THE decision by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to spend so much time in Shetland supporting the SNP candidate for the by-election seems to have backfired as the Liberal Democrat candidate, Beatrice Wishart, romped home to win the seat easily.

Would Ms Sturgeon’s time not have been better spent tackling the growing list of Scottish problems, as the buck clearly stops with her in devolved matters such as NHS and education, both of which are struggling with ongoing staffing difficulties?

Dennis Forbes Grattan,



DROWNED out by bigger political noises down South, the result of the Shetland by-election is interesting.

The SNP hoped to win, and put huge resources and time into trying to achieve just that. Given the daunting size of the existing Liberal Democrat majority it suggests that the SNP had a real feel that it could win, otherwise it would have kept a lower profile.

In the event, the SNP juggernaut did advance but not by nearly enough. The pro-Union parties still achieved over 53 per cent of the vote, on a relatively high turnout, whilst the pro-independence vote languished at under 34%. This is at the height of prorogation, Ruth Davidson resigning and Boris Johnson under siege. The SNP will spin this as a “ victory” and is already claiming it will win next time. The figures tell another, more realistic, story.

The SNP cannot escape the fact that independence is still a vote loser, even though it tried its best to keep that word quiet throughout this campaign.

Dr Gerald Edwards,


“AND sent her hameward, tae think again” (adapted from Flower of Scotland)

The SNP are “bragging” about losing in Shetland, saying the result was “extraordinary”, but as Vince Lombardi, the US football coach, once said, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser”.

But Shetland is different. Shetland is Nordic, by ancestry and geography (the nearest railway station is Bergen). Shetlanders may prefer to unite with the Faroe Islands and Scandinavia in general rather than be part of an independent Scotland; alternatively, Shetland may prefer to remain with the rest of the UK, allied with Orkney (which could also go Nordic) and the Scottish Borders. Independent Scotland could be a rump state.

The SNP’s bullying methods, based in substantial part upon paranoia, are alienating many. The SNP much prefer international matters to domestic; distraction to doom and gloom. List available on request of domestic sources of doom and gloom.

William Durward,



AN interesting aspect of the Liberal Democrats’ win at the Shetland by-election is how other mainstream pro-UK parties polled.

The Lib Dems took a 48 per cent vote share, with the SNP taking 32 per cent, while Labour and the Scottish Tories together achieved merely five per cent.

While Shetland has always been strongly pro-Lib Dem, it is clear that pro-UK voters largely avoided any temptation to vote Labour or Tory - and indeed if they had, the SNP may well have won.

The SNP has long divided the pro-UK vote, and ruled. In the 2021 Holyrood election, if Scotland is to avoid a nationalist majority, it is imperative that voters are as canny as Shetlanders were on Thursday. Or pro-UK parties must co-operate more formally when deciding which seats they contest.

Martin Redfern, Edinburgh

THE more that Boris Johnson meddles with the democratic process, the more people will turn to the Liberal Democrats, whose position towards Brexit and a second EU referendum is unambiguous. I was worried about the party’s long-term future after its coalition with David Cameron but its revival is to be welcomed.

James Taylor, Glasgow