Our Islands Our Future: Purposeful Opportunism at its Best

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This chapter is a narrative of events, and a case study, which highlights the “unexpected ingenuity and mettle” shown by a particular group of peripheral, island societies, who engaged in multi-level political relations with their metropole at a particularly salient point in their recent history. It will explore “Our Islands Our Future,” the joint campaign launched by the three Scottish Island Councils, Shetland, Orkney, and Eilean Siar, or Outer Hebrides, at the time of the Scottish Independence Referendum. For Orkney and Shetland, with their Norse heritage―who already have a close relationship and share a Westminster MP―sharing a platform with Eilean Siar, with its Gaelic heritage, was something of a new departure. The Councils ran the campaign with an understanding that jurisdictional capacity can bring advantages. This was made clear in the conference held to initiate the campaign, which pointedly invited speakers from the autonomous islands of Åland and the Faroe Islands. The Councils realized “jurisdiction is a resource” (Baldacchino 2010), and that this might be an opportune time to press for it. What were the islands’ demands? How was the campaign run? What have been the results? In the long term will this prove to be the most important development in the status and powers of the Scottish islands since Shetland successfully persuaded Westminster to enact the 1973 Zetland Act allowing them to successfully “hornswoggle” the multinational oil companies?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Black Horses to White Steeds: Building Community Resilience
EditorsLaurie Brinklow, Ryan Gibson
Place of PublicationCharlottetown, Prince Edward Island
PublisherIsland Studies Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781988692074
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2017


  • Shetland
  • Orkney
  • Eilean Siar
  • Outer Hebrides
  • Western Isles
  • 25ref2021


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