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Letters / I agree with Tavish

It’s fine to see Tavish finally jumping on my bandwagon (‘LibDems kick-start northern isles constitutional debate’, SN, 19 March 12). I see the Earl of Caithness is making similar noises in the House of Lords – and Lord Soley too.

Now that Scottish independence is rearing its ugly head, those in the know are finally having to admit that Shetland’s position is different. Of course, they won’t come out and openly admit that Shetland is not part of Scotland, the UK or the EU; but neither can they show when it happened. They know the truth, but they just won’t let on.

If Shetland and Orkney really are just counties of Scotland, why are the Hebrides not also being encouraged to demand their own unique status? After all, Orkney is geographically nearer to the Scottish mainland than most of them. The reason is that there is absolutely no legal evidence that Shetland and Orkney are part of Scotland – the question has never been tested in the courts. I am currently involved in three court cases which will prove the issue one way or the other. I have a 71-page argument for the courts, with 140 supporting documents showing Shetland never became part of Scotland and never could have. These are the arguments put up against me:

  • the Lord Chancellor: We pay taxes and send a member of Parliament, so obviously we are part of Scotland;

  • the Procurator Fiscal puts his faith in Brian Smith’s article in the Orkney Antiquarian Journal – ironic when Brian openly admits to having no interest in the legal issues;

  • the Sheriff: Not interested – “No matter what evidence you put in front of me, I cannot find in your favour” – then allegedly made me bankrupt;

  • the DVLA: Threatened to take me to court, then backed off;

  • HMRC: Threatened to take me to court, then backed off;

  • the Police: Locked me up;

  • Royal Bank of Scotland has had me in the Court of Session since June 2010 trying to stop me winding them up – so far without success. I’m arguing that the Scottish court has no authority in Shetland.

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I totally agree with Tavish when he says it is not up to him (or me) to push for a particular outcome, but it is vital for the people of Shetland to know they have a choice – and not one restricted to just what either Scotland or the United Kingdom would like to impose.

At the time of the pawning, 90 per cent of Shetland land-owners were sovereign in their own right – they owned their land outright, they elected their king and they made their own laws.

Those rights have been passed down to the current owners unchanged – yet how many people here, owning their own house, could ever imagine being on a par with, or even superior to, the Queen?

In my opinion it would be foolish for Shetland to lay claim to the whole of the oil revenue. What could we possibly do with 20 per cent of £50 billion (or whatever it is)? Much better not to upset the applecart, otherwise we might find those nice friendly Americans on our doorstep wanting to ‘look after us’.

When Shetland proves its ownership of the resources, how about this for a scenario: The UK continues to administer the oil companies as our agent, the tax comes into a Shetland bank and stays there earning interest until we work out the figures. It’s then passed on to the UK treasury as a net figure – minus all the UK taxes we pay, plus all the grants and subsidies we get.

Shetland would have immediate use of its own money and would be at least £100 million a year better off – we currently get back in grants and subsidies about half what we pay in taxes.

The UK’s financial problems are nothing to do with Shetland – why should we have to face cut-backs that are nothing to do with us? Shetland has always been a cash-cow for both Scotland and the UK. Do we want that to continue?

Stuart Hill