SNP boxed in corner over Northern and Western Isles independence move

The emerging exploration of independence from the UK and Scotland by the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland, now joined in a trinity by the Western Isles, leaves the SNP in a serious bind.

A movement founded on the right to self-determination and the political philosophy of keeping power close to home is staring blankly at a cluster of islands becoming assertive of their own rights and interests in just such a position.

The SNP/Scottish Government cannot honourably campaign for Scotland’s right to independence while telling the Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles ‘Don’t do as we do. Do as we say’.

The serious difficulty for the SNP and the Independence campaign in this situation is not just philosophical. It is financial.

Much of the North Sea oil asset is in Shetland waters – and the major technological and production developments to come are in the waters west of Shetland.

The Orkney and Shetland Isles are a natural pair in many ways. They share a Nordic not a Celtic heritage. They are stoutly unionist in their politics, together contributing the Liberal Democrats only two constituency seats in the Scottish Parliament; and with Orkney the seat of two UK national party leaders, Jo Grimond and Jim Wallace.

If they chose separation from Scotland, they might align to the UK and are known to be interested in, amongst other models, the ‘Crown Dependency’ of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The self governing status achieved by Finland’s Aland Islands and by Denmark’s Faeroes has stimulated the appetite in the Northern Isles for running their own show.

The odd man out in the new trinity is the Western Isles – culturally Gaelic not Nordic and, economically speaking, a basket case, with the flattest flat-lining local economy in Scotland financed annually by substantial additional assistance from the Scottish Government’s Grant Aided Expenditure [GAE]  ‘flooring’ mechanism.

Shetland has oil, with more to come. Orkney can bring marine energy research and development potential to the table – alongside it’s stunning archaeological and naval heritage. Shetland and the Western Isles have significant archaeological heritages of their own to support tourism development.

If the three island archipelagos can make a go of it, a major beneficiary would be the economically weakest of the three, the Western Isles, which would effectively be supported by Shetland rather than by Scotland, as at present.

But this threesome is definitely viable.

If they went for the Crown Dependency model, they could use the GBP, they could attract additional revenues as a tax haven – and with Norway so close to Shetland, they could be attractive  in this facility eastwards as well as southwards.

Not being in the EU would  be of little account as, independent of it, they would control their own fisheries. They would lose EU Common Agricultural Policy funding but their potential overall financial position would be very healthy, with their small populations and their massive assets.

The 2011 mid year population figures  showed the Orkney Isles with 20,100; the Shetland Isles with 22,210; and the Western Isles with 28, 080.

The  proof of being consciously between a rock and a hard place was in a television interview given by Scotland’s Finance Secretary, John Swinney, at Lerwick yesterday. Mr Swinney is in Shetland to play goalkeeper at a convention of the three island groups which starts today. The independence proposition is on the agenda.

Mr Swinney was, looked and sounded uncomfortable on the question – unable to see off the move without seeming two-faced and equally unable to show any enthusiasm for it.

All he could manage was to say that the Scottish Government believed in local decision making and was ‘open to dialogue’ with communities on how this might be achieved.

Politically, this is a case of what happens once the political map seems open to change. No single state controls all of the resulting changes but the sense of a relaxing of traditional barriers releases a spectrum of ambitions.

An immediate question is, if these ambitions in the Northern and Western Isles harden up – as is likely, how – strategically – might they vote in the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum?

An independent Scotland could not afford to let them go, whatever the political contradictions of obstruction.

The UK is in a position where, if it were to cede geographical allocations of the North Sea, it does not matter if it cedes the territory to one or to two inheritor states.

A continuing Union is most likely to move to a de facto form of federalism after the 2014 referendum – in which case there is no reason why the Northern Isles or a Northern and Western Isles combo should not be a new element in such an arrangement.

And that really would be the end of a viably independent rScotland.

Interesting times. The driving seat has just moved northwards.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Ma.gnolia
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • SphereIt
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot
  • Print

92 Responses to SNP boxed in corner over Northern and Western Isles independence move

  1. A load of wishful thinking. Obviously The Devil had tine on his hands

    Denmark, Sweden and Finland do not have big energy supplies and they do very nicely indeed

    The SNP has always believed in developing local democracy to empower communities. Lesley Riddoch gave an excellent presentation at theSNP conference in October which was well received.

    Once Independence is achieved the empowerment of local communities will be very much on the agenda.

    If the Northern Isles want independence so be it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • “The SNP has always believed in developing local democracy to empower communities. ” what a load of nonsense ! wake up and smell the coffee… the SNP doesn’t even listen on a national basis never mind local…

      All this blah’blah’ about an indy vote….when do we get to vote to leave the EU ?

      Eg: In regards to local councils since when has the SNP listened to their objections to wind farms ? … the SG cherry picks when to agree with local democracy or when not to agree…overrule…and move on.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0


      The Westminster Parliament has exercised “jurisdiction” over the Falkland Islands since Britain re-established its rule in 1833. A hundred and eighty years later, on 10–11 March 2013, the Falkland Islands were allowed to hold a referendum on the continuation of their status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom; and therefore on their continuing allegiance to HM the Queen; and, on their continuing relationship with the Government in Westminster.

      + + + + + + + + + + +

      The Westminster Parliament has exercised “jurisdiction” over the Shetland Islands since Shetland became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.

