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  • Elizabeth Moneypenny

    • January 30th, 2020 17:55

    I dream of visiting the Shetlands. One day I will. As a manxwoman I know how it feels to be an islander but we dont have an up helly A.

    • Ali Inkster

      • January 31st, 2020 14:43

      You have something much much better, self rule.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 3rd, 2020 13:32

    The Isle of Man also has a flag, adopted in 1933, featuring a symbol white supremacists may recognise.

    Looking further into this I found an interesting article: “White Supremacists Have Weaponized an Imaginary Viking Past. It’s Time to Reclaim the Real History”, (Time Magazine, April 2019) by Dorothy Kim, an Assistant Professor of Medieval Literature.

    As a woman, Dorothy’s perspective will likely be judged totally irrelevant by a notable few, but I was particularly interested to learn:

    “Crucially, they (Vikings) were not homogeneous seafarers as is often imagined; they were multicultural and multiracial.”

    Dorothy links this to another article: “Vikings were never the pure-bred master race white supremacists like to portray”, (The Conversation, September 2017) by Clare Downham, Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool, another woman who, like Dorothy, may not be Shetland born.

    Clair points out: “The word “Viking” entered the Modern English language in 1807, at a time of growing nationalism and empire building. In the decades that followed, enduring stereotypes about Vikings developed, such as wearing horned helmets and belonging to a society where only men wielded high status”.

    Who is allowed to guess at what could possibly inspire the far extremes of LUHA defensiveness?

    • Ali Inkster

      • February 3rd, 2020 16:13

      Everybody except you is a nazi Peter.
      The Three Legs of Man date back to the 13th century and has sweet fanny adams to do with white supremacists.

      • John Thomas

        • February 4th, 2020 14:24

        Everybody except you is a communist Ali.
        The Swastica dates back to the paleolithic and has sweet fanny adams to do with white supremacists.

        So because the Three Legs was in use before the concept of white supremacy, it could never ever have been adopted by white supremacists later. Good logic there Ali. Like that’s not even possible. Case closed.

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 4th, 2020 21:18

        Well if it is a far right symbol it is ironic that it was introduced to Man by a scoti. 😉
        “The national symbol of the Isle of Man is the Three Legs. The true origins of this ancient motif are lost in the mists of time but it is thought to have been introduced to the Island by Alexander III of Scotland after he gained control of Manx territory in 1265. Alexander had family connections with Sicily, who had adopted a three-legged version of the sun symbol hundreds of years previously. The Manx legs were originally bare-legged but by the fourteenth century were clothed in armour and spurs. The legs are usually seen to run clockwise and carry the Latin motto ‘Quocunque Jeceris Stabit’ meaning ‘it will stand whichever way you throw it’ – a reference to the independence and resilience of the Manx people.”

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 3rd, 2020 19:04

    Before he gets further distracted by personal animosity, Ali may like to contemplate this from the Greater Manchester Police Counter Terrorism Branch Prevent Team on the domestic terrorism threat posed by the extreme right wing (XRW):

    …the German Nazi Party glorified an idealized “Aryan/Norse” heritage. As a result, the XRW have appropriated many symbols from pre-Christian Europe for their own uses. They give such symbols a racist significance, even though the symbols did not originally have such meaning…
    …Known as the ‘triskele’ – essentially a variation on the swastika, and popular for that reason. The triskele was a symbol occasionally used by the Nazi regime, most notably as the insignia for a Waffen SS division composed of Belgian volunteers. After World War II, the “Three Sevens” version of the triskele was popularized by white supremacists in Europe and South Africa.”

    So I’ll take it as read that my claim that white supremacists might recognise the symbol on the Isle of Man flag stands.

    Ali’s diverting claim that everyone except me is a nazi seems a bit extreme by comparison. Unlike him.

    That aside, maybe non-defensive Ali won’t continue to ignore what Clair and Dorothy have had to say.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • February 4th, 2020 13:36

    Peter Hamilton, please give it a rest. Have you no original opinion of our own? Must you drip endlessly socialist dogma, quoting left-wing academics from highly dubious universities with views that defy common sense?
    It does not take too much brain to dismiss the idiocy of linking The Vikings to Nazi philosophy. Our followers of Odin predate Hitler by more than a thousand years. Incidentally what Clair and Dorothy have to say is utterly irrelevant to Lerwick Up-Helly-A, just another bit of presumptions hogwash. A type of pseudo-academic idiocy with all the relevance and use a goldfish has for a motorbike.

    • John Thomas

      • February 4th, 2020 14:48

      Much as I hate to point this out,
      “It does not take too much brain to dismiss the idiocy of linking The Vikings to Nazi philosophy. Our followers of Odin predate Hitler by more than a thousand years.”

      Peter didn’t say that though. Another Tinkler straw man perchance?

      The lefty academic was saying that the symbols were co-opted by the Nazis, not created.

      What’s your evidence that they didn’t? I lack the brains to find out myself.

      Is the Tinkler / Thomas alliance cracking after a promising start? One hopes not.

