic, found dead in his UK home and Boris Nemtsov, who was cruelly shot to death on Friday.
    Now I have been given death threats from Scottish Nationalists, so have many others. nationalism, do we really need such filth in this day and age?.

  39. Iatinkler

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has told party members in Edinburgh that if the Scottish electorate vote SNP they risk handing power to the Tories. Wow, has it really come to this , how has socialism in Scotland fallen so low. Ed Miliband is offering what, absolutely nothing, a vote for anyone but me is a vote for Cameron, just how low has the SNP dragged Scottish socialism down.

    • James Watt

      Come on now Ian, even you have to admit that’s about the stupidest thing anyone has ever written about the SNP.
      Labour are in a dramatic free fall and have nothing to offer the Scottish electorate except the empty rhetoric of stopping the Tories getting into power.
      This is nobody’s fault except the Labour Party, if you want to know who has dragged Scottish socialism down to this level maybe you should start by looking at Labours new Scottish leader Jim Murphy and his back room staff of Blair McDougall and John McTernan, not a socialist bone between them.

    • John Tulloch

      And Labour’s Caroline Flint said on The Andrew Marr Show today that the SNP doesn’t support Labour’s promised electricity price freeze?

      So much for their “fairer Scotland” –

      More renewables -> Higher prices -> fuel poverty -> “heat or eat” -> food banks!

      • Robert Sim

        Don’t worry, John – Labour will soon have an opportunity to sort out its policy differences with the SNP when it is being supported by the SNP in a “confidence and supply” arrangement at UK level after May. I see, by the way, that electoralcalculus predicts an SNP gain in Argyll and Bute.

    • Robin Stevenson

      LOL….So the Labour party have lost their way by joining the Tories?…And, of course, it`s ALL the SNP`s fault?

      Tell you what Ian, here`s a wee “political compass test” for you, try it out and tell me where your loyalties lie?..[have fun]


  40. Gordon Harmer

    This is just the beginning, Brian Wilson is so right when he says we are in very scary times.
    For anyone who cares to open their eyes and see them, the warning signs are already flashing. Holyrood is bereft of serious political debate. Scrutiny of legislation is a joke, largely because there is an omerta within the dominant party on whatever their leadership hands down. There are no personalities, no challenging thinkers, no dissenting voices.

    Dissent, on the rare occasions it occurred, led the offenders straight into outer darkness. The late Margo MacDonald and Andrew Wilson were relegated on the SNP’s regional lists, to make them unelectable. The two MSPs who could not stomach the shameless U-turn on Nato had the choice of jumping or being pushed. They jumped. May 2016 is looming, the consequences of an SNP landslide are dire, we need to open our eyes now before it is too late.

    • Robert Sim

      You have skipped a year and an election, Gordon. I guess that you have accepted the likelihood of the SNP holding the balance of power and being able to influence UK policy after May. The polls certainly indicate that.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Skipped a year on purpose Robert, because what I have said is the scenario we are heading for unless the SNP can be stopped. I think the only way to stop them is to let folk know just what they are letting them selves in for. I notice no denial from you therefore you must be aware of what we can expect after the 2016 Scottish election. Do you really relish living in a one party state where there is no opposition that will bring an egotistic government back down to earth? Do you really think that if this scenario where to be fulfilled that democracy would be served?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Holyrood use a form of “Proportional Representation”, Gordon, to make sure that there can NEVER be a one party state, I think you`re thinking of the UK voting system, whereby the majority party will reign supreme, it`s one of the most unfair voting systems in the world [FPTP], initially it was set up to give ONE party control, however, that unfair system has come back to bite them, thus the reason why so many SNP MP`s heading to London looks likely. 😉

        This is how Holyrood`s “Additional Member System” (AMS) works:

        There are 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs)
        There are two ways an MSP can be elected.
        Each elector (voter) has two votes.
        Scotland is divided into 73 constituencies and each constituency elects one MSP. These are known as constituency MSPs and are elected by ‘first past the post’ in exactly the same way as MPs are elected to Westminster. This is the elector’s ‘first vote’.
        The ‘second vote’ is used to elect 56 additional members. Scotland is divided into 8 parliamentary Regions and each region elects 7 regional MSPs. In the second vote the voter votes for a party rather than a candidate. The parties are then allocated a number of additional members to make the overall result more proportional. The regional MSPs are selected from lists compiled by the parties. These MSPs are also sometimes referred to as List MSPs.

