WirShetland1000

Wir Shetland has an independent aria to sing

A multi-party campaign group aiming to deliver self-government for Shetland is making the political weather in Britain’s  most northerly island group.

Wir Shetland – emblem above – launching as recently as 14th October 2015 in a lively session at Lerwick Town Hall, already has more members than any of the mainstream political parties in the islands.

Its target is to achieve for Shetland the status of something like a British Overseas Territory, the same British-protected semi-autonomy as the Falkland Islands enjoy.

With a population of 22,200 compared to the Falklands 2,930, Wir Shetland’s is no unrealistic ambition.

The cost of being utterly peripheral to government

A twelve and a half hour sea passage from Aberdeen – which in bad weather can take over 24 hours – Shetland is ‘overseas’ in anyone’s book.

Its 90 minute distance by air from Edinburgh is little different to the distance from Edinburgh to London the SNP used to claim made independence a practical necessity – until 56 of their candidates made it to Westminster as MPs in the UK General Election, an event that appears to have changed that party’s perspectives in ways well beyond a new understanding of acceptable journey times. [And these days it takes a great deal longer than that to get from Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh.]

The cultural distance of Shetland from Edinburgh – and the impact that this has on the views from the Capital could not be more manifest than in the Scottish Government’s discriminatory deployment of Road Equivalent Tariff [RET] discounts on ferry fares.

Ferry operator CalMac, describes the impact of this discount thus: ‘The price of a single passenger fare on these routes will fall by an average of 44%, whilst car fares will be cut by an average of 55%.’

The west coast islands, from those in the Firth of Clyde to the Outer Hebrides, now universally enjoy that massive benefit to residents and that galvanic for their tourism sectors. Even the tiny passage from Fionnphort on Mull across the sound to the holy isle of Iona has RET fares.

Neither the Orkney Islands nor the Shetland Islands enjoy such an easement.

Peak season single fares on the Aberdeen-Lerwick ferry are £146 for a car, £41 for an adult and £20.50 for a child. A return car trip for the nuclear family in school summer holiday time would see them spend £538 before they paid for so much as a cup of coffee. never mind accommodation and subsistence.

RET, according to CalMac’s thumbnail, would see that come down to £266.77. That could only drive up the numbers of those able to fullfil everybody’s bucket list ambition to see Orkney and Shetland.

There is absolutely no logic in the discrimination against the Northern Isles in RET fares. There is only the arbitrary position of ‘You can have it and you can not.’

What we’re missing

Apart from the shelter RET offers island residents, it has powered a proven and continuing increase in the number of visitors to the islands graced with its discounts – with tourism  a centrally important staple industry for all islands.

Orkney and Shetland share a distinctive Norse cultural heritage. Temperamentally they are go ahead, untroubled by the gentle Gaelic fondness for lament that can neuter ambition and is a feature of the west coast islands.

Both have significant architectural remains – Orkney breathakingly so, on a worldwide level up there with Machu Picchu – and it has its wartime naval heritage which physically shaped its internal connections as well as giving it an enduring series of chapters in modern history. All of this is potent and unforgettable stuff. And then there is the Ba game. Get there on Christmas Day or Hogmanay and be amazed.

Shetland is Vikings, oil and music. Up Helly Aa is the annual spectacle of fire the world comes to watch, with eruptions all over the islands. Shetland fiddlers are widely acclaimed for the style of fiddling unique to these islands – and the local dialect reflected in ‘Wir Shetland’ has very recently  become the language of a commissioned opera – that sounded and looked fascinating from the television  news clips.

The oil industry in the North Sea  pretty well started in Shetland, with the nation quickly building ‘Sullom Voe’ into its vocabulary if not its visceral map; and it’s coming back – if  not quite yet. The global glut in supply, to which there is no end currently in sight –  is keeping oil prices so low investment is unthinkable. But while some production is now coming from the big finds in difficult and dangerous waters ‘west of Shetland’, the time will come where those reserves will be extracted.

Seeing Sullom Voe, seeing the accommodation ships, seeing the helicopter traffic and the air traffic in and out of Sullom Voe airport – offers a much closer and more focused engagement with the reality of the oil industry than is possible even in Aberdeen. This is a great slab of our common history and most of us have no first hand sense of it at all.