    • Peter Hamilton

      • February 4th, 2020 16:22

      Mmm. Ian Tulloch has decided Clair hails from a dubious university (Liverpool) but previously she was at Aberdeen.

      He derides her views as “utterly irrelevant to Lerwick Up-Helly A'”. Normally such a bold statement would be followed up by some actual reasoning, but he just leaves it hanging, flacidly unsubstantiated.

      Her point again was: “The word “Viking” entered the Modern English language in 1807, at a time of growing nationalism and empire building. In the decades that followed, enduring stereotypes about Vikings developed, such as wearing horned helmets and belonging to a society where only men wielded high status”.

      Maybe Ian is right that this has nothing to do with LUHA, but he hasn’t exactly proven his case. In fact, by attacking her and Dorothy he has helpfully done exactly what I had predicted others would when I had said of Dorothy: ” As a woman, Dorothy’s perspective will likely be judged totally irrelevant by a notable few”. You couldn’t make it up.

      Nice to see Ian Tinkler and John Tulloch reuniting as brothers in arms, but their arguments are in dire straights.

    • Brian Smith

      • February 4th, 2020 18:51

      I am chuckling at Ian Tinkler’s view that Clare Downham is a left-wing academic from a highly dubious university. She isn’t. But she is one of our foremost experts about vikings …

      • Ian Tinkler

        • February 5th, 2020 10:37

        Clare Downham . The University of Liverpool is ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide rankings. Hardly a top place, Even the Scottish do a bit better, Edinburgh 20th !!!.
        NB not one from the EU in top 20. Very sad. As for Dorothy Kim!!! Brandeis University, where?

        2020 world ranking

        1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)More
        United States
        2 Stanford UniversityMore
        United States
        3 Harvard UniversityMore
        United States
        4 University of OxfordMore
        United Kingdom
        5 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)More
        United States
        6 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologyMore
        7 University of CambridgeMore
        United Kingdom
        8 UCLMore
        United Kingdom
        9 Imperial College LondonMore
        United Kingdom
        10 University of ChicagoMore
        United States
        =11 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)More
        =11 National University of Singapore (NUS)More
        13 Princeton UniversityMore
        United States
        14 Cornell UniversityMore
        United States
        15 University of PennsylvaniaMore
        United States
        16 Tsinghua UniversityMore
        China (Mainland)
        17 Yale UniversityMore
        United States
        Columbia UniversityMore
        United States
        =18 EPFL – Ecole Polytechnique Federale de LausanneMore
        20 The University of Edinburgh United Kingdom

      • Ian Tinkler

        • February 5th, 2020 11:10

        Now Brian, If you really want an authority on the Vikings Look to Professor James Montgomery.
        Senior Letcureships at Oslo and Leeds Universities, now Cambridge University. Nothing obscure about that place!!!

      • Brian Smith

        • February 5th, 2020 19:58

        You mean the Professor of Arabic?

  • John Tulloch

    • February 4th, 2020 13:47

    @Peter Hamilton,

    Under the Norse regime that governed Shetland for over 500 years, the isles were self-governing and democratic. Pretty socialistic, too, for then-a-days.

    Udal Law saw to it that it was difficult to amass vast tracts of land as it was split among the heirs and there were local parliaments or tings that organised local societies. Even the Norse kings were elected, not appointed by heredity.

    Shetland was pawned as part of a 1469 Denmark-Scotland marriage/alliance deal with strict conditions. Among other conditions, neither law nor language could be changed.

    Scotland broke the terms of the agreement, including preventing Denmark rom redeeming the pawn. They committing oppression and ethnic cleansing. The language and law were changed and the population was effectively enslaved until they were finally emancipated by the British prime minister William Gladstone in 1886.

    Chapter and verse can be found in Stuart HIll’s legal history treatise, “The Stolen Isles”.

    Don’t you agree, it’s time the Scottish government owned up to Scotland’s nefarious past actions in Shetland and apologised to the descendants of those affected, with appropriate reparations, where applicable?

    • John Thomas

      • February 4th, 2020 14:42

      That would be super. Especially the reparations. What’s my share?

    • Brian Smith

      • February 4th, 2020 18:00

      John Tulloch’s inaccurate conspectus of Shetland’s history shows how important it is to avoid Hill’s Stolen Isles.

      • John Tulloch

        • February 5th, 2020 14:07


        A summary is, by definition, “inaccurate”. Scottish nationalists, knowing the importance of independent Scotland retaining the isles, seek to blur the historical facts.

        Chris Huhne MP famously described allegations about him dodging a speeding charge as “inaccurate”. He was unable to use the word “untrue” and was later sentenced to eight months in jail.

        I realise winners always rewrite history to suit their own purposes. However, if you want to rubbish Stuart Hill’s treatise, you need to do a bit more than describe my briefest of summaries as “inaccurate”.

