14th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Sounding Off … an occasional commentary

JONATHAN WILLS, in a contribution entitled The Secret Life of Shetland Islands Council (aged 40½), bemoans the meeting structure of the local authority in its present form.

It appears that the main measure of whether councillors are attending to their duties these days is how many meetings they attend.

There are many official council meetings and many more that, in my opinion, ought to be official but are not.

These are the infamous “seminars”, “forums” and “workshops”. They are held in council premises, staffed by council officials and, given that all councillors are invited to attend them, are council meetings in all but name.

Like the “pre-meetings” which immediately precede almost all meetings of the SIC and its committees, no public notice is given, the public and the news media are not admitted, no minutes are kept and no record of the meetings published.

When “Slim Jim” Irvine was a councillor he used to rage about this sort of thing. The longer I serve in the town hall the more I agree with him.

It is true that no formal decisions are or can be taken at these secret sessions but what in fact happens is that a consensus is reached and when the business in question does come to a public, official meeting, most of the members sit silently and take little part in questions or debate, because they’ve heard it all before, in private.

As any local journalist will tell you, that is why council meetings these days are so utterly, deadly boring. It is also why those in charge greatly fear the public reaction if these displays of procedural narcolepsy were ever to be broadcast live on the interwebby thing.

This is not democracy as I was brought up to understand it, but rather a carefully managed and massaged charade where senior officials wield immense power through their control of information (and their stultifying use of bureaucratic jargon, which is used to grind down even the most jagged-edged councillors and reduce them to somnolent despair).

No doubt some members do find this process soothing and reassuring, and feel themselves to be part of a mighty and omniscient team.

Unfortunately, only retired persons or those few office-bearers on (admittedly small) full-time council allowances, can possibly afford the time to attend all of the many meetings where officials let us into their secrets (or some of them).

If you have a full-time job outside the council or, worse, are self-employed, your record of attendance is bound to be less perfect than that of the superannuated members.

The voters of Lerwick South ward knew I had other work when they twice elected me to the council.

When these other commitments allow me to attend the full council, I often find myself asking questions and debating points that most others in the room have already heard in private.

At the council meeting on 30th June, for example, I made the following contributions:

1. Complimented the Scottish Youth Parliament delegates on their presentation about youth poverty in Shetland and made a practical suggestion as to how the council might assist their campaign;

2. Suggested a correction to a minute of an earlier meeting, to make it plain that my concerns about the uncertainty surrounding the proposed closure of Mid Yell and Symbister secondary school departments related to the pupils and parents, as well as the school staff;

3. Asked how the council squared its new “risk management strategy” with the roads section’s policy that reflective bollards could not be placed at the junctions of unadopted roads and the A970 unless and until there had been an accident;

4. Asked for reassurance that the council’s investment managers really were making sure our investments were in line with United Nations principles on socially and environmentally responsible investment, and that they really did submit reports on their interventions at companies’ annual general meetings to ensure compliance with these principles;

5. Asked how investments in tobacco and alcohol companies could be reconciled with these ethical investment principles;

6. Asked detailed questions about the legal status and practical effects of the new “supplementary guidance” from the planning section on onshore wind turbines, making the point that it appeared to sterilise much of Shetland for any further community-owned developments of this kind, which appeared not to sit easily with the council’s stated policy to encourage renewable energy and the laying of a mains cable from here to the National Grid;

7. I also asked that the agenda item relating to the urgent and unavoidable repairs to the Lerwick Town Hall stained glass windows be taken in public, as there was no valid commercial reason for dealing with it in private and the secrecy would only add to the council’s embarrassment over the problem.

I had spent a lot of time preparing for the meeting, including reading over 200 pages of background papers. Given that my seasonal work commitments prevented me from attending meetings of the committees reporting to this session of the full council, I thought I had done my best to participate in its deliberations. For all the reaction I got, I might as well have stayed away.

We have now reached a stage of democratic decay where a determination to ask awkward questions and debate controversial subjects, in public and on behalf of the public, seems to be regarded as rather embarrassing, slightly impolite and probably unnecessary. If you do it in the media, the offence is even worse.