      • Robert Duncan

        Recent polling suggests no great surge in Holyrood seats for the SNP. In fact, the projections I have seen based on post-referendum polls suggest a slight fall in actual seats.

        See a couple of examples here:



        The Additional Vote systems makes it incredibly difficult for any “one party state” scenario to play out, and it would certainly never happen with the strong anti-SNP presence that exists in this country.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Indeed Robert, IF this poll plays out then it would seem that the biggest winners are the greens, 10 less seats for Labour 2 less for the SNP, but it`s a far fairer system than FPTP at least everyone is represented,…. well apart from Ukip [no bad thing imo]

      • Gordon Harmer

        @ Robert, I am fully aware of the Scottish voting system but it is not working, what we could have next year is an SNP majority with only list MSP forming the opposition. Like I said in my comment because there is an omerta within the dominant party on whatever their leadership hands down. There are no personalities, no challenging thinkers, no dissenting voices only list MSPs meaning no political heavyweights to publicly challenge a majority Government.

        I am not the only one to think this; Scotland’s voting system is allowing two major parties to dominate politics and is putting smaller parties under unfair pressure, the Electoral Reform Society has warned.

        The society, which campaigns for proportional representation, said the current system used to elect the devolved parliament in Edinburgh was failing to meet its original purpose, to dramatically improve political representation and the quality of democracy.

        Its criticisms follow the Scottish National party’s dramatic landslide victory in May’s elections, when it won the first ever absolute majority at Holyrood. It took 69 of the parliament’s 129 seats with about 45% of the vote. Labour came second, with 37 seats, with under 30% of the overall votes.

      • Robert Duncan

        But the current polling doesn’t suggest a significant increase in the SNP’s vote share in 2016.

        We have projections of ~47-49% of the constituency vote (compared to 45.4% in 2011) and ~43-46% in the regional vote (compared to 44.0% in 2011). No drastic change, and the actual number of SNP seats would most likely remain almost constant if the results were in line with those polls.

        There would be an increase in the proportion of constituency to regional seats, but I’m not sure I agree with your views of List MSPs, where you appear to judge them as somehow second class within parliament. They have the same voting rights as anybody else and I don’t believe they wouldn’t maintain the public voice of opposition. Labour only have 15 constituency seats currently, the Conservatives only have 3 – both parties have a perfectly audible voice in the public discourse.

        I don’t think the Additional Vote system is ideal either. I much prefer it to the FPTP system of the UK Government, but it would be puerile to suggest it is not without it’s own difficulties. Of course, the SNP’s majority within the likely 2016 government will be smaller than that of the vast majority of UK Government’s pre-2010. I’d be interested to hear what the ERS now make of the growing strength of the Scottish Green Party, in terms of Holyrood allowing greater political representation.

      • Robert Sim

        @Gordon – the electoral system used to elect the Scottish Government was designed by and is under the control of the UK Government. You could lobby candidates who are standing in May’s General Election to get it changed.

      • Gordon Harmer

        I think that the projections could be well wrong depending on turnout and the fact that the SNP have an increased membership. I am not saying list MSPs are second class what I an saying is they are not heavyweights or personalities, if they were they would not be list MSPs. I believe FMQs would be a joke as she would walk all over them. It has just occurred to me the only thing that may make a difference between the General and Scottish election is the difference in constituency boundary’s and the referendum results. I will concede that some of what you say could be right and maybe I should look a bit closer at what I think.

      • Robert Duncan

        You make a fair point regarding party selection. I think that is a choice made by the party’s rather than something inherent to the system though. I would point out though that Ruth Davidson is a regional/list MSP. I don’t always agree with her or her party’s views but she is a very strong politician. Kezia Dugdale is also a regional MSP – while I don’t personally think highly of her she is among the more prominent voices in Scottish politics.

