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Letters / Achieving nothing of consequence

I would direct readers to read the column in last week’s Shetland Times (Friday 29 December 2023) and listen again to the piece on Radio Shetland on Thursday evening, with our Holyrood representative.

Our representative at Holyrood listed criticism after criticism of the Scottish Government’s performance, and in some matters, if not all, she is correct to do so.

Many of the matters overturned/blocked or prevented, like the ill-fated fisheries HMPAs, were actually achieved by the public and fishing industry representatives, as a result of their interventions, arguments and evidence given at public consultation stage.

It is therefore wrong of her to claim any credit that it was her efforts alone that won the day.

Critique of, and/or opposition to, government proposals for legislation are essential in a functioning democracy. Bad laws are bad laws and can be very, very damaging.

Good laws and positive proposals are essential for the good governance of a nation and the advancement of our society to higher aspirations and achievements.

It is extremely sad therefore, and indeed deeply worrying, that in her diatribe there is so little imagination or ideas and often no evidence of better ways forward.

Gainsaying, hindsight and yaa-boo politics are no substitute for healthy constructive, proactive, aspirational creative alternative ideas.

The absence of such creates great dread that our representative, and her colleague in Westminster, should seek additional terms to represent this constituency, in the same flaccid, vacuous, thoughtless way, achieving nothing of any consequence, save endless photo opportunities and mind-numbing column inches.

The Tunnel Vision public events are a case in point. Held and repeated over two summers, they have done nothing to further or achieve the desired outcomes. Myopic, tunnel vision indeed, leading us down a Peter Rabbit cul-de-sac to a dead end. Mad Hatters!

Only freedoms and greater powers, devolved from Westminster and/or Holyrood, will create the fiscal and planning abilities and flexibilities to progress the tunnels, harness our energy potential – at fair cost – and protect our indigenous industries such as fishing, as in Faroe.

But our representatives are against such devolved powers as a prerequisite to achieving the necessary outcomes to create a truly advanced sustainable and increasingly circular growth economy and infrastructure, to meet Shetland’s future needs. The have absolutely no flesh on the bare bones of their meaningless, empty federalism policy.

The SIC, for its part seem to be going along with the same ‘head in the sand’ approach some three years after adopting a policy on greater autonomy.

Instead relying on a private lobbyist, (ex-Tory), to dine out at great expense, pretending to negotiate, in secret, and achieve the necessary powers and measures.

We are no further forward with this effort either. And if we are, the council isn’t saying. I wonder what the auditors will make of that public expenditure.

James J Paton
Shetland Autonomy Action Team
Lerwick

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