Adverse comments forbidden (Colin McKay)

Your correspondent in last week’s Shetland Times, Gordon Harmer, was obviously in such a hurry to see his name in print again, that he didn’t take time to consider his own, and indeed the majority of employees in this country’s, contract of employment.

If he had, he would note that, whether written or implied (and this applies whether they be government local authority, NHS, private sector or whatever), employees are expressly forbidden from making adverse public comments about their employer, employer’s business, or indeed, how that business is conducted.

So why should SNP MPs or MSPs, who are after all employees, not be subject to the same disciplines?

Some employers forbid staff to wear uniforms or apparel bearing company logos in pubs, or park company vehicles outside such premises, because of public perception.

I’m sure Mr Harmer is aware of all this. If not, I recommend he reads his contract.

Mr Harmer, being employed in the transport business, makes no mention of the debacle Tavish Scott, as transport minister, made of the Aberdeen peripheral bypass, bridge tolls and RET.

Likewise the situation we all find ourselves in, locals and tourists alike, when we present ourselves for embarkation at NorthLink in Aberdeen, we have to wait/park on double yellow lines, next to signs on the fence which prohibit this at any time, again set out under Tavish’s transport brief.

Perhaps Mr Harmer would suggest we all keep moving round the two roundabouts at either end of the weighbridge. Imagine the chaos! Mobile musical chairs in case someone nips in front of you, or being liable for a charge of kerb crawling in Aberdeen’s dockland area. Explain that to your partner!

Will there be any letters from Mr Harmer and the rest of the “no” brigade condemning the lies which emanated from Comical Ali about Nicola Sturgeon’s alleged French connection?

Carmichael says it wasn’t him, but there’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis, and we know a song about that, don’t we children?

Most of us who believe in our country and our people, are aware of the subterfuge that the unionist parties get up to, and there will be more to come to keep the Irn Bru mob happy.

Colin McKay


Add Your Comment
  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 8th, 2015 13:07

    Collin, you like the SNP are so out of touch it is unbelievable an MP or MSP is not an employee they are representatives of the people who vote for them. It is their duty to speak for the people they represent not to toe the party line and jump when the party says jump. What you have described is what we had in 1930s Germany where all members sign allegiance to the party. An MP or MSP has a contract if you can call it that with those who voted for them. Mr Harmer has read his contract of employment and there is nothing in it which says which way or who I have to vote for. Your letter is laughable but hey what can we expect from some one who is obviously toeing the party line and cannot think for themselves.

    • Charlie Gallagher

      • April 8th, 2015 14:06


      Before you make a complete ass of yourself Gordon, go and read the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and the Civil Service Code. Oh, and in case you didn’t know once you’ve signed the OSA it stays with you until you pop your clogs!

      Charlie Gallagher

  • iantinkler

    • April 8th, 2015 13:50

    “If he had, he would note that, whether written or implied (and this applies whether they be government local authority, NHS, private sector or whatever), employees are expressly forbidden from making adverse public comments about their employer, employer’s business, or indeed, how that business is conducted.” That, Colin McKay, is utter and complete tripe. I have never bound any of my employees to such a contract, nor have I ever been so bound. I simply would refuse to work under such circumstances. Are you telling us that Trade Union Representatives are legally gaged from criticising their employers? If so you must been on a different planet to most of us!

  • James Stewart

    • April 8th, 2015 14:15

    SNP MPs are not necessarily employed by the SNP though. They represent them but who pays their wages?

  • Robin Stevenson

    • April 8th, 2015 14:38

    Gordon you said :

    “It is their duty to speak for the people they represent not to toe the party line and jump when the party says jump”.

    Hmm…Does that mean that ALL parties should just “sack” their party whip? was it Vince Cables idea then, when he publicly announced that “he had no problem working with the SNP”, on the Tuesday, but on the Wednesday, made another announcement that “Under NO circumstances would he or his party work with the SNP?….of Course that might ALL have changed since then? [more U-turns than a dodgy plumber]

    • Gordon Harmer

      • April 8th, 2015 20:33

      Robin, a whip’s role is to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken and to vote with the party line. Not to enforce draconian rules to ensure party loyalty or to enforce rules to counter public condemnation of party members, party policy or the party leadership.
      Lets say Danus was elected to Westminster and he had to vote on a government policy which would be good for Scotland but dire for Shetland and the SNP party line was to vote for this policy. Under SNP party rules he would have to vote with the the party and would not be allowed to say this is bad for Shetland. Which means if we did vote SNP in Shetland we would have a puppet for an MP. Not good for democracy, not good for Shetland and definitely not good for Danus.

  • iantinkler

    • April 8th, 2015 15:53

    Charlie, talk about making a complete ass of yourself. Since when do politicians sign the Civil Service code?
    There is something utterly horrible about any gagging clause. An MP, MSP or party worker of any persuasion whom is gagged is utterly useless, nothing more useful than dead meat. To prevent someone speaking out and following their conscience is morally reprehensible. If that is what the SNP forces its workers to do God help Scotland if the SNP gain real power. No Westminster MP I have ever met would follow such a doctrine, most would resign or cross the floor before becoming party stooges. It good to see the SNP party dictates and also to see the sycophants whom try and justify them.

    • Scott Miller

      • April 13th, 2015 19:19

      Sorry to break it to you Ian but MP’s and MSP’s do sign the official secrets act, as do many others including post office workers.

      I would of thought, you of all people, would’ve known that. What with your extensive service with the RN(reserves). Take it from me a lowly RAF regular who worked almost exclusively with politicians for half my career, including Thatcher, Gorbachev,Miterand, etc.

      I have to take what was discussed to my grave unless someone else blabs first.

      But all aside MP’s etc do sign it

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 13th, 2015 21:40

        Absolute rubbish! Only Mps and MSPs who have access to secret and sensitive information have to sign the official secrets act and that is not what we were talking about. If you read what Ian posted you would reduce your chance of looking rather foolish as he was talking about the civil service code.
        By the way neither the official secrets act or the civil service code have any thing to do with the gagging order forced on to all SNP MPs and MSPs at the SNP Spring conference. Just to deflate your over inflated ego there is no difference between a reserve or a regular in the armed forces they all receive the same training and they all sign the Official secrets act.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 8th, 2015 15:55

    Charlie there there are three people on this thread who are making an ass of themselves the author and two others. The official secrets act has nothing to do with an MP or MSPs loyalty which should lie with the people in his/her constitutions not the party, as Mr Stewart says we pay MSPs and MPs their wages therefore we are their employers. I have signed the official secrets act and nowhere in it does it say I must not disrespect and decision, policy or member of the SNP. I certainly do not wish to have an SNP MP in Shetland because if I went to him with a problem and he said ( as he must if he is a loyal party member who has signed allegiance to Nicola) sorry canny help you it is against party policy.

