31st May 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Pomp and ceremony (Cameron Smith)

, by , in Readers' Views

During Monday’s pomp and ceremony the SNP launched their manifesto for the islands.

The central idea is an Islands Act (for surely a Bill must be passed to have some worth), which only seeks to compound the problems of centralised control that have marked the last nine years of a nationalist administration.

Central bodies will be asked to consider the islands when making policies. If they haven’t being doing so for the past years, have they really been doing their job correctly?

Other policies too are included, such as health care and education, but without mention of the higher costs that are incurred by islands councils providing those services or other challenges specific to Shetland.

I don’t believe we need a padded out “10-point plan” or an Islands Act which is puffed up statutory guidance. Instead we need to see proper devolution of powers, not just from Westminster to Holyrood, but also beyond.

The Crown Estate’s powers are a perfect example of devolution which under the SNP stops in Edinburgh, but under the Conservatives would continue to local communities.

Central policies must too be developed with the islands in mind from the outset, not an afterthought as a tick-box exercise of island proofing.

Lastly, the manifesto talks of an Islands Plan. The SNP appointed an islands minister some 18 months ago. What has he been doing all that time if he hasn’t had a plan?

Cameron Smith
Scottish Conservative candidate


  1. Charles Gallagher

    Coming from aTory this is truly rich. First we had ‘The Vow’ which was watered down, to be followed by the Smith Commission agreement which had been substantially watered down before it even crossed the border and then we had the Tory ‘Axe Men’, over ONE HUNDRED TABLED AMENDMENTS and not one included, I don’t think I’ll be taking any lectures from The Scottish Conservative and UNIONIST Party (A hangover from their roots in N.Ireland).

    Voters should be made very aware of what a vote for the Tories means – continued support for Osborne’s austerity, dodgy personal banking/investments left unchecked, re-introduction of prescription charges, end of free eye tests, end of winter fuel payments, end of pensoinners travel concessions on ferries and busses, reverse the cancellation of the hated bedroom tax and measures to help the disabled. For our current 16/17 year olds they’ve promised to re-intoduce UNIVERSITY TUITION FEES and not the £6K that Ruthie stated but probably more like £36,000 for a four year degree – oh and they’ll probably re-introduce Bridge Tolls as well.

    DEVOLVED the Tories and their London masters do not know the meaning of the word, THEY ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED in SCOTLAND, EVER AGAIN.

    • John Tulloch

      Just like the ‘Tartan Tories’ cannot be trusted in Shetland, Charlie.

      * 5.1 percent cut for SIC while Holyrood got a cash increase.

      *Orkney/Shetland ferry subsidies cut 14 percent while west coast one increased 41

      Tavish Scott is fighting these cuts, Charlie. What has Danus Skene done since taking on the SNP candidacy for last year’s General Election?

      I’ll tell you. Nothing.

    • Michael Garriock

      “The Scottish Conservative and UNIONIST Party (A hangover from their roots in N.Ireland).”

      “Nice” to see good old fashioned Gael sectarianism still thriving despite all the PR to the contrary.

  2. Gordon Harmer

    Charlie, please give details and facts on which parts of the vow and the Smith commission were watered down. You could also let us know why Swinney signed up to the Smith commission at the very beginning if it were watered down and why the SNP signed up to it at its finality.
    You also forget we live in Scotland where Ruth Davidson leads the conservatives; someone who has openly opposed the bedroom tax and has spoken out about the cost of thousands of college places to pay for the free university tuition which discriminates against the less better off in favour of the middle and upper classes.

    • Ian Tinkler

      Forgive me Charlie, but now Nicola has tax raising powers, why has she refused to raise cash to combat Austerity. She has that power clearly now is frightened to use it. Even too timid to raise the upper rate of tax to the really rich!! You know those with incomes of £100,000 plus like Alex Salmond. That was before he started his tax avoidance schemes, The SNP’s first Saltier clad Tories, no less.

    • Robin Stevenson


      I think you’re being deliberately disingenuous here, Swinney signed up to the Smith commission because that was ALL that was on offer, what did you want him to do? You’d be one of the first to condemn him had he NOT signed up to it? Let’s not forget that the ONLY reason that we are given these paltry powers in the first place, was simply because London panicked after one poll showed the Yes camp marginally taking the lead, ‘Near federalism’, ‘Devo-max’ ‘the most devolved parliament in the world’, ALL, of course, utter nonsense.

