Sturgeon urges public to speak about future of isles

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for islanders to give their views on proposals that could see the devolution of additional powers to Scotland’s island councils and communities.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Skye to encourage island communities and other interested stakeholders to offer their views, Ms Sturgeon said she had made a commitment that the government would be open and transparent and that was why she was encouraging everyone living in island communities to consider what the future bill should look like.

Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the crowd in the Shetland Museum during her visit before the referendum. Photo: Dave Donaldson
Nicola Sturgeon

She added: “I know all too well that life on our islands can be very different compared to living on the mainland. Who better then to help influence this area of work than those who live, work and study there.

“Our islands have proud and vibrant traditions which have contributed to making Scotland the nation that it is.

“This consultation marks the next step in informing our work to ensure we can make our islands more prosperous and fairer in the future, and I would encourage everyone with an interest to respond.”

The consultation on a future Islands Bill, launched last month by islands minister Derek Mackay, seeks views on a range of issues including:

• more autonomy;

• a national islands plan;

• dedicated councillors for all populated islands;

• a legal duty to island-proof legislation;

• constituency boundary protection for Na h-Eileanan an lar.

Ms Sturgeon was in Skye to open the new Kilbeg village development and her first Sabhal Mòr Ostaig [Gaelic College] lecture where she will highlight the role Gaelic has to play in the economic and cultural future of Scotland’s islands.


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  • stuart inkster

    • October 22nd, 2015 16:34

    And did she give her speech in this important gaelic language?

    • Robin Stevenson

      • October 22nd, 2015 19:26

      Why would she Stuart, she doesn’t speak Gaelic?…Nicola also made a speech in China a few weeks ago and doesn’t speak that either, what’s your point?

      Scots is a Germanic language which developed from Old English and Old Norse. Also referred to as Doric, Lallans, Scotch and colloquially as Dundonian, Buchan and so on.
      The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, ratified in 1992, recognised its role as a language traditionally spoken and therefore its importance in Scottish culture.
      The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 acknowledged Gaelic as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language.

      57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population) speak Gaelic, basically double the number of people in Shetland, do you think we should ban em all then?…

      • iantinkler

        • October 25th, 2015 9:39

        Robin Stevenson, to outline Wee Nippy “she will highlight the role Gaelic has to play in the economic and cultural future of Scotland’s island” Now just what use is Gaelic to the economic and cultural future Shetland? Do you really think Nicola should have any say in Shetland whatsoever when she talks such arrant nonsense? Is the woman just ignorant about Shetland or just after Gaelic speakers (Western isles) votes. Shetland would be well rid of this idiocy from Edinburgh.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • October 25th, 2015 11:02

        Whether you like it or not Ian Gaelic is a part of our Scottish history of language throughout the centuries, along with many other dialects. By your inconsiderate rant, should we have a wee word with Laureen Johnson and ask her to forget about the Shetland Gruffalo too then?

        Nicola was talking to the people of Skye, and is keen to promote Gaelic as an indigenous language much in the same way as Doric, Dundonian, Shetland Scots, Orcadian Scots etc, if you feel there should be Shetland road signs [for example] I believe she’d like to hear your views?

        Live and let live Ian, you do Wir Shetland absolutely no favours.

      • Ali Inkster

        • October 25th, 2015 14:35

        Gaelic may be part of your history Wrobin, but it has nothing at all to do with Shetland.

      • Steven Ainsworth

        • October 28th, 2015 10:27

        Interesting. But the notion that Scots is or ever was a language distinct from English is historical nonsense. It’s a romantic idea first suggested only in the early 19th century and then systematically developed as propaganda by the SNP in the 20th century. The archives of the old Scottish parliament in the 16th and 17th centuries for example, when ‘Scots’ was supposedly at its height, are quite explicit on the point – ‘Scotland and England share one island, one religion and one language’. Writers today who promote the idea that Scots is language all take great care to omit to mention the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

  • iantinkler

    • October 22nd, 2015 21:48

    ” she will highlight the role Gaelic has to play in the economic and cultural future of Scotland’s islands.” Whoop, Whoop” That is just what Shetland needs, about as useful as a hole in the head!!!.

    • iantinkler

      • October 25th, 2015 11:43

      Robin Stevenson , I speak for myself here, not “Wir shetland” , are you so preoccupied about Wir shetland you had not noticed that? No mention anywhere about Wir shetland, get a grip man! . So you say when Wee Nippy, talks about the economic and cultural future of Scotland’s islands she actually does not include Shetland. Believe it or not, Shetland is an Island, contentious if Scottish or not. May be Nicola is telling us something about the future of Shetland and those other islands she deems as Scottish> Enlightening is it not, when she talks about economic and cultural future of Scotland’s islands, she is excluding Shetland.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • October 25th, 2015 13:15

        Here’s the clue Ian:

        “Ms Sturgeon was in Skye to open the new Kilbeg village development and her first Sabhal Mòr Ostaig [Gaelic College] lecture where she will highlight the role Gaelic has to play in the economic and cultural future of Scotland’s islands”.

