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Pity, not hate

Posted on March 17, 2013 by

Over time, and particularly since the turn of 2013, this site’s attitude to the Unionist media in Scotland (which is to say, ALL of the media in Scotland) has undergone something of a shift. Previously we held its partisan spin and naked dishonesty in professional contempt, but more recently it’s become increasingly hard not to simply feel sorry for the poor beleaguered hacks on dying publications as they wrestle uncomprehendingly with their bleak future.

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To exercise something as poisonous and destructive as hatred or even anger over today’s lead in Scotland on Sunday by Tom Peterkin (cache link), for example, would be about as productive as entering into a debate on a Saturday night with a drunk who was urinating into a skip and simultaneously ranting about immigrants round the back of a Lidl car park. All we can really do is sigh, call social services and walk sadly on.

Remarkable as it seems, the lengthy piece is based on the rather insecure foundation of taking Tavish Scott seriously. The failed former Lib Dem leader, whose blind hatred of the SNP prevented his party from joining a coalition government in 2007 and saw it almost wiped out in 2011, is fond of positing the notion of Shetland and Orkney refusing to join an independent Scotland after a Yes vote, and did so again at this weekend’s Scottish Lib Dem conference.

We won’t go into the merits of the argument again. The short version is that the Northern Isles are as entitled to self-determination as anyone else, but are currently part of Scotland, and if Scotland votes Yes they’ll be coming with it until such times as a Northern Isles Independence Party creates itself, demands autonomy (and/or the right to seek membership of the rUK), and achieves it through democratic means.

What’s noteworthy about today’s piece are the comically desperate lengths the Scotsman goes to to avoid giving its readers a remotely accurate picture of the facts.

(Though Scott makes a creditable tilt at a comedy award too, raging “We are not going to be told what to do by the SNP. Nor by any other government.” Um, aren’t you a politician, Tavish? Not sure playing the anti-politician card is such a hot move there.)

The most striking example comes in this passage (our emphasis):

“Scott said that the amount of energy reserves that could be claimed by the islands would be subject to negotiation. According to Scott, the most optimistic estimates of the Northern Isles’ North Sea oil entitlement suggest that 67 per cent of reserves lie within Shetland’s coastal waters.

“Two thirds of the North Sea and west of Shetland reserves are in Shetland’s coastal waters. The Northern Isles don’t need nationalists negotiating Scotland’s oil share. We have plenty of our own leverage,” Scott said.”

If any naive readers are poised at this point waiting for the bit where Peterkin notes what the less optimistic estimates are, we can save you some time: don’t bother.

The reality could scarcely be any more distant from Tavish Scott’s transparently inaccurate posturings. International maritime law (specifically the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS, which is signed and ratified by the UK) is extremely clear on what the situation would be with regard to Shetland and Orkney’s ownership of North Sea Oil in the context of an independent Scotland – it wouldn’t have any.

Under UNCLOS III, the islands would be regarded as an “enclave” residing wholly within Scotland’s “Exclusive Economic Zone” (see the paragraph “Continental shelf”), and as such would only have the right to resources within a 12-mile radius of their coastline – of which, in terms of oil, there are basically none.

Tavish Scott knows this and so does Tom Peterkin. The “most optimistic estimates” of Northern-Isles oil rights aren’t “estimates” at all, but fantasies with no basis in law or reality. For Scott to misrepresent the situation for political ends is one thing, but for the Scotsman to not even pay token lip service to the idea of balance when reporting his idiotic pronouncements is a sorry and sad sight, not an infuriating one.

The impression created is that the Scotsman knows its time is almost up, and rather than even pretend to do their jobs properly, the paper’s staff have just brought in board games and are whiling away the last few hours until the bell rings and everyone is sent out into the big bad world to make their way as best they can. We suspect some will find that a trickier prospect than others.

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    74 to “Pity, not hate”

    1. cath says:

      I thought the picture was going to link to “All things must pass”. Hopefully that might be appropriate for some of our media sometime soon.

    2. panda paws says:

      one of the things I found “interesting” about his speech was his assertion that the islands could becone crown dependencies of rUK like the Isle of Man. My understanding (though I’m happy to be corrected) is that this is something akin to devo-max. So the option his party and the rest of U KOK have denied to Scotland is being dangled in front of the islanders in order to sway their vote and result in the partition of Scotland. All for oil that won’t legally belong to the islands. Sorry am I missing someone or is this nuts? 

    3. MajorBloodnok says:

      Yeah, and how come all that oil in what, according to Tavish and Liam, would be their territorial waters will be a positive boon, whilst if Scotland has control of the oil, it will be a terrible liability of such uncertainty and impoverishing volatility that we will be selling our first born for medical experiments as soon as we declare independence (to England obviously, as all our hospitals will obviously spontaneously self destruct on SI day)?  What loons, the lot of them.
       
      I could write for the Scotsman you know, it’s a doddle.

    4. Yesitis says:

      One thing that really, really pisses me off, is when Scottish political programs use terms like “with the Scottish media almost entirely against this decision…”; cue newspapers held up to camera with seemingly coordinated anti-Scottish government headlines.
       
      Yes, that would be the entire pro-unionist (mostly Labour) mainstream media.

    5. seoc says:

      And still no mention of the NO Campaign’s vision for Scotland post Referendum.
      Strange!

