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Everything posted by Malachy

  1. Forgive me for posting myself, but... http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2008/09/05/shetland-life-editorial-3/ I really think that some of the small isles have a desparate need to get control and ownership over their housing. If people are to move in there needs to be places for them to live.
  2. Walking out after four days was one of the best decisions of my life.
  3. Adam's Shetland Life article on autonomy in the Aland archipelago is available free at http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2008/07/04/politics-culture-our-baltic-counterpart/#more-511779
  4. But I can't really see how the 'model' of Forvik is going to show anything because it's a tiny holm with nothing on it. It's not going to benefit in any way from being a crown dependency. Nobody's going to benefit except him, from selling a few plots of land to some nutters. What Shetland needs to know (if it's even interested) is how increased autonomy will affect our society, culture and economy. The example of Forvik can tell us none of that.
  5. I would say the main difference between Stuart's position and that of Brian, the Shetland Movement or just about anyone else, is that all of the latter mentioned would say that Shetland's position within or outside the UK should be up to Shetland people to decide, democratically. Stuart, on the other hand, believes that it should be up to him to decide. He think he has discovered some conspiracy, which he hasn't, and he believes that gives him the right to try and force Shetland's hand. Consider the possibility that his current efforts succeed in getting somebody to take the bait and try and challenge him legally. If, by some miracle, he won the legal challenge, does that mean Shetland would suddenly find itself outside the UK whether the people wanted that or not? This is why I have always argued that Stuart has things the wrong way round. I am actually quite sympathetic to the idea of more autonomy for Shetland, but I think you have to start by convincing people that it is a good idea, you cannot just tell them they've been hoodwinked, then push them in a direction they don't necessarily want to go in. Stuart is not a democrat, that is his problem.
  6. I don't see any reason to think that he hasn't bought the island. The guy obviously has plenty of money. He claims he's bought it and the previous owner hasn't denied it. That seems reasonable enough. He doesn't want to be done for theft I don't imagine. What seems very interesting to me, and which the national media certainly haven't highlighted, is the fact that he hasn't declared independence at all; he's declared Forvik a 'crown dependency' - presumably because that's what he thinks Shetland should be. But surely you can't just declare yourself a dependency. I would think a status like that would have to be the result of negotiation and agreement - it's not just a title you can apply to your island without consulting, say, the Queen. And why would the Queen want Forvik to be a dependency? It just means the British government have a responsibility to protect it without getting any of the benefits of taxation etc. Also, does it not seem a bit strange and hypocritical to talk about a state-sponsored conspiracy to cheat Shetland out of its rightful status, but then try and tie yourself to the head of that same state? Surely he should be seeking full independence rather than cheekily wangling for state protection as a 'dependency'. It seems to me he's just somebody who doesn't like paying taxes. (Edit: And therein lies another irony. All his talk about how Shetland is really Scandinavian, and yet his principle desire seems to be to avoid paying taxes, which is about as un-Scandinavian a mentality as I can imagine. Surely we should be demanding much higher taxes if we want to emulate our neighbours in the east?)
  7. Yes, exactly. I think perhaps their absence is best seen as an abstention.
  8. A rubbish argument that does not stand up to scrutiny. There had been requests for a special meeting that would include ALL councillors. Blocked or refused by the convener. I can only assume that there is a protocol for this type of situation, which would have been followed. You cannot just have a special meeting because the Flea says there must be one. This went through the correct process, it came to the meeting and this decision was taken. Sandy Cluness did not plan it all and then send away those councillors deliberately. The opponents seem to assume they have a moral right to block this project. Mareel had already been agreed by council previously. Flea and the gang asked to have it put back in front of the council. Correct procedure was followed and they lost the vote. Democracy works that way.
  9. By definition the convenor could not use a 'casting vote' against a majority. The fact is that the vote took place when it was supposed to, with six weeks notice. If those councillors did not turn up, their views cannot be expected to be taken into account. It is rather like having a general election and then declaring the result void because not everybody came out to vote. That's democracy and that's the rules. Those councillors who are now desperately seeking other means to get their way are showing contempt for the democratic process. This project has now been approved by the council twice. At some point they will have to get over the fact that they have not won the argument or the vote.
  10. Good interview. I liked the fact that he had "decided" he would live to 117!
  11. Well if the coastguard are called out to rescue him he will have to foot the bill, since they are going outwith the UK.
  12. A high school. Or maybe they should invite some others to go and live there with him, and since he's 'head of state' he'll have to look after their welfare. It strikes me that the desire to be head of state is at the root of Stuart's entire battle. He wants to be king of Shetland. That may sound ludicrous, but having had some correspondence with the man, I'm not so sure it's inaccurate.