    Oh Robin got to shove your two penneth in, the party whip can be broken and has been by free thinking and democratic thinking MPs. What on earth does Vince Cable have to do with this thread, you are off again spinning, spinning, spinning like a child spinning top producing a boring hum as you go.

    For all three of you SNP members who seem to be free of individual thought go look up the word democracy it includes free speech which in turn includes free thinking. There is nothing democratic in being forced to follow the party line without question that comes under dictatorship and totalitarianism.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 8th, 2015 17:01

      Gordon, it was simply a legitimate question? no need for your usual rant, the Vince Cable scenario was just a scenario of someone toeing the “party line”, calm yersel.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 8th, 2015 16:59

    Colin, you and Sturgeon seem to be outraged that one of her private conversations was made public. Maybe now she will rethink her party plans to spy on every family in Scotland under the dystopian Named Person Law.
    Oh and by the way Tavish is not up for election until next year but if you in all your infinite wisdom can come up with a solution to the parking problem in Aberdeen feel free to enlighten us. But do not forget to check with the party leadership to make sure you are not breaking ranks and thinking for yourself. Or better still nip around the corner and ask Charlie he will check you are not contravening the official secrets act.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 10th, 2015 8:52

    An interesting but worrying piece in The Scotsman today by Kenny Farquharson.
    Indyref2 is-a-coming… so it seems…
    Oh dear, oh dear……/kenny-farquharson-we-the-people-w…

    • Robert Duncan

      • April 10th, 2015 11:15

      Your link doesn’t seem to have worked, Gordon.

      I personally thought this piece was nonsense. Mr Farquharson says:

      “Whether or not there is an “indyref2” depends initially not on “the people of Scotland” – the nation’s 4.1 registered voters – but on the much smaller group of 105,000 people who are members of the Scottish National Party.”

      I’m not sure I follow. It is in their hands to decide whether or not that goes in the SNP’s manifesto. That is where their exclusive say begins and ends. If the SNP runs with a 2016 Holyrood manifesto including the desire for a second independence referendum, AND is elected with a majority government, that is the people of Scotland deciding. Quite a simple act of democracy, really.

      • Robert Duncan

        • April 10th, 2015 11:19

        And then of course, the decision is taken entirely out of the hands of Nicola Sturgeon, the wider SNP membership – and even the people of Scotland as a whole – by the simple fact that the UK Government would have to agree to recognise the validity of any repeat vote. Something I don’t expect they are likely to do without a strong argument that circumstances have changed.

        I cannot see any likelihood that the SNP will change from its currently stated intention that a second referendum only go ahead with a “material change of circumstance” such as a UK-wide vote to leave the EU from a referendum in which Scotland votes to remain.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 10th, 2015 12:52

        Not at all Robert, the SNP could get in with less than 40% of the total vote as the did last time with 23% of the total vote. If they get less than 50% of the total vote they have no mandate to go ahead with another referendum.

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 10th, 2015 12:56

        @ Robert Duncan On those conditions. Do you think that If Shetland voted to leave the EU and Scotland voted to remain the SSnp would recognise that fact and give us our own referendum on whether to join the rUK or go out on our own with full international rights?

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 10th, 2015 13:08

        Robert, if you read this you will see where I am coming from.

        This guy is delusional and has one thing and one thing only on his mind, the only difference between him and Sturgeon is she has more common sense and does no blurt our her true intentions, lest we realise what is in store for us.

      • Robert Duncan

        • April 10th, 2015 13:52

        Mr Harmer, the political system we have in this country may not be perfect but a majority government is a majority government and, for all its faults, our voting system does give more idea of the “view of the Scottish people” than we are likely to get from any single politician or journalist. The point remains that the decision does not lie in the hands of the SNP membership, if enough people are against a second referendum they simply shouldn’t vote for them.

        Ali Inkster, if the people of Shetland ever demanded a referendum on independence in sufficient numbers, I would be in favour of it going ahead whatever the circumstances of an EU vote. I wouldn’t personally vote in favour of it but I fully support the democratic right of those who wish to campaign for it.

      • Robert Duncan

        • April 10th, 2015 13:55

        Those who choose not to vote certainly can’t be counted into the equation one way or the other, so your “23% of the total vote” stuff can be safely relegated back to the playground.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 10th, 2015 14:34

        Not very democratic Robert, there are people who do not vote as a protest and for all sorts of other reasons 23% does not give a government weather it has a majority or not, a mandate to take us down a road we have already voted no for. I would sooner have comments from the playground than the bosom of a dictatorship who do not represent the majority of the electorate. The results of a recent Mori poll reflected that the EU membership and immigration come come much higher on peoples lists than independence which makes me think that a vote on in or out of the EU could surprise the out of touch SNP elite.

      • Robert Duncan

        • April 10th, 2015 21:03

        Yes, Gordon, there are many reasons for not voting, but if the SNP were running on a mandate of delivering a second referendum, and somebody CHOSE not to vote, they are making an active choice that they don’t care enough about a second referendum to actively vote against it.

        People who don’t vote cannot later be added to the numbers so that you can pretend a majority government is undemocratic.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 10th, 2015 12:58

    “Material change” Robert is political spiel for anything we want to use as an excuse we will. The only reason the SNP membership has shot up is because people who voted yes want another referendum or a back door entry to Independence. The amount of times Sturgeon and Salmond have said Independence is their ultimate aim is well recorded and that is what I believe, whatever spin they use to hide the fact.

    • Robert Duncan

      • April 10th, 2015 13:54

      It may be open to “political spiel” but whatever material change the SNP highlight will still require the agreement of the UK government, and no second referendum is going to take place without a genuinely significant change of circumstance, such as the aforementioned very specific result in an EU referendum.

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 10th, 2015 17:27

        You did not answer the question asked. The SSnp will demand a referendum should scotland as a whole vote contrary to the UK in a EU referendum. So the question is will the SSnp recognise a vote from either or both Shetland and Orkney which is contrary to the Scottish vote would be an indication from the Islands electorate that they want no part of the SSnp descent into totalitarian hell.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 10th, 2015 20:45

        Ali, How many people do you speak for? is it just you? are there a group of you? do you speak for the entire population of both Orkney and Shetland?
        Tell me who you voted for Ali and why? it would be interesting to hear of the wonderful benefits of whichever party you feel has fought for you and the people of these islands?

      • Robert Duncan

        • April 10th, 2015 21:01

        Ali, I don’t know. I am not a member of the SNP and do not speak for them.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 10th, 2015 21:13

        The Liberals Party for one, has fought for Shetland, Robin.

        Alistair Carmichael has seen to it that Westminster now, officially, recognises the high cost of living and providing services in remote rural situations, in particular, within the Our Islands, Our Future island groups.

