SIC Recognition

Shetland Islands Council Convenor Sandy Cluness, who has been active in promoting greater local autonomy for Shetland, has not dismissed Mr Hill's actions out of hand, being quoted in the Shetland News on June 24, 2008 as saying that official bodies would "wait and see how this one goes."

Further, Mr. Cluness stated that,

[The Forvik Declaration of Dependence] raises interest in the question of what Shetland's status should be, as is his intention. Many Shetlanders would be quite interested to see whether this has any impact on views in relation to greater autonomy for the isles. From time to time, it has been the council's policy that we could provide a better service if we had greater control of our own resources. From that point of view he is spot on."

At the time of his election in 2003, Mr. Cluness is reported in the Shetland Post as saying:

"Essentially I believe that Shetland has the potential to be a much bigger community. But I think a degree of autonomy is essential to achieve that."

He is quoted as saying he would like Shetland to have control over: passenger and road transport; sea and air transport; police; fire services; water and sewage; functions of SEPA; coast protection; inshore fisheries; powers held by the Crown Estate; liquor licensing; Historic Scotland functions; tourism; land use; planning; further education; careers advice; sport and arts; local control of our fisheries.

"What's more, he wants a campaign for and a referendum on local autonomy for the isles, going so far as to raise our own taxes to pay for our own government. We need to persuade the Scottish Executive to allow us to proceed along these lines, but first the Shetland people have to show that they want to do this. If they are content to just be a local government area of Scotland, then that's it."

I would heartily endorse these aims but scant progress has been made in the past five years. Any idea of a referendum has come to nothing. 'Persuading' the Scottish Executive doesn't work. We don't need to persuade anyone - they have to persuade us.