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Everything posted by Malachy

  1. Interestingly, in the programme, Lovelock acknowledged how his theory had been taken on by New Age pagans and Christians, who felt it showed God-like influence within the natural world. He said he feels more sympathy with the Christian perspective, though he suggested he didn't actually believe in God.
  2. It's on iPlayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00s04qp/Beautiful_Minds_James_Lovelock/ Even more fascinating than I expected. Amazing to see how the Gaia hypothesis, which was dismissed when he came up with it, is now at the heart of the way we think about the environment and the climate. The programme also disproves the idea that scientists who speak about global warming are all in the pay of governments and universities - Lovelock's been working out of his garden shed for 40 years. Of course, when it comes to predictions for the future, he's always pretty terrifying. As someone in the programme says "I hope he's not right about this. But he has a history of being proved right".
  3. BBC4 tonight is showing Beautiful Minds at 9pm - a documentary about James Lovelock. Should be interesting.
  4. Did anyone else spot the brilliant comment from the Orkney and Shetland UKIP candidate in the Shetland Times today? He was arguing that we shouldn't bother funding increased public transport. He said: "The only excuse for using public transport if you're over 17 is extreme drunkenness". If he starts coming with more hilarious comments like that he could make the campaign much more interesting. UKIP: the comedy party.
  5. There are plenty of similarities if you look at their policies on immigration, Europe, 'law and order' and defence. In fact there's virtually nothing to distinguish them. The BNP are just a bit more blunt about it, and use a lot more uncorroborated statistics (20% of the British population now non-indigenous apparently, whatever that means). There are plenty of BNP supporters who would say 'I'm not racist, but...', and you will hear that same phrase from UKIP too. They use the same over-simplifying techniques to support their views, and end up consumed by contradictions. Consider the first two pledges in their Defence manifesto: -"Boost the military budget by 40% so our armed forces are properly equipped" and then "Demand one clear achievable mission for Afghanistan or seek a negotiated exit". What is that if not a way of trying to please everyone - let's make our army the best in the world, but let's not send our soldiers out to die in foreign lands. To be fair, I'd say UKIP is mostly made up of old-style Tories, in the Norman Tebbit mould, rather than the more open bigotry of the BNP. Their views on crime, defence and immigration are very authoritarian and pretty frightening really. It's the hang 'em and flog 'em school of law - 3 strikes and you're out, life means life, scrap the human rights act, and all that guff. Incidentally, I would have thought this little phrase in the UKIP manifesto would be at least a little troubling for any Shetlander: "End support for multiculturalism and promote one shared British culture for all". A shared British culture makes sense if you never leave the south of England, but not really from where I'm sitting. The sad thing is that UKIP and the BNP are benefiting from a rejection of mainstream politics. They are making pledges that sound like they might be 'common sense', but are actually just a return to Thatcherite hostility and individualism. Why, I wonder, has the left not managed to create a movement to similarly benefit from the current crisis? Why is there no radical, thoughtful party emerging from the left instead of the right? The banking crisis in particular really ought to have seen a re-emergence of anti-capitalist feeling, but nothing happened. All of the parties (including UKIP and BNP) support more or less the capitalist status quo. In fact, I think the Greens are probably the only party on the radar that are looking at things slightly differently. But they will have to tone down that side of things in order to be taken seriously by the mainstream media. Hmm, rambled too long now.
  6. This is more or less how the voting system worked in the last council elections, where you ranked the candidates in order, but if you chose not to put any number against one candidate they were essentially losing points when it came to the count (it's a pretty complicated system but better than FPTP).
  7. This is indeed very disappointing. They are the only party living in the real world. All other parties are far too focused on unsustainable economic growth it is untrue, for them a growth in GDP is all that seems to matter. I agree, but despite getting a very respectable share of the vote here, the local membership is disappointingly small at the moment, so it would be pretty hard to find a candidate. I imagine fighting an election is a lot of work, so it's a big job to take on, especially when the chances of success are so minimal. Hopefully by the time the next Scottish elections come around, someone locally will be prepared to do it. I'd half think about doing it myself, but I wouldn't actually want to win, which is probably not the right attitude to go into an election with.