Along with the beauty, the mystery and the industry of Shetland, which also majors on fishing, there is its specific cultural history and the question of its ownership – still disputed by the redoubtable Stuart Hill [read all about that here].

Wir Shetland ‘s direction of travel

The Wir Shetland emblem’s background is the Shetland flag, designed in 1969 by Roy Grønneberg and Bill Adams, using the colours of the Scottish saltire in the Nordic cross, symbolising Shetland’s  hybrid culture. Wir Shetland foregrounds on this the Raven from the story of Floki and the Ravens.

In the 9th century, Flóki Vilgerðarson set sail from western Norway with his family, consciously heading for – and making it to – Iceland. The first man to do so, he landed first in Shetland, where he may have lost a daughter in a drowning; went on the Faroes where he saw a second daughter married; and took three Ravens from there to guide him to Iceland – which one of them achieved.

Is Wir Shetland the single 21st century Raven to guide Shetland to British Overseas Territory protected autonomy?

As the campaigners see it:

  • The interests of Shetland differ markedly from Scotland and the UK.
  • The geography, history and culture of Shetland and Orkney set them apart from the UK.
  • Membership of the EU is damaging for Shetland’s fishing industry and the rationale for remaining a member is weak.
  • In the absence of an autonomy deal with Scotland, Scottish independence will be damaging for Shetland.
  • Shetland needs to be self-governing

In working towards this end, the Wir Shetland group’s preferred approach is to involve local political parties in discussions aimed at achieving their goal.

However, should developments indicate that registering as a political party would be a more effective route to their intended destination, the group will be prepared to consider that option.

Their purposes are:

  • To achieve Falkland Islands-style British Overseas Territory or similar, status.
  • To secure the legal rights of Shetland residents, businesses and similar bodies.
  • To develop trade and cultural links between Shetland and her political and geographic neighbours.

Free of the restrictive and divisive dogmas of mainstream party politics – and the SNP are now very much in that stream, the attraction of Wir Shetland is its refreshing pragmatism.

It is centred on the practical advantages of the aims it pursues and is free of the trite and tedious separatist need for demonisation. Generally forgotten and left to its own devices out in the wild northern approaches of the Atlantic, it is distinctive but it is not constantly preaching its cultural distinctiveness. It is not overburdened with a longing for the grandiose. It is not planning for embassies and panjandrums. It does not want to send MPs to Westminster.

Wir Shetland is not driven to escape from but to escape to.

It wants to be free to develop its own trade as it sees fit; and to maintain the substantial advantages it freely recognises of the protective relationship with Britain it currently and consciously enjoys.

It is also canny and will drive hard bargains with all bidders for its favours.

This is a game to watch – and if the Northern Isles, as they ought, campaign for RET on their ferry fares, the rest of us should get behind them – and then get ourselves there to get to know them.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • “Silence is golden”, goes the song – and it can be deafening, too!

    Great article, Newsie, as perceptive as ever.

    IMHO the SNP have now got a huge problem on their hands. It rather looks like they have all but managed to kill their golden goose.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 29

    Andrew Argyle December 13, 2015 6:56 pm Reply
  • I can remember, several decades ago, talking to some locals in the bar of the Queens Hotel in Lerwick, and they contrasted my BA flights to from Sumburgh – thrown in as free add-ons to a long-haul flight on a route with plenty of competition – to the way that they were held ransom by monopoly air & ferry operators if they wanted to travel within their own country.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 24

    Robert Wakeham December 13, 2015 8:04 pm Reply
  • Hate to tell you but the group is made up of unionists ukippy types and incomers from South of Hadrian. Just a bunch of right wingers up to mischief. Kind of reminds you of Argyll !!Its a wonder they don’t have wee arm bands on and banging big drums. I know some who have left a province because of that nonesense

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 30 Thumb down 18

    No Cheese Here December 13, 2015 9:18 pm Reply
    • NCH, how do you know what the group are made up of,do you have access to inside information?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 29

      Richard December 13, 2015 9:38 pm Reply
      • Yes Dick.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 28 Thumb down 12

        No Cheese Here December 14, 2015 1:17 pm Reply
        • NCH, why are you so upset at the people of Shetland pursuing this, your not resident there and I doubt that anything they achieve will directly effect you other than your Nationalist dream of Independence at any cost.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 24

          Richard December 14, 2015 5:17 pm Reply
          • Dick

            You are obviously to thick to understand that of the 70 the majority are the right wing red white and blue brigade and as described in one of the comments in the local paper have arrived South of Hadrians unelectable

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 10

            No Cheese Here December 14, 2015 5:57 pm
          • Only 70 NCH? Then about two hundred and sixty must have resigned since the last report I read about the number – they claim to have substantially more than the SNP has up there?

