SIC removes Hill’s placards after he refuses

Political campaigner Stuart Hill has run into trouble with Shetland Islands Council after placing a number of election placards on lampposts.

The signs, which Mr Hill put up prior to the general election, were removed by the SIC this week after the authority said he had failed to take them down himself. It is understood that he will be sent a bill for the cost of the removal.

The placards, placed in both Lerwick and Scalloway and bearing the wording “MP? No Thanx”, encouraged people to spoil their general election ballot papers as a protest vote.

The council told him he would have to take the placards down as they were not allowed under Section 59 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.

Political signs have been an issue recently with some people complaining about the number erected by parties, particularly the SNP, in the run-up to the Shetland by-election to the Scottish Parliament in August.

Mr Hill said: “[The council] said that if I didn’t remove them, they would do so and charge me for the privilege.

“When I checked the legislation, I found it applies to obstructions placed in the road and it seems the SIC is just bluffing and wanting to bully me.

“I accepted their offer to remove my signs on condition that they show evidence that: Scottish legislation applies in Shetland; the placards are in the road; the placards form an obstruction to anything; that it has not been customary to fix such placards to lampposts during election times.

“Until they show that evidence, the signs stay up until the campaign is over.”

Mr Hill said that, as of Monday, his were the only election signs up. That is very different to the recent Scottish by-election when hundreds were placed, the majority by the SNP but also by the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties.

He added: “Maybe the SIC has been successful in intimidating the candidates.”

The council’s head of legal and administration services Jan Riise confirmed on Tuesday that the signs had been taken down.

He said the situation was quite simple. Mr Hill had not applied for permission to put them up and he was not a candidate in the general election.

Only candidates were allowed to put up signs, Mr Riise said. Mr Hill had been given 24 hours take them down and after that time passed they were removed.



Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • December 10th, 2019 14:16

    Just four months ago, then SNP Shetland convener Ian Malcolmson led the most spectacular campaign ever seen in a Shetland election.

    This time, under new convener Tom Wills, we are seeing their most insipid campaign, if not ever, certainly, for many years.

    To my knowledge, none of the few official SNP Shetland media letters even mentioned candidate Robert Leslie’s name until Tom Wills did, somewhat half-heartedly, six days before the election.

    Orkney activists are having to write to Shetland media to support their man

    Now we hear there are not even any lamp post notices.

    That’s one hell of a contrast, between the two campaigns. One wonders what on earth is going on?

    Whatever it is Alistair Carmichael must be revelling in it.

  • Brian Smith

    • December 10th, 2019 16:55

    The Lib Dem campaign is even more invisible. Their headquarters on Commercial Street is locked up and dark every day – after all their kerfuffle in August. See the latest New Shetlander editorial for an excellent account of the local campaign, such as it is.

  • ian tinkler

    • December 10th, 2019 18:17

    Sadly our local campaign is as dull as ditchwater. Brink back Miriam Brett and Jonathon Wills. We could at least laugh at Jonathon and feel sorry for Miriam.
    Her time will come, a ray of sunshine so far ahead of Sturgeon.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • December 11th, 2019 11:21

    LibDem backing Ian only has himself to blame if he hasn’t enjoyed the campaign. His liberal use of invective ain’t what it used to be.

  • ian tinkler

    • December 11th, 2019 13:54

    “LibDem backing Ian”, may have changed my mind Peter Hamilton but I usually back a winner. Tactical vote for Shetland seems a wise choice. Anything to keep out the Nats and Socialists. Seems to be the name of the game this time around. Enjoy.


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