EU membership more important than being part of UK, says SNP man Skene

Maintaining EU membership is more important to Scotland than being part of the UK, according to former SNP election candidate Danus Skene.

He believes the vote to leave the EU is an “unqualified catastrophe” that has left the country reeling in confusion as people realise there is not a “plan B”.

In a document compiled after last month’s Brexit vote, Mr Skene expresses his view that an internationalist Scotland needs to be in the EU and ditch the union. He asks: “What after all, is the UK for?”

However, he is not convinced that the SNP would be able to win an “IndyRef” in the short-term and predicts that a second referendum could not be held until about 2021. “Anything earlier risks the fatal outcome of a second failure”.

In the 4,800-word essay penned in the aftermath of the Leave campaign’s victory, Mr Skene explains the reason for his gloomy outlook.

“My own view is that if the Brexit decision is catastrophic, that is for political reasons. As an economic decision it is merely bloody stupid.

“At the national level of overall economic performance, it is hard to see how Brexit can do anything other than damage.”

And he blasted the “act of political blindness” that led to the EU exit door driven by a “Little England” mentality that stood in the way of Scotland’s internationalist ambitions.

He wrote: “Here in Scotland, it is hard not to see the Leave movement as a despairing act of English nationalism. Can we please leave global realities? Little England will be green and pleasant with cricket, warm beer and cucumber sandwiches. The responsibilities of the imperial past and the global refugee present can be sealed away.

“We Scots are desperate to join the world, but find ourselves facing a status as colonial subjects of an isolationist England.”

The 72-year-old also had disparaging words for the London political system which he said had left the UK without leadership after the Brexit vote shocked the establishment.

In contrast, north of the border, he said, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was showing “real leadership” and praised her for attracting cross-party support in her bid to argue for Scotland’s place in the EU.

Even so, he concedes that her attempts to explore “all possible routes” to staying in the EU will be dogged with difficulty – not least because “the referendum was a UK referendum” not a Scottish one.

While he believes Scotland could negotiate an agreement Mr Skene admitted it “would be complex, and independence would be hugely simpler”.

“It is hard to see how Scotland can be kept in the EU other than by asserting independence… Of course, London politicians would oppose that, but an independence vote would have to be respected in the same way that the Brexit vote is apparently going to be generally accepted.

“Scottish Tories are committed unionists, and the argument at the centre of their position is that the British Union is hugely more important to Scotland than the European Union. I don’t think a majority of Scots think that any more. Jettisoning the UK is a worthwhile price for European membership. What, after all, is the UK for?”

Either way, he said, the next step must be for the Holyrood administration to play its part in negotiations once the UK starts its moves to leave the European Union.

He told this newspaper he is convinced that member states would welcome continued Scottish membership of the EU.

“Scotland’s politicians, and more importantly, Scotland’s people, are committing to the view that membership of the EU is of value to this country. The next step must be to ensure that the Scottish government participates in the Brexit negotiation process and makes our views clear…

“I think that Brexit terms affecting Scotland differently from the rest of the UK could be negotiated as part of an overall ‘Section 50 package’. But it would be complex, and independence would be hugely simpler.

“Distinct Scottish membership of the EU might involve a re-application by a new state after Brexit. If our membership is to be continuous, then that will require an independence referendum during the Brexit negotiation period, with Scottish membership being dealt with as part of the overall UK Brexit package.

“Whatever the route, I am convinced Scottish membership would be welcome to other countries.”


Add Your Comment
  • Robin Stevenson

    • July 17th, 2016 19:44

    I’m afraid I have to disagree on Danus’s timescale here. IF article 50 is invoked this year [or early next, as has been intimated by Liam Fox] this gives the SNP government a 2 year window before it’s taken out of the EU, at which point Scotland would have to reapply for membership [which could take a number of years] An Indyref#2 HAS to take place BEFORE that 2 year period expires, in order for Scotland to continue it’s full membership having picked up the reins dropped by the rUK.

    While I agree that ‘the Brexit decision is catastrophic’, I believe that for the rUK, but an opportunity for Scotland, perhaps Mr Skene is not aware of polls at the moment? But since the EU ref the Yes camp have been consistently ahead, initially at 59% then leveling off to around 52-53%, I’d fully expect this figure to rise over the coming months as we begin to witness – and feel – the ‘true’ impact of Brexit.

    • ian tinkler

      • July 30th, 2016 7:28

      “But since the EU ref the Yes camp have been consistently ahead, initially at 59% then leveling off to around 52-53%, I’d fully expect this figure to rise over the coming months.” Well, Robin Stevenson, you are completely wrong, yet again. We are now back to the same figures as of the Indy referendum! Today, “YouGov survey shows only 45% back independence for sake of staying part of EU, When stripped of don’t knows the numbers translate to 55 per cent versus 45 per cent in favour of Scotland remaining in a UK that is not in the European Union.” . As I thought Independent Scotland under Sturgeon , it will be a very long wait, us Turncoats, we are seeing through the sham and nonsense that is the SNP.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 31st, 2016 14:39

        I noticed you kept really quiet when it was up at 59% Ian?.. What happened to yer daft wee ‘Whoop! nonsense there?… You’ll also notice I didn’t shout it from the heavens either, simply because as I’ve already explained to you, ‘snapshots’ are meaningless on their own, however ‘consistency’ is a different kettle of fish. So I’ll think you’ll find that ‘consistently’ since Brexit, the polls are running in favour of the Yes vote, .. But I’ll try not to gloat, and certainly won’t be daft enough to be crying ‘Whoop whoop!’ at every snapshot! ????

  • John Tulloch

    • July 17th, 2016 20:20

    Mr Skene’s headline claim is unfounded.

    An independent Scotland could access all single market benefits via EFTA, as do Norway and Iceland, retaining sovereignty over the vast bulk of its laws, trade deals with non-EU countries and fishing grounds.

    Furthermore, Scotland exports more to UK destinations than to non-UK EU destinations so why leave the UK to join the EU?

    Scotland currently runs a large fiscal deficit which rUK will cease to fund with independence, so will the EU make it up? (No)

    In 2014 the SNP said an independent Scotland would be a “wealthy country” so, we shall, presumably, pay more in EU contributions than we get back, as we do now.

