Listening to the debate on the independence referendum at Holyrood this week, it would have been easy to forget that the campaign for greater devolution does not necessarily end at Edinburgh.
For some time now, the island councils have been calling for more powers and it is easy to see why. Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles have always had separate, proud identities and quite distinct lives and traditions.
The leaders of the three councils first made their case for greater autonomy in June and they have chosen a perfect time for the campaign with so much currently up for constitutional debate. First Minister Alex Salmond has already said he will hand more powers to the councils if Scotland becomes independent; the pro-UK campaigners have also, to a greater or lesser extent, accepted that there should be more autonomy for the islands if there is a no vote - with the LibDems in particular championing the islands' cause.
These commitments should probably be treated with caution. Many promises are made before polling day only to be broken after it. But the leaders of the islands' councils are keeping up the pressure nonetheless. In particular, they are calling for control of the seabed around their shores and it is their most powerful argument.
Speaking at a conference yesterday under the Our Islands - Our Future banner, Angus Campbell, leader of Western Isles Council, pointed out the islands have come a long way from the days when private landlords controlled most of the land. These days, around 70% of the population of the Outer Hebrides lives on land owned by the community.
Mr Campbell's beef is with the Crown Estate which has controlled the shoreline for hundreds of years and still does. Millions of pounds is generated in these areas but Mr Campbell's case is that very little of that money comes back to the local communities.
It is hard to question that case. Why should the revenues from the sea - particularly the payments made by renewables companies for leases and licences - go straight to the Treasury rather than the local community? The community deserves its fair share and there is now a convincing case for a review of the Crown Estate - one which Labour's devolution commission has already supported.
On the issue of more powers in Europe, the island councils are on less certain ground. Steven Heddle, the leader of Orkney Council, says that in order to attract vital funding the islands should be given a seat on the European Union's Committee of the Regions.
It is certainly true that, as a region, the islands of Scotland face economic and social challenges not faced by most of those on the mainland, but a huge amount of uncertainty is added by the fact we still do not know what the relationship would be between the EU and an independent Scotland.
Whether Scotland becomes independent or not, the voice of the islands should be listened to. They already have a strong case for a change to the Crown Estate.
There may also be a case for local tax powers and the growing renewables industry raises even more interesting possibilities. The campaign is called Our Islands - Our Future. Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles deserve as much autonomy as possible in deciding that future.
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