  13. Yes, that's exactly what I wondered ^^ Who owns the island? Maybe he's bought it from someone, but I would suspect it's most likely the council's isn't it?
  14. Sorry KOYAANISQATSI, the article you refer to is not considered a serious scientific paper, nor was it written by climate scientists, and the journal it was published in was the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, a far right wing mouthpiece, which has also published articles that suggest the theory of evolution is a socialist conspiracy, that Aids is not caused by HIV and other articles attacking gays and abortion. For obvious reasons it is not considered a credible scientific journal. Again, this petition has been widely discredited. Scientific American took a sample of signatories and found some were false, some had no recollection of signing and others had no relevant experience. Only a tiny minority are working scientists in relevant fields. And many of these signed years ago but have since changed their views. (It is worthwhile googling some of the names on the list at random - some very interesting people on there!!) We could trade claims back and forth like this forever. It makes no odds. I am not finding it a worthwhile use of my time.
  15. Well, not being a climate scientist myself I think my own research would probably not be of much value, but here is a peer-reviewed paper by the Royal Society, which concludes that sun spot activity cannot account for global warming since 1980 - http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/media/proceedings_a/rspa20071880.pdf - and here is a peer-reviewed paper from the journal Nature, which concludes the same thing - http://www.mpa-garching.mpg.de/mpa/publications/preprints/pp2006/MPA2001.pdf When you've read them you can let me know where you think they went wrong in their analysis.
  16. Actually that is not the case. Scientists have understood that the earth was spherical since about 500BC (around the time of the birth of 'science', in fact), and they knew it was not flat long before that. The knowledge of the scientists was only denied much later by Christians, because it did not fit in with their own view of the world and of human significance. They denied it until it could be denied no longer.
  17. KOYAANISQATSI, why do you keep posting this trash? It is hardly surprising that a right wing news organisation is publishing articles like that. It proves nothing. It is exactly the same 'common sense shows science is wrong' logic that Ghostrider has been employing above. It is ill-informed, deliberately misleading and full of conspiracy theories and other such nonsense. It seems to me that one of the reasons rubbish like that attracts people is because it is simple. The science is complex, the lies are simple, therefore people believe the lies. And this claim that global warming is a conspiracy to make governments and a few people lots of money is so ludicrous it is barely worth a response. There are always people who will make money out of anything. People make huge amounts of money from war, and you don't complain, but if someone sees an opportunity to profit from an environmental cause then suddenly the whole cause is considered fraudulent. And to think that governments are requiring their scientists to back up the climate change consensus, that is equally stupid. Especially considering that the US, where scientists and nasa have been documenting climate change for a very long time, has only just in the past couple of years accepted that they might in fact be telling the truth. The last thing governments want to do is to accept the reality of climate change, because an acceptance of the science would require significant, expensive and hugely unpopular actions to combat it. Governments are not prepared to take those actions (with the possible exception of Sweden). Just look at what is happening now - tiny changes in the tax system, and some whispers about 'green taxes' and people start screaming like spoilt children and running for the hills to hide their wallets. It is greed that has caused the problem, and it is greed that is making a solution so difficult to reach. Your protests merely underline that fact.
  18. Yes, you've certainly grasped the crux of my argument there north, well done. And your logic is impeccable: scientists have been wrong before, therefore they are wrong. I like it.
  19. Yes, true, you can read whatever you wish to read by googling it. But if you want to look for peer-reviewed scientific papers that seriously discredit the conclusions of the IPCC regarding global warming, you will find a grand total of none. Anywhere. And don't try to argue (as someone did earlier in this thread) that peer-reviewed scientific papers are no longer considered of greater scientific value than any old guff that someone writes on their website, because that is simply untrue. There may well be respected scientists who disagree with current thinking on climate change, but if so they have not managed to produce a single paper that has stood up to scientific scrutiny. The fact is that you can find as much information as you want to support either side of the debate, but if you consider solid scientific evidence to be important in formulating your opinion, then there simply is no debate any more. The debate has already been won. Part of the problem here is that many people are requiring a level of proof that is simply not possible to give. The greenhouse effect has been known and understood by science for decades - greenhouse gases act to trap heat in the atmosphere - and we also know that human beings produce a lot of greenhouse gases. Nobody can seriously argue with either of these facts. But this is not a detective novel; there will be no smoking gun discovered in mankind's glove compartment. At some point you have to be prepared to put two and two together and accept that you have four; people cannot forever put two and two together and claim the sum is not yet convincingly answered. The last IPCC report, which was contributed to by well over 3000 climate science experts, concluded that "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." Now, the words "very likely" may not seem good enough for you, but in the report, that term is defined as being above 90% certainty. Thousands of climate scientists being more than 90% certain is a good as it is going to get unfortunately. Similarly, we cannot 'prove' that the sun is going to rise tomorrow, but all of the evidence we have so far observed suggests that it will. If you want to find an equivalent level of proof on the other side of the debate, you will search in vain. All you will find is a few conspiracy theorists, right wing columnists and some disgruntled cranks. As I said, the greenhouse effect has been understood for a long time - it was first observed in 1824. There is a feeling that the current interest in global warming is brand new, like a wave of mania, but scientists have been accumulating evidence for a long time. They have taken their time, and they are now convinced. That the media are only now cottoning on to it says nothing about the quality of the science and everything about the quality of the media. That is a very sad thought. I would hope that people will choose to act before it gets that far.