            How many does the SNP have in Shetland?

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 21

            Andrew Argyle December 14, 2015 8:53 pm
        • According to their Facebook page they had 357 after only eight weeks in existence? It seems NCH’s 70 is well out of date?

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 10

          Andrew Argyle December 16, 2015 11:30 am Reply
          • Many are from outwith Shetland!! tories looking for a cause

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

            No Cheese Here December 16, 2015 3:43 pm
          • “NO CHEESE HERE” you are in fact incorrect. As membership secretary as well as a “born and bred” Shetlander (seems to be relevant to you) I can categorically tell you that every member has an address in Shetland and there is a huge number of local surnames involved. This is drawing support from all areas of Shetland and people of all political leanings. I am fed up of hearing from people like yourself that this is some kind of unionist or Tory plot simply because you don’t like it. This is not about Scotlands obsession of Westminster vs Holyrood it is about Shetland forging a future for itself without constant external interference.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 12

            Duncan Simpson December 16, 2015 6:20 pm
    • “incomers from South of Hadrian”… your racist credentials are showing again NHC… whats on your armband eh ? troll.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 28

      Karl Hughes December 14, 2015 4:08 pm Reply
      • Iraqi Karl strikes again.

        Read the local papers I am quoting them. Do you prefer Anglo Saxon, little englander, sassenach, Anglobrit,Brit nat, English?
        The same rule applies bit like folk working in a foreign land like yourself. Impose your own beliefs, ideals and prejudices somethimes this is without malicious forethought rather an uncaring unthinking arrogance.

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        No Cheese Here December 14, 2015 4:34 pm Reply
        • I see you are well read NHC…you have learnt the simpletons derogatory dictionary off by heart… there is nothing foreign about Iraq to those that live and work here and I hasten to add, if I want to have contact with a bigoted nobody I simply post a comment on here and you and your ilk crawl out from the darker recesses of society…. Shetland and Orkney have a right to raise the issue of independence and autonomy…as much right as Scotland “had”…

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          Karl Hughes December 14, 2015 7:02 pm Reply
      • SNP

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13

        Dratsie December 17, 2015 7:10 pm Reply
    • I live in the Shetland Isles and you are so spot on, these are the very same people who passionately campaigned for a No vote last year, all you here from them on a daily basis is SNP bad. They seem to think that Scotland isn’t good enough to run its self but some how the Shetland Isles Is. As I see It, this Is just a ploy by Unionists to take Shetlands Oil out of the equation so Its tied to England for ever more

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 10

      Ian Leask December 14, 2015 5:32 pm Reply
      • Ian, you have a lot of faith in the oil industry still being a major contributor or are thinking about the decommissioning.
        Is it correct that they are expecting considerably less ships to use the harbour in 2016 and therefore have dramatically increased the harbour dues.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 22

        Richard December 14, 2015 6:32 pm Reply
      • How true your words are Ian, with a name like Leask you are obviously a real Shetlander. I used to work with a Dougie Leask but he lived in Wick although he had been born and brought up on the Islands.
        I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the start of the oil boom when Shetland was being flooded with ex military types from the South, you could sense then that they were trying to establish themselves locally and it is the same today.
        Islanders are very wise people and see incomers with an agenda a mile away. Westminster has no claim on Shetland, no matter what some on here would wish.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 10

        Murdoch MacKenzie December 14, 2015 7:12 pm Reply
        • Just as holyrood has no claim on Orkney and Shetland.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 23

          Ali Inkster December 14, 2015 10:30 pm Reply
        • Leads is a scotty name brought up here as an agent for Black Patrick. read your history Sunshine.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

