SNP’s Miriam and Mhairi show packs out the museum twice

The museum auditorium is packed out for the first time on Tuesday night by SNP candidates Miriam Brett and Mhairi Black. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The Liberal Democrats have lost their way and no longer deserve to represent the isles, Shetland’s SNP candidate has warned.

Miriam Brett says she has been left disappointed with the party which – she insists – has gone adrift after almost 70 years of representation in Shetland.

Her comments came during a Q&A session held at the Shetland Museum on Tuesday night, which was also attended by Mhairi Black, who became Westminster’s youngest MP at the age of 22 in the 2015 general election since 1832.

Such was the draw for the party faithful, the session had to be held twice, with the 122-capacity room filling up on both occasions.

Ms Brett, who was speaking a day before her 26th birthday, told the packed audience there would be “no greater honour” than to represent the people of Shetland as their MP. She is standing for the SNP after being left disillusioned by the Lib Dems.

Mhairi Black (left) joined local SNP candidate Miriam Brett at the Q&A session. Photo: Dave Donaldson

“We’ve had Liberal Democrat representation for nearly 70 years. The historic connection between the Northern Isles and the Liberal Democrats is hugely tight. But I just don’t feel that they are the party they used to be. I don’t feel they represent us in the way they once did.”

She said she did not see what the Liberal Democrats stood for, and what their values were.

She pointed to the previous decision to go into coalition with the Tories as a “fundamental betrayal”.

“One of the arguments put forward by the Liberal Democrats is they offered ‘Tory light’. Some of the things the Lib Dems voted for are not Tory light. The bedroom tax is not Tory light.”

But she said the SNP’s opposition to austerity was “consistent and unified”.

“What we have achieved at Westminster is significant as well. There is a huge list of things we have achieved, even with having third party status. I offer a fresh voice. I offer a change. And I think it’s time for change.”

However, Ms Black was less sympathetic towards the Lib Dem’s past record in the isles. She said the Liberals were complicit in the austerity agenda driven by the Tories, which was now having a severe impact on communities across the country.

“I don’t have the same historic ties to the Liberal Democrats whatsoever,” she said. “They’ve always been a non-entity to me.

“What the Tories are doing now is nothing more than continuing with what the Liberal Democrats signed up for and propped them up to do.”

She said the country had suffered “exactly the kind of Conservative government David Cameron wanted”, even with the Lib Dems at the table. And she had harsh words to say about Alistair Carmichael, too.

“The representative for this area is a proven liar. I don’t use that word lighly, and I don’t know the guy personally, but in terms of his politics that was a representative who deliberately and knowingly lied to the electorate, lied to his constituents. I don’t want somebody like that representing me in parliament.”

As well as the bedroom tax, much of the discussion during the evening focused on welfare cuts, the infamous “rape clause”, food banks, the replacement of the Trident nuclear defence system, trade union legislation and the scrapping of human rights legislation – something which had Ms Black shaking her head in incredulity.

Lerwick North councillor John Fraser was keen to know why the nationalists had so far failed to plug the £7 million funding gap in its inter-island ferry service.

Ms Brett replied: “As far as I’m aware there are discussions that have been going on with the likes of Humza Yousaf, the local authority and Transport Scotland. I wholeheartedly support a reduction in cost for ferries.”

But Ms Black said it pointed to a bigger issue, with the Scottish government having to spend its resources to mitigate against the problems created by the Tories at Westminster, most notably with the bedroom tax.

The so-called “rape clause” was another thing Holyrood was being encouraged by Westminster to sort out itself.

“I know we’ve had Ruth Davidson saying in her answer to the ‘rape clause’ question that the Scottish government could create a new benefit. I say, ‘no, have a word with your boss’.”

Former SIC member Iris Hawkins wondered whether Ms Brett supported large-scale renewable projects like the Viking Energy windfarm.


There is a huge list of things we have achieved, even with having third party status. I offer a fresh voice. I offer a change. And I think it’s time for change. MIRIAM BRETT


Ms Brett said communities needed to be kept in the loop at all times.

“My take on this is there should be as much consultation at community level as possible.”

On the day that Labour officially launched its election manifesto, party supporter Irvine Tait said Jeremy Corbyn’s proposals were contained in “probably the most pro trade-union manifesto”.

He wanted assurances that the SNP would seek to scrap anti trade-union legislation being brought by the Conservatives – something Ms Black described as “one of the most terrifying pieces of legislation”.

But Mr Tait wanted further assurance, namely that Thatcher-era legislation would be scrapped as well.