        That may be a long way from what Ali is calling for but it’s the opposite of what the SNP has done, namely; under-funding Shetland’s education system by £19.3Mpa and seizing the SIC’s housing support grant of £2.3Mpa, intended to cover the interest on their 1970s oil boom housing loan.

        Robin, Shetlanders aren’t stupid, wake up and smell the coffee!

      • James Watt

        • April 11th, 2015 10:11

        @ John.

        If you are going to insist on pushing this lie that the Scottish Government underfunds Shetlands education system ( because it’s not the government who allocates the funding in the first place, it’s COSLA who makes the final decision in each councils budget ) you should at least use the updated figures that you were provided with by Gary Robinson a couple of days ago.

        “Gary Robinson
        April 9th, 2015 14:11
        John, just by way of an update, the 2013/14 out-turn shows that the funding gap has closed somewhat, mainly due to the efficiencies that the council has achieved. That said, it still stands in excess of £10 million.”

        It may also be worth noting that Gary once stood as a Conservative candidate for Shetland at the Scottish Government level, although there is nothing wrong with that in itself, it is certainly enough to make me question his impartiality on subjects such as local funding, which you are basing your underfunded argument on.

      • Robert Sim

        • April 11th, 2015 12:32

        @John – How will Alistair Carmichael fight for Shetland and Orkney if he is returned as the sole LibDem MP in Scotland and one of a small number of LibDem MPs in the House of Commons?

      • Robin Stevensonr

        • April 11th, 2015 13:27

        Well good luck with that then John, if you believe that Ali Carmichael is as good as it gets then I’ll leave you to your delusion, Mr [These things happen] Carmichael, has proved himself to be a Wesminster “lap-dog”, and will resort to anything to keep his nose firmly in the trough, but if that’s your idea of a “Good” politician, then there’s not much more that can be said?
        With regard to your other silly comment about this historic debt you keep banging on about, I’m still waiting for an answer to my question, [which your obviously unable to answer] how can the SNP Scottish government “steal £2.3 Million per year from Shetland since 1971 when they’ve only been in power for 7 years? and why didn’t yer pal Ali Carmichael do something about it while he was the Secretary of state for Scotland?
        Shetlanders aren’t stupid I agree, I take it from your last comment your NOT from Shetland then? and IF you are, are you and exception to the rule?

      • John Tulloch

        • April 11th, 2015 18:08

        James Watt,

        The funding gap between the SIC’s education budget and what they receive from the Scottish government (as stated by Gary Robinson, not I !) was £19.3 million at the time the money was allocated and the gap has only narrowed because of the swingeing cuts administered in the schools by SIC.

        The under-funding gap is still over £10 million – more than 25 percent of updated actual spending!

        It’s no good ‘hiding behind the skirts’ of COSLA. Even if your version is true, the Scottish government is ultimately responsible for ensuring their money is allocated fairly and sensibly and – as has been accepted by Westminster – remote rural communities face higher costs of service provision, so allocating schools money on the basis of number of pupils is neither fair nor sensible.

        I am happy to go by Gary Robinson’s account of where the money comes from so if you want to challenge his assertion, why don’t you reply to his post – it’s the one you just quoted back to me so you clearly know where to find it.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 11th, 2015 19:19

        @James Watt,

        In a reply to me on March 17th, 2015, Gary Robinson said:

        …….Q2. Orkney receives £22.1M from the Scottish Government against expenditure of £28.6M while the Western Isles gets £27.9M against expenditure of £45.9M. This compares to Shetland receiving £29M against expenditure of £48.3M; these figures are like-for-like costs across all of education from pre-school to HE/FE. …….

        …………”I have highlighted our funding gap to government ministers and the fact that councils now find themselves with funding gaps has also been acknowledged in the latest report from Audit Scotland.”

        You claiming that Mr Robinson’s assertion is a “lie”, without providing supporting evidence, is meaningless.

        If it’s a “lie”, it would surely be a simple matter for the SNP Scottish government to put Mr Robinson – and the public – right, by denying his claim that the money comes from the government and letting us know who is really responsible for the under-funding so we may re-direct our criticism to the appropriate quarter?

        James, if it’s a “lie”, why doesn’t the SNP Scottish Government deny it?

      • John Tulloch

        • April 11th, 2015 23:10

        Carmichael is no “pal” of mine, Robin and I have never said the SNP “stole” Shetland’s £2.3Mpa, since 1971.

        I have said, repeatedly, however, that the housing support grant, paid faithfully to SIC by Westminster to compensate for loan interest incurred at government request (since 1971) and via all successive Scottish governments since devolution until 2012, was seized by the SNP Scottish Government within weeks of their being returned to power with an overall majority.

        All grant money to Scotland from Westminster goes via Holyrood and the SIC’s £2.3 Mpa is still being paid to the SNP Scottish Government who have broken faith with the arrangement.

        Mr Carmichael negotiated a ‘gift’ of £10 million to SIC from Westminster which softened the blow struck by the SNP but leaves the SIC, effectively, £1.5Mpa worse off and the Scottish government £2.3Mpa better off.

        He has also seen to it that Westminster now, officially, recognises the high cost of living and providing services in remote island locations, a significant step which has not been matched by the SNP who are too busy seizing grants and under-funding schools to even notice.

        I am from Shetland and whether I am “stupid” is for others to judge. However, I can safely assure you that Shetlanders, as a group, are not so naive as to fall for the old ‘Promised Land’ routine, a ‘land of milk and honey’ – and “free beer, tomorrow”!

      • James Watt

        • April 11th, 2015 23:11


        The lie is in your continued assertion that it is the Scottish Government who are solely responsible for the underfunding, in Gary’s original letter about the funding and in his reply to you he acknowledges that COSLA has played a part in deciding the funding, you on the other hand have continued to push the lie (an inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood.) that it is the Scottish Government ( SNP ) who are responsible for underfunding the SICs education system.
        It would appear that you are determined to bash the SNP despite the facts proving that it is COSLA who should be bearing the brunt of your criticism. The fact that 3 councils have recently resigned from COLSA due to issues with underfunding should be enough to tell you where the real problem lies.

        As for your second reply, I don’t remember ever saying Gary Robinson had lied, I did however question his impartiality, as in, could he be using the underfunding which every council faces, as a tool with which to bash the current Scottish Government because he doesn’t agree with their politics.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 12th, 2015 9:45

        @James Watt,

        You are saying, evidence-free, that I am lying. That is a lie.

        You also claim not to have accused Gary Robinson of lying yet you say that I am lying by repeating his claim?

        I have, on each occasion, quoted Gary Robinson accurately, often using his own words from this website. As SIC political leader, a highly responsible position, his credibility and that of the SIC are at stake; as is my own since I am a Shetlander – a Lerwegian ‘Nort Rodd Boy’ – whose identity and present address are no secret. My articles have, on occasion, been accompanied by a recent photograph. Can you say the same?

