Letters / Would Holyrood do any better?

Angela Sutherland invites me to support Scottish independence.

Vote for independence, John!

Certainly, the Westminster shambles has showered bounteous gifts on the SNP’s campaign. But would Holyrood do any better and how would it affect important areas of our lives?

“Hame is whaar da heart is”, so how would Shetland fare?

The Viking Energy wind farm will soon be exporting electricity south. Other large developments are planned, on and offshore, purportedly to electrify the oil and gas industry and produce so-called “green hydrogen” using excess energy when the grid is oversupplied.

Major ongoing UK subsidy will be essential to realise these heady ambitions.

However, independent Scotland would be just another foreign country, like Ireland or France. Our renewables would be excluded from future UK power auctions and subsidy.

Thus, we would have to compete on an unsubsidised, “merchant basis” against UK and European nuclear and renewables, clobbering profits and discouraging further investment. The SIC’s flagship Orion project intended to replace Shetland’s oil industry would suffer with the rest.


Moving on, fish and fishing are Shetland’s biggest industry and could be much bigger IF Brexit is managed competently.

However, the Scottish Government has licensed vast offshore wind developments on important fishing grounds and stated its intention to re-join the EU, handing back control of access and quotas under the hated Common Fisheries Policy.

Moreover, the previous ‘UK derogation’ would not be available meaning significantly lower quotas even than before Brexit.

Meanwhile, as UK electricity soars towards 67p/unit, Faroese electricity has been held at 17.5p/unit since 2020, reflecting shining competence versus the disastrous mismanagement of our supplies.

The SNP-Greens’ policy is to ban future oil and gas developments, even though we cannot yet run our country without fossil fuels. This indefensible folly would inevitably make matters worse.


In particular, the national grid needs conventional power to stabilise inherently unstable renewable energy meaning, realistically, a choice between nuclear (also taboo) and gas. Take your pick.

Petrochemical plants also need oil and gas (or coal) as feedstock to produce plastics, fertiliser and many other products.

So, unless we are going to live without an electricity grid and petrochemicals, we will have to import oil and gas, the latter, ironically, having three times the ‘carbon intensity’ of domestically-produced gas, making us ever more dependent on unreliable, despotic regimes like Russia.

Factor in the many years “fair ferry funding” was withheld (£5.5 million/year), centralisation of public services and Shetland’s exclusion from the forthcoming fixed links study and we see why, after 20 years’ experience of devolution, the SIC has decided to explore options for self-governing powers as it did in the 1970s.

John Tulloch



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.