Letters / Embarrassing snub

I note from your article “Ministerial exchange” (SN 14/5/12) that Alex Salmond is back in Scandinavia for a re-run of his “not so much memorable as unforgettable” flop as “Cinderella” (Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, Xmas 2008 – SN Dec 2008) – yes, once again he hasn’t been allowed to go to the ball.

For it seems that rather than meet King Alexander IV of Scotland (whose namesake Alexander III wrested the Western Isles and the Isle of Man from Norway in 1266), the Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg has decided to pass up an international renewable energy conference (!) and visit Shetland to open the Scalloway Museum.


Well, well. On Norway’s National Day, too! I can hear Mr. Salmond now …“But WHH-Y-Y-Y-Y? (Careful Cinders, don’t “ham” it up too much!). 

So avoiding a few days delay to the opening of the Scalloway Museum is more important to Norway than a visit by the Scottish First Minister and the opportunity to reap the PR harvest from following Scotland’s plucky lead in “tackling climate change”? Mmm, interesting isn’t it?


Perhaps, as Robin Barclay suggests (Joined up; SN 16/5/12), while Norway will not call for it openly and while it may have to wait a long time, a legal basis on which they and local supporters could found a claim for a return of Shetland to Norwegian sovereignty may indeed exist, after all?

The strategic territorial waters, the fish therein and the minerals thereunder are hardly of no interest to Norway so closer links are unlikely to be discouraged by Oslo.


Who knows, an autonomous Shetland, at odds with Edinburgh, increasingly remote from London, with a strong Scandinavian tradition and growing links to Scandinavia might one day take the plunge and vote to leave the UK (and ipso facto, the EU) to join its prosperous eastern neighbour in a strategic Scandinavian trade alliance spanning the North Atlantic from Denmark to Greenland.

It’s a funny old world and maybe, just maybe, the Raven Banner will one day flutter proudly over the Toon Hall with a bronze statue of Stuart Hill, “Father of the Nation,” standing sentinel outside.

Either way it’s an embarrassing snub for Mr Salmond and a spectacular coup for the organisers – and the more suitors we find the merrier.

John Tulloch