      The Falkland Island’s precedent having been set, it can be argued that the Shetland Islands should similarly be allowed to hold a referendum – as soon as possible – on the continuing status of their allegiance to HM the Queen, and on their continuing relationship with the Government in Westminster.

      As a British Overseas Territory, sharing the same position, rights and responsibilities as the Falkland Islands, the Cayman Islands, and Gibraltar etc., the Shetland Islands would have responsibility for,

      + their own tax affairs

      + their own banking system/regime

      + their own off-shore waters, and the natural resources below and within those waters.

      Conclusion ONE: There are therefore sufficient reasons to suggest that the peoples of the Shetland Islands might, could, elect to adopt the position, the rights and the responsibilities of a British Overseas Territory.

      + + + + + + + + + + +

      Importantly for the Government in Westminster, it would be required to provide the continuing defence protection and international representation for the British Overseas Territory of the Shetland Islands – comprehensive protection and responsible representation that would otherwise not necessarily (continue to) be available to the Shetland Islands.

      Over the last twenty-five years, the world in general – and, Europe in particular – have experienced unimagined and unforeseen geo-political developments.

      With the opening of the Artic sea-lanes to (virtually) year round access to merchant and naval vessels from all those countries around the Pacific Rim, there can be no sensible forecast of future geo-political developments. Importantly there can be no sensible forecast of the repercussion of those future geo-political developments on international trade and security – and, the part played within that international trade by the economy that is the responsibility of the Westminster Government.

      Conclusion TWO: The above is sufficient reason to suggest that the Westminster Government, would welcome the opportunity to provide the continuing defence protection and international representation for the peoples of the Shetland Islands, should they elect to adopt themselves the position, rights and responsibilities of a British Overseas Territory.

      + + + + + + + + + + +

      Proposal :

      The Shetland Islands should be allowed to hold a referendum – as soon as possible – on the continuing status of their allegiance to HM the Queen; and, on their continuing relationship with the Government in Westminster – with the specific option that the Shetland Islands can elect to become a British Overseas Territory.

      + + + + + + + + + + +

      It is not surprising that “there is no coherent movement in favour . . . in Shetland”, of the suggestion that Shetland adopt the position, rights and responsibilities of a British Overseas Territory. It is not known if such a proposition has not yet been thought of elsewhere, or yet been put to the people of the Shetland Islands.

      However, it is hoped that the Shetland people will be open and receptive to ideas – wherever they may originate – particularly when such suggestions are made with the intention of protecting and enhancing the interests of the Shetland Islands.

      At the moment – the ONLY option to be put to the Shetland Islands, is to become a marginalised, under-represented, backwater, to be used as a “milch cow” to fund the policies to be decided by – and that will be to the benefit of – the majority who live on the mainland.

      There are numerous advantages that would accrue to the Shetland Islands, of becoming a British Overseas Territory – as detailed above.

      However, there are numerous negatives to the alternative that would face the Shetlands if the were NOT allowed their own opportunity of self-determination – and, to vote in their own referendum on the possibility of the Shetlands being able to adopt the position, the rights and the responsibilities of becoming a British Overseas Territory.

      It would be difficult – even perverse – for those in Holyrood who have successfully argued a referendum on their own self-determination, to object to that same right being exercised by the people of the Shetland Islands.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • What about an alternative option of something like the status of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands for the Shetlands?
        Geographically they’re far more like those islands than some remote overseas territory; maybe Shetlanders would prefer that degree of self government and fiscal independence while defusing the potential row over management of the offshore resources. After all, their economy has prospered mightily from fish and hydrocarbons as it is.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Have you forgotton one thing –Shetland is part of Scotland and has representation at Holyrood. Do you believe the colonial office in London should overrule the Scottish Parliament?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Sorry to burden your obviously long post but the Shetlands never became part of the UK in 1707 as in 1468, Shetland was pledged by Christian I, King of Norway, as security against the payment of the dowry of his daughter Margaret, betrothed to James III of Scotland, the payment never got paid and the Shetlands are ours no ifs no buts they have never been independent only Norwegian or Scots also why is there Scots/Picts archeology like your most famous Broch which again is older than any union and the facts that Caithness was part of the islanders ancestry just shows how connected with Scotland they are there may be norse heritage but that has been long gone how many out the current population can actually trace their lineage back to before 1468, so to make the initial point Shetland has been Scottish since 1468 so as part of Scotland never became as you put it “The Westminster Parliament has exercised “jurisdiction” over the Shetland Islands since Shetland became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707″ its only part of the Union because it IS an island of Scotland not and never has been a separate entity or self determination ‘would’ be a fair argument but the fact that over 500 years of being part of Scotland makes yours a moot argument as there’s few hundred year countries and a world superpower with less history. why Not do what I am doing vote YES in 2014 but vote the SNP out in 2015 with a crowd you trust and in 2016 when Independence goes through you will be happy that we are self governing, better off and a new age of enlightenment will begin.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • RCV(T)’s thread is copied and pasted word for word (and symbol for symbol) from another forum HERE so no apology necessary – he/she didn’t exactly spend much time on it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. This is just nonsense. The Aland islands in the Baltic are a semi-autonomous region of Finland, so there is a model for this. And as far as I am aware, other than Tavish Scott’s calls for greater autonomy, there are no serious calls for independence for the northern or western isles. Personally, I’d support greater autonomy for these regions within an independent Scotland. But independence would be a huge step to take for the islands and arguably only Orkney and Shetland could afford to go it alone. With regards to the oil, it is not necessarily the case that the bulk of the oil lies in Shetland’s waters. I believe length of coast-line is a determining factor and there are other rules for islands – ultimately, this would be settled by international law but it is unlikely that Shetland would abscond with all the oil. Should they decide to opt for greater autonomy there’d be no complaint from me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. “Once Independence is achieved the empowerment of local communities will be very much on the agenda.”

