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Everything posted by matlo

  1. Alex Salmond's demise is a fascinating development. It all looks far too well-rehearsed to have been a spur of the moment decision. It must have been an SNP plan for the event of a defeat in the referendum. It looks aimed to draw the fire of a lot of the Scottish opposition - they have pushed the line of attacking Salmond personally for years and it may mean that the blame for the referendum failure will be attached to him rather than his party and allow Sturgeon a chance to take over for another push sooner rather than later. (Especially, as Kavi suggests, since Westminster will undoubtedly renege on any real reform of government for any part of the UK.) I don't think Salmond would have continued long in any case. If he'd won then he'd have had his moment of glory, achieved his lifetime aim and probably have bowed out after negotiating independence with Westminster. From his point of view he couldn't have bettered the achievement - especially by heading a government that would have had to deal with a lot of unpopular decisions. He's a politician after all, he'll do what they all try to do and what he'd have done anyway - go off to make a lot of money on the back of his political career before he gets too old to accumulate a few million.
  2. i see that David Cameron has appointed 'Lord Smith of Kelvin' as chairman of a new commission to examine further devolution for Scotland. That'll be the same Lord Smith of Kelvin who's chairman of Scottish and Southern Energy. It should be good news for Scott/Carmichael, Gary Robinson and those who believe that 'further powers' as result of Our Islands Our Future = an interconnector and a lot of windmills.
  3. Have to say I sympathise with Trout's view, but at the risk of adding to the trøttel the debate reminded me that the first people of colour that most Shetlanders had dealings with in the old days were the Sikh salesmen who used to appear every summer selling drapery door-to-door. (I have a feeling they were students making a bit of cash in their holidays.) The interesting thing was that they were known as 'Packies' - which would seem pretty unacceptable to contemporary ears, but the fact was that the Scottish travellers who also sold clothing door-to-door were known as 'Packies' too. They were all called Packies because they carried packs. There's a little bit of metropolitan-centredness behind a lot of the assumptions in this debate, both the relatively sensible one here and the sometimes near-insane one in the Guardian. There's a slightly arrogant assumption that there's one acceptable standard and everyone should be educated to adhere to it. I would have thought that true tolerance would take account of cultural differences - we don't all have the same stories and we shouldn't assume that the rules we follow will be universal.
  4. I think the 'norie' or 'norrie' part of the name was onomatopoeic and the 'Tammie' part added later as a kind of pet name - in the same way as 'Jenny Wren', 'Robin Redbreast', etc. The name now seems to have been forgotten in Scotland and N.E. England. I'd guess that the character in the story Muckle Joannie quotes got his name from the bird rather than the other way round. Incidentally the earlier (Shetland) name 'lundi' was remembered by older folk when I was a child, though not much used as far as I recall.
  5. The STV report says a BB gun. Would that be covered by the new rules on air rifles?
  6. Did anybody hear the Radio 4 play 'Sullom Voe' a couple of days ago? The pronunciation in 'Shetland' didn't annoy me but for some reason the abuse of Shetland speech in this play was more than I could take. Had to switch off after first 10 minutes. It's still on iplayer if anybody has a strong enough stomach to listen to it.
  7. I think folk sometimes concentrate on learning and using words rather than learning the sounds first - that's how bairns learn after all. When visitors get pronunciation wrong - saying 'bod' instead of 'bød', for instance - it can really interfere with understanding. Do you (politely) correct them or do you ignore the mistake?
  8. The 'wick' part always pronounced 'week', but Hillswick sometimes Hillsook.
  9. Lerook (usually), Lerwick sometimes. Delting.
  10. Yet the conservatives are the only party to get over 50% of the vote in Scotland - in the 1955 General Election. Given that the Labour Party are probably more right wing now than the Conservatives were in 1955 then perhaps nothing much has changed? Interesting that it's becoming increasingly difficult to get a fag paper between any of their political positions. http://www.politicalcompass.org/ukparties2010
  11. Seems to me that the airgun laws proposed are more to do with which powers the Scottish Government is given rather than what's a real priority for the public. They're desperate to get more legislative power and (dismissively by Westminster) have been given legal powers over air rifles and setting speed limits. So it's air rifles for now - new speed limits to follow soon no doubt. If Westminster had given them powers over standardising straw baskets there would be new kishie-making rules coming too. Fair enough, it's probably a good idea to get air rifles out of the hands of Glasgow neds, but it seems a costly (and probably futile) way to set about it.
  12. Not to me it doesn't! And I've never come across anyone else who like the idea either. Maybe you're not talking to enough people? I don't meet too many people who admit to voting Tory but there seems to be a surprising number of them about.
  13. All the same - is this not indicative in a way? What is Visit Scotland's job after all? To promote Scottish tourism surely, and if we accept for the moment the notion that Shetland is part of that then they should be thinking of the best and most effective way of doing it. The fact that Shetland has an identity that is distinct from the standard Scottishness is a golden opportunity for any marketing organisation to do a better job - any designer worth their fee would be listening to opinion of this kind, asking questions, getting answers and using the information - the difference - to sell the place more effectively. A different logo might have been a good way to do it. Listening to people and finding out what happens on the ground is fundamental to designing a service like Visit Scotland. Being more concerned with the organisations own corporate image rather than listening to people - whoever they represent - is a bit symptomatic of the disease afflicting the whole organisation.
