Fox resigns as deputy leader of Shetland Islands Council

Shetland South member Billy Fox has resigned today from his position as deputy leader of Shetland Islands Council.

Billy Fox has resigned as SIC deputy leader.
Billy Fox has resigned as SIC deputy leader.

Mr Fox, who was elected to the SIC four years ago as the three members of his constituency along with Allison Duncan and George Smith, took on the deputy leader post in May 2014.

Before becoming a councillor he was a long-time critic of the Viking Energy windfarm, and was chairman of anti-Viking protest group Sustainable Shetland.

He said: “My resignation does not stem from any major difficulty within the council; this is one of the best and most responsible councils we have ever had.

“However, there are some issues of policy and process which I do have concerns with, on occasions I would like to comment but find myself restricted in my role as deputy leader.

“At this moment I do not wish to comment further however in the fullness of time and should I feel it necessary I will be free to air my concerns.

“I have not made this decision lightly and I remain fully committed to the good work this council has done and continues to carry out.

“I still look forward to spending the final year of this council in a fully active back-bench role. I will still sit on more committees than most.”


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • March 15th, 2016 18:09

    The obvious question is: “Is Billy Fox’s resignation related to the claim in James Mackenzie’s letter today that SIC leader(s) may have supported Fergus Ewing’s appeal to Energy Minister Amber Rudd to approve funding for the subsea cable required by Viking Energy and other wind farm projects?”

  • John Tulloch

    • March 17th, 2016 9:55

    Shetland’s local government arrangements are flawed.

    The Lerwick-centred SIC exerts an inexorable, centralising gravitational pull on facilities and services from the rest of Shetland. Country councillors must, invariably, travel to Lerwick, in itself, an act of symbolic homage.

    The structure needs to address the differing, often conflicting, needs of town and country. Realistically-empowered community councils within a strategic, self-governing unit that maintains an overview of common interests and monitors governance will provide a solution.

    A democratic deficit exists in major functions, even where we have local control. With an elected planning minister we would never have ever heard of the Parkgate pizza house fiasco. Not least, because we would make our own planning rules.

    Furthermore, Shetland Charitable Trust, aided by charities regulator OSCR, has declared UDI from its creator, the SIC. The demise of democracy has not cured the problem intended by Mr Fox when he called in OSCR but, frustratingly, made it worse.

    The trust’s remaining democratic rump must now leave the room during SIC-specific discussions which must be a bitter pill for the council who negotiated the disturbance agreement, created the trust – and Viking Energy – and passed their money to its control.

    • Robert Sim

      • March 17th, 2016 16:31

      John, you say that “With an elected planning minister we would never have ever heard of the Parkgate pizza house fiasco.” I hope you don’t mean he or she would have brushed the crumbs under the carpet?

  • Derick Tulloch

    • March 17th, 2016 15:27


    I’m joost a puir ignorant ex-crofter so laekly I’m no understaunding aa dis clivver stuff fae Arrochar.

    But: whit wey will Shetland autonomy, run fae da Shetland capital ceety o Lerwick, protect Shetland fae decisions med in……..Lerwick?

  • Brian Smith

    • March 18th, 2016 9:00

    There was a very interesting article in yesterday’s Orcadian about the 200 responses to the consultation on a future Islands Bill, and the appearance of a progress report from the Island Area Ministerial Working Group. I know some people hate the idea, but I think the Councils deserve praise for getting to this stage.

    • John Tulloch

      • March 18th, 2016 13:06

      Brian, three years of SIC in OIOF, forelock-tugging and schmoozing their way around Holyrood has resulted in what?

      To name but two:

      1. Over the same three years, Clyde/Hebridean ferry subsidies have risen by 41 percent while Shetland’s and Orkney’s have fallen by 14 percent.

      2. This year SIC’s annual government funding was cut by 5.1 percent, even though the Scottish government enjoyed a small rise (both in flat rate, cash terms), the WORST DEAL of any council in Scotland.

      Do you imagine that anything coming from the Islands Bill will ever replace that lost funding? I will tell you:

      No, it will not. The Western Isles may think OIOF has done wonderfully well but the SIC has, financially, had its face slapped with a wet fish for its pains.

      OIOF seemed like a great idea at the time – I was enthused – however Shetland’s needs were immediately diluted among three groups’ objectives and now, with the Islands’ BIll, they have been diluted out of sight in a great ‘one size fits all’ blancmange.

      The Scottish government has played ‘very hard ball’ with the SIC and voters should return serve with added ferocity on polling day.

      • Robert Sim

        • March 19th, 2016 17:37

        “The Scottish government has played ‘very hard ball’ with the SIC and voters should return serve with added ferocity on polling day.” And returning the lone non-SNP MSP to Holyrood will achieve precisely what, in practical terms, John? How has having a LD MSP helped Shetland over the term of this government?

