Scottish Islands Want a Return to Norway

Orkney Islands say they're being neglected by Edinburgh and London
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2023 4:15 PM CDT
Scottish Islands Want a Return to Norway
Visitors look at the 5,000-year-old remains of Skara Brae village in the Orkney Islands in 2005. Sick of being ignored by far-away politicians, officials on Scotland’s remote Orkney Islands are mulling rejoining Norway, which gave them away as a royal wedding dowry more than 550 years ago.   (AP Photo/Naomi Koppel, File)

The push for Scottish independence has been going, well, not very well for centuries, and now Scotland's Orkney Islands are looking to take matters into their own hands. As the BBC reports, local officials, tired of getting what they deem short-shrift from their relationships with both Edinburgh and the UK, are proposing "alternative forms of governance." What that might look like: a return to Norway, which the AP notes gave the Orkney Islands away as part of a royal wedding dowry more than five centuries ago. Orkney Council leader James Stockan says that the islands are being "failed dreadfully" by both governments and that Orkney is "really struggling at the moment" with unmet needs such as funding to replace its entire ferry fleet.

He continues: "The funding we get from the Scottish government is significantly less per head than Shetland and the Western Isles to run the same services—we can't go on as we are," adding that while the islands have contributed for four decades vis a vis North Sea oil, "the dividend we get back isn't sufficient to keep us going." Stockan also sees green gold in the burgeoning wind farms sprouting up around him. The Orkney Islands Council will review on Tuesday models including Crown Dependencies such as Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man or the possibility of becoming a self-governing territory of Norway.

"People come up and say to me when are we going to pay back the dowry, when are we going back to Norway?" says Stockan. "There is a huge affinity and a huge deep cultural relationship there. This is exactly the moment to explore what is possible." Norway, notes the AP, is staying mum. "We have no view regarding this motion," says a foreign ministry rep. (More Scottish Independence stories.)

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