19th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Wir Shetland policies (John Tulloch)

Thank you, Gordon Thomson for your and Shetland Labour Party’s interest in Wir Shetland.

Wir Shetland is a new multi-party organization – two weeks old – aiming for self-governing powers for Shetland, which seeks to unite Shetlanders in support of  that aim.

It follows that party-political solutions to hypothetical future issues would be inappropriate.

Detailed policies and costings, necessarily invoking party-political values, would be meaningless and divisive and would dilute our main message, which is a demand for constitutional change.

Once change is achieved, whichever local parties remain may contest elections, advising electors of their own specific proposals.

Keeping the horse in front of the cart, our immediate priority is to establish Wir Shetland on the local political scene. Without strong foundations pontificating about the policies of a hypothetical future government would be a waste of time.

The associated figures are too complex to describe here however I would refer you to the SIC’s Shetland Input-Output Study/Regional Accounts 2010-2011, a 7-yearly in-depth study of the Shetland economy, for detailed economic data.

Excluding increased revenue, which would accrue from oil and fishing and assuming the same tax take as 2010, a Shetland government’s finances would come out roughly the same as now – you keep the tax and lose central government funding. So there should be no problem funding existing local services, even with no gains.

Also, the more cuts in government funding, the more positive the tax/funding balance becomes in Shetland’s favour.

Bearing in mind that the aim is British Overseas Territory status, or similar, defence would be the responsibility of the parent state, currently, the UK.

There will be plenty to change early on without changing the provision of services performing acceptably and existing functions of the health, education and emergency services listed could continue to be contracted from the existing provider until such time as the democratically-elected government saw fit to change them.

The crucial immediate change would be the introduction of true local accountability and a joint services arrangement for reporting local emergencies is also envisaged.

Pension arrangements would be part of the change negotiations and in future, the business of the elected government, as would tax powers and policy, respectively.

However the purpose of our campaign is for Shetlanders to become better off, not worse off and any deal must be ratified by local referendum, by which time the requisite information should be available.

It’s also hard to imagine voters accepting a deal that Wir Shetland felt unable to recommend.

When Britain joined the Common Market in 1973, control of Shetland’s legendary fishing grounds was lost and the only apparent way to regain it is to leave the EU, as Greenland did in 1985.

Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Faroe are all outside the EU and have full control of their fishing grounds yet they enjoy EU
benefits of free access to markets, free movement of capital and labour, etc.

As a BOT or similar, Shetland could enjoy all of these EU advantages via the UK’s membership and regain control of our fishing grounds.

Should the UK ever leave the EU it would have similar benefits as Norway and Iceland. Shetland, as a UK territory, would be entitled to those benefits.

Even after forty years of oil exploitation, Shetland still has great wealth of natural resources, including fishing. The most recent study reported a balance of trade surplus of £130 million (2010-11) and some crude but very conservative calculations indicate the new government would enjoy well over £150 million pa more revenue than the SIC has now.

Should Shetland win self-governing status the debates will change from ones about cuts to ones on how we should spend our increased revenue, wisely.

Shetland’s position commanding the oilfields and strategic seas and skies of the northern North Sea and large swathes of the North Atlantic, is of great economic and military importance, underpinning a prosperous future for Shetland as a self-governing territory.

Of course, all our estimates and claims must be substantiated and the next SIC economic study is due in 2017. There would be no point in “over-egging the pudding” now, only to look foolish later on, which is why our assumptions for revenue estimates were so cautious and why we are reiterating that caution now.

I trust you will find nothing “jingoisitic” in our approach and we shall be pleased to discuss any aspects with you more fully, either in person or by electronic means.

John Tulloch

Chair, Wir Shetland.

About Adam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Press and Journal, The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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130 comments

  1. Robert Sim

    “…health, education and emergency services listed could continue to be contracted from the existing provider…”. The Scottish Government inspects Shetland’s schools, John, because Shetland is part of Scotland; and so “the existing provider” would overnight cease to provide those services if Shetland were to be a BOT. The same would apply in the other services you mention. External inspection ensures high standards are being maintained. What’s WS’s plan in that area?

    Reply
    • iantinkler

      Simples, Robert Sim, as exhaustively stated before, take the very best practices offered, by example, from the other autonomous island communities. Many to choose from, The Manx, The Falklands, The Channel Isles, Gibraltar for example, and copy them. If Wir Shetland, achieve results sooner rather than later, we may even still have a few rural schools left to be inspected. In the tender care the SG and the SNP it all becomes a little academic. Education cuts will result in most being schools being closed whom knows, it may become so centralized we will have to send our children to Glasgow and Edinburgh hostels. Just as the outer isles kids are sent or will be dispatched to Lerwick!!! Just think, they can all learn Gaelic!!!

      Reply
      • Robert Sim

        That won’t work, Ian. Shetland’s schools are part of a system which is integrated and includes the Scottish inspectorate – you can’t simply overnight impose an alien way of working and thinking on our stressed teachers. If you think I am being annoying again, I am simply illustrating the very considerable practical issues which lie in the way of WS and which can’t just be swept aside with the “simples” word. I assume John will have a more sophisticated reply – unless you are speaking for WS?

        Oh and in case you hadn’t noticed, the SIC is having to make budget cuts in every area, not just education. It’s called not squandering the reserves.

      • Ali Inkster

        From what we are told by the teaching unions the education system is constantly being tinkered with anyway. As for integrating with other educational models the very fact that students study all over the world proves that the education systems are pretty much integrated no matter where they are running. So the problem is not insurmountable and will result in an education system suited to Shetland and wir bairns.

  2. iantinkler

    No problem, separating our schools from the Scottish inspectorate would be like a breath of fresh air for the teaching profession. So much red tape and bureaucratic stupidity swept away.

    Reply
  3. Gareth Fair

    Robert,
    Whatever problems you can come up with solutions can be found.
    For example, how about using the Independent Schools Inspectorate as per private schools and schools in Isle of Man etc.
    It could be phased in over time and in consultation with teachers.

    ISI is a Government approved inspectorate responsible for the inspection of Association independent schools. Schools in the Associations are ranked among the best in the world and educate more than half a million children in 1,200 schools.

    Or Education Scotland already handles inspections for Independent schools in Scotland, it’s not that different surely.

    The thing is there is a relatively small population on Shetland. Although there is a lot to consider it’s mostly on a much smaller scale than Scotland or the UK which will help a lot.
    P.S. I’m not speaking for WS either.

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Thanks, Gareth. A constructive suggestion. However the problem with this idea (which Ian Tinkler also mentions) is that using the same framework as applies to independent schools runs foul of the fact that legislation – I have only looked at the Scottish legislation but ISI appear to be in the same position – decrees that ISI and Education Scotland inspect schools which are independent – i.e. not under local-authority control. The Scottish legislation is very clear on that point. Thus Shetland schools would need to somehow not be under local-authority control to be inspected in this way. I don’t see how that would work in practical terms.

      Additionally, ISI inspect only in terms of the English curriculum, which wouldn’t (presumably) apply in an independent Shetland; and ES only inspect Scottish independent schools. Shetland wouldn’t be part of Scotland.

      I promise I will stop posting on this topic now.

      Reply
      • Gareth Fair

        Robert,
        That’s exactly the point, if Shetland was independent, the schools would not be under UK or Scottish local government control, or indeed any UK or Scottish government control.
        The ISI inspects schools from Crown Dependencies already.
        I agree this is just one of many things that would need to be agreed but I don’t see anything that could not be worked out here.

      • Ali Inkster

        You are still looking for problems that don’t exist Robert. Who says that we could not pay an outside independent schools inspectorate from wherever to inspect our education system?
        We would have a choice of inspectorates to employ. If it was up to me I would look around the world for the countries that have the highest rated education systems. Then choose from among them the best suited to Shetlands needs. I doubt there is a country in the world would refuse. I certainly would not limit myself to the narrow view that everything must come from Scotland.

      • Robert Sim

        I did promise to keep quiet; but I need to clarify a misunderstanding, Gareth: I meant that, to be independent, Shetland schools would not be under ANY government control – including Shetland’s. Otherwise they would not be independent by any commonly-understood meaning of the term. That sets up a conundrum. Y

        You also repeat the point about ISI – but as I tried to explain they inspect the English curriculum. Scotland has its own education system and Shetland is part of that.

        However if you don’t see anything that can’t be worked out it’s obviously me that’s being obtuse.