This decay has deepened since the creation last year of an informal majority group of members, determined to avoid any more school closures in case they became unpopular and got thrown out at the May 2017 elections.

This group now effectively controls the council although I do not know, and cannot be bothered to find out, whether it still meets in the Islesburgh café for Thés Pensants.

All of which leads me to suggest, as I did once again at the SIC meeting on 30th June, that the council could greatly simplify and speed up its operations, and save a lot of money, if there were just one big council meeting once a month to deal with all the committee business, rather than the swarms of committees, working groups, seminars, forums and workshops that currently litter the SIC calendar (and whose dates are constantly being changed, adding to the scheduling confusion of those who are not yet retired).

Such a meeting might well go on for a day or two and some members might have to stay overnight in town, but even with their accommodation allowances the overall cost would, or should, be lower, if only because of fewer journeys being claimed for.

We would still need elected office bearers to take care of specific areas of business (such as education, development, transport, etc.) and they would still be entitled to additional allowances to compensate them for the extra time and effort they must spend on their duties in order to make effective and useful reports to the full council.

With only 22 members, the council is of a reasonable size to function as a single committee meeting, as long as the chairman or chairwoman understands and implements correct procedure.

Decisions would be faster, staff time saved and public confidence in the organisation greatly strengthened. But I grow tired of suggesting this to a row of blank faces.

If there were valid reasons (other than the occasional embarrassment of the inefficient or incompetent) for the full council to discuss an item of business in private, then the convener could make a resolution to that effect and put it to the vote, as he can do already.

With no seminars – and only those statutory sub-committees like planning that we cannot avoid having – the questions and debates could take place in public again, as they were intended to do when Parliament passed the Local Government (Scotland) Act.

This will never happen, I fear, because it threatens too many entrenched interests. But in the meantime they could at least have the decency to admit that the subject matter of most seminars and other private meetings can and should be discussed in public.

42 comments

  1. Michael Garriock

    For once, much to my surprise I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Wills assessment of what is the greatest part of what ails the SIC, looking from the top down. Whether his proposed remedy is the best solution, I’m not so convinced, but it would certainly be infinitely better than the status quo.

    Like justice, democracy not only needs to be done, it needs to be seen to be done. What is discussed and decided on our behalf at any and all levels, needs to be as open, transparent, recorded faithfully, and as freely available to us as it is possible for it to be, and those elected by us need to take back the power they have delegated to, or worse still, have allowed to be taken from them, by their own hired “officials”.

    Its long been a bad joke that “politicians don’t govern the country, civil servants do”. The same is true on a local level, Councillors don’t take decisions in the SIC, “officials” do. Until and unless Councillors revert back to the days of telling their officials what they want to do, and expect them to come back telling them of the choices they have as to how it can be done, and stop rubber stamping what their “officials” tell them they should do, things can only continue to go from bad to worse.

    Reply
  2. John Tulloch

    I hear what you are saying about the SIC’s wye o wirkin, Jonathan, however, if you were droning on about several of the subjects you mention, it’s unsurprising that people present “glazed over”.

    1. Your concern for parents, pupils and staff at island schools comes as a big surprise, very late in the day.
    2. “Reflective bollards at the end of unadopted roads”? That’s “a lot of bollards”!
    3. The “United Nations principles on socially and environmentally responsible investments”? I thought the council was facing a number of serious crises, not least, in the areas of income and government funding, yet you can find time to reflect on what is, frankly, more ‘bovine fall-out” from the UN? If the SIC pulled its investments and the fags and booze industries collapsed, do you imagine demand would disappear and that nobody would satisfy it? At least, people know what they’re buying at present.
    4. “Supplementary planning guidance appears to sterilise much of Shetland from further onshore wind farm development and this, perish the thought, runs counter to SIC policy, written on tablets of stone, that the SIC encourage the development of renewable energy and laying of a mains cable? Then you actually WANT Shetland to be covered by wind farms?

