21st November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Councils to meet new government on islands campaign

Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles councils are seeking meetings with the new UK government to discuss the future of the Our Islands Our Future (OIOF) campaign.

Scottish secretary David Mundell.

Scottish secretary David Mundell.

The council leaders hope to meet Scottish secretary David Mundell, who replaces Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael, and other key players to seek reassurances on the commitments of the previous government on the campaign for more powers for Island areas.

Although the previous agreements took place with the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, the councils expect commitments to be honoured by the new Conservative government. Mr Mundell previously served as a junior minister in the Scotland Office.

Speaking for the three councils, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar leader Angus Campbell said: “We welcome the appointment of David Mundell as Secretary of State for Scotland, having worked productively with him in the past, and look forward to doing so in the future.

“We did the groundwork previously with the UK government and although there has been a change in government we would expect them to continue along similar lines with regard to Our Islands Our Future.

“It is good to hear the Prime Minister say that the Smith Commission recommendations, arising from the ‘vow’, will be honoured in full. From the islands point of view that is important as one of the key recommendations is the transfer of revenues and management of the Crown Estate to the Scottish government and, as agreed by Scottish government, onwards to local coastal communities, one of the key aims of the OIOF campaign. Hopefully there may be additional powers for Scotland as argued for by the islands councils in their submission to the Smith Commission.”

The island councils continue to meet with the Scottish government on a regular basis to implement OIOF and hope to meet with the new Scottish secretary in the near future.

Mr Campbell added: “Whilst we recognise that some of the faces we will now be meeting at a UK government level will have changed, many of the key players, including ministers and senior civil servants, will be the same and they are well acquainted with OIOF and the wishes of island councils and communities.”

• More in Friday’s Shetland Times.

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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49 comments

  1. Robin Stevenson

    You’ve got to love the way that EVERY party in Scotland now thinks that the “Smith Commision” is a great idea, can I just remind those that fought against extra powers for Scotland, or those that had stated that they’d already “been delivered” of which party it was that forced a negotiation of extra powers to Scotland in the first place?…Thanks to the SNP for not only forcing the 3 amigos to make these promises in an attempt to save their union, but are now in a position to negotiate even further devolved powers thanks to the [not so feeble] 56 SNP MPs.

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      Robin, are we in a position to accept full fiscal autonomy if it were offered?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Yes we are, Gordon – Shetland, that is!

      • Robin Stevenson

        Despite all the doom and gloom you’ll read and hear from our media and other politicians, Scotland IS in a position to accept FFA, obviously these levers of power will take some time to put in place, however, sooner, rather than later would be ideal.
        It is rather interesting that the councils are seeking meetings with the UK Gov at this stage, when we don’t fully know what new powers will be given to the SG, or what affect they may have?

        I have [in my mind] No doubt that the UK gov will offer S&O further sweeties [as they did in Jo Grimond’s day] to ensure that their loyalty leans more towards their good friends in Westminster. It may be prudent to ask Mr Mundell to clear, once and for all, S&O’s historic debt during his visit? Something tells me he’ll be more susceptible to persuasion.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Just what do you mean by take some time to put in place, you seemed to thing that it would only take 18 months to put everything in place if we had, had a yes vote last year.

      • Gareth Fair

        The Scottish government needs to be realistic about what this means for the Scottish people.
        This is not a game, it’s about people’s futures.
        This is a complicated question, there are many things to consider.
        Economics is a lot of maths, economic modelling and not just taking the best case scenario based on unrealistic projections.
        Robin Stevenson is clearly not an economist.

      • Robin Stevenson

        The problem with FFA, is that Scotlands fiscal position in intrinsically intertwined with the rUK. as such, it would take a matter of years before full fiscal responsibility was put in place, so for the SNP to make that demand at this stage, would seem the best possible way in which to start the ball rolling.
        While I accept, as you point out Gareth, that I’m in no way an economist, however, my understanding of it, is
        it’ll be a gradual process, where NO politician [understandably] is prepared to put a precise date on completion.

