16th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

More detail required (Gordon Thomson)

Shetland Labour Party are happy to hear what the Wir Shetland group have to offer but would need to hear more detail from them in their manifesto before considering support.

We would like to see clearer costings of their proposals and more detail of the constitutional framework of their vision.

For example, how are local services such as health, education, ferries, housing, social care, policing, fire and ambulance, to be provided for? At present these are provided as part of UK or Scottish governance.

What sort of tax and pension schemes would operate? The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands offer offshore tax havens and very low tax rates; the Falkland Islands has economic and strategic importance and a third of its total population are British troops.

Presumably defence here would still be provided by the rest of the UK. And if we withdraw from the EU, will we still have a trade agreement with Europe?

Labour would need to hear clearer answer to these and other matters; at present, although support from EU, UK and Scottish governments is not always what we want it to be, we can at least make a response to them through elected representatives at MEP, MP, MSP and council level.

We would lose much of this if we were jingoistic and decided to “go it alone”.

Gordon Thomson
Secretary,
Shetland Labour Party
Hamar,
Baltasound,
Unst.

16 comments

  1. John Tulloch

    Thank you Gordon for your query. I’m sure you appreciate what a busy time we’ve had since launching and that what we are proposing will require considerable preparation.

    We do believe in keeping the horse in front of the cart and our immediate priority is to establish our new presence on the local political scene. However I will make a full reply to you, recognising that many details are simply admin to be sorted out in the negotiations and the transition.

    We are a brand new campaign group, two weeks old, not a prospective government – that’s your role – and it would be foolish to pontificate now about policies of a hypothetical government with hypothetical powers at an unknown time in the future.

    However there are certain principles which it is reasonable to address now and those will form the basis of our reply.

    John Tulloch
    Chair, WIr Shetland

    Reply
  2. Robert Sim

    The Shetland Labour Party is not alone in desiring such detail. Gordon asks how “…local services such as health, education, ferries, housing, social care, policing, fire and ambulance, [are] to be provided for…” within a Shetland which is an Overseas Territory linked to Westminster. From what I can see so far, WS have no detailed, credible answer to that question.

    Reply
  3. iantinkler

    SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott says the Scottish Government is “discriminating” against Northern Isles residents by announcing ferry fare cuts on routes serving west coast islands – Yes well, Tavish is not my favorite politician but this time he has hit the nail right on the head. The facts speak for themselves.

    Reply
  4. Gareth Fair

    I’m not part of the Wir Shetland group but I think there is a big difference between supporting independence and suppotting the idea of a referendum on independence.

    Did the SNP had all of the answers when they started campaigning for Scottish independence? Surely that came with the white paper as part of the campaign during the referendum?

    Personally I think if the Wir Shetland group can get our maritime boarders formally recognised by an amendment to the The Continental Shelf Act 1964 that would be a good start point.

    There is a lot of information on the Falkland Islands website to show us how it could work.

    http://www.falklands.gov.fk
    http://www.fig.gov.fk

    Reply
  5. Johan Adamson

    Its just like the Yes campaign isnt it? We just have to agree in principle that this is what we want, surely, then iron out the details later

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Unfortunately, Johan, for me, unless it can be demonstrated in detail that Shetland would be well governed as a BOT or the like and that services like education, health and social work could be maintained at the present level of service or better, there is no point in looking further into this idea or agreeing anything. But maybe I’m picky.

      Reply
      • Gareth Fair

        Robert,
        If the Scottish Independence movement had listened to your argument it would never have got off the ground.
        That is now something you seem to support.

        Ultimately once a referendum can be agreed, all the questions are answered and debated, then the people get to decide.
        If you want to vote against it in a referendum, then of course, that is your right.
        However, we are a long way from having to make our minds up at the moment.
        Just because all of the questions have not been answered a couple of weeks into the debate is no reason to end it in my opinion.

      • Wayne Conroy

        Robert… You say “unless it can be demonstrated in detail that Shetland would be well governed as a BOT or the like and that services like education, health and social work could be maintained at the present level of service or better, there is no point in looking further into this idea or agreeing anything.”

