Shetland faces huge hurdles in going it alone

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YOUR leader “Trouble up north” (17 March) claims that the Isle of Man “enjoys a remarkable degree of independence within the UK”. However, the Isle of Man is not “within the UK”. It does not send an MP to Westminster, though its foreign affairs are represented by the British government, which is also responsible for its defence. It is not in the EU.

The Isle of Man provides and pays for its own health service, education system, welfare system, civil service, police, electricity authority, post office and a very large number of other government departments. The Isle of Man also has its own legal system and currency. If Shetland were to become like the Isle of Man, everything now provided by Westminster (except defence and foreign affairs) and Holyrood would have to be provided by a population of about 22,000. Furthermore, which legal system, education system, welfare system, police system and currency would Shetland use? Perhaps after reflecting on this, Tavish Scott might not think it such a good idea.

Regarding oil; another delegate at the Lib Dem conference, Professor Denis Mollison of Heriot-Watt University, said the Channel Islands controlled the sea only to a distance of 12 miles out, meaning Shetland would not have a claim to most of the offshore oil and gas.

Thomas Murray, Perth