Inkster comments give Wir Shetland a headache

A council hopeful and member of Wir Shetland has admitted that the group has “image problems” after an online debate erupted below a story about the weekend’s Sister March in Lerwick.

Duncan Simpson was forced to jump to the defence of the autonomy group when Ali Inkster, who was elected as vice-chairman of the group in November, accused the marchers of hypocrisy.

In a statement circulated today by the autonomy group it was stated that Mr Inkster had resigned in light of online comments which “used language that was inappropriate”.

The press release, from group chairman James Titcomb, alludes to comments made by Mr Inkster on the Wir Shetland Facebook page.

The statement said: “Ali recently got in to an online debate on a visitor post to the Wir Shetland Facebook page.

“During that debate he made a comment that could be considered personally insulting to one of the other commentators, he also used language that was inappropriate for use on the groups page. After reviewing the conversation in question Ali has decided that he should resign his position on the committee.”

A different spat involving Mr Inkster was sparked earlier this week when North Isles candidate and former Wir Shetland member Ryan Thomson shared an article about the online abuse received by women who participated in Saturday’s march.

A story about the march generated a number of strongly-worded comments on The Shetland Times Facebook page. One comment referred to the marchers as being members of the “feminist womens cult”.

Other remarks attempted to paint the march as pointless with Colin Halcrow saying that they should “march against something a lot closer tae hame” before calling the protesters “bloody morons”.

Mr Simpson viewed the event as nothing more than an unnecessary outburst of ill feeling against a democratic election. He went on to refer to it as “baffling”.

In defence of the march some commentators pointed out that the issues it attempted to highlight were larger than Trump.

Commenting below the post on Mr Thomson’s Facebook page, however, Mr Inkster accused the marchers of hypocrisy.

He asked why President Trump’s brag about grabbing women “by the pussy” was more offensive to protesters than drone strikes on the Middle East carried out under his predecessor Barack Obama.

Mr Inkster repeatedly referred to Obama as “obomber” and Hillary Clinton as “killary”.

Mr Simpson attempted to distance Wir Shetland from its then vice-chairman, saying that his views had “nothing to do with Wir Shetland”.

However, he confessed that the group had “image problems” and that it was something they were “trying to address.”

Ex-member Mr Thomson later told this newspaper: “I left Wir Shetland because I simply did not like the direction it was going in. It was not the organisation I thought it was, nor is it what I thought it would become.

“The group as far as I’m concerned is nothing but an anti-SNP group and certainly not the ‘cross party group’ it advertises itself to be, and whilst I agree with the principle of more local powers I could not agree with how the group is run or some of its policies including on immigration.”

When contacted by The Shetland Times Mr Inkster put the phone down.


Add Your Comment
  • Alex Sked

    • January 26th, 2017 16:31

    Slow news week at The Shetlnd Times?

  • ian_tinkler

    • January 26th, 2017 17:30

    As a member of, “Wir Shetland” and someone known for a somewhat “undiplomatic approach” to the online debate, I feel it may be of relevance to point out the following. Wir Shetland does in fact stand for far more than any one individuals views. It is a multi-political group; each individual member has an absolute right to express his or her opinion. I personally have no time whatsoever for the political extremes, “Left”, “Right”, “Nationalism”. That is my view, no more no less. What is important is the core reason for “Wir Shetland”; “To protect the long-term interests of Shetlanders by achieving self-governing autonomy, in line with the democratic wishes of residents.” Every individual member has an absolute right to express an honest opinion, as most members are quite fiercely individual, some may feel uncomfortable with those views. That is simply to be expected, also some individuals simply hate the thought of an autonomous Shetland, for an autonomous Shetland would scupper their own narrow aspirations. Ex-member, Mr Thomson, castigates Wir Shetland for its views on immigration. As far as I know Wir Shetland has never expressed views against immigration, or for that matter any views about the SNP!!

    • Brian Spence

      • January 27th, 2017 17:07

      “As far as I know Wir Shetland has never expressed views against immigration”

      This is from the “Wir Shetland” constitution:
      “Immigrants will be selected based on how well their skills match the local demand. After 5 years residency with full employment they will qualify to apply for citizenship.”

      That isn’t quite “free movement of people”, is it?

      There is also reference on a “Wir Shetland” poster to the fact “we could exclude convicted criminals”.

      • i tinkler

        • January 28th, 2017 11:43

        True Brian, I was mistaken, however, all present citizens EU, UK, Commonwealth and the whole Word are welcome in my book, however, Shetland is too small for all of them! That is the thought behind the policy I believe. As a member of Wir Shetland that is what I would campaign for. If you join, you could do the same. Also please check out my on site, positive contributions most welcome. (not finished yet, a work in progress.)

      • Ali Inkster

        • January 29th, 2017 13:24

        OK Brian, Ian Huntly will someday be released from jail, are you saying that he should be allowed to move anywhere in the world he likes? For example should the Philippines be able to reject his application for a visa should he choose to go there?

