Shetland and Orkney should loosen ties with Scotland and the UK to run their own affairs, according to Liberal Democrats.
Activists at the party's spring conference in Dundee agreed unanimously that the islands should develop their own relationship with central government - regardless of the outcome of the independence referendum next year.
They also agreed that Shetland and Orkney have a separate right to self-determination.
Tavish Scott, Shetland MSP and former leader of the Scottish party, said current "constitutional navel gazing" offers a fresh opportunity for the Northern Isles.
Islanders should also use oil and gas off their coasts for any future negotiations - an argument already deployed by the Scottish Government.
"Shetland and Orkney may never have a stronger opportunity to negotiate a future for the islands," he said. "A future that benefits the economy, culture and our identity in the wider world for the advantage of future generations of islanders. If we do nothing then the future is clear. Schools and local ferries dictated by the central belt and the emasculation of local accountability."
At the last Holyrood election, the Scottish Lib Dems only managed to win first-past-the-post constituencies in Shetland and Orkney.
Mr Scott said his argument against centralisation extends across Scottish islands and rural areas. "We don't want more centralising, know it all, top down nationalism," he said in a speech clearly designed to irritate First Minister Alex Salmond. "This SNP Government doesn't care about the outer extremities of the country."
Mr Scott put forward the Isle of Man as an example that the Northern Isles could follow. Other suggestions include the Faroe Islands' relationship with Denmark.
An SNP spokesman said: "Shetland and Orkney are an important and valued part of Scotland and that will remain the case with independence. The SNP have always been open to greater autonomy for the Northern Isles in an independent Scotland."