    6. James 2612 says:

      I think that you are probably correct when you mention the seabed rights of an enclave. This, however, assumes that Shetland would be an ‘enclave’ of somewhere.
      It could not be an enclave of Scotland. It could achieve something like devo-max within either an independent Scotland, or even from the UK as presently constituted. Then much of their oil wealth would be retained. But, as panda paws points out, this is something which is not policy for these same politicians when it comes to Scotland’s future as a whole.
      If, however, it seeks to be an enclave of the ROTUK after Scottish independence, then the limits of maritime law would seem to restrict their oil rights. Tavish, having lost the right to sit in Holyrood, would no doubt become Lord Tavish – but is this what Shetlanders want?
      Even if the Shetland Independence Party seeks union with Norway, then I expect that the ‘enclave’ provisions of maritime law will apply. A similar position would be the Channel Islands, which are closer to France than England.

    7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It could not be an enclave of Scotland.”

      Why not?

    8. cath says:

      Wouldn’t rUK have to offer this self governing overseas territory thing to Shetlanders now, before the referendum if they wanted to offer it anyway? Otherwise if we vote Yes it will remain part of Scotland; if we vote no what power will Shetland have that it doesn’t already to change itself to such status within the UK?

    9. David McCann says:

      I’m surprised that Scott did not suggest that they would like to move Trident to Shetland, to protect them from foreign invaders!
      As for Peterkin, it wont be long now until he joins the orchestra in the Scotsman foyer who are playing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ as the once good ship sinks slowly under the waves.

    10. Jiggsbro says:

      So the option his party and the rest of U KOK have denied to Scotland is being dangled in front of the islanders in order to sway their vote and result in the partition of Scotland.
       
      No, it’s being dangled to sway their vote and result in no partition of the UK, and therefore no partition of Scotland. He has no interest in an independent Shetland, only in remaining on the UK gravy train.

    11. James 2612 says:

      “It could not be an enclave of Scotland.”
      It is within Scottish/UK territorial waters.
      If Shetland is part of Scotland (before or after Scottish independence), then by definition it is not an enclave of anywhere.
      If, however, it is  part of the ROTUK or of Norway, then it is an enclave.
      In my comment above, I did not explore what would happen if Shetland became an independent country. Then, I agree, borders will have to be re-drawn.

    12. Holebender says:

      Interestingly (and perhaps worryingly) when you look at maps of the continental shelf areas of the UK and other European countries the Faroes are not treated as an enclave of Denmark within the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The boundaries between the Faroes and the UK appear to be lines of equidistance. Hmmm…

    13. GH Graham says:

      The banality of the claims made by Scott, lazily endorsed by Peterkin are of such juvenile, incomplete simplicity, they hardly merit a repost, let alone a logical argument to the contrary.
      However, it does suggest that there are some in Westminster who might be at the edge of the mind changing event which cements in their heads the realisation that Independence is a feasible outcome of the referendum.
      So instead of wasting time presenting the more realistic scenario, we whould be turning the screws by asking instead, what does Scotland look like if it chooses to stay in the union, mindful that somewhere between a 1/3 and 1/2 of the voters wholly reject the concept, structure & arrangement of the United Kingdom of GB & NI.
      And is seems plausible that this significant minority will likely grow to an equal or greater majority in the foreseable future. The demand for autonomy will not go away & there will be persistent issues regarding the constitutional arrangement of MP representation in Westminster to resolve.
      You can see where this is headed; more devolution, possibly a federal arrangement & eventually independence. It’s only a matter of how we get there and when. Independence is coming friends.
       

    14. Richie says:

      @ Stu
      The cache link isn’t working.

    15. Castle Rock says:

      There’s a street in Edinburgh that only has a handful of houses but they are adamant that they will declare UDI when Scotland gets its independence.
       
      I think they are currently negotiating with the Libdems to organise a Westminster airlift (flown by Philip Hammond) so that they can receive regular supplies of Union Jacks and Daily Telegraphs.
       
      The three Scots, two Europeans, and one American resident are not in favour though and are asking that the street to be divided into zones with the Scottish Government controlling 2, 3 and 6, the EU controlling 1 and 9 and the Americans controlling number 5.
       
      The Brits are opposed to this though and have made a formal complaint to the United Nations stating that this scare story would undermine their scare story and make the Brits a laughing stock for highlighting the bollocks they are spouting.
       
      See, its not only Tavish Scott that can speak complete bollocks.

    16. cath says:

      I think you’re onto something there Castle Rock. Rather than the very undemocratic process of a referendum we should perhaps all individually decide which government we want to have sovereignty over us and pay taxes to. After all, why should some on those houses be dictated to by a partner’s view if they disagree?

    17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The cache link isn’t working.”

      Works fine for me, checked it just now in two browsers.

    18. John H says:

      Sorry to be off topic.
      Firstly, let me assure you that I think that we will achieve independence, but I met a man this morning who I occasionally meet when walking my dog. He also believes in independence for Scotland. However he got me quite depressed when he told me that he thinks that we won’t get it, because everyone he’s been speaking to is against the idea. It’s not that they are against it in principle, it’s the old problem of fear. They have been brainwashed by the unionists into thinking that we won’t be able to build ships etc. I explained to him that it’s to be expected that there will be pockets of people who are resistant to change, but that the polls are now showing signs of moving in our direction. The conversation left me feeling frustrated. I trust the SNP and the YES campaign to know what they’re doing. I sometimes wish though that they would now start pushing a bit harder. We’ve got to get through to these people that they’re being told lies by the unionists.

