SOUL has been keeping a low profile for the past few months, while they have been gathering information for the forthcoming international court case challenging the status of Shetland and Orkney.
September 11th marks the start of a new period of action that begins with the launch of the SOUL report. It details many of the anomalies SOUL has found (backed by respected international legal opinion) that make Shetland and Orkney's position uniquely open to challenge. It does not shrink from exposing questions of sovereignty and official chicanery, both historical and present day. It reveals how shaky the Crown Estate Commissioners' position really is. The Report is written in plain language, but with enough detail and references for serious academics.
SOUL's Chairman, Stuart Hill said: "In short it's a pretty explosive document which we are well aware the authorities would rather did not see the light of day. We have gathered enough evidence to show that the official status of the islands is a total fiction and there has been a sustained and elaborate cover-up to withhold this information from the public.
SOUL's purpose is to expose the situation and open the door to a change in the relationship between the islands and the UK. The total integration of the islands is not to their benefit. Do the people want their fishing, agriculture, tourism, police, fire, ambulance, health and other services run from somewhere remote from the islands, or would they be better under their own control? Do the bureaucrats in Brussels, London and Edinburgh know what is best for the people of the islands? SOUL agrees with the SIC Convener's aim to get more local control, but does not believe that aim can be achieved by going cap in hand to the Scottish Executive or government.
It is important for people to realise that SOUL is not seeking independence. At the end of the day it is up to the people to decide what degree of control they want over their own affairs. SOUL can only show that, for instance, the status of the Isle of Man or Faroe is a perfectly possible scenario for Shetland and Orkney. The power to make these changes lies in the hands of the people - it's a power that already exists and simply needs asserting."
The SOUL Report was to have been launched at midday on Saturday September 11th at The Shetland Times Bookshop in Lerwick. Having agreed to this, they subsequently cancelled, so the launch will now be on the Street outside instead. September 11th is proving to be an important date for SOUL as well as the rest of the world. A notable quote in the report in complete sympathy with SOUL's aims is from a Shetland Times editorial - dated September 11th 1886.
S.O.U.L. is a non-profit, non-political voluntary organisation working on behalf of the people of Shetland and Orkney. This website is intended to stimulate open discussion and will inevitably change as we find out more.