    I respectfully suggest that both you and the SIC jump into your conceptual “helicopters” and take a squint at the bigger picture, from above the dogma. Forget the posturing and concentrate on getting the council’s priorities right – finance/funding, education, RET,

    Reply
  3. John Tulloch

    It’s abundantly clear that the SIC is in need of change. It is hamstrung by government controls and regulations, giving officials the upper hand over councillors by sophistry, ably exemplified in the case of the ill-considered school closures plan.

    Beneficial change will not happen under the present system. Holyrood controls the levers and the SNP’s track record is one of relentless centralisation. Change fae dat airt is likely to be assimilation of the isles into one or other of Aberdeen or Highland councils.

    The only way change will happen is if Shetlanders rally in support of their island home. Shetland’s best interests are opposite to Holyrood’s and an intrinsically pro-Shetland lobby group or party is urgently needed to protect them and hold both the SNP Scottish government and the SIC to account.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      John

      Isn’t it just a little strange that the ONLY time Mr Wills mentions the Government in his piece is when he states:

      “the questions and debates could take place in public again, as they were intended to do when Parliament passed the Local Government (Scotland) Act”.

      And yet according to you “it’s ALL the Scottish Government’s fault”,…What isn’t their fault in your wee anti-SNP world?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        I’m not anti-SNP, Robin, I’m pro-Shetland. Scotland’s interests are not synonymous with Shetland’s.

        Once the SNP has implemented self-governing powers for Shetland, you probably won’t hear from me, again.

        Pity they’re striving to do the opposite, I’ve told you many times and you never, ever, listen – remember the ‘monkey box trap’? Don’t fall foul of it through greed.

      • Robin Stevenson

        “I’m not anti-SNP, Robin”…..Huh!…You could have fooled me, since when?

        While Shetland remains a part of Scotland then they are synonymous with Scotland, it’s great you are pro-Shetland, I’d like to think that all people from every area in Scotland are pro, their particular area.

        But let’s keep this into perspective, there are areas in Scotland that are far wealthier than others, what would you suggest we do John? Perhaps we could build a wall round our wealthy areas and keep out the poor and the less fortunate? Maybe, IF we’re feeling generous we could throw the odd scrap over the wall or occasionally employ the serf’s, but on slave wages ofc?

        Personally, I’d much rather see the end of Crooked councils and councillors throughout the whole of Scotland, [I’m not talking about Shetland here] feathering their own nests and employing their buddies while dishing out contracts for backhanders [roll on 2016]…. Then, we can talk about further autonomy? It makes far more sense for each council to be “self governing” but under the safety umbrella of our Scottish Government, NOT the UK Government. IF anyone is likely to “fall foul of the monkey trap” it’ll be the greed of our present UK Gov and their unelected cronies.

      • James Watt

        “Once the SNP has implemented self-governing powers for Shetland, you probably won’t hear from me, again.”

        If you can show me which devolved power the SNP are supposed to use to achieve this I will guarantee it gets done. I don’t care what it takes but it will be worth it if you keep your word.

      • John Tulloch

        Robin, you claim “Shetland is a part of Scotland”? I’m afraid the evidence supporting that claim is meagre, indeed.

      • Robin Stevenson

        I hate to be the bringer of bad news John, but I’m afraid that Shetland IS regarded as a part of Scotland, whether you wish it be otherwise or not, it is a Scottish constituency. IF it weren’t, then the good news is, I wouldn’t be contributing to this forum… Oh!…and just before you say “Thank the Lord for that, let’s all vote to secede from Scotland quickly”, 🙂

        I really don’t think the vast majority of Shetland and Orkney DO wish for separation? Otherwise surely, the polls would have shown something different from the GE 2010? Con -1.6%, Labour -3.5%, UKIP -1.6%, Lib/Dem -20.6%, SNP +27.2%…..You’d have thought that a Shetland independent party would have -at least – got a mention?