        I think the SNP’s high membership is indicative of the strength of feeling in those who do support them, rather than necessarily of numbers as a whole. I doubt they will ever reach much more than 50% of the popular vote given how many have equally strong feeling against them.

  41. Gordon Harmer

    Any development which threatens ­civil liberties like the ones mentioned above, ought to be the subject of more public debate than we have heard. But it also highlights a wider problem. With a majority government, and no second chamber, it is possible for controversial measures to pass without much or any scrutiny. As centralisation has gone hand in hand with devolution, there is also, arguably, a lack of scrutiny with regard to public bodies such as ­Police Scotland. This is frighting in its own right:

  42. Henry Condy

    Lawrence I agree with you as regards engineering etc, I worked with Motherwell Bridge making heat exchangers, we also couldn’t, compete with foreign companies subsidised to the hilt by their governments. I was also was disgusted about the 1982 Argentinean war , where correct me if I am wrong, the Queen Elizabeth the First was converted to a hospital ship in UK yards. After it was over it was sent to Germany for a total refit , the reason, British yards couldn’t do it fast enough. all work if it can be done in the UK should be done in the UK. I had a letter refused today, I said to Ian I am not xenophobic, the family in the song is the present monarchy and their ancestors. Go play it Lawrence ” Dawning of The Day ” by the Corries .Ali when the. USA sneezes we tremble, so it is with Westminster, area councils and the Scottish Parliament have to prune their budgets accordingly. When Westminster put the squeeze on the whole country suffers, I have said it a dozen times he who has the purse has the control, and Westminster is doing everything to keep a hold , so yes Gordon the blame lies squarely in Westminster,immaterial to your statistics. The only statistic that matters will be the May 7th one . We have been informed by George Osbourne if the Tories get in , five more years of hardship ,I think it will be a coalition because the other parties offer nothing, but it will be a fairer coalition, time will tell, the government is supposedly voted in for the people by the people, it is time the elected representatives remembered this, and worked for their constituents, one job only, if you can’ t manage on £67,000 get another job, at minimum wage, over 40 hours this would pay the annual wage for 200,000 workers ( Jeez I hope my maths are right or I will be berated big time Lol ) well readers it’s a beautiful day in Shetland enjoy and Peace.

  43. Henry Condy

    Lawrence I agree with you more as regards engineering etc, I worked with Motherwell Bridge making heat exchangers, we also couldn’t, compete with foreign companies subsidised to the hilt by their governments. I was also was disgusted about the 1982 Argentinean war , where correct me if I am wrong, the Queen Elizabeth the First was converted to a hospital ship in UK yards. After it was over it was sent to Germany for a total refit , the reason, British yards couldn’t do it fast enough. all work if it can be done in the UK should be done in the UK. I had a letter refused today, I said to Ian I am not xenophobic, the family in the song is the present monarchy and their ancestors. Go play it Lawrence ” Dawning of The Day ” by the Corries .Ali when the. USA sneezes we tremble, so it is with Westminster, area councils and the Scottish Parliament have to prune their budgets accordingly. When Westminster put the squeeze on the whole country suffers, I have said it a dozen times he who has the purse has the control, and Westminster is doing everything to keep a hold , so yes Gordon the blame lies squarely in Westminster,immaterial to your statistics. The only statistic that matters will be the May 7th one . We have been informed by George Osbourne if the Tories get in , five more years of hardship ,I think it will be a coalition because the other parties offer nothing, but it will be a fairer coalition, time will tell, the government is supposedly voted in for the people by the people, it is time the elected representatives remembered this, and worked for their constituents, one job only, if you can’ t manage on £67,000 get another job, at minimum wage, over 40 hours this would pay the annual wage for 200,000 workers ( Jeez I hope my maths are right or I will be berated big time Lol ) well readers it’s a beautiful day in Shetland enjoy and Peace.

  44. David Spence

    The Labour Party has dramatically lost the faith of the electorate due to a certain Mr Blair, re-branding the Party as ‘ New Labour ‘, and as a consequence of Blair’s philosophy, the Party has taken a hammering (just like the Lib Dems did when they went into bed with the vile Tories) with vastly reduced support by the Unions as well as the electorate………as we all well know.

