Saturday 23 April 2016

And show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle/The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile (plus the breweries)

The UK's most northerly fish & chip shop

Having given Katie Razzall's first Referendum Road report, from Cornwall, such a heavy 'thumbs down' for pro-EU bias last week, I'm glad to say that her second report in the series, from the Shetland Islands, was much better.

The Shetlands were chosen by the programme because they were one of only two places in the UK to vote against staying in the Common Market in 1975. The report sought to find out if opinions have changed there over the past 40 years - especially given that the Shetlands are no longer anywhere near so reliant on the (largely anti-EU) fishing industry and much more reliant on tourism, oil, renewable energy companies (and the like) instead. 

We heard from: The editor of the Shetland Times, who reviewed the archived and talked about the changes; the owner of a tidal energy blade-making company which has "received some EU funding" who replied "Absolutely!" to the question "Will you be voting to stay in?"; the postmistress in the UK's most northerly post office who said she thinks people will vote to stay this because of "the unknown...if you're not in it...of what happens"; the owner of Britain's most northerly brewery - Valhalla Brewery, who "wants out" and thinks Norway would be a good model of how to deal with the EU [Katie challenged him, asking, "But they don't have a place at the table to argue their point when it comes to the EU]; a woman who works in the most northerly fish-and-chip shop in the UK, who doesn't like talking about the EU because it starts arguments (tell me about it, Ashley!); a pro-Brexit farmer who said that the islands have a global reach and should be looking beyond Europe; the local vet, who says she's "neutral", seeing both sides; and a former anti-EU protester who has changed her mind and is now a fan of the EU [the latter being interviewed in a pub - and not one of the 15 people who Katie spoke to in is even considering voting Out].

That's a better spread of opinion than last week. 

And, also unlike last week's report, there was little point-pushing from Katie [except for that challenge to the brewery owner over Norway], and the closing lines of the piece were studiously neutral in content and tone.

It might be too sour (on my part) to suggest that Katie Razzell could have been trying to be on her best behaviour here after last week's sharply skewed report - and all the social media criticism it generated (though it hasn't stopped me saying it).

Whatever, this was a decent, interesting (and beautifully-filmed) report. 

And, as so ever, anything like this from the Shetlands just makes me want to go there.

1 comment:

  1. They do try sometimes, when forced, and they are capable of it, when forced to be. It just begs the question of why they aren't this way all the time and only behave themselves when the heat is unbearable.


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