        Who are you and on what authority do you claim that Gary Robinson and/or I am “lying”.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 12th, 2015 12:38

        This is the bit that I can’t get my head round John, “Ali Carmichaels gift [as you see it] of £10 Million towards a historic bill since 1971”. Why is this a “Gift”? It was money due 44 years ago that was never paid? it is NOT a gift it’s a payment to an outstanding account that Ali Carmichael and his party have failed to deliver while a. They were in power in the SG between 1999 -2007, and b. They are in a coalition with the UK government at the moment? They have simply, failed miserably for 37 years to deliver, even while being in a position to do just that. And yet, you still “Hark on” that this is somehow, “A Gift”?

      • James Watt

        • April 12th, 2015 17:30

        @ John

        Unless you can direct me to any comment I made that suggests Gary Robinson has lied I will have to ask you now to stop spreading yet more inaccuracies.
        As I clearly stated in my last reply to you, as far as I am aware Gary has on each and every occasion referenced COSLA when referring to the funding shortfall in any correspondence with you and the paper, for example in his reply to you on the 9th April

        “Gary Robinson
        April 9th, 2015 14:11

        The corresponding amount of grant has also reduced during the lifetime of this council (to date) by around £700,000. The best part of this is down to the fact the COSLA/SG funding formula has reflected a reduction in the school roll. It’s predicted that the overall school roll will continue to fall for a couple of years yet.”

        All I am asking of you John is that you do the same as Gary and ensure you also refer to COSLA and not just the Scottish Government when talking about the underfunding that Shetlands education system faces. The fact it has been underfunded has never been disputed by me, it’s your constant assertion that it is the SNPs fault that there is a funding shortfall that is the lie, it’s this constant misinformation I have an issue with John, not your location or place of origin.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 12th, 2015 18:09

        @James Watt,

        You wrote above:

        “As I clearly stated in my last reply to you, as far as I am aware Gary has on each and every occasion referenced COSLA when referring to the funding shortfall in any correspondence with you and the paper, for example in his reply to you on the 9th April.”

        That is a “terminological inexactitude”, I suggest you revise it. Gary Robinson’s first mention of “COSLA/SG”, to my knowledge, was on the 9th, April. I have been quoting him for much longer than that, verbatim.

        So if I’ve been “lying”, Gary Robinson must have been, too, because I quoted him, verbatim, from his post.

        Oh, you didn’t say….”Who are you and on what authority do you claim Gary Robinson and I are lying”?

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 12th, 2015 19:52

        John, James Watt is probably sat in the same office as Robin Stevenson somewhere in the central belt of Scotland. An office with SNP signage attached and SNP stickers in the windows.

      • Robin Stevensonr

        • April 12th, 2015 20:03

        Hmm…This seems to be becoming a little bit of a coincidence john? I’ve said in the past that, on occasion, you spout “misinformation” is this tantamount to “Lying” then?
        We’ve now established that Shetlands “Block Grant” is dispersed through COSLA rather than the SNP Scottish government [which is what you claimed] We’ve further discovered that the true figure of underfunding is £10 Mpa as opposed to another of your claims of £29.3 Mpa?
        To be quite honest, it doesn’t look particularly good for your credibility John? Maybe you should stick to the truth of the matter? it’s a lot easier to remember, and your credibility factor will will increase dramatically? on top of that [if I were you] I’d give up on pretending that Ali Carmichaels £10 Million was a “Gift”, which is [as we now know] was merely a delayed payment to account.
        So, now we’re in a position to “have” to examine more closely, future statements from you that may be a little…erm…”exaggerated” shall we say?

      • James Watt

        • April 12th, 2015 21:19

        @ John

        Perhaps you should read this article in the Shetland Times a bit closer.

        And you’ve confused me with the very last sentence of that last reply, could you please make it clear what on earth this is about and what were you trying to say

        “Oh, you didn’t say….”Who are you and on what authority do you claim Gary Robinson and I are lying”?”

      • John Tulloch

        • April 12th, 2015 21:27

        @Robin Stevenson,

        I didn’t claim anything of the sort, anyone following the debate will know that I was quoting from a reply by Gary Robinson to questions I put to him.

        And WE haven’t “established” ANYTHING. You and your anonymous colleague James Watt have, between you, claimed that the “grant money is dispersed by COSLA”, I have yet to see a precise description of COSLA’s role in this, or evidence to support your claim.

        What we do agree on, however, is that the money provided by government for Shetland’s education system still undershoots what is required – even after 20 percent spending cuts – by 20 percent.

        You say the Scottish government is blameless and that COSLA is responsible.

        What then is the SNP Scottish Government doing to redress the situation?

        I realise you and James have “nothing to do with the SNP or the SG”, so, perhaps, Danus Skene will distinguish himself, early on, by brokering a solution?

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 13th, 2015 12:08

        Lets just clear something up for Wrobin and his mates, COSLA may be the ones to hand out the block grant but it is the scoti government that decides how much it is. It is the scoti government that has put a freeze on council tax preventing the councils raising the money they need to cover the shortfall. And it is the scoti government that has underspent their budget by nearly £2 bllion while blaming Westminster for underfunding. Deceit it would seem goes hand in glove with SSnp diktats.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 13th, 2015 16:24

        I really don’t see what you’re struggling with Ali? Let’s take it from source:

        1. Westminster decide how much of a Block grant they’re going to give to Scotland.

        2. The Scottish government earmark a certain percentage of their grant to COSLA

        3. COSLA decide which council get how much

        4. Each council receives their “Block grant” and choose how best to distribute their given amount.

        5. All councils [as well as the Scottish government] are obliged to make savings thanks to our “austerity cuts”.
        6. IF the amount given to the council is insufficient, is this the councils fault? COSLAs fault? The Scottish Government’s fault? or the UK government’s fault?

        Basically Ali, you cannot sign up to another 5+ years of austerity [thanks to an incompetent UK government] and then try to blame those others for not giving more than what they’re receiving themselves?
        This £2 Billion underspend you’ve pulled out of thin air, where exactly did you read this? [please don’t tell me the Telegraph?]

      • John Tulloch

        • April 13th, 2015 17:12

        Thank you, James, for that link which appears to confirm my impression that the SNP education minister is in charge and COSLA represents the councils like a kind of trade union.

        I’m just a country boy, not a clever politician, so you’ll need to talk me through how that article relates to the annual allocation of education funding; in particular, which part of it indicates the SNP Scottish government is not is not responsible for what happens on their watch.

        Or were they, simply, ‘asleep at the wheel’ when COSLA declared UDI?