    Empowerment of local communities?!? What planet are you on?

    Wasn’t it Mike Russell who originally supported the idea of school closures? Wasn’t he involved with writing the Council’s budget and the closure of Struan Lodge?

    Didn’t Alex Salmond overturn the local decision to refuse the Trump golf course project and allow the devastation of a very valuable (in ecological terms) SSSI?

    Haven’t many local authority decisions against wind farm applications been overturned by the SNP government?

    We’re already in what sometimes feels like a dictatorship. How on earth will independence put local empowerment on the agenda? What, exactly, will we be able to decide? A street name, perhaps?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Lowry, you cite examples of what the SNP has done to attempt to justify why empowerment of local communities would only be a pipe dream. As usual, you and several of the other ‘No’ team on here conveniently choose to portay an independent Scotland as a one which would consist of a one party state. Could the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems or Greens not offer in an independent Scotland “empowerment of local communities” or is it just the big bad SNP who are unable to deliver this?
      Independence for Scotland is not a vote for eternal SNP control, mind you, polls show increasing satisfaction and trust with our Scottish govt. and there is little or no credible opposition or signs of hence almost six years of continued successful SNP governance. If a ‘Yes’ vote wins the day in 2014, come 2016 there will be a Scottish general election where we will be asked to vote for a party whos policies best suit the direction we want this country to take.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The SNP ‘do’ not hold the monopoly on independence its so very simple vote YES 2014 vote whoever 2015 and a Scotland with a hopefully just and ambitious new Gov. are in 2016 when WE actually are free from the shackles of Westminster do us a finally free nation proud.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Graeme, you are having a laugh or at least I hope so.

    “The SNP has always believed in developing local democracy to empower communities.”

    I wouldn’t like to think anbody could swallow that whopper.

    As evidence I give you:-

    1) Local police forces have been abolished and replaced with a national force.

    2) Local fire services have been abolished and replaced with a national force.

    3) The closure of Struan Lodge was hardly local democracy.

    4) The freezing of Council Tax payments via a “You will all accept the settlement or everybody will have a lower settlement enforced upon them” deal is hardly encouraging local democracy.

    In fact I suggest all the above have the hallmarks of a totalitarian government.

    I look forward to your reply inwhich you can attempt to show how I have got the wrong end of the stick – should be interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • The closure of Stuan Lodge is “hardly encouraging local democracy”?

      The A&B electorate voted this administation to power giving them the authority to represent and make decisions on our behalf. They took a vote on a proposed budget which agreed for it to be implemented. This budget included amongst other proposals to close what at the time was to be believed to be a financially unsustainable Struan Lodge.

      The freezing of our council tax was a policy the SNP promised to deliver if elected. They as we all know are the only democratically elected majority government in the UK and delivered this just as promised.

      Where is the lack of local democracy here?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • This is what it all comes down to. It’s the last line of defence “The A&B electorate voted this administation to power”. When no other valid reasons exist, this one can be trotted out.
        It’s a key reason I’ll never vote for Independence. Regardless of which party is in power, I’ll have no more power than I have today. Struan Lodge and the Council Tax Freeze prove this perfectly.
        So whether it’s the Tories in Westminster, or the SNP in Holyrood, once they have decided on something, nothing will sway them. Especially when they have a majority meaning they cannot be touched or challenged.
        No thank you sir or madam, I’ll stick with what I know – it’s working out for me just fine.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Jamie Black you say ” I’ll stick with what I know – it’s working out for me just fine”.
          Too bad then for the poor, disenfranchised Scot who isn’t having it fine courtesy of Westminster–wee Jamie is ok so stuff the rest.
          –sic a parcel of rogues in a nation…..

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Shhhhh Jaimie’s “unashamedly british” don’t you know – the old red, white ‘n’ blue butcher’s apron comes before anything else whatsoever – never mind the poor, the disabled, the sick et al – they should just make do with a stiff upper lip and get on with it

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Trying to take my own advice not to feed the troll…but heyho.

            “this commemoration is important for so many reasons and should be unashamedly British”