    I think it will take years, if at all, for the Labour Party to gain the support they had before Blair took over. When New Labour, were in power, most people were saying ‘ you could not tell the difference between New Labour and the vile Conservatives ‘

    There is no, I feel, credible opposition to the vile Tories now, and I think, much as this sickens me to say so, the Tories may get another 5 years, either by themselves or a coalition with another political party. It may be that close? Which party this may be, if at all, will be interesting to find out. I suspect it will not be the LibDems again, as they have very much committed political suicide.

    Interesting but worrying times ahead for politics in the UK.

    • Robin Stevenson

      David, IF the polls are to be believed and the Tories and Labour are neck and neck, then it is an impossible task for the Tories to get back into power, NO other party in the UK will have enough seats to give them another 5 years, the ONLY conceivable options are Lab/SNP…or…Lab/Con, ..The SNP have “ruled out” a formal coalition, but are quite happy to provide a confidence and supply basis, on the condition of further powers to Scotland, The Lab/Con [Grand Coalition]…would be political suicide for both parties, the Lib/Dems
      will be in a position [according to polls] to offer nothing. [but hey!….what`s new?]

  45. Bernard Smith

    The storm and its fury broke today,
    Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear,
    Clouds and storms will in time pass away,
    The sun again will shine bright and clear.

  46. Henry Condy

    Evening, Gordon, if the food banks in Scotland were taken away, jobs would be created. ( none by any coalition government ) where a man would earn a wage , to feed, to house, to pay the bills, and have a few quid and some dignity left over Lawrence, Ukip is a Tory party, funded by Tory money lords, and filled with defecting Tory MPs, so my views do not coincide with theirs, Lawrence the steelworks at Ravenscraig , were protected by a golden share , held by Rifkind, Secretary of State for Scotland , ( Tory. ) this plant produced the highest output of steel per man in the UK. British Steel were closing it, Rifkind went to Bob Scholey with his golden share, Scholey told him in steel man terms where to put it, the steel plant moved down south to save English jobs, as did Golden Wonder and many more. I have no problem with ID cards, or CCTV, if you are doing no wrong what’s the problem, furthermore I would have all newborn babies DNA registered. Mass murderers in the past in the UK would have been caught sooner, strange thing is you go on a DNA register AFTER you are caught. Google David Cameron when he was CEO at Carlton like to know peoples views on that. One hours sleep before midnight is worth three hours after, so, Buono Notre.

  47. Robert Sim

    I see from today’s national media that the latest general-election polls show the SNP maintaining its healthy lead over Labour and forecast now to take 47 of 59 Scottish seats. In addition, the Insitute for Fiscal Studies reports that Labour could agree to the SNP’s proposal for extra public spending at UK level and still meet Labour’s own financial targets if in government.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Indeed Robert, Fine news, It’s just a shame that it took the IFS so long to come out and admit it?… As usual, the 3 Amigo’s are trying desperately to play “Catch up”. According to polls it would appear that Shetland and Orkney may well be the last vestige of hope for the Lib Dems,…unless of course the voters are brave enough to break the mould of the last 65 years?

      • John Tulloch

        The Shetland voters won’t vote for Danus Skene as long as he and the SNP Shetland folk stay out of sight.

        I realise you and your pals at Gordon Lamb House don’t want anyone to discuss local issues because that would leave the SNP very exposed – better to keep the emphasis on “how wonderful it will be” when you get independence.

        Alas, Shetland voters will want to hear what the SNP Shetland folk have to say about key issues affecting Shetland.

        Perhaps, you’re speaking for them, now that Douglas Young has stepped back from that position?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Sadly, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Danus John,… local issues, as I’m sure you realize, are directly or indirectly affected by whichever government is in power? for example, your taxes, and those of everyone in Scotland will go directly to London, the Scottish Government will then receive back a percentage of our taxes [Block Grant] and then disperse that amount between councils, local issues are generally dealt with by local councils and their elected councillors?

        The reason for the SNPs commitment to independence, is that they believe that the “Block grant” we receive is considerably less than what Scotland would be able to achieve on its own, [pretty much like yourself believing that Shetland should receive more in funding than it already does?]