      Your comments about ‘free student fees, in favour of the middle and upper classes’, is a nonsense and has been dealt with on more than one occasion, all Scandinavian countries have ‘free student fees’ and now Germany has just recently introduced them as well. England has the most expensive student fees in the EU, would you prefer to see Scotland going the same way?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, I would not condemn Mr Swinney if he had not signed it because if it were up to me it would never have been on the table. With what the Scottish government now have they are the most powerful devolved government probably in the world and they are afraid of using those powers in case they have to make an unpopular decision and they lose support. Scottish colleges have are unavailable to thousands of would be students because of the free tuition fees you know it, I know it and your spin will never change that.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Well I have to say Gordon, that you’re one of the very few who would NOT have condemned John Swinney? These last minute powers were only desperate attempt to sway Scottish voters, created out of sheer panic, but you’re right, I’d have preferred if they had never been offered, simply for the fact that the Yes vote may well have stayed where it was or even increased?

        No, we DON’T have is ‘the most devolved parliament in the world’, this is politicking, what we’ve been given doesn’t come close to what a ‘real’ devolved government has. [Catalonia, Faroe Isles, Canadian Provinces etc] the very few tax raising powers are somewhat useless on their own, ofc Westminster were desperately hoping we would use them and then their mouthpiece [the MSM] would claim ‘Scotland penalizes the middle classes”, fortunately the Scottish government chose not to. [at this time]

        I’m not sure what your last sentence means?

      • Ian Tinkler

        Robin, I certainly would want undergraduate fees, if it improved the standards of university education. England has many, many colleges and Unis ranking Science courses in the World top ten listing, Scotland has non!!! You pays for what you gets, cheap, with mediocre results, charge fees and world beating quality. I certainly would not want to mirror Germany or Scandinavian University achievements, they are utterly unremarkable.

      • Robin Stevenson

        You’re right Ian STEM subjects could be improved, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that on almost every other subject Scotland fares rather well and is still up there with the best in the world?


  3. David Spence

    I would also question the relationship between the Conservative Party and this of the company of Serco. It very much seems that Serco (based on their donations to the Conservative Party) are indeed in bed with the Conservative Party, and the fact they managed to get the ferry contract reeks of corruption and a strong whiff of a rat prowling around the decks of the ferry.

    The Conservatives, as recent events have shown with our loyal, honest, caring PM Mr Cameron (please note the sarcasm lol) have shown that the contract for the lifeline ferry and the company (which has no experience in the hospitality/tourist industry) Serco are a prime example where favoritism (due to donations) is the decision rather than a company having any experience in that particular industry.

    Yes, we will be fogged off with the ‘ They were the cheapest tender ‘ excuse………but it still does not answer why Northlinks Tender was returned unopened.

    Is there a connection between the Conservative Party and Serco and who got the offered the contract to provide lifeline services to the islands? Absolutely.

  4. Andrew Holt

    I fail to understand the connection between the “vile Tories” and the contract for the North Boat. I thought the Scottish Government signed off on that one. As for tuition fees it was the ” vile, blairite, champagne swilling, new labour faux socialists” who conceived and brought that act of class treachery to birth.

  5. Gordon Harmer

    On the 5TH of May we will vote for our representative to the Scottish Parliament, what we want is someone who will represent Shetland and the needs of those who live here. Not someone who wants us to vote them in because their leader has asked for a personal mandate from the Scottish electorate. You have to ask yourselves a personal mandate for what? A vote for the SNP on polling day will be a vote for Nicola Sturgeon, not a vote for Danus Skene, it will be a vote for more centralisation, a second independence referendum and a clear mandate for Ms Sturgeon to implement her draconian policies which will not favour the folk of the Northern Isles. This is not a figment of my imagination, we all heard her ask for this mandate when she announced the SNP manifesto and the photo on Danus Skene’s Facebook page shows that Danus goes along with her wishes. What I find even scarier is that during Ms Sturgeons presidential style manifesto launch everyone in the hall was waving a photo of Ms Sturgeon in a mass idolatry, come hero worship ceremony more akin to a religious cult than a political presentation. This election is about Shetland and Scotland’s future not about one person who wants to be raised up on a pedestal for all to worship.

    • David Spence

      Not so sure about that, Gordon.

      The Tories worship, praise and idolize the USA, and all for what it stands for. This being totally based on a system of greed, selfishness and where violence, destruction and deprivation is the key element to sustaining economic power by whatever immoral means possible.

      Why do you think the Tories are obsessed with the privatization of everything, converting all LA schools to academies (taking a step backwards in our education system – but as long as they make a profit, right?)

      If you want a system where corporate companies dictate political legislation, where your human rights are destroyed for the sake of greed and profit, where the political system is totally based on commercial bribery and where hypocrisy of the highest order is the way to success (US Foreign Policy).

      The recent Trade Agreement with the US and the EU (not implemented yet) where it will benefit the USA, but most definitely not the EU. Where such an agreement will be under US Legal Laws, and where US Companies can sue for whatever reason.

      One can be sure however, under such a system, we will be most definitely worse off.