    Better by far to follow the Norwegian route or, remaining part of the UK, access an even better deal, possibly, along Swiss lines.

    “Mr Tusk (President, European Council) made clear during a summit with..(Chinese president and premier).. that for the next two years at least, the UK will remain a member of the European Union and that after that the two will continue to trade closely.”

  • ian tinkler

    • July 17th, 2016 21:15

    In the words of one of my all-time heroines, “Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

  • Robert Sandison

    • July 17th, 2016 22:40

    He is wrong the UK is by far Scotland’s biggest trading partner not the EU . Having regained control of our fishing grounds is Mr Skene seriously proposing to hand them back over to the EU ?

    • ian tinkler

      • July 18th, 2016 10:56

      To quote an ardent Nationalist and SNP spokesperson, Robin Stevenson; ““Rajoy [for example] ……….., but with an independent Scotland, you seriously think he’d chose to be responsible for the annihilation of Spain’s fishing industry, by vetoing Scotland’s membership?” In simple terms “Sturgeon” would offer Scotland Fishing to Spain to gain Spain’s acquiescence of Scotland joining the EU”

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 18th, 2016 13:24


        I do wish you’d make up your mind? I think we’re all agreed that the Scottish fishing industry have suffered considerably at the hands our UK government, particularly as they have regarded it historical as ‘expendable’. Rajoy and his Spanish fishing fleet, have been using our waters for decades with permission from whatever useless deal obtained by our UK representatives, for some bizarre reason Mr Tulloch is under the delusion that with the UK coming out of the EU they’re suddenly going to cease using the Scottish fishing industry as the same pawn they’ve always regarded it as?
        Once again it goes right back to the original question: ‘Which government would you imagine would achieve the best deal for Scottish fisherman? The UK or the Scottish government? IF you seriously think that trade with the EU is suddenly going to cease with no ‘under the table’ deals struck by – what is now – an extreme right wing UK government, then I’m afraid you may be in for a shock.

      • ian tinkler

        • July 18th, 2016 14:56

        ““Rajoy [for example] ……….., but with an independent Scotland, you seriously think he’d chose to be responsible for the annihilation of Spain’s fishing industry, by vetoing Scotland’s membership?” In simple terms “Sturgeon” would offer Scotland Fishing to Spain to gain Spain’s acquiescence of Scotland joining the EU”. No more need be added, Robin Stevenson, yours and the SNP’s views are quite clear, crystal clear in fact.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 18th, 2016 16:52

        Erm… No Ian

        You’re becoming confused in your excitement!….. ‘In even simpler terms’ [goodness knows it’s become essential] Rajoy would be terrified to block/veto Scotland’s membership and put his fishing fleet at risk with his PRESENT access to Scottish waters, meaning, he’d hope to maintain the access he already has…. However, unfortunately for the [probably outgoing] Rajoy, once the Scottish government were in control of their own waters, and new deal would have to be struck over Spain’s fishing access to Scottish waters. There doesn’t – and wouldn’t – be the need for ANY offer before hand. So I’m afraid your wee overzealous conspiracy theory should probably best be kept under your tin-foil hat. 🙂

  • Robert Sandison

    • July 17th, 2016 22:46

    If a second independence referendum was held and Scotland voted for it but Shetland did not would he be happy with Shetland being dragged out of the UK and back into the EU against the wish of the people of Shetland ?

    • Robert Sim

      • July 18th, 2016 13:44

      The people (or rather the voters) of Shetland voted to remain in the EU.

      • Brian Smith

        • July 18th, 2016 17:04

        … even though you might not guess it if you read the stuff here …

      • ian_tinkler

        • July 18th, 2016 17:41

        “The people (or rather the voters) of Shetland voted to remain in the EU.” Surely that is a good reason why Shetland should go for independence from the UK, is it not Robert Sim. Just as they rejected Scottish nationalism by a far greater majority a month or so back, clear of Scotland also? O yes that is what “Wir Shetland” is all about. Good of you to highlight that Robert Sim, nice one.

      • Robert Sim

        • July 19th, 2016 11:05

        Tell me again, how would Shetland gain independence from the UK, Ian? I don’t think I have ever seen a precise answer to that question. Maybe a WS rep will tell us – in step-by-step detail, hopefully. No irony at all in this post.

      • ian tinkler

        • July 19th, 2016 14:55

        Democracy, a democratic mandate, Robert Sim, it is that simple. Just like the SNP failed to manage to achieve when a majority of all Scotland’s peoples chose to remain part of the UK. Just as the peoples of the UK achieved when voting for Brexit. That is how Shetland could gain independence, Crown Dependancy or maintain the status quo. Do you have a problem with that Robert Sim? Most Nationalists appear to have a problem here unless the vote goes exactly their way. Lose a democratic vote and then the tantrums start. (NB: Danus, Charlie, Robin et al)

      • Robert Sim

        • July 20th, 2016 20:55

        Sorry to break it to you, Ian, but for a democratic mandate you usually require folk supporting your manifesto to be elected.

      • ian_tinkler

        • July 21st, 2016 11:18

        Just watch this space Robert Sim. Its early days yet, Wir Shetland already has more members than than Shetland SNP and has hardly started yet. How many years since the SNP started and seems to have lost ground recently to the Liberals.

      • Brian Smith

        • July 21st, 2016 17:43

        Wir Shetland said that the plan was for Mr Scott to promote Shetland autonomy in the Scottish Parliament. But earlier this week Mr Tinkler let the cat out of the bag: ‘Tavish was the vote of choice as a block to the SNP, no more than a tactical vote’. In other words, as I have pointed out before, Wir Shetland favours the status quo: No Change.

      • Robert Sim

        • July 21st, 2016 18:30

        Ian – sorry to break it to you again but only one person is required to stand as a WS candidate in an election, no matter how many members the organisation has. That is, any election. Maybe next year’s local-government elections? What do you think? Want to make a prediction in print?

      • ian tinkler

        • July 21st, 2016 19:07

        Robert Sim, maybe, work allowing, it would be a privilege to fight for Shetland autonomy, “Wir Shetland” or an independent. Would you stand as an SNP or Scotland Independence candidate? Just throwing down a gauntlet for you. Who knows, could be fun, absolutely no predictions!