      • James Watt

        • April 13th, 2015 21:35

        @ John

        If you look at the reply from Robin to Ali right above yours, that pretty much sums up the proces of local authority funding and where COSLA fit in the chain of events.

        I don’t know if I’d quite agree with your analogy that COSLA works like a trade union though or that any SNP minister could be said to be in charge in any situation.
        If it were as simple as you want to imply, then in 2014 when the Finance Minister John Swinney wanted them to change the funding formula from the flat rate used since the 80’s to one with uprated needs based indicators he could have just forced the new formula on them but he didn’t and they kept the flat rate despite it not being the fairest method. The final decision was entirely COSLAs regardless of what the Finance Minister felt would be best for funding local councils.

        You do raise an interesting point though, you are saying the SNP is ultimately responsible for what happens on their watch, well as far as I am aware the Scottish Government isn’t even responsible for raising its own funding, and your logic appears to be that since they fund COSLA they are responsible for COSLA, so following that logic would suggest that Westminster has ultimate responsibility for any shortfalls in Scottish budgets. Or were they, simply, ‘asleep at the wheel’ when the SNP declared UDI?

      • John Tulloch

        • April 15th, 2015 0:29

        OK, James, I’m getting interested. Unfortunately, I’ve been out of circ. today and haven’t had time to consider it properly.

        Thank you btw for acknowledging that Shetland’s education funding gap exists.

        It would be helpful if you or Robin could post a link to a document describing the process for disbursing annual grants, as I haven’t found it on the SG or COSLA website(s).

        Then we’ll be discussing same thing.

        I’m happy to accept COSLA is involved, however, I have serious difficulty with the idea that COSLA, which is unelected and unaccountable to the public, can’t even be called to account by the Scottish government or Parliament. That can’t be right.

        If three councils have resigned from COSLA, then who disburses their grant, is it still COSLA? Surely, not? If not, then it would seem COSLA haven’t the power you suggest?

        If they have such power, why does the Scottish government find that acceptable and why have done nothing to resolve it?

        The SG may not yet have the power to raise funds or change the grant from Westminster, however, they do have power over whomsoever they give it to.

        The SG has the power to cap council tax and have frozen it for over five years so they’re not exactly impotent.

        Who devised and installed the process and formula by which COSLA disburses government grants and who has the power to change it, if not the Scottish Government?

      • James Watt

        • April 15th, 2015 9:46

        @ John

        I fear that to answers all your questions would take more time and space than available on the Shetland Times comments section. Perhaps someone involved in local government funding could answer your questions to a suitable standard, that is where I have gotten most of my understanding of COSLA from.
        In the meantime if you would just ensure you reference COSLA as well as the SNP when subjects such as local government funding are being discussed. It’s entirely fair that the SNP should be held to account where they have let the people of Shetland down, but when it comes to funding they aren’t the final authority in deciding how funding is distributed.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 15th, 2015 13:12

        All fine, James, I think we understand each other.

        No worries re mention of COSLA, I’ve ‘smelt a rat’ there, as they say; it’s unfortunate that wasn’t clear to me at the start.

        That said, the SNP is far from ‘squeaky clean’ and no doubt I’ll have more to say about their role in all this

        Thanks, meanwhile, for an interesting and worthwhile exchange.

      • James Watt

        • April 15th, 2015 13:36

        It’s been emotional John 😉

    • Bill Adams

      • April 10th, 2015 14:20

      The only guy who is deluded and keeps harping on about his delusions is you, Gordon.
      The rest of us are perfectly aware that the ultimate aim of the SNP is, and always has been, the restoration of Scottish Independence. However there is a difference between the destination and the journey of many steps to arrive at that end-point.

      The election of a majority of pro-independence MSP’s in the Scottish Parliament election next year is a mandate from the Scottish electorate to hold an Independence Referendum at some point in the term of that parliament, should the Scottish Government decide to so proceed.
      Bill Adams.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 10th, 2015 20:47

        Yes I am delusional Bill because for some reason I thought that the Edinburgh agreement was binding seeing as Salmond and Sturgeon both signed it. Therefore agreeing to accept the result without question and both saying that there would be no more independence referendum for a generation. That according to my calculations means we will have the next one in 2039, not on the back of the next Scottish election. A majority of SNPs in the Scottish parliament is no mandate for another referendum if that majority poll is under 50% of the total vote, they had no mandate this last time with only 27% of the total vote. Then we voted no last September, so tell me what part of the word democracy do you people not understand. You had your chance, you blew it, now the toys are out of the pram along with the dummy and you are throwing a tantrum in the middle of the floor because like spoiled children you want your own way. The only difference between you and children is you can get a child to see reason.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 10th, 2015 21:22

        Gordon, Who’s idea is it to have a referendum on the EU? did you ask for it? did the UK electorate insist on it? is a knee-jerk reaction to the threat of UKIP? Or perhaps, it could be because this UK government believe that that is what the people want? and as such they have created [or intend to] the opportunity to give the British people the choice?
        IF that is the case, then we have a UK government that has recognised that this is an issue that they feel that they are “obliged” to offer, and there is NO difference between the UK government and the Scottish government offering their voters, the people of their nations, the choice, of whether to leave the EU or leave the UK? it is not the politicians that will decide the outcome of either, it is the voter, but IF whichever government feels there is the demand for a referendum wanted by their voters, then it is their public duty to offer one.

      • Robert Sim

        • April 10th, 2015 23:11

        @Gordon – The Edinburgh agreement isn’t a legally binding document and doesn’t have any reference at all to not having any more referendums within a defined timescale. What Paragraph 30 of the Memorandum of Agreement does say is that: ‘The two governments are committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.’ The SNP has been doing that – accepting the result and getting on with its General Election campaign. For some reason, the other parties want to drag the question of another referendum into this discussion. I guess it will be to try and frighten voters away from voting SNP. That doesn’t appear to be working.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 11th, 2015 9:43


        There hasn’t been an EU referendum for a very long time.

        You had your one seven months ago and already, you want another one?

        And if you had achieved a ‘Yes’ vote, what would you be saying if the ‘No’ Campaign demanded a rematch?

        Stand aside, let someone else have a shot!

      • Bill Adams

        • April 11th, 2015 11:25

        Gordon, I very specifically said a majority of pro-independence MSP’s returned in next year’s Scottish Parliament election as constituting a mandate for a possible Independence Referendum.
        The Greens have no chance of winning any Scottish seats under the Westminster first- past -the-post electoral system, but I expect them to pick up a number of List seats at Holyrood (probably anywhere between 6 and 12) with the Scottish Socialist Party also returning some List MSP’s.
        You seem incapable of grasping the fact that there are Scottish political parties other than the SNP which seek Independence.