      • Gareth Fair

        FFA is a completely different ball game to full independence.
        With independence you have the option of creating you own currency,gaining control of currency supply and interest rates,these are important tools. Plus FFA in a currency union spending and borrowing powers are limited by the central bank.
        It also worries me that many of the companies in the UK are registered in England and Wales. Therefore the corporation tax receipts go to England and Wales. The SNP independence vision of lower corporation tax is a great idea, works well in Ireland,Jersey and Luxembourg for example. However there is nothing stopping Westminster doing the same thing or an even bigger cut then there are lower tax receipts that need to be made up elsewhere.
        The SNP talks about a fairer society, which again is a great idea. In practice taxing high earners more is more likely to decrease tax receipts as the high earners head south, register their companies in England and Wales and operate in Scotland paying just VAT.
        The IFS published a report in March 2015 which calculated that for the year 2015/16 there would be a gap of £7.6 billion with FFA. The situation in 2017/18 is not necessarily any better,it may be worse.
        While you can argue that this excludes the growth the SNP claim they can deliver with additional powers,but this is easier said than done. Every economy is trying to increase growth, are the SNP just that good they can outperform every one else?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Yes, you’re right Gareth, Independence would be far better [and far easier] than FFA, however, while Scotland is still a part of the UK then wrestling the necessary levers of power from Westminster back to Scotland would enable us to invest in growing our economy rather than throwing £Billions at a debt which will be debilitating growth and job creation. Let us not also forget, Scotland has never needed to “Borrow” money, our debt is our share of UK imposed debt, that we’re asked to pay, money is borrowed in our name, but is certainly not for our use, just the bill.
        While you paint a somewhat, bleak picture of the all these companies that’ll leave Scotland, you fail to mention the companies that Scotland will attract, through independent tax and VAT incentives? does it only work one way then?
        What we don’t want is a race to the bottom when it comes to both England and Scotland competing against each other to attract business through tax, VAT incentives, obviously this has to be agreed by both parties and come to a mutual decision that benefits both.
        The IFS “Guesstimates” are just that, the £7.6 Billion may well have been double that, or half that, or not at all, there figures are based on our OBR which is in itself a guess, therefore we have guesstimates of guesstimates, I take it, you too are clearly not an economist either Gareth?

      • Gareth Fair

        No, I wouldn’t call myself an economist but I at least have a basic understanding.

        Gareth Fair (BSc Economics).

      • Gareth Fair

        Very funny, I’m not saying independence is easier, you just have the option to devalue your currency and set interest rates. However the SNP were keeping the pound!
        You seem to struggle with the concept the debt burden.
        If you want to stimulate growth during a downturn it helps if you don’t max out the debt, sell off everything (including the gold reserves) and run low interest rates in times of growth.
        The debt was accumulated as part of the UK so it’s shared out, that’s obvious.
        As I pointed out tax incentives can work but the short to medium term result is. A loss of tax revenue.
        Companies take time to make such decisions and move, as I point out there is no reason Westminster would want to see all its tax revenue move to Scotland so your ‘mutual decision that benefits both’ would have to involve encouraging foreign companies into the UK, which we are already trying to do.
        Bear in mind spending and borrowing will be controlled by the BofE (to stop the currency crashing for the rest of the Union) ,so there is a problem.
        The IFS figures are the most up to date ones available. There are assumptions but there is no reason think they will be as far out as you suggest.
        Debt is still increasing daily in the UK as a whole, if only it was as easy to fix as you think.

  2. John Tulloch

    @Robin, you’re way behind the curve, we’re not “talking about the Boer War!”

    We’re talking about more powers for Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Fear not John, thanks to the new found SNP voters of S&O we’ll make sure that the Islands are taken well care of, however one step at a time, after Scotland you’re first.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        “Free beer, tomorrow,” again, Robin?

