Independence for Shetland and Orkney?



Shetland_dsc_0946
Originally uploaded by image_less_ordinary

Tavish Scott and some of his unionist friends have been having fun recently suggesting that Shetland and Orkney might separate from Scotland in the case of Scottish independence.

As far as I can see, there are theoretically four options for Shetland and Orkney if Scotland becomes independent:

  1. They can remain part of Scotland.
  2. They can become part of Norway (or Denmark) instead.
  3. They can become part of England.
  4. They can become independent.

Option (1) is of course the most straightforward option. Although option (2) would perhaps tempt some of the islanders temporarily, I'm not sure they'd really want to learn Norwegian as their first foreign language, introduce Norwegian law, go to university in Norway, and so on. Option (3) would possibly appeal to some of the islanders, especially those of them who have moved there from England; however, would the majority of the population really want to be flown to England for complex hospital treatments, or by default go to university in England? Also, the islands have never in their history belonged to England, so it'd be a somewhat strange outcome. Option (4) is of course a possibility, but they have a very small population and don't even have experience with devolution.

I think it's a good idea for Shetland and Orkney to get some degree of autonomy within Scotland. Perhaps this would over time develop into full independence, although I'm doubtful. However, to leap from being a full and integrated part of Scotland to becoming an independent nation overnight would be a complete shock to the system, and I'd be very surprised if the islanders themselves would go for it, especially as there is no established independence movement on the islands as far as I know.

I can therefore only conclude that Tavish Scott is just trying to spread uncertainty and fear about the prospects of Scottish independence – he's not really advocating separating the islands from mainland Scotland. I would have hoped the unionists had some positive arguments in favour of the Union, but that might have been too much to hope for.

One thought on “Independence for Shetland and Orkney?”

  1. Tavish is just trying to do a “Six Counties” on Scotland,or at least the fear of a 90 year civil disorder.The biggest problem is the one created by Westminster,it is lacks honesty,and truthfulness.Some honesty from the very basics in education,to the more complex of fiscal properties.Most of the problems are because of the snobbishness of the “Elite” who wont even recognise Scottish achievements unless forced to.The largest Stonehenge in Europe is in the British Isles,but not in England,try South Uist,in the Outer Hebrides.The Roman invasion is even lied about,as the Romans spent 300 years in Scotland,and there is the Antonine wall,never mentioned,this is educational snobbery.

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