        Finally, although I well remember the Cunningham 40% rule wrecking amendment inserted into the text of the Scotland Act 1978, I have no knowledge of the Gordon Harmer 50% rule, which has no basis in law and is simply a figment of your SNP- hating imagination.

      • Robin Stevensonr

        • April 11th, 2015 14:39

        John, You’re quite mistaken, I wouldn’t choose to have another referendum at this time? however I feel that any government democratically elected by the majority of its people, are obliged to include that option in their manifesto in the event of future changed circumstances, ie: an in/out referendum in the EU? whether it comes to that, is fully dependent on the outcome of the EU ref, when you have four [supposedly] equal nations, and only one of them choose to leave, should the other 3 just go along with that in a democracy?certainly not in my book.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 11th, 2015 15:38
      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 11th, 2015 17:32

        With all due respect Gordon, I wouldn’t believe a word this buffoon says, [or indeed the paper he writes for]

        Brian Wilson is perhaps the most devout anti-devolutionist in the whole of Scottish Labour, perhaps in the entire Labour Party. He was chairman of the “Labour Vote No Campaign” for the 1979 referendum and has continued to staunchly oppose self-government, describing it in 2008 as a “disaster for the Labour Party” – while, typically, admitting to not knowing whether it had been good for Scotland or not. For Brian, all that mattered was that it had damaged Labour.

        Wilson is a man who seems to curse the terrible accident of being born in Scotland. He’s a London party loyalist who backs nuclear power (being rewarded with the Energy Minister post for a few years) and supported tuition fees before Johann Lamont’s U-turn on the issue. He voted “very strongly for” the Iraq war and against an inquiry into it, and backed ID cards, foundation hospitals and draconian anti-terrorism laws.

        This is someone who wishes the Scottish Parliament didn’t exist at all. the new position Scottish Labour is adopting: that of One Nation Britain, where Holyrood will exist only to implement Westminster policy and is to be stripped of any power to resist it.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 11th, 2015 17:44


        And if the UK votes to leave the EU, Scotland votes to stay in and Shetland votes to leave? What then?

      • Robert Sim

        • April 11th, 2015 18:39

        @Gordon – I have read the Brian Wilson article you pointed us to. It certainly proves my point about the other parties wanting to do as much alarm-raising as possible about the SNP at this election using diversionary tactics designed to focus attention not on May 2015 but on 2016.

        He ends by advocating that folk vote against the SNP in order to stop more referendums. In other words, no positive message as to why anyone should vote Labour, for example (Wilson’s party) – just bewildered and desperate appeals to return to the old and comfortable (for Brian Wilson) ways. Sadly for Brian Wilson, the electorate in Scotland have well and truly seen through that.

      • Robert Sim

        • April 11th, 2015 22:12

        @John – You ask Robin: “…if the UK votes to leave the EU, Scotland votes to stay in and Shetland votes to leave? What then?”. I presume you are drawing an analogy between Scotland in the context of the UK and Shetland in the context of Scotland? As Robin was arguing that Scotland can’t be bound by the rUK’s decision in a referendum on EU membership, your point appears to be that Shetland can’t therefore be bound by any rScotland decision. However it’s a false analogy, as Shetland is not an independent nation: it’s a part of Scotland, in the same way that Argyll and Bute and Edinburgh are and thus would be bound by the Scotland-wide decision.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 11th, 2015 23:20

        Robert Sim,

        As you are so sure that Shetland is “part of Scotland” and since we both know it was certainly “part of Norway/Denmark”, then you will be able to make history by enlightening us all about the date on which the transfer of sovereignty to Scotland took place.

        So, don’t keep us all in suspense, when exactly and by what treaty did it happen?

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 12th, 2015 1:28

        Robert Sim Shetland was in the past independent just like Scotland was in the past independent. so the analogy stands.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 12th, 2015 6:31

        Bill Adams, the 40% rule has nothing to do with the independence referendum it harks back to 1978 and the devolution bill so hardly a credible argument. But if you want to use that figure, the yes campaign polled 37% of the total vote available on the 18th of September, so by your own argument you actually have no argument. Democracy decrees that in any vote it is the side who poll more than 50% of the vote, the 40% rule was an amendment for a single issue, nice try but epic fail.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 12th, 2015 9:35

        Panelbase the SNPs favourite poll has today proved that the demand for independence has climbed by 2% only, up from 37% in the referendum to 39% today, let democracy rule.
        Public appetite for a second referendum on Scottish independence has waned, reveals a new poll that shows many people do not want to vote on the issue for at least five years.
        A Panelbase survey for The Sunday Times found more than half (54%) of voters do not want a referendum before 2020, compared with 39% in favour.
        The prospect of another independence vote has become a live general election issue since Nicola Sturgeon refused to rule out another referendum during a televised leaders’ debate on Tuesday.
        The poll findings suggest “independence fatigue” among the electorate. John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, said: “On the evidence of this poll, there is not a majority demand for a referendum any time soon.”

      • Robert Sim

        • April 12th, 2015 9:58

        @ John Tulloch – We all know that Shetland is treated administratively and in every other way as an area of Scotland. Can you point to a date when a modern – or even past (in relatively recent times) – court and/or government affirmed that it was not?

        @Ali Inkster – I think the key phrase in your post to me is “in the past”. We are talking about the real situation now and in the future.

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 12th, 2015 13:51

        So why should Scotland get a referendum on it’s future and not Shetland and Orkney? Scotland gave up it’s independence through legal means ours was taken from us by subterfuge and murder. Why then in these modern times can we not now decide for ourselves where our own future lies. Or are you going to stick to the party line that the right to self determination stops at the Pentland Firth.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 12th, 2015 18:28

        Ali, Scotland is not an “Annexe” of England it is an entirely separate nation, the Western Isles Orkney and Shetland are considered “Annexes” of Scotland, while technically, there may not be any documentation to this effect, historically, that is the case, a bit like a “common law” spouse who may not have the documentation but is perceived in the eyes of the law that the relationship has historically existed.

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 12th, 2015 20:05

        Which law is this that accepts things because they just are?
        Which law would this be that common law wives exist? Your just making things up as you go Wrong again Robin.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 12th, 2015 20:23

        @Robert Sim,

        I’m neither a lawyer nor a jurist. Please refer to Stuart Hill’s treatise “The Stolen Isles” for chapter and verse.

        You asked for a court reference:

        “In 1907 Lord Johnson stated: “nothing has occurred since 1468 which amounts to a general acceptance in Orkney (and by inference, Shetland) of the Scots Feudal System”. As far as we are aware, still nothing has occurred”

      • John Tulloch

        • April 12th, 2015 21:05

        Robin Stevenson,

        You refer to “Annexes” as if that is part and parcel of normal, daily, international life.