      • ian tinkler

        • July 21st, 2016 19:21

        Sorry, Brian Smith, how many times must I state, I am not writing for Wir Shetland, but just expressing my own views. I realise, you must have a massive problem with “Wir Shetland” ( Wir UKIP as you infer), that is just a bit sad, however, if I were you I would concentrate on Unison and Labour, extinction is threatening.

      • Robert Sim

        • July 23rd, 2016 4:46

        Ian, with all due respect, I wasn’t referring to you. I meant, do you think in general that WS will put up a candidate at the next opportunity? Having said that, perhaps they will be delighted to accept your offer!

      • ian tinkler

        • July 23rd, 2016 9:22

        Robert, I do hope so. Council elections loom close. Work commitments allowing, one has to put one’s money where one’s mouth is. Win or lose, it is taking part that matters.

  • Bruce smith

    • July 18th, 2016 8:08

    Well firstly we did’t vote Nicola sturgeon in power . So best have a vote to see if she is fit to be first minister . And reading your letter and you as a Scot have a great
    Hate of England . But that’s not felt here in Shetland as were history is is different
    When Scotland took a union with England Shetland and Orkney were part of Norway
    And it was when the the scots took use over that the Isles suffered from the power of the Scottish lards . And Arthur anderson the fonder of P&O broke that hold and and that may be the reason that Shetland and Orkney vote liberal democrat to this day . Well I could go on . But sturgeon is a loss canon and needs to be tied down
    Yours Bruce smit

    • Robin Stevenson

      • July 21st, 2016 10:33


      Firstly, let’s knock this ‘myth’ on the head, that people like yourself desperately try to peddle, that somehow SNP supporters supposedly ‘hate England’, it’s a tired, pathetic and lazy attempt to undermine and discredit supporters of Scottish independence.

      Secondly, Scotland didn’t vote for the Tories, yet that’s who our government is. Statistically, the SNP got a far higher vote from their electorate [50%] than the Tories who are governing the country on 37%.

      Thirdly, Nicola Sturgeon is doing her level best to ensure that Scotland and its people are treated with the respect they deserve, and while you may think that she’s a ‘loss canon’, I’d rather regard her as a ‘thorn in the side’ of the comfortable complacent establishment…. Although, like yourself, they don’t like it either.

  • Gregory Martin

    • July 18th, 2016 9:49

    I am constantly disappointed with politicians like Danus. We cannot continue to see this as a Welsh and English issue.

    We need leaders who can now look to create harmony, and not use the current concerns and worry of people to drive forward their own bigotry towards the Welsh and English to build on their own agenda (though I imagine this is more Anglophobic in nature than an attack on the Welsh).

    Rightly or Wrongly, it was a “UK” vote for citizens of the UK, we need people who can now help to create solidarity to secure the future of the UK, and not divide out of misplaced hate towards a single nation.

  • Robert Sandison

    • July 18th, 2016 10:18

    The EU made it clear they did not want an independent Scotland in the EU .

    • Bill Adams

      • July 18th, 2016 16:35

      Mr Barroso is no longer in post. It is Mr Juncker who is head of the EU commission.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • July 18th, 2016 17:08

      With all due respect Robert, that article is from Feb 2014, Barroso is no longer the president of the EU commission and has been superseded by Jean-Claude Juncker. This was before the Indyref in Sept that same year, and was persuaded *cough* to support Cameron. There have been major changes since then. The main one being, Scotland doesn’t want to leave the EU the rUK does.

      • ian tinkler

        • July 19th, 2016 11:01

        With all due respect, Robin Stevenson, apart from slobbering on Wee Nippy’s cheek, Jean-Claude Juncker has offered Snippy nothing of any substance, Tusk, would not even meet her!!,. Holland and Rajoy were both very negative to Nippy’s overtures!! To quote”“If the United Kingdom leaves…? Scotland leaves too”. Dream on Robin, fantasise all you will.

  • Kathy Greaves

    • July 18th, 2016 10:21

    Mr Skene may be ‘reeling in confusion’, but I, and several million others in the UK are not. Does he not think that the British can work out their own solutions and plan for our (all of the UK’s) future? If the rest of the SNP are as confused as he is it is a good thing we British voted to leave the EU, saving Scotland from an uncertain fate on its own. We should be glad that there are competent people in charge to shape Britain’s future – including Scotland’s which is still part of the UK.

    • Bill Adams

      • July 18th, 2016 19:11

      So who are these “competent people”- Boris Johnson ?

      • ian tinkler

        • July 19th, 2016 10:06

        Bill Adams, Boris Johnson, well he actually achieved a hell of a lot more success than Danus Skene has ever come close to, has he not? Come to think of it, he did far, far better in the Brexit campaign than Alex, David, Nippy and Junkers ever managed.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 19th, 2016 15:59

        Is a race to the bottom considered a ‘win’ if you make 1st place?

      • Steven Jarmson

        • July 21st, 2016 16:12

        SNP policy is all about a race to the bottom.
        You don’t make less academic children “clever” by installing an education system that makes it near impossible to differentiate between the most academically able and the least. All that does is fail the most academic children in society. Increasing pass marks make a good soundbite though.
        You don’t make the poor wealthy by taxing the rich until they too are poor. As the saying goes, everyone can be poor, but not everyone can be rich. Having the rich makes a good soundbite though.
        You don’t make the country safer by making it harder to report crimes, that only masks the crime, but looks good in statistics. It also makes a good soundbite.
        You don’t cure the drug problems of the poor by centralising and reducing drug treatment programs. It just forces those with drug problems out of the system. But, the statistics will make a good soundbite.
        You don’t engage in the future of Scotland by making a noise about special deals with the EU without consulting the UK government first. Makes for some good picture opportunities, and of course creates many good soundbites.
        The SNP is all rhetoric and no substance.
        But who cares?
        Certainly not the career politicians at Hollyrood.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 21st, 2016 21:31

        Sure it is Steven!.. Everyone knows that… Everyone thinks the SNP Scottish government are useless,… Everyone agrees with you, John Ian , Ali…erm…Have I missed anyone?