  8. You probably could have missed out several of the others too as I don't suppose they will be fielding candidates in Shetland. We might end up with just the five who have announced so far. The Greens are not putting up a candidate, which is a shame - they got about 10% of the vote here in the last Scottish elections.
  9. It's hard to know how to respond to James Lovelock. He's so chirpy, yet his message is about as pessimistic as it's possible to be. He is probably the most convincing scientific voice on the subject of climate change, yet most people would be horrified if they chose to believe him (which of course they don't). I admire him for being able to find happiness without the necessity of hope. Unfortunately his message makes me feel rather depressed, because I suspect he will be proved right, as he has been before.
  10. Well, as Njugle says, it's the same as Hoodie-craa, which in English is a hooded crow. A hood is neither a head nor a hat, but quite similar to both
  11. Collins Concise English Dictionary Traipse: to walk heavily or tiredly.
  12. The group's website was launched today: http://www.shetlanddialect.org.uk/ Lots of stuff there to explore by the looks of it.
  13. You've a short memory then. 62.4% voted in favour of Scottish devolution in Shetland in 1997. That was more than in Orkney, but less than most other parts of Scotland.
  14. This is something that confuses me. It's going to cost him £60,000 a year to stay in a cre home, but for this much money surely it would be possible for elderly people to stay at home and personally employ a carer (two or three carers even). Am I missing something?
  15. Amusing paragraph about people's attitude to climate change in Charlie Brooker's column in the Guardian this week. The full article is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/15/charlie-brooker-time And worth reading, as he always is.
  16. There was planning stuff in the paper, with the opportunity to submit objections.
  17. Nope, it was a well-written, provocative article, which is what I asked for. I think you are overstating this, or at least you are making a slightly unfair comparison. I believe Shetland is very much seen as a place with it's own identity. It is seen as 'subsidiary' only to the extent that that is a political reality. Shetland's legal system, its education system, its services, popular culture and demographics are integrated with the rest of Britain to a degree that is not true of Iceland or Faroe. Both were (and Faroe remains) part of Denmark, but it was a different kind of relationship - a more 'arms length' one (certainly in the last 100 years) and that was in part due to the much greater distance between them and the 'centre of power'. Shetland can feel quite far away sometimes, but it can still comfortably sit on the map with the rest of Britain, and that has an impact. I realise there are blurry boundaries in all of this, but if you think it's necessary to undo Shetland's many integrations with Scotland you've got an impossible fight on your hands. Again, I don't think you're correct here. Orcadian has it's adjective, and as Evil Inky's pointed out, many others do too. In some ways you could say there's a certain accidental quality to what places to and what don't. Liverpudlian and Mancunian, but Leedshish or Londonion? Glaswegian and Aberdonian, but Edinburghian or Perthic? I'm not sure you can glean much from these differences, unless you've got a theory. This is a very complext thing, and I often find baffling the attitudes that some Shetlanders have. Their pessimism is so willful that they'd rather see it die than be proved wrong and have it survive. And anyone who actually acts in a positive way is shot down (Shetland ForWirds being the obvious example. Rather than engaging with the group, maybe even joining it and joining the discussion in a positive way, lots of people just prefer to sit back and criticise, as though SFW were a sinister organisation, out to destroy people's heritage. Which they are clearly not).