          Drasie December 17, 2015 7:03 pm Reply
          • Leask

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

            Drasie December 17, 2015 7:04 pm
      • Ian Leask and Murdoch Mackenzie you are both wrong. This campaign encompasses people from all political leanings. I certainly never campaigned for a No vote and I have never voted Tory (not that it is any of your business). What any Shetlander has voted for in the past is irrelevant. This is about the future. Murdoch Mackenzie I am sure many in the group would feel bemused about being accused of being “incomers” or not a “true Shetlander”, should we ask for genealogical records before allowing people to join? My grandmother is Faroese so does this mean I am not a “true Shetlander”? As membership secretary I can categorically tell you this is not a campaign by incomers to carry out some Tory plot. It is a grassroots movements started by the people of Shetland FOR the people of Shetland.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10

        Duncan Simpson December 16, 2015 6:26 pm Reply
    • You sir need to keep out of our affairs. We are Nordic, not scots.
      SNP don’t care about us ,even telling lies about our MP, led be the poisoned dwarf.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 13

      Drasie December 17, 2015 6:57 pm Reply
      • Dratsie your offensive comments re the FIrst Minister name your blaspheming ways is a way to disguise your lies. You are Nordic? Had a DNA test done have you? Since poor old Magnus got booted out of Largs, Ayrshire Scotland in 1263 the Nordic hordes were forced back from whence they came supported by the indigenous population who were cowed by the aggressor. Sadly for Scotland another aggressor soon replaced the Vikings.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

        No Cheese Here December 18, 2015 2:59 pm Reply
        • Aye and the Irish decnded on what is now Scotland and killed all the Picts…and became the Scots…and as for the Vikings getting their selves booted out of Largs…you might want to check who the lords of the Isles were…the MacDonalds even…DNA test, ok NHC now we are back on ya old ethnic ranting…might want to check your own DNA if it means so much to you…we are all a sum total of history…stop been such a bigot and get real

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11

          Karl Hughes December 19, 2015 2:52 pm Reply
  • The SNP Executive must be very worried by this, it raises all sought’s of constitutional problems. But, once all the drum beating has ended, the decision to grant Shetland British oversees territory status will be taken by the westminster government, although I’m sure Holyrood will be consulted.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 33

    Oban4me December 13, 2015 10:31 pm Reply
    • This is an interesting issue.
      All constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster.
      Were Shetland to opt for the British protected semi-autonomous British Overseas Status Wir Shetland is campaigning for, Hoilyrood has no powers to rule on that issue.
      Any request would have to go to the UK Government, with the necessary powers residing there.
      The first stage would have to be a Shetland plebiscite on the issue, to discover if it were the will of Shetlanders to ask for this status [and the precedent set – insanely, in our view,] with Indyfef 1 was that an eligible majority would be 50% + 1].
      Permission for a plebiscite / referendum would have to be given by the Uk Government – and the Scottish Government would find it hard to argue with any credibility, that the Shetlanders should not have the opportunity to test their will or; if the result of the plebiscite was a majority for the move, to go ahead and negotiate for it.
      However, the UK would not want to be seen to be party to any unilateral ruling on such a matter and would be almost certain to invite the Scottish Government to be a part of negotiations both on a plebiscite and on any resulting change of status.
      In the hypothesis that such a status were the majority will and a request were made for it, a NATO issue might become part of the tapestry of attitudes.
      With Scotland led by a separatist party with the increasingly strong majority certain to result from the 2016 Scottish Election, the threat to the Union of a Scottish secession remains a very live issue.
      NATO – and the UK – would have a defence interest in guarding against the possibility of an independent Scotland likely to oppose a British military presence on its sovereign soil and likely to have ‘soft’ borders.
      A Shetland that were a British Oveseas Territory could host an RAF base from which surveillance and fast response operations could be carried out on any possible hostile penetration from the north.
      Were this also to come about, there would be additional resulting revenue and other benefits for Shetland from such a base – in facility charges, in infrastructural development and in economic benefit from the staff and families stationed there. This establishment, as is the case currently, say, with Lossiemouth, also brings the benefit of more children for local schools – an issue of concern in Shetland as in all remote rural communities.
      In short, the constitutional authority is unarguable but has its political sensitivities in use in this sort of situation.
      The SNP Scottish Government, though, would be in difficulties if it attempted to obstruct any such majority will, given its own arguments for the imperative of independence for Scotland from a remote and underinformed ‘colonial’ power.
      An already independent Scotland with Shetland still on board would, of course, have the power to grant it independence but realistically would be unable to offer the sort of defence protection Wir Shetland clearly have in mind.
      On a point of information, the Falkland Islands currency is the Falkland Pound [FKP], using our famiiar £ sign, pegged to the GBP but not under the control and protection f the Bank if England.
      As used to be the case when the Irish Punt was pegged to the British Pound, on the islands both banknotes are accepted and are interchangeable; but the FKP is not accepted in the UK.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 26