        A few examples of “annexation” spring to mind:

        1. Germany annexed the “Sudetenland”, part of Czecho-Slovakia in 1938.
        2. The People’s Republic of China annexed Tibet in 1951.
        3. Russia more recently annexed the Crimea, part of Ukraine in 2014. A chap called Vladimir Putin seems to be involved in that – know anything about him?

        Hardly in keeping with a ‘fair and just society”, is it, when you perpetuate such a state of affairs, simply, to get your hands on the abundant natural resources and strategic attributes of the area concerned, in this case, Orkney and Shetland?

      • Robin Stevensonr

        • April 12th, 2015 21:13

        You’re correct Ali, I hadn’t realised that the “Common law relationship” was abolished in 2006? and replaced with the “Cohabitant law 2006”, which is, more or less, the same thing.
        Basically, when there has been a relationship between two parties, then in the eyes of the law, there has to be a fair and just split of assets, meaning “regardless” of anything being in writing, it still stands.
        Happy to help, as always. 🙂

      • Robert Sim

        • April 12th, 2015 23:51

        @John T – Thanks for your reply, John. You have indeed answered my question. I shouldn’t therefore come back with a supplementary point; but it seems to me worth saying that Katherine Anderson’s commentary on the recent case of RBS v. Hill, which has been discussed here before, makes the opposite point and from a more modern perspective. She says there: “The case supports the point of view that the Isles are within the territorial jurisdiction of the Scottish courts and part of the UK. As such they remain part of Scotland and [in the event of independence for Scotland] would automatically leave the United Kingdom with the rest of Scotland unless a separate arrangement was made.”

        I know that you know all the material relating to this question inside out so I will leave it there.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 13th, 2015 9:05

        Thank you, Robert, for intelligent comment, it’s becoming a rare commodity.

        Yes, I’m aware of Katherine Anderson’s comment, as part of her PhD course.

        I think it’s not a huge issue at present so I won’t go into detail, however, genuinely, without wishing, at all, to ‘rubbish’ her work, she was a student, looking to achieve a doctoral award.

        I hope it isn’t too cynical to imagine that basing her pitch on the opposite conclusion could have compromised both her doctorate and her future career, especially, should she wish to become a judge, appointed by the Scottish government.

    • Geordie Pottinger

      • April 11th, 2015 14:01

      Does democracy end when it agrees with you, or do other people have a democratic right to disagree?

  • David Spence

    • April 10th, 2015 16:43

    I do not suppose such issues will matter if the vile Tories get into power for another 5 years and forces, makes it law that everybody is to be on zero-hour-contracts. lol Where the employer has all the power and the employee has none.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • April 11th, 2015 20:00

    According to Sky News it is looking better for the Unionist parties, with three and a half weeks to go the wind could just be knocked out of the SNPs sails. Oh boy do I hope so.
    Labour could be rescued from a general election wipeout in Scotland by anti-SNP tactical voting, a new opinion poll suggests.
    The survey indicated a significant proportion of Tory, Liberal Democrat and Labour voters may be prepared put tribal affiliation to one side in order to scupper the party intent on ending the Union.
    It could even prove enough of a factor to save the seats of leading figures such as Labour’s Douglas Alexander and the Liberal Democrats’ Charles Kennedy, according to YouGov president Peter Kellner.
    A YouGov poll on Thursday put support for Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP at a record 49% (up three points), with Labour slumping four points to 25%.
    If those results were repeated across Scotland, the SNP would win 53 seats, Labour just four and the Conservatives and the Lib Dems one each.
    But new polling by YouGov 24 hours later suggested tactical voting could push Labour up to 13 seats in Scotland: still pretty dismal, but not quite the wipeout the earlier poll suggested.
    That poll suggested that in Labour-SNP contests, almost half of all Conservative and Lib Dem supporters were prepared to back Labour to keep out the SNP, while one in three Labour and Lib Dem supporters would back the Conservatives in SNP-Tory fights.
    It also indicated that tactical voting could see Labour support jump from 25% to 37%, the Tory vote from 18% to 29% and the Lib Dem vote from 4% to 26%.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 12th, 2015 12:50

      LOL…Tactical voting, Ok so here we have it, Labour voters vote Tory, Tory voters vote Labour, Lib/Dem voters, sometimes vote Labour OR sometimes vote Tory?..erm…Labour in some constituencies vote Lib/Dems, but in others, Tories sometimes vote Lib/Dems, and please keep up to speed with what party you choose to vote for and in which constituency you’re voting, as they tend to change on a daily/weekly basis?

      On top of that, Who cares who you normally vote for? sell your soul, principles and political beliefs, just to keep out the “Evil incarnate SNP”, that wicked party that intends to spread wealth to ALL people rather than just the top 10%….Good luck!…[PS. Argyll and Bute were vote Tory but are now vote Lib/Dems, there’s a few others that we haven’t made our mind up which one to vote for but,,…we’ll keep you posted]

  • Iantinkler

    • April 11th, 2015 21:00

    Now who to vote for, I just go for the least obnoxious party. We have the SNP, loads of anti-English xenophobia, blue face paint, “Scotland The brave”, hate the UK, Westminster and all that crap. Labour, with a sort of pseudo Socialism, take it from those who have it, give it to those who have not. Jesus said something about camel and the eye of a needle, he was a bit quiet about those who do nothing but lie around and scrounge off everyone who works. Hard philosophical question here, have to think about that. Now the Tories, out to kill badgers, wow just lost my vote. Simples children, be tactical, vote to keep the most obnoxious out. Carmichael for me, head in my hands for that, at least it is not UKIP!! PS that was a bit of fun, calm down SNP.

    • Bill Adams

      • April 13th, 2015 11:31

      I was wondering when you would publicly endorse Carmichael, Ian. Should prove to be the kiss of death for Comical Ali’s hopes of re-election. Mind you he has effectively shot himself in the head over the “Frenchgate” leaked memo.
      Console yourself with the thought that he is pretty much a Tory anyway!

      • ian tinkler

        • April 13th, 2015 14:32

        Always good to here from you Bill, nothing like a good laugh to cheer myself up. The vote that really mattered was last year. I was voting for the winning side then. This time its just tactical.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 13th, 2015 16:39

        Personally, I’d much rather be a “happy loser” than a “miserable winner”.

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 13th, 2015 16:53

        And yet you are neither Wrobin. Just another miserable loser since September.

