Too many words have been wasted recently on the campaign for Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles to become independent (a campaign which doesn't actually exist). This weekend, however, saw a far more worthwhile story appear on a very similar subject. On Saturday, The Scotsman featured a previously unpublished short story by the wonderful Orcadian writer George Mackay Brown, written in 1976. In 'The Golden Goose', Mackay Brown imagined a future in which both Shetland and Orkney did become independent, buoyed by their new-found oil wealth. It is a move that ultimately has a global impact.
'All over the world such little nations began to come into being. They went about their business and never interfered with their neighbours. They tried to be as inconspicuous as possible; for the goliath nations were still rattling their armour at every available frontier; little knowing that the tide of history was set against the arrogance and brainlessness, as in the distant past it had set against the dinosaur and the sabre tooth. Here and there, in such cities as New York, Leningrad, Hong Kong, people were murmuring, “Small is Beautiful”, as if the words were a password to some millennium.'