        Er,….”With independence” and “if elected”.

        Issues like education under-funding and RET, etc., can be addressed now, without independence, can they not? All it would take would be similar recognition to that written into Westminster guidelines for new legislation of the higher costs of living and providing services in the islands, then COSLA et al would be out on a limb if they resisted. RET could happen now.

        How can you recognise the higher costs of island services in NHS Shetland and deny them in education?

      • Gordon Harmer

        That sounds more like a threat than anything positive Robin.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Seriously John, RET is not to your advantage, did you not read how it actually works? It’s ideal for short crossings with plenty of traffic [particularly daytrippers] but not for overnight crossings and sleeping quarters, you’d be far better speaking to the guys you thought best to fight your corner, and see what they can do about it? OR see my post above, and twist Mr Mundell’s arm. 🙂

        You’re right Gordon, it does sound a wee bit sinister, however that wasn’t the intention, my bad.

      • Robert Duncan

        Are our inter-island ferries not “short crossings with plenty of traffic”?

    • Bill Adams

      Makes a change from you talking about Gladstone and the Crofting Reform Act of 1886 which pre-dated the Boer War. We are now in the 21st century for goodness sake.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Touche, Bill! 🙂

  3. iantinkler

    ” thanks to the new found SNP voters of S&O we’ll make sure that the Islands are taken well care of, however one step at a time, after Scotland you’re first”. Another “Day of Reckoning”, perhaps, sure its not Robin Sillars or maybe “The revenge of Danus?” please do not thrust Johnathon W on us!! please Danus all is forgiven.

    Reply
  4. Gordon Harmer

    Robin in your comment / threat you say “we’ll make sure that the Islands are taken well care of, however one step at a time, after Scotland you’re first”. Please tell who are the “we” you refer to, and who are the you in “after Scotland you’re first”?

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      A little bit of “Tongue in cheek” Gordon, calm yerself 🙂

      Reply
  5. John Tulloch

    @Robin Stevenson,

    I ‘m sure you’ll agree, when someone issues abuse and/or threats, veiled or otherwise, in a debate it’s an act of denial in the face of perceived defeat so I always welcome it.

    That said, Gordon has a point here:

    When you say “Fear not, JOHN, we’ll make sure…. the Islands are taken well care of, however………. after Scotland YOU’RE first”, what are people to think? (NB JT emphasis).

    And when you say “…WE’LL make sure that the Islands are taken well care of”, you obviously mean a more powerful entity than Robin Stevenson acting alone so, in context, readers must assume you are speaking for the SNP and/or The Scottish Government via an anonymous mouthpiece and that makes it a tad ‘creepy’, does it not?

    I’d say the SNP campaign bosses need to ‘trim their Seil’.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      WOT, NO APOLOGY?

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        John, what on earth are you gibbering about? who apologies for what?…Unless you’re referring to your own interpretation of a misconstrued comment? in which case, perhaps the apology is due from you, having missed the point?….in which case, ..accepted,… move on.

      • John Tulloch

        You’re not apologising for your threatening remark, intended or otherwise, to the person you made it to – me – then?

        As long as that’s clear, we know where we stand.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, you get bad losers in politics and bad winners, too, but it’s surely a rare business to get a bad winner who didn’t actually win. Yet this, since they lost last September’s referendum, has been the role of the SNP. Dismay, reassessment, introspection, contrition, resignation; all of these have been wholly absent. Instead, they have been triumphalist. Lording it, with cruel and haughty disdain, over their vanquished foes. Who, we must remember, they didn’t even vanquish. Then they sent 56 SNP MPs to Westminster who make up the usual 59 Scottish MPs and they lord it again, but when you look at what we have now, is it any different to what we had last time: No. We have 59 Scottish MPs speaking for Scotland, end of.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gordon, there were no Bad losers in Sept referendum, there were however, plenty of Bad winners, [including yourself] While the SNP just picked themselves up and got back in the race, their momentum and hope did not tarnish, thus the reason they went on to win 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland, losing a battle is quite different from losing the war.
        It is very hard for ANY other party to fight the SNPs “Positive” campaign, a campaign of hope and fairness, and you are right, there are still 59 MPs sent to Westminster from Scotland, but at least this time we know know that 56 of them “truly” have Scotland’s best interest at heart.