      • Robert Sim

        Sorry for posting again but Ali says I am looking again for problems that don’t exist. You say, Ali: “Who says that we could not pay an outside independent schools inspectorate from wherever to inspect our education system?…if it was up to me I would look around the world for the countries that have the highest rated education systems.”

        The Pisa rankings (the commonly accepted benchmark for educational perfomance worldwide) for 2015 have Shangai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan as the top four out of 40. (Ireland is the first European country at number 7.) Which of those would you pick? Do you think they will say, “Sorry, we have plenty on our plate inspecting schools in our part of the world” – or do you think they will leap at the chance to inspect schools with another first language, on the other side of the world and which operate a different education system?

      • Ali Inkster

        Roert not are you looking for problems that don’t exist you seem desperate to shackle wir bairns to an education system that lies 28 place out of 40 and is falling

      • Ali Inkster

        A bit more education on your part Robert and you would know that English is one of four official languages in Singapore, so copying their education system and employing them to inspect wir schools would not be insurmountable as you claim. But even if we copied Australia or New Zealand there’s two education systems where English is the common language, that are flexible enough that some students only set foot in a “classroom” once a year if that. Yet still manage to be rated higher than the UK. And from anecdotal evidence the rural students do even better than the city dwellers, And with all the expat Shetlanders in all three of these countries I doubt we would have too much trouble coming to some sort of arrangement with their education authorities.

      • Robert Sim

        Ali, that’s great. Just for the record, I am not “desperate” about anything regarding Shetland’s involvement in the Scottish education system. It is serving our young people well and has done over many years. I am merely pointing out the reality of trying to do what Wir Shetland is proposing in this and other areas. There is a duty to do that as much as there is a duty to promote BOT status or the like for Shetland.

        I guess however at the end of the day this is all theory at this stage. I am certainly never going to be able to persuade you of the organisational and other difficulties that lie in the way of a wholesale revamp of the Shetland education system within BOT status. It may one day be that someone finds out for real what they are.

      • Ali Inkster

        To be honest Robert it is the “can’t do” attitude that you exhibit that is the biggest barrier to achieving anything. It is no wonder the first thing the education department wanted to do was close schools when you display such a defeatist attitude.

      • Robert Sim

        Sorry, Ali, I can’t let a comment that is getting a bit personal pass without response. You say: “To be honest Robert it is the “can’t do” attitude that you exhibit that is the biggest barrier to achieving anything. It is no wonder the first thing the education department wanted to do was close schools when you display such a defeatist attitude.” I think you might find if you look closely enough that elected members make the decisions when it comes to matters such as school-closure proposals. That’s the law.

  4. iantinkler

    Whoops, Robert Sim, forgot about Shetland Schools being free of the Scottish inspectorate, no central control, how will are stressed teachers survive? Their own freedom on teaching techniques, clear freedom on syllabus, no distant dictats from “wee nippy” et al, goodness knows what next . Now just look what independant schools in the Scotland have achieved. Just look what independant UK schools have achieved, Danus Skene is perhaps a good example, well maybe Eton is not such a good example, sorry David. sophisticated enough reply for you Mr Sim?

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Not really, no. Sorry, Ian, but it’s like me trying to tell everyone on here how the health service should be run in an independent Shetland. I wouldn’t fire off a few tabloid-level opinions about doctors (or even dentists) and expect to be taken seriously.

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        SNP centralisation fails yet again. College merger programme ‘a failure’, say lecturers. Just how much more SG/SNP rubbish must we put up with? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34938450

  5. iantinkler

    Robert Stevenson, are you happy with the SNP run NHS? Patients in pain turned away from A and E in Lerwick. Four year plus waiting lists for a dental exam? Brand new Hospitals with so few casualty staff that waiting lists rocketing and all targets being missed. So much red tape, regulations and idiotic centralised bureaucratic nonsense that professionals leaving the service and going independent. (NO General Dental NHS service in Lerwick, Two independent practises). Now look to the UK Crown Dependencies, they have absolutely no problems, ( even tiny Falklands has access to a Service Dental surgeon). Not a very clever comment Robert Sim, NHS Shetland under fully devolved, eight year, SNP leadership is a nightmare, If it was not for repeated use of GP locums primary services would collapse totally! I would stick to comments on education if I were you Robert, that is a subject you once knew something about. As for the NHS try and get an appointment for your teeth, that may just open your eyes, sadly not your mouth, well not for four years or so, unless registered. (REGISTERED!, o dear what a load of bunkum, a bit like joining the Kennel Club)

    Reply
    • iantinkler

      Sorry, Mr Sim / Stevenson I got my Robert / Robins mixed up. I suppose you so much sing to “wee nippy,s” tune, an easy mistake!

      Reply
      • Robert Sim

        That’s all right, Ian. Your rants like the one above on the NHS (what is your practical plan for dentistry in a self-governing Shetland again?) often cause me to get you mixed up with Victor Meldrew. An easy mistake.

      • Robin Stevenson

        “I Don’t believe it” Robert!!.. 🙂

    • Robin Stevenson

      It would appear Ian – like so many others – with regards to Police, education, NHS, that the main problem lies with ignorance with what the Scottish Government are actually trying to achieve here.

      The whole idea of trying to streamline our police [for example] is instead of having eight different forces and paying eight different heads from each force [along with the relative administration for each] the Scottish Government are attempting to create one police force and do away with unnecessary and expensive tiers of bureaucracy. Much in the same way as our colleges amalgamation, our hospitals amalgamation, these major changes are all going to take time, but [imo] they are far more cost effective and far better in the long run.

      What we’re hearing or reading on/in our MSM, or from opposition politicians and basically our SNP Baaad brigade, are complaints of this transition.

      Rome wasn’t built in a day, but at least the SNP have laid the foundations.

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        That’s all clear then Robin. So now we know why the police leave people to die in crashed cars, 3 days was it?. Why we have no NHS dental practise in Shetland. Why our rural schools are closing. Why are ferries cost almost twice as much per mile than the rest of Scotland. It is all an SNP induced transition period, 8 years so far all all down hill to date.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Dear o dear Ian, now you’re trying to blame the Scottish Government for a police rookies error for not reporting the phone call he received?…What on earth has that got to do with a single police force?…This was “human error” whether it was one force or 20 forces, it made not one blind bit of difference.
        “8 years so far all down hill to date”, …It would seem that 50% [and rising] of the Scottish population think you’re talking mince.

      • iantinkler

        To Quote, “It would seem that 50% [and rising] of the Scottish population think you’re talking mince.” O dear dear. Robin Stevenson. The actual facts: 30th August Yes 53%, : 13th October yes 45% . Now just who is talking mince? (http://whatscotlandthinks.org/questions/how-would-you-vote-in-the-in-the-scottish-independence-referendum-if-held-now-a#line)

      • Robin Stevenson

        I,m afraid, like many of your comments, Ian, that “snapshot” polls and “snapshot” selective accounts, don’t really give the full picture, Yes, you’re nearly right about 30th Aug, Yes was actually 55% not 53% and Oct was actually 48% not 45%, but these are still only “snapshots”. Taking in the entire period since the referendum, I think you’ll find that the “Average” is indeed 50/50,…”Now just who is talking mince” I hear you ask?…I think we know the answer to that one 🙂

      • iantinkler

        Foundations seem built on sand here Robin. Fun times ahead, SG now has the chance to reverse wicked “Osborne” tax credit cuts, but will have to find the money from Scottish taxpayers!! Note Sturgeon pledges to do so, but cannot say when and how (hints of panic). What a surprise fallen headlong into the tory trap. What a silly wee Nippy, where will she find the funds? Any ideas Robin Stevenson. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-34735406

      • iantinkler

        As I was saying, Robin, SNP, NHS , Man ‘died on trolley’ at £842m hospital, how much longer must we suffer this.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-34743326

      • Robin Stevenson

        Ian

        I have absolutely no worries of Nicola and the SNP having to [once again] make up for Tory incompetence [remember the bedroom tax?] that is yet another problem foisted upon us by the numerically illiterate Osborne.
        My biggest issue – which came to light today – are the years/decades where Scotland has been deliberately lied to with regards to the often quoted GERS figures, which, of course, now makes a complete nonsense of ANY and ALL OBR and IFS figures that Unionists have used frequently to pretend that Scotland was far poorer than what it actually is:

        The motivation for producing the initial GERS was political. GERS had been commissioned by the Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland, Ian Lang: and this is what he said about it, in a leaked memorandum to John Major:
        “I judge that it is just what is needed at present in our campaign to maintain the initiative and undermine the other parties. This initiative could score against all of them.”

