The United Kingdom is suffering the most severe deterioration of all its democratic processes, but right now however, Shetland is suffering it at a much greater and disproportionate level resulting in a massive democratic deficit and potentially now, at human rights abuse levels.
Irrespective of where you stand personally on Viking Energy, the Orion project and now the Aker offshore wind farm, you/we all should be extremely concerned at how these projects arrive on our islands and now in the surrounding seas.
These three developments (and no doubt more to follow) have been, are and will be driven through without any input, involvement or any basic level of inclusion or rights for the local community.
Ordinary Shetland folk who live here and seeing their islands and now the surrounding seas, dug up, bulldozed and changed to a degree we can only just start to imagine, are not asked what we think, we are not asked if we want any or all of it.
We have no say in the planning process (unlike the developers who have a right of appeal if their plans are rejected) we, the local community and those most affected have no rights of appeal if we do object.
The utterly rigged Scottish planning system is the root of all evil in this but, riding on its back is a degraded political system exploiting the exclusion of the local community into the affairs and decisions that affect us.
We elect councillors to (allegedly) represent us but I rather doubt many would admit or agree that this representation is of any real value, or that they are doing this in any meaningful way.
Evidence of this is why it’s getting harder to enlist new potential candidates.
So, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the point of an SIC that either rubberstamps anyone with big industrial intentions on or around Shetland?
- What is the point of an SIC that has little or no dialogue with its community?
- What is the point of an SIC that pleeps that its hands are tied?
- What is the point of an SIC that has open arms to anyone with some bulldozers?
- What used are the SIC’s elected members when they cannot, will not or do not have any meaningful abilities to properly and fairly represent our community?
With the UK’s political system sinking to nothing much more than an elected dictatorship, ditto Holyrood and the all but sterile Lerwick Town Hall, it looks hopeless unless folk take up the fight to voice concerns at this utterly failed state of affairs.