“Yes,” was Ms Black’s succinct reply. Ms Brett decided to dwell on comments made by Theresa May, namely that the Conservatives were the party of the “working people”.

“I couldn’t believe that she’d have the audacity to say that.”

Vaila Robertson questioned the women on SNP support for the fishing industry, which has come under scrutiny in recent weeks with nationalist politicians appearing to hold opposing views over the Common Fisheries Policy.

Ms Brett said that was one of the issues she felt most passionately about. She added SNP policy was to “radically reform” CFP.

“And if we can’t reform it, it should be scrapped”.

Foodbanks are never far away from any political discussion these days. Ms Black pointed to the Edinburgh-based Poverty Alliance which had taken a stand against foodbanks.

“These things don’t just happen. People don’t just go hungry. People are driven to foodbanks by policy agendas that are fundamentally cruel.”

Both Ms Black and Ms Brett are in favour of lowering the voting age to allow 16 and 17 year-olds the chance to vote. Ms Black said there was a time during the independence referendum campaign when Scotland must have been the most politically engaged country imaginable.


Add Your Comment
  • ian_tinkler

    • May 18th, 2017 14:28

    What a negative pair. Was there a single positive idea put forward? If so did I blink and miss it?

    • Jennifer Thomson

      • May 18th, 2017 15:07

      Only negative thing i see is your comment

    • Brian Nugent

      • May 20th, 2017 23:41

      The two packed out sessions in the museum were question and answer sessions. Difficult concept, perhaps.

      Someone from the crowd asks a question. One or both candidates then answer.

      The agenda is set by the questions asked, obviously.

      If a lot of questions are asked about Tory govt policy, about Lib Dems in coalition with the Tories, the answers would tend to be negative, would they not?

      I often think that the Unionist comments on here are written before the news item is read or the video is watched. Quite predictable.

      Maybe, a Unionist candidate can hold a public event and show us how it is should work.

  • Ian Campbell

    • May 18th, 2017 22:50

    You just feel that everything the SNP say diverts attention away from them rather than highlight any positives.
    The education fees was their demise, but who knows what else the Tories may have forced through if the Lib Dems had not been part of a coalition?

    I would also like someone to sit down and explain to me the wonderful benefits Scotland would receive from Europe. I live in Lossiemouth where a harbour once full of fishing boats is now occupied, and thank goodness it is, by yachts and where we were closest to voting out. A direct reaction to Europe’s influence on the fishing industry.

    The SNP hav had a great opportunity to do a lot of good in the last ten years but are hell bent on opportunism and a second referendum and the ‘Day Job’ has been forgotten and they are sounding tedious.

    And I don’t mind saying I have voted SNP for 30 years, but now I am not so sure!

  • John Irvine

    • May 19th, 2017 8:15

    Oh dear, the usual SNP guff.

    10 years they`ve been in charge of the joke that is the Scottish Parliament, in that 10 years the most important issue`s namely education, the NHS and transport are in a far worse state then when they took over.

    Will they continue to pull the wool over the eyes or will the people of Scotland see the light before the damage is irreversible?

    I`m not sure who to vote for yet but it will be a vote against the SNP, I will vote for whoever will take the most votes off them.

    • Derick Tulloch

      • May 19th, 2017 14:24

      Factually incorrect on all three points Mr Irvine

      No Tuition fees (unlike the £6,000+ fees in England)
      Proportion of school leavers in Scotland attaining one or more Higher qualification has rise from 40% in 2006, to around 60%.
      In 2015/16, 93.3% of school leavers in Scotland went into higher or further education, paid or unpaid work, training and ‘activity agreements’. That’s been rising each year, from 90.1% in 2011/12
      27,000 new apprenticeships this year

      By far the best performing of the UK health services. A&E performance 10% points better than the service in England. Wales is even worse.
      No junior doctors’ strike, and the Scottish Government had more sense than to impose a contract without consent.
      Nursing bursaries continue to be provided. These were abolished this year in England & Wales

      Too may projects completed to list, but e.g. built a new Forth Bridge, currently making the biggest investment in the railways since Victorian times, maintained the air and sea subsidy to the isles etc.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 19th, 2017 16:22