        You ask: “Where will Nicola find the funds Robin?”, It is ludicrous she or Scotland even need to. 🙁

      • iantinkler

        “You ask: “Where will Nicola find the funds Robin?”, It is ludicrous she or Scotland even need to”
        I am sorry Robin Stevenson, but surely if Nippy reverses austerity measures, gives free university places, reintroduces full tax credits for Scottish folk and generally throws countless freebies to Scotland under her new devolved powers, should not the funds to finance such goodies come from Scottish sources? Are you expecting the English, Irish and Welsh to pay for the SNPs election bribes and bountiful social care? If Scotland wants generous benefits, it is only equitable Scotland raises the funds for them in Scotland and from Scottish taxes..

      • Robin Srevenson

        Ian

        What has your link got to do with the SNP Government?…So the NHS staff are struggling to cope with the massive influx of patients, EVERYWHERE, not just in Scotland? People are living longer, [which is good] however, the knock on effect is that the elderly [for example] rarely have only one medical condition and need round the clock attention, Doctors are curing more and more complex issues [which is also good], bed-blocking [a major issue] is being addressed through consultation between the NHS and Social Services for the first time through amalgamation.

        “NHS leaders in England say the problems caused by hospitals struggling to cope with record levels of emergency admissions There were more than 111,000 emergency admissions to hospitals in the last week and A&E departments saw 440,428 patients, up more than 24,000 on the same week last year, despite relatively low levels of flu and winter vomiting.
        More than 10,000 patients had to wait longer than four hours for a bed once a decision was made to admit them to hospital from A&E. The figure for the same period last year was fewer than 4,000”.

        It is a Nationwide problem. NOT just Scotland.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        The GERS report is compiled by statisticians and economists in the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician takes responsibility for this publication.

        Are you saying there are elements within the Scottish Government working against you?

        Do you have any interesting theories about who killed JFK?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gareth

        I’m saying that GERS reports since their inception are – and always have been – fundamentally wrong, the way Scottish finances are calculated have been nothing more than a series of cover-ups and mis-truths, admitted by, none other than the very person who commissioned the reports from the very start [Tory Ian Lang] They have buried evidence and refused FOI requests to calculate Scotland’s true worth and instead presented their version of flawed statistics. That is, until very recently:

        It’s a long read, but well worth it:

        http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-limitations-of-gers/#more-78061

        There are many conspiracy theories – as to – who killed JFK, but as I’ve said in the past, ANY and every world leader who has taken on the banks and threatened big business throughout history, has been assassinated, therefore [imo] Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed a “Patsy”, IF you don’t believe that, I’d like to suggest Cameron pull out our troops from everywhere they are in the world, stop selling weapons to any foreign country, and allow our banks to go bust, while forcing big business to pay the tax they should be paying?….I’d give him a fortnight before he too would be a marked man.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Ian

        I’m afraid your ignorance knows no bounds, England, Wales and Ireland don’t finance Scotland, quite the contrary. Therefore until you [finally] manage to work out that Scotland is NOT a kept nation, then it is utterly pointless discussing matters which are beyond your ken.

        Could I suggest you read the link above perchance, rather than our Daily Propaganda?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Me thinks Robin needs to catch up with reality; as a central plank in Alex Salmond and nationalist’s economic case for independence last year has collapsed after new figures revealed Scotland is no longer wealthier than the rest of the UK.

        Statistics published by the Scottish Government revealed gross domestic product per head, the main international measure of a nation’s wealth, dipped 1.1 per cent below that of the UK over the first six months of the financial year.

        It is believed to be the first time in 35 years Scotland has trailed the UK and shows the impact of the falling value of oil production to the country’s economy.

        This is according the the Herald a well known supporter of nationalist ambitions.

      • Gareth fair

        Robin,
        This is all very bizarre. The Scottish Government’s Independence White Paper (page 67) states: “GERS is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances”
        These are the same figures that were used to try to justify the economic case for independence. It’s strange to now dismiss the figures as somehow inaccurate just because they do not suit your political aims?

        Additionally the Yes campaign had distanced itself from STUART CAMPBELL, who runs the Wings Over Scotland blog over his ‘controversial’ comments. Is he considered someone you want to be associated with now?
        If this video games journalist from Bath has a better handle on Scotland’s finances than the statisticians and economists in the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician, are you really employing the right people in these important roles?

        http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/yes-campaign-distance-themselves-pro-independence-2266858

      • iantinkler

        Robin Stevenson, do not put words in my mouth please. I never stated nor even intimated that, England, Wales and Ireland, financed Scotland. What I actually stated was “If Scotland wants generous benefits, it is only equitable Scotland raises the funds for them in Scotland and from Scottish taxes.” What is self-evident is that when you are without an intelligent response, to a valid argument, you revert to your time honoured response of personal insult and fatuous nonsense.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gordon

        Let’s not get carried away here, IF we are no longer as wealthy as we once were what does that tell you? UK economic incompetence and Scotland is left to budget on whatever Westminster decides to give us?

        This sort of data is always rather suspect as it can be skewed by seasonal factors and distortions caused by poor data returns. Falling oil prices will of course have impacted on GDP but to me the interesting thing about this data (caveats aside) is how close Scottish GDP is to UK GDP despite the large drops in oil price. Far from “destroying” the economic case for independence, this data supports the earlier contention that, without oil, Scotland’s onshore economy is very similar in strength to that of the UK as a whole.

        Gareth

        The “Daily Record”, …Really?…Well, if you read it in there, it MUST be true 🙂

        Incidentally, that’s a good point, when GERS were the figures were given to us, we had no idea that they were already skewed, [supplied by London] could you imagine how good the white paper would have appeared had we been given the genuine amounts?

      • iantinkler

        “Let’s not get carried away here, IF we are no longer as wealthy as we once were what does that tell you? UK economic incompetence and Scotland is left to budget on whatever Westminster decides to give us?” Here we go again, Robin Stevenson, ” UK economic incompetence”? Fastest growing economy in the western world, sad about the SNP failings!. Wicked westminster incompetence again! that’s why devolved SG/ MSP is failing so spectacularly!! Patients in pain turned away from A and E in Lerwick. Four year plus waiting lists for a dental exam? Brand new Hospitals with so few casualty staff that waiting lists rocketing and all targets being missed. Scotland is performing far worse than Torie England regarding social exclusion (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-34698132) and yes our centralised police force take three days to find dying acident victims. Only in scotland under SG centralised control does that happen.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        Your assertion that the Scottish Government, after 8 years, are releasing figures that are ‘fundamentally wrong, the way Scottish finances are calculated have been nothing more than a series of cover-ups and mis-truths’ is extremely serious.
        The latest GERS figures were launched by Nicola Sturgeon herself. We were told in the independence white paper GERS is ‘the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances’ and they formed the basis of the case made.
        If the Scottish Government after 8 years is incapable of producing standard economic data on the Scottish Economy then this reflects very badly on their ability to run a country.
        Personally I think as these figures have been independently assessed by the UK Statistics Authority as being produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics they are going to be fine.
        I suspect this view is just propaganda to try to deflect from the economic problems Scotland would now face if ‘Yes’ had won the referendum vote.
        If you do genuinely believe these figures are ‘wrong’ you should take it up with the Scottish Government, I’m sure they would be able to set you straight.

      • iantinkler

        “Now you’re trying to blame the Scottish Government for a police rookie’s error for not reporting the phone call he received?” Another disingenuous statement from SNP spokesperson, Robin Stevenson. Police failures down to centralisation of police service, another gift to Scotland and Shetland from the centralising dictates of the SG/SNP. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-34768119

      • Robin Stevenson

        Ian

        As stated in an earlier post, Police, education and our NHS, are all going through a transition period, amalgamation is both financial and progressively prudent, Police Scotland is NOT run by our Government it is run by Police Scotland, it is for them to decide where to plough finances and energy into whatever is required, could you perhaps supply me with any statement from any party who thinks we should resort back to eight separate police forces?….Thought not.

        Gareth

        I take it you didn’t bother to read my link?… You say:

        “GERS is ‘the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances’ and they formed the basis of the case made”.

        Indeed, but had you bothered to read the Cuthberts report you’d have noticed that:

        “Initially the statisticians compiling GERS did not have access to Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses [PESA] and were therefore presented with figures as a fait accompli, with no indication as to how they were arrived at”.

