A pledge, a spat and a First Minister’s visit

• Nicola Sturgeon arrives in the isles and pledges a 10-point island manifesto.

• But a campaign group “boycotts” her visit.

• An SIC councillor steps down from Wir Shetland after an on-line spat with its chairman.

• Holyrood candidates set their stalls out for the Scottish elections.

• Daring fundraising challenges aimed at earning cash for good causes.

• Read of a grieving father’s decision to sell copies of his late daughter’s artwork in honour of her memory.

• Catch our extensive feature on energy efficiency.

• And in sport, full coverage of the Shetland Darts Masters at Clickimin.


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • April 8th, 2016 9:59

    Almost every word in Keegan Murray’s report on the Sturgeon rally supports Wir Shetland’s decision to boycott it.

    Sturgeon’s answers were pre-sanitised to sound wonderful while leaving sufficient room for manoeuvre to contain the truth, without admitting it – a load of tired, old, recycled flannel.

    I was intrigued, therefore, to note the conclusion, repeated by the Old Rock, that Wir Shetland had “missed an opportunity”?

    The only opportunity missed was one in which we would make ourselves look insignificant and the SNP big and important, adding to their publicity ahead of next month’s election.

    We are new and we are different. Unlike councils, the Scottish government has no hold over us and we shall not be manipulated in the traditional ways.

    If Wir Shetland missed an opportunity then so too, presumably, did all the other non-SNP candidates and parties, none of whom was reported as asking a question or, even, being in attendance?

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 9th, 2016 16:36


      I hate to burst your bubble, but the ‘old rock’ got it absolutely spot on? The WIR Shetland group DID indeed ‘miss an opportunity’.

      With all due respect, and despite your own illusions, WIR Shetland actually IS somewhat less significant in comparison to every other political party? Surely that was the very reason why you thought it best to associate yourself with the Lib/Dems? To try to raise WS’s profile, as you didn’t chose to stand your own candidate?

      Your last sentence makes no sense, as WS are [in your own words] ‘non political’, Does that mean they ARE political now?

      a) Labour: Dying party, with no chance of being elected in Scotland, can promise the earth knowing they’ll never have to deliver.
      b) Lib/Dems: Dying party, with no chance of being elected in Scotland, can promise the earth knowing they’ll never have to deliver.
      c) Conservatives: Toxic in Scotland, but a deal may have been struck with WS, as long as WS pledged allegiance [and their soul] to Westminster.
      d) SNP: Already in government, likely to remain in power for another term in Scotland, the ‘only’ party that can actually deliver anything.

      Hmm… Hard choice?

      • iantinkler

        • April 11th, 2016 9:56

        Robin Stevenson, has come out from under his stone with this gem. He published this malevolence in a Shetland News blog. Is he talking for Shetland Branch SNP as well as all just mainland SNP? . “Robin Stevenson, SNP spokesperson, as featured on Shetland Media (The Times, Shetland News). To Quote this man, “Ah! yes, Billy Connolly, the great internationalist, who’d sell his granny for an ounce of the limelight, much like the 55% happy to bring your own country down and sell your own people out, in order to be accepted into the elitist club? The day I take lessons in patriotism from a turncoat comedian” he further adds “people like Lulu, Sheena Easton, Billy Connolly, every Tory and a good number of Labour, Lib/Dem politicians etc.” and of course he includes every Scot who did not vote Yes in the referendum. For anyone who does not know the meaning of “Turncoat” : synonyms: TRAITOR, RENEGADE, DEFECTOR, DESERTER, BETRAYER; Is it not horrible to have such views expressed by a SNP spokesperson on Shetland media?. Please Robin, you have a vile and nationalist view, keep up the voice of the real SNP, not Surgeons, so sweet, sanitised version. Shetland really needs to know what the Nationalist bit of SNP means.

      • John Tulloch

        • April 13th, 2016 19:14

        Robin, if you were so sure Wir Shetland “missed an opportunity”, you wouldn’t be pointing out our supposed error, lest we don’t repeat the mistake in future.

        No disrespect but we’ll be taking our counsel elsewhere than from your good self.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 13th, 2016 23:49

        Well John

        I did try to say you you a number of months ago? In fact – if you remember correctly – I actually supported your idea. Sadly I made the mistake of believing you when you said your were a ‘non political’, group that were prepared to work with all parties? But frankly ‘boycotting’ the leader of the ONLY party that can actually deliver anything whatsoever is truly bizarre!…. Ah! well, an opportunity lost.

        Never mind, at least you’ll be able to take comfort in the fact that you’ll now be [almost] as significant in Scottish politics as the Lib/Dems are, only with considerably less say in…er….everything.

        Wherever you ARE taking your council and with whoever, I bid you good luck with that 🙂

    • Jack Brunton

      • April 9th, 2016 19:56

      Should the voice of Shetland no bring in hurdle of a valid “ZE” postcode before accepting any bilious input?