        While i appreciate that your main concern are “Local issues”, the Block grant that Scotland receives can only go as far as whatever amount is given, IF the Scottish government is “Given” more, then councils will receive more, unfortunately, there are many councils throughout Scotland that aren’t as fortunate as Shetland & Orkney, [they perhaps contribute considerably less] However these same councils will still need the help and support of the better off constituencies, “pulling and sharing”, [remember that?]

        The main issue is, are the UK government doing a good job in this “Pulling and sharing”…OR…Are the Scottish government doing a good job?…and which, of the two, does the better job?…would more powers coming to Scotland be better or worse for you or I?…Very similar to your “Fishing” question, I’d imagine Shetlands fishing industry could well be better off outwith the EU on that “Single” issue, but when you weigh up ALL the factors of membership to the EU, would it “Really” be in your best interests? can it produce £30 Billion PA?…does it employ 330,000 people?

  48. iantinkler

    Robin Stevenson, Robert Sim, I challenge the pair of you to tell me one good thing to come from Nationalism. I see wars, division, xenophobic hatred and racism. That is on the world stage, now look to Scotland and Shetland. We have a devolved health service failing us, a higher education system, starved of funds and on the international rankings failing abysmally. Unemployment up in Scotland, down in the rest of the UK. A narrow centralising Scottish Government (SNP), excelling in elitism and preaching division. I challenge you, one good thing from Nationalism, apart from the Referendum result and Salmond stepping down?

    • Robert Sim

      Ian, when you speak about “nationalism” in the context of Hitler, Putin etc., what you are actually talking about is imperialism. Identifying with a nation (as other parts of the UK do all the time for their own nations) is not in itself bad. What is bad is setting off to conquer other nations In the quest to build some sort of empire, by whatever name.

      If nationalism is per se bad, where does that leave peaceful nations such as Norway – or indeed those who want to see a self-governing Shetland?

      The performance of the present Scottish Government is an entirely different topic.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Patriotism?…well you did ask for one good thing?….Im truly sorry you see all these other things Ian, maybe you should get out more?…..Do you really think that the Scottish NHS is failing us?..personally I’d much rather keep the NHS in public hands rather than the English model heading towards private health care?…I guess IF a government stuck it’s entire population into zero hour contracts and minimum wage jobs then I too could declare that unemployment is down?…again, I’d rather give people real jobs rather than “Pretendy” ones to make the figures look good?
      I’m absolutely certain that the Scottish government would rather give local councils far more autonomy Ian, [and give themselves less work]….Sadly, because of badly run and down right crooked Labour run councils throughout Scotland, you’d be handing them the keys to the car [soon to be trashed] I’m saddened that the well run councils are the victims of others incompetency.

      now back to Nationalism?…pride?…. togetherness with like minded people?… concerned with the welfare of ones country?…. empowerment of your very own nation?…will that do or would you like more?

      • Iantinkler

        Robin Stevenson, You answer, “now back to Nationalism?…pride?…. togetherness with like minded people?… concerned with the welfare of one’s country?…. empowerment of your very own nation?…will that do or would you like more? “. Now where where did you find those definitions, Fairy land SNP or Wikileaks perhaps?
        Try these quotes from greater men than you will ever aspire to be.
        “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”
        Charles de Gaulle
        “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
        Albert Einstein
        “Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.”
        George Orwell
        “Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery.”
        Pope John Paul II

  49. iantinkler

    Norway went through utter hell at the hands of the Nazis (as a Shetlander you should know a bit about that). Nationalist sentiment left Norway weak and vulnerable to German nationalism. Now Norway is protected by the NATO nuclear umbrella and during Soviet times and indeed today, by HM Royal Marines, (arctic warfare trained as guest of the Norwegian Government). What exactly are the SNP offering to defend Scotland, absolutely nothing but capitulation, good example Robert Sim! With regard to a self-governing Shetland? I would advocate a Crown Dependency under protection and allied in all ways to the UK, rather like Manx, and the Channel Isles.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, I really DO wish that you’d make the slightest effort and look up “Nationalism”, and find out what they all mean, they’re are various sorts believe it or not,.. the one that you keep banging on about has Nothing to do with the Scottish “National” Party?
      It’s a bit like saying ALL paint is the same colour? there maybe hundreds of types and millions of colours but by your narrow perception it’s ALL paint and therefore just the same?…[I’d imagine the interior colour scheme of your house would be,…erm…interesting?]