        But, you’re right about one thing, this “is extremely serious”. Scottish accounts [GERS] are made up from “Information given”, IF that information is flawed you cannot blame the accountants who based their analysis on false premise.

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,

        You said: ‘I’m saying that GERS reports since their inception are – and always have been – fundamentally wrong, the way Scottish finances are calculated have been nothing more than a series of cover-ups and mis-truths’

        The only people putting their name and credibility to the recent GERS reports are the Scottish Government.
        If there is something wrong with these reports and the underlying data it is up to the Scottish Government to make sure it is correct. You cannot blame other people after 8 years of government. That is plenty of time to get the right data.
        Perhaps if you really believe what you are saying you should do something constructive and contact The Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician.

      • iantinkler

        Robin Stevenson, eight long years of SNP, and look at Scotland!!! The UK unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.3% in the three months to September, new figures show.
        It was the lowest jobless rate since the second quarter of 2008, the Office for National Statistics said. Yet, The number of people out of work in Scotland has gone up for the second month in a row. Good one SNP. “Police Scotland is NOT run by our Government it is run by Police Scotland” What a stupid statement Robin Stevenson, Just who is responsible for Police Scotland. O yes, The Scottish Government. Only you, Robin, would imagine otherwise. The sooner Shetland gains autonomy from that socialist, centrally controlling, SNP circus the better. Health, police, education, Coastguard, whatever next?

      • Robert Duncan

        You’re being very selective with those unemployment figures, Ian. I doubt very much you were accusing the UK Government of such mismanagement when just earlier this year the Scottish rate was at its lowest and in fact lower than the UK rate. I doubt very much you were singing the SNP’s praises for the majority of their spell in power where Scottish unemployment was lower than the UK as a whole, despite the opposite being true under Labour/Lib Dem coalition.

        It is worrying that figures have risen in recent months, although employment levels are actually up and remain at a higher level than the UK as whole.

      • Bill Adams

        Bit sweeping, Ian. Get your facts right. The Coastguard service is run by the UK Government, it is not a devolved service.

      • iantinkler
      • iantinkler

        Bill Adams, it is good of you to point out that Coastguard services, are not devolved to the SNP/SG. However, the centralizing of the Coastguard is a superb example of why Shetland needs autonomous control of such issues. “Wir Shetland” is not anti-SNP but actually anti centralizing of all powers that take vital decisions out of the hands of Shetland folk. I thank you for your enlightening comment.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Ian

        Pick a month?…Choose a quarter?….Select a year?….This is what is meant by “selective statistics”, for example, here’s July’s BBC headlines:

        “Unemployment in Scotland down by 15,000”

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-33535056

        Or, if you prefer:

        “The ONS said 1.85 million people were unemployed in the March-to-May period, an increase of 15,000 from the previous quarter, with the jobless rate at 5.6%”.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33535114

        Unemployment will fluctuate throughout the year, a selective “Snapshot” doesn’t begin to give the full picture, that said, however, considering the layoffs in our oil industry and having Scotland’s budget severely slashed, the knock-on effect means that every council is having to cut its workforce dramatically, so I’ll be rather surprised if we’re not reading about far more unemployment in the months to come?…Whatever makes you think that’s [bizarrely] the SNPs fault is anyone’s guess?

      • iantinkler

        Grow up, Robin Stevenson, I just picked today. That is the most relevant and contemporaneous record we have. Sorry if it makes the SNP/SG performance look bad. That is because the most recent Data, shows it to be, just that, bad!! It took the SNP eight years to get here, but here we are!!! Now get over it, the facts speak for themselves. Eight long years Scotland slips downhill, whilst the UK climbs out of a depression to grow faster than any country in the Western World, under Cameron and Torrie rule. That says a lot about SNP leadership.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34785758 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-34786547

      • Robert Duncan

        Ian, you’ll find nothing in my comment to question that the figures you posted are the most recent. You are still making a selective argument and ignoring the preceding months. The implication of your “eight long years” comment is clear – you wish to imply the SNP have been a consistent failure, but do not wish to acknowledge that their LONG TERM performance on unemployment has been very strong.

      • ian tinkler

        Robert Duncan, yet again you act as apologist for the SNP. My figures are the latest and most relevant, past achievements have been clearly squandered. That is down to poor government and bad leadership in Scotland. The rest of the UK has thrived, only in Scotland has performance been so poor.. A few pertinent quotes from current reports.
        Office for National Statistics (ONS) data also showed that employment in Scotland increased by 3,000, to reach 2,614,000.

        The Scottish unemployment rate is 6%, which is above the rate of 5.3% for the whole of the UK.
        Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary Grahame Smith said: “This was another disappointing set of statistics which confirms the swift reversal in Scotland’s labour market recovery.
        The data covering July to September repeats recent trends, of very strong job creation across most of the UK, but much weaker in Scotland.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Ian

        Which part of, “there’s is FAR worse to come”, are you struggling with? “Grow up” you tell me, what do mean, as adult as you’re lack of the basic understanding of the b****in obvious?
        Oil jobs have gone, steel jobs will go, council jobs have gone, when there is LESS money that means cuts, cuts in services, cuts in workforce, cuts in welfare, people buy less, others, are laid off due to poor business etc.

        Let me try to bring the conversation down to a level you may [or probably will not choose to] understand?..IF you give a child a penny to buy a toffee which costs 2p, would you blame the child for coming back empty handed?…It’s really not rocket science. I really don’t see Robert as an “apologist for the SNP”, simply for the fact that the SNP have got absolutely nothing to apologise for, they are every bit the victim of the circumstances that the UK Government has bestowed on us all.

      • Robert Duncan

        Ian, I only challenge your comments because yet again you are entirely blinded by bias. If Scotland’s unemployment rate remains higher than the UK as a whole, I will agree there is a problem. That is has seen one blip, in a time period where high-profile employers have laid off large numbers of staff, is not a sign of long term poor performance. You are desperate for a stick with which to beat the SNP and not willing to look rationally at the situation because of that.

      • ian tinkler

        Sure, Robert Duncan, I am completely blinded. The UK is not really out performing all economies in the Western World, Scotland is really not having an increase in unemployment, whilst the UK prospers. Powers are not being centralized by the SG/SNP, accident victims in Scotland are not being left by Scotland’s police force to die. Health service funding in Scotland is not being cut in real terms when UK funds to Scotland are increased. Education is not really failing our youngsters on so many levels. I must ask you as the all-seeing, Robert Duncan, what about defense now being threatened? Putin’s Russia rearms with truly horrific new weapons (Cobalt, thermonuclear, 100 megaton coastal attack torpedoes) twenty times the blast of any Trident warhead, 500 times more powerful than Hiroshima in one enhanced radiation cobalt bomb. entirely designed for stealth attack!!! What does the SNP want? total nuclear disarmament? Capitulation? Complete annihilating? I do not need a stick to beat the SNP, Robert Duncan, they are so far into self-flagellation already. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34797252

      • Gordon Harmer

        Unemployment north of the Border increased by 11,000 between July and September this year despite falling by 103,000 across the UK as a whole to a seven year low.
        SNP ministers and Robin Stevenson blamed the UK Government for pursuing austerity but they “cannot run away from the fact” that the jobless total is falling across the rest of the UK. The widening gulf between Scotland’s and the UK’s economic performance shows that SNP ministers at Holyrood had been distracted by the constitution and are more interested in independence than running the country. Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to be judged on her record, her record shows the unemployment rate is now six per cent compared to 5.3 per cent for the UK as a whole. But lets not forget the thousands of local government jobs in Scotland which are about to be axed because of the council tax freeze, jobs which could be saved by a 3% increase in the council tax.

      • ian tinkler

        Calm down, Robin Stevenson, the UK is world beating, only the Scots under SNP care are failing. Steel, Forth Bridge repair steel sourced by SG from China! UK sourced all its steel for recent RN ship construction from UK, very sad. All your moaning, blame Westminster of course the UK. I think we are all a bit tired of that stupid argument. Now the SNP want Scotland and the UK disarmed No Trident, No Faslane, Whoops one of Putin’s new nukes, No Scotland. Now you just grow up. Thank goodness it was 55% / 45% last year. Shetland needs the SNP about as much as 100 megaton cobalt thermonuclear gifts from Putin. Best of luck “Wir Shetland” buffer us from Nicola, the SNP and the likes of Robin Stevenson’s prejudicial dogma.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gordon, Ian

        It would seem that neither of you are prepared to look [or indeed are capable] of looking beyond a headline? In which case, is there really any point it trying to convince you otherwise?
        So on this matter, I’ll leave you both with whatever our MSM tell you, regardless of how absurd that may be.