      • Gareth Fair

        ‘While Shetland remains a part of Scotland then they are synonymous with Scotland, it’s great you are pro-Shetland, I’d like to think that all people from every area in Scotland are pro, their particular area.’ Robin Stevenson’

        ‘While Scotland remains a part of The UK then they are synonymous with The UK, it’s great you are pro-Scotland, I’d like to think that all people from every area in The UK are pro, their particular area.’ Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        The people of Scotland voted to stay In the UK, in Shetland and Orkney overwhelmingly so. In Shetland we have not been able to vote to remain part of Scotland, yet we are represented in the Scotish government by a party we didn’t vote for which are hell bent on taking us out of a union we overwhelmingly want to be part of.

        If one thing is becoming clear from Mr Stevenson’s rantings it is the importance for us to lobby to get a separate referendum for Shetland and Orkney to to remain part of the UK should Scotland leave. Then we can get a fair and equitable division of the resources worked out while they are being divided up.

        As for your building a wall nonsense, that is exactly what you are trying to do to our fellow country men and women in the UK, some of whom will be friends and Family. Although in the context of your twisted little scenario you want the poorer area to fence itself off.

      • John Tulloch

        @James Watt, you write: “If you can show me which devolved power the SNP are supposed to use to achieve this I WILL GUARANTEE IT GETS DONE. I don’t care what it takes…..” (JT emphasis).

        Here’s a better idea: First, YOU show ME by which power/position YOU are able to GUARANTEE anything will be done by the SNP, in any circumstances.

      • Robin Stevenson

        You started well there Gareth and then [sadly] descended into gibberish.

        I don’t dispute that Scotland is indeed synonymous with the rUK, but I’d rather NOT have our corrupt and selfish Westminster Parliament dictate Scotland’s finances, there are very many neighbouring Countries across the world that are “synonymous” with each other, but they are in control of their own political agenda and their own economy.
        Do you seriously imagine that IF Shetland remained with the rUK and Scotland became independent, you’d be [somehow] better off? It is naive in the extreme, “isolated and bled dry” springs to mind, why do you think Jo Grimond was allowed to create Shetlands own oil fund? Out of the goodness of their heart? Or, perhaps it was a small price to pay for guaranteeing loyalty to Westminster?

        It is NOT about building walls Gareth and never was, it was/is about being in control of our own destiny, perhaps you should re-read what I wrote to John? I’m afraid you missed the point.

      • Ali Inkster

        Wrobin, Joe Grimmond got us the oil fund and a degree of control over our future to prevent Shetland and Orkney going for independence. Hollyroods raid on our oil funds (being bled dry) and ever increasing centralisation have put that idea in the front of many peoples minds once again.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        I’m afraid (sadly) it is you that missed the point and continues to bombard us with gibberish.
        I say sadly because instead of wasting your time alienating the population of Shetland you could be doing something constructive to help the Poeple of Scotland, many of whom will have voted for you.

        I, in common with the majority of the Scotish population, who voted in the referendum, wish to remain part of the UK.

        I am not trying to change anything.

        I was merely demonstrating the hypocrisy of all your arguments.

        Job done.

      • James Watt

        “Here’s a better idea: First, YOU show ME by which power/position YOU are able to GUARANTEE anything will be done by the SNP, in any circumstances.”

        @ John, so I can take it from your answer that you are fully aware that the SNP don’t have the authority to hand Shetland self governing powers? And the reason for this is because Holyrood is a devolved parliament.
        I am surprised to see you ask me to show what position or power I have to guarantee anything will be done by the SNP, I thought it was common knowledge that Robin and myself had a direct line to Sturgeons main office, I mean how is she meant to orchestrate us if she isn’t in daily contact with her minions so we know what reply to post on the Shetland Times comments section.

      • John Tulloch

        The Scottish government has the power to centralise functions like the police, so, presumably, they also have the power to decentralise them by putting them back under local control.

        With independence, the SG would certainly be able to devolve real powers to Shetland however I’m not at all sure we can depend on you to do that.

