Press Release: SNP Brush Off Desperate Stuff From Lib Dems (August 6th)

The Northern Isles will be better-off in an independent Scotland than under UK Government rule, local SNP MSPs Jean Urquhart and Mike MacKenzie have said.

The Highlands and Islands MSPs made their comments following claims by Alistair Carmichael that the islands should be ruled from London in the event of independence.

Jean Urquhart said that the Lib Dem MP’s comments were of little significance and that they should not distract from the bigger issues surrounding the debate on Scotland’s future.

She said:

“The days of London politicians telling us how things are going to be in Scotland are over – these comments only demonstrate just how much Westminster MPs live in cloud cuckoo-land.

“The people of Scotland elected an SNP Government in overwhelming numbers at last year’s Scottish Parliamentary elections and the SNP is totally committed to ensuring the people of the Islands and throughout Scotland can have their say the referendum in 2014.

“Residents of the Northern Isles need only look east to our Nordic neighbours for a vision of the economic prosperity they will enjoy under independence.

“The Northern Isles, in common with much of Scotland, voted in favour of devolution in 1997. The 2001 Census shows that the percentage of people saying they are Scottish is greater in the islands than a number of mainland areas of Scotland. The option of “Other British” and “Other” was available; this highlights the attempts by Mr Carmichael to say the islands are not Scottish as little more than really desperate stuff.”

SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie added:

“As an islander myself, I am a frequent visitor to Orkney and can empathise with Orkney issues. On my latest trip to Orkney I encountered many voters who wanted to have a full and frank conversation on the benefits of independence – something they are being deprived of by their Westminster representatives, whose first resort is to scaremongering, distraction and threat.

“I urge Alistair Carmichael and his Conservative cronies in Westminster to stop playing games and to have a mature and sensible discussion on the benefits that Scottish independence will have for all communities across the country.

“The big issues that people on the Northern Isles are having difficulties with including fuel poverty, transmission charges and mobile coverage are all currently issues reserved to Westminster. The Scottish Government are far more in touch with the needs and aspirations of the people of the Northern Isles than our Westminster counterparts.”

3 thoughts on “Press Release: SNP Brush Off Desperate Stuff From Lib Dems (August 6th)

  1. Ron Wilson (@TartanSeer) August 6, 2012 / 4:14 pm

    I have never seen an opinion poll stating that Orkney & Shetland wished to leave Scotland and be run from London 800 miles south. This is purely dog whistle politics, a rerun of the same nonsense Unionist politicians indulged in throughout the 1970’s, telling Scots that their oil will be taken away using Orkney/Shetland as England’s proxy.
    Of course, there is also the little matter of international law, which would see an English run Northern Isles only having a claim to seas within 10 miles of their coast (as is the case with the Isle of Man presently), leaving no oil revenue for Orkney & Shetland – and England of course.
    What Orkney & Shetland can do without are local politicians grubbing about for their own perceived electoral advantage in direct contravention to the interests of the people they should be representing. I suspect that the electoral Sword of Damocles hanging above the heads of Liberal politicians throughout Scotland will be brought down on their scrawny necks with the same gusto in the Northern Isles as in other parts of the country.

  2. sneekyboy August 7, 2012 / 6:45 am

    They were talking about keeping the Shetlands and Orkney with direct rule from London, not independence for the islands.

    It wouldn’t be in the Shetland or Orkney interests to let that happen.

    The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the UK is a signatory specifies that a state controls the continental shelf and associated mineral and fishing rights up to 200 nautical miles (230 miles or 370 km) off its shores.

    When another state possesses an island within the continental shelf of this state, special rules apply. The continental shelf off the Atlantic coast is Scotland’s so Westminster wouldnt gain much by holding onto Shetland and Orkney.

    When an island belonging to one state sits on the continental shelf of another state, the islands are treated as enclaves. These enclaves only have a 12 mile EEZ. If Shetland and Orkney remain with the rUK then they will be islands owned by the rUK state that are situated within the Scottish states waters. In other words they will be “Enclaves” and entitled to only a 12 mile EEZ (unless less due to equidistance rules). None of the Oil and Gas is within this Exclusive Economic Zone so will remain within the Scottish States EEZ as it is currently.

    This matter was discussed in detail in a legal paper published by the European Journal of International Law: Prospective Anglo-Scottish Maritime Boundary Revisited

    This would mean that if the Shetlands and Orkneys stayed with the UK, they would not have any access to the oil and yet they would need supported by the rUK.

    Does anyone trust Westminster to offer that support when there is no access to oil?

    Then there’s Law’s, policing, education and health – all of those would need to transfer to the English systems.

    I honestly cant see why this guy thinks this would be a good idea!

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