WATCH: All fired up in Trump debate

There was hardly a spare seat in the house as the first Althing of 2017 kicked off in Staney Hill Hall last night with the motion “Trump – we got what we deserved”

After a fiery and often humorous evening, the motion was carried with 23 voting in favour, 11 against and eight undecided.

Speaking for the motion was well-known writer and former teacher Donald Murray along with Thor Holt.

Mr Holt, an Althing debutant, had travelled up especially from Deeside to take part. Hailing from Papa Stour he runs a communications business and has also spent time working in America.

Speaking against was SIC councillor Jonathan Wills and Ryan Thomson, campaigner and owner of Tagon Stores in Voe.

An initial poll saw 15 people in favour, 18 against and 15 undecided.

“It’s all to play for tonight,” said chairwoman Karen Fraser.

Mr Murray gave the first speech of the evening, claiming, with a smile, he was some distant relation to Barack Obama.

Some of Obama’s relatives were Murrays, he said and he knew a number of Donald Trump’s cousins from the Western Isles who were good people.

“There are Scots and rats the whole world over and they’ve had their fill,” said Mr Murray, giving examples such as Jardine Matheson who sold opium to the Chinese, and Scottish slave owners.

It was the descendants of such Scottish slave owners that voted Trump, he said and “turned up their noses” to his cousin Barack.

Mr Murray went on to talk about the all-consuming internet, which he told the audience had been allowed to “take over our home”.

He spoke about the attraction of clickbait, suspect and dubious alternatives to mainstream media, and appealing to a sense of outrage.

The result, he said was that people rarely encounter any material on the internet that “challenges our preconceptions and our prejudices”.

“Our knowledge of the world becomes one great, vast echo chamber”.

Thoughts and opinions of others were seen as violations and intrusions, said Mr Murray, people began to occupy “bubbles” and “we start to imitate if not his [Trump’s] views then his mindset.”

“We ignore inconvenient truths that jar our vision of the world,” Mr Murray said.

“I’m as guilty of this as anybody else.” – admitting he did not for see Brexit or and never thought Trump would replace Obama.

People failed to take Trump seriously, he added, and “even more tragically” failed to treat the people who voted for him with sufficient seriousness.

Dr Wills was the first to speak against the motion, and questioned its meaning.

“Does the motion mean ‘we’ the people in this hall?” he asked, questioning how many present had a vote in the election.

“Nobody deserves Donald Trump, not even the poor, deluded folk who voted for him.”

Hillary Clinton had almost three million votes more than Trump, he said but the Electoral College system did not deliver “popular democracy”.

Americans, he said, urgently needed a constitutional amendment where the winner was the the one with the most votes.

“Millions of poor and middle class Americans voted in protest at what they were repeatedly told was a remote, spendthrift, uncaring federal government and congress, where their elected representatives and civil servants were routinely bought and sold for corporate gold,” he said, a message from much of the mass media and in particular the extreme right wing media.

Dr Wills said for decades the right in America had seen taxes as a punitive imposition on the public and a sort of “unnecessary evil”.

Meanwhile, real problems such as as high unemployment, low wages and expensive healthcare were blamed on the federal government.

Mr Holt, also spoke about the power of new media, in particular Breitbart and how the news outlet has helped Trump’s campaign.

He spoke about the feeling that older media had filtered the news and that “new, alternative media are blasting past” the “old gatekeepers”.

Mr Holt also spoke of “political dynasties” – there had been two Bush presidencies, and with the option of a second Clinton in power “is that the cream that America has?”.

Leaked DNC emails proved Bernie Sanders never got a look in, he said.

Three times as many Muslims voted for Trump last year as voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, Mr Holt argued.

People who voted for Trump “heard a guy who spoke his mind and sometimes speaking their mind in a way they didn’t feel allowed to anymore”.

Voters don’t like to be treated like children, Mr Holt said, told what to say, think or listen to.

Mr Thomson quipped when he first saw the motion “I thought this shouldn’t take long” as people didn’t even have a vote to cast.

Like Dr Wills he said Trump won because of the flaws in the American voting system.

He said both David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon had made their views known on Trump becoming president and “we did warn them” there was “little else we could’ve done”.

• More in Friday’s Shetland Times


Add Your Comment
  • Robert Sandison

    • January 9th, 2017 18:48

    You have to hand it to Trump he had the massed ranks of the American MSM , Wall street the political establishment of both parties and the whole of Hollywood working 24/7 for months spending billions of dollars to wreck his campaign and still he bulldozed his way to victory .

  • Christopher Johnston

    • January 9th, 2017 23:10

    I am one of 63 million USA voters (and one with Shetland roots) who voted for Donald Trump. I find it ludicrous that Shetlanders waste time debating this motion that affects their lives not a whit while not debating the many and immediate problems facing Shetland. You focus on someone else’s mouse while ignoring the elephants in your own kitchen.