        As I say, when the SNP delivers self-governing autonomy to Shetland, you’re unlikely to hear from me again and if, meanwhile, you stop shafting Shetland, financially, you’ll hear a lot less from me than you do now.

      • James Watt

        “With independence, the SG would certainly be able to devolve real powers to Shetland however I’m not at all sure we can depend on you to do that.

        As I say, when the SNP delivers self-governing autonomy to Shetland, you’re unlikely to hear from me again and if, meanwhile, you stop shafting Shetland, financially, you’ll hear a lot less from me than you do now.”

        Unfortunately, as you well know the Scottish Government doesn’t have any powers to deliver what you want, until either Scotland is independent, or in the even more unlikely event of Westminster devolving such powers to Holyrood.
        Which makes me wonder why you keep bringing this subject up in relation to the SNP, it’s not their place to grant autonomy as they are not autonomous themselves.
        Since I have also seen you, perhaps intentionally, struggle to separate the SNP from COSLA when talking about local council funding I probably shouldn’t be surprised you struggle to grasp what is Westminster issue and what is a Holyrood issue.

      • Ali Inkster

        James, when given the chance to back a referendum for the isles the SSnp opposed it. Mind you when they did back it in the late 80s they were saying one thing up here and another to their followers in Scotland. The SSnp have a long track record of deceit when it comes to their dealings with Orkney and Shetland.

      • John Tulloch

        ? The SNP set up the arrangement with COSLA under which COSLA distribute the annual government funding to Scottish local authorities, in 2008.

        That result has been under-funding versus need for Shetland and the other island councils. Your colleague Robin Stevenson agrees this is the case and justifies it by calling it “redistribution of wealth”.

        The SNP has presided over this damaging state of affairs for the last seven years.

        Ergo the SNP cannot possibly evade taking responsibility for the outcome.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John

        You are deliberately trying to imply that the SNP are [in some spooky way] in cahoots with COSLA, to intentionally under-fund Shetland and other Island Councils.

        This – of course – is utter bunkum, ALL Scottish Councils are obliged to cut back, the Scottish Government “has NO choice”, our annual block Grant – given to us by Westminster – has been substantially reduced thanks to our UK Government’s ridiculous austerity agenda, NOT just the Island Councils, [I’ll repeat] ALL Councils.

        To pretend that the Scottish Government is somehow “Picking” on Island Councils only, is disingenuous nonsense.

        IF, you insist on quoting me, please get it right.

      • James Watt

        @ Ali, was their a petition about a referendum for the islands, and if there was how many signatures did it get?

        @ John, it is correct to say that in 2008 the SNP and COSLA had a review into the distribution of funding, it is nothing but conjecture to say its is due the the SNPs actions in that review that the funding is biased towards the big city councils, if I was cynical I would say the outcome of the review is more to do with COSLA being dominated by Labour, just like the large Scottish councils.
        I’m sure I have provided this link to you before, or one containing the same information, when I was helping you grasp the concept that COSLA even played a part in the process, John Swinney had asked COSLA to reconsider the funding formula for something more needs based, COSLA has refused.

        http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Funding-for-local-government-998.aspx

        Mr Swinney said:

        “I have written to COSLA asking them to confirm that they do not wish to uprate the funding formula for 2015-16.

        “I am respectful of the relationship we have with local government and of their internal decision-making, and for those reasons I am minded to accept the proposal from COSLA that they do not wish the government to uprate the funding formula for 2015-16.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson, the problem with different people trolling under the same pseudonym is that they don’t know what the last one said. Here’s what “you” said in this same comments thread to which we are contributing. I said you were “siphoning funds from Shetland’s oil reserves” and you agreed, calling it “redistribution”:

        “John Tulloch
        July 22nd, 2015 20:03
        Robin, thank you for inviting me to bring this to voting readers’ attention, yet again.

        No the money doesn’t go to Holyrood as you well know, although, it may as well do.

        It goes to urban/densely-populated areas under the funding distribution scam you set up with COSLA in 2008. It’s been a growing scandal on your watch for the last several years which has been brought to your attention many times and there’s no way you can duck responsibility for it.

