PE01516: Referenda for Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles

Parliament Government

Petitioner: Malcolm Lamont


Date Lodged: 28 April 2014

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to hold three separate referenda in Shetland, Orkney, and the Western Isles on Thursday 25 September 2014, one week after the Scottish independence referendum, asking the people of each island group whether they would prefer their island group to:

· to become an independent country, or
· to stay in Scotland

and, in the event of a yes vote in the referendum on Scottish independence, to have the following additional option:

· to leave Scotland and stay in the remainder of the UK

Petition History:

A further 135 hard copy signatures have been collected.


20 May 2014: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 20 May 2014 (491KB pdf)

5 August 2014: The Committee agreed to close the petition under Rule 15.7 on the basis that that the Scottish Government has indicated that it does not support what the petition seeks and that there is insufficient time to arrange such referenda within the timescale called for in the petition. Link to Official Report 5 August 2014 (399KB pdf)

Written Submissions:

Whether you live in Shetland, Orkney or the Western Isles, you will know that your part of the world was once in Norway and still has its own traditions and culture which set it apart from the rest of what is now Scotland.

A referendum will soon be held on whether Scotland should be an independent country.
What better time to decide the status of each of these island groups?

Many believe there is a case for independence - for Shetland, for Orkney, and sometimes the idea is also heard in the Western Isles.

Others believe there is a case for remaining part of the UK even if Scotland leaves.

The UK Government decided not to allow any other referendum to be held on the same day as the Scottish independence referendum. But there is nothing the Scottish Government from deciding to hold these three referenda, in the island groups, a week later.

Note that the result of the Scottish referendum will be known by the date on which the islands referenda are requested to be held. So staying in Scotland will mean either being part of an independent Scotland (if the Scottish result was 'yes') or staying in a non-independent Scotland (if the Scottish result was 'no'). The option to 'leave Scotland but staying in the remainder of the UK' will only be included if the Scottish result was 'yes'.

You do not have to live in Shetland, Orkney or the Western Isles to sign this petition. But wherever you live, please sign it if you would like residents to be able to decide the status of their islands.

I heard Gary Robinson say on radio that " It would be greedy of Shetland to claim the oil revenue" - well now, who was greedy and self centred when the Tories sacrificed our fishing industry for entry into the "Common Market" The only "Common Market" WE see is Spaniards, Frenchmen and the rest taking OUR fish - we don't go South and take there grapes! why should they come north and take our fish ! Whether or not you agree withStuart Hill's efforts regarding the relationship between Shetland and Scandinavia or not my research clearly shows that indeed Shetland still belongs to Scandinavia, therefor we could, if the will were there, invite Norway to "buy" us back ( they have tried at least 11 times in the past ) and tell the EU and the UK to go their own way, we, and our forebears owe them NOTHING.

john bain

20:13 on 28 Apr 2014

I currently live in Spain, but spent close to 50 years of my life living in Shetland where I was born and brought up. I can trace one side of my ancestry back to around 1510 in Fetlar, and by inference back another five generations to around 1350, also in Fetlar. That surely makes me a Shetlander, and while I don't live there today, I keep a very close eye on what's happening. I fully agree that Shetland and the other island groups now have the best opportunity they are ever likely to have to decide a future for themselves and for generations yet to come. I truly hope that Shetlanders everywhere, and anyone else who has the islands' interests at heart, signs this petition to give the residents of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles the chance to have their say in this very important matter.

John Coutts

12:16 on 28 Apr 2014

We hold all the aces use them or lose them.

robert sandison

15:10 on 27 Apr 2014

Steven - I don't know why you think Orkney and Shetland are run as one area while the Western Isles are split among several council areas. Exactly the opposite is true. The referenda in the three island groups will be completely independent of each other. Personally I think the islands could work fantastically well if all three island groups became a new country in the form of a union. Its maritime zone alone would be twice as big as an independent Scotland's! (Even Shetland on its own would be the second biggest oil power in the North Sea after Norway.)

Mary Robinson

14:04 on 27 Apr 2014

Yes Steven a lot o whit du says is true, but yuns no reason ta deny da Western Isles da right ta a say in dir ain future.

Ali Inkster

22:01 on 22 Apr 2014

Shetland and Orkney shouldn't be lumped in with the Western Isles. We're very different in all sorts of ways. The Western Isles is truly Scottish whilst Shetland and Orkney are neither Scottish nor Scandanavian but we are also both of those!! Orkney and Shetland are run as one area whilst the Western Isles is split among several council areas. The western Isles waste millions on promoting its dying language, Shetland and Orkney have never had that language and have no interest in it. Far too many things to list, but don't think for one minute that I, a Shetlander, have anything in common with a Western Islander!!!

Steven Jarmson

13:34 on 20 Apr 2014

I would like to see a referendum for independance of Orkney and Shetland.

Betty Bryant.

17:40 on 17 Apr 2014

I fully support the petition for independance for Shetland and Orkney

Dennis Alfred Bryant.

17:36 on 17 Apr 2014

Ian Leask, you say most folk signing the petition dont even live in the isles While i would say that most folk either live in the isles or are expat islanders. My proof is in the surnames of those signing where's your proof? Or is your comment just another Scotnat shout it enough and it must be true tagline. As a Shetlander ask yourself this will Edinburgh give us enough of our own income (they like to call it a grant) to maintain our way of life when the oil runs out? And for the answer you just need to see that they are not letting us keep enough of our money just now to maintain our way of life. Our budget is set by Edinburgh not Westminster. Now if you are daft enough to believe the "free beer tomorrow" promises of the Scotnats fair enough but some of us require a little bit of proof when dealing with politicians.

Ali Inkster

14:27 on 14 Apr 2014

I now live in Inverness, but was born and brought up in Shetland, and can trace my ancestors who all all lived there, back until the time of the Scottish Bruce and Steward incomers in the 16th century. I should have a vote in any referendum which would determine the status of my homeland Shetland.

cecil robertson

9:30 on 14 Apr 2014

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