        You can save your rant, wind your neck in, breathe deeply and relax…. Fear ye not, we have a brand new Margaret Thatcher #2, with her brand new – more than competent – cabinet, who are going to get rid of that rotten and evil EU, pull the drawbridge up from these pesky foreigners, pay off ALL our debt and spread wealth, joy, happiness and fairness throughout the land…. I think this calls for celebration.. What? 🙂

        Sorry, must go!… I’m due back on the planet Earth.

  • ian tinkler

    • July 18th, 2016 10:44

    Dannus Skene, failed twice. The democratic process on two occasions, as potential Westminster MP and Holyrude SMP, his views were found wanting. I was hoping with a chip on each shoulder his opinions may now be more balanced. It is very sad he continues his anti-English anti-Westminster “Nationalist” bigotry. It was not “little England”, Dannus, that voted, it was the whole of the UK. It was not a vote that closed down European trade and cultural exchange. It was a vote that opened up World Wide trade and World Wide cultural exchange. Only the SNP and Nationalists with their narrow and divisive credo could fail to see that. Only Wee Nippy and her acolytes would use Brexit to further exploit prejudice and division within Scotland.

  • Stuart Hannay

    • July 18th, 2016 16:43

    It’s interesting to see some folk getting their knickers in a twist about the relative merits of ‘independence’ when it comes to Scotland and the EU.

  • ian tinkler

    • July 19th, 2016 10:24

    Stuart, I for one do not believe for one second Wee Nippy cares one fig about the EU. Just another bandwagon to leap on to exploit divisions in society to further her Nationalist ambitions. Just the same as her anti-Trident, CND posturing. How can she oppose nuclear weapons at the same time embracing NATO? She campaigns to banish UK nuclear deterrence at the same time opening up every port, airport and military base to NATO strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. The woman is not being candid and remotely sincere. Just posturing, maneuvering and manipulating divisions in society to achieve her dubious agenda.

  • John Tulloch

    • July 19th, 2016 12:31

    Given the recent statements from SNP Shetland vice convenor Charles Gallagher and their failed parliamentary candidate Danus Skene, it’s clear the ‘Indy2’ campaign has already kicked off and it’s theme, disgracefully, is ‘anti-Englishness’.

    “Farage, Johnson, Gove, Fox, Leadsom and Cameron himself – are all abandoning their “Little England” like rats fleeing a rapidly sinking ship..”

    “Little England will be green and pleasant with cricket, warm beer and cucumber sandwiches…”

    “We Scots are desperate to join the world, but find ourselves facing a status as colonial subjects of an isolationist England.”

    This is a vile tactic which I find utterly repugnant.

    • ian tinkler

      • July 19th, 2016 15:29

      This is a vile tactic which I find utterly repugnant. JT, that is true Nationalism, in defeat, their true agenda and prejudices are surfacing. I suppose, if one is generous you could call it a manifestation of “sour grapes” promoted by a temper tantrum., but I doubt if any apology for bigoted language will follow.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 20th, 2016 11:45


        It’s not often I agree with you, but on this occasion, I think you may just have cracked it. You yourself are one [perhaps THE] biggest culprit for ‘bigoted language’, when it comes to Scottish independence supporters, so when you say:

        ‘but I doubt if any apology for bigoted language will follow’.

        I couldn’t agree more.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • July 19th, 2016 15:56

      Perhaps you can save your faux ‘utter repugnancy’ by FULLY understanding what Mr Gallagher and Mr Skene are actually referring to John?….. Firstly, the term ‘little Englander’ refers to ‘English nationalism’ [quite different, I must add, to Scottish nationalism] English nationalism is inward looking, xenophobic, ignorant and boorish, Originally it applied to a wing of the Liberal Party opposed to expansion of the British Empire in the 19th century, who wanted “England” to extend no farther than the borders of the United Kingdom.

      Much like Mr Tinkler – who tries desperately to paint Scottish Nationalism with the same brush – it is in fact the opposite of the ‘Little English’ mentality. Both Mr Skene and Mr Gallagher are absolutely correct in referring to “Farage, Johnson, Gove, Fox, Leadsom and Cameron as ‘little Englanders’. While you struggle with the term John, perhaps this will help you?:

      Oh! incidentally, you’d better have a word with Gideon Rachman of the financial Times [and many more] who all tend to use the very same term?…

      • ian_tinkler

        • July 20th, 2016 14:57

        Turncoats, Little England, status as colonial subjects of an isolationist England. Quislings, Drunkard, merely bloody stupid. Senile, Rats, and so it goes. All from SNP officers or taken from “Shetland News”, “Shetland Times”, Blogs. How the Nationalist rage when they lose.

    • Brian Smith

      • July 19th, 2016 18:07

      ‘Little England’ doesn’t mean what you think, John.

    • ian_tinkler

      • July 20th, 2016 15:05

      Robin Stevenson, surely you can find and reference. Now how about a example of bigotry from myself with reference if I am such a huge culprit, should be easy for you. .

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 20th, 2016 19:25

        If you insist but I can’t give them all, the forum only allows me 200 words per post 🙁

        Sept 29th 2014: Are Scottish Nationalists to follow the Irish example? Rebellion, Easter Uprising, Civil War, Partition, Sectarianism, Bigotry,IRA, PIRA, INLA, real IRA, Black and Tans, B Specials, UDA, UDR, Internment, H-Blocks, Bloody Sunday (Bogside Massacre), Omagh Bombing, Birmingham pubs, Manchester, and
        so much more, so much utter hatred and division over something as stupid as

        April 24th 2015: “Cybernats – nut-cases crawling out from under stones with their anonymous death threats and filthy insults”.

        Sept 29th 2014: “anyone whom is so silly they cannot see they are opposite sides of the same dirty little “nationalist” coin”.

        Sept 29th 2014: “Lets hope Scotland never follows the example of the USA. Bit of a problem when the South tried for independence, how many died? then the slaves were still not free, still have civil rights in the gutter, death penalty, yes, you have it all!”

        Will that do you or would you like a few more Ian?