    19. scottish_skier says:

      Shetlanders voted 3.5% Tory and 6.6% Labour in 2011. I believe the Tory vote is the lowest in Scotland. I’m suitably impressed.

      Tavish lost a 19.2% share of vote; likely a dead man walking now we are well into the coalition.

    20. Angus McLellan says:

      @Holebender: The Faroes do not lie within the EEZ of any other state so they are not an enclave in that sense. The fact that maybe half or two thirds of the Faroese EEZ meets those of UK and Iceland at a midpoint doesn’t produce an enclave. If it did, the UK would be an enclave as most of its length too is defined by midpoints, not by the 200 nm limit.
      But this isn’t a serious claim. It’s just Tavish Scott desperately in search of publicity. The one and only reason to take it seriously is because some people may be taken in by Scott’s desperate lies. And they might, if the lies go unchallenged, make a very damaging decision because they believed them.
      No Sir Edward Carson Memorial Prize for Tavish. Not yet anyway.

    21. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Why has Tavish Scott suddenly come up with this proposal? Obviously nothing to do with the Inmdependence referendum.  Wasn’t he one of those scots who was quite happy for London to take all the oil revenues? Can’t remember him ever complaining about that.

    22. cath says:

      “It’s not that they are against it in principle”
       
      I’m finding a lot of that as well and it cheers me up in many ways. There are a lot of people who, in their hearts, want independence and know it’s the right thing but are still being swayed by years of propaganda and the media into believing the too wee, too poor type myths.
       
      There are 3 reasons this cheers me up.
       
      1. Will such people really race to the polling booths in October next year to vote no? They may be saying no to pollsters but if they make the effort to go to the polling booth and vote no it will be with heavy heart. So will they bother? Certainly statistically they’ll be less likely to than a firm Yes person will.
       
      2. Closer to the time perhaps, or as time moves on, people who’s hearts are saying yes but are afraid are a lot more likely to seek out facts, especially if others around them believe differently and are posiive
       
      3. When people who have been lied to – especially a lie that depresses them and robs them of optimism – they tend to turn into evangelists for the truth they’ve just discovered, as well as being very angry about being lied to.
       
      Those people who at heart want independence but…are likely the key to winning.

    23. Richie says:

      “The cache link isn’t working.”
      Works fine for me, checked it just now in two browsers.
       
      I checked it with 3 but it’s still not working.
       
      “Oops! Google Chrome could not find http://www.scotsman.com.nyud.net
       
      Strange but never mind.
      Another good article btw.
       

    24. Craig M says:

      Tavish is a bitter man.
      He wants a lordship, he wants to be known as Lord Tavish of Bressay.
      With Scottish Independence he wont get a peerage; he knows that and since it’s been his life’s ambition to get to the top of the greasy London Westminster pole, he’s spitting the dummy out big style. If proof were needed that he doesn’t have what it takes for High Office, then this is it. A seriously under-achieving, under-whelming, under-ling of a politician, totally enslaved to his London ambition, his London masters and his Union Jack underpants, crotchless of course, because he doesn’t poccess a pair worth keeping in.

    25. scottish_skier says:

      @Cath
      Excellent summary.
      The no vote can at best rely on 30% of the electorate actually going out and voting no if they have it rammed home to them that turning out is crucial to save the union (as opposed to being told independence is mathematically impossible). The Yes vote can rely on the same or more definitely going out and voting yes; just like the last two referendums. You don’t wait your entire life (and this will apply to many) for this opportunity and then not bother voting come the day.
      In the middle we have many of the ‘Yes at heart’ people (they love the idea, but are worried about what it means so being pragmatic) who remain unsure, still maybe hoping for devo max or something. If asked face to face in their living room by a nice lady from MORI London they might feel uncomfortable about mentioning they are even considering Yes; they don’t want to be seen as ‘anti-english’ and wanting to nastily ‘break up Britain’ etc.
      However, standing alone in that booth the pencil will hover, they’ll take a big gulp and put an X next to Yes. After all, what harm could it do? It’s just one vote…
      The goal of unionists has always been to prevent a referendum for the simple reason a Yes vote is the more probable outcome. 

    26. DougtheDug says:

      Tavish said at the Lib Dems in Scotland Conference, “The Manx Parliament is a good model for Shetland…Would the SNP oppose Shetland becoming a crown dependency?”
       
      Does Tavis know that the Isle of Man only has a 12 mile territorial limit for fisheries, oil and gas?
       
      http://www.gov.im/transport/harbours/Territorial.xml

    27. Dal Riata says:

      May history record Tavish Scott for the scumbag he is.
       
      Journalists in the present-UK’s media are not ‘journalists’ in any sense of those who work to report ‘the news’ as is, or investigate, uncover and expose the likes of wrongdoings from those in power, and done for the good of the people. What we have now passing as ‘journalism’ (or is it churnalism?) is a coordinated effort by each of these so-called separate members of the present-UK’s media releasing handouts from ConDemLabBetterTogether as news, though rewritten to give an allusion of it being the journalist’s own work.
       
      Also giving prominent exposure to every and any anti-Scottish independentist no matter whether they are being ridiculous or even outright lying, and rubbishing the SNP or anyone who is positive about an independent Scotland on a daily basis is viewed by these ‘organisations’ as being ‘the truth’. Incredibly, this behaviour is seen as offering ‘the truth’ to those who would read, or view this ‘news’.
       
