New dispensation? (John Tulloch)
SNP candidate Danus Skene is quoted in the online Shetland Times article: “The process I’m trying to describe about a new political dispensation up here is something I feel I’ve contributed to with this exercise, and that’s what should be happening. But it’s not a question of ‘me, me, me’.”
Mmm, “a new political dispensation”? It’s defined as “a general state or ordering of things; specifically : a system of revealed commands and promises regulating human affairs.” (Merriam Webster Dictionary).
With respect, Danus, you hadn’t a lot to do with it.
You’ve barely uttered an unscripted word. Permitted to appear at a couple of hustings, you’ve also made occasional, pre-processed media statements, like some waxwork that periodically comes to life in an episode of Dr Who.
You and SNP Shetland have studiously avoided important local issues like rural school closures, precipitated by Scottish government under-funding of Shetland’s education system via an arrangement they have with Cosla (local authorities body). Despite the high profile involvement of SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie in support of parents, you ignored the schools and focused instead on stories of bogeymen, like “austerity” and “missiles on the Clyde”.
Danus, your silence on local issues is deafening.
How many years is it that Shetland’s inter-island ferries have been missing out on Road Equivalent Tariff’ (RET) on the SNP’s watch? Seven … eight?
For five years NHS Shetland was “short-changed” by a net £2 million per year before the SNP finally admitted, weeks before the election, that Shetland had been under-funded versus its true need. NHS Shetland is £10 million out of pocket, shouldn’t that loss be restored?
In reality Shetland is many tens of millions out of pocket from seven years of SNP government and it isn’t because “every council faces cuts”. No-one is complaining about that. It’s because island communities have much higher costs of living and providing services, a fact ignored by the SNP Scottish government.
Thanks to Alistair Carmichael, Westminster now recognises these higher costs and has enshrined that recognition in departmental guidelines designed to “island-proof” new legislation.
Similar recognition by Holyrood should end controversies over under-funding, RET exclusion and the like, it would all be sorted out “fairly”, at the outset.
Alas, interested in Shetland only for themselves, the SNP have coveted the SIC’s oil reserves and are busy transferring them, by funding ‘sleight of hand’, to their Central Belt heartland.
Were they honest brokers, the isles and all their vast natural resources and strategic importance could be theirs forever but they’re too greedy. All they can see is the ‘main chance’.
In the best traditions of Scottish administrations since 1469, the SNP are ‘carpetbaggers’.
The “new dispensation”, Danus, has nothing to do with you and flies in the face of the SNP’s abysmal track record. Something else has intervened, sufficiently powerful to compel many to vote against Shetland’s interests. What might that “something” be?
It’s the unparalleled ability of the spinners of SNP folklore yarns to create a Tolkien-esque post-independence alternative reality; a “Promised Land”, from which “austerity” and poverty have been banished forever and where there’s no need to fret over inconveniences like ‘making ends meet’ and having to service our national debt.
The “Revelations of St Alex” are then evangelised by legions of activists with a zeal that would be the envy of the great Christian preacher Billy Graham. Voters troop forward to be “Saved”, stepping blithely through the ‘wardrobe’, into the magical land of ‘Blarneyia”.
A new fervour, a “tsunami” of quasi-religious hysteria, has gripped the nation. Hysteria not seen since “Ally’s Army” headed for Argentina to watch “Scotland win the World Cup.” Enough said.
New disciples, beguiled by the righteous bonhomie of having abolished poverty and war forever, dream of singing of Wallace and Bruce around the ‘Stone of Scone’ while chomping generous portions of “pie in the sky”.