      • ian tinkler

        • July 21st, 2016 18:29

        I have nothing to apologise here for Robin Stevenson. You highlight, absolutely out of context; one question (Sept 29th 2014), on response to SNP Troll death threats (April 24th 2015), one simple statement of fact (Sept 29th 2014) and a simple plea not to follow the mistakes of the past (Sept 29th 2014). Hardly a record of bigotry. Perhaps you should buy a dictionary and learn the meaning of the word.
        ( Bigot: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance)
        Robin Stevenson your words, Turncoats:” much like the 55% (Yes voters) happy to bring your own country down and sell your own people out,” Reference (17:25 Wednesday, 06 April 2016)
        (Turncoat; specifically : traitor)

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 22nd, 2016 12:29

        LOL…Why am I not the slightest bit surprised Ian?

        How can you possibly apologise for something you don’t even know the meaning of the word for?… A predictable response from a our teflon coated serial poster…

  • David Spence

    • July 19th, 2016 13:06

    I suspect one of the main reasons the UK broke ties with the EU, was to gain an even closer relationship with the USA, via TTIP ((Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) which I think some countries in the EU, will veto).

    In affect, it will be the mass privatisation (including Scotland (Westminster has done away with the Barnett Formula)) which Scotland will be forced to comply with the Conservative Governments (and USA’s) agenda by deliberately reducing the monies Scotland gets from Westminster (despite the fact Scotland gives far more than it receives).

    • ian tinkler

      • July 19th, 2016 15:22

      David Spence , Whitehall confirmed a list of 10 economic powerhouses, including India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Canada as well as the USA . The EU is still an option for a trading partner also, subject to negotiation!

    • Robin Stevenson

      • July 19th, 2016 16:51


      I’m afraid that ‘sort’ of logic is lost on SO many….. Spot on 🙂

    • ian tinkler

      • July 20th, 2016 8:00

      The peoples of the UK, by voting to leave the EU, are not cutting cultural ties and free trade with Europe, all that can remain, however, the UK, is now free to forge cultural ties and free trade agreements with the entire World. Strange people should have a problem with that.

      • David Spence

        • July 22nd, 2016 11:38

        Not quite Ian. The people of England (since England has about 85% of the UK population) voted out of the EU, but since Scotland and Northern Ireland are part of the UK (Scotland and Northern Ireland with significant smaller population) their votes amount to nothing due to one country (England) having the majority population, and vote.

        A fine example of democracy not working (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should have be given the opportunity for their own EU Referendum).

      • ian tinkler

        • July 22nd, 2016 12:34

        Shame about democracy, sometimes you cannot have it all your own way. Like in the EU, the UK was only 1 in 28. Remember when Scotland was 1 in 4, the Scots voted to keep it that way, that’s democracy for you David.

  • Haydn Gear

    • July 19th, 2016 13:20

    What was that about Dannus Skene having a chip on each shoulder as described by the ever well balanced and fair to a fault IT. ? It does make you wonder ( as stated on previous occasions by me and others) how it is possible for one person to always be right and for all others to always be wrong. It must be something in the genes which blesses him with hugely superior intelligence and knowledge whilst thick and uninformed inferior specimens flounder in his wake. He really is a thesaurus on legs. Many years ago, Idi Amin awarded himself a VC and invited himself to afternoon tea with the Queen. I wonder what IT has in mind.

  • Haydn Gear

    • July 19th, 2016 20:00

    Oh, it has just dawned on me—–his one and only choice must be Nicola Sturgeon. He surely has a hotline ☎️ to her !! Lol

  • John Tulloch

    • July 20th, 2016 12:11

    Brian, None of it is complementary and it is intended to single out English people as a target for disparagement, the staple plank of SNP bigotry.

    How are opponents to respond, “Little Schottlander”? Is that to be the level of debate? So much for the brave, new, fair-to-all’ Scotland!

    It is disgraceful and makes me ashamed to be identified as a Scotsman.

    I condemn it, utterly.

  • Haydn Gear

    • July 20th, 2016 12:12

    Smoking Ian? Never have done in any way, shape or form. Bad for the health,odour and pocket. Having said that, I sometimes wonder why some people appear to fume so much especially when the Scottish First Minister name is used! Do any names spring to mind Ian? Now , that anger could also be detrimental to physical health and mental instability. (Raised blood pressure and OCD for example). Anyway, it’s nice of you to show concern for my welfare which could be linked to using drugs. Aspirin is about my limit. I’m beginning to wonder if you might benefit from a dose of diazapam though. One well intentioned turn deserves another—-or do you disagree with that too along with the myriad of disagreements which seem to encircle your temporary existence. Keep S M I L I N G old chap ????????????????????????????????

  • Andrew Holt

    • July 21st, 2016 9:31

    Danus Skene claims the country is “reeling in confusion” as a result of the majority vote to leave the EU. Not so. Yes our parliamentarians, the commentariat and other assorted opinion formers (has been rock and movie stars and industrialists on a promise etc) are “reeling in confusion.” After all the scare stories, how dare we go against nanny, who only has our best interests at heart dears! Politics has never been so interesting. As the gulf between electors and elected becomes increasingly apparent, I hope that out of this might be born a system more suited to 21st century democracy. One where people can be offered more of a choice than three parties populated in the main by out of touch cloned careerists.

    • Bill Hall

      • July 22nd, 2016 11:23

      I wonder if you include in your list of ‘has Beens’ and ‘industrialists on a promise’, one Mathew Elliot, who ran the Official Leave campaign? On the daily politics yesterday, when challenged on some of the wilder promises they made, including the £350 million a week to the NHS, he proudly admitted they were not true, the presenter said to him “so you lied?” He replied ” I was running a campaign, the object was to win!” Well he certainly won, but it is doubtful if the sad guy in Hartlepool did, who was delighted with the result because the factories and the hospital ( closed by Tory austerity not the EU) would now reopen!
      Theresa May is now parading her ‘Christianity’ for us all to admire, I wait to see what that will entail.

      • John Tulloch

        • July 22nd, 2016 14:07

        Aye, Bill, I’ll join you in deploring the campaign lies – from both sides!

        e.g. “Half a million unemployed if we leave the EU!”.

        I don’t know why they bothered, voters knew fine that many claims of both campaigns were false.

