Scottish Independence Debate / Robinson expects London Crown Estate offer

SIC political leader Gary Robinson.

COUNCIL leader Gary Robinson says he will be “surprised” if the UK Government offers nothing in relation to Crown Estate income when it publishes a concordat outlining how it might devolve more powers to Shetland.

He was speaking at Wednesday’s Full Council meeting in the wake of a pledge from Scottish first minister Alex Salmond to hand over all net profit from the seabed around the islands if there is a ‘Yes’ vote in September’s independence referendum.

The Westminster coalition is expected to unveil its counter offer to the three Scottish island groups later this summer.

Council chief executive Mark Boden said the prospectus unveiled by the SNP last month was a “quite remarkable achievement” for the Our Islands, Our Future campaign alongside Orkney and the Western Isles.

Boden said it opened the door for dialogue on matters including the possibility of community benefit from the salmon farming and oil and gas industries, as well as talks on internal and external ferry services.


Councillors commended the campaign’s achievements to date, with Jonathan Wills hailing it a “political triumph” – though Drew Ratter said he favoured “a further campaign for control and ownership by coastal communities of their coastal waters”.

Robinson said the campaign had pushed “hard for control over the seabed up to 12 miles” and that “may yet come if we pursue a [government] act for the islands”.

Ratter also felt it was “a real shame” that no attempt was made to “play the oil card” in relation to the campaign. “I was waiting for somebody to do that and nobody ever did,” he said.

But Robinson said there had been arguments about whether “it’s wir oil” for 40 years and “if we’d engaged in that type of discussion [with government] we’d still be sitting here talking today”.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


• Meanwhile a spokeswoman for the group campaigning for referenda on independence for Scotland’s islands in September has accused the SNP Government of giving an “evasive and cowardly” response.

The Holyrood administration responded to a petition signed by over 1,000 people by saying it was clear that Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles were “much valued parts of Scotland and have been so for many centuries, including prior to the Treaty of Union in 1707” and “that would continue in the event of independence”.

In April council leader Gary Robinson questioned the ROTI campaign’s credibility, adding he had “not detected much in the way of support for it” within Shetland.

But Catriona Murray of Referenda on the Islands (ROTI) said: “We expect a government to show leadership. But here we get the opposite: evasion, misdirection and cowardice.”

She also claimed the SNP’s prospectus to empower island communities “went down like a damp squib”.


Murray added that the government response implied ROTI’s call for referenda to be staged within a week of the 18 September poll on Scottish independence would be impractical.

“If they want to quibble with our proposed date for the referenda, let them do so. Let them suggest an alternative date. In reality, referenda could easily be held on the islands in September. Just ask people in Venice or Hong Kong. Or do they want us to?”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.