  20. That one is brilliant. I hadn't realised the conspiracy of global warming and environmentalism was so deep and widespread. Not only does Mr Watt convincingly show that an environmentalist think tank were responsible for starting the Vietnam war and destroying the Challenger shuttle, he also shows that they are playing havoc with our grammar. Capitalising the word nature (Nature) is one of their most subtle but destructive tricks. Even a capital N at the beginning of a sentence is dangerous! I'm presuming this wasn't a serious contribution to the debate, KOYAANISQATSI?
  21. Whether environmentalism appears to have similar traits to religion or not has absolutely no bearing on whether the claims of environmentalists are correct. The fact is that the people currently shouting loudest about global warming are not just environmentalists, they are scientists - people who have studied the climate, collected data, analysed data, and come to an unwelcome but unavoidable conclusion: that global warming is happening, and that there is very strong evidence to suggest that rising levels of Co2 are the main cause. Well, clearly sea levels tend to rise slowly, and the change will not be noticed by just looking out your window every day, but if there is an increase in ice melting in the Arctic or of the Greenland ice cap, as is currently underway, then quite obviously sea levels will rise. As for Shetland, even an unscientific glance back will tell you that we have far fewer extremes of low temperature now than, say, in the 70s, when snows tended to be heavier, more frequent and lasted longer. Ice also froze harder on the lochs. Just as elsewhere in the UK, the last decade has seen temperatures in Shetland far higher than the average for previous decades. The effects of these changes here are not necessarily subtle either. Rising sea temperatures have brought new southern fish species into Shetland waters, and has also seen other fish moving north, away from us, most likely because of changes in plankton availability. This is currently having a devastating impact on Shetland's seabirds. This year, once again, looks to being yet another complete disaster in breeding terms for some species, simply because of the lack of suitable food. It is no use standing outside your front door and saying "it doesn't feel very warm to me". Scientists have shown and continue to show that average temperatures are rising, and that these rises are having a serious impact on certain species and ecosystems. As these changes continue, the impact will certainly increase, and human beings will be more and more directly affected. The attitude "wake me up when it's too late" seems to me rather pointless. I would rather try and do something now, while there is still a chance of improving the outlook.
  22. It's worth remembering that it would take 800 Pelamis 'sea snakes' to create the same amount of energy that the VE windfarm will produce. That might prove to be a bit of an obstruction to sea traffic. It's seems to be forgotten that neither tidal nor wave power technology is particularly advanced yet. They are still about the same place that wind power was 30 or 40 years ago. Clearly it is necessary to invest more money in the technology, and Orkney is doing well as a testing centre, but it is misleading to suggest that either wave or tidal could replace schemes like VE's and be anywhere near as productive.
  23. That's interesting, except the programme JAS linked to above suggested that Tesco's definition of local is 'from the same country', which is not very helpful here.
  24. I'm pretty sure I haven't posted this before, so here is an article by Neil Riddell, from Shetland Life last October, about Tesco's plans to move to Shetland and what it could mean for other Shetland businesses. It includes an interview with Andrew Simms, who wrote Tescopoly, as well as folk involved in Shetland business. http://www.shetlandtoday.co.uk/shetlandlife/content_details.asp?ContentID=23833
  25. I'm a bit confused about how you agree with SS in his criticism of me but then go on to agree with virtually everything I said in your post. I'm not sure how anything in my post could lead to me being labelled "the worst kind of pacifist" (other than SS just setting out to criticise everything I write, of course). As Njugle correctly pointed out, I was writing about remembrance, and SS's attack on me had no connection whatsoever to what I actually wrote. Unless believing that war is a terrible thing makes me "the worst kind of pacifist", in which case I'm guilty as charged. But then so are you TeeAyBee, by the sounds of it.
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