    • Ian Tinkler

      • February 6th, 2020 16:07

      Ibn Fadlan (Arabic: أحمد بن فضلان بن العباس بن راشد بن حماد‎‎ Aḥmad ibn Faḍlān ibn al-ʿAbbās ibn Rāšid ibn Ḥammād, fl. 921–22) was a 10th-century Arab traveler, famous for his account of his travels as a member of an embassy of the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad to the king of the Volga Bulgars, known as his Risala (“account” or “journal”) His account is most notable for providing a detailed description of the Volga Vikings, including an eyewitness account of a ship burial.
      One of the earliest detailed descriptions of the Vikings is reported in the account Ibn Fadhlan wrote after his travels in Northern Europe. In 921 CE Arab Muslim writer and traveler Ibn Fadhlan was sent as the secretary to an ambassador from the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir from Baghdad to the Volga Bulgars by the Black Sea and the Caspian. The mission itself was something of a bust. But while there, Ibn Fadhlan recorded his encounter with a band of traders from the North,
      Interesting is it not.

      • Ian Tinkler

        • February 6th, 2020 16:51

        And not a single white supremacist to be see.!!!

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 4th, 2020 16:06

    John Tulloch appears to be trying to create a needless grudge against the other for his own ends, which is something even those with a casual interest in history will have seen before. It is a tried and tested way of creating ethnic differentiation and fuelling tension.

    Shetland, we should understand from John, was exceptional. No other distinctive part of what is now Scotland had ever previously fallen under the expanding feudal yoke. 500 year old marriage contracts between Kings must dictate the way we now see things. Nonsense on stilts.

    That aside, it is interesting John hasn’t engaged with Dorothy’s broader argument. She differentiates between Scandinavian settlers and Viking seafarers. Shetland’s Scandinavian past did happen and Vikings did take to the seas, but there seems to be something of a fantasy land overlap going on. This is just fine so long as it doesn’t feed darker fantasies.

    How many original Shetlanders (presumably hailing from the South not the West) took to the seas with the pirates is perhaps conjecture. Is anyone allowed to wonder if they ever questioned the incomers right to have a say?

    Some parts of history really should stay in the past. Divided we fail.

  • John Tulloch

    • February 5th, 2020 14:10

    Brian Smith and Peter Hamilton obviously don’t agree that the Scottish government should apologise to the descendants of those affected by the tyranny imposed in Shetland (and Orkney) over hundreds of years by the Scottish authorities and their place men.

    No more self-governing tings. It was the tyrannical rule of Earl Patrick Stewart and lesser, villainous “lairds” who amassed vast tracts of land under the new Scottish feudal law regime and oppressed the increasingly Scottish population over hundreds of years, until Westminster passed the Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1886.

    Throw in the similar story from Orkney and it’s clear an apology is needed.

    Brian and Peter sound like those people in America who deny history and resist the idea that the descendants of slaves should receive an apology from the US government and, indeed, reparations.

    Or perhaps, they only want that principle to be applied in countries other than Scotland?

    • Peter Hamilton

      • February 5th, 2020 16:28

      I am cheerfully predicting Brian Smith holds no candle for the feudalism of the past, or for ongoing feudal attitudes.

      Looking back, as John Tulloch plainly loves to do, I can’t help but wonder if he has any concerns for the original inhabitants of wir Shetland.

      It is possible to take a Nordic fetish too far. Perhaps that’s why they call it Stockholm Syndrome.

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 6th, 2020 18:52

        As A direct descendant of the original inhabitants of these isles I guess I’m living proof that the original inhabitants and the norse got along just fine. Unlike the history promoted by Brian and others.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 7th, 2020 10:16

    I guess there is a bit of conjecture around how welcome Shetland’s original women and men made the new arrivals from the East feel.

    Those on St. Ninian’s Isle thought it wise to hide their treasure for some reason or other.

    • Ian Tinkler

      • February 7th, 2020 12:08

      When was the treasure buried?
      The treasure may have been buried at the end of the 8th or beginning of the 9th century AD, when Viking raids on Scotland first began. Alternatively, as the objects show signs of significant use, they may have been hidden centuries later. (St Ninian’s Isle treasure fact file)
      It is highly probable this treasure was hidden from the vicious Scotish Lairdes who ruthlessly plundered and oppressed Shetland between 1469 and 1886.
      It is highly probable we will burry our treasures again if the Socialist hoards of the SNP ever descend on us!!!

  • Rosa Steppanova

    • February 7th, 2020 10:28

    Yes Ali, and your assertion is of course confirmed by the countless Pictish placenames we have in Shetland.

    • Michael Garriock

      • February 8th, 2020 4:42

      Rosa Steppanova: Quite ironic really that in making your point, you have also managed to provide proof of the ‘negative’ impact of all influxes of ‘foreigness’ upon Shetland ‘culture.

      Exchange Pictish in your sentence for Shetland, and it remains equally true. The Norse influence on Shetland placenames lasted approx 650 years, the Scots/British influence on Shetland placenames has been ongoing for approx 550 years. By the time we get around to 2120 there will be as few Shetland placenames left in use as there were Pictish ones after 650 years of Norse influence. By the time approx 2720 gets here there will be no more Shetland placenames left in use than there are Pictish ones right now.

