Despite the way that the Promote Shetland contract has been mishandled, I applaud Shetland Islands Council’s efforts to move the goalposts, to include attracting people to live, work and be educated here, in addition to attracting tourists.
However, I think we need to think carefully about how we portray ourselves.
My wife and I moved here seven years ago and despite the fact that my wife has deep family roots in the community, and had been a regular visitor to Shetland for 50 years, we still accessed the Promote Shetland website every day, to check out the webcams, and subscribed to The Shetland Times. I think this is what most prospective residents would do.
Reading today’s edition of your esteemed newspaper, within the first seven pages I read about the following – council offices evacuated for nine months, knives taken off five pupils, a warning that centralisation of air traffic control could be fraught with danger, diver jailed for rape, 17-year-old driving at 90mph, heroin supplier jailed, tens of thousands of indecent images of children on a computer, a nine-year-old girl assaulted, man behaving with knife in threatening manner, and father and son involved in assault on a man.
I appreciate that part of the role and responsibility of The Shetland Times is to report detail on local crime, to local people, but I am concerned about what image this, admittedly accurate, reporting creates for potential residents. It is certainly not an image that I recognise of Shetland.