ORKNEY has always played a significant role in the history of Britain. The BBC’s series on Orkney as the ancient capital of Britain traced its history from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age.

Abbi Garton-Crosbie’s article in The National on Monday draws attention to Orkney’s later role as the hub of the Viking trading empire that spread down the west coast of Scotland, at one time as far south as Dublin (Orkney council to look at potential exit from the UK, Jul 3).

Today Orkney is leading the green revolution as it is currently reported to be generating more tidal energy than the rest of the world put together.

READ MORE: Downing Street rejects suggestions Orkney could loosen ties with UK

Like many Scottish islands, Orkney’s ferry services are suffering the problems of ageing fleets and the lack of investment to upgrade them with modern vessels and facilities.

It is possible that ferries could prove to be a major factor in the outcome of Tuesday’s debate on changing Orkney’s status in the United Kingdom.

Perhaps it is only a flight of fancy that, given the present political situation in Scotland over ferry services, Orkney is about to emerge as the forerunner of an archipelago of Crown Dependencies stretching from Shetland down the west coast of Scotland as far as Islay – each enjoying the same status in the UK as the Isle of Man.

The UK Government has already stepped up to the plate, pledging millions to replace the Fair Isle and Scilly Isles ferries with new vessels and terminals.

READ MORE: How we keep the NHS alive at 75 will be the focus for Yes Orkney

Perhaps a hint from the UK Government that a brand new UK version of the Norwegian Hurtigruten ferry service might be financed through Levelling Up could encourage the islands to consider loosening their financial ties to the Scottish Government.

The Fair Isle project could well be a UK Government pilot to gauge the effect of diverting funds from the Scottish Government to modernise ferry services through Levelling Up.

This could be used by the UK Government to drive wedges between the Scottish island authorities and the Scottish Government at little or no cost to the UK Government.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that changing relationships is being discussed by the council in the LibDem stronghold of Orkney that voted against Scotland leaving the United Kingdom in 2014 and in favour of remaining in the European Union in 2016.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

THE UK Boundary Commission’s deliberations and final proposals have been published, where Scotland is most likely to lose two seats in Westminster parliamentary elections, from 59 seats in 650 to 57 seats in 650.

Our Celtic neighbours in Wales will lose eight seats, going from 40 to 32. Northern Ireland will remain steady at 18; there are reasons for this. England however, will increase its parliamentary seats by 10 from 533 to 543.

The Boundary Commission procedures document how its data scientists calculated the parcels of electorate into the new constituencies. What cannot be described by these documented processes is if data points other than population are used in their deliberations. Other than population distribution, what generated the proposed constituency map?

READ MORE: Scotland to lose two MP seats as boundary changes review published

The rules set up for the Westminster House of Commons limit the number of members to 650. The population has increased, yet all of this exercise of re-mapping of constituency boundaries is being conducted due to a limit of the physical space of a Victorian building.

There is another place in the same Victorian building called the House of Lords, into which outgoing PMs stuff their pals for repayment of their support over the years, some 800 now. It would seem the Lords are consuming more resources than they are entitled to. Lords seats are not based on the population of the constituent countries of the Union Kingdom.

It seems apparent that the Westminster parliament building is, like all other Victorian infrastructure, past its “use-by” date. Surely Thames Water is another example of a red label item, to be removed from the shelf and recycled.

Alistair Ballantyne

LAST month the Scottish Government axed the deposit return scheme that was due to add a small fortune onto the weekly shop. The Alba Party had been calling for this policy to be axed for the last while.

On the last day of school before heading off for a long summer recess we were told that the controversial Highly Protected Marine Areas were to be kicked into the deep sea.

Again, the Alba Party had taken a stand on this issue, standing shoulder to shoulder with Scotland’s fishermen and fishing communities, as well as some politicians of integrity such as Fergus Ewing MSP.

READ MORE: Have your say: Is shelving HPMAs the right move?

Both of these policies were previously referred to as Green Party red lines. Other Green Party red lines such as their obsession with gender politics are more like red flags to the voters at large, so these should be kicked into the long grass also.

Humza Yousaf has brought the respected Kevin Pringle back info the fold. Hopefully we are seeing the start of the Green Party’s influence on the Scottish Government being in name only as one disastrous Green policy after the other is axed, and the sensible “grown up in the room” policies of the Alba Party are being adopted by the Scottish Government.

Now we need to see Humza adopt the Scotland United policy. If he does then independence can be the big winner at the next General Election, as opposed to the cause of independence facing a big loss because of its association with the rejected and unpopular policies of the Scottish Green Party.

Frank Wood
Port Glasgow