      newsroom December 14, 2015 1:58 am Reply
      • I would think the only reason the Falklands Pound is not accepted in the UK is unfamiliarity. The Southern Irish currency was not legal tender in the UK but in many areas it was recognised because people were reasonably familiar with it and so accepted – mainly near ferry ports.

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        Lundavra December 14, 2015 3:17 pm Reply
      • As long as J wills is not involved, I go with that.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

        Dratsie December 17, 2015 7:08 pm Reply
      • Shetland is as entitled to self-determination as anyplace else. The arguments for and against such self-determination are similar to those about Scottish independence, and I can’t see why the one should be considered desirable and the other not. Both Greenland and the Faeroe Islands are currently discussing a new constitution, and remarkable as it may seem the Danish government has said that this is entirely up to them. And I think it unlikely that the establishment of military bases are part of Faeroese considerations.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

        Arthur Blue December 20, 2015 5:12 pm Reply
        • There’s an important nuance to the Wir Shetland position.
          They’re talking about achieving British Overseas Territory status – which, since that involves the shelter of Britain handling their Defence and Foreigh Affairs, amounts to something rather like the SNP’s earlier aim for Full Fiscal Autonomy status within the Union.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

          newsroom December 20, 2015 8:01 pm Reply
    • Once again Obanforme and Andrew Argyle post piffle.
      The SNP don’t have an executive they have a government.
      The SNP certainly will not be worried but the Libdems must be.
      The Westminster election returns from Shetland showed that the SNP won Shetland. Tavish Scott could suffer from the Alistair Carmichael liar effect. There are some who reckon Tavish has had enough of politics and would’t be too unhappy if he lost his seat. He has other fish to fry.
      Newsqat is well off the mark also.
      The SNP Shetland branch has by far, very far the most members of any party in Shetland.
      What else can we expect from an anti-SNP blog.
      Come on newsqat stick to Argyll

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 9

      Keitho December 14, 2015 2:48 pm Reply
      • Although we are not a political party (yet) after 8 short weeks in existence we already have more members than the SNP in Shetland.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

        Duncan Simpson December 16, 2015 6:29 pm Reply
  • Someone down south said to me the other day that Scotland is facing the UK Westminster v the rest situation in miniature (only in terms of population size). I couldn’t agree more! Much like various parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland has diverse cultures, connections and histories and, whilst these have held together, now that Scotland has it’s own parliament, it’s natural that the constituent parts should be having a go for their say, just as has been happening in England – witness the north-south divide in it’s various forms, Cornwall, etc. It’s something all political parties in Scotland have got to address. It’s like any walk of life, it you want responsibility, you have to take on accountability. I personally find it incredible that Orkney and Shetland don’t have RET like the rest of us. It must be quite scary for all political parties in Scotland to have this in their face.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 26

    Jade December 14, 2015 12:11 am Reply
  • Does this mean that Mike Mckenzie hasn’t endeared himself to the Shetlanders? Gosh – who would have thought it?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 30

    Lowry December 14, 2015 9:03 am Reply
    • I think you’ll find straw polls in Shetland highlighted a YES vote came out top.
      Having worked there recently,Michael MacKenzie is extremely popular with Shetland constituents.
      Next……..

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 12

      Hugh Jazz December 14, 2015 1:55 pm Reply
      • I suppose it depends upon whose straws you are pulling. Mine’s got bells on.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 28

        Lowry December 14, 2015 3:19 pm Reply
        • That fact has often crossed my mind,dingaling!