  6. Ali Inkster

    If anybody is unsure as to how an independent Scottish government and it’s nationalist supporters would treat Orkney and Shetland you only have to look at the yes Shetland (Glasgow) facebook page and the posts left after September 19th. Or you could if they had not deleted all posts because of the nature of the threats made against us for not voting the way we were supposed to.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Hmm…So you want us to look at what’s NOT there, while having to take your word for what WAS there but is no longer?….I’m quite sure these “comments” were really really bad Ali, and despite the fact that you obvious dislike anything to do with the SNP and your comments leading up to the GE and after, having NOTHING at all to do with your bias?….Well!….Even though you don’t have a shred of evidence, nor did you link or post previously, you’ve certainly got me convinced that you’re telling the truth. 🙂

      Reply
      • Ali Inkster

        There is more than me saw them Wrobin, Of course yes Shetland (Glasgow) could allow an unbiased observer say this publication access to all deleted posts for publication and let folks make up their own minds. Otherwise folks can draw their own conclusions as to why all posts for a week were deleted after the referendum result. Wouldn’t do for the Folks up here to chance upon the bile in the run up to the election now would it.

  7. Henry Condy

    Well I have just tidied my small garden , planted some bedding plants, I know there could be a touch of frost, and these are soft plants , so I will put my tablet outside with them , so that some of the hot air from some of you gentlemen will keep them safe, as I was told last September by you guys ” you Lost get over it “, I told you come May you would pay the price , you did, accept it, so now its your turn ” GET OVER IT “instead of the bleatings about PR, vote Snp in Scotland, you get tory, vote labour in England you get Snp, controlling Labour, tail wagging the dog, Sad really, especially when Cameron told you what he is going to do, and Labour couldn’t even come a poor second In England. So no Human Rights. and Cameron goes on about democracy. the most disgusting thing I found about the election was Cameron using his family pretending to love the Nhs. Purely an act to say to the Hoi Polloi , see I am the same as you, the man has no shame. I have two brothers who lost their children, young adults, they never mention it amongst strangers. Now then its tea time, and a read of the Shetland Times

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      Henry, which planet is your little garden on? What we told you was vote SNP get the Tories and thank goodness that is what happened, so, GET USED TO IT.

      Just look what has happened, dear Nicola instead of wagging the Labour dog and demanding what she wants, is now communicating with, and being told by Mr Cameron, he will think about what she wants.

      Cameron’s reference to his family during the campaign may have been interpreted as shameless by you, but hey does that not relegate your family reference into the very same shameless category, pot and kettle spring to mind.

      David Mundell will represent the 50% who didn’t vote SNP far more affectingly and with more clout than the 56 SNP MPs who will represent the 50% who did vote SNP.

      Henry if I were you I would stay out of the political garden because your because whatever you just attempted to plant has just wilted, enjoy your tea 😉

      Reply
      • Brian Smith

        Affectingly, eh?

      • Robert Sim

        So, just to be clear, which party, with 56 out of 59 Scottish MPs, is doing the negotiating with the UK Government, Gordon? And which other parties, with one seat each in Scotland, aren’t?

      • Robin Stevenson

        So Scotland voted for an anti-austerity party in the SNP, a party which managed to gain 56 out of 59 seats, thus, representing the democratic will of the Scottish people, here we are [once again] with a Tory government, forced upon us, that Scotland didn’t vote for, represented by one solitary Tory MP. And this is supposed to represent our wishes?