        You are facilitating the de facto siphoning of Shetland’s hard-won oil reserves to your pals in the central belt – little wonder they voted Yes for independence!

        Robin Stevenson
        July 22nd, 2015 22:31
        Agreed John, it’s called “redistribution”,….I know, I hate it too, ……..”

        Keep it coming, Robin, readers are not fools and will see you for what you are.

  4. Kathy Greaves

    Jonathan Wills does have many ideas on every subject, political and non-political, but as he is known to go on at some length espousing his thoughts, perhaps the various meetings could speed up a bit if he was to give them a miss!

    I agree with John Tulloch in the belief that Shetland needs to be protected from the SNP Scottish government; they need our islands, they will need to take control of our oil funds and natural resources to help fill their coffers to pay for their many unrealistic and unaudited policies.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Could you please Just explain how the Scottish Government plan to bypass Westminster to [somehow] “take control” of Shetlands oil fund Kathy….I’d really love to know?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        By “stealth under-funding”, Robin, just as you’ve been doing relentlessly for the past several years.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Easy Robin, one word, Independence.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Brilliant John, with that logic I guess the SNP Government have [somehow] managed to “Stealth under-fund” EVERY council in Scotland and keep all the lovely lolly to themselves have they?

        I wish, Gordon 🙂

      • John Tulloch

        Robin, thank you for inviting me to bring this to voting readers’ attention, yet again.

        No the money doesn’t go to Holyrood as you well know, although, it may as well do.

        It goes to urban/densely-populated areas under the funding distribution scam you set up with COSLA in 2008. It’s been a growing scandal on your watch for the last several years which has been brought to your attention many times and there’s no way you can duck responsibility for it.

        You are facilitating the de facto siphoning of Shetland’s hard-won oil reserves to your pals in the central belt – little wonder they voted Yes for independence!

      • Gordon Harmer

        Keep on wishing Robin, I notice you did not deny what I implicated. Hmm very interesting.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Agreed John, it’s called “redistribution”,….I know, I hate it too, but I’m a realist, and while you and I may be lucky enough to stay in a wealthy part of Scotland, I know there are other parts which suffer, and therefore, as I regard the whole of Scotland to be MY Country, my ancestral home, my place of birth and those of generations before me, and future generations to come, I will do my best and pay my share to benefit ALL…..Thank goodness you don’t have a drawbridge John?

      • John Tulloch

        Robin, I live in Argyll, hardly a “wealthy part of Scotland”, well-neglected by governments of all colours for many years. The problem is, rural poverty doesn’t get on the telly – it’s out of sight, “over there”.

        So it is with Shetland. Country schools are under threat of closure and rural areas are under severe threat of depopulation – oh yes they are; Unst! Fetlar! Fair Isle! North Roe!

        If you want to “redistribute” money from rural places like these to the central belt you are making the case for separation for me.

  5. iantinkler

    Robin, be absolutely rest assured. Shetlanders have no wish to leave the UK. In the stupid but not impossible event Scotland became Independent of the UK the vast majority of Shetland folk would not wish to follow. Democracy would be done and Shetland would vote to be no longer be part of Scotland. No argument you have ever uttered has dispelled that wish. The SNP may have 300 members in Shetland, hardly something to boast about, considering the unpopularity of Austerity measures and the Tories , that figure is ludicrously small. hardly a mandate for Shetland to follow Scotland into glorious isolationism and complete insignificance to all but the blue face brigade. Cry freedom and join the third world!!.

    Reply
  6. John Oakes Manchester England

    Ian would Shetland not suffer the SSNP band wagon next year election?
    Much can be said for the amount of people who voted for SSNP being way less than the UKIP yet we see the results. Ms Sturgeon knows full well how valuable Shetland is as a future revenue in the form of oil. True we in England may benefit from tax taken from oil, but we share from the scraps chucked on the stone floors by the governments. Even now Gideon Osborne the wizard of floss is trying to disperse his inspired vision with the Northern Powerhouse. Inspiring stuff indeed on paper according to the Greater Manchester and Merseyside bleating sheep. Yet the argument really will be is “When” Scotland become independent. The more SSNP push the button down here the greater we in England will say “GO THEN”. This will have the knock on effect to Islands in tourism and business when the dust settles. down.