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 9

          Hugh Jazz December 14, 2015 7:07 pm Reply
      • They are welcome to keep him!

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 26

        Richard December 14, 2015 5:19 pm Reply
        • Ah,diddums!!
          Dick,you are pathetic.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 10

          Hugh Jazz December 14, 2015 7:12 pm Reply
          • Jazz, remember £20 per day or are you a liar like Carmichael?

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 21

            Richard December 14, 2015 10:05 pm
    • How many SNP members in Shetland?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 23

      Andrew Argyle December 14, 2015 9:02 pm Reply
      • Less than Wir Shetland an wir still growing fast. 🙂

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 26

        Ali Inkster December 14, 2015 11:04 pm Reply
      • Why so many thumbs down for asking a simple question, “how many members has the SNP in Shetland?”

        Are we not allowed to ask such impertinent questions of the SNP?

        Wir Shetland has published their number so why can’t the SNP tell us theirs?

        How many members has the SNP in Shetland?

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

        Andrew Argyle December 16, 2015 9:11 pm Reply
  • If the people of Shetland want to be independent after a democratic debate well good for them.
    I often wonder if Islay with its whisky wealth went independent how much it would affect the price of a good dram of malt.
    I can hear in the background, your not getting to share our currency, your too wee, too stupid…………

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 13

    SAra Swann December 15, 2015 9:59 am Reply
    • Is Eck there?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 20

      Richard December 15, 2015 1:18 pm Reply
  • Sara says ironically…”I can hear in the background, your not getting to share our currency, your too wee, too stupid…………”

    Aye, too stupid to spell correctly.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 21

    RichieMac December 15, 2015 1:31 pm Reply
    • Very petty,very petty indeed!
      Yoos woodny bee a Yoonionist,bi ony chence?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

      Hugh Jazz December 15, 2015 1:49 pm Reply
    • Sorry to have upset you Richiemac.
      You must have such a busy, full day.
      I am really sorry.
      Must do better, Must do better, Must do better.
      There now.
      Do you think Islay should be independent Richiemac.
      I know your probably too busy to have given it a thought.
      Is it the currency thing that baffles you?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

      SAra Swann December 15, 2015 8:26 pm Reply
  • If Shetland went independent, it wouldn’t get RET, ever. RET is a Scottish Government policy, not a UK one. Shetland Inc. could fund its own RET style discount, but even Shetland wouldn’t be able to sustain the £20-£30m a year in subsidy to allow the RET prices to be charged. On top of all the other great things the oil fund has been able to deliver, it would very soon dwindle. Then what? It would get very very expensive to reach Shetland as you’d start having to pay the real cost of the services enjoyed today. UK Government isn’t likely to be a generous as Scottish Government, and Scottish Government would have no interest or obligation to subsidise the services. Be careful what you wish for.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

    Jerry McIver December 15, 2015 8:22 pm Reply
    • Jerry, do you have any idea how much tax is paid by oil workers in the Shetland sector? I’m not well-versed in that type of thing but I suspect it could be easily 10 times the cost you mentioned? If Shetland was fully independent like Iceland all of that would accrue to the Shetland government, would it not?

      And in any arrangement short of full independence, they’d surely be able to negotiate a substantial annual sum to persuade them not to go for full independence?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

      Andrew Argyle December 16, 2015 11:38 am Reply
      • Hi A Argyle
        Did you notice from the Shetland posters that WIR SHETLAND is not a political party?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

        KEITHO December 20, 2015 2:00 pm Reply
    • As usual people from outwith Shetland (I assume Jerry?) are fixated on the oil. Andrew is right in that taxing offshore workers would bring a lot to Shetlands economy. However Jerry you are forgetting Shetlands true wealth and lifeblood has always been the fishing. With control over this totally renewable resource as well as all other industries present in these highly productive islands we would have no problem subsidising our own transport links to Scotland, Norway, Faroe or wherever we saw fit.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 13

      Duncan Simpson December 16, 2015 6:35 pm Reply
  • Just noticed this starting BBC Alba

    Note: ‘a campaign for greater autonomy in Shetland,’

    Funny how things keep coming back!