      • Gordon Harmer

        Nationalism, politically speaking, tribal nationalism always insists that its own people are surrounded by ‘a world of enemies’, ‘one against all’, that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.” Hannah Arendt, from her book The Origins Of Totalitarianism

      • Robin Stevenson

        Once again, another interpretation of “Nationalism”, …you can go on to quote Einstein as well [if you chose] and many others?…But, as you know it isn’t the STNP [Scottish Tribal National Party]…it is the Scottish National Party,….I look forward at your next attempt Gordon….for this one I’ll give you a 1/10. [only because I like the name Hannah]

      • Gordon Harmer

        Just who gives you the power to issue points for comments, you seem to be suffering from illusions, or should that be delusions of grandeur Robin. I think it is worrying that nationalism gets such a slating from someone writing about totalitarianism, but after reading your last comment I think she is so right. As for the tribal thing you just have to look at photos of the poorly attended yes marches before the referendum to see that is true with most of the tribe with war paint in the colour of the Saltire on their faces.

  50. Iantinkler

    “Ian, when you speak about “nationalism” in the context of Hitler, Putin etc., what you are actually talking about is imperialism. Robert Sim, so it was Putin’s “imperialism” that wee alex so praised. Now I thought it was Nationalist sentiment! Alex never told us he applauded Russian Imperialism. What a devious little man!.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ooh!..He’s a terrible terrible man, so he is, isn’t he Ian?…How DARE he make these statements “Before” the annexation of Crimea?

      “Asked about Mr Putin, the First Minister said: “Well, obviously, I don’t approve of a range of Russian actions, but I think Putin’s more effective than the press he gets I would have thought, and you can see why he carries support in Russia.”
      Pressed on whether he admires the Russian leader, Mr Salmond said: “Certain aspects. He’s restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing. There are aspects of Russian constitutionality and the inter-mesh with business and politics that are obviously difficult to admire. Russians are fantastic people, incidentally, they are lovely people.”

      • Robin Stevenson

        So, basically what we’ve got here is,… Alex Salmond thought that Putin had restored Russian pride,…secondly, he thinks that the Russian people are lovely,…..Hmm…am I missing something here or?

  51. Iantinkler

    “Ooh!..He’s a terrible terrible man, so he is, isn’t he Ian”, your words Robin Stevenson, not mine.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Fortunately I only had to type that Ian, it’s a lot harder to say when you have your tongue firmly in your cheek.

  52. Iantinkler

    “.Hmm…am I missing something here or?” Robin Stevenson, the answer to that question is self evident, think about it.

    • Robin Stevenson

      That is what Alex said Ian [De facto]…Now could you please explain the Faux outrage?..because I simply don’t get it?

  53. John Tulloch

    Me granny wis wint ta say “Nivver pit maet oot fur da trows, fur you’ll nivver gyit clear o’ dem!”

    • Robin Stevenson

      Your Granny sounds very wise and very fortunate John, sadly for thousands of others in Scotland, they’d have to go to a foodbank first to get “maet” in the first place.

      • John Tulloch

        Thank you for that, Robin, I expected you’d be the one the ‘cap fitted’.

      • Robin Stevenson

        You’re welcome John,…..but I’d much rather wear the cap than have to go down to London and hold it out

      • John Tulloch

        If you were a Shetlander you’d be going to Holyrood with your cap held, like Gary Robinson has to.