            If anyone wants to quote me, at least have the decency and credibility to quote me correctly.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Wow Jamie you’re so blinkered, your ‘I’m all right Jack’ attitude is naive to say the least. Comparing Tories in Westminster who have absolutely no interest in Scotland except to gain revenue, and jobless boys for the Army, with the SNP who have our interests at its core is nonsense. Don’t forget Jamie when we vote on 18-09-14 its not for the SNP its for Independence, and the opportunity to make our own decisions for a fairer society; and if ‘Yes’ fails you may find yourself a lot worse off!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. “They are stoutly unionist in their politics”
    The SNP topped the list vote for Holyrood in Orkney in 2011 and came second on the list vote in Shetland by less than 300 votes-their best ever result.
    As for rhe Westeren Isles, both the MP and MSP are SNP politicians.
    The lies and distortions of unionism will catch you out over an 18 month period :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • There are no lies and no distortions here.
      If you read the article properly you will see that the reference to ‘stoutly unionist’ is only to to the Northern Isles, not the Western Isles – another matter which makes the Western Isles the odd one out in the trio.
      The Liberal Democrats are a stoutly unionist party and it is therefore legitimate to desribe constituencies returning them to power time and time again as ‘stoutly unionist’.
      In the 2011 Scottish parliamentary elections, with the SNP sweeping the board, they were unable to oust the SNP from the constituency seats in both Orkney and Shetland.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • newsroom
        I have read your article properly. It does not refer to the Liberal Democrats as being stoutly unionist, (I concur with that!)but that the Northern isles are “stoutly unionist in their politics”, which I have pointed out is demonstrably false.
        The constituency vote is where one votes for an individual candidate. The list vote, where the SNP topped the poll in Orkney and came narrowly second in Shetland, is where one votes for a party. No compelling evidence of stout unionism there :-)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Talking of distortion of the facts
          (Ex)SNP list MSP for Shetland Jean Urquhart has been accused of peddling a scare story that home rule would leave Shetland with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of only 12 nautical miles and when challenged she appears unable to support her claim. The exchange of letters includes

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • We said clearly in the article that these island groups are ‘stoutly unionist’ – BECAUSE they consistently vote for Liberal Democrats – which you accept as a ;stoutly unionist’ party – as their constituency MSPs.
          They did so yet again in 2011, when, even with the SNP landslide and reduced majorities, the two Lib Dem candidates held their seats.
          Constituency seats mean more than list seats, which reflect the proportion of votes per party over grouped constituencies.
          There is not a list MSP in Holyrood who would not choose to be a constituency MSP. That is the expression of direct confidence of a constituency in a candidate as well as a party in a special relationship that is more secure than a list seat for this reason. List seats are in the fee of the parties, who ‘list’ in order of preference the candidates they will put into the ‘list’ seats they may win.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • newsroom

            Your response is feeble in the extreme.

            An area-like Orkney-where the SNP polled more votes than any other party on the party list vote cannot rationally be declared as “stoutly unionist”

            Which bit of the SNP topped the list vote for parties in Orkney and obtained their best result in Shetland coming narrowly second is indicative of stout unionism?

            Perhaps you simply did not realise that until I told you??

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • The Liberal Democrats believe in a federal UK, with ‘home rule’ for Scotland (whatever that is) – so to call them ‘stoutly unionist’ is a little misleading IMO.

        Frankly. ‘irrelevant‘ is the word I would use.

        The idea of the Northern Isles staying with the UK as a Crown Dependency a la Isle of Man is a non-starter in terms of oil revenues, as that would give them a 12 mile limit and so no oil.

        If Shetland wants to take control of ‘its’ oil then it would have to go for full independence. As the SNP believe in the ‘Claim of Right’ and that sovereignty lies with the people they would not realistically be able to stand in the way of a Shetland that sought full independence. However, at the moment there is little or no appetite for this in the islands in spite of unionist attempts to foment unrest among our Viking cousins.

        And – if as the Unionists tell us it will be disastrous for an independent Scotland to rely on such a ‘high percentage’ of oil revenues, then how much more catastrophic would it be for tiny Shetland?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • The Claim of Right was about the sovereignty of the Scottish people, not the people of one small part of Scotland.

          Here’s the text:

          We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.

          We further declare and pledge that our actions and deliberations shall be directed to the following ends:

          To agree a scheme for an Assembly or Parliament for Scotland;

          To mobilise Scottish opinion and ensure the approval of the Scottish people for that scheme; and
          To assert the right of the Scottish people to secure implementation of that scheme.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • I was referring to the principle embodied in the Claim of Right. I do not believe that a hypothetical future SNP government in an independent Scotland would stand in the way of Shetland if a majority of the islanders expressed a clear wish for going it alone.

            I do however think that this is vanishingly unlikely to happen and is just another idiotic straw man erected by an increasingly desperate NO campaign.

            Meanwhile Ruthie’s ‘line in the sand’ washes clean away. It’s all starting to unravel.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • @webcraft
          It’s a very “hot debate,” especially, in the Shetland media blogs where it has centred around this 12 nautical mile Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) issue which you refer to.

          May I suggest you read the paper by Mahdi Zahraa of Glasgow Caledonian University, published in the European Journal of International Law before making any more such confident assertions.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • The paper you refer to is interesting but irrelevant in terms of any agreement between the rUk and Shetland when talking about oil.

            The only reason rUK would ever agree to a semi-autonomous Shetland enclave would be precisely in order to maintain control over those oil revenues. What would their motivation be for giving them up? That will only happen if Shetland follows the long and winding road that has led Scotland finally to a referendum on independence.

            The suggestion that Shetlanders would cut off their nose to spite Scotland’s face by coming to some constitutional arrangement with the rUK that didn’t give them control over oil revenues is frankly ridiculous. Shetland’s best hope of greater autonomy and self determination lies either in staying with Scotland or going it alone.