        I argued for and voted Leave because countries like Norway and Switzerland have full access to the single market and its benefits without having to sign on to all the undesirable bits of the EU i.e. loss of sovereignty over the majority of our laws – the 60 percent claimed was NOT A LIE – plus the ability to negotiate their own trade deals and not be part of, especially for Shetland, iniquitous scams like the Common Fisheries Policy. This is clearly a better deal than the UK has.

        I can’t understand why the SNP would reject an arrangement like Norway’s to join as a full member with no UK perks and losing Scottish fishing grounds.

        FIshing grounds which, according to fisheries experts quoted in a local newsblog, with effective management, could be worth £5 billion per annum – a lot of tax and exports.

      • ian tinkler

        • July 23rd, 2016 9:02

        Just like the factories in Greece, Bill? and how long before the EU actually realises open borders policy is not a clever security move? How many more deaths.? Now did not “the remain group” claim security would be better within the EU. Were they being disingenuous or just stupid??

      • ian tinkler

        • July 23rd, 2016 10:03

        “I can’t understand why the SNP would reject an arrangement like Norway’s to join as a full member with no UK perks and losing Scottish fishing grounds.” The reason is simple John, the SNP have only one goal, to separate Scotland from the UK. Absolutely any and every move by the Westminster Government (England, rUK) will be voraciously attacked, irrespective of merit or princilple to further that aim. Brexit, Trident, UK bill of Rights, democratic Union reform, prudent Government spending, the lists go on and on. Division and separation is the name of Nippies game. Fortunately, most of Scotland is growing tired and a little annoyed of her silly grandstanding. The people of Shetland in particular, ask Dannus Skene.

      • Brian Smith

        • July 23rd, 2016 16:38

        The people who are writing here about the rosy future for the British economy following Brexit should be more cautious. Not just the character who said that the number of job adverts in the Shetland Times the week afterwards proved that things were looking up! (Employment figures have a very long lag effect.)

        Have a look at this article to see what might be in store:

      • ian tinkler

        • July 25th, 2016 8:26

        Very true Brian. Scotland could always go for Independence and EU membership. A recipe absolute poverty for all, how very fair, such social equality for all, how very socialist! Scotland for EU inflicted absolute austerity. Just follow the Greek or Spanish or Italian model of Brussels in total servitude. Youth unemployment in Greece 50%, Spain 44%, and Italy 37%. A real socialist EU Utopia under the heal of some faceless eurocrats. Brian Smith is that what you advocate?

      • Robert Sim

        • July 25th, 2016 10:42

        Ian, you say: “Fortunately, most of Scotland is growing tired and a little annoyed of her silly grandstanding”. Evidence?

      • ian tinkler

        • July 25th, 2016 12:02

        Circumstantial only, Robert, but Nippy is showing a severe case of cold feet recently, with “Indy 2”. Quite a change from a month back when she was squawking from the rooftops about it, after the Brexit vote. Have you noticed how quiet the polls have gone, even the Herald and the National are keeping silent? That makes a nice change, maybe they all know what a disaster it could be for Scotland, deficit £10 billion plus, no Barnett money and precious little if any grants from the EU. Without the rUK contribution, the EU would be on its beam ends and austerity in Scotland would make Osbourne’s recent doctrine look like heaven.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 25th, 2016 17:55

        Ian, did you not read, or were you not made aware of the fact that Nicola has committed herself to look at EVERY option before she considers another indyref#2?

        No-one knows what’s happening, there was never ANY plan. The leave group had no clue they were going to win, and now we’re faced with a chaotic pieced together assembly of a cabinet in order to try and achieve the best deal possible from the EU. Of course, the EU are now in the driving seat and any possible deals will be on their terms.

        With regard to your £10 billion deficit, the figure was actually £17 billion, but then again, IF the UK gov choose to borrow even more money, then Scotland’s deficit will be our percentage of whatever they choose to borrow. In other words, if the UK gov borrowed a further …Say…£250 bn for propping up the pound, Scotland’s deficit will go up by another £25bn, so that’ll take us up to £42bn thanks to our competent government. IF we have a deficit at all, it’s got nothing to do with what Scotland borrowed, because ‘We can’t borrow money’.

      • Robert Sim

        • July 26th, 2016 4:03

        Ian, the Herald has in the last week almost daily been carrying a story about the SNP’s summer independence campaign, which is about to launch, together with the FM’s speeches on the subject of Brexit and independence for Scotland, so I would disagree about her keeping quiet. In addition, I see that a grassroots movement for independence has launched.
        Personally, I think it is pointless having a referendum on independence until support in the polls is consistently at least 60%. However Brexit (if it actually happens and doesn’t founder on the rock of free movement) will force it quicker, I guess. In any case, I see absolutely nothing in what you say to support the idea that the Scottish people are growing tired and annoyed with the First Minister.

        I also find it amusing that we still hear the sort of dire predictions you repeat about what an economic disaster an independent Scotland would be while the same folk tell us that coming out of the EU will be a new dawn economically, in spite of the real evidence that is starting to accumulate. Did you read the link Brian posted just above? That’s not circumstantial evidence.

      • ian tinkler

        • July 27th, 2016 8:59

        Robert Sim, just why is nippy sitting on her hands so? Her has a burning ambition is for Independence yet “Nicola has committed herself to look at EVERY option before she considers another indyref#2?” why so, and how long will that take her?
        With regard to the doom merchants condemning an Independent UK, have they not now been proved so wrong by events? The City appears to be booming, 12 countries outside the EU are pressing for new trade agreements with the UK alone, overseas investments in the UK continues to new highs and we are told to expect a massive new surge of EU immigration as Europeans try and get here before Brexit closes the EU open door. Perhaps those Europeans know something you do not Robert. Have you asked yourself why they wish to live in the wicked UK to be governed by the Westminster Tories? If the UK is so awful and condemned to poverty why do so many desert their European homelands and wish to live in the UK? Perhaps the EU is not the Utopia Nippy and the SNP would have you believe!

