Alternative bill competes with Jarl’s proclamation at Market Cross

The 2020 Up-Helly-A’ bill was erected at the Market Cross on Tuesday morning

Two proclamations were competing for attention at the Market Cross in the early hours of Up-Helly-A’ morning with a protest group mimicking the festival’s traditions by erecting a bill of their own.

The lighthearted bill, erected at the Market Cross on Commercial Street every year, is a long-standing part of Shetland’s largest festival and often pokes fun at local worthies and high profile news stories.

This year’s bill is no different with a number of gags taking aim at 2019’s happenings.

Campaign group “Reclaim the Raven”, who are arguing for women’s inclusion in the Viking fire festival, placed their own bill at the Market Cross.

‘Reclaim the Raven’ placed their bill on the opposite side of the Market Cross

The bill is said to feature the work of local artists and writers, though the group’s members have chosen to remain anonymous.

The Reclaim the Raven bill asks: “Have you forgotten those that bore you?”

In the early hours of Tuesday, the bill joined a series of posters placed on shop windows which state: “Women can be Vikings too.”

Reclaim the Raven joins Up Helly Aa for Aa as another group pushing for equal opportunity inclusion at a time when growing scrutiny is being placed on the continued exclusion of female guizers.

Posters reading “Women can be vikings too” have also appeared around town



Add Your Comment
  • Peter Hamilton

    • January 28th, 2020 13:38

    The removal of this morning’s well-concieved first proclamation may have been ill-judged. For one thing, the Market Cross belongs to no Lerwegian. More to the point though, silencing those you disagree with can be seen as a disagreeable act of domination.

    Hopefully the Reclaim the Raven proclamation will be respectfully returned. It isn’t the only thing that belongs in a museum.

  • Ian Craig

    • January 29th, 2020 17:23

    Peter as a lecturer i’m sure you have heard the mnemonic rule of thumb, I before E, except after C.

    I have heard it said that many incomers who come to live in Shetland integrate and embrace the culture and lifestyle but after a peerie while want to change the very thing that pulled them there.
    Just out of curiosity, are you a Shetlander born and bred or a soothmoother?

    • Brian Smith

      • January 31st, 2020 17:27

      Surely that rule of thumb is wrong in this case!

      Can you imagine the reaction if someone carried off the Up Helly Aa bill in a van? There would be wetting of kirtles!

  • Julie Moncrieff

    • January 30th, 2020 19:08

    I’m a Shetlander born and bred and dir is a great number of women and men wha wid lik tae see the integration of girls and women intae da Lerwick UHA.

    It wid mak a great spectacle even greater !

    In 2020 a Committee of male members, and the only UHA Committee in Shetland excluding women needs addressing.

    They have still to put out a statement fae the current Committee as to why they want to exclude females.
    Do they have a valid reason?
    I dunna think so.

    Listen to the Statement they put oot on Radio Shetland on Up Helly Aa day, about 17 mins in.
    Not one written by themselves in 2020, but an ancient piece by an ex Jarl in 1913!
    It is derogatory tae say the least, and somehow infers that we want tae damage the festival, which is simply not the truth.

    • Rosa Steppanova

      • February 16th, 2020 12:48

      Hello Julie,
      You’re probably aware of a new Shetland Facebook group calling itself “Women for Remain the Same”, meaning LUHA should continue to exclude women from parts of the festival. It is a group created by women for the promotion of discrimination against women. Is your mind boggling? Mine is.
      WfRtS (my spell check is stumped and suggests warts) is by no means unique, and I wonder if the group has been inspired by Mary Humphrey Ward?
      In 1908 she became founding president of a group called The Anti-Suffrage League, whose aim was to deny women the vote – in other words, an organisation for the promotion of discrimination against women.
      But that’s not all, here’s another striking parallel:
      In 2020 Women for Remain the Same claimed to have 1000 supporters, both men and women.
      In 1909 The Anti-Suffrage League claimed to have 250,000 supporters, both men and women.
      We all know what happened to the Anti-Suffrage League, and history, they say, has a habit of repeating itself.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • January 31st, 2020 14:29

    Funnily enough there are Craigs on my mothers side Ian. If we go back down the female lines we’re surely all related…

    But Ian questions whether I have the approved credentials to comment on part of the toon’s current approach to LUHA.

    We can leave aside whether “soothmoother” is any better or worse than “jumped-up Lerrick Scottie” for now, but Ian’s xenophobic approach sees him playing the man not the ball.

    As for his question, suffice to say I’ve been around long enough to have been asked to join a country Jarl Squad and know how good it feels to have a son going out in a Lerwick squad.

    I also know, as a former teacher in the Anderson High, how wrong it felt to tell S2 boys, and boys only, they could go and register their interest in JUHA at breaktime.

    So as an accepted unacceptable member of the community, I’ll say now I’m a fan of Shetland’s Fire Fetivals overall, but only if thats agreeable to all the other Craigs etc.

    Has Ian got any thoughts of his own on the actual issue at hand, or is he just on an outdated diversion to shoot a messenger?

  • Ian Tinkler

    • February 17th, 2020 9:34

    I agree with Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell, “no-one should be prohibited from doing something based on their gender.” I endorse gender equality and have nothing but contempt for those who advocate anything else. It is merely that simple. I have made that point endlessly!! Look to the UK warrior women; they kicked Viking Butt, Spanish Butt, Trade Union Butt and my sister kicked mine!!! (She was two years older). Regarding the tradition nonsense, should we go back to Witch burning? That predates L UHA by a few years.


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