  54. Mark Ryan Smith

    For readers interested in reality, rather than paranoid fantasy, the following passage by historian Neil Davidson offers one of the most cogent assessments of the SNP’s record in government I have seen:

    ‘Scotland has free care for the elderly, free prescriptions for all, no student tuition fees (at least for Scottish students); and the bedroom tax, while it is beyond the power of Holyrood to abolish, has effectively been neutralized by the current Scottish National Party (SNP) government declaring (in a move supported by Labour) that it would set aside £15 million to meet the additional costs of the 76,000 social housing tenants deemed to have a ‘spare bedroom’. Furthermore, although there are long-standing private schools in Scotland, education has not been subjected to the disintegrative effect of Academies and Free Schools; water remains in public hands; the extent of privatization of the National Health Service (NHS) in England has not been replicated north of the border; private finance initiatives (PFI) and public–private partnerships (PPP) are no longer in use. And while it would absurd to pretend that racism is not a problem in Scotland, the public culture in this respect is different from England, not least because the SNP government – to its endless credit – has argued for welcoming migrants rather than attacking them.’ (from ‘A non-nationalist argument for Scottish independence’, Radical Philosophy 185, May/June 2014)

    Contributors who speak about totalitarianism or imperial aggression should realise that if they were actually living in the kind of country they imagine they’re living in (some kind of weird hybrid of Brigadoon and North Korea), then the consequences of their writings would be much more severe than a few responses on this website.

    • John Tulloch


      I’m not an historian, however, I do know that this wonderful, purportedly munificent SNP government has seized the SIC’s £2M-odd per year housing support grant and is under-funding Shetland’s education system by 40 percent – £19.3Mpa.

      At least, now we know where some of that £21+ million per year is going.

  55. Iantinkler

    Mark Ryan Smith. A reality check for you. “, free prescriptions for all, no student tuition fees”, Now that has achieved very little of merit, if anything. NHS failing, no GDPs lost most GPs in Shetland, endless locums and absolutely no NHS (dental) cover for contract workers. Royal Cornhill out of basic medicines (pain killers) due to shortage of funds.
    Higher Education in Science failing due to lack of funds. Mickey Mouse courses on offer as cheap option, Shetland College cannot even fill the places they offer. Not one Scottish University in the top 10 international places worldwide for Sciences, whereas the rest of the UK scores many, many times. Scotland once boasted an extraordinary achievements in higher education, now failing fast. Strange how other UK universities, are vastly oversubscribed in spite of high fees whilst courses offered in Scotland cannot be filled. (just look at all the sciences on the site below, and ask yourself why no Scotland?)

    This is under SNP management, Just why does for example England so out perform Scotland in Science subjects??

  56. Iantinkler

    A few people Mark Ryan Smith would regard having paranoid fantasies perhaps, his insulting comments are those of another just cyberNat. Typical of a Nationalist, when out of logical comment, throw an insult or two, makes a change from threats of violence, I suppose. I list a few paranoid fantasy below.

    “War springs from the love and loyalty which should be offered to God being applied to some God substitute, one of the most dangerous being nationalism.”
    Robert Runcie
    “Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery.”
    Pope John Paul II.
    “All of nationalism can be understood as a kind of collective narcissism”.
    Geoff Mulgan
    “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”
    Charles de Gaulle
    “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
    Albert Einstein
    “Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.”
    George Orwell
    I am truly in good company.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, What a bunch of convoluted waffle you bang on about?

      Rather than post pointless quotes on various “Sorts” of “Nationalism” [while you try to get your head round to which one represents “Scottish Nationalism”] Why don’t you make everyone’s life much easier by simply posting the Oxford dictionary definition?

      Nationalism : Patriotic feeling, principles or efforts
      An early consciousness of nationalism and pride.

      Wikipedia : Nationalism is a belief, creed or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with,
      or becoming attached to, one’s nation.

      There are some Great books written, and there are many bad ones, either way, they’re BOTH still books?

  57. Iantinkler

    “Ian, What a bunch of convoluted waffle you bang on about?” to quote your expertise. Robin Stevenson. I am in good company with my waffle, am I not?” For Example, Robert Runcie (Archbishop of Canterbury), Pope John Paul II. (Pope) and George Orwell. Never mind, Robin, you quote us nameless sages in, Wikileaks and Wikipedia, Now does that not say it all!. Quad erat demonstrandum. Nothing much to add, I can not compete with the great wiki, heavens above!!


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