        Derick let’s begin with higher education. This, after all, is the area in which the SNP are loudest. Five years ago, Alex Salmond declared: “The rocks will melt with the sun before I allow tuition fees to be imposed on Scotland’s students.” He was so enamoured with the SNP’s policy of maintaining free tuition north of the River Tweed that he unveiled them on a commemorative stone at Heriot-Watt University on his last day as First Minister in 2014.
        Scotland is by far the worst country in the UK to be a disadvantaged student. The richest Scottish students are 3.53 times more likely to enter university aged 18 (or younger) via UCAS than the poorest ones, compared with 2.58 in Northern Ireland, 2.56 in Wales and 2.52 in England. Fewer than one in ten young people from the most disadvantaged areas begin to study towards a degree by the age of 20. And the problems are actually getting worse: just 8.4 per cent of entrants to Scotland’s elite universities came from the poorest communities in 2014/15, down from 8.8 per cent the previous year. It would be good to hear from Miriam on this instead of her protective minions.

      • James Watt

        • May 19th, 2017 20:42

        They are many differences between Scotland and rUKs higher education so it isn’t as simple as comparing like with like, but if you want to compare selective stats, here’s the ones they usually don’t tell you.
        “In 2013-14, 55% of Scots entered higher education by the age of 30, with 20.9% starting at an FE college and 34.1% going straight to university after school. In England 46.6% entered higher education”

        “Analysis using HESA benchmarks shows that there are important differences between the overall characteristics of the Scottish and English university sectors, with Scotland having a greater proportion of higher tariff, or more academically selective, institutions, whilst England has a higher proportion of lower tariff institutions. This reflects the fact that England has a relatively large number of post-92 universities, providing more places for students with lower academic qualifications.”

      • Johan Adamson

        • May 20th, 2017 12:14

        This is straight off the leaflet I got from Brian Nugent?

        You need to ask teachers about CfE, they are not all happy about Higher standards. Although I have to say they are doing all the right things in Shetland in the Primary my bairns attend – but we have the right class sizes, unlike elsewhere in the central belt where class sizes lead parents to take them out into private schools – alright for those who can.

      • Brian Nugent

        • May 20th, 2017 23:10

        Hmnn, my leaflet said various things but not any of James Watt’s comments, Johan, so not sure what your point is.

  • David Spence

    • May 19th, 2017 12:11

    It seems, and I may be wrong, but at the end of the day, the SNP can only act and base their policies on what monies Westminster (The Tories) give them. In some ways the Tories are killing 2 birds with one stone. Putting political pressure on the SNP and discrediting Nicola Sturgeon.

    I believe the Tories have got rid of the Barnett Formula, and are in a position where they can reduce what monies Scotland receives, and by all accounts, the Tories have reduced this thus putting the SNP into a position of forcing Local Authorities to carry out austerity cuts on the services they provide.

    This is exactly what the Tories want……….forcing the people of Scotland to question and discredit the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon……….as the recent Local Authority elections have proven.

    We are playing into the hands and the agenda of the Tories, and they are getting away, scot free, by our attention being focused on the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon, and not the Tories.

    • Steven Jarmson

      • May 19th, 2017 15:36

      David, how do you explain the increased funding the Glasgow and Centeal Belt Government gets from the UK but still Shetland, and indeed the rest of Scotland, is getting less from the Glasgow and Central Belt Government?
      The SNP policy of austerity max is surely an effort to kill 2 birds with one stone, namely making it look like the UK government policies are hurting worse than they are, thus claiming its the UK’s fault, and also trying to kill off the Tories in Scotland.
      P.S. the barnett formula is still in place, even the SNP admit that, as they constantky vote one “England (and Wales)” issues under the pretext of trying to prevent the block grant being cut due to the Barnet Formula. This, despite public promises not to vote on England (and Wales) only policies.
      Can’t you see the SNP are just a bunch of liars hell bent on independence at any cost!!!

      • Jonathan Wills

        • May 19th, 2017 22:23

        Shetland Islands Council receives almost twice the amount of Scottish Government grant per head of population as the national average. And that’s not counting the huge subsidies for operating Northlink, the Air Discount Scheme and the £30m a year cost of subsidising the Lerwick power station so our electricity prices are roughly the same as on the UK Mainland.
        It would help the debate about these important topics if correspondents would check their facts before blaring off about the supposedly wicked SNP.
        Oh, and by the way, this is a Westminster election, not a Holyrood election.

      • David Spence

        • May 20th, 2017 0:54

        I stand corrected Steven.

        The Barnett Formula, was recommended by the House of Lords to be scrapped as they deemed it to be not relevant to today’s society, and the increase of social spending, especially in Scotland, to be unfair in respect to the Barnett Formula.