  • Douglas Young

    • April 8th, 2016 12:46

    The boycott was boycotted by a Wir Shetland supporter who asked a question and was given an answer.

    Wir Shetland will have another opportunity to boycott public debate when all four candidates will be at a

    Public hustings.

    • John Tulloch

      • April 8th, 2016 13:52

      We are a cross-party organisation, Douglas, and believe in free speech. We have supporters from all parties, including SNP members hoping the SNP will change course, so individuals were welcome to participate on a personal basis, as they wish

      We are unlikely to boycott public hustings as the candidate we support will be taking part however we shall consider each occasion on its merits and announce any future boycott intentions at the time.

      • Bill Adams

        • April 8th, 2016 16:40

        So John, despite your orders to your Wir Shetland followers to boycott the First Minister’s visit,
        individual members “were welcome to participate on a personal basis” if they so wished.
        Will they be accorded the same freedom to vote for whichever candidate they prefer or are they
        subject to your dictat that they support Tavish ?

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 9th, 2016 15:16

        Let’s get this right John? Wir Shetland – according to you – have SNP supporters, who are forced [I use the word ‘forced’ because there was no vote] to give their support to Tavish Scott, who is in direct competition with…er…the SNP? ‘individuals are welcome to participate’, as long as they too, support the Lib/Dems?

        So basically, as there is NO candidate standing for WS, the choice of whatever political party the chairman feels is a good idea, then that choice has been taken by the chairman on everyone else’s behalf, despite the member’s own political preferences?

        Therefore, IF members are allowed to attend the upcoming hustings, does that mean their only allowed to clap or cheer for the Lib/Dem candidate? Or IF they clap and cheer for their own choice of party, will this be frowned upon and duly noted in the big WS book, while fully expecting themselves to be ousted at your earliest convenience, for not conforming to your rules?….Frankly, this gets more bizarre by the minute?

      • iantinkler

        • April 9th, 2016 16:06

        Gentlemen please, Robin, Bell, Wir Shetland is not a Nationalist party, it is a political group. No one is forced into anything. Everyone has freedom of choice, and expression, unlike the SNP as Mr Sillars will no doubt vouch. Just like most democratic parties/groups/Unions, not every single decision can be put up to a vote of every member. You should well know that, take the SNPs closed decision to join an Indi Scotland to a nuclear NATO, with deployment of nuclear weapons into into Scottish bases, without questions. Ask Jean Urquhart about the, she will know all about that. It was a surprising fact CND heroine and child/woman member of CND, N Sturgeon now FM of Scotland, backed Salmond on that one..Mind you there were votes to be had, principles soon were forgotten.Strange Salmond being anti Trident went for it also, no maybe not, not a man of principle. Hats of for Jean, she stood up for what she believed.

      • iantinkler

        • April 9th, 2016 16:08

        Sorry Bill, not Bell, genuine mistake.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 9th, 2016 17:25


        You’re kidding yourself on? This wasn’t a vote for ‘what type of biscuits we should have at meetings’, this was a – denied – vote for your member’s ENTIRE political beliefs?

        I have no issue with those members that would generally choose to vote for the Lib/Dems regardless. But seriously, how can ANY other party member call themselves Labour, Tory, SNP supporters, when they’re NOT supporting their respective parties? In fact, quite the opposite, they’d be directly in opposition to the very party they’re meant to be supporting?

        IF the idea is sold to them that this is ‘tactical voting’, then this too is nonsense. Undermining your own party/candidate by ‘lending’ your support to another, would simply weaken the prospect of your preferred candidate ever being elected?

        Look, I know the Lib/Dems haven’t had a particularly good press in recent months, and I know that even when in power – both in Scotland and the UK – they managed to do next to nothing, but surely the time has come for Mr. Tulloch to come clean and tell us the truth? WS is nothing more than a rebranded, renamed, rehash, of the Liberal Democrats?

    • Ian Tinkler

      • April 8th, 2016 14:36

      I never Boycotted Douglas, just had far better things to do than hear Nicolas latest set of election promises.
      As I understand it the were no new answers to any questions about anything. The high spot being “”A re-elected SNP government will begin work immediately to look at how we can reduce fares for the Northern Isles”. This means absolutely nothing, you would have thought after all these years the SNP might already have managed to have a look at fares!! Sorry I missed that though, it might have been a laugh.

  • Kathy Greaves

    • April 8th, 2016 14:41

    Sorry Douglas, there was more than just the one WIrShetland member at the ‘debate’ on Monday evening. This is a free country and WirShetland members as individuals were not asked to boycott the event as you implied. So, wrong there.

    I asked a question about ferries, and two add-ons for clarification. The SNP leader said that they had spent over £200million on ferries – this was the figure for all of the highlands and islands over a period of time and not just for ferries to Shetland, which is the impression which she tried to convey. Check the reported figures for yourself to find the facts.

  • David Spence

    • April 8th, 2016 16:40

    I am intrigued as to why there is a big difference in costs to and from the islands to mainland Scotland, and this of travelling from the westside of Scotland to the Hebrides via a different service provider.