            The other point that no- one seems to be addressing is that any such process towards a change in Shetland’s constitutional status would be lengthy. It would require at the very least an MSP elected with a mandate to hold a referendum – or are you suggesting Shetland Council should just declare UDI ?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Lets see how staunchly libdem/unionist they are next time around.
    And you do realise your last statement makes no sense whatsoever newsroom.
    Surely if the islands were as staunchly unionist as you claim, the SNP would have got a drubbing in 2011, remember they (albeit belatedly) campaigned on the indy referendum ticket.
    Why did these staunch unionist islanders not voice their displeasure at the ballot box.
    You´re making this up, you know it, and anyone from the islands knows it too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • No he is saying you’re being economical with the whole truth.

        Looking at half the picture and presenting it as the complete picture.

        You’ve already made yourself out to be a bit of an idiot when doing similar with the coastguard story

        I would advise that you stop digging and actually think about it.

        PS Tavistock Scott is just stirring it, he never ever mentioned this tripe before, especially when he was sharing power with the LIEBOOR party before 2007 His party had plenty of opportunity to devolve more powers to the Northern Isles then

        It’s just diversionary tactics from the unionists and the gullible are falling for it.




        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Why do people fall for these tricks from the unionist parties? They pulled this sort of stunt in the 70s to try and muddy the waters of the independence debate – the papers were released under the 30 year rule fairly recently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Islay could do rather nicely from a degree of fiscal autonomy, and every island in Scotland would surely dearly love to see the Crown Estates parasite exterminated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. What bloviating Unionist rubbish this report from ‘newsroom’ is. Totally counter-productive – everything you said was instantly exposed as bogus.

    And here’s another one you screwed up – in International Law neither the Shetlands or Orkney have the right of self-determination. Go away and look it up. Jeez.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • i actually did what you suggested and heres a quote for you

      “Article 1 in both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)[22] and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).[23] Both read: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”"

      by that shetland or orkney do have the legal right to determine who governs them

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • “I actually did what you suggested…”

        You actually didn’t do what I suggested. You just copied and pasted from the UN charter and assumed the issue was self-evident.

        Do what I suggest this time.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Newsroom was on the mark with this embarrassing the SNP and I’m afraid you are allowing your veil to slip showing the SNP’s dictatorial face versus that of the democratic tradition of the UK itself.
          In 1982 the UK sent a vast military task force to retake the Falkland Islands following the Argentinian invasion on the basis that “the islanders right to self-determination is paramount.”
          So you may not get to decide whether the islands have that right.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • What tedious rubbish. Its abundantly obvious that neither you, nor ‘Steven’, nor – more to the point – ‘newsroom’ who wrote all this havers in the first place, actually knows the position in international law here, so you’re deflecting as hard as as you can about dictators, the Falklands, and God-only-knows what next. Try finding out the real situation in law and your crude political rhetoric might have a chance of lasting more than half a second before it gets exposed.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • In 1982 the UK sent a vast military task force to retake the Falkland Islands following the Argentinian invasion on the basis that “the islanders right to self-determination is paramount.”

            I don’t believe the Falklands are going to get to keep all their oil revenues though ;-)

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Pity the UK didn’t pay much attention to Hong Kong’s wishes before handing it over to China

            What about Diego Garcia, the UK booted the islanders off to allow the yanks to build a base and a secret prison there

            These must be the sort of things that make you all feel ” unashamedly British”

            Or is that only when there’s a spot of SNP bashing to be done, based entirely on ignorance

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • @webcraft,

            It sounds as if you accept the point that the islands’ EEZs would not not be restricted to 12 nautical miles?

            I’m not sure the Falklands or any of the Scottish islands in question need all of the potential oil revenues in their existing or potential EEZs and in any case, they do and would still depend on the Uk -or Scotland – for, as a minimum, defence which can be an expensive business in both human and financial terms.

            At present the Scottish islands don’t have any right to oil revenues other than what has been negotiated by local councils for facilities on land so I’m sure they would be happy to negotiate a decent share of them under the “equitable principles” required under international law for such settlements.

            The islands should not and I am sure, would not, aspire to prosper in the future by leeching off other UK or, indeed, Scottish taxpayers by seeking a “freeby” on essential functions like defence.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • and if you disagree could you please post a link to the relevant information which states otherwise or copy the information here for all to see

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Based on the history of these islands–can I now assume that Scotland should just return Berwick upon Tweed to Berwickshire and amend the sea boundaries accordingly?

    Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are Scottish legally but we should respect all cultural and social differences and celebrate them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. That’s it, me and The Gantocks are for the offski. We’ll take the seals and the seaweed and the whelks, and don’t try running a ferry to Dunoon linkspan because the water’s mine too. I’ll be declaring a 400m exclusion zone and you can all just sing for your whelks and seaweed. It’s all mine!

    Stupid? Well you lot started it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. post count on forargyll has had a little peak … shame it wasn’t in reaction to an article based on reality … same old bogus storys based on unionist inventions/myths won’t be fooling us this time round

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Argyll has a substantial island population yet had to struggle to get included in the SINA funds -if this is becoming an issue once again then it is incumbent upon A&BC and its officers and councillors to bring up that that there are more islands

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. I think you will find that there is Scottish history of the Northern Isles from long before they were invaded by the Vikings. I suppose Kintyre will be next as they “sailed” round it.
    We went through all this in the late seventy’s, in fact it was released a few years ago that the UK cabinet discussed transplanting English people into Shetland. They will pull every stroke they can think of to break the YES vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. The whole damned independence debate is a complete waste of taxpayers cash simply to bolster up the ego of young Salmond

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Young Salmond — you must be really ancient!–

      Just think by voting YES you will save money by not having to vote on Europe to keep Cameron’s right wing cronies and UKIP sweet. A win win situation.

      ps didn’t mention liebour or libbydemigog’s because they have no idea what they want.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. @J.p

    This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with anyone’s ego, just incredible that some of the electorate are voting on something as important as Scottish independence yet have that view!
    Listen, whether you like it or not J.p, as things stand, the polls are indicating at the very least, one third of people of voting age living in Scotland want this country to be independent. By commenting that the referendum is a waste of taxpayer’s money you completely ignore these views.
    The referendum is taking place quite simply because the current Scottish govt. were given a mandate to hold it by securing a democratically elected majority at the last Scottish elections.