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 2nd, 2017 16:09

        Why no answer Brian, is the question too difficult? Or maybe the answer is.

  • Ali Inkster

    • January 26th, 2017 17:36

    “When contacted by the times Mr Inkster put the phone down” Would it not be more accurate to say that I refused to give a comment because as I told your reporter the last time I commented to the times my words were twisted to suit the reporters own agenda.
    As I said then and I will say now the times is more akin to the sun or the star than a local newspaper nowadays.

  • Michael Garriock

    • January 26th, 2017 19:09

    A rather over the top “hatchet” article for a minor “storm in a teacup” issue, is it not? While Mr. Inkster may have made comments during debate on the Wir Shetland Facebook page which were his personal opinion rather than Wir Shetland policy (I can’t confirm either way as i never saw them), quite frankly, so what? The matter has been addressed and closed already.

    Meanwhile an aircraft leaving the runway at Sumburgh, and causing delays, isn’t worthy of informing the public of even three hours after the fact.

    Concerning Mr. Thomson’s contribution. Given that there is a massive chasm between SNP policy and WS poilcy, its inevitable that anyone choosing to take that perspective, will view WS as “anti SNP”, and indeed the SNP as “anti WS”. Furthermore, Mr. Thomson’s allegation that “WS is not what I expected” is one he has now made several times, but is nothing more than a sound bite unless he is prepared to elaborate on what it is he expected to find, and what he did find, especially as within the last year he has joined WS twice, and left WS twice.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • January 26th, 2017 19:29

    I find Mr Thomson’s statement ““The group as far as I’m concerned is nothing but an anti-SNP group and certainly not the ‘cross party group’ it advertises itself to be”, a bit rich. During a heated discussion I had with him a few months ago he said he agreed that the SNP vindictively kept Shetland’s ferry fare unfair because Shetland did not vote SNP in last two elections. Hardly a complimentary comment towards the SNP. Reading comments on social media and news web pages from known SNP and yes Shetland activists I would go as far as to say that a large majority of SNP supporters are most definitely ant Wir Shetland. To be anti anything or any one is a persons right so why say what he said? Reading between the lines I would say that Mr Thomson is simply electioneering rather than showing support for any group and publicity of any kind is good when you are on the campaign trail. It worked for Trump and it will probably work for Mr Thomson.

  • David Spence

    • January 26th, 2017 23:30

    It is a shame that ‘ Wir Shetland ‘ is going through an in-house-fight (want for better words) but I hope it does not dilute the core principle of why ‘ Wir Shetland ‘ was formed in the first place.

    Shetlander’s need to stand up and be strong in their voice to bring to the fore the needs of the islands and the people of the islands.

    Shetland is a massive cash-cow for Westminster, and we are getting loose change in return. As well as this, the Conservative Government is slashing the funds Scotland gets (The Tories have done away with the Barnett Formula) and are forcing the SNP and Local Authorities to make drastic cuts to the services they provide.

    What will make things considerably worse (and the only reason the Tories had the EU Referendum) is the trade deal between the USA and the UK, which will be the TTIP deal. Basically, the complete privatization of all state run services. May, is already looking at US Companies taking over the NHS.

    So, we leave a 500 million market and replace it with a 300 million market. Thank you to those who voted to leave the EU.

  • Brian Smith

    • January 27th, 2017 16:43

    It looks to me as if the cranks who bad-mouthed the marchers are just Mail readers who foam at the mouth when anybody questions the status quo. They don’t organise their own marches to celebrate Mrs May or Mr Farage because any sort of action is anathema to them. What I am not clear about is exactly what this has to do with Wir Shetland.

    • i tinkler

      • January 28th, 2017 11:00

      Brian Smith, I thought it was the marchers questioning the Staus Quo? The USA election was as normal, for the USA! Donald Trump, misogynistic, right-wing, was non-politically correct most certainly, but however, very honest in expressing his views, nasty as they were. Now Hilary Clinton, quite the opposite, a pandering sycophant to all things nice and correct, while covertly accepting $30 million from Saudi Royals for her foundation and campaign. Rember the Saudi Royals, the murder their own princesses for falling in love. Nice of you to support the demonstration aginst Trump backing Hillary. Not surprising really when you form your bitter opinions on others, dependant on which newspapers you imagine they may read. That speaks volumes about you, your nature and intellect.!

  • i tinkler

    • January 27th, 2017 22:09

    David Spence, do not fret. Wir Shetland, dedicated individuals, with fierce opinions. Always, there will be fights and opinions. Totally transparent, all in social media, all public and open. What a refreshing change! Anyone who dislikes “Wir Shetland”, or our policy on Immigration or any of our aims! Just join “Wir Shetland” every member has one vote. Wir Shetland; we are not quite, just ferrets in a sack, just people working, “For a real change”. Working for Shetland folk, all of them, not just the self-servers of conventional political parties, Brussels, Holyrood and Westminster, just for Shetland.