        Robert

        Could I suggest that you are completely wasting your time with both Ian and Gordon, once they get an immovable thought in their heads they magically become facts, we could both bang on all day and remind them of unemployment in different areas like Wales [6.1%] Ireland [5.9%] North East England [8.6%] London [6.4%] but ofc this doesn’t fit into their SNP BaaaD mantra, poor Ian STILL hasn’t managed to work out that the SG don’t run the Police force, despite being told twice. I have no doubt over the coming months/years we’ll see the gradual depletion of various industries in Scotland, so far we’ve had, oil, steel, HMRC, council cuts, renewable subsidies cut, longannet closure etc, and now they’re talking about scrapping the frigate contract, it’s perfect, turn Scotland into a wasteland, meanwhile blame the SG? [especially the gullible]

      • Robert Duncan

        Forgive me Ian, but what does the reserved matter of defence have to do with the devolved Scottish Governments performance on employment?

        You go on and on about the UK prospering in contrast to Scotland, but there is as yet no evidence to suggest Scotland’s recent rise in unemployment is not just a short term blip on a superior trend line. We can say with certainty that you would not have praised the SNP’s governance twelve months ago, when Scotland was performing better than the rest of the UK. You highlight this short term blip without any reference to longer term trends.

        Robin, my comments on this forum are rarely an attempt to change minds, which would be a feeble attempt faced with any regular commenter (yourself included). I simply wish to challenge points I feel are factually incorrect or misleading for other readers who are not so partisan.

      • iantinkler

        It is simple, Robert Duncan, the reserve mater of defence employs very many Scottish people, and those jobs would go if Trident were cancelled. It is highly probable that Faslane would be closed. It is my understanding The SNP is anti-nuclear, please correct me if I am wrong. With regard to Scotland’s recent rise in unemployment, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to indicate this is just a short term blip, quite to the contrary. This blip you mention, would appear to be rather too permanent for such a casual opinion. If Faslane were to close and the SNP remains hell bent on centralisation in all things devolved, “the Police” for example, unemployment can only rise further. As Gordon Harmer states “But lets not forget the thousands of local government jobs in Scotland which are about to be axed because of the council tax freeze, jobs which could be saved by a 3% increase in the council tax.” Just a short term blip in unemployment? You would need rose coloured glasses, or an absolute blind faith in all things nationalist, to believe that.

      • Robert Duncan

        Even at a generous estimate, jobs directly dependent on Trident amount to about 580. Regardless, any theoretical post-independence decisions have no bearing on the SNP’s governance of a devolved Scotland.

        It’s impossible to evidence a short blip that could still come to pass, given the severe lack of crystal balls being produced in the current Scottish economy (another failure I’m sure). What is clear is that Scotland’s unemployment figures have been consistently lower than the UK’s for several years now, and that this is the first time in a long time that they have risen above the UK wide figure. My point was very clear, however you wish to distort it as you’re incapable of arguing a point without disingenuous misrepresentation and hyperbole.

      • iantinkler

        Robert Duncan, a few facts about your temporary blip. I accused you earlier of being an apologist for the SNP, I may have been wrong. You now appear more of a propagandist for the SNP! Robert, please explain your statement “there is as yet no evidence to suggest Scotland’s recent rise in unemployment is not just a short term blip “ as that is manifest nonsense. “Unemployment in Scotland has risen seven times over the past year,” that is no short term blip. Just a few quotes and statements, listed below, from others more qualified than me.

        John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, attempted to blame the UK Government’s austerity policies but the figures were in stark contrast to the rest of the UK, where unemployment fell to a seven-year low and a record number of people are in work. (Blame Westminster yet again)
        Scotland’s jobless total increased by 18,000 between June and August to stand at 170,000, according to official figures. The Scottish jobless rate stands at 6.1%, compared with 5.4% for the whole of the UK. Labour public services spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “These figures make grim reading for Scotland, and speak to an SNP government with the wrong priorities. Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The SNP cannot run away from the fact that unemployment in the rest of the UK is at a seven-year low while more people in Scotland are out of work. Scottish Trades Union Congress general secretary Grahame Smith said: “This was another disappointing set of statistics which confirms the swift reversal in Scotland’s labour market recovery.
        The data covering July to September repeats recent trends, of very strong job creation across most of the UK, but much weaker in Scotland.

      • Robert Duncan

        Those are just politicians repeating the same half-baked comments as you yourself have been making. The fundamental point is that this is the first time in years that Scottish unemployment has risen above the UK-wide figure, as it is an area that Scotland has performed very well on under SNP governance. You would never have dared compliment them when things were doing well, and now wish to disingenuously paint things as dreadful because of a sudden rise that is multi-factoral and potentially temporary.

        Yes, rising unemployment is worrying. Yes, I want to see what the SNP will do about it. But no, I do not believe it is immediately a black mark against them as you would wish to make on. A few months is no time to address an issue that is arguably being exasperated by UK-level decisions on e.g. support of the energy industries.

      • iantinkler

        “Even at a generous estimate, jobs directly dependent on Trident amount to about 580” claims Robert Duncan, just whom told him that? Actual people in HM Submarine base Faslane. Faslane is base home to 3,000 service personnel, 800 of their families. 4,000 civilian workers, largely from Babcock Marine, are employed there. Only propagandist SNP/CND and Robert Duncan, et al, claim otherwise. I actually served their once. The peace camp was about 500 strong, perhaps that is what is mixing Robert up!!

      • iantinkler

        Robert Duncan, your words, “A few months is no time to address an issue that is arguably being exasperated by UK-level decisions on e.g. support of the energy industries.” As I said you are spouting SNP propaganda and misinformation, Robert . UK-level decisions on support of the energy industries, apply to all the UK, do they not? Why is it only Scotland going backwards when the rest of the UK economy grows faster than any other country in the Western World? For example, “While total sales across the UK were up by 0.9% on the previous year, figures for Scotland showed a drop of 2.4%.” Yet another blip at the hands of SG/SNP Mr Duncan? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-34849668

      • Robert Duncan

        http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13078740.Labour_and_Tories_under_fire_for_inflating_Trident_job_losses/

        “Labour and the Conservatives have been accused of misleading the public by exaggerating the number of jobs that would be lost if the Trident nuclear weapons system were removed from the Clyde.

        Figures released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) under freedom of information law reveal that only 520 civilian jobs at Faslane and Coulport near Helensburgh are directly dependent on Trident. ”

        https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bv9jHkNIAAAR7-y.jpg

        Your problem is conflating all jobs at Faslane with those actually dependent on Trident. Whatever the case, given the money spent on Trident, if employment is your only concern we could give more people well-paid jobs digging and filling holes. It’s a completely illogical argument.

      • ian tinkler

        Please do invent little stories, Robert Duncan, I never conflated Faslane jobs with Trident. Faslane is a nuclear base, be it SSN or SSBN. If, as the SNP so often state, they wish it to be non-nuclear, Faslane has no purpose and will close. There was some idiocy about preserving Faslane for Astute class attack subs. They, Astute class, are nuclear SSN and can be and probably are nuclear armed!! As for non-nuclear submarines, the UK, Royal Navy, has non (apart from rescue and robotic)!! Thus a Non-nuclear Scotland would have no use for Faslane. I care little for SNP disinformation and accusation of Tories exaggerating figures, the facts are plain to see. (HM Submarine base Faslane is base home to 3,000 service personnel, 800 of their families. 4,000 civilian workers, largely from Babcock Marine, are employed there.) If you believe SNP/CND propaganda that claims Faslane only creates 580 jobs, you are either a fantasist or truly naive.

      • Robert Duncan

        “UK-level decisions on support of the energy industries, apply to all the UK, do they not? Why is it only Scotland going backwards”

        This is an incredibly simplistic take on the situation as I hope you’re well aware. Most notable in that it overlooks the relative importance of energy industries to the Scottish and UK-wide economies.