        The meeting yesterday with Nicola has proved, [as if we didn’t know] that Cameron has no intentions of giving the Scottish government any further powers, and instead, shall commit to ensuring delivery of the somewhat, useless, Smith Commission. David Mundell will do as he’s told by Westminster and does’t speak for Scotland or 50% of the electorate Gordon, he speaks for those that were silly enough to vote for him a massive 14.9%.

        Scotland and it’s people, have just moved a little closer to independence, Cameron could have, and should have offered far more than “thinking about it”,…Can’t say I’m too upset. 🙂

    • Gordon Harmer

      @ Robert, The 56 SNP MPs are doing nothing, the only negotiations so far have been between Sturgeon and Cameron and what came of that was we will get what ever we get from Smith. 56 SNP MPs are playing them selves sending tweets about cakes and taking selfies in the chamber, oh and Salmond is doing a bit of stirring about independence, end of.

      @ Robin, “Scotland and it’s people, have just moved a little closer to independence, Cameron could have, and should have offered far more than “thinking about it”. Sturgeon reassures us this election was not about independence but you know better. So lets get this right this election was about independence, well if that is the case the 56 SNP MPs represent the nationalists then David Mundell must represent the other 50% who are unionists.
      Robin we have gone over the maths of the election before and proved you have no idea of figures so just how should Cameron have given more when more of us didn’t vote SNP than did. The so called vow was a concession to the No voters not you lot, you wanted independence, so what gives you the right to dictate what should be delivered by Smith. Whichever way you look at it you are in the minority apart from meaningless numbers in Westminster.
      Robin, how about you tell us how you know more than Sturgeon and are in a position to issue threats, come on come clean, who are you?

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        It is really quite simple Gordon, Nicola is absolutely correct that the GE was not about independence, had Cameron been clever enough – and followed what many of his MPs and advisers agreed – to have offered FFA, then we wouldn’t even be discussing the issue of independence, however, by offering us nothing, other than “I’ll think about it”, while sending a strong message to Scotland by placing the un-elected Andrew Dunlop into the Scottish office, reeks of contempt towards Scottish interests.

        I don’t think you’re quite getting the point of who your democratically elected MPs represent Gordon? 56 SNP MPs have been voted into power to represent the 95% of Scotland’s constituencies, therefore it is safe to say that the SNP represents a vast majority of the Scottish electorate [whether you voted for them or not] It’s is called a “Democracy”.

        I didn’t vote for David Mundell or the Tories, and yet, his 1.7% constituency represents [as you say] 50% of the Scottish electorate, with his party now in charge of the entire UK, to me, that is ludicrous and goes against what Scotland voted for.

        As far as going over the maths, I’ve STILL to be convinced that 50% is somehow “less” than 45%? are you really sure it’s me that’s numerically challenged Gordon?

      • Robert Sim

        “Robin we have gone over the maths of the election before and proved you have no idea of figures so just how should Cameron have given more when more of us didn’t vote SNP than did.” Gordon, as discussed before, UK elections are run on a first-past-the-post basis and thus the SNP have a mandate to speak for 95% of Scotland. Things would be different under PR, of course.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert, yes we have been over this before I know, but look at it from the outside, 35%, fractionally over one third of the Scottish electorate does not constitute a mandate in anyone’s politics. Those 56 MPs do not represent the Scottish people as a whole.

        Robin seems to think that 50% of a 71% in the election turnout which equals 35% of the electorate works out as more than 45% of an 84.6% in the referendum turnout which equals 37% of the electorate. Then he said “Scotland and it’s people, have just moved a little closer to independence” indicating the election was about independence. If as he says the election was about independence then Mr Mundell as a Unionist represents the No voters from the referendum; under Robins rules there is no getting away from it, Mr Mundell represents over 50% of the electorate who did not vote SNP. Robin cannot make up the rules and then not live by them. Now he says Nicola is right, he would need to make up his mind. Maybe he cannot make up his mind as he is being prompted in his replies by his SNP masters, something he is not keen to divulge. Come on Robin you have kept this going long enough, just who are you?