  18. What do you mean predates it? Our political influence from the north (east) ended quite some time before that. But it's actually interesting that it turns up then because the mid to late nineteenth century in Shetland was the period when the islands' intellectuals were very much trying to emphasise our Nordic-ness. It was a quite deliberate project. I may well be barking up the wrong tree with what I suggested, but a date of 1882 would seem to me to add weight to the possibility rather than disprove it. As for the political reasons for the language/dialect thing, it is a long and complex tale, and it might be best to browse through some of the threads of language and identity here. There is a kind of weird, willful pessimism about Shaetlan among many people and any attempt to bolster it or promote it is inevitably met by sneers and jeers. You can see some of that on the Norn thread on the go at the moment. It is very peculiar and if I stuck my neck out with an explanation I would no doubt be shot down, so I won't bother this time. Have a read of some other threads.
  19. ^^^ For me, those differences would be precisely the same if said in English. Most languages will differentiate meanings using stressed words (I'm sure I read somewhere that some languages don't do that). But yes, if you translated that sentence into English you could demonstrate the same differences, and exactly the same changes in meaning.
  20. Can you explain this a bit? Don't we say Icelandic and Greenlandic indifferently in English, without either being considered "highbrow" or "intellectual" or "political"? Shetlandic is used by a few Shetland writers (I'm not going to name them, but there's at least one prominent one), and it seems to me political for two reasons. Firstly, it seems like a (fairly subtle) attempt to Nordify it. The immediate connections that come to mind are Icelandic and Nordic. I realise the 'ic' ending applies to Arabic and other words, but to me it seems to automatically place it within a Nordic context, and that is a political positioning. Secondly, it seems to specify it as a language, rather than a dialect, and that issue is not just a linguistic one, it is a political one, as you'll notice on other threads. I've just realised that I've answered the question inadvertently in my response - I naturally wrote 'a few Shetland writers' rather than 'a few Shetlandic writers'. 'Shetland' is the adjective to describe something or someone from Shetland, so it is natural for it to be the language/dialect name also. It works in English or Shaetlan. (But then I've lived here since I was a young boy, so while I don't speak dialect (at least not in public) my language is obviously very influenced by it)
  21. Too right it is! Shaetlan/Shaetlin is, as Ghostrider says, how most speakers would refer to it in conversation. It does present a slight issue for those with different accents since that word may sound odd spoken in a 'standard English' sentence, but...? Of course, the name of a language within that language is going to be different from the name others call it (Danish / Dansk etc etc). So, this is actually not an entirely simple question. Shaetlan speakers may call it Shaetlan, but is it to be known as Shaetlan in English also? That is perhaps a more interesting question. Shetlandic is a bit offputting because it's so obviously a political term.
  22. Malachy

    Trout Fishing

    The Shetland Trout Fishing book is out of print, but an updated version of the book is now available for free download at the Shetland Anglers Association website. There's no maps on this download, but it's a very useful guide still, with a huge number of lochs detailed. A new edition of the book will hopefully be in print before too long. The free download is on this page: http://www.shetlandtrout.co.uk/lochs.html
  23. I find it extraordinary that this subject seems to generate such a degree of animosity among people who, you would imagine, would have similar goals in mind. Why is it that people find it so hard to work together?
  24. I think this is a bit of a misunderstanding. It's not Shetland ForWirds job to 'classify' anything, they're just there to promote the dialect. Linguists class Shetland dialect as a branch of Scots. Shetland ForWirds (so far as I know, and I'm not a member so may be wrong) simply accept that linguists are correct in their analysis. It is not offensive or crazy to accept that this dialect belongs to a broader family. The horror that the suggestion seems to evoke among some Shetlanders is nothing objectively to do with language, it's about identity and politics. Some people don't want Shetland to be a Scots dialect, so they are adamant that it is not a Scots dialect. But it's a rather senseless argument. For instance, I am a unique human being, absolutely different from all other human beings, but I'm not offended if you suggest that I share much (most) of my DNA with lots of other human beings. It doesn't make me less unique. Similarly, Shetland dialect is absolutely unique, with features that are not found anywhere else, and many things that have come from elsewhere, particularly Norn, but it's closest relatives are Scots dialects (indeed, Scots itself can be seen as a family of dialects, since there are so many unique regional variations). These dialects are each, in themselves, also unique.
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