      • ian tinkler

        Robert Duncan, the idiotic situation Scotland finds itself in regarding the energy industries is entirely down to the energy policies of the SNP. (Nil nuclear, Nil fracking) Salmond and Ewing’s green capitol and powerhouse of Europe was so much hot air, wind power is useless on still days. Somehow Scotland now is dependent on English and French generation (nuclear!!!), a self-inflicted wound if ever there was one! Why is Scotland performing so far behind the rest of the UK, you tell me why? That it is, is just a matter of fact. For example, “While total sales across the UK were up by 0.9% on the previous year, figures for Scotland showed a drop of 2.4%.” Yet another blip at the hands of SG/SNP http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-34849668
        For example, The Scottish unemployment rate is 6%, which is above the rate of 5.3% for the whole of the UK. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-34526958
        Sadly nothing simplistic here, just actual facts, not blips.

      • Robert Duncan

        “Please do invent little stories, Robert Duncan, I never conflated Faslane jobs with Trident.”

        Perhaps you didn’t mean to, but given I said, “Even at a generous estimate, jobs directly dependent on Trident amount to about 580”, that was the clear implication of your reply. The 580 figure comes directly from the MoD, not “SNP/CND propaganda”.

        Again though, even if we accept a figure of 8000+ jobs relying on Trident, there is simply no logical argument to say that money couldn’t create and maintain more jobs invested elsewhere. If the argument is to be one of employment – as this discussion has been – Trident is a complete irrelevance if not a hindrance.

      • Robert Duncan

        You’re just repeating yourself now, Mr Tinkler, so I’ll leave it at that. Anybody actually bothering to grind through this whole comment chain will hopefully see that you are making a simplistic and myopic argument, but as I said to Robin Stevenson the other day, I have no desire to even attempt to change your own mind on the matter. To do so would be more futile than arguing in favour of the UK’s recent forays into nuclear energy development.

      • ian tinkler

        Robert Duncan, please note the inverted comas, “Even at a generous estimate, jobs directly dependent on Trident amount to about 580″ I was actually quoting you directly, all of my comments were for Faslane. I am surprised you never realised that. The figure 580 you mention, pertains to “directly employed”, please define what that means. The service personnel, are they not directly employed? Do they not contribute to the local economy, all 3000 of them? Is that all too deep for you to understand or are you being deliberately fatuous here? Regarding employing the 8000 elsewhere, as you suggest, of course, what a good idea. Close down Faslane, then relocate HMS Submarines in Plymouth, Portland or Portsmouth. They would love 8000 more jobs, pity about the Scottish economy, but SNP anti-nuclear would be well achieved. Simples and Quod erat demonstrandum.

      • iantinkler

        Unions welcome Clyde frigates announcement. But the SNP said the order had been reduced, which it said was a “betrayal” of shipyard workers. Yet they (the SNP) are happy to send HMS Faslane to England, with 8000 jobs. What a bunch of hypocrites, Nicolas acolytes are. Any comment Robert Duncan.

      • Robert Duncan

        Again you’re just repeating yourself Ian.

        Were shoes on the other foot you’d be decrying the SNP if they reduced contracts from 13 to 8, as the UK Government has done.

      • iantinkler

        Now just remember, Robert Duncan, if your wish for a “Yes” vote (leaning towards, lol) had been fulfilled, we would have no HMS Faslane and no frigates being built in Scottish shipyards at all. With the poor performance of Scotland’s economy and the recent low price of oil, we would all be well stuffed! We also would still have the pleasure of Putin’s nuclear bombers overflying us and his submarines cruising Scottish waters, with precious deterrence or defence of any type. That is unless Scotland joined NATO, then we would have all the nuclear weapons back again and would not even know where they were based. Good old SNP rely on them to stuff us all, even their own accounts, “Women for Yes”, makes Ali C look like a saint, £20,000 lost, o dear, dear! So much for criticising Westminster corruption, you are growing your very own.

      • Robert Duncan

        You really are beyond caricature, Mr Tinkler.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Had there been a yes vote in September there would have been zero frigates built on the Clyde. Eight plus smaller warships to follow and maybe even the five cancelled frigates is a damn site more than zero. If you take into account the jobs that will be created at Lossiemouth with the submarine surveillance aircraft being deployed Scotland has gained thousands of jobs thanks to Westminster. Something that cannot be said for Holyrood with the thousands of jobs being cut because of the council tax freeze.

      • ian tinkler

        Here we go again. The classic SNP repost when unable to respond with a rational and reasoned argument to the actual facts. Throw a pointless insult, Robert Duncan, you fit that mould so well “You really are beyond caricature, Mr Tinkler.” What a meaningless and futile comment, so very typical!

      • iantinkler

        This just goes on and on! Free schools have closed the gap between the best and worst schools in England as new figures suggest it is widening in Scotland.
        Scotland’s Education Minister has delivered the “honest evaluation” that the SNP has failed to close the appalling gap between the best and worst state schools after more than eight years in power. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11978524/Nicky-Morgan-Free-schools-could-help-poor-Scots-pupils.html

  6. iantinkler

    O dear, Robert Sim , Back to the childish insults. Really silly negative comment, to show you have really no constructive argument or answer to the actual facts Shetlanders have to endure under SNP leadership. Endless facile nit picks, insults and pointless observations. Is that the way the SNP sycophants will resist Shetland autonomy so the SG / SNP can be all controlling of Shetland governance?

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      “Back to the childish insults”? That’s a bit of a cheek, Ian, when those are your forte, with your amusing references to “wee nippy”, to instance but one.

      Reply
  7. iantinkler

    “The Pisa rankings (the commonly accepted benchmark for educational perfomance worldwide) for 2015 have Shangai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan as the top four out of 40. (Ireland is the first European country at number 7.) ” Now, so good of Robert Sim to highlight these facts. Certainly the performance of Scotland / SNP run educational system would suggest they should not feature highly on any list of inspection and educational governance to copy, or even consider for one moment. Extraordinary that Robert Sim, still favours the status quo. Blind prejudice or just blinkered silliness? (sorry for the rant)

    Reply
  8. Haydn Gear

    And so it goes on and on ad nauseum. The time is not far off when people make New Year resolutions usually intended to improve themselves. It’s said that leopards don’t change their spots. It seems a good opportunity to prove that adage wrong Ian . You could take the lead role since you revel,sadly, in always trying to prove other people wrong. How does it feel to be infallible I wonder? I’m sure a lot of people yearn to know everything about everything. I anticipate a trademark, sarcastic response. As Del Boy might (not) have said ” You know it makes no sense Rodders”.

    Reply
  9. Gordon Harmer

    I could have done with R and R on my team during the referendum their negative comments would have been compatible with the Better Together campaign. But hey maybe its time for them to go and take a bit of R and R themselves because their negativity must be helping the Wir Shetland Campaign as they have 265 members signed up in two and a half weeks and rising fast and will soon overtake the SNP and “send them homewards..tae think again!”
    The local R is definitely in need of some R and R as he keeps referring to an independent Shetland where as Wir Shetland is about self governance not independence. A self governing British Territory is what I understand this idea is about. One thing that is for sure the above statement is a lot clearer and believable than the white paper better known as Salmond’s Pipe-dream.

    Reply
    • ROBERT SIM

      Thanks, Gordon, I am pleased you cleared up the crucial matter of the terminology. Just to amuse myself, I googled “independence” and up came the following: “the fact or state of being independent…
      synonyms: self-government, self-rule, home rule, self-legislation, self-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, non-alignment, freedom, liberty…”.

      Never mind – I am clear that, in the event of Scottish independence, Shetland (if a referendum could be agreed and Shetlanders voted in favour) would be in some way linked to the Westminster government. Could you now please point out where, in the comments I have made on education, the distinction you are making would make a blind bit of difference to anything? I accept that it’s all hypothetical; but I still think you have a moral duty to keep reality in view when responding.

      Reply
      • Brian Smith
      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert I just googled independence and I got, “independence. the state or quality of being independent. 2. freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others”.
        As far as I am concerned my version of independence is closer to reality than your version. Also my version would be most peoples conception of independence.
        Your views on education are of little value to me due to the notable absence of original thought and the fact you think it has served our young people well. You seem to be quoting from an SNP textbook on bull excrement on this subject, you will be telling me next that the curriculum for excrement is a success.

      • Gareth Fair

        Brian Smith,

        ‘This is what self-government is like, Robert:
        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/03/britain-malvinas-appointment-19th-century-attitudes,

        Really? Well it might be what it is like through the eyes of Alicia Castro (Argentinian ambassador to the United Kingdom).

        What point are you trying to make?