    • David Spence

      • January 28th, 2017 21:03

      I am pleased to hear this, Ian. I would also be interested in your stance with regards to ‘ Wir Shetland ‘ if you are elected as a Councillor in this year’s Local Election? Would you be ‘ Wir Shetlands first Counselor ‘ or would you just be regarded as a ‘ Counselor ‘ for the area you represent?

      What would be the influence of ‘ Wir Shetland ‘ on Council Policy, if any?

      Would ‘ Wir Shetland ‘ have any power in shaping and influencing future policies with regard to the economics of the islands as well as promoting the islands further for having greater autonomy?

  • John Tulloch

    • January 29th, 2017 7:54

    Ryan Thomson reportedly left Wir Shetland(WS) because he “simply did not like the direction it was going in.”

    Given WS’s only discernible “direction” is pursuit of autonomy, his accompanying claim to support local powers is unconvincing.

    He adds, “I could not agree with… some of (the group’s)… policies including on immigration”. Ah, the “racist” slur.

    Immigration? From the beginning, researching the prospects and how autonomy might work, we recognised that, as in e.g. Faroe/Isle of Man, the population would likely expand rapidly, possibly doubling, making immigration essential i.e. immigrants will be welcome. What is wrong with that?

    Mr Thomson initially joined Wir Shetland, then left, rejoined within a fortnight and was welcomed back. Then he left a second time, again, criticising the group – “Flip-flop….flip-flop!”

    The current WS leadership, perhaps naively, continued to support him and two WS members, standing as North Isles independent council candidates, agreed to co-operate with him. Yet now he has knifed WIr Shetland, attacking it and by association, his candidacy team colleagues.

    Why did he do it? Mr Thomson has shown himself to be a political opportunist, an undependable ally, and North Isles voters will, doubtless, reflect on this piece of crude electioneering, before voting.

  • i tinkler

    • January 29th, 2017 17:03

    David Spence, if elected, my primary responsibility would be to represent the peoples of West ward of Shetland. I would be their Independent Councillor. I would do my utmost to represent them following the views I set out in my manifesto. You will note, however. It would be extremely hard to finance the ideas and outcomes I would strive for, in the light of the huge cuts in funding, £8.5 million, recently imposed on Shetland by the Scottish Government. Now the best way forward, in my opinion, to improve dramatically, the funding resource of Shetland, would be for Shetland to gain full autonomy and break free from the somewhat spiteful funding cuts imposed by the Scottish Government. The highest of any local authority area in Scotland being imposed on perhaps the remotest of areas. All this is outlined on my new and nearly completed Web Site. Feel free to view and e-mail. Your input would be most welcome. (
    With regard to your question of what influence “Wir Shetland” would have on future Council policy, the answer to that is completely dependent upon any mandate, the entire electorate, of all Shetland may or may not give to the newly elected to the Council.

  • John Tulloch

    • February 2nd, 2017 9:33

    Ryan Thomson, you are reported above as saying:

    “I agree with the principle of more local powers”

    Ok, so does OIOF. That hasn’t got us very far.

    Do you support local autonomy for Shetland, as is the case in, say, Faroe, or the Isle of Man?

  • Derick Tulloch

    • February 2nd, 2017 19:37


  • Douglas Young

    • February 3rd, 2017 11:03

    Wir Shetland attacks Wir Shetland Shock!

    Insular local autonomy group, Wir Shetland, non-political cult who supported politician Tavish Scott, has decided to fight amongst themselves after everyone else stopped listening

    Ex chairman John Tulloch is having an online stushie with WS Ryan Thomson, just look at the playground language JT uses, claiming Ryan has “knifed WS”, better call the cops Mr Tulloch

    A press release from WS lambasted Ali Inkster, their recently resigned vice chairman

    Issued by their new chairman, after the old chairmain resigned and went into hiding in Arrochar, Mr Titcomb said Wir Ali’s statements were “insulting” and “inappropriate”

    The SNP-hating cabal were formed out of anger at both the party and the principal of independence for Scotland

    Debate is impossible as most of the Infamous Six angry men are supporters

    Anyone putting forward a point on any subject will find themselves being attacked by name, whilst the point itself is ignored

    They go off topic as soon as their own point is politely reduced tae bruk with reasoned research and opinions

    Never ever ask them a simple question

    For example, WS came up with a GDP figure for Shetland which showed the county giving more money to the Treasury than it received back

    Considering they overwhelmingly supported giving Westminster all the purse strings in 2014 they don’t do irony

    They are going to “buy in health services in an independent Shetland” so try asking any one of them what their estimated cost to Shetland taxpayers would be

    They don’t know

    Wir Shetland has become a spectator sport and the cult has managed to kill off any chance of autonomy for Shetland first started by the grown-up and polite Shetland Movement

    At least they are attacking each other now and not people who wish to debate in the local media and online

    Ideal squad material for Up Helly Aa but of little practical use


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