      • John Tulloch

        • March 20th, 2016 13:06

        You should ask the Liberals that, not me, however, even If the answer was “nothing!” it would be a damned sight better than what the SNP has done.

        You should copyright your new “Simian Reverse Logic” political philosophy, “Reward the party that hurts you most – by voting for them!”

        It’ll be a good one for your memoirs!

        Talk about “turkeys voting for early Christmas”! 🙂

      • Brian Smith

        • March 20th, 2016 16:35

        Your problem is, John, that what the Councils have achieved is by definition better than Stuart Hill’s treatise and the Lib Dems’ vague and never-to-be-tested Island Plan!

      • iantinkler

        • March 20th, 2016 18:18

        Robert Sim, your view is frightening, it is would indicate you accept and commend the Sillers “Day of Reckoning” mantra. Return the Nationalist puppet, sorry candidate, or the SG/SNP will stuff you, sorry play hard ball with you!!! Goodness help Scotland, if you are right and that is the SNP way of getting votes. Vote SNP or get “Hard Balled” (Stuffed). I for one will never lie down and prostitute myself to such a group of people, that is just one reason I hate Nationalism. Paradoxically, Mr Sim, you show the real nastiness of Nationalism with your letters of support for Nippy, the SNP and the Hard Balling of Shetland.

      • Bill Adams

        • March 21st, 2016 10:52

        Mr Tulloch, we are not asking the Fib Dems, we are asking you.
        Why exactly are you unable/unwilling to answer a direct question ?

      • John Tulloch

        • March 21st, 2016 16:41

        Bill Adams,

        Because I am vastly more concerned with the damage the SNP have been doing Shetland – see my previous posts – in the present and during their time in office since 2007.

        Do you imagine that I will allow you to divert me into some kind of “kerpation” about the Liberals instead of talking about the SNP’s ransacking of Shetland’s finances?

      • Brian Smith

        • March 21st, 2016 18:11

        Maybe Mr Scott could have a tear-off application form for Wir Shetland on one of his many leaflets.

      • Bill Adams

        • March 21st, 2016 18:46

        The truth, John, is that our outgoing LD MSP has achieved Sweet Fanny Adams for Shetland over the term of the last parliament.
        Sour grapes whinging and carping from the sidelines achieves nothing.
        Your inability to come up with anything positive to mention is proof of that.

      • John Tulloch

        • March 21st, 2016 23:22

        Bill, “you would say that”, however, if it’s true that Tavish has achieved “Sweet Fanny Adams” then he is still leagues above the SNP who have done incalculable damage over the same period.

        May I draw your attention to the fact that Tavish Scott and both the other candidates do, actually, mention Shetland regularly when they speak publicly, which is more than Danus Skene has managed.

        Mr Skene has studiously avoided discussing Shetland issues ever since he was appointed SNP candidate for the General Election.

        Why does Danus avoid speaking about Shetland, Bill?

      • Ali Inkster

        • March 22nd, 2016 10:17

        Bill Adams, You’re right in the sense that holyrood has achieved nothing of note for Shetland since it’s inception in 1999. Despite the best efforts of Tavish. Like Westminster and Brussels we wid be far far better aff clear a da lot a dem.

      • Robert Sim

        • March 22nd, 2016 13:45

        John, in your last reply to Bill you appear to acknowledge that the LD MSP has achieved nothing for Shetland in this parliament when you say: “…if it’s true that Tavish has achieved “Sweet Fanny Adams”…”. And yet you are advocating that Shetland voters should return that MSP instead of returning an MSP who would have influence within the governing party? Very strange logic indeed. Unless you regard electing an MSP in Shetland as a different thing from electing one in another part of Scotland? MSPs are returned to do a job, in case it had escaped your attention.

      • John Tulloch

        • March 22nd, 2016 14:20

        Robert, another cynical attempt at diversion. It won’t work. Anyone reading my posts will agree that I didn’t say any such thing.

        IF you want me to engage in debate with you then make a sensible point/

  • iantinkler

    • March 21st, 2016 19:55

    The real point people, “The obvious question is: “Is Billy Fox’s resignation related to the claim in James Mackenzie’s letter today that SIC leader(s) may have supported Fergus Ewing’s appeal to Energy Minister Amber Rudd to approve funding for the subsea cable required by Viking Energy and other wind farm projects?” John Tulloch’s comment. SIC leader(s), which leaders? Why the anonymity? Derick Tulloch, Brian Smith, Bill Adams and Dannus , please state Viking Energy, Shetland the energy hub of Germany with 2000 square miles of offshore Wind Farms, Just where do you stand? Or are you lying prostrate under the banner of Scottish Nationalism and Scotland the green power prostitute of the European Union..


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

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


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.