      • Gordon Harmer

        David, have a little think back to the visits to America by both Salmond and Sturgeon, they did not go there for a big mack you know, they were there for trade. To sell and buy, capitalism in its purest form.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Y’know what Gordon, just vote for Tavish and WS, after all, look how it’s benefited these islands over the past 66 years? The lib/Dems have been representing Shetland since time and memoriam and where’s that got you to date exactly? Perhaps one day, when people begin to realise, that rather than fight what is perceived and presented by you and your chums, to be the big bad enemy, and finally work with the only people that can actually make a difference, and deliver on their promises, Shetland may well move on and become the powerhouse it’s more than capable of being?
      Alternatively, it’s back to the usual sniping from the sidelines, moaning plenty while delivering nothing!

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin if you were a Shetlander you would know we have the best roads, care for the elderly, community centers including swimming pools, etc. This is because we have cash to spend which is a direct link to the Zetland Act. Both Tavish and Alistair are and have been excellent constituency members for Shetland, both helping thousands of us with our problems to satisfactory outcomes. Another thing about you being a non Shetlander is that if you belonged to Shetland you would know I will not be voting for Tavish or supporting WS decision so to do.

      • iantinkler

        “Shetland may well move on and become the powerhouse it’s more than capable of being?” Robin Stevenson, from your barber shop in Glasgow, that may look fine, but from Shetland that looks a real nightmare! Do we really want Shetland to be turned into a concrete nightmare of wind turbines, cables, convertor stations and overland pylons? Gone would be our fabulous and unique wildlife, our beautiful coastline and magical countryside, Just remember this renewable nightmare is already planned for Shetland. The EU super power hub, the VE turbines plus hundreds more like them, and 2000 square miles of offshore. This is the SNP pipe dream of Salmond, Ewing and Sturgeon, fully backed by Dannus Skene. Use your vote well, if you want Shetland to become the new Grangemouth of the North, vote Skene, otherwise back Tavish and Shetland autonomy. “The Nationalist”, would just continue to exploit our fabulous home, and desecrate Shetland and our seas, for the fabled utopia of powerhouse Scotland.

      • John Tulloch

        For once, Robin, I agree, Shetlanders will, indeed, be well-advised to vote for Tavish Scott in preference to Danus Skene of the SNP.

        Liberal actions over the last 66 years? No need to list them all, one will do.

        Jo Grimond’s ZCC Act, 1974.

        WIthout that, there would be no Shetland oil money for the SNP to covet and siphon off by stealth underfunding of education, ferries, etc. and probably, even, no WIr Shetland for you to rail against.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, you are a one to be accusing folk of sniping from the sidelines, you yourself are sniping, not from the sidelines, not even from the dressing room but from the away teams ground. My Comment was what would be good for Shetland and there you are in Glasgow, giving it large to us up here; some cheek. A Nicola Sturgeon who now is pontificating about the UK government backing of a bit on warship contracts on the Clyde, tries to make political gain from something denied by the UK government. We all know what would threatening contracts and jobs on the Clyde and that is uncertainty about whether there will or will not be a second referendum. No government minister is going to give work to a country who will if possible break away from the Union. So if these contracts do become prolonged or even cancelled, there is only one person to blame; she who wants a personal mandate to wreck this country. We do not want to dragged down by a one trick party so a vote for Shetland will not be a vote for the SNP.

      • Brian Smith

        For an accurate account of the Private Bill that became the Zetland County Council Act of 1974 see Shetland Islands Council, Shetland’s Oil Era , Special Edition, Lerwick 1981, pp.26-30.

      • Robin Stevenson

        That seems a rather odd stance to be frank Gordon? So despite all these wonderful things (which had apparently nothing to do with the Scottish government according to you) you won’t be voting for the very party that helped to achieve all that?

        Ian, I’m really not too sure of the relevance of my business interest’s, or indeed their location? But I must say it takes a braver man than me who’d care to explain to my staff that they’re regarded as ‘barber’s’ rather than what they actually are?

        John, you know as well as I do that the Zetland deal was ‘gifted’ as a way of ensuring continuous gratitude to the UK government, simply because the Uk gov were absolutely terrified that Scotland was threatening to break away back in the 70s? Had Jo known Westminsters reasons back then, he could have named his price? I reckon they’d have been only too happy to have obliged.

        Gordon, vote ‘no’ to save the shipbuilding industry in Scotland, 13 frigates, down to 8, then down to zero, with the possible loss of 800 jobs, and you think that’s OK, and we shouldn’t complain… Seriously?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, if we had voted yes in 2014 there would have been no frigates and no jobs, what Sturgeon is doing is scaremongering as usual.

