Having spent considerable effort trying to encourage our council to take a more positive and proactive approach to maintaining Shetland economy I was very encouraged to read of the council’s support to investigate further the Energy Hub idea.
So it was hugely disappointing that when they do show some initiative, to read on social media the comments of those naysayers, already pouring out their negativity and ridicule on the council.
Shetland’s oil wealth has allowed us to become complacent with a sense of entitlement to the high standard of living we enjoy. For far too long we have pandered to the whims of minority opinion or what I suspect are serial objectors, in the belief that all will simply just carry on without having to lift a finger or be prepared to sacrifice.
If we are to continue to enjoy the spoils of Shetland wealth we will have to replace the old industries which we have relied on, such as oil. I am proud of Shetland’s development and the relatively large economy we have built since oil arrived.
When travelling, my wife would tell you I never miss an opportunity to tell of Shetland amazing quality of life and of our modern diverse economy. I want Shetland’s children to feel the sense of pride that I have enjoyed and the potential to return to our island for work and raise their families.
All reasonable ideas need to be looked at, be it an energy hub, wind, tidal, hydrogen, satellite launch site, developing our small business with potential to export, enticing new business to Shetland, even the older backstay industries of fishing and agriculture or reducing our costs and vulnerability of our smaller islands through building bridges or tunnels.
It’s time to stop the European disease of endless procrastination, stop just looking for government handouts and where possible start taking control of our own destiny.
Forty five years to decide where to build our new school, 50 years and still no Bressay bridge, 20 years and we are getting the windmills twice the size, having lost a fortune and local control of that industry. A great lesson in how to manage our own demise!
We have become blotted on oil money and lazy to use the resources and opportunities that lie at our feet. Unlike the council that oversaw the start of the oil era, I was starting to believe our current administration had become so risk averse that they had simply opted for a long slow decline, terrified and blind to the possibilities around them.
So yes, if our council is starting to show signs of recognising just how much peril our local economy is in and want to spend some money, while we still have some, on exploring options on renewal of Shetland’s economy, they have my vote.
Hopefully there are a few more islanders out there prepared to lend a shoulder to our councillors’ efforts and help drown out those naysayers.