        No doubt, at some time [in the not too distant future], Nicola will be visiting Orkney, and then Shetland, at which point, she’ll talk about what would be the best way forward for that particular Island community? She is referring to the needs and wishes of Skye because that is where she is at the moment and that is what that particular community desires.

        Let’s just hope that when she agrees on a way forward for S&O there isn’t some numbskull from Skye complaining that someone suggested setting up a Norn language centre?

      • John Tulloch

        • October 25th, 2015 16:51

        @Robin Stevenson,

        I’m pleased to see you accept my detailed contention elsewhere, which I know you have seen, that Shetland is fundamentally different from the islands of the West, in this case, because they speak a different language.

        Furthermore, Shetland’s fishing industry has suffered grievous damage due to the UK joining the EU and it is SNP policy to rejoin the EU with independence.

        Rejoining will not harm the interests of other Scottish islands but is in direct conflict with Shetland’s vital interests.

        It follows that Shetland is faced with distinct issues and that the Islands Bill, which will propose a “one size fits all” solution for Scottish islands is an inappropriate vehicle for delivering the real needs of the people of Shetland.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • October 25th, 2015 20:05

        Robin, “Let’s just hope that when she agrees on a way forward for S&O” when she agrees, what about when we agree. Are we going to be dictated to? I would have though it would be a two way thing, but you have confirmed what a lot of us fear that we will have Ms Sturgeons will thrust upon us if we stay with you and the nationalists. Something of a telling parapraxis from you Robin, which reveals more than you would like us to know.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • October 26th, 2015 10:53

        Sorry Gordon, but you seemed to have missed the main thrust of this initiative?

        “Let’s just hope that when she agrees on a way forward for S&O”,

        Meaning she has to “Agree” with someone or something, in other words, this is a two way street. Had I said “once S&O agree”, you would [no doubt] have condemned that too I imagine?
        That is why the Scottish Gov are looking for your input, to get your ideas, feedback, concerns, etc, so they can be looked at and addressed through consultation. This is a good opportunity to put forward whatever new powers for further autonomy for Shetland you feel would be most beneficial. Goodness only knows why you’re under the impression why you think this is [somehow] devious?

  • Michael Garriock

    • October 23rd, 2015 0:51

    There’s nothing to talk about as long as all Scotland’s isles are being seen and addressed as a single entity.

    Certainly, we’re all relatively tiny rocks surrounded by water, but there the similarity between the Western and Northern Isles begins and ends, in every other aspect we are like chalk and cheese.

    Whether this is a crass display of ignorance or a devious ploy to divide and conquer is anyone’s guess, but its one or the other. As accord on anything of worth is highly unlikely where, as it does, the situation exists that what is likely to benefit one of the island groups, is equally likely to be detrimental to the other.

    Keep the Western and Northern Isles apart and as wholly different entities, and treat them according to their individual circumstnces, otherwise this is all just hot air “tipping the cap”.

    • Brian Smith

      • October 26th, 2015 8:04

      Chalk and cheese? My experience of the Western Isles is that they are very similar to Shetland. Mr Tulloch’s view that everyone there wears a kilt and claymore and is an enthusiastic clan member is fantasy.

      Shetland Islands Council was right to make common cause with the Western Isles in seeking reform. If Shetland goes it alone, with the Wir Shetland prospectus, the result will be … nil.

      • JohnTulloch

        • October 26th, 2015 10:03

        Camara ha hu a Bhrian! I lived in the Western Isles for a year and learned a little Gaelic while I was there so I kind of know what I’m talking about.

      • Robert Sim

        • October 26th, 2015 11:37

        You are absolutely right, Brian. What unites us as islands is far more than divides us. Everyone in the Western Isles speaks English, so making an issue of Gaelic as some are here is to bring in a ridiculous red herring. All the islands are affected by decisions concerning such matters as transport, education, health, policing and social services. As OIOF has already shown, working together gets the attention of the two governments and brings results. There is no shortcut past that.

      • Ali Inkster

        • October 26th, 2015 15:52

        The biggest difference between the northern and western isles is that we are net contributors to the exchequer and the western isles are a net drain on the exchequer.

      • Brian Smith

        • October 26th, 2015 18:15

        I’m puzzled, Ali. I thought the difference was claymores.

      • Ali Inkster

        • October 27th, 2015 14:46

        I’ve no doubt whatsoever that your are confused Brian.

  • Johan Adamson

    • October 23rd, 2015 9:41

    You’ve no said how any one can comment on this?