  14. O.k. I admit to being not entirely serious with the spray paint idea.... There's a serious issue here for promoting tourism though - and it's important that we don't get the political aspects of identity (and of course they exist) mixed up too much with promoting Shetland tourism. The thistle logo is going to be controversial in Shetland for reasons that have little to do with attracting visitors and for that reason alone it would seem sensible to abandon it. The right logo is definitely important - we may not realise we're seeing them all the time but the marketing industry spends a fortune on them for a reason. Why would we want one that's going to irritate a lot of the people we need to be behind efforts to promote Shetland? It comes down to the question of whether we want to be on the outskirts of someone else's market or in the middle of our own - even if being in charge of our own market has cost implications and needs a different approach. In the long term it's essential to be able to do it differently. Visit Scotland is over centralised, bureaucratic and incapable of change. It may be that they're forced to change their ways - as Creative Scotland seem to be in the process of doing at the moment - but it might take a while.
  15. I've sometimes wondered whether the signs that have had the thistle logo sprayed over with blue paint aren't an interesting insight for visitors into Shetland culture. Do they wonder why someone has gone to the bother and why they felt a need to? Maybe this is the most cost effective approach to engaging visitors' curiosity. A couple of cans would surely be enough for all the brown signs in Shetland and couldn't cost very much?
  16. I think Kavi is making some really valid and interesting points here. For a start, Shetland is not unique in having a problem with Visit Scotland - a lot of Scottish regions have complaints about their marketing being geared towards steering tourists towards 'main' tourist centres and high profile destinations at the expense of some of the more interesting but out of the way areas. It seems to be a branding exercise that has lost sight of what it was set up to do and has become more concerned with its own organisational brand than being relevant to the industry it's supposed to serve. It hasn't been very good at listening to its client organisations or the public. The thistle logo is part of its branding, designed to unite the Scottish tourism under one banner and also to make themselves essential. Like any big organisation one of their central concerns is to boost their own importance and bureaucracy. The big problem for Shetland tourism is that if we rely on Visit Scotland to promote the industry then we will inevitably have to be sold as a peripheral part of 'Scotland the Brand' - a distinctive part of Scotland but part of a big picture nonetheless - just an interesting bit of Scotland that's expensive to get to. Marketing needs to be founded on the fact that Shetland is unique, has its own distinctive identity and will offer something different to visitors in both physical environment and culture. If there's no difference from Scotland then what would be the attraction? Why pay the extra fares? The thistle logo (apart from irritating many Shetlanders by its connotations of Scottishness) underplays the difference and undermines the unique image that makes potential visitors curious. Definitely get rid of it in favour of a more suitable symbol.
  17. Yes, but the level of Norwegian taxation has to be looked at relative to what they get back. We pay low taxes but our pensions, services, etc. are pretty meagre compared to Norwegian ones. They have a system designed to keep the gap between the richest and the poorest within tolerable levels - something the UK has long abandoned - and also to balance the provision in cities with the provision in 'remote' areas. Not a bad system by all accounts. It's interesting that peoples' feelings and views in the Shetland/Scotland debate are very similar to the opinions you see expressed in Scotland/England exchanges. The UK establishment will use every trick in the book to scupper the Scottish referendum and the Scottish establishment would do exactly the same in an attempt to kill off any move to take Shetland out of Scottish control. I don't think there's any point in hoping for either establishment to act in Shetland's best interests. (Let's face it, Lord Caithness doesn't give a faenkel about Shetland - it was just a spoiling tactic.) I agree that the best way forward is to have a much greater degree of home rule, but we have to be active in demanding it ourselves - not expecting anyone else to speak up for us. By the way, I wonder if anybody thought to lobby Jens Stoltenberg about supporting a Norrøna-type link when he was in Shetland?
  18. Would that be the act of the Scottish Parliament in 1611? The one that annexed Shetland and imposed Scottish law? I'm sure it would have been democratically elected.
  19. Fair point about apparent apathy. What I was trying to say, though, is that it's really more a case of the UK as we know it changing than Shetland forcing a change. After another 2 years+ of the kind of arguments that are now flying back and forth between London and Edinburgh there won't be a Union as it is now - even if the independence campaign is a failure. As I said, the level of bitterness emerging is quite a surprise, the dirty tricks have only just started and we've a lot more to expect before 2014. That alone will change the nature of the Union. Unless things calm down a lot - and there's no sign of that - there will be no going back to things as they are. Whether we like it or not we are already a pawn in the political game.
  20. If it was set up by the UK government? Probably just about as long as it took the ink to dry on the agreement.
  21. The one unlikely option listed in the poll is to stay as we are. It's less than a month since the Scottish independence row really kicked off in earnest and it has already reached a pitch of bitterness that's quite surprising. If it keeps gaining momentum for the next two years or more then Scotland and the UK Establishment will have talked themselves into a state of mutual unforgivingness that will make either an amicable union or an amicable end of the union out of the question. The UK government will stop at nothing to preserve its supremacy and even the barest hint of Shetland wanting some kind of autonomy would be a trump card for them. By taking Shetland out of the equation before a referendum - giving us some kind of Crown Dependency status - they would be able to kill off the independence debate for a generation. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd be prepared to chuck in a sizeable refund of oil revenues as well. We'd have to be prepared to take the (heavily subsidised) ferry to Newcastle though - we wouldn't be too welcome in Aberdeen. Maybe an alternative link to Bergen would be a better idea.
  22. Interesting article on the destruction of the Welfare State: http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/11266182/1413093939/name/Universalism+McKee+Stuckler.pdf
  23. How about as a Crown Dependency of a post UK Scotland?
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