    The USA is a representative democracy as is the UK, not a pure democracy. Our Electoral College is closer to the popular vote than your parliamentary system in which the monarch appoints the Prime Minister. And I remind you that Hillary Clinton’s spouse was elected our President in 1992 despite winning only 40% of the popular vote.

    • Mark Williamson

      • January 14th, 2017 6:11

      I also am a USA citizen with Shetland roots. My late father George came from Walls.

      I agree with much of what CJ says. However, while he is almost correct in saying that Bill Clinton was elected President with only 40% of the popular vote (in fact, 43%), he had almost 6 million more votes than the Republican candidate. It was a three-way race, which he did win on the popular vote!

      With almost 63 million voters supporting him, Donald Trump gained more votes than any elected President, other than Barack Obama. As we’ve all heard, Hillary gained more also, but in defeat, and George H. Bush got almost as many when he soundly defeated John Kerry in 2004.

      But as CJ correctly points out neither the UK nor the USA yet elects a leader on the popular vote. If you’re going to change the system, you have to do it before an election cycle, not just when you don’t like the result! And in reality, certainly in the USA, about half the voters vote one way, the other half vote the other way – neither side often gets a clear and convincing mandate, it doesn’t matter which way you count it.

      Like Britain, the USA voted against unlimited immigration. We also voted for change. What change, if any we get (good or bad), we have to wait and see. You have the bureaucrats in London, we have the bureaucrats in Washington DC. None of us get to vote them in or out. Mostly all any of us get are broken promises. Time will tell!

      In the meantime, how about publishing my Uncle Leslie Williamson’s photographs with all the others from the At Sea and Ashore exhibition at the Museum in the Times, so that us ex-patriots can see what we’re missing?

      • Brian Smith

        • January 15th, 2017 20:06

        For an excellent article on Trump and what we’re in store for see Rebecca Solnit, ‘From lying to leering’, in the London Review of Books of 19 January.

      • Mark Williamson

        • January 22nd, 2017 17:33

        Mark very good sentiments and very glad to see you promoting my dad’s photo’s.

  • David Spence

    • January 10th, 2017 16:14

    According to the number of votes each candidate received, Hilary Clinton should have won the election in the USA?

    However, the majority of people do not know is the US Political System is based on ‘ Bribery ‘ and the ‘ Commercial Interests of the Few ‘, and not the voting power of the people.

    It also should be pointed out the political process involves ‘ Bribery on an immense scale in terms of Foreign Policy and International Diplomacy ‘. Organisations which are supposed to represent the interests of several countries, in general, UN, WTO (World Trade Organisation) NATO and a few other bodies, is also highly influenced by the commercial interests of the few.

    Never has history been so dominated with war and conflict in the past 120 years than it is now. If you look underneath the motives behind such conflict (especially US Foreign Policy) there is an underlying agenda of commercial interests on a humungous scale. This, primarily, being Western Banking Institutes and its insatiable appetite for power and dominance. Aptly demonstrated in 2008 – 2009 with the so-called Bank Crisis and the people forced to bail them out.

    Donald Trump endorses such a system.

    • Christopher Johnston

      • January 11th, 2017 11:58

      And you speak for Donald Trump or have complete examples of instances where he has endorsed the behavior you cite? No sound bites, please.
      And I suggest you reflect on past foreign policy of the British Empire before criticising others, lest you be seen as the pot calling the kettle black.

      • David Spence

        • January 11th, 2017 19:20

        Hi Christopher, No, I am not talking on behalf on Donald Trump. I also take note that Britain has not exactly been a model in terms of 1 country exerting its power and will onto another country.

        However, as a result of technological advances, especially in war and conflict, 1 country has used and dominated the world over the past 120 years.

        This country has supported Dictators, put into power Dictators, been partially responsible for many wars and conflicts and uses its power and might to strengthen its grip on to the world purely for self-interest and commercial necessity.

        It will even execute ‘ Red Flag Operations ‘ to justify getting public support in which to carry out its policy of going to war, regime change or economic and commercial gain (present conflict in Iraq/Afghanistan).

        I was also pointing out, as a consequence of technological advances, the huge numbers of people being killed in such a short time. It also points to a darker side of human behaviour when you link economics to war and conflict, and the connections they have. In many cases, a direct connection (present war in Iraq/Afghanistan).

  • Haydn Gear

    • January 11th, 2017 14:28

    What happened in the recent past and what is happening at the present time is not possible to change. What happens in the nearing future and in the next four years with egomaniac Trump at the helm is what we, indeed the world, should be worrying about. If crystal balls were available and really were capable of predicting the future, I’m not at all sure I’d like to have one. It bothers me that the golden haired wealthy chappy is (a) so keen to have an instant family dynasty around him and (b) that he appears so anxious to have a wily ex KGB agent for his mate. The Russian bear is still alive and kicking. Time not opinions will reveal all.


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