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Full and proper public inquiry

While no reasonable democrat could deny Shetlanders, with their distinctive culture, the right to self-determination, shouldn’t the drive for it by the islands council be subject to the closest political scrutiny, not least by government, but particularly by Shetlanders themselves?

As a casual observer who has previously written in this journal of the trials and tribulations of those islanders fighting against the adverse effects of the wind farm programme which detrimentally impinges directly on them, and which they have been fighting privately at great expense because the political system abandoned them (and the potentially devastating effect on the peat bogs the wind farm is to be constructed on, in particular the release of considerable carbon into the atmosphere which massively counters the effect of the government’s green initiative ), it occurs to me that this council has operated like little more than an unfit cabal that sold itself to the bucks of the energy industry against real public interest.

Didn’t the councillors influence the use of reserved trust money as part of the initial investment in this project, an investment they’ve inexplicably since divested themselves of? And didn’t they shamefully also block the public inquiry that would have properly examined the impact of the plan, including the considerable and uneconomic cost (without huge government subsidy from Scottish taxpayers) of the line to the mainland for the output from the wind farm, which makes Shetland little more than a power generation plant, the downside of ugly massive turbines conveniently located away from those on the mainland who would reap the benefits?

There are serious questions that need to be asked about this council, and for sure its LibDems and closet LibDems have done little to properly examine the merits or otherwise of the project; their lack of action seeming like complicity rather than proper democratic representation.

On the face of this it doesn’t surprise me if the councillors are cranking up separation, and if the Shetlanders vote for it after having considered all aspects – cultural, political and financial – then I’d wish them well.

However, before that happens don’t we need to understand the machinations of the Shetland Islands council in their conduct over the whole wind farm project? Shouldn’t this council be subject to a full and proper public inquiry?

Jim Taylor
Edinburgh