    Reply
  7. iantinkler

    I am sorry, John Oakes Manchester England, I do not see what point you are making. The SNP is hell bent on tuning Shetland and her seas into an industrialized hub for wind energy. Well over 2000 square miles of seascape plus 100s of inshore turbines being planned. The unique landscape, seascape and Eco-systems of Shetland being utterly destroyed in the process. Shetland folk have been refused any say in this whatsoever. I am absolutely confident that if Scotland became independent Shetlanders would resist being dragged by the nose into into the Sturgeon / Salmond wind-farm nightmare (we already have 900 a member group resisting a single wind-farm) . The best way may well be becoming a Crown Dependency with local control of our own environment. I am absolutely certain if the SNP vote in Shetland displaces our incumbent MP, which my well happen, a groundswell of local dislike for the SNP and its very unpleasant policies towards Shetland will result in a powerful backlash which will distance our Island group away from Edinburgh domination.

    Reply
    • Brian Smith

      Goodness, I thought the Shetland windfarm was a local project, not an SNP one. If Shetland were a Crown Dependency – the very last thing in the world that will ever happen, given Shetlanders’ lack of interest in such matters – the windfarm might well be even bigger …

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Hit wis aye fundit apo haet air, Brian, an da supply o dat is rapidly runnin oot. Wastminster is no gyaan ta mak da English fokk pay twice an tree times da price for electricity, choost ta mak Scottish independence viable, ir dey?

      • iantinkler

        Brian Smith, I am surprised you did not know about this SNP plan. It totally dwarfs VE. https://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2011/05/27/five-sites-identified-around-shetland-for-possible-offshore-windfarm-development.
        I am also sure you are well aware VE is only the start of onshore wind farms on Shetland. Once the fabled interconnector is built, if ever, the SNP will certainly use Shetland as Scotland’s cash cow, have to replace the lost oil revenues with something!

    • Robin Stevenson

      Would that be the same “Ground swell” that reduced Ali Cars majority from 10,000 down to just over 800 in favour of the hated SNP then Ian?

      Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Ian, you say: “I am absolutely certain if the SNP vote in Shetland displaces our incumbent MP, which my well happen, [there will be] a groundswell of local dislike for the SNP and its very unpleasant policies towards Shetland…”. I need to point out that simple logic dictates that if the SNP win this seat (I am not sure if you mean through a re-run of the May election or in five years time), then that would demonstrate the very opposite of “local dislike for the SNP”. I guess logic goes out the window when the red anti-SNP mist descends.

      Reply
  8. iantinkler

    Robert Sim, ” I need to point out that simple logic dictates that if the SNP win this seat (I am not sure if you mean through a re-run of the May election or in five years time), then that would demonstrate the very opposite of “local dislike for the SNP”. I guess logic goes out the window when the red anti-SNP mist descends ” Well Robert, no need to wait for that vote, look what is starting, not anti independance, I just a hate of Nationalism, you know what i mean, “Day of reckoning”, paint your face blue wraped in a flag and all that crap.. “https://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2015/10/09/autonomy-group-set-to-launch-next-week” hopefully all the ant_ English/ Westminster type zenophobia, will become a bit acedemic

    Reply
    • ROBERT SIM

      You mean the fictional, distorted and exaggerated view of Scottish nationalism which you keep banging on about, Ian?

      Reply
  9. iantinkler

    Robert Sim, any Nationalism I find contemptible, is as De Gaulle said, “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first. “, Einstein’s quote just about sums it up also “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.” Sillers confirms the nature of the Scottish type with his “Day of Reckoning”. Why do you get so agitated, Robert, about Shetlanders wanting autonomy, without the bigotry division and venom so displayed by some of the SNP?

    Reply

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 editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk 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.

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