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Letters / Time to take a stand

Nearly three years on, and after one appeal, I have accepted the decision of the national executive committee of the Labour Party to expel me for urging Shetland’s voters to end their support for the supine Liberal Democrats and instead return an SNP MSP.

Vote SNP, stop Boris

Shetland Lib Dems were complicit in Viking Energy, failed to urge reform of Shetland Charitable Trust, and have been worse than moothless on the inclusion of women and girls in Lerwick’s Up Helly Aas.

They routinely fail to stand up for their principles, saying only what no one could disagree with. If you were ever to see a chocolate teapot acting sitting on a fence in Shetland, you could be sure it would be a Liberal Democratic teapot. Meanwhile, it appears Shetland’s minority thirst for “autonomy” still precludes voting for a voice for Shetland within the Scottish government.

I was heartened to see Tom Wills do well as the SNP candidate for the last Holyrood election. I am heartened also to see Labour and The Greens now represented on the SIC. It is in Shetland’s best interests to have a spread of political parties active locally.

Nationally, however, the election of Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak to replace Boris Johnson offers no prospect of improvement. We need no further continuation of Thatcherite greed.

A break from the shackles of poverty imposed by the electorate south of the border is overdue. Owned as it is by well established corporate interests, manipulated as it is by overseas media oligarchs, the Westminster parliament is incapable of reform.

Keir Starmer is not advocating proportional representation, renationalisation of energy companies, a return to the EU, or indeed anything much so far as can be seen. He does not promise the kind of change to a more Scandinavian social democratic approach that Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP both offers, and has already delivered through free prescriptions and much more.

Unlike Scottish Labour, the Scottish Green Party is independent and backs independence. It and the SNP will deserve support until Scottish Labour is free from London rule and able to make an unfettered and genuine contribution to improving people’s lives.

Yes, we are better together, but following the outright lies of the EU referendum, which saw few positive arguments made for Remain, we would be better back together with our European neighbours. Only Holyrood can deliver this.

So, until we have an independent Scottish Labour Party in an independent Scotland, I wish my former comrades all the best, and hope they will raise their voices in solidarity with those fearing the cost of the coming winter.

Shetland has money in the bank set aside for a rainy day. Thanks to a continuation of the Tory austerity Shetland’s Lib Dem MP Alastair Carmichael happily assisted, the rainy day has now come.

Our hugely wealthy Shetland Charitable Trust must become structurally responsive to local needs. The trustees must be made to engage directly and regularly with representatives of those in actual need.

If they did, fewer bairns would go to school hungry and fewer folk would freeze to death in Shetland this coming winter, for this is the reality people across the islands are now facing. The millions in the bank can, should and must be used to prevent hunger, cold, hardship, misery and yes, the death from hyperthermia of our fellow islanders. It is time to take a stand.

Peter Hamilton