By Ian Carse
Below is a headline in the Daily Express on-line
“Sturgeon handed fresh blow: ‘Shetland Islands BRAINWASHED to think it’s part of Scotland’
NICOLA STURGEON has been delivered another blow after a Shetland Islands independence campaigner said Shetlanders have been “brainwashed” to think the rugged archipelago is part of Scotland.”
While the headline comes from Saturday’s Daily Express On-Line the paper notes that the quote about the brainwashing comes from a historian, Stuart Hill
The article goes on to say;
Stuart Hill, who believes the islands have never belonged to Scotland or Britain, blasted the Scottish National Party (SNP) and its leader, Nicola Sturgeon, as she rallied for an independence referendum. He told the Express.co.uk that residents on the Shetland Islands are “more capable” of running the community than “by diktat from Holyrood or Westminster’
None of this has ever been questioned, particularly in modern times, when oil was discovered in the North Sea.
However, for a historian to say this that Shetlanders ‘have been “brainwashed” to think the rugged archipelago is part of Scotland’ almost beggar’s belief as Shetland was handed over to Scotland, along with Orkney, as payment for a debt due to Scotland when the Danish Crown could not raise the hard cash to repay that debt . The transfer of both Orkney and Shetland to the Scottish Crown took place in 1472 and I would expect any historian worth their salt to know this before spouting forth and insulting others on this topic.
Of course the insult to the Shetlanders goes deeper when the Daily Express On-Line goes on to include a clip of Lord Lamont supporting this contention, which is surprising really given that he was born in Shetland. Norman Lamont was part of Conservative Party Government’s and held down cabinet posts, the most senior of which was as Chancellor of the Exchequer, in Margaret Thatcher and John Major governments.
When he was in government I don’t remember him, or any of his government colleagues, saying that he or they supported the idea of Shetland becoming an independent state although, patently, he would have known that this was quite feasible if Shetland opted for independence and took all the oil revenues that the then UK government was reliant upon, and still is!