I was a recent, first-time visitor to the Lerwick Up-Helly-A’. I thought it a most impressive, enjoyable, well-organised and exemplary, community-minded occasion.
One aspect, however, jarred, and that was the unpleasant personal attack on MP Alistair Carmichael in the Guizer Jarl’s Proclamation.
This personal attack seemed to me quite out of keeping with the otherwise happy tone of the occasion. It used strong language where none was required and in saying Mr Carmichael was “not welcome” contradicted the rules of Highland hospitality (I was brought up in Nairn) in an abrasive, distasteful way. (I should add here that I am not a Lib Dem voter or supporter.)
Mr Carmichael misbehaved, and I condemn that, but he has apologised and shown contrition as well as penalising himself financially; that should have been the end of the matter and an opportunity for forgiveness.
We have endured quite enough divisiveness in recent years in Scotland for it not to spread to this otherwise festive event.
I would like to ask the organising committee for next year’s Up-Helly-A’ to ensure that such kinds of personal attack and the distasteful sentiments expressed are avoided in future.
This piece left a bad taste in an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable visit. I should not like to recommend to my friends that they should be wary of visiting Shetland when it has otherwise so much to offer.
63 Addison Road, Guildford, Surrey.