      • Robert Sim

        • July 27th, 2016 12:05

        Let me correct your/The Daily Express’s wishful thinking, Ian:

        1. “With regard to the doom merchants condemning an Independent UK, have they not now been proved so wrong by events? The City appears to be booming…” Again, read the article Brian Smith linked to. The initial hard figures are not good.
        2. “12 countries outside the EU are pressing for new trade agreements with the UK alone…”. Even if that were true, how long will each deal take to negotiate (without a wishful guess)?
        3. “…we are told to expect a massive new surge of EU immigration as Europeans try and get here before Brexit closes the EU open door.” Brexit won’t do that because the deal will be that if the UK government wants access to the EU single market – which it will – then it must accept the free movement of peoples – i.e. the status quo in that respect. That is a huge problem for Brexit, isn’t it?

      • ian_tinkler

        • July 27th, 2016 17:05

        Sure Robert, We are all domed and the end of the world is nigh. I for one love the free movement of peoples, not just European. No doubt time will tell but at least we , the UK, with or without Scotland will be sovereign again. With any luck, so will Shetland, clear of the SNP and its narrow socialist nationalism. Enjoy that thought.

      • Brian Smith

        • July 27th, 2016 21:20

        Robert, it’s a very interesting question whether it’s the Express or the Mail whence Mr Inkster and Mr Tinkler receive their political education. I tend to think it’s the Mail, but I am ready to be corrected.

      • ian_tinkler

        • July 28th, 2016 11:15

        King’s London, actually Brian. With occasional forays off to UCH and LSE.

  • Haydn Gear

    • July 21st, 2016 10:15

    Better late than never is what they say. So, on that basis, I hope that Nicola Sturgeon enjoyed her 46th birthday two days ago (19th) in spite of all the unkind things which SOME people throw at her.

    • Michael Garriock

      • July 21st, 2016 13:23

      She’s a politician, and one who is at the top of her particular totem of choice. Being the target for brickbats and sundry over-ripe fruit comes with the territory.

      If she can’t stand the heat, I’m sure she has a minion or so who will obediently point out where the door is.

      • ROBERT SIM

        • July 21st, 2016 18:32

        You are spot on about her being at the top, Michael.

  • ian_tinkler

    • July 21st, 2016 11:28

    “the unkind things which SOME people throw at her” Nippy Sweetie” I understand ,it was “supposedly Jamie Webster, a trade union convenor in the Govan shipyard, who termed Sturgeon a ‘nippie sweetie’…..” and meant it as a compliment. Hardly an unkind thing to throw at her.

  • Haydn Gear

    • July 21st, 2016 21:34

    I’m not at all sure about the frequently usedt term Nippy Sweetie to describe Nicola Sturgeon. Michael Garriock makes the observation” if she can’t stand the heat…..etc accompanied by additions which indicate that he thinks because she’s a politician,she should expect”brickbats and sundry over-ripe fruit thrown her way.” He sounds a pleasant,civilised kind of man. Ian Tinkler, in contrast, states it was “supposedly Jamie Webster, a trade union convenor in the Govan shipyard who called her ‘ nippy sweetie’. Furthermore, it was meant as a compliment. Clearly, one of these opinions is wrong, or maybe they are both wrong. Expianation please. The islanders of Foula, many of whom share my surname, would probably be more polite and call her Peerie Lassie since at 5ft- 4ins , she’s not very big, hence her high heeled shoes.

  • Bill Hall

    • July 23rd, 2016 11:41

    In re: letter from John Tulloch
    In a strange way, we appear to be victims of the same thing; democracy. The greatest good for the greatest number.
    In a UK context, the greatest number is of course England, and Scotland got the crumbs. In a devolved Scotland, the greatest number is of course mainland Scotland, and Shetland is left behind, but Shetland gained a huge advantage when Britain joined the EU, the ability to become an autonomous region, and the myriad benefits which came with it. Sadly Shetland has been badly let down by her politicians, and that ship has now sailed.
    I campaigned to remain in the EU, because my adoptive country, Spain, has benefited greatly from being a member, and since it is a truly socialist country it suits me down to the ground. I have researched what steps I needed to take, since I am no longer “a citizen of another EU country”, to stay here, and as a pensioner, they are easily achieved, so I’m afraid John I have no interest in whatever model the UK decides to adopt, but I will say this; some in Shetland are completely obsessed with the CFP, but what about the CAP? The crofters could be hit very badly. If I interpolate the figures in the letter from Joseph Kay, if 20 millionaires are two Pelagic crews, then with 7 pelagic boats would that mean 70 millionaires? ( Jesuit logic I agree), but my point is they don’t appear to be badly off.
    Finally, as usual, I am completely baffled by your lieutenant, mr Tinkler’s reference to Greek factories. If it is something to do with Greece’s problems with the EU, then as usual, he is talking through his hat. Goldman Sachs, with the connivance of the then Greek Government, cooked the books showing that the Greek Economy easily complied with the requirements for entry. Sadly they didn’t and the rest is history.

    • ian tinkler

      • July 24th, 2016 14:49

      Bill Hall, you have a strange idea of the ideal Socialist State., A truly socialist country Spain, has an unemployment rate 21 percent. If that suits you down to the ground, you must have a very privileged position in Spanish society. I can only assume you are one of the lucky 79% in work or have independent riches. If so, perhaps, you can afford to be a socialist, lucky you… As for Greece, ferocious austerity imposed by the wealthy EU states, has made the life there miserable, and forced the closure of many companies. Unemployment is at 23.3 percent, her remaining factories are struggling for survival. The greatest mistake Greece made was joining the EU and compounding that with joining the Euro. Thank goodness Britain is soon to be out, how long do you think before Greece and Spain follow? Your insight to Goldman Sachs is extraordinary, could you reference that or did you make up the bit about fraudulent acountancy.

