A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘shetlands

[LINK] “Remote, oil-rich Shetland elbows way into Scotland’s independence vote”

Reuters’ Sarah Young writes about how Scotland’s Shetland Islands–a small archipelago northeast of the Scottish mainland–are trying to take advantage of Scottish constitutional jockeying.

The three major Scottish archipelagoes in question–the Shetlands and the Orkneys to the northeast, the Western Isles to the west–are, to my limited knowledge, somewhat culturally distinct from the Scottish mainland. The Shetlands and the Orkneys have their Nordic links, while the Western Isles are the strongest redoubt of Scots Gaelic in the world.

Watching this.

Twelve hours by ferry from the Scottish mainland, hundreds of miles from Edinburgh and closer to Oslo than London, the windswept Shetland islands have their own aspirations about Scottish independence.

Some of the 23,000 inhabitants even want their own.

Many Shetlanders see the September 18 vote on whether Scotland should end the 307-year-old union with England as an opportunity to gain control over local services and a share of revenues from the oil pumped from the North Sea.

“The oil belongs to us. We don’t have to argue about that. It is ours,” said Shetlander Hazel Mackenzie, 43, who works in the livestock auction house in Shetland’s main town of Lerwick.

“If we could have all the revenue from all the oil then we could probably be very self-sufficient.”

[. . .]

As the Scottish independence vote nears, Shetland’s council has joined forces with two other island councils, Orkney and the Western Isles, to ask for greater control of local services and new fiscal arrangements to enable them to benefit from the oil, fisheries and renewable energy resources surrounding them.

At stake for the Scottish government could be its share of the 7 billion pounds or so of annual oil production taxes which Edinburgh wants in the event of a “Yes” vote for independence.

For many on Shetland, where the blue and white Nordic-style flag flutters from masts amongst the peat hills and isolated coves, a sense of being a Shetlander comes ahead of any Scottish, British or, given history, even Norwegian identity.

In Lerwick, where seals wait in the harbour to greet the arrival of the next fishing boat, some islanders see the result of the Scottish referendum as irrelevant.

“Why would we believe in independence if all it means is that powers move from London to Edinburgh? No, we want to move an awful lot further than that,” said Tavish Scott, a Liberal Democrat who is Shetland representative in the devolved Scottish parliament in Edinburgh, dominated by the Scottish National Party.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 23, 2014 at 7:22 pm