        However, I predict the Barnett Formula, will be scrapped for certainty once Brexit gets in full swing, and the distribution of wealth will predominantly go towards England, and the complete transformation of this wealth being misdirected more towards private enterprize than for this of social needs within society.

        By all accounts, Brexit is the foundation for this Government to completely change society in many ways, where corporate necessity will take greater priority, and where tax payers money will be used to rebuild the society from a corporate position and needs.

        It may be a bleak picture of the future, but I do not see anything positive about Brexit.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • May 20th, 2017 10:57

        Shetland Islands Council has had Grant cuts greater than any other authority in Scotland. Shetland Health board is so short of funds sick people may have to endure long ferry journeys to receive treatment. The Shetland population has well lied to at last election with the Sturgeon promise to reduce ferry fares. It would help the debate about these important topics if correspondents would check the facts and remove the chips from their shoulders before blaring off about the supposedly wicked Tories. I suppose hypocrisy is cheap, as is shallow wit.

      • David Spence

        • May 20th, 2017 12:34

        Lets face it, I agree with Brian, that much of the infrastructures and life-line services as well as air transportation may be heavily subsidized to provide a greater quality of life for the people of Shetland, but If you take into consideration what Shetland contributes due to its location, I would say overall Shetland gives much more than what it receives.

        However Ian, one only has to look at the Tories track record, and their obsession with private enterprise and the transfer of state run services to the private sector, where they themselves will benefit, one does have to question why the EU Referendum was done last year, and is there a hidden agenda by the Tories for having the EU Referendum when they did?

        Trump says he would prefer a trade deal with the EU, rather than with the UK, but it is almost a certainty this will be a none starter, leaving the Tory Government to entice Trump to have a trade deal with the UK………and the possible complete privatization of ALL State-run Services. This deal would be highly beneficial, economically, to the Tories. May negotiating with the EU, is just a side-track distraction, I think.

      • Alistair Inkster

        • May 21st, 2017 21:14

        Jonathan our electricity prices are 2p/unit dearer than the UK mainland.
        And even with all those rebates you mention we are still out of pocket by £millions each year as we suffer deeper cuts than scotland as a whole.

      • David Spence

        • May 21st, 2017 22:22

        Ali, if the planned new power station goes ahead at the north end of Lerwick, and the new power station gets its power from a gas pipeline from Sullom Voe (the energy burned off at the flare stack being used, I believe?) as was proposed 40 or so years ago, but the Hydro-Electric, as it was known then, refused the scheme, as well as, potentially, the Viking Energy Project connected to the new power station, I would anticipate our electric bills will sky-rocket a lot more than what the mainland UK is paying.

        No doubt, SSE will use the excuse a) Building the new power station and b) Building of the pipeline from Sullom Voe (even although they will probably pay nothing or very little for it) and c) Connecting Viking Energy, as a reason for the increase in prices for Shetlander’s?

      • John Tulloch

        • May 22nd, 2017 8:57


        The SNP is a Scottish party and its Westminster MPs answer to Nicola Sturgeon. Voting SNP will advance the SNP’s political agenda i.e. to bluster their way to “Indyref2”.

        As for your arguments, if they are representative of what SNP ‘moles’ in SIC, like you – and I see Gary Robinson now openly supporting Miriam Brett, too – have been making for Shetland, its little wonder OIOF has become known as “Our Islands, Our Flop”.

        After 4 years and 15 “summits”, not a single, tangible gain has materialised.

        A real pair of electoral ‘lead balloons’ to help Miriam’s campaign “fly” – in a spectacular, downward dive!.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • May 22nd, 2017 9:23

        Gary Robinson has been openly defending the SG/SNP policy for years, a real apologist for the SG neglect and impoverishment of Shetland. It is no surprise whatsoever he backs Miriam (is he another SNP sycophant perhaps?). It is just fortunate he is now without influence in Council. OIOF, lol. What a waste of money and time, at least our Schools are safer now, no councillor will “turncoat” on manifesto pledges again without realising the probable consequences.

  • stephen shirmer

    • May 19th, 2017 13:47

    I have voted labour all of my working life and there past track record is nothing to be envious of.

    As for the torries it has never crossed my mind to vote for them..

    The greens and the liberals ? OK in a coalition goverment.

    The SNP…well who ever said the union should go on for another 300 years..

    as for the independance issue, they are a long way from getting there wish..

    SNP for a change – why not ? have the working public really got that much to gain

    or loose from any of them……..we can always vote them out.

    Ms Brett will get my vote..