    A recent survey this month shows the following -

    “Support has grown by two points since January to 36% and opposition has fallen by one point to 46%, while 18% were undecided, according to the Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times and Real Radio.

    Among those whose minds are made up, the results show the pro-union Better Together campaign leads by 56% to 44%.”

    You say this referendum is a “waste of taxpayers money”.
    Come an independent Scotland we will be funding far fewer wars if participating at all and will not have to pay for weapons of mass destruction, a mammoth waste of taxpayer’s money dwarfing the cost of the referendum if this is your arguement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Jnrtick needs to grow up a bit.
    An independendant Scotland would be a catastrophe on a huge scale
    You only have to listen to the absolutely frightful debates in what supposed to be a Scottish “parliament.
    And, YES it is all about a very pompous and ego driven Salmond. If you think otherwise I suggest you have another think

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • j.p needs to get themselves a bit of an education – your ignorance on this is blatant.

      It may have escaped your notice, but there’s more to independence than the SNP orSalmond – but dinnae you let reality get in the road of you spouting tripe

      It’s not all about Salmond FFS, how do you know the SNP will form Scotland’s first independent government – are you a fortune teller?

      Somehow I doubt that – yer just an ignoramus bumping their gums

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • J.p, your arrogant contempt for the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish government – and by inference the Scottish people who voted for devolution and who elected the Scottish government – is truly breathtaking.

      Even the leaders of the Better Together campaign have conceded that there is no compelling reason that Scotland could not go it alone if that is the peoples’ choice, so what makes you think you know so much better?

      Still, keep on with the ‘too wee, too poor, too useless’ rhetoric – every post like that chalks up another YES convert.

      And as for your Salmophobia – well, you really need to get a grip on that – aren’t you a bit old to believe in bogeymen?

      For starters the SNP itself is far more than Salmond, as most people in Scotland are already well aware.

      More importantly though, the YES movement is not synonymous with the SNP; it is far more diverse, encompassing such groupings as:

      ~ Independent/Green Group (MSPs) for Independence
      ~ Labour for Independence
      ~ Liberal Democrat Voters for Independence
      ~ Women for Independence
      ~ National Collective (Artists for Independence)
      ~ Carers for Independence
      ~ Senior Citizens for Independence
      ~ Trade Unionists for Yes
      ~ Youth and Students for Independence
      ~ Scottish Independence Convention

      A friend remarked to me the other day that people all over the world have fought and died in their thousands for what we are being offered next year – and all we have to do is put a tick in a box. Time to take our pencils and our courage in both hands and make our mark.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Dear J.P

      “Absolutely frightful debates”—CALLED DEMOCRATIC DEBATE–of course the First Minister tries not to reduce himself to the level of Mrs Graham (sorry)–MEANS TEST THE POOR “Lament” or the tory whats her name write it in the sand-(has she not heard of Canut?)- or the wee guy from Fifey.

      The People of Scotland want more power and say over their affairs–the question is how much? Personally the Iraq war did it for me.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Sam
    If that is the best you can do with your education regarding the language, and your comments are truly typical of the Scottish people then I fear for the nations future – independence or not.
    Happily I think most are a good deal more literate and have a deeper understanding of what is at stake.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • NO, it’s not the best I can do – but I tend to tailor my replies to be suitable to the original poster – if you were erudite, learned and literate, that’s what you would get in return
      But alas, if you read your post immediately above, you’ll see that literacy and grammar aren’t exactly your strongpoint.

      But hey-ho Rome wasn’t built in a day and alleviating ignorance on a level such as yours will take a while – best you get started

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. @J.p

    Of course you are perfectly entitled to these views you post but care to elaborate or just make an attempt to back them up?

