Orkney votes to explore being part of Norway

The Orkney Islands Council has voted to look at alternative forms of government, including exploring a “Nordic connection”.

Local councilors backed leader James Stockan’s motion for officials to draft a report on greater autonomy for the islands.

That could include looking towards Norway or seeking British overseas territory status, similar to Jersey or the Isle of Man.

The amendment that attempted to block the motion was defeated by 15 votes to six, while further amendments which would have seen the rise of a consultative group on constitutional reform for the islands were accepted by Mr Stockan and motion supporter, Heather Woodbridge, without need for a vote.

The motion reads: “Due to historical and contemporary challenges in relation to equitable funding of capital and revenues, and policy support across our island communities, the Orkney Islands Council should now explore options for alternative models of governance that provide greater fiscal security and economic opportunities. great for Orkney Island.

“The probe is to include Nordic connections, crown dependence and other options for subsidiarity and greater autonomy to be presented to the public for consideration.”

Norway has declined to comment on the motion, with the British state embassy telling STV News: “This is a UK domestic and constitutional matter. We have no views on this movement.”

The Orkney Islands Council will explore alternative forms of government after a majority vote.iStock

Mr Stockan, leader of the council, accused the British and Scottish Governments of “discrimination” when he proposed the motion.

He told the meeting: “I have been a board member now for 20 years but for the last number I have been negotiating with our Government to get what I believe to be a fair position solution for the Orkney Islands in funding and in the opportunities we have in in and around these islands to benefit not only us, but also for our neighbours, for our nation and for the world.

“But we’ve been restricted in every conversation, we’ve been detained, and all I will say is we all know most of what I can say in regards to the discrimination we’ve experienced against this community from the Government in funding settlements. we have.”

Orkney, he said, received less funding per head from the Government than other island authorities in the Shetland and Western Isles.

He also pointed to the aging ferry fleet in the area, which he said was failing.

Prior to the debate, Stockan told the BBC that there was a huge affinity with Norway in the region.

“We were part of the Norse empire for much longer than we have been part of Great Britain,” he said.

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

“There is a huge affinity and a very deep cultural connection there.

“This is a good time to explore what is possible.”

Closer ties with Norway are among the various options Orkney Islands Council officials will consider.STTV News

Later, however, board members played down the possibility of Orkney joining the Scandinavian nation.

“It’s not about us joining Norway,” he said. “There’s a much bigger set of options here – it could even be that we can get our money directly from the Treasury in London and safeguard our own future.”

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

The prospect of greater autonomy from Britain was rejected by Downing Street on Monday.

Asked about the motion, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said “there is no mechanism for granting crown dependency status or oversea territory status in any part of the UK”, adding: “Basically, we are stronger as one Britain, we have no plans to change it.”

#Orkney #votes #explore #part #Norway

Leave a Comment