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Posts posted by Malachy

  1. The Gaia hypothesis is an age old principal worshiped from Ancient Greeks who gave the name to mother earth also Pagans, Druids, all these cultures believed in mother earth as one entity and worshiped and treated Gaia with respect. So if anyone is to be blamed for Global warming if there is such a thing it is the rise of Christians and there belief in one god! Aborigines still believe in Gaia perhaps if the people of the world woke up to the fact that there is no God but only our planet the world would be a beter place. No Wars..


    The church made any worship of the earth a devil practise so does this mean all green tree huggers are recyclers devil worshippers?


    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. 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.

  4. All I see in UKIPS Policies are positives and without the spin .

    I do not see any simillarities to the BNP .


    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.

  5. Something like this is what I've believed should be the first reform of the electoral system. Every voter should be allowed two votes in all elections, in one you could vote for the person you wanted to win, in the other you could vote for the person you definitely did not want to win.


    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).

  6. 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.


    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.

  7. EDIT: I had to miss out, due to restriciton on number of options on poll

    Plaid Cymru

    English Democrats

    NO2EU - Yes to democracy

    Jury Team

    Christian Party/Christian Peoples Alliance


    Northern Ireland


    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Hoodie Maa = Black-headed Gull


    Danish 'Hætte-måge' Hætte = Cap (referring to the black part that looks like the bird is wearing a Cap :? )


    But what does Shetland 'Hoodie' referr to? The English 'headed' or the Danish 'hætte=Cap'?


    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 :wink:

  10. Having been prudent most of his life he was able to put aside enough money for his retirement. Originally he was paying about £450 a week out of his own pocket for care at Lerwick's Tain House. However, due to council cuts he is soon to be paying double that, an outlay of some £60,000 a year. Needless to say his 'provision' for his retirement will soon be exhausted.

    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?

  11. Amusing paragraph about people's attitude to climate change in Charlie Brooker's column in the Guardian this week.


    And we do the same with the environment: we fail to take painful measures in the present that could ease our existence in the future, because we think they're too arduous – unless you're a spluttering contrarian, in which case you think the whole climate change thing is a load of trumped-up phooey anyway, and that all scientists are shifty, self-serving exaggerators, apart from the brave handful who agree with you. Hey, I'm no scientist. I'm not an engineer either, but if I asked 100 engineers whether it was safe to cross a bridge, and 99 said no, I'd probably try to find another way over the ravine rather than loudly siding with the underdog and arguing about what constitutes a consensus while trundling across in my Hummer.


    The full article is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/15/charlie-brooker-time

    And worth reading, as he always is.

  12. As a preamble I might point out that, in an article I once wrote for Shetland Life (requested by Malachy, although he probably regretted it!)...

    Nope, it was a well-written, provocative article, which is what I asked for.


    It all becomes clear when you realise that Shetland is not perceived as a place with its own identity, as Faroe and Iceland are, but as a part or subsidiary of another place. (Although which place that is - Scotland or Britain - may be a source of disagreement. The subsidiary status is the common factor.)

    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.


    Shetland not having been traditionally perceived by speakers of English as having the sort of identity that would require an adjective in this context, none has ever evolved or been developed.

    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.


    It's about the entire view that Shetlanders have of their traditional tongue. Resistance to any sort of standardisation, both of grammar and spelling (the only documented means of reviving an ailing tongue as far as I know) are part of the same complex. Which is that Shetland as a whole, and certainly at the administrative level, has a thoroughly mainstream Lowland Scottish viewpoint which has no affinity with the approach of peoples who take minority speech forms seriously. The conflict of this mainstream perception with the visceral frustration that many feel at the demise of their native tongue is the nature of the problem.

    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).

  13. -ic isn't in any way Nordic-specific. Furthermore the use of the suffix with Shetland predates any political influence from the north; the earliest OED citation is from 1882:

    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.

  14. To the second point, the two of you have said:

    Shetlandic - Connotations of "high brow" and/or "intellectual" for some.


    Shetlandic is a bit offputting because it's so obviously a political term.

    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)

  15. Can't vote, as I'd say 'Shaetlin', but that's just nit picking over spelling.

    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.

  16. 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:


  17. the fact that such a dictionary seems to have been produced in a spirit of animosity rather than co-operation ... demonstrates something about the general situation.

    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?

  18. R.E Shetlandforwirds - exactly. Who gave them the right to class the Shetland dialect as a just a branch of scots, and to me this shows where they're coming from.


    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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