      • Gordon Harmer

        “Ian, I’m really not too sure of the relevance of my business interest’s, or indeed their location? But I must say it takes a braver man than me who’d care to explain to my staff that they’re regarded as ‘barber’s’ rather than what they actually are”
        Robin, “my staff” has got me thinking you are a propaganda General who has a squad of SNP staff under him. Or are you the infamous Alex Orr?

      • iantinkler

        No Frigates, No Faslane jobs, yet all the nuclear subs still using Scottish ports (NATO protocols). A “Yes” vote would have certainly stuffed up Scotland. It looks as if Robins “Turncoats” did Scotland proud. Nicola has shifted the goalposts to 60%, so no indyref 2 for a while. (whoop whoop). Incidentally Robin, a “barber” is the same as a stylist, hair dresser, so what actually do you and your staff think you are? Perhaps you are being a tad pretentious.. So keep your Glasgow sniping up, us “turncoats” enjoy a laugh.

  6. John Tulloch

    Hear, hear!

    I heard Ms Sturgeon on Sunday Politics today, making great play of how she would make Scottish education great again.

    We also learn from the Sunday Herald that the SNP has a secret plan to reorganise Scottish schools by creating a regional “middle tier” of management – doubtless, Shetland will be lumped in along with the Hebrides, with the HQ in Stornoway. From the Herald article:

    “…… Education Cabinet Secretary Angela Constance said, … “We do need to think about, and untangle, what decisions are appropriately taken at national level, what decisions should be taken at local authority level, and also what decisions should be taken at school level.”

    Which rather begs the question, what have they been doing since 2007?


    • Robert Sim

      Why don’t you use the massive leverage power of Wir Shetland, John, to meet with the SNP candidate for Shetland and negotiate with him on the basis that he has influence over the soon-to-be government party and tell him that if he ensures that this policy (and others) is altered or done away with in Shetland’s favour then you will advise your members to… oh, no, wait a minute…

      • Ali Inkster

        Yet again snp Shetland are stating that unless we vote for them they will punish us for wir affrontery. If we elect a liberal MSP in the form of Tavish they will only listen to Danus in Edinburgh. After all what does wir thoughts and opinions matter ta wir lairds an masters in holyrood.

      • John Tulloch


        Danus Skene of the SNP spoke at the Althing hustings, saying:

        “What you have been dealing with are not SNP cuts [but] cuts imposed by economic policies at UK level,”

        That is untrue.

        1. Shetland suffers “stealth underfunding” via the Scottish government’s 2008 arrangement with COSLA who avoid using full “needs-based” criteria for allocating funding e.g. Education shortchanged by £10Mpa = £80 million to date!

        2. Shetland/Orkney ferry funding has fallen 14 percent while west coast subsidies have increased 41 percent in three years = £17 million (S+O)

        3. SIC government funding for 2016/17 cut by £5Mpa while the Scottish government received a small cash increase.

        These cuts add up to £100 million since 2008 and none has any link whatsoever to Westminster cuts.

        Do you expect me to negotiate with someone like that?

      • Robert Sim

        That sounds like excuses, John. You could tell Danus all that to his face. Who knows what might result? But I can see you prefer to put your energy into writing on here. Opportunity wasted.

      • John Tulloch


        Please don’t patronise me. Talking to the Danus Skene/SNP is a compete waste of time.

        Don’t take my word for it, ask Gary Robinson – three years and twelve ‘summits’ spent “building relationships” and explaining Shetland’s case.

        And what was the result?

        A £5 million funding cut when the Scottish government received a small cash increase – the WORST DEAL of any council in Scotland!

        As I’ve said to Robin Stevenson before, if that’s your advice, I’ll take my counsel elsewhere, thank you very much.

      • Robert Sim

        Never mind, John, while you are commenting on here at length, we have an actual list candidate from Orkney who is free of allegiance to the traditional lowland-based parties.

      • Ali Inkster

        And a quick perusal of the Wir Shetland facebook page will show we are well aware of James Stockan. I would advise everybody to watch the videos on there of his meeting in Islesburgh the other night.

      • John Tulloch

        Robert S.,

        Thanks for pointing that out.

        Voters may well find Mr Stockan a preferable option for their second vote rather than giving it to the SNP’s Danus Skene.

  7. iantinkler

    Robert Sim, Good to have you back online. Now please tell me, do you endorse, Robin Stevenson’s, comments , that all those who voted “No” in the referendum, should be branded by the SNP and all “Nationalists ” as “turncoats”? . I was rather surprised that Dannus Skene was conspicuous by his silence on the same question. As a man of words and English scholar, Mr Sim, would you, in case I was mistaken, confirm, when used in this context, “Turncoat”, “means; traitor, betrayer, quisling, collaborator. etc. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)( Roget’s Thesaurus)

    • Robin Stevenson

      One word at a time for you Ian, once you manage to work out the real definition of the word ‘nationalist’ (and not your own selective choice) then you can move on. 🙂