Island seperatism

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Tavish Scott (Perspective, 26 September) misses the point I made at the “Our Islands our ­Futures” conference in Orkney.

True, I welcomed the result from school students in Aberdeenshire, who voted 3-1 against separation. True, I welcomed the latest odds from bookmakers, ­indicating a No victory.

However, he omits to mention the lesson I drew, which was not one of complacency. I argued that the island ­councils should not accept the SNP line that the granting of new powers to the three island ­councils is dependent upon a Yes vote next year.

I argued that the councils should not allow their issues to become part of the separation debate but should conduct their case in parallel with, but apart from, the referendum, since the vast majority of what they wish for could be granted by the ­Scottish Government with its existing powers and the balance transferred with Westminster’s agreement. It is not a change in constitutional structures that is necessary but a change in political opinion and will.

Thus the island councils should link into the debate about the next phase of devolution, which is how best to decentralise ­powers to councils and communities.

As with the discussions on the Crown Estate, the real debate is between devolvers, who wish to pass control of the seabed and foreshore to community land buy-outs and local ­authorities, and separatists, who wish to centralise these powers in Edinburgh, as per police, fire, colleges, local government finance, etc.

I am sorry if my remarks were too subtle; this is not an ­accusation I have often ­­received but I will bear it in mind.

Nevertheless, I hope such misunderstandings will not prevent devolvers and decentralisers working together, across parties, against the forces of darkness who would suck powers into the black hole of the Edinburgh elite.

Ian Davidson MP

Kilmuir Drive

Glasgow

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