      • Ali Inkster

        “Alicia Castro former Argentine ambassador”, way to go finding an unbiased viewpoint Brian. 🙂

      • Robin Stevenson

        Sadly Brian

        No-one is going to believe any of this because it uses a source which certain people on these forums are under the strange delusion that “Wikileaks” [for some obscure reason] has no merit or foundation?….Yeah I know, I know, that these are “Actual” leaked documents, but unless they’re substantiated and corroborated by the Daily Blah, or the British Broadcasting mouthpiece, I’m afraid they have no merit…..[for the blind]

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        Having come to the defence of Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine, are you now pledging allegiance to Argintina over the Falkland Islands?
        You are controversial, I’ll give you that.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gareth

        I’m not really sure where you got the strange idea that I tried to “come to the defence of Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine”?..I didn’t and I don’t, however I DID point out the parallels between Putin and Cameron, who both used two quite different forms of “fear” in order to get their own way.

        As far as Argentina is concerned, personally, I find it a bit off that the British Imperialists decided to invade and claim that they had any Jurisdiction over “Malvinas” simply because they could [at the time] However, I often wonder how we would have felt had the Argentinians been in a more advanced nautical position than us, to illegally claim that the Western Hebrides belonged to them simply because they saw them first?

      • Gareth Fair

        Robin,
        You need to respect the democratic view of the people actually living in the Falkland Islands as to what nationality they want to be.
        Same applies to Scotland, Shetland (in any future referendum) and the Ukraine for that matter.
        I would say this could equally apply to your theoretical Western Hebrides example.

        Why on earth you would think allowing Argentina to take over the Falkland Islands against the will of nearly 100% of its population is the right thing to do?

        Besides the Falkland Islanders seem to be doing just fine on their own without the economic and political turmoil Argentina generates.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Yes indeed Gareth I [and others] absolutely DO “need to respect the democratic view of the people actually living in the Falkland Islands as to what nationality they want to be”.

        “Partly as the result of diplomatic pressure, economic and political links with Argentina increased in the 1960s and 70s. Some islanders sent their children to boarding schools in Argentina.
        Realising that any talks on the sovereignty issue would be derailed if it did not meet with the islanders’ wishes, the British and Argentine Governments enacted a series of measures designed to encourage dependence on Argentina. In 1971, following secret talks between the two Governments [and without consulting the islanders], the communications agreement was signed. The thrust of the agreement was the establishment of direct air and sea links between the islands and Argentina, together with agreements on postal and telephony services. Following the agreement the subsidised shipping link with Montevideo ended, a passenger and cargo ship service to the mainland [that would ameliorate any dependence on Argentina] was promised by the British but never provided.

        Aye, “Wir Shetland” will be quite safe with this “trustworthy” bunch? 🙂

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson, you don’t mean…. they ….. they….. might sell us down the river… to…. to NORWAY? To one of the two most democratic countries on earth?

        OMG! Please, please… not THAT!!

    • John Tulloch

      For clarity, the Wir Shetland aim is “British Overseas Territory, or similar status”.

      That would – theoretically, at least – include the possibility of “Scottish Overseas Territory”. However, the SNP supporters on here make it sound as though the future Shetland-Scotland relationship will be more like the Falklands and Argentina than, say, England and the Isle of Man.

      I say “theoretically” because there is no clue in anything emitted from Holyrood to suggest that the Scottish Government has any intention of addressing the issues of primary concern to Shetlanders, especially, autonomy and fishing.

      Reply
      • Brian Smith

        It sounds as if Wir Shetland is in discussion with George Osborne already, John. Do tell us more.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John

        You are aware [I take it] that BOT status eliminates the whole idea of being a Shetlander?

        According to Wikipedia:

        “None of the overseas territories has its own nationality status, and all citizens are classed as British Overseas Territories citizens (BOTC)”.

        So does this mean you’ll have to give up Up Helly Aa, and take up prancing around a maypole? 🙂

  10. iantinkler

    Haydn, Unlike you and Robert, I am still teaching. I will not accept Scotland’s poor neo third world system of education ( education system that lies 28 place out of 40 and is falling). That is not good enough for Shetland children and my potential grand children. Sadly Robert actually advocates for the Status Quo, awful as it is!!!! Strange is it not under SNP guidance, Scotland is performing far worse than Torie England regarding social exclusion (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-34698132). As for graduate education, apart from performing arts, there is next to none in Shetland (STEM subjects)! That is absolutely unacceptable, especially as most of Shetland wealth creation is based on technical skills and dependant skills. (https://www.google.ca/search?as_q=STEM+subjects&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=&as_occt=any&safe=images&as_filetype=&as_rights= )

    Reply
    • Bill Adams

      Gosh, what are you teaching Ian, apart from bad manners ?
      I do hope it is not English language, especially spelling.
      For your information, “practise” is a verb, “practice” is the noun.
      Do try and get it right in future, old chap.

      Reply
    • Robert Sim

      I wouldn’t go so far as advocating for the Quo – although they did have some good, danceable hits.

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        Rather better than “The Nationalists” hymn sheet; ““Traitors, Quislings, Senile, Drunkard, Nazi propagandists (BBC)”, all anonymous SNP trolls until revealed as SNP conveyors, candidates, and conference delegates!, nice!

  11. Mark Ryan Smith

    The title of this letter – ‘Wir Shetland Policies’ – is presumably meant to be ironic, because the Wir Shetland attitude to policies seems to be to not have any. As Robert Sim has been very patiently trying to point out, if people are campaigning to sever ties with national governments, then it would be sensible to say at least something about how basic services would be provided. Unless, of course, Wir Shetland members think that curbs on the exploitation of workers, free education, universal healthcare and the benefits system are unwelcome impositions.

    Reply
    • Duncan Simpson

      Mark, did you actually read the letter? As has been repeatedly pointed out by John, myself and others now is not the time to be theorising on the policies of a post autonomy Government. Such policies would have to be developed by whatever parties and candidates were to stand for election. It would be hugely presumptuous for anyone else to announce such ideas at this time. If progress is made and the idea of autonomy gains support then detailed policy will have to be announced by prospective parties before any Yes/No referendum is held so that voters can make an informed decision.

      Reply
      • Mark Ryan Smith

        Many of your members have spent the last few years pointing out, at some length, what they saw as flaws in the government white paper on independence. They might not have liked what was in there, but at least the advocates of an independent Scotland were willing to say something about what the country might look like in the future. Saying something – anything! – about how Shetlanders would be taxed, how they would access medical care, how education would be run, how social security might be provided isn’t ‘political theorising’. These are the basics. Maybe you should think about them out before you go any further.

        Or maybe, in the true Tea-Party spirit of libertarian autonomy, you don’t think governments should do any of that stuff?

      • iantinkler

        Mark Ryan Smith, what is your problem with “Wir Shetland.” Why are SNP supporters so phased at the probability of Shetland out with centralized Scottish government control? Why respond with insults, have you lost the ability for reasoned argument. I quote you below, enough said.
        “Unless, of course, Wir Shetland members think that curbs on the exploitation of workers, free education, universal healthcare and the benefits system are unwelcome impositions.”
        “Or maybe, in the true Tea-Party spirit of libertarian autonomy, you don’t think governments should do any of that stuff?”

        ,

      • Duncan Simpson

        Yes Mark the SNP did produce a white paper prior to the referendum but it took them, what, 80 years to get to that point? Wir Shetland has been in existence for three weeks. There are simply far too many unknowns at this early stage to be speculating on specific policy issues. Whatever members of Wir Shetland thought of that paper is entirely irrelevant to what we are discussing here.

        The SNP released their white paper mere months before the referendum. How is it reasonable to expect Wir Shetland (who are not a political party) to release a full manifesto for how Shetland will be governed only three weeks in to the campaign? Before any Shetlander was asked to vote one way or the other all the information you seek would be provided.

        Again I suggest you read what John wrote above.

      • Mark Ryan Smith

        Well, Duncan, agitating for major political change without having any policies is certainly a novel approach. Wir Shetland must be the first political campaign group in history with nothing to say about politics. Best of luck with it all.

