Attractions of retirement (Jonathan Wills)

Oh dear. Ian Tinkler is yet again using expressions such as “arrant nonsense”, “demonstrably insane” and “raving bombast”.

This is not the best way to conduct a reasoned debate, I fear. There is, in any case, no point in responding to his latest comments on Viking Energy and the Shetland Charitable Trust.

As for the Common Agricultural Policy, I have never supported the excesses to which he refers and, if he had bothered to make the most elementary enquiry before flaming off, he would know this.

On the contrary, I have often spoken against such outrages (at European Union meetings and other political events), not only during my time as a councillor but also back in the early 1980s, when I worked for the late Alex Falconer MEP and helped to organise publicity campaigns against Europe’s milk lakes and beef mountains.

As for the “substance funds” to which he refers, I suspect he means subsistence. It is not clear whether or not Mr Tinkler knows what will replace the CAP payments to Shetland farmers and crofters after Brexit. I do not. Nor does anyone else I know, in the UK or in Europe.

I imagine that many of his prospective farming and crofting constituents in the West Mainland of Shetland will be rather worried about the prospect of losing half of their income after Brexit, which is why I recently spent nine hours arguing their case in a windowless conference hall at the annual general meeting of the EU’s Islands Commission, at the request of the council and the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR).

I do not follow Mr Tinkler’s Facebook offerings (life is too short) but I understand he thinks I should not have gone to represent Shetland at that meeting. If it is any consolation to him, the journey to Gozo, Malta, and back involved six flights and a total of 36 hours’ travelling, during which I caught a severe cold.

He may also be glad to hear that the weather was cold and windy throughout. It is true that I accepted a dinner and a few glasses of wine from the Maltese government, who were hosting the event; it is also true that I managed two 20-minute, early morning walks in a delightful garden at the hotel where the conference was held, and saw a Sardinian warbler. No doubt this will be taken as further proof of my gross moral turpitude and neglect of duty.

One of the attractions of my imminent retirement from the council and the charitable trust is that I will (hopefully) no longer be subjected to Mr Tinkler’s splenetic, ignorant and malicious attacks.

I hope he will one day find an anger management therapist willing to take him on. It will certainly be a professional challenge but surely someone, somewhere, can help Mr Tinkler to see the sunny side …

Jonathan Wills


Add Your Comment
  • Ali Inkster

    • March 17th, 2017 13:42

    Well we do know what the holyrood had in mind for the CAP payments if we remained in the EU. progressively less and less for Shetland and more for the central belt and landed gentry.
    This more than simple incompetence has more to do with the late payments and lack of clear information as to future payments.

  • David I Smith

    • March 17th, 2017 16:12

    I do some policy work for the Scottish Crofting Federation and I’m really intrigued by Ali Inkster’s comment at 13.42. Ali, could you expand on how you know what Holyrood had in mind if we remained in the EU and how this would lead to less money for Shetland please? This thinking runs contrary to what we would have expected from the next round of CAP and the expectation that convergence would have brought a more equitable share of funds, both to Scotland and Shetland.

    • Ali Inkster

      • March 21st, 2017 20:05

      Are you saying that Shetland is not going to get less compared to the rest of Scotland. Since you work in the field you can explain how the new valuation of shetland land does not leave us at a disadvantage and how the vast majority of crofts in Shetland will/would have got progressively less over time.

      • David I Smith

        • March 22nd, 2017 16:23

        It’s your claim, surely it’s up to you to explain it.

  • ian tinkler

    • March 17th, 2017 18:42

    Perhaps Jonathon, you could have saved us all considerable expense in air fares and hotel fees by staying on Shetland. I shudder to think how much totally unnecessary CO2 your flights to Malta and back pumped into the atmosphere when a video conference link would have served well! I am sorry you caught a cold, I am sorry your trip achieved absolutely nothing of merit for Shetland. I ask you again, who paid for your air travel and luxury hotel? Personal ego-boosting jaunts abroad should never be sanctioned at Council, UK or EU expense, when a video link speech would do. Incidentally, CAP grants to Shetland were never on the agenda of the conference, so you argued not at all, for Shetland Crofters. Also, just in case you are unaware, we are soon to be, leaving the EU and agricultural grants will be, under much more local control. Hopefully that would be an autonomous Shetland, where funds will go where truly needed, to working Crofters, not grandstanding council politicians, on expensive overseas trips. PS, I wish you well in retirement.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 18th, 2017 9:19

    “This thinking runs contrary to what we would have expected from the next round of CAP and the expectation that convergence would have brought a more equitable share of funds, both to Scotland and Shetland.” David I Smith, for those of us not fluent in Euro babel, could we please have your comments in plain English. A few references to the facts would be nice and just where and when you worked for the Scottish Crofting Federation? I can find no record!! .

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 18th, 2017 11:41

    Ian Tinkler is yet again using expressions such as “arrant nonsense”, “demonstrably insane” and “raving bombast. Perhaps just “raving” would have covered it.
    ““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.” PRECIPITATED THE GREATEST CRISIS SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR!!! quad errata demonstrandum!!! What planet are you on Jonathon and what planet were these delegates from?

  • David I Smith

    • March 20th, 2017 15:36

    Mr Tinkler 18th March at 9.19. I agree with you, facts are important. That is why I asked Ali Inkster to expand on what he was saying. My comment, far from being Euro babel, would be easily understood by anyone with even a basic knowledge of how the CAP and support payments work. Can I ask why you feel the need to know where and when I worked for the Scottish Crofting Federation? It actually comes across as a wee bit sinister and creepy that you should be trawling the internet to find information about me? I would also be interested to know what you would do to support crofters in Shetland if you were elected to the council.

  • Haydn Gear

    • March 21st, 2017 12:22

    With reference to the spat between J Wills and Ian Tinkler I notice that the words babel , as in “tower of” and babble as in “Euro babble” appear to be interchangeable. Is this some sort of clever device or a spelling shortfall? In spite of Ian’s ascerbic use of language ( and I have not seen advantage gained from it) I feel bound to say that the essential focus of his criticisms of Mr Wills seem to be justified. Since technology has brought about the facility called video conferencing, why was it not used in preference to expensive and polluting long haul flights?

  • ian tinkler

    • March 21st, 2017 17:58

    ln his words, on his junket to Malta . ” But now, very suddenly, we’re faced with severe economic and social disruption, and a constitutional crisis not seen in Scotland for 310 years. “. Enough said!!! Agenda, plan for day trip and full minutes on line. (EU CPMR website). Nice one Johnathon!! You really have caught a cold now.

  • Alexander McMillan

    • April 12th, 2017 23:19

    Johnathon, Now that you are stepping down from being a Councillor, I can say what i want about you, and hopefully you will take the gagging order off, All I have to say to you is enjoy your retirement, after all you have done for Shetland over the years you deserve it. Ha do a healthy an prosperous retirement.


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 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.