      Don’t kid yourself that preserving them in the written word on maps and signposts will halt the rot. OS Mapmakers butchered many names to be nothing like their original when they made the first maps of Shetland, and regrettably it is their butchered versions which stand, not the correct pronounciation, and that’s happened in only 150 years. The culture, lifestyle and language which created and supported the placenames is all but gone, and ever fewer people can pronounce them properly.

      Change, changes, inevitably.

    • Ali Inkster

      • February 8th, 2020 9:24

      As the norse were here long before the raid on Lindisfarne trading living naming their surroundings. it is no surprise there are a lack of pictish names. Just as there are very little in the way of pictish place names in what was pictland before the scotii invaded from ulster

    • Ali Inkster

      • February 17th, 2020 11:30

      The picts themselves were invaders who displaced the original iron age inhabitants of Shetland.

      • Brian Smith

        • February 17th, 2020 18:12

        I’d love to know where Inkster gets this stuff

      • Graham Fleming

        • February 17th, 2020 20:23

        The picts,is a Latin name for people that were calling themselves Caledonians(gall daoine or gael daoine)foreign or Gaelic people, the papar,had a least nine sites in the Shetlands,and seen the islands as stop off points to the Faroes and Iceland(innis tile,or Island of Thule),they called Shetlaun,Innse Cat or the islands of the cat people, who were also further south in Cataibh(caithness and sotherland,)St Brendan in the fifth century described a lot of the papar sites throughout Erin agus Alba in his famous journey that went past the land of fire(thule),The Noordman acknowledges the Vestman were the original inhabitants at Vestmanna and Vestmanjar by naming them after the Gaels and Grimur Kamban was a Gallgael not a pure Noordman,tha gu dearbh.

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 18th, 2020 1:04

        From a more accurate source than you Brian

      • Mark Snowflake Smith

        • February 18th, 2020 10:29

        There’s an ancient stone carving in the hills of Clivocast which appears to show that the Neolithic and Bronze Age Shetlanders really didn’t appreciate those Iron Age folk coming up here, with their new-fangled metal and their stupid brochs. Evidence suggest the real Shetlanders had managed just fine until then, living in holes and making shoes out of sandstone.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 7th, 2020 12:31

    Yes Rosa, and I’m sure those first Viking arrivals will have politely waited at least a couple of generations for having the temerity to seek any say on local affairs. They have an international reputation for being mannerly after all.

    And as for any academic notions that they grabbed the land and subordinated local men, well what could academics possibly know? It was clearly all total harmony ubtil the Scotties turned up.

    It is all beginning to become clearer. We are stuck in an invented romantische era.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 7th, 2020 13:49

    The full fiction relies on forgetting Scots had Norse and Pictish ancestry too, and weren’t up to much more than the Vikings did do.

    How all this can equate to the multitude of sins that was the colonial slave trade etc. in John Tulloch’s mind is more than a bit troubling though.

    Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised. The Romantic Era did fuel dark fantasies which we know linger on in less enlightened parts.

    Happily all this is a million miles away from the streets of Lerwick which, as we all know, is totally free of a unique brand of racism built on banal distortions, incomplete understandings, myths and half-truths.

    Perhaps that notorious imperialist Brian Smith can shine a little more light on how we got to this point.

  • Brian Smith

    • February 7th, 2020 21:23

    It’s extraordinary how Inkster, Tinkler and Tulloch pontificate about historical eras they know nothing about, and texts they haven’t even looked at. For those who like to read I strongly recommend Clare Downham’s collection of essays No Horns on their Helmets? Essays on the Insular Viking Age, Aberdeen 2013.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 13th, 2020 11:54

    For those who like to receive information by listening, BBC Radio 4 is this week currently broadcasting British male geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford speaking in five 14 minute long programmes titled: How to Argue with a Racist.

    In the first he noted that racism against people from a particular country was “an equivalent form of cultural racism”.

    In the second he states: “many of the arguments put forwards by racists centre around belonging to specific demographics, the othering of different groups and the displacement of people”.

    Episode three is particularly interesting as it debunks a lot of assumptions made by people attributing any significance to their proven ancestry and highlights the inadequacy of the genetics testing industry.

    Some Shetland separatists do appear to use arguments Adam Rutherford would recognise, arguments which sadly occasionally surface in the UHA debate.

    For people who wish to consider whether or how white supremacists have weaponized a fake Viking past, whether or not they care to engage with the research from Dorothy or Clair above, Adam is worth a listen.

    Today’s episode focuses more on sporting prowess and provides no scientific argument for why women in Lerwick shouldn’t carry torches.