      • Gareth Fair

        Mark,
        You seem to have praised the debate on Scottish Independence but not for Shetland? Have you changed your mind?

        https://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2014/09/17/the-basic-issue-mark-ryan-smith

        ‘It isn’t about the SNP or Alex Salmond. And it isn’t about what kind of money we use, some multi-national bank shifting one of its offices to London, or the apocalyptic reaction of the bonds market. All these things are part of the debate, and the fact that there has been such widespread discussion of them during the last few years has been one of the triumphs of the referendum campaign.
        But when we vote tomorrow what we have to decide is whether we support the democratic principle that countries should be able to govern themselves.
        That’s the basic issue. No sensible person questions the right of other countries to do this, so why should we deny our country the right to do exactly the same thing.’ Mark Ryan Smith

      • Duncan Simpson

        Did I say we have no policies? No, I said we are not announcing policy at this time as it would be inappropriate and presumptuous as we don’t yet know which direction the campaign will take. You and your ilk will just have to wait for something else to pick apart determined to find problems to decry as insurmountable.

  12. Haydn Gear

    Ian, I am well acquainted with STEM in education you’ll be mightily relieved to know , but I must confess that I do not know the names of the 27 above Scotland,it being 28th out of 40. Perhaps you would be kind enough to list them in order. It could make for interesting reading. Indeed,the entire list of 40 would be even more revealing. Just don’t tell me that North Korea is at the top of the list !!!!!!!

    Reply
    • iantinkler

      I understand you never actually qualified in any STEM subject Haydn, sorry you dropped out of your BSc? And MSc (art therapy) STEM? . Here is your reference. Two of many. NB not the M mouse subjects. Sorry my mistake ranked 20th in 2012 and falling, cannot find 2014 data. I think ranking at 20th makes my point, plenty of room for improvement.

      http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading
      https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/pisa2012/index.asp

      Reply
      • Robert Duncan

        Ian, neither of your “sources” pull out Scotland as an independent education authority.

        I would however agree that there is room for improvement in education. There always will be. I don’t think PISA rankings are the be all and end all – as one might expect looking at the top ranking companies, they have a tendency towards systems of rote learning and fact regurgitation over deeper understanding. That isn’t to say there aren’t issues in Scottish schools, the recent fall in reading performance being one.

  13. iantinkler

    Thanks for that Bill Adams. I am dyslexic, spelling does not really matter that much to me. Your patronising comments are well noted for their irrelevance to this discussion. Teaching?, have been doing so been since University days. Trained for four and one half years King’s College , University of London, CV if you want, but may well be beyond you, all STEM subjects, medical and RN (training Officer RNR 10 years general duties, mostly not medical or dental). Still teaching as of yesterday, staff member about to sit internationally accredited exam, she is going for distinction.. Does that answer your question, old boy? I see I have you to compete with in bad manners, no real contest!

    Reply
    • Bill Adams

      No contest indeed, Ian. When it comes to bad manners you have no equal.
      Even more patronising than Tavish Scott, arguably !

      Reply
      • iantinkler

        Fabulous of you to say Bill. I thought for a horrible moment you may compare me to Danus Skene, wee alex or nippy. What a huge relief! lol.

  14. Haydn Gear

    Thank you Ian for your most civil and polite missive.I really can’t imagine what Bill Adams is talking about !!!!!! What a fine ,friendly fellow you are. May I suggest that you move your bed to a different position? It might help you to not get out on the wrong side every day. By the way , what a relief that South Korea got one over North Korea !! Have you been secretly tutoring them?

    Reply
  15. iantinkler

    Robert Duncan, I never intended these figures as only “sources” for Scotland, they were purely to highlight that Shetland could and should be able to do far better outwith “The present Scottish Inspectorate”
    With regards Haydn Gear, Bill Adams et al, when they and their like have more than patronizing insults and sarcasm to offer to this discussion, for example facts, I will respond with less contempt.

    Reply
  16. Kathy Greaves

    People I speak to on the street are mostly disbelieving of what’s going on up here. Good citizens of Shetland ask where it’s going to end – our fishing and grounds, oil and SVT, education, social exclusion and our transport system. These are the problems we face and you gentlemen should stick to these issues – and more. The most asked question put to me is ‘yes, but will it be the same old faces, the same people in charge?’ I’d like to reassure them that if/when Wir Shetland has a voice, things will change. Have a look at our website and Facebook pages, see what WirShetland would do if it could.

    On a personal note, I would not even be thinking of selling any of Shetland’s assets, to anyone, not the SVT port, nothing. No-one suggests selling the crown jewels just because the Queen hasn’t worn them lately.

    Reply
  17. Haydn Gear

    Thanks for your succinct and sensible viewpoint. It really does make an overdue change from the egotistical rants which so often appear on these pages. I wonder why some people engage in the practice of essentially claiming the high moral ground reducing themselves to VERY ordinary mere mortals don’t take stock? Just one relatively minor point Kathy : I don’t think the Crown Jewels along with all additional regalia would come up for sale since, like the Queen’s country estates etc they belong to the nation. That,I feel sure must gall George Osborne and his ilk !!!!

    Reply
    • David Spence

      Haydn, I am pretty sure the Tories would sell their own grandmother if it meant making a profit from her. On the other hand though, selling off the State run Services (privatization) to American private companies is the next big thing.

      When it comes to the Tories wanting to make money for themselves (shareholders and alike) then morals, decency and not acting in the best interests of the country or the people, you can bet your bottom dollar (excuse the terrible punn) the Tories are up there waving their Gavel. lol

      Reply
  18. Haydn Gear

    From time to time I read the entire number of comments made by what I shall call “the grizzling ,disagreeable complainers” who feature so frequently in these columns. The range of comments, often quite hostile and aggressive (not you Ian of course!)makes me wonder two things (1). How is it possible for people to wander so far away from the original letter which set the ball rolling? Inflated egos seem to be a dominant feature. (2) Are the writers who seem to be incapable of shaking off their dogmatic and often perverse views truly representative of the people of Shetland? I sincerely hope not . It seems to me that when points of view are at odds with those of another the inevitable responses are. “Dear oh dear” or”Grow up” and similar put downs. So weak— so pathetic. Is there any chance that the well known perpetrators could raise their game? Benefits to all concerned would follow I feel sure and clarity would be a welcome result. Bickering cuts no ice .

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      If you took time to read the “original letter” Hayden you would soon work out that it actually covers every subject under the sun. You will also notice there are some comments (like yours) which contain sarcasm and possibly one of the largest inflated ego’s ever to comment on here, which tend to draw the very grizzling ,disagreeable complainers you disagree with to comment where they would normally stay schtum.

      Reply
  19. Brian Nugent

    Wir Shetland are about a ‘demand for constitutional change’. Fair enough. Immediately the letter says ‘Once change is achieved’.
    It is the bit in between that interests me, how is constitutional change to be achieved?

    Reply
  20. Haydn Gear

    Gordon, I wish I could say that your letter was most interesting and informative but unfortunately, it wasn’t. Since you suggested that I should read and understand the contents of “the original letter” I did so (yet again). It hardly contained every subject under the sun as stated by yourself, unless of course the subjects under your personal sun are so limited. Wir Shetland Polices seem to lay great emphasis on fish, oil and quality of governance. along with a number of peripheral matters.That’s all well and good but my comment focused on the excessive amount of grizzling, disagreeable complainers who feature so regularly in these columns.I can’t believe that I am alone in thinking this. Long before I began submitting my comments to these columns, I used to read them and was amazed that so much recourse to hostile and aggressive exchanges took place on an almost daily basis. Despite what you have said Gordon, I saw no evidence of people remaining schtum. Quite the contrary in fact. Sorry to feel the need to reduce myself to your level Gordon but you appear to have not been paying close enough attention. By the way, no e in Haydn

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      @ Haydn, my letter was a comment and you obviously are oblivious of the fact that More autonomy for Shetland does actually cover every subject under the sun. As for the excessive amount of grizzling, disagreeable complainers who feature so regularly in these columns, I hope you have included your self in this fraternity because your last few comments gain you life long membership.
      I apologise for spelling your name wrong; force of habit, my grandson is Hayden.

      @ Brian Nugent, We have been waiting for you to tell us how constitutional change is to be achieved if you get your way and Scotland becomes independent. We have been asking you, Salmond and Sturgeon this question for a number of years now along with a hundred other unanswered questions on currency, EU membership, pensions etc, etc, etc.

      Reply
  21. Haydn Gear

    EVERY subject under the sun Gordon? EVERY subject? Hopefully that was a metaphorical observation rather than a literal one. Just think, me a member of the complaining fraternity. !! Better than a knighthood or leader of the SNP. Whoopee!

    Reply
  22. iantinkler

    “If Alex Salmond was chocolate he would eat himself. On the day that he had a job to do in parliament over Syria it’s ridiculous that the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson was in Edinburgh to look at a picture of himself.” SNP. some things never change!!!

    Reply

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