    Have to say, getting a bit confused with all these initiatives now – Our Islands Our Future, Wir Shetland and now this. Do you think they could all get together now with one plan? Maybe no though …

    • Robert Sim

      • October 25th, 2015 14:48

      Johan – you will find the information on the important Islands Bill consultation here:

      The link to the page where you can actually record your views is on the right. It is a Scottish Government initiative, as opposed to OIOF, which is an initiative of the three island councils.

      On that note, I find it quite depressing and worrying that some folk posting on here are expressing a narrow,”little Shetlander” mentality, showing contempt for the culture of one of our island partners in a way that I know to be untypical of Shetlanders as a whole.

      • iantinkler

        • October 27th, 2015 10:20

        O Dear, Robert Sim is depressed and worried about “a narrow, “little Shetlander” mentality, showing contempt for the culture of one of our island partners”. Please do not fret Robert that is only a figment of your imagination. If you actually read the above comments you would see there is no such insinuation of that at all. If you are still having a problem please reference and I will explain it all to you. Danus seems to having a similar problem accusing Tavish of “pitting islanders against each other.” Perhaps this is all an SNP propaganda ploy. Let’s wait for Robin to put his bit in to confirm that. O dear, dear, “pitting islanders against each other.” Whatever next!! Lol

      • Robert Sim

        • October 27th, 2015 12:00

        Ian, refusing to see that the islands have more in common than divides them, as several commentators here are doing, is an isolationist mentality; and speaking disparagingly of the Government’s support for island culture, as you do when you say that the First Minister’s work here is as useful to Shetland “as a hole in the head”, as you do, is short-sighted: it could be Shetland culture next. As Robin says, you do Wir Shetland no favours.

  • iantinkler

    • October 27th, 2015 13:34

    Robert, please be a bitless disingeneous. I have never intimated that the Islands have more dividing them than in common. Do not tell porkies. I made no comment about the First Minister’s work here. I did however say, Shetland needs Gaelic like a hole in the head. Now if you can not be honest at least be silent!

    • Robin Stevenson

      • October 27th, 2015 17:30


      It’s not whether Shetland “Needs” Gaelic, [as you politely put it, “Like a hole in the head”] or whether the borders, the Central belt, or any other non Gaelic speaking parts of Scotland “Need” Gaelic, it is about keeping alive and promoting an indigenous language which is a part of our Scottish history and culture, ALL languages must be nurtured whether it’s Gaelic, Norn, Dundonian, Doric etc, IF you are anyway involved with the “Wir Shetland” group, then this blatant display of intolerance, does you or “Wir Shetland” NO good whatsoever.

    • Robert Sim

      • October 27th, 2015 18:43

      Ian, I take exception to being called a liar. Read again what I wrote. I did not accuse you of saying that the islands have more dividing them than they have in common – I said “several commentators”. When I said the the FM’s work “here”, I meant in the area of Gaelic language and culture, which was the topic of her speech. You made a disparaging comment about that. I can’t help it if you won’t take responsibility for your OTT and inflammatory comments. Maybe it’s you that needs to be less disingenuous.

  • Johan Adamson

    • October 28th, 2015 14:57

    It is very important that all of us contribute to this consultation. Please complete using the link from Robert Sim above

    Even though the whole thread has become depressing in the extreme.

  • John Tulloch

    • October 28th, 2015 15:24

    Those readers who contribute as Johan is suggesting may like to mention that fish and fishing are Shetland’s biggest industry and that lack of local control of fisheries and offshore developments are very damaging for Shetland.

  • iantinkler

    • October 28th, 2015 15:32

    Robin Stevenson, your daft comment, ” IF you are anyway involved with the “Wir Shetland” group, then this blatant display of intolerance, does you or “Wir Shetland” NO good whatsoever.” has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this discussion and is completely irrelevant.. The fact I do not suffer fools well, has nothing whatsoever to do with “Wir Shetland”

  • John Tulloch

    • November 3rd, 2015 22:22

    Here it comes, they all want in! Skye & Lochaber’s and Argyll & the Inner Hebrides’ SNP MSPs want them added into the “Islands Bill”! Where next, Caithness, Sutherland, Dumfries & Galloway?

    The so-called “Islands Bill” is irrelevant to Shetland. Our distinctive issues will disppear among this lot.

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 4th, 2015 10:53

    You have to see the funny side———-Ian Tinkler accuses Robin Stevenson of a blatant display of intolerance !!! The pot calling the kettle black ???

  • iantinkler

    • November 4th, 2015 20:58

    O dear me, Haydn Gear, do not to put words in my mouth and miss quote me. The words ” IF you are anyway involved with the “Wir Shetland” group, then this blatant display of intolerance, does you or “Wir Shetland” NO good whatsoever.” were in fact fact Robin Stevenson’s words, not mine at all!! I was simply quoting Robin. . .. , Haydn, that does make you look a little foolish! Now just calm down, I do not expect an apology from you, but please in future take time to read and understand, it is not that dificult . “Pots and kettles” so funny, o dear, dear.


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