      • John Tulloch

        Gordon,

        It’s obviously somebody way above Danus Skene who has the power to make them all shrivel up and keep out of it while they grab all the glory for themselves. Too bad, it didn’t work out, Carmichael’s still there! 🙂

        Same next time!

      • Robin Stevenson

        Oh!…I see where you’re getting confused here Gordon, so by your thinking, those that didn’t vote are [somehow] included in your calculations? and despite the fact that the SNP received 50% of those that DID vote is somehow less [percentage wise] than the 45% that voted in the referendum? a wee bit like saying UKIP got almost 4 million votes in the UK but when we add all those that “Didn’t” vote their share would have been far higher…In other words convoluted nonsense.

        You also fail to grasp that “A step towards independence” was nothing at all to do with the election, but “Everything” to do with Cameron’s rejection of further powers.

        Mr Mundell speaks for those that voted for him 14.9% of the Scottish electorate, IF [as you maintain] he spoke for 50% of the electorate, then 50% would have voted for him or his party, so, once again you’re quite wrong.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, for goodness sake practice what you preach and learn to add and subtract, one minute you are saying the way we voted is fair because it returned 56 SNP MPs, then you are saying the same electoral system is unfair because it returned a Tory government. Either the system is fair or it or not make up your mind. When I went to school 37 was more than 35; but hey you probably went to the SNP school of economics and learned about number crunching alongside Salmond and Sturgeon.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gordon,

        How we voted [the people] was fair and democratic.

        How, our voting system works in the UK is unfair.

        I didn’t, nor did the SNP, decide to use an antiquated 2 party undemocratic voting system, it was devised by the same 2 UK parties to keep either one or the other in power, sadly [for them] it came right back to haunt them, thus, 56 – 59 SNP MPs…Is it fair?…Not in the slightest…Would I be happier with some form of PR for the UK despite it giving the SNP fewer seats?…Believe it or not, Yes I would…Despite what you think Gordon, I believe that every voice should be heard in a government, and that’s why, in 2016, even if the SNP win every seat in Scotland, there will ALWAYS be opposition from more than one other party. …and rightly so in a fair society.

      • John Tulloch

        Aye, that’s Robin and the SNP for you, Gordon. They always want to “get the toffee and still keep their ha’penny” and they’ve got their supporters believing they can, lapping up every word.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Well Robin at least we agree on one thing, PR is the way to go, and I say that as a Tory.

        2016 is a long way a way in politics and with Ruth Davidson’s popularity on the rise as well as her being the most talked about Scottish Party leader on Facebook, combined with the 56 already starting to rock the boat in Westminster you guys could be in for a shock. Along with your help on here we could see a big difference in the Scottish electorate vote next year.

  8. iantinkler

    Yesterday, Ms Sturgeon told the BBC’s James Cook that the meeting (with Cameron) had been positive.
    Last week, Ms Sturgeon, reiterated that her party would not take part in any “working arrangement” with David Cameron, and said her MPs would take action to stop a Tory government “even getting off the ground”.
    What a difference a week makes, Scotland’s Lion has lost its voice. Salmond is wrong once again. Vote SNP, get Tories. I wonder who said that?

    Reply
  9. Robin Stevenson

    They actually said “Vote SNP get Tories” OR “Vote SNP get Labour”, as it simply, had to be one or the other, and either way both sides would have claimed they were right, “who said that”, I hear you mutter Ian? only the ignorant that couldn’t work out that it was a NO win situation for the SNP, if both sides blamed them regardless of who took power.

    Reply
  10. iantinkler

    Wrobin, “…Can’t say I’m too upset.” What are you making such a fuss about then, you are bleating on like a lamb that’s lost its mum! 🙂

    Reply

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