  • Ian TInkler

    • February 14th, 2020 12:11

    “For people who wish to consider whether or how white supremacists have weaponized a fake Viking past, whether or not they care to engage with the research from Dorothy or Clair above, Adam is worth a listen.”
    The only person I have ever heard mention “white supremacists have weaponized a fake Viking past, ” is you, Peter Hamilton. No one else at all.
    With regard to Dorothy or Clair, just what have they to do with Lerwick UHA? Absolutely nothing at all!!! Incidentally, my sister earned her Ph.D (pathology) at UCL then her MRC.Path. We spent many a good time at UCL, Dr Adam Rutherford’s stomping ground I believe.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • February 15th, 2020 10:31

    Further to the above, my sis was a senior consultant and lectured at UCL/UCH where Dr Rutherford was a student. She actually may have taught him. Small World is it not! Now she is a scary lady!!!!!

  • James Mackenzie

    • February 16th, 2020 13:10

    Three things have sprung to mind reading these comments.

    1. I recall that DNA studies done with Icelanders revealed that their origins were Azerbaijani – apparently displaced northwestwards by either Greek or Roman imperialist expansion.

    2. The Nobel prize-winning epic “Independent People” by Halldor Laxness gives a pretty damning indictment of the male prowess so fondly imagined in the sagas by the novel’s protagonist Bjartur – contrasting with the way he treats “his” womenfolk.

    3. A recent review of Adam Rutherford’s book “How to Argue with a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality” concludes: “One has to admire [Rutherford’s] desire to challenge Jonathan Swift’s dictum: ‘Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired.'” (Manjit Kumar, The Guardian, 1/2/2020)

  • John Tulloch

    • February 18th, 2020 15:51

    For a purported historian, Smith doesn’t interpret my comments very accurately and tries to conflate them with others’ statements.

    I did not mention the invasion of Shetland by pre-Norwegian Viking adventurers and warlords. Norway did not exist as a country at that time.

    I referred to the aftermath of the pawning of Shetland, 500 years later, by the king of Denmark (and Norway), and the Scots’ blatant disregard for its terms; notably, the changing of the law and language and the oppression and indeed, ethnic cleansing, of the population, causing Denmark to threaten war. The Scots backed off on that occasion.

    However, Earl Patrick Stewart and the lairds continued the tyrannical reign until the British prime minister William Gladstone put the Crofters’ Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1886, into law.

    Sadly, that was too late for my great-great grandfather and his family who were evicted and kept alive by the charity of neighbours over the following winter.

    It’s quite clear that Brian Smith and Peter Hamilton feel there is nothing to apologise for to the descendants of those disenfranchised and oppressed.

    Throw in the infamy of the Highland Clearances and the Scottish government has plenty of apologising to do.

    • Robert Wishart

      • February 19th, 2020 11:26

      We can blame the Scottish government for underfunding education or ferries; but for the highland clearances? Get a grip.

      • Peter Hamilton

        • February 19th, 2020 14:47

        Robert, I am afraid John Tulloch is actually trying to whip up an ethnic grievance here where none is justified. All parts of Scotland were subject to the socio-economic system of feudalism. Some entered it earlier and some left it later. Similarly with the enclosures in England.

        It is dangerous and nasty. He is trying to weaponize a past he wants us to think is exclusive to Shetland, create a divide and a fuel a grudge. Those on the receiving end were not a breed apart from those responsible.

        Perhaps it is now time to worry about the extent to which some of the Shetland exceptionalism nonsense around LUHA may fuel racism and ethnocentrism in Shetland, and vice versa.

        At their best Shetland’s Fire Festivals serve to being communities together but some participating may be marching to a different tune.

      • John Turnbull

        • February 19th, 2020 15:52

        We didn’t have a Scottish Government at the time of the Highland clearances. If we did I am certain the current Scottish Government would outlaw it.

      • Peter Hamilton

        • February 19th, 2020 18:33

        It is important we recognise and call out what John Tulloch is up to here.

        Lairds were oppressive across Scotland. The clearances followed the enclosures and weren’t directed at Shetland alone.

        John wants to pit Shetlanders against Scots in Shetland, magnify small differences, whip up grievances and create unnecessary division.

        In truth he is weaponising a distorted history: the Scots did this, the Scots did that. No. A handful of folk in power did. Meanwhile they were up to the same south.

        Talk like this fuels xenophobia and racism, resulting not just in entrenched attitudes but also verbal and physical assaults.

      • Brian Smith

        • February 19th, 2020 18:41

        Stuart Hill said it, Robert. It must be right.

    • Graham Fleming

      • February 19th, 2020 17:46

      What about the original people the Cattanach, (later evolving into the clan Chattan) that lived on Innse Cat, Shetlaun/Sealtain are they not to be remembered by their Nordman overlands horrendous treatment or The Gaelic papar living on peripheral areas of the Britiish Isles Faroes and Iceland who had their property ransacked and disrupted by vandalism and theft.The Vikings have alot to answer for, especially land that was annexed by warfare.If the Scottish parliament has to apologise for things that were done to people, who did the same things to the original inhabitants, it would be never ending.The modern day Queen of Englands,ancestors were Stewarts a formal apology should be forthcoming and to the many many people who had bad thing done to them over the centuries through arrogant Imperialism. It certainly is not the way of modern day ,Scotland and European Union ,it might be that of the English separatist types.

