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Downing Street rejects Orkney’s plans to consider its constitutional future

03 Jul 2023 2 minute read
Image by Stevieraith from Pixabay

Downing Street has rejected suggestions Orkney could loosen ties with the United Kingdom.

Orkney’s council leader James Stockan has put forward a motion which says it is time for the islands to consider other forms of governance, possibly along the lines of crown dependencies such as Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, or reviving historic links with Norway.

However, No 10 shut down the options, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman telling reporters: “First and foremost, there is no mechanism for the conferral of crown dependency or overseas territory status on any part of the UK.

“But fundamentally, we are stronger as one United Kingdom, we have no plans to change that.”

The spokesman added: “We’ve got no plans to change the devolution settlement.”

Orkney was already being supported with £50 million through the islands growth deal, No 10 said.

Alternative models

Mr Stockan’s motion will be considered by Orkney Islands Council on Tuesday.

It states that “due to historical and contemporary challenges” over funding, “Orkney Islands Council should now explore options for alternative models of governance that provide greater fiscal security and economic opportunity”.

That should include looking at “Nordic connections, crown dependencies and other options for greater subsidiarity and autonomy to be presented to the community for consideration”.

The council leader’s motion does not commit the council to any of these options and the officials’ report notes that any constitutional change would likely require a combination of petitions, referenda and legislation at Holyrood and Westminster.

Mr Stockan told the BBC he felt that Orkney is being “failed dreadfully” by Governments in both Edinburgh and London.

Funding is less per head than Shetland and the Western Isles receive, he said.

Orkney was under Norwegian and Danish control until 1472 when the islands were given to Scotland as part of Margaret of Denmark’s wedding dowry to King James III of Scotland.

Mr Stockan told the BBC: “We were part of the Norse kingdom for much longer than we were part of the United Kingdom.

“On the street in Orkney, people come up and say to me: ‘When are we going to pay back the dowry? When are we going back to Norway?’

“There is a huge affinity and a huge deep cultural relationship there. This is exactly the moment to explore what is possible.”


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Rob
Rob
9 months ago

And today, in things that never happened: “On the street in Orkney, people come up and say to me: ‘When are we going to pay back the dowry? When are we going back to Norway?’”

Avran
Avran
9 months ago
Reply to  Rob

I feel like that could well have happened

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
9 months ago

Stick it to the man Orkney!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

Surprised any of the nasty little tykes in that place know where the Orkney Islands are, especially the Head Boy…

Last edited 9 months ago by Mab Meirion
Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
9 months ago

Another example of how (dis)united the United Kingdom is these days. It also shows the usual Westminster response – No, end of. The institution is just ignoring the situation hoping it will go away – it won’t. Cracks are appearing in the Union everywhere, from Cornwall in the south to the Orkneys in the North. Unless there is fundamental change in SW1 (it’ll never happen) the Union is doomed.

Rob
Rob
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

I’m pretty sure if Alaska wanted to join Russia than the US Government would react in the same way, or if Corsica wanted to join Italy then Paris would say no.
It should be Scotland’s decision if they want to give up the Orkney Islands.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
9 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Not while Scotland is in the UK it isn’t. Your analysis isn’t completely correct, there is a California separatist movement and the Fed government has been remarkably quiet on the subject. I still feel the Tories jump in with a response quickly because they actually fear the break up of the UK is imminent.

Rob
Rob
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

Except that Scotland or even Wales for that matter are far more likely to become independence than any US state will (who have far more autonomy than any UK nation does). Take Texas for example which has a separatist imovement. Its not going to want to impose borders with the rest of the USA, have NASA pull out of Houston or have the Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans kicked out of the NFL which is a distinctly American league. As far as I know Texas nationalists don’t have a political party on par with Plaid Cymru or the SNP. Americans… Read more »

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
9 months ago

To paraphrase the late Mandy Rice-Davies: “Well they would, wouldn’t they?”

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