    I need to grow up you claim, well whether you concur with my views I do at least make an attempt to cite examples to support them, how frightfully immature of me I know.
    You on the other hand claim the referendum on Scottish independence takes place simply because Alex Salmond has an ego! If it hadn’t been this leader of the SNP it would have been another, are they all ego driven?
    The desire by the men and women of this country for Scotish independence is something that will never go away, accept this.
    Fact is J.p, there isn’t much further the UK can stretch this failing union out, the undertakers are hovering with their tape measures.
    The SNP from protest to power, a once thought almost unimaginable Scottish parliament, devolved powers, majority nationalist Scottish government, where do we go from there ma friend? One two three hundred years paused, accepting this to be our lot from what is a stones throw from full independence? I don’t thinks so. Next progressive step for this country must be self determination, full independence.
    What’s the alternative J.p? Scotland cannot go into reverse, lose existing devolved powers, watch an extremely progressive popular SNP party dissolve and disappear, lose it’s parliament. Nope, there is only one way things can go from here be it in 2014 or the next time (and it will if not successful this time) there is a referendum on independence.
    All people with your outlook can hope for is to prolong the inevitable for as long as you possibly can and why would you want this to happen? Because “it would be a catastrophe on a huge scale” Please explain, I’m all ears.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Tavish Scott’s argument seems to vary. Though mainly he talks as if he favours a history starting in the 8th Century, when the Norse invaders arrived. However all of these lands were inhabited for 6000 or more years before that. Seems he is trying to highjack all of our history to focus on the 700years the Norse were there.
    ‘Orkney’,'Shetland and the Western Isles have significant archaeological heritages of their own to support tourism development’.
    Are the present day inhabitants of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles claiming that for themselves? There were Picts, Gaels, Celts a variety of names for the people there plus the unnamed peoples going back through the millenia.
    For Tavish supporters; the latest genetic research shows the people on the West coast of Norway are of German and Dutch descent. Historically the King who did the deal over Shetland was Danish/Norweigian and until 1911 Norway was ruled by a Swedish King. Surely then Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden should be involved. Also, off course, as the deal was with a Scottish King, mainly Scotland.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. 80% of people in Scotland want rid of nuclear weapons in Scotland.
    A Times mori poll showed 58% of age group 18-25 wanted an Independent Scotland.
    A yougov poll by the Scottish Government, asked the following questions and had these answers:
    Which government do you think should be responsible for all tax and spending decisions in Scotland, including tax revenues from oil and gas?
    The Scottish Government 52%
    The UK Government 35%
    Which government do you think would be best at deciding welfare and pensions policy for Scotland?
    The Scottish Government 53%
    The UK Government 34%
    Which government do you think would be best at representing Scotland and Scottish interests in the European Union?
    The Scottish Government 50%
    The UK Government 39%
    When judging this yougov poll we only need to look at the news to see the reaction to the UK Government ‘reforms’ to pensions and welfare to realise these are true. Also who wouldn’t want our tax to be decided in Scotland.
    None of the above will happen or be decide in Scotland without voting for an Independent Scotland. None of the other parties in Holyrood are pushing for this kind of power, and the UK Government, of any colour, is never going to even think about it.
    Just think about the 1979 Devolution vote and the McCrone report.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Which government can best afford to pay for all these things?

      Well Lowry, if you look at the figures carefully and dispassionately the answer would seem to be, a Scottish government.

      Sorry if that is not what you wanted to hear.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • The Scottish government has had tax raising powers since the start of devolution. None, of any political persuasion, has chosen to exercise those powers which implies an unwillingness to grasp anything likely to upset the easy-ride enjoyed north of the border. Devolution hasn’t brought the discipline to inspire belief that Salmond or anybody else can make this happen post independence.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • That’s because they tax powers, like the new ones in the latest crap Scotland Act would only have resulted in a cut in the block grant elsewhere, not extra money.

          To wee, to poor, to stupid is apparently your belief.

          And Westminster control is so brilliant?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • That’s pathetic; a Scottish budget which required additional funding through a shortfall in the grant would be reasonable but impossible since Salmond let the power lapse.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • The tax gathering power I was talking about was not just the three pence on income tax that was available, as Sam writes we would lose out in other ways. It would have been foolish to use that. It is full tax control; corporation revenue from business and industry, VAT, Road Tax, Fuel Tax.
            If we think things are going to be same if there is a no vote, you only need to look at what has already been said. The Barnett formula is going to be scrapped in 2016. The Tories still hold with the belief Scotland gets far too much, even though the Treasury has admitted at last that’s not true.
            They are going to create a Convention to look at how funds and power are going to be distributed. So unless Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland get one vote each (not going to happen) then it will all be on England’s terms.
            Independence is the one chance to make decisions that are right for all of Scotland, from coast to coast.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • @hans -it’s not pathetic in the slightest, it’s the truth – you make the +/- 3p in teh pound tax band sound like utopia – it was anything but – why do you think not even the LIEBOOR/LIE-DUMBS imbeciles didn’t use it either?
            Plus the processes weren’t even in place at HMRC to be able to do it?

            But if you think that +/- 3p is wonderful – just think what could be done with full fiscal autonomy and not paying for wars, trident and being america’s bitch

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Well getting rid of trident would save money, billions in fact.

      I take it though that you think Westminster do a truly wonderful job, no matter what?

      You sound more and more like the Scotland’s to wee, to poor, to stupid cringe- mongers who have no faith in anything but perfiduous albion.

      The former colonies aren’t exactly queuing up to be governed by Westminster again, are they?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Sam you may be right about former colonies not queueing up to be governed by the UK but I suspect it is for the same reason you are arguing for separation, i.e nationalistic fervour.

    Many, particularly African states, now under dictatorships, would have been better off under UK rule.

    Even Ireland would, for most of the years since independence, have been better off as part of the UK. Their rapid increase in living standards over recent years is due to huge amounts of EU money. If this had not been forthcoming where would they be now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • I ‘m not arguing for separation, I’m arguing for independence and self-determination.

      Can you list the former colonies solely under control of a dictator, who would be better of under Westminster control?

      Nationalistic fervour? what exactly is that? Those pesky citizens of countries are all just nasty nationalists are they then? Imagine wanting to cut westminster’s apron string, the rotters?