    • Graham Fleming

      • February 20th, 2020 19:14

      By swearing allegiance to the English Crown instead of international law,the Scottish assembly has technically a lot of apologising to do,for the misdinemours of that organisation.For those wanting to split the Northern Isles away from Caledonia(later Alba and Scotland)going to afford apologies,to the Cattanach people, who saw their lands ethnically cleansed by Nordman yobs.What is the Shetland nation wanting to achieve?A Brexit colony,Under the English crown or overseas territory it most certainly has form in removing majority popul
      ations from their property or territory. WIth less than 1%, calling themselves Shetlanders at the last census,where is the base for such nonsense. Just another piece of English separatist
      jiggery pockery,always ,as forever looking for trouble.

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 21st, 2020 19:56

        There was no option to call yourself a Shetlander at the last census so hardly surprising there was less than 1% doing so.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • February 19th, 2020 18:31

    Well whatever, it was Westminster Government that stopped the SCOTISH Lairds plundering Shetland. UK bad, get a grip!

  • john Tulloch

    • February 20th, 2020 9:13

    @Robert Wishart,

    For clarity, I didn’t “blame” the SG for the Highland Clearances. Nor do I blame them for slavery.

    Nowadays, governments accept responsibility for historic injustices.

    Labour has called for UK apologies for colonial misdeeds. The government apologised (2013), with financial reparations, for events in 1950s Kenya. Tony Blair apologised over slavery and the Irish potato famine. Last summer, SNP activists proposed apologies for slavery and the SG has apologised for oppression of gay people, prior to its existence [see links, below].

    From linked article:
    “Together with Corbyn’s activists, we are working to ensure that an autonomous Afrikan (sic) Heritage Community…..develops in Britain, which will ensure that Labour’s agenda for redistribution of wealth is done locally, nationally and internationally. Wealth criminally expropriated from the enslaved people and their descendants must be redistributed. This is the reparatory justice we demand.”

    Clearly, the apology principle is established, with precedents.

    Logically, the same must apply to heinous, often illegal, actions committed within Scotland, in particular, in Shetland/Orkney.

    However, purported Labour nationalists Brian Smith and Peter Hamilton don’t support that.

    Perhaps, they don’t support the apology principle, at all, they haven’t said?

  • Ian TInkler

    • February 21st, 2020 18:54

    “By swearing allegiance to the English Crown”.!!!! English Crown, Graham Fleming your Anglophobia is shining like a beacon. just learn a bit of history!
    The last English Crown was Elizabeth the First, she died in 1603. Mary Queen of Scots son, King James VI of Scotland, calmly accepted his mother’s execution, and upon Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603 he became king of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The embryonic United Kingdom was born, with a pure Scottish king at the healm.!!.
    The present lot is Greek / German, that EU gets everywhere!!!

    • Graham Fleming

      • February 21st, 2020 20:20

      You are totally correct about 1603,because it was the end of the Scottish monarchy, and what they were contracted to do as in the declaration of Arbroath, the King of Scots,finished then,when he walked out on the country. He helped plant parts of Ireland, with many of my fellow Borderers (and look at the mess that has caused).to try and create a middle kingdom,in the former borderlands. The so called Scottish lairds you talk about were totally loyal to the crown especially during the Napoleonic war when 3000 Shetlaun fowk were provided to fight for the Aristocracy. Westminster had the power since 1707 to right any wrongs done to crofters and cottars,but like the rest of the Highlands and Islands failed miserably or was it deliberately.

    • John M Scott

      • February 22nd, 2020 7:57

      Greek! German! How racist is that!
      Which part of Germany was the Queen born in? She was born at 17 Bruton Street, London. Her mother was Scottish.

      How many Greeks have fair hair and blue eyes like Prince Philip? The Greek royal family are Danish. Philip was born at Mon Repos on the island of Corfu. Mon Repos was the official residence of the British Consul, so technically British territory. His mother was born at Windsor Castle; she was a great granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who in turn was born at Kensington Palace.

      When they discovered the remains of the Romanovs at Ekaterinburg, they used Philip’s DNA to identify them; the Tsars mother, Dagmar was Danish, and Philip’s great aunt.

      And finally, the Germans are not only our natural allies; we would have lost the Battle of Waterloo without the assistance of the Prussians, but most of us, even Shetlanders, have family and cultural ties with them. English is a part of the Germanic group of languages, as is Norn and Gaelic.

      • Peter Hamilton

        • February 24th, 2020 11:37

        Come on John. You know only the male line matters.

      • ali Inkster

        • February 25th, 2020 19:48

        You will need to tell Professor Wilson he is wasting his time and our money then Peter

      • Ian Tinkler

        • February 27th, 2020 9:03

        Greek! German! How racist is that! Whatever is racist about that statement?
        The Royal name Windsor was a replacement for Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. WW1 unease with Germany expedited the change. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark descended from King Christian IX of Denmark with Battenberg and with House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg ancestry.
        My comments were not racist in any way, I was just pointing out the idiocy of Fleming referring yo the British Crown as English. The only English bit was Lady Dianna Spencer, my favourite one now is Megan Markle..

