Letters / Character assassination?

I read with utter astonishment the letter Gary Robinson wrote in reply to James Paton, in particular the paragraph regarding how and why a councillor brought up the possibility of the Sandveien housing renovations being included in the
district heating system.

‘Wide of the mark’

At the outset I should declare that I am the elected councillor’s brother-in-law and as such I was initially unsure whether I should reply to what I read.

However, knowing the integrity of my brother-in-law for over 40 years and the principled reasons he stood for the council I feel I cannot sit back in the face of what comes across as a character assassination.

Mr. Robinson states “the tone was set by an elected member making an apparent pitch on behalf of the aforementioned private company”.

One might think that Mr. Robinson was alluding to possible corrupt intent on the part of the elected councillor rather than the well-being of the councillor’s constituents. I certainly hope that was not Mr. Robinson’s intent when he chose his words.


The following paragraph then goes on to invoke the councillors code of conduct and provides an example of a councillor in Stirling being suspended for five months for among other things “becoming inappropriately involved in operational matters, and pressuring officers into taking certain courses of action, in respect of a development site”.

This again, in my reading, implies the possibility of nefarious motives on the part of the councillor who made the motion.

Mr. Robinson then goes on to praise councillor Manson for having “showed courage and conviction in using her casting vote against a proposal”. Presumably she would not have shown courage if she had abstained or, heaven forbid, voted for the motion.

Finally Mr. Robinson ponders “all 23 Shetland Islands councillors, myself included, need to reflect upon how it ever came to a situation where a vote, let alone a casting vote, was needed on a matter such as this.”


The obvious point here is that it took a casting vote to defeat the motion and as such 50 per cent of the councillors present felt that the “situation” warranted consideration.

Presumably the “matter such as this” being the alleviation of fuel poverty might have had something to do with it as well. Instead of impugning the character of an elected councillor and the process by which the motion to instal district heating in Sandveien was brought up perhaps Mr. Robinson as he “reflects on the situation” might also take the time to also reflect on the SIC’s strategic goals of reducing fuel poverty, child poverty, and build a sustainable environment and fairer society in Shetland.

The 165 families who live in Sandveien who will end up having to pay much higher electricity bills as a result of this motion being defeated would certainly appreciate it.

James Moir
Silver Spring



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