Local News

Yes Orkney Steps Up Its Campaign for Rejoining the EU

Councillors in Orkney may have voted to investigate a future where the islands remain outside the EU, but islanders who are members of the group Yes Orkney are stepping up their campaign to have Orkney rejoin.

Orkney voted overwhelmingly to remain (64%) in the European Union in the 2016 advisory referendum. This was an indication of the benefits islanders were aware they had from membership in the world’s largest free trade area. All around the islands the logo of the EU can be spotted on the many pieces of infrastructure and projects which it helped to fund.

large notice at Hatston Industrial Estate of EU Regional Development Fund with EU flag and Scottish flag
EU Regional Development Fund Hatston Industrial Estate

The Yes Orkney group now want people to take photos if they spot the EU logo around the islands. The public are being invited to look out for the EU flag on buildings and infrastructure projects across the islands, which benefited significantly over the years from European Regional Development Fund grants.

Last year it was estimated that Orkney had lost out on around £620,000 as UK government replacement funds fell short of replacing EU funding.

Robert Leslie of Yes Orkney said:

“We would like folk to photograph the EU signs and either print or digitally send them to Yes Orkney with details of where they saw it and what project it was supporting, on or before our next day of action, which is the County Show on Saturday 12th August. We will then display them as part of a large collage on the Yes Orkney stand at the show. There will be a £100 prize for the winner who can come up with the most examples of EU logos and their locations around Orkney.”

At their recent Day of Action where the Yes Orkney stall was out in Kirkwall, the group said that they had a terrific response, especially from European visitors.

The campaigners said that the main talking point was the case for an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU as they spoke to locals and visitors from across the UK and the EU. German and French visitors, as well as several from England, and the Isle of Man, were wishing the Yes Orkney activists all the best with their endeavours. The Germans, mostly day visitors on the liner Mein Schiff 3, were supportive of Scotland rejoining the EU, and recognised the damage that was being done to the UK since Brexit, including the collapse of the pound, export and import delays, and a shortage of key workers such as nurses and care home staff.

Robert Leslie of Yes Orkney said:

Yes Orkney stall and activists talking to people in Kirkwall

“It was very heartening to hear these views from visitors from EU countries. They really can’t understand why the Brexit referendum was ever held in the first place, but feel Scotland would be welcomed back if we became independent.”

“One German visitor, the head teacher at a school, took away a copy of the Believe in Scotland leaflet that was explaining the case for an independent Scotland rejoining the EU and said he would be giving it to his English teacher to use in a project on Brexit that the school is doing next term. It is great to know that Scotland’s wish to be part of the EU again will be recognised by young folk on the continent.”

At the same time a group of French visitors with Scottish connections left the Yes Orkney stall with Yes EU flag badges and car stickers, determined to spread the word of Scotland’s wish to rejoin the EU when they returned home.

Entries for the EU flag competition should be sent to eu.emblems@orkneysnp.scot while anyone interested in getting involved with Yes Orkney can contact the group at yes.orkney@outlook.com

Leave a Reply