Wills wins support for Brexit ‘crisis’ motion at islands commission

Worries caused by the Brexit “crisis” were highlighted by councillor Jonathan Wills yesterday when he addressed an international islands commission warning that Shetland is among the communities facing increased uncertainty.

Dr Wills is attending the General Assembly of the Islands Commission of the Conference of Peripheral Regions (CPMR) in Malta, where the “future of Europe” was being discussed.

As Shetland delegate, Dr Wills moved an amendment to the commission’s Final Declaration which referred to the “increasing concern the uncertainties the prospect of Brexit is causing for island communities in the UK, and expresses the hope that the British government will safeguard the interests of islanders, particularly as regards support for agriculture, fisheries management and subsidies for lifeline air and ferry services”.

His motion was passed unanimously after he told delegates that the vote to leave the EU had “precipitated the greatest crisis” since the Second World War.

Worst affected, he argued, were rural and island areas.

Dr Wills said: “Very suddenly, we’re faced with severe economic and social disruption, and a constitutional crisis not seen in Scotland for 310 years.

“Will [Prime Minister Theresa] May come back from Brussels with no deal? If so, will she tell the people of Britain: ‘Sorry, we tried to get what you voted for, but we couldn’t, so let’s just remain in the EU’? I think this is hardly likely unless the House of Commons does its duty and votes for the interests of the country as a whole, rather than the one-third of the registered electors who actually went out and voted to leave the EU on the basis of a false prospectus.

“Will the House of Commons do its duty? We shall see.


Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles have benefited massively from EU funds over the past 44 years. Who will pay to renew and replace all the roads, bridges, ferry terminals and ferries created with EU assistance? JONATHAN WILLS


“Whatever happens in Westminster, it’s now very likely that there will be a second referendum on Scottish independence and that the result will be ‘yes’ to self-determination within the European Union, or at least in the single market.

“In either case, the islands of Scotland face upheaval.”

Citing examples of the upheaval he predicted, Dr Wills highlighted agriculture and uncertainty over subsidies; tariff barriers that may hurt islands’ export markets; confusion over fisheries management; concerns over migrant workers; and loss of EU-funded infrastructure investment.

He added: “Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles have benefited massively from EU funds over the past 44 years. Who will pay to renew and replace all the roads, bridges, ferry terminals and ferries created with EU assistance?

“At present there are no answers to any of these urgent questions. And that is the biggest scandal of this cluster-catastrophe called Brexit. That is why we, the islanders of Scotland, are asking the Islands Commission to appeal to the British government to provide reassurance and clear answers to our concerns.”


Add Your Comment
  • ian tinkler

    • March 11th, 2017 11:06

    I am beginning to worry about Johnathon Wills. I fully appreciate his change of heart regarding The “Charitable Trust.” From one of the greatest supporters of “the Cabal”, trying to undemocratically inflict “Viking Energy” on Shetland, (The Ratter, Hunter, Wills manage) he is now advocating democracy, maybe just a little late! Yet nothing will stop his Europhile babble. True Shetland has had some grants from EU funds, many utterly stupid and pointless, however Shetland has contributed an excess of £130 million annually, to the UK and EU budget. Not only that but our fishermen and waters have been stripped and plundered by our EU friends. Time for Shetland to take control, clear of the SG, UK and EU.

    • Gordon Harmer

      • March 12th, 2017 11:43

      I wouldn’t worry too much Ian as Jonathan has flip flopped on Scottish independence over the years, it will not be long before he realises the error of his ways and becomes a staunch Brexiteer.

  • Jonathan Wills

    • March 11th, 2017 12:50

    Another superb effort from Mr Tinkler, one of his best yet.
    Facts completely wrong, as usual: Shetland has received getting on for a billion pounds in EU grants since 1973, including Common Agricultural Policy money which contributes about half of our crofters’ and farmers’ income.
    Wrong on the trust, too: I have always advocated democratic control of the trust funds, since long before Mr Tinkler came to Shetland to save us from our imagined enemies on The Big Island and Europe.
    And wrong, as ever, about Viking Energy, which would have been generating cash for the community by now if Mr Tinkler and his friends had not sabotaged it with their delaying tactics. It may ‘come at’ yet, though, and if it does I fully expect Mr Tinkler will urge trustees to refuse to use the money for old people’s care, public amenities, sport and the arts.
    The serial miss-spelling of my first name is a trivial and amusing matter but it does indicate Mr Tinkler’s lack of attention to detail.
    Like his other fans, I am looking forward to his next contribution to your columns.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 12th, 2017 10:06

    O dear me, Jonathon, you do so spout your arrant nonsense! Your comment “Shetland has received getting on for a billion pounds in EU grants since 1973, including Common Agricultural Policy money” is so silly. Just consider how much Shetland monies went south. Regarding the CAP, it created all that massive waste? Wine Lakes and beef mountains, paid farmers to do nothing and live on subsidies. Subsidies irrationally targeted by Eurocrats., For example (2003 figures quoted). In Britain, five already very wealthy farmers received more than £1 million a year in subsidies. 2003 figures, again. Britain paid £4.3 billion into EU agriculture coffers and received £2.8 billion in CAP payments while France paid £5.2 billion and received £7.1 billion CAP funds. Shetland crofters, by comparison, received a pittance! Hardly equitable, just substance funds.
    Now let’s look again at your quoted one billion pounds of grants. That one billion would not even cover the costs of building Viking Energy and connecting to the UK grid! Again, that appears hardly equitable! You, spurious nonsense claim, “Mr Tinkler and his friends had not sabotaged Viking Energy”. I am very flattered you claim so but as usual, you are utterly wrong. Viking Energy was delayed by no interconnector and by you and your former pals (Ratter, Hunter, Manson et al, The Trust /Council cabal) running scared of democracy! If you had the good grace and courage to ballot the people of Shetland about Viking Energy, at its onset, I and your SS antagonists, would never have had a valid argument to fight the VE project with. To claim that you support democracy, in the SCT, is demonstrably insane, Viking was railroaded through by the SCT/SIC, with no regard whatsoever to the views of the people of Shetland. Sorry about my spelling your name wrong, that is the only part of your raving bombast which is correct! lol

  • John Tulloch

    • March 17th, 2017 18:17

    Credibility with the public used to be important to politicians. Not any more, it seems.

    “His (J Wills’) motion was passed unanimously after he told delegates that the vote to leave the EU had “precipitated the greatest crisis” since the Second World War.”

    Not the Cold War, then?
    Nor the Cuban missile crisis?
    …fall of the Soviet Union?
    ….war and genocide in the Balkans?
    …. banking crisis of 2008/9?

    No. The British public voted to leave the EU, that’s the ‘Biggie’.

    Perhaps, Dr Wills should inform the City financial institutions pushing the stock market into ever-higher record territory and Toyota who will now invest a quarter of a billion pounds in their UK car plant, as they obviously haven’t realised the gravity of the situation.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.