    • Steven Jarmson

      • May 19th, 2017 19:05

      You can’t undo independence.
      Unless you want independence, voting SNP is stupid.
      If you want independence, then its a goid vote.
      They are not interested in anything else.
      They give lip service to everything else.
      I think the SNP will increaee their overall vote this June, but they will lose seats. Probably around 10 overall.

      But, this is it for them, they can’t go on saying one thing and doing another.

      At the next Scottish elections the SNP will slip, a lot, they will lose around 20 of their Hollyrood seats and will be forced to form a coalition if they want to remain in government.
      After that, I think they will slip back to their natural position of Scotland’s 4th party.
      This is their peak.
      Salmond made a mistake calling the referendum in 2014, he knew, we all knew, they’d lose.
      But, just like any nationalist, he was blinded by arrogance.
      He thought 2014 would be the start of a series of neverendums.
      But, the Tories aren’t playing the SNP game. Rightly so.
      “Once in a generation.”
      Of a human, not a gerbil.
      Voting SNP only adds to the rhetoric coming out the SNP.
      As I’ve already said.
      Some one who doesn’t want indepence, is stupid, stupid , stupid, to vote SNP.
      Why do you think the SNP are trying to say there’s no room for independence in a UL election?
      They know they will lose lobby fodder if they’re honest.

  • Ivor Johnson

    • May 19th, 2017 15:16

    SNP party aside, Miriam looks to be an enthusiastic, energetic candidate who looks keen to represent the northern isles well. She speaks well and is engaging. I am also feeling that a change in representation would be refreshing.

    That said, I sadly cannot risk the possibility that my vote for the SNP will be misconstrued as an endorsement for another referendum on independence. Therefore I won’t be voting SNP.

  • Steven Jarmson

    • May 19th, 2017 19:13

    I had laugh at the bit about “needing” to add another session to accomodate the “demand.”
    Oldest trick in the book.
    Used in the entertainment industry for decades.
    Sadly, what the SNP have to say isn’t very entertaining.

    • John N Hunter

      • May 20th, 2017 20:21

      The second session was only organised at the last minute when the number of people who turned up was far too many for the theatre to hold.

    • Brian Nugent

      • May 20th, 2017 23:52

      Quote from Ryan Taylor’s article
      “Such was the draw for the party faithful, the session had to be held twice, with the 122-capacity room filling up on both occasions.”

      Why would Ryan Taylor write that if it were not true?

      Read the article, it is the 4th paragraph.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 19th, 2017 20:02

    According to Mhairi all is well with the Scottish NHS, this tells a different story.
    Me thinks her attack on Alistair and his one lie is a case of pot, kettle, black.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • May 20th, 2017 7:05

    “Miriam looks to be an enthusiastic, energetic candidate who looks keen, if unable, to represent the northern isles well. She speaks well and is engaging. I also feel that a change in representation would be refreshing.” I so agree, Ivor. I only wish she would offer something, anything, positive and original. I have had more than enough of politicians who do no more than endless parrot on about wicked Torie austerity, how awful Brexit is and does the sun not shine from the Salmond/Sturgeon fundamentals with the Valhalla of Indie2 their Holy Grail… As long as we are Indy2 and who cares about Shetland anyway! Miriam, will not get my vote. I always vote to exclude the most obnoxious party by policy, then annoying character. Ukip never, now I am leaning, Captain Calamity, at least he is a man of conviction and will do no harm. Let’s face it they are all a load of comedians, and Stuart Hill at least has a sense of fun and originality, he deserves to keep his deposit.! Whoop, whoop.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 20th, 2017 19:14

    While reading a post on yes Shetland’s facebook page I noticed this little segment and thought it very revealing as to Miriams real intentions if she gets to Westminster.

    “Anyway, Miriam is YES, she was instrumental in setting up Shetland Women for Independence. She was also integral in setting up this tiny, peerie, peedie, wee page. Miriam is 100% YES. Like the huge influx of members who raised the membership of the SNP from 24,000 to 120,000 after the 18th. Let’s repay all her work and elect her as another YES MP in Westminster”.

    She has already refused to sign the fishermen’s pledge and now is hoping to get to Westminster under the yes banner proving Shetland and all who sail in her are at the bottom of her priorities. Just like Nicola, Douglas Young, Derick Tulloch and many others independence is her first and foremost priority. Proof if proof were ever needed is in the statement above taken off yes Shetlands facebook page “another yes MP in Westminster”, not a Shetland MP in Westminster.