    One factor, I believe, which has not been taken into consideration is the company of Serco, and their contribution to increase in charges plus a massive deduction of islanders allowance from 25% to just only 10%.

    It does give the impression that Serco is the main factor to the increased costs between the east and west side of Scotland when travelling.

    As an observation, this should be taken into consideration. It would also be interesting to see the difference in subsidies each operator gets in terms of cost/distance. As well as this, running costs for each operator in terms of revenue -v- profit. I have a suspicion Serco, may take the lead in this, given their past performance of putting profits ahead of service.

  • Michael Grant

    • April 10th, 2016 9:44

    Northlink/serco,subsidised how many millions per year by the government,imagine they stopped giving that subsidy.

    • Ali Inkster

      • April 11th, 2016 10:06

      Imagine if Shetland stopped subsidising the rest of Scotland and the UK.

    • David Spence

      • April 11th, 2016 11:17

      Point taken, Michael.

      I am interested in how much of the higher travel costs to passenger (and local people) is attributed to Serco, and how much Serco receives as subsidies in comparison to their profits.

      I think most people know running such a business would not be viable unless it was subsidized. However, how much is Serco converting this subsidy to profit, as well as the additional charges it has put on passengers here on Shetland.

      The SNP have said ‘ giving the same reduction (RET) to the ferry (Serco) would end up being more costly to the people of Shetland ‘. However, the SNP have said (like most political parties) they will work to reduce this (although I am skeptical) cost.

  • Michael Grant

    • April 11th, 2016 12:08

    Who exactly are we subsidising?

  • Kathy Greaves

    • April 11th, 2016 13:36

    At Monday’s ‘debate’ at the museum, a very important question set by Cllr Jonathan Wills regarding Shetland receiving the worst financial settlement (a cut of £5million) of any council authority in Scotland was waved away (dodged) with Sturgeon’s response “Why on earth would I have a plot to put down Shetland?”.

    This was not an answer to the question, and no subsequent or follow-on questions on this and other questions were allowed (except for my own, on ferries). And I can think of at least one reason for putting down Shetland – we didn’t vote SNP.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 11th, 2016 15:10


      Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I fully understand what you’re trying to imply, you’re saying that “the SNP have a plot to put down Shetland, because they didn’t vote SNP”?…Hmm…So based in that logic, would it be fair to say that equally we’d expect the SNP would have ‘put down’ EVERY’ constituency that didn’t vote for them in the 2010 GE?..All 53 constituencies? OR perhaps the 20 Scottish constituencies that didn’t vote for them in the Scottish election in 2011?…I trust you’ve spoken to Fluffy Mundell and Ian Murray’s constituencies to find out whether or not that they’ve been ‘demonised’ by the SNP too, Just to confirm your conspiracy theory?

    • Brian Smith

      • April 11th, 2016 15:49

      Ms Greaves seems not to have listened to the answer, which was about the formula used.

    • Bill Adams

      • April 11th, 2016 19:10

      Kathy, I wish you would stop parroting John Tulloch’s lie that Shetland got the worst financial settlement of any local council in Scotland.
      If you actually look at the figures, Shetland received the second highest amount per head of population.
      Only the Western Isles receive more, with Orkney in third place.
      You have no idea how loudly councillors in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire whine and moan about what they perceive as favourable treatment for Scotland’s island communities.

  • Kathy Greaves

    • April 11th, 2016 19:56

    Believe me gentlemen I heard all of the SNP leader’s reply or lack of a real response; the question was brushed aside.

    It would seem to anyone looking on that Shetland is not being treated fairly at all, formula or not, it seems we’re always last in line for our due share – ferry fares/subsidies or cuts in council funding; they did not even mention our fishing industry on Monday, or the fuel poverty many Shetlanders suffer.

    Robin, I am alluding to the Scottish independence vote, where 55% of those north of the border who voted, elected to stay in the UK.

    I hope Shetland remembers all this on polling day.

    • Brian Smith

      • April 12th, 2016 13:24

      Perhaps Ms G can tell us how the agreed formula is departed from to disadvantage Shetland.

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 12th, 2016 14:50

        Perhaps Mr Smith can point out where she said it did.

  • laurence paton

    • April 12th, 2016 7:20


    What type of champagne do the serve at the publically funded Hays dock Café?

  • Ian Tinkler

    • April 13th, 2016 16:47

    Well, it really looks as if the SNP, and nippy’s message is at last hitting home. “No” and “Yes” separated by 8% in latest poll. It will be a long time at this rate before the next neverendum. Whoop, Whoop.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 13th, 2016 19:53

      Congratulations Ian, that’s the very first time that you’ve actually managed to get the figures correct. 🙂 ‘whoop whoop!’… Although, as I’m sure you’re aware there was a 10% difference during the referendum? On top of the fact that a weekly ‘snapshot’ STILL doesn’t tell us very much.


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