As the very recent and quite fanciful clarion call for autonomy approaches whisper level, it is ironic that our councillors voted overwhelmingly to note (ignore / kick into the long grass / use any other phrase you fancy) two petitions signed by many hundreds of our concerned citizens, but agreed, half an hour later, to devote time, energy and resources to pursue some vague and hazy notion of Shangri – La, or perhaps a Grand Cayman of the north.
Being relentlessly told that this is a non-political council, councillor Leask found himself in an apparently untenable position, because he happened to disagree with the non-political council’s political strategy. His honourable resignation means, at least for the moment, our community has lost an enthusiastic and hardworking champion.
Self-determination and enhanced local democracy are indeed admirable aims, in fact, most local authorities in Britain would welcome a greater degree of local control, but as with most things in life, it is not just what is being said, it is also who is doing the saying.
It would appear that this clarion call is driven by a yearning to return to Tory/Lib Dem austerity, a desperate fear of an independent Scotland, and a section of the fishing community that seemingly needs unbridled access to our waters.
Autonomy for 23,000 Shetlanders, but alas not for millions of Scots. Perhaps Orkney too will dip its toe into the murky waters of Westminster.
Were our local champions of democracy crying out on behalf of the beleaguered Palestinians, or had they been demanding a homeland for the Kurdish people, then that presents us with a different proposition entirely.
Sadly though, when we look at our council’s voting history in recent years, we see an introverted, inward-looking, neo-liberal landscape, which belies any prospect of progress on the social front, and therefore as a community, we need to think long and hard about our future direction.
If I’m not mistaken, the Liberal Democrats will be returned again in May with a handsome majority, and will therefore leave the rest of us to push for real social progress.
With an independent Scotland, Shetland will thrive and prosper, there is no doubt about that. We cling on to Westminster at our peril.
Councillor the Shetland Central ward
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 500 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.Support Shetland News