    ENTERTAINMENT: Nationwide an Alba
    On: BBC Alba
    Date: Wednesday 16th December 2015 (1 hour left)
    Time: 21:00 to 22:00 (1 hour long)

    Na h-Eileanan/Islands.
    Alasdair Friseal le sgeulachdan à eileanan na h-Alba bhon an t-sreath Nationwide a chaidh a chraoladh eadar 1969 agus 1983. Am measg na chithear a-nochd: fògarrachd air eilean iomallach an Earra-Ghàidheal; strì ann an Sealltainn airson barrachd chumhachdan; agus cò cheannaicheadh Eilean Ì? A look back through some of the unusual stories from Scotland, which were covered by the BBC TV series Nationwide between 1969 and 1983. This programme focuses on the islands of Scotland and includes the solitude of a remote island in Argyll, a campaign for greater autonomy in Shetland, and the question of will own the island of Iona.
    (Stereo, Widescreen, Series 2, Episode 3)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Excerpt taken from DigiGuide – the world’s best TV guide available from http://www.getdigiguide.tv/?p=1&r=7346

    Copyright (c) GipsyMedia Limited.

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    Lundavra December 16, 2015 9:02 pm Reply
  • Thank Christ the SNP didn’t win here, we would have had our road signs in jiggy language and told to teach it in schools.

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    Dratsie December 17, 2015 7:16 pm Reply
  • OK Some questions. Lets pretend I am Alistair Darling.
    Is Wir Shetland like the Boys/Girls Brigade or the Boy/Girls Scouts?
    Is it a church based movement?
    Is it a pub based movement?
    Will Shetland be part of the EU?
    Will Shetland have its own money?
    What will this money be?
    Will Shetland have its own Navy?
    Will Shetland have its own Army?
    Will Shetland have its own Air Force?
    Will George Osborne pay a visit with threats and promises?
    Will The Labour Party send up its reduced number of MPs?
    How many members will you want in the House of Lords?
    Pensions, Will you still be able to collect your OAP.?
    Will you still be able to access your work pensions?
    Will you be able to watch Doctor Who?
    Will you have your own Telly?
    Will your telly be all Ali Bain re-runs?
    Will you still have the BBC? (please NO)?
    How will you combat a hostile Media?
    Will big business fund a NO CAMPAIGN?
    Will a YES campaign be self funding?
    Will you have your own Health Service?
    Will you be able to attract Doctors, Dentists and health professionals?
    What happens when the oil runs out?
    Will UK sabotage fishing Quotas?
    Will Norway be used for Hospital Visits?
    Will Norwegian be taught in schools?
    Will there be Norwegian medium schools?
    Will Hardangar fiddling become more popular?
    Will you have a First Minister? Dratsie comes to mind.
    lots more questions (remember I am pretending to be Alistair Darling, Alan Cochrane, Lord Foulkes and Glen Campbell as one person.
    I am sure others have many questions.

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    SAra Swann December 18, 2015 12:51 pm Reply
  • Dratsie for First Minister.
    Dr Who must stay.
    Duncan Simpson for chancellor.
    Ali Bain, Minister for Culture, yeah

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    KEITHO December 19, 2015 10:50 am Reply
  • Where are you Drastie and Duncan Simpson, lost your keyboard?
    How many embassies will you have around the world?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

    KEITHO December 20, 2015 12:38 am Reply
  • How funny to the see the right wing group in some of their comments quoting “For Argyll” in their response to defending their anti Scots yet Anglophile stance! Curious. Right wingers out doing the Tories. Ukippy’s by any other name but more extreme. Let’s just say they got their dream will Tories flock out of Scotland to Shetland, will Mone leave Lomdon! Chancers.
    Would Scotland charge extra taxes and immigration controls!! No because the isles of the wetern seas and the north are welcomed.
    Now think of the bitter together crowd. Threats,

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    No Cheese Here December 20, 2015 1:29 am Reply
  • Is this the guy Tulloch from Arrocher, Argyll? Is this the connection between our Ulster wimmin pro Irish Independence anti Scots Independence pro Shetland anti Orkney?
    One thing. I think the spelling could be better. Lol Right wing nutters wanting to take over. It’s like a movie film from the 70’s with a right wing takeover of an African state!