      • Bill Hall

        • July 26th, 2016 8:36

        You are an abusive little tink(l)er aren’t you? Your communication style seems to be an amalgam of Katie Hopkins and Lord HawHaw.
        Yes, undeniably Spain has high unemployment, caused by the depredations of the banking industry, but something about Spain undeniably works, despite its present difficulties. I wonder how the United Kingdom would handle 21% unemployment – would they handle it as well as Spain? Do you have the institutions, the values or social cohesion to handle that level of economic and societal distress?
        Spain has many assets going for it, including a highly educated and skilled workforce, ideal climate and a gorgeous landscape and beaches that make it a tourist mecca for other Europeans, a burgeoning green tech industry that has made Spain a leader in solar and wind power, outstanding infrastructure and mass transportation like high-speed trains (much of it partially funded by E.U. subsidies), and more.
        Indeed, it is remarkable how everything is still functioning for the most part normally. Besides the expanding grey economy which makes the actual unemployment less, “family and social pillars” are functioning as they are intended: acting to spread the pain around during these difficult times (as well as to spread the prosperity around during the good times). Even with government spending cutbacks, Spain still has had fairly generous unemployment benefits, as well as severance pay, tax deductions and other supports for families and individuals. Families are motivated to help each other, especially parents assisting their young adult children by drawing upon savings.
        That is what I mean by Spain being a socialist ( note once more the small s) country

        Greece managed to keep within the strict Maastricht rules for eurozone membership largely because of complex financial deals created by the investment bank, Goldman Sachs, which critics say disguised the extent of the country’s outstanding debts. The Independent is a good source on this.

        Finally, although our financial affairs are none of your business, my wife and I are pensioners. We live entirely off our UK State pensions, no benefits such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Pension Credit or Disability Living Allowance, not even Winter Fuel Allowance, but in Spain, We pay our own way in everything. It is totally impossible to do that in “Great” Britain.
        In Greece they go on strike, in Spain we go to the beach. Viva Espana!

      • ian_tinkler

        • July 26th, 2016 15:11

        Bill, no doubt you are sitting pretty and can pontificate at your leisure. I have several Spanish friends here and they would not share your views at all. Poor employment prospects has exiled them from Spain. Youth unemployment at 44% is not so funny. Enjoy yourself on the beach, as I said, you can afford to be a socialist. It will be interesting to see how the EU grants are cut for all Southern Europe, once the UK is out and Germany has to pick up the tab alone.

  • David Spence

    • July 24th, 2016 19:32

    I am intrigued (if anybody can enlighten me) as to how Britain’s (especially Scotland/Shetland) Fishing Industry will be better off out of the EU? Correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know, the furthest a fishing boat can go from the British shore is 3 miles, any further than this is either EU or International waters???

    I was also of the belief that being under the EU, this distance increased to 15 miles (3+12(EU)).

    However, I am pretty sure, just because the UK is an island, the UK cannot decide on what fishing territory, outwith the 3 mile limit, it has without coming into conflict with other countries, whether EU or outwith the EU????

    • James Leask

      • July 26th, 2016 15:50

      Not sure where you have got your information, but every Country has sovereignty up to 12 nautical miles (13.8 land miles), from its baseline (mean low-water mark) from the UN convention on the Law of the Sea. Foreign ships are allowed innocent passage, but a nation controls any economic activity in the 12 miles such as fishing. We will have control of this again once we are out of the EU, so a big difference from the 3 miles you had thought.

      • Ali Inkster

        • July 26th, 2016 16:46

        12 nm for territorial waters and 200nm or the median line with other countries for the EEZ (exclusive economic zone).

      • Robin Stevenson

        • July 26th, 2016 18:50

        Thank goodness you’re part of Scotland to gain that 200nm EEZ Ali eh? ???? ???? ????

  • Andy Holt

    • July 24th, 2016 20:00

    In answer to Bill Hall, no I have never heard of Matthew Elliot. Personally I was aware that much of the rhetoric from both sides was scaremongering, half truths and down right lies. The point for me has always been sovreignty. The EU, which is not Europe, is an anti-democratic, bureaucratic institution with an agenda to create a federal European super state complete with its own parliament, army, judiciary, foreign ministry and currency. It is, frankly, a house of cards. I don’t know about you, but I like my government to be accountable to the electorate at the ballot box. As for Mrs May “parading her Christianity for all to see”, what’s your point? If secular humanists, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims and every other belief can be expressed in the public sphere why not Christianity? She’s the child of a vicar, so is Ozzy Osbourne.

  • Haydn Gear

    • July 25th, 2016 12:11

    Thanks Ian for the reference to Nicola Sturgeon’s political life story.I’ve always rated her highly and have wondered why she has come in for so much stick. Mindless envy perhaps? At least Govan shipyard appreciated her.

  • John Irvine

    • July 26th, 2016 18:03

    Having the pleasure/misfortune of spending half an hour or so in the company of Mr Skene and his sidekick Robbie McGregor (before the election) the overwhelming impression I got was one of 2 men who were out of totally out of touch with reality, with the events since Brexit it is now obvious that their leader is on the same planet.

  • Haydn Gear

    • July 26th, 2016 18:06

    My sister in law and her husband left Spain for the UK ( after20 years) pretty damn quick when they saw the writing on the Spanish wall having incurred much debt. Have you heard of similar stories in your nirvana? I have.

    • Bill Hall

      • July 28th, 2016 7:31

      Not being a Buddhist, I have never sought Nirvana, but it does sound quite appealing.
      You do hear now and then of people packing up and going home, but generally they tend to be very old, their health may be failing, and they have never learned to speak Spanish. In some cases they have lived in gated communities, never mixing with the local people at all. This is more prevalent over in Alicante.
      As for incurring debt, I’m afraid I can’t help you there. Food is cheaper here, rents are affordable, and as a resident my healthcare is free, and the standard of the healthcare is, I believe, second only to France’s.
      But should “Thatcher 2” continue down the road she is, and we are all booted out of Europe, what would be the effect on UK housing and health etc of the influx of over 1 million returnees?

  • Bill Hall

    • July 26th, 2016 21:34

    OK Mr. Tinkler, you win. I’m afraid I cannot conduct a dialogue with someone who cannot assimilate an entire piece, and only chooses the bits that he doesn’t like then repeats them ad nauseum. If my residence was in Sub-Saharan Africa, I feel sure you would have good friends in Shetland from Timbuctoo, who had fled the 98 % unemployment caused by the EU in general and Germany in particular.

    As my final piece of advice, I can only wish that, like the Fine Scottish Nationalist, Sir Compton McKenzie, you would endeavour to find a mental Bitter Aloes which could cure you of biting your mind just as you cured yourself of biting your nails. Goodbye and good luck.


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