      Yes, some of these ‘journalists’ may be ‘just following orders given by their superiors’ at the organisations they work for, but when it means being misinformative, deceitful, scurrilous and, in too many cases, totally dishonest to, and about, the aspirations of many who wish to see Scotland independent, forward-looking and comparatively wealthy and rid of all the baggage and negativity of Westminster then they are beyond contempt.
       
      The sooner the organisations these ‘journalists’ work for go bust and they have to actually go and do some real journalism for a living the better.
       
      The following statement (from Wikipedia) is regarding countries where the press is not free. The way the debate on Scottish independence is reported in the present-UK where the press is ‘supposedly’ free, is there any difference?
       
      “In countries without freedom of the press, the majority of people who report the news may not follow the above-described standards of journalism. Non-free media are often prohibited from criticizing the national government, and in many cases are required to distribute propaganda as if it were news. Various other forms of censorship may restrict reporting on issues the government deems sensitive.”

    28. CameronB says:

      Hopefully the management of the Scotsman have lashed themselves to the wheel, having successfully turned a proud Scottish publication from a powerful ship of the line, into a dangerous and unpredictable fire-ship destined to sink into oblivion.

    29. ianbrotherhood says:

      @Craig M-
      Brilliant.
      Tavish Scott in crotchless Union Jack underpants is, quite possibly, the most disturbing image this debate has yet produced. I’m not the only one who is grateful you chose Scott – even the idea of some of the other BT players thus attired would be too much to handle.

    30. Alan Gerrish says:

      Scott’s ramblings were roundly rubbished in this morning’s review of the papers with Derek Bateman, something which gave me hope that all is not yet (completely) lost with BBC Scotland.  Bateman had even done his homework and quoted UNCLOS to demolish Scott’s argument  although he did spoil it  a bit by saying  “but I suppose that’s just a legal opinion”.  And I suppose we’ll just need to wait for Call Kaye tomorrow morning to get a definitive position on this…!

    31. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      If we vote No in the referendum,all of this nonsense will disappear.Scott’s masters in London would never allow the islands to walk away with all that oil and as with mainland Scotland would do everything in their power to prevent a referendum ever taking place.This is just more negative propaganda with regard to our independence referendum,designed to ratchet up the fear factor amongst Scottish voters and nothing whatsoever to do with his constituents.I hope they remember this when he comes up for reelection.

    32. Craig M says:

      The journalists in Scotland are an integral part of The Deep State; their role is every bit as important, perhaps more so, than Unionist politicians. Scottish journalists and Scottish politicians are two sides of the same (currently devaluing) coin. A Tavish Scott is a Glen Campbell, is a Magnus Gargham, is a Johann Lamont, is a Danny Alexander, is an Alan Cochrane. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of the Scottish journalists are connected at a  level beyond mere party ideological loyalty. If you wanted to sketch the profile of an agent of the British State and Establishment tasked to disrupt the path of Scottish democracy then look no further that those working out of Pacific Quay or banging out copy for the Record.

    33. Embradon says:

      I came across a programme on R4 the other day discussing whether the discovery of a lot more oil could be the economic salvation of Ireland.
      Strangely no-one mentioned what a handicap it would be to receive revenue from such a “volatile” resource.
      Surely the best thing they could do would be to ask to re-join the UK and hand over all of the oil income to the wise men of Westminster to look after.

    34. benarmine says:

      No pity here I’m afraid, ever. I hope they get what’s coming to them. And George is way better than Galaxie whatever!

    35. Luigi says:

      So what exactly is the partitionist, Tavish Scott advocating? A fully independent Shetland with territorial waters, or an enclave of rUK, with a 12 mile maritime limit? And where does Orkney come into the equation? Another independent island, or an enclave of Shetland? Where is the capital of this new entity: Lerwick or Kirkwall? More ill-thought out, risky mischief-making from the bitter, desperate Tavish Scott, I’m afraid. The Better Together (LOL) crowd would do well to steer clear of this can of worms – the outcome may not be as expected/hoped for. It could backfire spectacularly.

    36. Jingly Jangly says:

      The Shetlanders can go it alone if they wish, but they would need to move as they
      do not own the Shetland Isles, this was bought by Scotland from Norway.
      Most Shetlanders are not from Viking Stock, DNA testing proves that the majority are of
      Scottish Stock, there was a large influx of Farmers from Ayrshire, Hoever before the
      Norewgians controlled Shetland it was Pictish and then Scottish , So it has Celtic People inhabiting it for thousands of years.
      They cant claim self determination or if they can so can the people of Arran, Skye
      Mull etc etc., All Unionist nonsense.

    37. Marcia says:

      Just to annoy Tavish we could ask each island individually to choose between Rump UK or Scotland in any referendum he thinks he can have.

    38. cath says:

      “A fully independent Shetland with territorial waters, or an enclave of rUK, with a 12 mile maritime limit”
       
      Also, if it is an enclave of rUK would that mean the islanders then start having to use English law (given there is no such things as a UK legal system), and NHS Shetland and Orkney would have to leave NHS Scotland and become part of NHS England? To name but two issues.

    39. cath says:

      ” we could ask each island individually to choose between Rump UK or Scotland”
       
      Why just an island? Surely if we here in the East End of Glasgow vote to stay in the UK we should also have an option of remaining an enclave as well?

    40. Marcia says:

      Cath,, I hope you can fish within your 12 mile limit.
       
      Will the Islands travel subsidy be continued by the (up to their eyes in debt) rump UK? More of a can of worm,,,,.
       