    • Peter Hamilton

      • February 22nd, 2020 14:08

      People get everywhere. Collective identities are constructed around us by others with something to gain.

      Children get given the surnames of men who are not their fathers.

      Many “purebred” “Shetlanders” actually won’t have been, whatever expensive genetic ancestory testing has falsely led them to believe.

  • David Spence

    • February 24th, 2020 14:16

    Thank you contributors, this has been a very interesting read in terms of history and local understandings.

    • Peter Hamilton

      • February 25th, 2020 13:33

      …and fantasies and misunderstandings David. How does Ali know he is “a direct descendant of the original inhabitants of these isles” and “living proof that the original inhabitants and the norse got along just fine.”

      If he doesn’t like: “the history promoted by Brian and others” where does he get his history from?

      • ali Inkster

        • February 25th, 2020 19:46

        I was told as a bairn Inkster’s and Isbister’s were here before the Vikings arrived and any Norse heritage was on the female line. This is course was a disappointment to be young boy who had imaginings of viking ancestors fighting heroic battles. But was confirmed by the findings of professor Wilson’s DNA study. But of course as always you know better.

  • Graham Fleming

    • February 24th, 2020 17:59

    The census in Cornwall (kernow)provided no provision for a seperate Cornish nationality but 17% or 73000 people,somehow managed to do so in 2011,in the census for Shetland where are the Shetlanders?less than 1% for others, interestingly 51%of people said they could spaek Scots(lallans) one of the highest percentages .Norn unfortunately is gone,but the Shetlaun dialect is still just the majority tongue in rural parts,why not follow Nan Eilean an Iar and promote it alot better at council policy levels.Old English and Old Norse had about 60% words cognate or the same,Shetlaun

    has still a lot mair o its tongue left than Cornwall has today. Peerie or muckle heids,tae tak da leid?Gee da bairns,da leid in da schoils.

    • john oakes

      • February 25th, 2020 22:16

      Are you not just preserving dialect instead of Norse, which heavily invade Shetland Orkney and west coast of Scotland. During my time on Unst for the life of me I struggle to pick up the language even though being English the dialect was a lot stronger than Lerwick. Likewise Aberdeen was softer but Peterhead and Fraserburgh was a sod. I applaud and doff my cap, if people of the Isles maintain true language such as Gaelic on the western coast. Likewise with the Cymru or in Anglo-Saxon “Waelc People” as which the proud Cornish folk hail from and Bretons. While London Europe is Patwa As you note from Cymru and Western Isles the have duel written signage for mostly every part and their own media outlets. Now Shetlanders could equally take that example.

  • Stuart Hannay

    • February 25th, 2020 16:18

    An Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and a Shetlander go into a pub. They all have a lovely time. Thank you.

  • Kenneth Groat

    • February 25th, 2020 19:24

    Beautiful night to watch the burning take place, it all went well for jarl Liam Summers this year.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 26th, 2020 13:32

    That would depend on what Ali thinks Professor Wilson has told him. We can be fairly sure it was nothing to do with the “living proof that the original inhabitants and the norse got along just fine.” Ali imagines himself to be.

    Wonder if Ali agrees with Professor Wilson that we are all Jock Tamson’s bairns.

  • Graham Fleming

    • February 26th, 2020 17:16

    Most folk in these British islands have English as a base language ,but some of us ,are bilingual in the Leid ,braid Shetlaun and braid Borders,which has much Scandinavian influence as aald Anglian probably more,modern day English and Norwegian fowk widnae ken whit wir sayin, maist o da time.Berwick and Lerwick are not English names,they are norse names meaning bare harbour and clay harbour. Although my hame toun Berwick is in England, most folk at the devolution referendum wanted back into Scotland after 700 hundred years after the genocide of its original inhabitants .The bairns in the Islands should have a broad education of all the strands and cultures that make them modern Shetlanders, Scots and Europeans (or whatever they want to call themselves).
    Holyrude has failed the culture side, unlike the Dail Erin where Irish is compulsory, the cost ,well(unlike N.Ireland ),in less of 50 years Ireland has now the 4th highest g.d.p per capita
    In the world, maybe justice for some of the wrongs done on that Island. Ceartas,nach eil !

  • Haydn Gear

    • February 27th, 2020 15:02

    The term racist seems to be bandied about without any real thought about its true meaning for all kinds of suspect reasons. How can it possibly be used in relation to either Greek or German or any other national identity ? When racism is used , all too often the word that should be used is nationalism. That’s a completely different ball game.

    • Peter Hamilton

      • February 27th, 2020 18:24

      Haydn, if you go back to Dr. Rutherford (Feb 13th above), he uses the term “an equivalent form of cultural racism”.

      It is tricky stuff this because the racist’s logic is already illogical. But the notion of “Viking blood flowing through our veins” is one used by those who believed and believe in “ayran” racial superiority – not a real thing, of course, but it propelled Europe to the gates of hell and lingers on still.

