Shet­landers flirt with go­ing it alone

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Lerwick, United King­dom

Of all the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of the Brexit vote, the fate of the Shet­land Is­lands in the North At­lantic and their oil fields and fish­eries may not top the list for ne­go­tia­tors in Lon­don and Brussels.

But the prospect of a new bid for Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence as Bri­tain leaves the Euro­pean Union is mak­ing some res­i­dents think again about whether they would be bet­ter off alone.

“It would be won­der­ful,” said An­drea Man­son, a Shet­land coun­cil­lor and a key fig­ure in the Wir Shet­land move­ment for greater au­ton­omy.

The move­ment’s name means “Our Shet­land” in the lo­cal Scots di­alect, a deriva­tion of Mid­dle English which has re­placed the is­lands’ orig­i­nal Ger­manic lan­guage, Norn.

The re­mote ar­chi­pel­ago, al­ready fiercely in­de­pen­dent in spirit, is ge­o­graph­i­cally and cul­tur­ally closer to Scan­di­navia than to Ed­in­burgh, and po­lit­i­cally more aligned with Lon­don and Brussels.

In the past 1,300 years, Shet- land has been over­run by Scan­di­na­vian vik­ings, pawned to Scot­land as a wed­ding dowry by Den­mark, sub­sumed into the United King­dom in 1707, and dragged into the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity against its will in 1973.

The Shet­lands were the only part of Bri­tain, along with the Western Isles of Scot­land, that voted against EEC mem­ber­ship in a 1975 ref­er­en­dum.

Many Shet­landers are skep­ti­cal of Scot­tish sep­a­ratism.

In the fi­nal tense days of the 2014 in­de­pen­dence re­fer- en­dum, the lo­cal MP Alis­tair Carmichael, who was min­is­ter for Scot­land at the time, said the is­lands could try to re­main part of Bri­tain if the rest of Scot­land left.

In the end, 55 per­cent of Scots voted to stay in Bri­tain. The union­ist vote in the Shet­lands was 63.7 per­cent — one of the high­est lev­els in Scot­land.

Now Scot­tish First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon has warned that a se­cond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum is “highly likely” fol­low­ing the Brexit vote — and Shet­land is once again con­sid­er­ing its po­si­tion.

“We would like con­trol of the seabed around us, the fish­ing ground around us, and the free­dom to get rid of some of the bu­reau­cracy that comes down from the EU, West­min­ster and the Scot­tish par­lia­ment,” Man­son said.

“Our seas are be­ing plun­dered by for­eign boats. We also con­trib­ute an enor­mous amount of money to the na­tional econ­omy through taxes, through the oil rev­enues, and yet we don’t get back our fair share.”

Scot­land has around 60 per­cent of the EU’s oil re­serves and the se­cond-largest vol­ume of proven nat­u­ral gas re­serves, most of it lo­cated around Shet­land.

Ma­ree Todd, a Scot­tish Na­tional Party law­maker, said Shet­land would be bet­ter off as part of an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land.

“Of course I think it is worth dis­cussing,” she said, adding that is­lan­ders are not “en­tirely skep­ti­cal” about the prospect of Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence.

“We want power to come back to Scot­land, not just to Ed­in­burgh but to the peo­ple of Scot­land,” she said.

with ADHD were ex­am­ined in the study, which found that suf­fer­ers’ brains were smaller than those with­out the con­di­tion.

In the lat­est study, Hoog­man and a team an­a­lyzed the MRI scans of peo­ple aged 4 to 63.

They mea­sured over­all brain vol­ume as well as the size of seven re­gions thought to be linked to the dis­or­der.

The vol­ume over­all was smaller in peo­ple di­ag­nosed with ADHD, as were five of the brain re­gions, the team said.

“Th­ese dif­fer­ences are very small — in the range of a few per­cent — so the un­prece­dented size of our study was cru­cial to help iden­tify th­ese,” Hoog­man said.

“Sim­i­lar dif­fer­ences in brain vol­ume are also seen in other psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders, es­pe­cially ma­jor de­pres­sive dis­or­der.”

In a com­ment on the study, Jonathan Pos­ner of Columbia Univer­sity said it was an “im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion” to the field of ADHD sci­ence.

He said fur­ther re­search was needed to de­ter­mine the ef­fects of med­i­ca­tion on the brains of peo­ple with ADHD, and how they de­velop.


Per­form­ers on stilts ar­rive for a Na­tional Flag of Canada Day cer­e­mony on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ottawa, On­tario on Wed­nes­day. The an­nual event is held to com­mem­o­rate the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the flag in 1965.


Pedes­tri­ans walk along a street in Lerwick in the Shet­land Is­lands. Af­ter Brexit, some res­i­dents would like to see the is­lands be­come in­de­pen­dent.

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