        Funny… That’s almost exactly how I (and probably half of the voters in Scotland) felt about the Scottish Referendum and we’re still waiting on those answers and that is after being asked to cast our vote! I can’t help but get the feeling that you are just trying to put down Mr Tulloch and what he stands for in case it affects your personal vision of what the future of Scotland and most importantly Shetland could be if Mr Tulloch was to continue along this path.

      • Aaron Smith

        I can’t see how things can get much worse than they are at the moment. Cuts cuts and more cuts working their way down from Westminster and Holyrood ending up with school closures and many other reductions to public services. Anybody who thinks remaining in the present arrangement needs to get a grip and take a serious look at what is happening.

    • Robert Sim

      I respect your point of view, Gareth. From a practical point of view, the difference between WS’s proposals and the Yes campaign is that Scotland is in many respects already a self-governing nation, with its own government and a diverse economy. It is a relatively small step to full self-determination. A local authority is in quite a different position. But I will await the detailed plan.

      Reply
  6. iantinkler

    Robert Sim, what an extraordinary about turn.!! You state ” Scotland is in many respects already a self-governing nation, with its own government and a diverse economy.” For goodness sake man, if you believe that, why the endless whinging from yourself, Robin Stevenson and the other ragbag of assorted “Nationalists” whom write on these pages? “Scotland is in many respects already a self-governing nation” Now does that not say it all, just why your endless “nit picking” and carping moans?

    Reply
  7. David Spence

    I totally agree with Aaron.

    The Tories are forcing more and more cuts which will, to a large degree, affect the way in which the SNP will carry out their policies in Scotland, but at the same time, the Tories will kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Discredit the SNP, and discredit Nicola Sturgeon…..which will have far more reaching consequences than what Alistair Carmichael is alleged to have done.

    Since the Tories agenda is to dismantle in every way our NHS and Local Authority Services, and to transfer these to the private sector, I would love to know what actions the SNP are going to do to either a) prevent privatization or b) what they will put in place of the NHS and LAS from a national point of view?

    It may seem a pointless question, but I am dreading what this country will be like in 5 years time. We will be considerably worse off in many ways as a result of the selfish minority ruling the roost at Westminster.

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      In the light of the constant, interminable, SNP, David and Aron wail that the Scottish Budget has been repeatedly cut by the cruel, unfeeling and anti-Scottish ‘Westmonster’.
      Using the Scottish Government’s own figures, the Scottish budget in 2008-09 was £35 Billion in real terms today; and that today, 2015, the Scottish budget for next year, 2016-17, in real terms, is £35 Billion.
      So much for ‘Trust Me’ Nicola.
      The years of lament have been a total and knowing scam on the gullible.
      There are something like 3000 public service jobs under threat in the central belt and the councils there have asked if they can increase council tax by a ream 3% to save those jobs but the SNP-Scottish government said no. Other councils are thinking to raise council tax by 5% with the blessing of the electorate but if they do the SNP-Scottish government will fine them.
      David the NHS is devolved to the SNP-Scottish government who have privatised sections of the Scottish NHS, paying tens of millions of pounds to private companies. Over the past 8 years the SNP-Scottish government have under spent to the tune of billions, money which would have supported health and education.

      Reply
      • James Watt

        Who to believe, Gordon or Audit Scotland.

        “Following annual growth in budgets averaging five per cent from 2000/01, the total Scottish DEL budget has fallen nine per cent in real terms since 2009/10.
        It has fallen from a peak of £31.9 billion in 2009/10 to £28.9 billion in 2014/15.”

        http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/docs/central/2014/nr_140605_public_finances.pdf

        What Gordon forgets to tell you is that the figures he quotes includes money spent on such things as public sector pensions, so Holyrood has no discretion over how it is spent. The money Holyrood is responsible for allocating is referred to as Deparmental Expenditure Limit (DEL).

      • Robin Stevenson

        Perhaps Gordon may do what Andrew Neil did when faced with the same selective facts that That Mr Harmer used James?…..Just pretend that he had other alternative figures but just didn’t get around to show us them? 🙂

      • Gordon Harmer

        You forgot to comment on the jobs being lost because of the council tax freeze James. Why not climb back on your Unicorn and turn right at the fling pig and give us a tale about the affects of the frozen council tax.

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