    41. CameronB says:

      The strange thing about “volatility”, is that traders appear to make just as much profit when market go down, as they do when prices rise. They just need to predict the timing of price changes. That is why volatility is artificially created within markets now, with high frequency trading systems coordinating tens of thousands of trades per second. If you think the markets operate within the law, its time to wake up.

    42. Chic McGregor says:

      My reply.

       

      “On Scott’s suggestion (was there ever a more ironically named bunch than Scott, Bruce and Wallace in the LibDems?)

      Utter nonsense from start to finish

      First, double secession has not been recognised by the UN. Even in the ultra clear-cut case of the semi-autonomous indigenous nations of North Quebec where they overwhelmingly wanted to stay with Canada it was knocked back by the UN, for many logistical reasons. If Quebec had voted for independence they would have had to apply separately at some subsequent date. Even then, they would have had to become independent first and then apply again to join Canada.

      Second, even if Shetland did vote to become English their maritime rights would consist only of the 12 mile limit. As a small archipelago on Scotland’s Continental Shelf, even as an exclave of England, that is all they would be entitled to according to the law of the sea. This is well documented. There is a comprehensive study in the European Journal of International Law.
       
      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8CTHz_DTDtlVlV3MGt0LXgwbzQ/edit?usp=sharing

      Scott cites the Isle of Man, which makes exactly the point. They have a 12 mile limit and not only that, even within that limit they had to get agreement for the mineral rights of it from the UK and then had to PAY the UK for the privilege.

      I shouldn’t imagine an independent Scotland would be quite so parsimonious if it ever comes to our Northernmost countrymen deciding to leave Scotland.

      Incidentally, it seems more than possible that an independent Scotland might join the Nordic club which could lead to a very strange irony where a future Shetland could, by voting to become English, leaves that club.”

    43. cath says:

      It appears this idea is too nutty even for the British Unity or Better Together facebook pages to be running with. Which really has to make you question the “judgement” of the Scotsman.

    44. pmcrek says:

      Looking forward to moving to the Dundee Free State that obviously the coalition is going to agree to tomorrow…

    45. JasonF says:

      There is another possibility regarding the state of the Scottish media (which probably particularly applies to BBC journalists in Scotland) – one which could also deserve some sympathy: many journalists in Scotland are not really up to the job.
       
      Many at the BBC took up their posts before the Scottish parliament was set up – Reporting Scotland really wasn’t much more than a regional/local news programme, and they were possibly quite happy with this level of journalism. Similarly, those who have joined since may not really want to deal the big political and international stories, or perhaps just aren’t up the the task.
       
      Many of the more ambitious and more talented have long looked to London to further their skills and their careers (not least because the BBC is a London-based institution). But this isn’t a point against independence, quite the opposite; for too long Scotland has been losing many of it’s brightest because there wasn’t the space for them to progress – but with a nation that has it’s own place in the world, together with it’s own political and culture systems, this can change. 
       
      None of this is to say, of course, that there aren’t highly talented and hard-working individuals within the Scottish media.

    46. Holebender says:

      Angus, if it wasn’t for the Faroes the UK’s boundaries would extend until they met Iclandic territory. The Faroes’ relationship to Denmark is near identical to the Channel Islands’ relationship to the UK. And yet the Channel Islands are treated as enclaves off the French coast, completely surrounded by France’s EEZ, while the Faroes appear to have their own EEZ. I am wondering how they managed to negotiate such a generous EEZ, and if their situation might not be taken into consideration were the Shetland or Orkney Islands ever to gain similar levels of autonomy.

    47. Craig M says:

      I wonder if we offered the opportunity to people like Tavish of meaty roles post independence to soften the impact of their Westminster careers and ermine cloaks disappearing? There will be trade roles, diplomatic roles and high profile civil service roles available. Tavish as Scotland’s representive at the UN or in Washington? That surely would be attractive? Perhaps that’s what all the noise from him is actually about; manouvering for position post independence. This scenario must have occurred to some in the unionist parties. A keeping of options open. You’ll probably have noticed that many Labour MPs from Scottish constituencies are actually remarkably quiet. Just a thought?

    48. Adrian B says:

      With regard to the Lib Dems and their new found separation policy. I think it is being used by them to taunt the SNP, who have their conference coming up next week.
      It has also been used to great effect in deflecting the media away from the real story at the conference, which was of course the Bedroom Tax debate. See this piece from the BBC:
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-21816112
       
      Lib Dems are getting very angry responses on the doorstep regarding Bedroom Tax (BT) – Labour are also getting a hard time here too – hardly surprising really, which is probably why they are all quite quiet also. Local council election in England are happening in 6 weeks or so which is why Lab/Lib/Con will be making extra effort to bash Salmond/Scotland as much as possible over the next few weeks. 
       
      I would expect the press and TV to be pretty bad with rubbish news stories for Scots next week, in the run up to the SNP conference –  although good for the satire sites like BBC Scotlandshire to have some suitable headlines and stories. 
      Wednesday will be budget day, and the Referendum date will be announced on Thursday, before conference.
       

    49. Jen says:

      I think Shetlanders are being used to promote the too poor aspect of the Unionist campaign.  If Scotland votes no then I assume the islands will get a bit more funding from Westminister for their fealty.    

      These islands are part of Scotland, simple, as that.  I find it hard to see them as another nation that requires the right to self determination.   This is the British way of sowing division. 
       