  • David Spence

    • May 20th, 2017 20:45

    So, it was alright to support the countries which were wanting independence from the U.S.S.R. after Perestroika, and the breakdown of the U.S.S.R.?

    However, when it comes to Scotland, through whatever party, wishing the same from the (forced creation of the) UK, it is a no, no? Why?

    Does Scotland really need England? No. Does England need Scotland? Yes………and this is the only sole reason why Scotland is not an independent country in its own right. England, unfortunately, controls Scotland to its benefit and not Scotland’s.

    Is Scotland a country? I pretty sure it is…………….but those who think otherwise may need a few geography/history lessons?

    The only possible positive thing from Brexit, is it has highlighted how xenophobic people can be……..but on the plus side, it has also highlighted why the people of Scotland should have the right to determine their own future, instead of being the poodle for England.

    • Ali Inkster

      • May 21st, 2017 12:27

      “However, when it comes to Scotland, through whatever party, wishing the same from the (forced creation of the) UK, it is a no, no? Why?”

      I wonder if David or any of the others have ever considered how scotland came to be?

    • Ian Tinkler

      • May 21st, 2017 18:16

      If you have a problem with the Tories, David and Westminster forced austerity just have a look at what the EU has done to Greece. Now Scotlands economy outside the UK, or inside for that mater, is far poorer performing than Greece. Now the SNP want independence and EU membership. Difficult to find an appropriate comment, no wonder RBS went belly up after Salmond was the financial adviser, now we have Miriam, utterly unqualified, as his financial adviser in Westminster. You just could not make it up.

  • John Tulloch

    • May 21st, 2017 10:05

    From the article: “Ms Brett said……SNP policy was to “radically reform” CFP. “And if we can’t reform it, it should be scrapped”.” Sorry, that’s not possible.

    “The EU operates comprehensive approval procedures that ensure new members are admitted only when they can demonstrate they will be able to play their part fully as members, namely by:
    * complying with all the EU’s standards and rules
    * Etc.…”

    i.e. the claim that the SNP will be able to “renegotiate (or scrap) the CFP” is bogus.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 22nd, 2017 9:03

    I would like to ask Miriam her views about the BBC Scotland leaders’ debate and the nurse who landed a direct hit on Nicola Sturgeon. The unnamed nurse said that she has to use food banks and that nurses like her have had seen their pay rising by just 1% a year for nine of the SNP’s ten years in power. She also asked where all of the money had gone, saying nurses saw none of it on the floor and dared the First Minister to come unannounced to visit A&E, or any NHS Scotland ward, to see how bad things are.
    Immediately afterwards, the SNP trolls started briefing that the nurse was the wife of a Tory Councillor. An SNP branch in Stirling allegedly suggested that, if she’s using food banks, “maybe she needs to tighten her belt a bit more?” and spend her NHS salary more wisely. It has since been established that she is not as claimed married to a Tory. If Miriam can be bothered to answer it would be good to hear her condemn the lies spread about this underpaid nurse and please lets have no mention of it being Westminster’s fault.

    • Johan Adamson

      • May 22nd, 2017 9:30

      I also wondered about education – the teacher was good too and suggested there has been a dumbing down of Highers leading to more passes – is this correct?

      • ROBERT SIM

        • May 26th, 2017 18:17

        Johan, the SQA have a system for managing standards which is there to ensure that grades at Higher are worth the same from year to year. It’s also important to note, since you are discussing the TV debate, that the government in Scotland doesn’t interfere in the detail of the education system in that way.

        There is a different point, which is that over a much longer time frame – many decades – the curriculum in the various subject areas has altered; and that is often what folk are referring to when they talk about “dumbing down” in secondary. But that is clearly not a matter which one can see as being the responsibility of any one government in that time period.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • May 27th, 2017 9:36

        SNPs record on education. Our children being let down on just about every level. Ten years SNP and the worst results in Scotish schools and Universities ever. It may be free but it is such a low standard the many degrees are near worthless pure Mickey Mouse.

      • ROBERT SIM

        • May 27th, 2017 14:22

        “SNPs record on education…It may be free but it is such a low standard the many degrees are near worthless pure Mickey Mouse.” You are way over the top again, Ian. Where is your hard evidence that “the many degrees are near worthless”?