    WIR SHETLAND, RIGHT WING?!!??
    (John Tulloch posting).
    A Wir Shetland member has alerted me tae a yarn being spun by wir opponents dat we are a bunch o right wingers – a “lie”!
    Sadly, dis is an age old political tactic, first noted by Aristotle and adopted, enthusiastically, by the SNP:
    “If ye cannae win the baa, son, tik doon thae man!”
    Here’s the reality:
    Me late fader wis da treasurer o da Shetland Labour Party in da 1960s an 70s. He smokkit an identical pipe ta da wan at Harold Wilson hed and spent every election day driving Labour voters ta da polls wi his car. We were allowed to sit up very late watchin da results.
    He wis a big pal o da late Alex Morrison and Bill Smith wha I hadd in high regard as among da best ever Shetland cooncillors. I wis even da message boy in Alex Morrison’s shop.
    Im only da WS chairman, of course, a democrat wha will fecht wi onybody at tries ta inhibit me free speech, so maybe aa dis right wingers is able ta ride roughshod ower me?
    I voted SNP once, when I wis young an foolish (18) and then for Grimond an da Liberals, including da last election. I have never voted Tory in me life.
    Wir committee is evenly spread, we have one right wing person, three left wing/greens and four in the centre, two right of centre, one left of centre and myself in the middle.
    Wir Shetland policies are socialistic, notably, developing Shetland as a whole, especially, rural areas by keeping schools open and Investing in infrastructure:
    1. Improved broad band,
    2. Gas available to every home by pipeline,
    bottled or bulk supply, direct from Sullom Voe,
    3. Fixed road links or improved ferry systems as
    technically practicable, affordable an
    democratically-determined bi da residents.
    Dis is right wing? Sorry, run dat wan by me again?l

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    No Cheese Here December 20, 2015 6:19 pm Reply
    • The fact that you are questioning the spelling shows you know nothing about Shetland. That post by our chairman is written the way he would speak and will be understood by anyone who understands the local tongue. We are not right wing nor are we nutters and comparing Shetland to an african state is frankly ridiculous.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

      Duncan Simpson December 22, 2015 1:29 am Reply
      • Some questions need answered Duncan.
        I don’t see any answers at a all.
        Is there a move on in Shetland that the establishment, i.e. The Libdems are just not doing it or is there something deeper making the locals uncomfortable.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

        KEITHO December 22, 2015 10:25 am Reply
        • Keitho, by the time you and the SNP have woken up Shetland will be showing you a clean pair of heels and be over the finishing line, it’s Holyrood that’s got to answer the questions.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

          Richard December 22, 2015 10:50 am Reply
      • You never answered my questioned. Is Tulloch from Arrocher in Argyll. Is he the connection with For Argyll to spread the right wing agenda.
        If it is the guy “he dat no speaks dat way when Iva met him!”
        What a joke.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

        No Cheese Here December 22, 2015 10:47 am Reply
  • Wow. The website that’s so anti-Scottish it supports an independence campaign for Shetland- So long as it ties itself to Westminster! I’ve no idea who Mr For Argyll is, but what happened to make you hate this country so much?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    James Cassidy January 3, 2016 2:22 am Reply
  • It’s a she from the North of Ireland supported the SDLP apparently and migrated to Argyll eventually. Joined or supported several parties including the snp — when she thought it benefited her and has friends from Geordie land in Engerlund who now it would appear wishes to join with Scotland. My contacts .basically tell me that th Wir are in the main expats who have been anglicised and toryfied one living in Arrocher in Argyll — see the connection and the broader For Argyll right wingers are in league with the right wing groups

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    No Cheese Here January 3, 2016 3:33 pm Reply
    • That would explain a fair bit then. I recall seeing a clip on Russia Today a few weeks back of British Nationalists protesting against immigrants somewhere in Ayrshire (the location escapes me).
      One was arrested after throwing an object at the pro immigrant Scottish Nationalist protesters. A man with a strong Northern Irish accent, he was shouting at the immigrants to “go home”. Clearly he didn’t do irony…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

      James Cassidy January 3, 2016 10:35 pm Reply
  • That’s interesting.
    My grandfather told me never to go to North Ireland.He said it had a geological defect.
    It’s above sea level!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

    Hugh Jazz January 3, 2016 4:17 pm Reply

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