      I think they need to wait until Scotland is free and then they can decide. 

    50. Gordon says:

      I fear it is the (re) start of more hate filled politics by the No side.

    51. Jiggsbro says:

      Perhaps that’s what all the noise from him is actually about; manouvering for position post independence
       
      I think it’s a given that many politicians – those who don’t see an inevitable peerage in their future – will be busily playing both sides, fearful of being too outspoken for or against, in case the vote goes the other way. Politicians generally like to wait for a result before they place their bet.
       

    52. muttley79 says:

      Where Tavish Scott leads Severin Carroll follows…
       
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/mar/17/scottish-independence-islands-home-rule

    53. Dal Riata says:

      And now, right on cue, proving that no ‘story’ regarding Scotland and its independence – no matter how outlandish, cynical, baseless, FUD-worthy, pish-worthy, laughable or disgraceful is too good a chance to miss by those who wish to influence the 2014 referendum by foul means – we have the one-and-only Severin Carrell in today’s Guardian\Observer with (Headline) “Scottish independence: islands consider their own ‘home rule” (Sub-headline) “Leaders of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are looking at plans to split from UK and Scottish governments”.
       
      Sorry, but for fuck’s sake, with this constant MSM trolling/lying/scaremongering sometimes you just want to shake your head and go, ‘Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!!!!!

    54. Davy says:

      How does one qualify the level of dorkness required by Tavish Scott to come out with this level of shite, is he so desperate for some attention that any mulish idea will do.
      So is it just a single dork, a double dork or even a treble dork, na na, its the full on “Willie Rennie” for old Tavish. If your going to make an idiot of yourself at your own conference you may as well go the whole hog, and their is very few people in the political world of Lib-dems who can achieve a full on “Willie”. well done Tavish.
      OT, incase you hav’nt noticed labour hame have a few articles again, but still their moderators dont like my comments, anyone else having the same problem ?
        

    55. ianbrotherhood says:

      @Dal Riata-
      …sometimes you just want to shake your head and go, ‘Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!!!!!
      Kin right. I do it as soon as I wake up in the morning, and periodically throughout the day.
      It was James Joyce who said ‘History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake’, or words to that effect. I never really understood that, but it’s starting to make more sense – perhaps that’s what we’re all doing?

    56. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      How about “Berwick to return to Scotland after independence or “North of England to be invited to become part of Scotland”.Both of these geographic areas have at one time or another been occupied by Scotland (albeit unwillingly in parts at the time!) but have (in the case of Berwick) more legitimacy than the possibility of parts of Scotland being invited to become part of Greater England.What’s good for the gander!

    57. Dal Riata says:

      @muttley79
      Beat me to it! Severin Carrell, eh! His profile picture in the Guardian will not be complete until they stick a Pinocchio-style nose on it!
       
      @ianbrotherhood
      It helps to have a darkened room to retire to in times such as these!

    58. tartanpigsy says:

      slightly O/T  
      We would like to invite all who can to join us at Pacific Quay this Friday 22nd of March, to stand in solidarity with the journalists whose jobs are at threat and against the management who are implementing these cuts at such a crucial time in Scotland’s history, despite only around 30% of the licence fee raised in Scotland being spent in Scotland.

      We intend to join the picket line between 10 and 12 on Friday morning and raise awareness to any media who cover this event of the abuse of their position by the BBC in how they are portraying the referendum to the Scottish people !
       
      http://www.facebook.com/CampaignForBalancedBroadcastingInScotland?ref=hl

    59. Dcanmore says:

      All this Indy Shetland rhetoric is to sow doubt into the dumb Scot at large (and that is what they think of us), to get people thinking that a vote for Independence will mean a fragmented weak Scotland, but a NO vote will mean everything will stay as it is, nice and safe in the unifying bosom of Westminger. This is utterly despicable stuff from the Fib Dems. You’ve got to think about the mentality of these people, the desperation they show. The last stand before they are wiped out at Scottish and UK level, by 2016 they’ll be no more, ghosts of politics past. One wonders what is left for the Unionists to come up with in the 18 months that is left. Their big shot was the ‘top secret dossier’, a story which was supposed to deliver a knock out punch to the YES campaign and the SNP, it went as quickly as it came and ridiculed by The Sun too.
       
      If this is what they have left, set against Labour’s transition into another Tory party shafting everybody to get the same blue votes and the Lib Dems increasingly becoming senile and irrelevant, then the YES campaign should now start gaining traction. A build up to the SNP’s White Paper which will launch an unstoppable momentum to the referendum.
       
      vote NO get nothing;
      VOTE YES GET EVERYTHING!

    60. Nairn says:

      I wonder if the sudden raising of the Shetland question has something to do with the unionists coming to a realization that the pertinent question for them is not how well Scotland will do with the oil, but rather how badly Britain will do without it. I’ve had this pet theory going for a while that the one thing that has kept Britain from going under has been the oil revenue – maybe Scotland leaving would force the rUK to make drastic, unpopular cuts. Maybe they wouldn’t be able to pay for the Trident replacement – after all, where would they put it?*
      That would explain this risky threat “even if you damn Jocks leave, you won’t be taking our oil” It’s a little early for this sort of naked blackmail, so the desperation must be mounting.
       
