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matlo

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Everything posted by matlo

  1. An anidder thing; maybe a bit far-fetched but bear with me... Just suppose we were to go for Scottish Crown Dependancy status - and there might be advantages for Scotland were that to happen - and we could reach an accommodation with Scotland before the Scottish/UK union is dissolved.... Scotland would have to rejoin the EU; most commentators seem to agree that some formal rejoining would have to happen. What would be the status of the new Crown Dependancy of Shetland? (Maybe Orkney in the same situation too.) It's possible for parent states to be in the EU but their dependancies not to be (Denmark/Faroe, Denmark/Greenland - even Germany/Heligoland for God's sake. Well, I think Heligoland is inside the EU but exempted from various rules.) The EU is more flexible than British rule enforcers lead us to believe. What if we then wanted to be exempted from the Common Fisheries Policy - it's becoming an embarrassment to them all anyway. It would suit Shetland - and it would actually suit Scotland too, especially if Scottish fishermen were allowed to buy some licenses for Shetland waters. There's also the threat on the horizon of a common European 'Marine Resources' policy, not just fishing but all marine resources - maybe even including minerals. Just a thought...
  2. ^^^ Well, maybe that is the fundamental shift in nationalism - if it's about confidence and the future rather than ethnicity and the past then it has a case to make. There's no doubt that the nationalists have been in control of the agenda for the last few weeks. Did anybody see the debate in Glasgow on the BBC? The most convincing speaker - by far - was Lesley Riddoch, and as far as I know she's not in the SNP but has been very much involved in the Nordic Horizons organisation that seems to be getting a few mentions in the papers. Jim Wallace, it has to be said, was not brilliant. Interesting to have a look: http://www.nordichorizons.org/ As far as Shetland goes there's still the problem of how we fit into the new Scotland that looks increasingly likely to happen after 2014. For me at least the issues are not so much about the past - where our DNA came from - but about the present and future. We maybe don't need to be separate from Scotland because of our history (though of course it is relevant) but a glance at a map will tell anybody that we ARE separate, and unless towed to the Firth of Forth Shetland will have to deal with that. Priorities have to be different for Shetland because it is where it is and has the resources it has. Policies for the Central Belt, or even the Highlands, are just not going to fit. It's partly back to the confidence thing too - Shetland needs to have the right powers and the will to use them - and I think more local control will bring out the right politicians. In spite of what they say there's been no sign of the Scottish Government delegating any power back to local communities - there's less local control now than there was in the 70s - and if you're a councillor with no real power to decide on policies that matter then it's all too easy to get on with cronyism, doling out cash to dubious causes, etc. More powers = more able politicians, ones who get involved because they're able to make a difference. Why do the Faroese have less in the way of resources than Shetland, double the population (and rising), and a culture and economy that's held together pretty well? Not because they've been waiting to see what Denmark will offer them. It comes down to whether Shetland should be at the centre of its OWN culture and economy or at the forgotten periphery of someone else's. Being at the centre just has to be better.
  3. Would an alternative be to become a Scottish Crown Dependency? Presumably there would then be no need to tackle the business of seabed ownership immediately and it could be settled by negotiation? It seems odd that enclave status as shown on Mahdi Zahraa's map (Shetland as a remainder of UK Crown Dependancy)would mean a foreign country (Scotland) owning seabed over 100 miles north of Unst. I note that Mahdi Zahraa is a constitutional lawyer based at Glasgow Caledonian University and I can't help a suspicion that academic opinion that comes out in support of a Scottish case for seabed ownership is as likely to be partisan as some of the opinion being brought out at the moment to support the various assertions of UK unionists. It's worrying that the more this notion of remaining with with the remainder of the UK post independence gets bandied about in the sooth papers the more defensive pro-independence spokespeople become about the future status of Shetland. I see Rod Gibson's (SNP MP for Sutherland and Ross I think) response to the Duck of Caithness was to emphasise that Shetland is just as Scottish as Dingwall or Thurso, or words to that effect. Maybe constitutionally true, but not truth as we know it - if that makes sense. The more the idea of staying with the rest of the UK is floated about by unionist spokespeople for their own ends - i.e. in order to undermine the SNP's economic case - the more resolved the Scottish government is likely to be in making sure Shetland never has more power of self-determination than any other local authority. The problem is as much in hanging on to powers that we now have as it is in gaining new ones.
  4. Maybe rather than ask Salmond what he'll offer Shetland he needs to be presented with a list of what Shetland demands in return for its support for Scottish independence. What might they be? Devo-max? Faroese-type status?
  5. I’m new to this forum and slightly reluctant to stick my oar into the debate but it’s an enormously important issue and I can’t seem to resist the urge. It seems to me that Ian R Clark is quite right in pointing out that this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to gain greater autonomy for Shetland and to establish a government structure with the powers needed to address the problems we’re likely to face over the next few years. Holyrood is likely to flex its muscles after the referendum – whatever the result – and unless Shetlanders actively campaign for greater powers we are likely to end up with fewer. The controversy over the Charitable Trust could well be the thin end of the wedge. The Scottish Government is unlikely to respond positively to a ‘no’ referendum result in Shetland – why would they? It would surely be more sensible for a Shetland devolution campaign to negotiate with the SNP in advance, so that a ‘yes’ vote here for a greater degree of autonomy (either full independence or ‘DevoMax’) for Scotland can be synonymous with a vote for greater autonomy for Shetland. It’s interesting to note that some anti-independence commentators have begun to rediscover Shetland’s famed reluctance to be defined as Scottish and to use that as evidence of weakness in the SNP’s case. A firm commitment from Holyrood, in advance of the referendum, to devolve powers to Shetland in the case of a ‘yes’ vote might well be achievable over the next year or so; it won’t be achievable after the referendum – particularly if there’s a ‘no’ vote here – and the pressure on any oil revenues will soon follow.
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