      Just who do they think they are, getting ideas above their station?

      Turning themselves into johnny-foreigner when they could have remained “unashamedly British” . Well hell slap it into them, all that success in the world , like Australia, New Zealand, Canada must be a millstone round their neck

      Looking at a former prof the UK, Eire, it’s not queuing up to rejoin the UK, but then again their economy is growing leaps n bounds ahead of the UKs, why would they want to stagnate and head back towards recession, when they are getting their problems sorted out?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • African Dictatorships? Well, I’m in a position to judge between what happens there and here and from my experience the UK or Western dictator is not always the best.
      Two weeks ago I was travelling down a road, in one of these dictatorships, that had just been completed in the last five years. It’s not quite as good as the A9 but not far from it, you see they only struck oil a couple of years before the millenium so money was a bit tight at first.
      I was not driving as I had asked my African colleague to take the wheel, so I was able to notice a lot of construction activity in the jungle outside a village we had just passed through. I asked him what was happening and he said that they were building a dual carraigeway along the entire route that would be separate from the existing road. Now, I have driven this route many times and have never known it to be busy.
      This country does not produce a tenth of the oil Scotland produces, yet in ten years they have gone from nothing to a land of plenty. My storeman drives home to a mansion in his Toureg on a multi-lane highway that would shame any road in Scotland. He buys designer liesure wear including £400 shoes. The only danger to their wealth is from Western interference to destroy their country and take over their affairs. I’m sure the banksters plotting never stops.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Building a duplicate road just for the hell of it sounds like corruption to me. I’ll bet there are other areas where the people are living in abject poverty.

        If the above is a suggestion of how Scotland might be as a seperate country with the oil wealth I hope we have more sense. SNP hacks have presented the oil revenues as an opportunity to build up a development fund like Norway. However, the reality is that most would go on the deficeit between government spending and tax take.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Surely the sad thing is the theft of the oil and other resources over the past 40 years to London. The lies from Westminster (LABOUR AND TORY) that the oil would have ran out by now. If the Union is so good why are we in such debt. Of course we should control all of our resources and decide how we wish to invest in our people AND OUR COUNTRY (Scotland)

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Was in Ireland recently. Did not see 1 flag in the republic wishing to be governed by London despite their difficulties nor wishing to rejoin the English Empire and invade countries for oil.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. No and I would not expect them to. The EU is keeping them going.

    I was thinking back to a visit to Ireland in the late 1950s. Even as a boy it was obvious how poor the country was cf the UK. One example was milk being delivered in churns on a horse and cart and a home made cart at that riding on an old car axle. This sort of thing went out at least 10 years earlier in the UK and we had a huge war debt to service.

    At this point of their history I suggest they would have been better off as part of the UK.

    I was talking to an Irishman today and one of his comments was that the country was nearly empty because so many people are emigrating all over the world just to get out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • It depends which part of the UK you were comparing it with. There were working horses in all the villages around me in the fifties. A cart with tyres and springs was like a Rolls Royce, most had iron-rimmed wheels.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Why pick on Ireland? In Leeds, where I lived in the early 60s, the bins were collected by horse and cart. There are still many logging horses working all over Scotland. Does that make us poor too?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • I can remember in Dublin in the mid 50′s there was still heavy horse haulage of freight along the quays – most were smartly turned out teams, an impressive sight.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. I remember being in the East Neuk of Fife in the 1960′s and the butcher etc came by horse and cart. Did that mean we were poorer than Ireland?

    How many Scot’s have been forced out of the country due to poverty. How many will go with the current Westminster crooks in charge?
    If money is the whole answer maybe we should ask if Sweden and Norway would look after us since England is bankrupt with it’s right wing (Liebour/Tory Establishment)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. What a lot of nonsense some people believe about Ireland. It still stands well above UK on most international social indicators despite having got foolishly caught up the US/UK banking axis and a subsequent housing bubble . It wont do that again. Just as a matter of interest the population of the island of Ireland is now a lot higher than the population of Scotland despite being half of Scotland’s population 100 years ago.It’s Scotland that’s s empty not Ireland.
    BTW their old age pension is much better than ours as well.
    I see they have just found oil off their west coast. No doubt this will prove to be a huge problem to them and force them to try to rejoin UK

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • According to Bitter Together, Scotland’s oil is a major worry. Ireland would be so much better rejoining the UK so that they could share the burden of having oil with those who are so much wiser about these matters. Aye right!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. My northern isles source tells me that whereas Liam McArthur the MSP for Orkney is held in some regard (though he only held the seat on a minority vote because an independent split the vote) Tavish Scott is no longer held in much affection. He has moved his house from Shetland to Edinburgh where his family now lives full time and Shetlanders feel he has actually in any real sense left them already. Any suggestion that Orkney and Shetland are stoutly unionist is far from the mark and any such sentiment is steadily receding. My contact feels they will vote firmly “yes” next year as they are confident that an independent Scottish government will give them a considerable degree of autonomy and servicing an independent Scotland’s oil fields is where their most prosperous future lies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. So to summarise . . .

    Non-story, Northern Isles NOT about to declare UDI, and the only people boxed in a corner are Osbourne and his cronies.

    Must be time for a new Unionist scare story -or are they finally running out?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

All the latest comments (including yours) straight to your mailbox, everyday! Click here to subscribe.