      *Scapa Flow springs to mind 😉

    61. Chic McGregor says:

      Holebender
      The Faroes are on their own mini Continental Shelf.  There is a deep water channel up to about 2,500 feet deep halfway between the Shetland’s and Faroes which isolates its Continental Shelf.  Basically Scotland’s Continental Shelf does not extend out as far to the NW as it does into the North Sea.  The boundary between the UK and Faroes just happens to be almost exactly halfway between the Shetlands and the Faroes but the southern Boundary between the UK and the Faroes is quite a bit closer to the Faroes than the UK because it tracks the edge of the Faroes’ Continental Shelf.  Technically the separating trench is not deep enough to exceed the international absolute limit but it is still regarded as defining a Continental Shelf for the Faroes.

      OTOH consider Svalbard a large Island not much smaller than Iceland and about the same distance away from Norway as Iceland is from the UK, because it sits on Norway’s Continental Shelf with no intervening isolating trenches, it is considered not to have a Continental Shelf of its own and that would apply if it were ever to become independent from Norway.  The Shetlands are in the same longboat.

      Rockall, sits on its own mini Continental Shelf, like the Faroes, separated from the contiguous North Sea Continental shelf by deep water.
       
      The Falklands are about 5 times the area of the The Shetlands and Orkney put together and at 300 miles + and therefore outside the EEZ of Argentina and with surrounding seas of 5000 feet compared to the 400 feet in the Northern Isles you would think they had a good claim, but even though they are so far away, bigger and the Argentine Continental Shelf is so deep, it is still a contiguous Continental Shelf and even at 5000 feet, is not outside the legal limit for being considered a Continental Shelf.

      I have been following the debate on the Malvinas/Falklands in the EJIL forums and the conclusion seems to be, even on the British side, that Argentina might well win if it came to the ICJ.  However Argentina is stymied because they do not fully recognise the ICJ and therefore cannot bring the case before it and the UK is not disposed to do so.
       
      It would seem impossible that The Shetlands could have any chance, so clear cut is the case there. There would have to be U-turns on various pronouncements already made.
       
      However we must always be concerned where London is concerned.  A warning shot being Crawford and Boyle’s report.
       
      Another being an inaugural annual conference on Boundary Law, concentrating on maritime boundaries, to be held in London next month.  With ICJ judges, members of the international tribunal which decides on sea boundaries, plus a host of experts professional and academic and, perhaps most concerning, what seems like a full team of maritime legal experts (at least 6) from the two main UK government departments concerned, in attendance.
       
       
       
       

    62. Jock McDonnell says:

      Like John H says, it is all about fear. Everyone knows most Scots want Independence but many are just feart. Both sides know this – and that’s why the unionists are scared too, if the facts are known then Yes will win.

    63. Angus McLellan says:

      @Holebender: If you imagined that the Faroes had appeared yesterday, then the current state of the Law of the Sea would give them a different EEZ. But the Faroese EEZ was first written down in the days when there was only a 3 mile territorial limit and nothing else. Then it increased to 12 nautical miles, but only in 1959, or even 1964, depending on how you want to date the change. So the Faroes were not any sort of enclave then.
      In 1972 Iceland – alone – increased its EEZ to 50 nm. Still no contact between the EEZ claimed by Iceland, UK or Denmark/Faroes though. In 1975 Iceland went one better and went to a 200 nm claim. As we know, others did not accept this. (Cod War 3.0) But Denmark and the UK followed suit, together, in December 1976. Along with Iceland, Norway, West Germany, etc, etc, they agreed how they would extend their 12 nm claims – or reduce their 200 nm ones in Iceland’s case – to accomodate the new situation.  Those concerned agreed that, in the case of the Faroes, where the distance between the coastal baselines was less than 400 nm apart a median line would be adopted. (Dull legal announcement here.)
      Was that a good deal for the Faroese? On the face of it, yes. but like Chic says the Faroes case would be vastly complicated by the fact that the Faroes sit on their own little, clearly defined bit of continental shelf. So, while arbitration might have given the Faroes a very different EEZ (one that corresponded to the oddly-shaped EEZ, plus some open ocean to the south-west and north-east) it would certainly have got some sort of EEZ from a court.
      But the sequence of events for Tavish’s cunning plan looks nothing like the Faroese case. Today, Orkney and Shetland have no EEZ. Neither does Scotland. Only the UK has an EEZ. If there is a Yes vote, then the UK EEZ will at some point turn two EEZs, a Scottish one and an rUK one. If Orkney or Shetland or both should then decide to join rUK, then rUK and Scotland will have to agree how to deal with the EEZ issue. If the negotiators can’t agree, it would end up being arbitrated, as the Channel Islands case was, and also the St-Pierre & Miquelon case. Neither looks good for Tavish’s cunning plan. But St-Pierre & Miquelon’s half a loaf – bad pun intended – is a lot better than the Channel Islands’ nothing at all.

    64. Dal Riata says:

      @Chic McGregor
      “Another being an inaugural annual conference on Boundary Law, concentrating on maritime boundaries, to be held in London next month.  With ICJ judges, members of the international tribunal which decides on sea boundaries, plus a host of experts professional and academic and, perhaps most concerning, what seems like a full team of maritime legal experts (at least 6) from the two main UK government departments concerned, in attendance.”
       
      Thanks for that information. It will be really interesting to find out what the results are. Do keep us up to date if you can as I’m sure the MSM won’t even mention it unless, of course, it brings positive news for the Union!
       
       
       

    65. Barontorc says:

      @Chic McGregor“….an inaugural annual conference on Boundary Law, concentrating on maritime boundaries, to be held in London next month….’
       