  • Laurence Paton

    • April 12th, 2015 4:11

    At the moment it costs the average person £47 out of every £100 he spends for government.
    Most of which is probably lost maintaining three layers of political structure – Brussels , Westminster and Holyrood, rather than actually paying for schools and hospitals.
    Everybody is being taxed to the hilt because there is too much government.
    My questions is
    ” Do you want the government we elect to actually be democratically accountable?”
    Neither the LibLabCon or the SNP are in control and they are not directly accountable and that is a fact.
    The EU is a staggeringly expensive club. It costs us £55m every day to stay in, yet it wastes billions on staffing costs, huge glitzy buildings, vanity projects, foreign junkets for MEPs, advertising, and moving the whole of the parliament to Strasbourg once a month, among other profligacies such as the 140 ‘embassies’ it has set up in non-EU countries (44 diplomats in Barbados alone).’
    ‘The EU controls immigration, business and employment, financial services, fishing, farming, law and order, energy and trade. So, whatever the precise figure is regarding how much British legislature is controlled by the EU, you can be sure it is too much. Our voting power within the EU is also getting weaker and weaker. Those who say if we left the EU we would be isolated and lose our influence are being ridiculous; we have very little influence anyway. Since 1996, the UK has voted ‘no’ to a proposal 55 times at the Council of Ministers-where national ministers from each EU country meet to actually decide the EU’s line on major issues- yet every single time the measure has gone on to become British law anyway.

    • John Tulloch

      • April 12th, 2015 9:19

      Switzerland, with its ‘barge-pole length’ relationship with the EU is higher up the international wealth table than any EU country. It is also very democratic, they vote on everything of any significance that happens. For example, were the Viking Energy project proposed in Switzerland by a local administration, there would be a referendum.

      I keep asking EU enthusiasts why it’s beneficial for Shetland, a fishing economy, to be in the EU when neighbouring fishing communities like Faroe and Iceland have declined to join.

      Nobody seems to know?

  • Robin Stevenson

    • April 12th, 2015 12:21

    The Faroe Isles are subsidised by Denmark and Denmark are already a member of the EU, therefore Faroe are members by the “Back door”.

    • Laurence Paton

      • April 13th, 2015 3:10

      As explicitly asserted by both Rome treaties, the Faroe Islands is not part of the European Union. Moreover, a protocol to the treaty of accession of Denmark to the European Communities stipulates that Danish nationals residing in the Faroe Islands are not to be considered as Danish nationals within the meaning of the treaties. Hence, Danish people living in the Faroes are not citizens of the European Union (other EU nationals living there remain EU citizens).

      The Faroes is not covered by the Schengen free movement agreement, so Schengen visas are not valid and there are border checks. Normally passports are needed,[3] but when travelling between the Faroes and a Nordic country, Nordic citizens can use approved identity cards,[4] since the Faroes are part of the Nordic Passport Union since 1966.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 13th, 2015 9:20

        In July 2013 EU imposed sanctions on the Faroe Islands due to a dispute over the fishing quota of herring and mackerel.The boycott started on 28 August 2013, the boycott implies that Faroese vessels carrying herring or mackerel are banned from all EU ports, including Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The Faroe Islands can no longer export herring or mackerel to EU countries.

        There are politicians, mainly in the right-wing Union Party (Sambandsflokkurin), led by their chairman Kaj Leo Johannesen, who would like to see the Faroes as a member of the EU. However, the chairman of the left-wing Republic (Tjóðveldi), Høgni Hoydal, has expressed concerns that if the Faroes were to join the EU as is, they might vanish inside the EU, sharing this with the situation of the Shetland Islands and Åland today, and wants the local government to solve the political situation between the Faroes and Denmark first.On 26 September 2008, Kaj Leo Johannesen became Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands, and according to him his new government is actively going to seek a progressive Europe-policy, even stating that membership of the EU is a strong possibility.

        Hmm.. IF the EU are that bad [in your eyes] it would seem very strange that the Faroe Isles would even consider joining the EU?

      • John Tulloch

        • April 13th, 2015 10:29

        That’s very interesting, Robin, keep it up!

        As I understand it, Faroe has a seat at fishery negotiations, on a par with Norway and Iceland. Is that correct?

        If so, would joining the EU not lose them that valuable privilege, a privilege Shetland lacks but from which the local fishing industry would benefit enormously?

        How much of Faroe’s recent conversion to the EU is posturing, in order to get the sanctions relaxed (remembering that this is a problem for Denmark, too)?

        I understand there is also a strong desire for outright independence among the Faroese population, is that not also the case?

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 13th, 2015 15:54

        As ever John, it’s a “trade off”, would becoming a member of the EU be more profitable or less profitable for the faroes? on one hand, [as they’re not members of the EU] then things look rather good at the moment, because they can still supply Russia, [for example] whereas EU members can’t, [because of the latest embargo] However on the other hand members of the EU have a potential marketplace of over 500 Million customers So the question has to be asked “who would provide the bigger opportunity”? As I said, this is good at the moment for the Faroe islands, but would you really want all your eggs in one basket?

        There are already deals in place between Shetland fishermen and the faroes ie: fishing in each others waters, as I understand it, the question of secession from Denmark is roughly 50/50, however Faroe still receives a 6% GDP annual subsidy from Denmark.

  • Henry Condy

    • April 12th, 2015 15:03

    Soon be time for the dirty tricks brigade to pull out the big guns, Question to ponder, with all the promises of what we are going to get, why do we not have them already,in fact they are at it already, Yawn, Yawn Yawn, same old, same old

    • Robin Stevensonr

      • April 12th, 2015 20:48

      I’m afraid the “Dirty tricks brigade” have already started Henry, unfortunately for them they played all their Aces in September, So we can only expect more of the same, because they have nothing new up their sleeve? no doubt it’ll be that tireless old chestnut “Too wee, too poor, too stupid”.

  • ian tinkler

    • April 13th, 2015 17:33

    “Personally, I’d much rather be a “happy loser” than a “miserable winner””. Well Robin, you have had a bit of practise there. Last Time Round I was a happy winner, along with the majority. Will not worry this time, a generational thing! All a bit of a laugh really, nothing to get your knickers in a twist about. Sturgeon and Miliband splitting the left wing vote, Cameron is probably laughing himself sillier than usual, you could not really make it up.

  • Robin Stevenson

    • April 13th, 2015 19:40

    Hmm…Looking through your posts ian, I can’t really find any when you were supposed to be a “happy winner”? was it a while ago, or did I miss one?
    I guess your idea of left wing policies are what Ed Miliband is proposing? I’m afraid there is very little that Ed is proposing that could be regarded as “left wing”?perhaps you could enlighten me as to what exactly is “left wing”, about £30 Billion more austerity cuts?…On top of that I’m afraid I can’t agree with your last sentence either, “You could not really make it up”, … you just did?

  • ian tinkler

    • April 15th, 2015 15:35

    Really, Robin Stevenson, Hmm, let’s see, I was a very happy winner along with all Scotland and the UK on 18 September 2014. As for austerity, left or right wing, without austerity we would follow Greece into near bankruptcy. Just think that would leave even Nicola no money for her give away bribes, for the electorate . . Regarding your comment about me making things up, do not need to make anything up Robin, all is very clear to those whom care to look.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.