      Wouldn’t be a problem at all if there was no racism in Shetland, or if Shetland’s racism didn’t have it’s own peculiar logic fed by all sorts of half truths and norsense. But don’t listen to the views of a soothmoother on this. Consider instead how Lerrik Scotties were shunned, and consider when that prejudice ended, if indeed it has.

      Look back and, as JK Rowling had it, you’ll soon find some wizarding/Lerwick families are/were better than others Haydn.

      One of the great upsides of UHA is that it has brought different folk together and helped them to make connections they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed. Let’s have more of that!

      But let’s remember too the “wir” in Wir Shetland carried unpleasant undertones.

  • Haydn Gear

    • February 28th, 2020 13:16

    Interesting comments Peter about a matter which has assumed far greater attention and significance than it merits. There is an unfortunate tendency for some people to adopt aggressive anti attitudes in order to elevate themselves. No doubt there are feeble hidden reasons for this which reveal their insecurities. Since human beings spring from one root source it seems incongruous to claim differences of superiority which define certain groups as opposed to the essential similarities which link them. It is all too easy to make stupid claims which lead to antagonism rather than tolerant harmony.Will people ever learn to accept minor differences and variations rather than endlessly bang on to nobody’s benefit. Perhaps the spread of coronavirus will make the blockheads sit up and take note. Food for thought ?

  • Peter Hamilton

    • February 29th, 2020 8:55

    Agreed Haydn, and more are probably concerned about Shetland racism than concerned with promoting Shetland separatism, which feed each other.

    For a more harmonious and inclusive future it is worth remembering that several of LUHA’s trappings were secured during dubious times pre universal suffrage when antisemitism and theories of racial superiority were rife, with militarism more than fashionable and torch lit processions a little too popular in other parts… 

    Can’t say LUHA should be purged of Country and Western though!  But I think the existence of Shetland racism informs some of the more emotionally led positions of both sides of the LUHA debate, and the exclusion of women and girls, which is significant and worthy of concern in it’s own right, can and should also be regarded alongside other patterns of exclusion in Shetland, past and present. 

    I’m still concerned by false genetic understandings.  Going back to the 18th c. most folk would have had upwards of 1200 ancestors. Some have fewer than others as the same ancestor can feature more than once, explaining Professor Wilson’s medical interest in inbreeding in Shetland. 

    To focus on any one line ignores the others. Can origional Ali name his great-great-grandmothers, or theirs? 

  • Peter Hamilton

    • March 6th, 2020 9:32

    Readers wanting to find out the extent to which Shetlanders may have been duped and scammed by false DNA claims should read: The Rise and Fall of BritainsDNA: A Tale of Misleading Claims, Media Manipulation and Threats to Academic Freedom

    from the academic journal Genealogy. Volume 2, issue 4, 2nd November 2018.

    Looks like £200+ a pop for codswallop.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • March 6th, 2020 11:48

    The conclusive comments from this paper, “We believe this detailed case study is a rare example in the literature of how science can be distorted,”. So much like the socialist pseudoscience so peddled by some Left-wing academics. Peter has mentioned one or two recently!

  • Peter Hamilton

    • March 6th, 2020 18:53

    Conclusion starts: “This case study has shown how a direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry testing company benefitted from a disproportionate amount of media coverage in the UK. It highlights the ease with which someone with high-profile media contacts was able to manipulate the media to promote his commercial interests disguised as a science “project”. There was a failure to question dubious press releases and programme ideas, or get feedback from experts working in the field before publishing an article or going ahead with a programme. BritainsDNA was provided with multiple opportunities to promote bad science on the BBC and other major media outlets without challenge.”

    How many Shetlanders paid up to and in excess of £200 to contribute to this faulty science?

  • Peter Hamilton

    • March 6th, 2020 19:01

    It is well researched: BritainsDNA was one of many brand names used by the Moffat Partnership, a business based in Melrose, Scotland, that offered genetic ancestry tests to the public between November 2011 and July 2017. The company launched a number of different websites, all selling the same tests but targeting markets in different areas of Britain and Ireland. ScotlandsDNA was launched in November 2011 (Moffat 2011a). BritainsDNA, IrelandsDNA and YorkshiresDNA were created in April and May 2012 (Ahlstrom 2012; Petrone 2014; Southern Reporter editorial staff 2012)… The Moffat Partnership was acquired by Source BioScience in December 2015 (Source BioScience 2015). The original websites continued to operate until the domain names expired and a new umbrella website, myDNA.Global, was established. In March 2016, the Moffat Partnership changed its name to Source BioScience Scotland. MyDNA.Global ceased trading on 3 July 2017 (Lamb 2017). The myDNA.Global website remained online until 31 August 2018. For consistency, we will use the name BritainsDNA throughout this article to refer to all the different genetic ancestry companies operating under the banner of the Moffat Partnership (see Appendix A for full website listings).

    Those parted from their cash might want to consider the validity of the “results”.


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