      • ian tinkler

        • May 28th, 2017 11:43

        Robert Sim, the facts are self-evident. Only tell me the value of a Political History degree. How does such a qualification do improve human life, feed anyone, save someone from pain illness or remotely qualify one for nonacademic employment? There is a place for the creative arts, but they are only of benefit to an affluent and sedentary society but do little more than providing entertainment and arty type pleasure. Now the STEM (science technology engineering and math) degrees are the life savers, feeders and real improvers of all the human condition, environmental and progression towards the stars. Robert Sim, Scotland is failing in Education at all levels. My original comment included references if you wish I will forward them to you but that fact is in the public domain.
        (The NSF uses a broader definition of STEM subjects that includes subjects in the fields of chemistry, computer and information technology science, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, social sciences (anthropology, economics, psychology and sociology)

      • Robert Sim

        • May 28th, 2017 20:39

        @ Ian Tinkler – now you are attempting to shift the goalposts, Ian. You weren’t talking about types of degree but about degrees from Scottish universities. You said “it is such a low standard the many degrees are near worthless pure Mickey Mouse” and it is obvious the “it” referred to Scottish education. So you are saying a Scottish law or medical degree is “worthless”.

      • Ali Inkster

        • May 29th, 2017 10:01

        The level of employment of folk with history of art sociology and politics degrees etc is more than ample evidence of these degrees being a waste of time and money.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • May 29th, 2017 12:29

        It is very Sad, Robert Sim, education at all levels in Scotland is slipping under devolved SNP control. Medicine is a case in point. QS world ranking Edinburgh (Scotland’s best) rank only number 23 (medicine) and 24 (Law)! That is simply not good enough but nearly all Scotlands top scores are dropping under SNP guidance. England does rather better!!!
        Look them up for yourself. I fear you can not get away from, ” you get what you pay for”, we now are seeing the result of doing it on the cheap, the SNP way of education!

      • Robert Sim

        • May 29th, 2017 13:28

        @Ali – “The level of employment of folk with history of art sociology and politics degrees etc is more than ample evidence of these degrees being a waste of time and money.” Evidence? Or just prejudice? And what does “etc” refer to?

      • Robert Sim

        • May 29th, 2017 13:56

        Ian, I have no idea what’s sad in the data you point us to. You say that:
        “…education at all levels in Scotland is slipping under devolved SNP control. Medicine is a case in point. QS world ranking Edinburgh (Scotland’s best) rank only number 23 (medicine) and 24 (Law)! That is simply not good enough but nearly all Scotlands top scores are dropping under SNP guidance. England does rather better!!!”

        Using your link, I checked Edinburgh’s ranking for medicine for 2014, 15 and 16 as well as the 2017 figure. The results are as follows:

        2014 – 29=
        2015 – 31
        2016 – 26
        2017 – 23.

        Didn’t you realise you can look at the data by year? There’s a drop-down menu.

      • Johan Adamson

        • May 29th, 2017 14:48

        I want my bairns to have the first class education I had. Is there a greater element of continuous assessment in the Highers now?

        @Ali – Even if you never get a job in Sociology, you still have a higher level of education to build your future career on. You have to do what you enjoy, not what the job market dictates. Lots of people started to do engineering because of the oil – then there hasnt been so many jobs offshore lately, then what do you do?

      • Ian Tinkler

        • May 29th, 2017 19:09

        Now just compare those figures with Oxford, Cambridge, University College London, Kings College London, then perhaps the penny will drop, Robert Sim. Then try the same for any Science subject. Physics, Chemistry Biology, Geology et al. I very much doubt if you will find a Scotish University in the top twenty or so places. There are loads to look at. Scotland once had the World Leadership, not after ten years devolved to the SNP.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • May 29th, 2017 19:22

        Johan, for your information, as I previous stated: (The NSF uses a broader definition of STEM subjects that includes subjects in the fields of chemistry, computer and information technology science, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, social sciences (anthropology, economics, psychology and sociology)
        Now regarding, engineering, Scotland is desperately short of engineers. The oil industry is crying out for technically trained staff. There is a massive skill shortage, that is why we are so dependent on overseas trained people. Not just engineers but dentists, doctors, chemists, biologists, botanists et al and et al. Loads of non-science graduates, not many jobs for the outside the professions.