      Is this any more than a talking shop, albeit with heavy movers and shakers involved, but can it proclaim against Scotland’s established maritime boundaries?  Thinking here  about the Henry McLeish’s 6000 mile adjustment to Scotland’s North Sea boundary in favour of England.

    66. Helpmaboab says:

      So presumably Tavish will be stepping down from his seat, to be joined by Alasdair Carmichael MP (strangely quiet when no doubt asked for his views by Severin Carrel) and Liam McArthur MSP (likewise) to establish the HOme Rule for Northern Isles (HORNI party)…?
      These HORNIs could campaign and be returned to their seats at the ensuing by-elections, and with that mandate set up a referendum for Home rule for Orkney and Shetland.  You know, if they’re serious.
      Utter pish.
      next…!
       
       

    67. Fay-Yes says:

      I’ve gone the other way, from pity to distain. As a journalist who worked for Johnston Press, including in the Scotsman offices, I saw bosses slash staff and pile more and more work and pressure on those left. However my sympathy waned when I saw the journalists lie down and take it, saying “oh, but we’re lucky just to have a job”. Now I think the culture has become so ingrained that the reporters I once pitied have become just as bad as the bosses who created the situation. It’s quite telling that the editor who served while I worked there is now communucations director for the Scottish Tories and every city council correspondent the Scotsman’s sister paper, The Edinburgh Evening News, has had in the last five years has gone on to the Daily Mail (and seems to totally back the bile they report). No, I don’t pity them, I pity the (former) readers who are being denied the truth.

    68. Neil says:

      It was depressingly predictable to discover, that the depressingly awful Kay Adams, chose to ‘debate’ this issue on our National station today, Monday 18th. There was surely time to clarify the ridiculous claims made by T Scott and The Scotsman but no. the topic was broadcast with all the Scotsmans ignorance and bias, as if this scenario was a reasonable one.
      Makes you shout at the radio and I am normally a calm and reasonable person. 

    69. CameronB says:

      @ Chic McGregor
      Thought I should tell you that I have re-posted your comment of 17 March @4.19pm. I thought it would be helpful in educating committed unionists elsewhere. Please let me know if this does not meet with your agreement.

    70. Chic McGregor says:

      CameronB
      Fine, I’m sure you will be able to argue the points for those who disagree or deny parts of it.
       
      For example, those who say ‘If Shetland votes no and Scotland votes yes they should be allowed to stay with the rUK/’Not quite so Greater England’ or whatever it would be called.
       
      That is democratic nonsense.  In the referendum the electorate of Scotland are voting on the question of whether

      SCOTLAND becomes independent or not.
       
      That means to have any stab at being democratic, Shetlanders would have to be subjected to extra questions, something like the following:

      ANSWER THE FOLLOWING ONLY IF YOU VOTED NO TO SCOTLAND BECOMING INDEPENDENT.

      a) IF SCOTLAND VOTES YES WOULD YOU WANT SHETLAND TO REMAIN SCOTTISH?
       
      b) IF SCOTLAND VOTES YES WOULD YOU WANT SHETLAND TO REMAIN WITH THE REST OF THE UK?
       
      c) IF SCOTLAND VOTES YES WOULD YOU WANT SHETLAND TO BE AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY?
       
      ANSWER THE FOLLOWING ONLY IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO SCOTLAND BECOMING INDEPENDENT.
       
      a) IF SCOTLAND VOTES NO WOULD YOU WANT SHETLAND TO BE AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY?
       
      b) IF SCOTLAND VOTES YES WOULD YOU WANT SHETLAND TO REMAIN WITH THE REST OF THE UK?
       
      There will be varying degrees of support for all those possible outcomes which could effect Shetland’s constitutional position. 
      Some who vote NO to the referendum for Scotland may well then choose to remain with a YES voting Scotland, some may choose to join or remain with the rUK and some may want independence for Shetland.  Some of those voting YES might want to go even further and have independence for Shetland, it is possible that a majority of Shetlanders, whether they vote YES or NO for Scotland as a whole might prefer independence for Shetland.  There are even possibly a few for that last option where some people might want rid of Scotland but join ‘Greater England’.
       
      And that doesn’t even begin to consider the intermediary step of devolution for Shetland.
       
      Of course the above mess would never be acceptable to the EC never mind the UN.
       
      On the issue of the EJIL article cited, the most likely attack would be on its age (2001) so might be as well to have some more recent UNCLOS opinions etc. to hand.

    71. Chic McGregor says:

      P.S. You can also raise the prospect of Pictland being given similar options if you want to goad them mischieviously.

    72. CameronB says:

      @ Chic McGregor
      Thanks for the extra emphasis. Thought you might like to know your comment has received quite a lot of support on the Guardian today @ 11.21am.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/mar/17/scottish-independence-islands-home-rule?fb=native&commentpage=3

    73. Training Day says:

      I wonder if Tavish has considered the blood situation in a ‘Sheprit’ Shetland and Orkney.  Yes, blood supplies are threatened by the artificial barriers created by Scottish independence, so will this affect Tavish’s master plan (probably not):
       
      http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/384799/Independence-threat-to-hospital-blood-supplies
       
      It’s only a matter of time before water and air  are threatened by independence.  I give it a week.

    74. ian says:

      isle of mann only has 12 mile, but they signed away any further in agreement with westminster and have considered article 121 of law of sea.  think they left it as ireland offered a % of profits that they lost out from the manx. just saying.



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