  • James Sinclair

    • May 22nd, 2017 9:05

    Of course,Scotland could be an independent country but the question is :what it look like? 1970’s Albania on a dreich day? The SNP know this and that is why they must run from 1 union (UK) to another (EU) i.e. They need another trough from which the gravy will flow…..and when I read the bit about the CFP being amended or,gasp,scrapped by a newly admitted Scotland ,my significant other had to pick me up from the floor.
    To my progressive friends I say :do not regard the monomaniacal SNP as your “comrades” for they regard you simply (as,probably,Lenin never said!) as “useful idiots “.
    Just say “No” to this mystical New Darien Scheme because,all said and done,that’s just what it is.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 26th, 2017 15:48

    @ Miriam Brett and Derick Tulloch.
    New official statistics have revealed patients were left waiting for more than 500 days for various treatments across Scotland’s NHS last year. People awaiting procedures for a range of problems – including hip replacements, knee replacements and foot and ankle surgery were on lists for up to 582 days in 2016.
    The ISD Scotland figures obtained through Freedom of Information showed the longest waits clocked in 2016 across hip, knee and ankle procedures. Someone requiring a primary hip replacement had to wait 582 days; a primary knee replacement 520 days; and osteotomy surgery 578 days.
    The Scottish Government has been warned for years about the impact an increasing and ageing population would have on the NHS.
    These are operations which can be life-changing, particularly for older patients, and having to wait the best part of two years is precious time wasted. The SNP has been told over the last decade just how pressing an issue an ageing population is for the NHS. But these warnings have not been heeded, and it’s vulnerable and elderly patients who are paying the price. Health is under the complete control of Holyrood, and they are the ones who must take full responsibility for these failings.”


      • May 26th, 2017 17:02

      Gordon, your comment is the latest in a flood of desperate comments directed at the SNP by a few folk on here recently. It typifies one strand of “argument” – having a go at the SNP for its perceived failings as a devolved government. But this is a UK election, not a Holyrood one. Instead, the government whose record we need to examine is the UK one – the Tories.

      So what have we had under this party? To mention but three things: the longest fall in the value of wages since records began; economic targets, i.e. reducing the deficit, missed by miles; and the humiliation of disabled people through the so-called benefits system. That is not even to mention the probable disaster of brexit (during which the Tories will trade away our fishing again given half a chance).

      The other UK-wide parties are impotent to stop the Tories; and their priorities are in any case dictated from elsewhere. The logical choice is to vote for a party which puts Scotland first – and Shetland is part of Scotland; and which can put together a large-enough group of MPs to challenge the government effectively at Westminster.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • May 27th, 2017 9:05

        Robert as usual you are taking the lead in defending the indefensible. If what you say about it being a general election and not a Scottish one why is Nicola Sturgeon heading the debates for the party leaders south of the border when Angus is the leader in the commons? Then again why are there debates for the Scottish leaders if it is a Westminster election?
        What we have had under this party is the biggest drop in unemployment in decades, something not reflected in Scotland because no one will invest North of the border because of the constant threat of independence,
        What good have the SNP been in Westminster? Oh they have sung pro EU anthems, then of course they act like petulant children and applauded when knowing it was not allowed. Oh and the they have been the laughing stock of Scotland thanks to dear Angus again asking stupid questions of the PM and repeatedly asking the same question. They went to Westminster to disrupt and cause division not represent the Scottish voter. If this is a Westminster election why is Derick Tulloch preaching about how much better the Scottish NHS is better than the UK NHS?

      • Ali Inkster

        • May 27th, 2017 10:49

        The SNP had 59, 58, 57, 56 MPs at westminster and still they were totally ineffective as an opposition. Their one cry of independence only applies in dundee and glasgow, the rest of the country including Shetland rejected their nightmare.

      • ROBERT SIM

        • May 27th, 2017 14:17

        To answer your points, Gordon: “If what you say about it being a general election and not a Scottish one why is Nicola Sturgeon heading the debates for the party leaders south of the border when Angus is the leader in the commons?” Because she is the party leader.

        “Then again why are there debates for the Scottish leaders if it is a Westminster election?” Presumably because it is recognised that Scotland is a separate nation with its own culture and voting pattern. Eg Scotland votes overwhelmingly for the SNP. The only thing we don’t have is full autonomy.

        You mention the drop in unemployment “…something not reflected in Scotland because no one will invest North of the border because of the constant threat of independence…”. You have no evidence to back up your statement; whereas there is evidence that there has been a downturn in the Scottish economy over the last two years. The fall in oil prices was a contributory factor; and of course there is no reserve to cushion the blow thanks to Westminster squandering the oil money over decades.

        You ask: “What good have the SNP been in Westminster?” What good has Labour been? Or the LibDems? You merely highlight the democratic deficit which means that one part of the UK has the final say over what happens in Westminster because it has by far the biggest population and yet its choice of ruling party is at complete odds with Scotland’s. The answer to that is full Scottish autonomy. In the meantime, folk can at least vote for a party which unambiguously supports Scotland’s interests alone.

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