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Scottish Independence Debate / Tavish goes on tour to defend the union

MSP TAVISH Scott has announced that he is to tour the length of the isles to “make the case for Shetland remaining in the UK family”.

The Liberal Democrat politician is holding public meetings “from Unst to Fair Isle and all points in between” from early August through to the referendum vote on Thursday 18 September.

In what he is calling the ‘Ferry to the Referendum’ meetings, Scott says he will make a “positive case for why Shetland is stronger and better by saying ‘no thanks’ to Scottish independence”.

“I strongly believe that Shetland has a far brighter future remaining in a large country, sharing the ups and downs with friends and family across Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Seven years of nationalism in Edinburgh has eroded island decision making and responsibilities. That is an approach which is wrong for Shetland and wrong for Scotland. Why would Shetland want more of that?”

Scott, who has been an outspoken critic of the SNP government since it ousted the Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition from power in 2007, added: “I hope people, especially those islanders still to make up their minds, will come along and be part of this vital debate.

“Independence is not like a general election. If you do not like your government then you can elect a new one every four years.

“But if Scotland votes for independence there is no way back. We will never re-join Wales, England and Northern Ireland. We will be a foreign country.

“I believe that would be a step backwards. So these meetings will mean a real debate about our future. Come along.”

Full details of all of the meetings will be available shortly but it is expected they will start in the week beginning Monday 4 August, when the Scottish parliament also reconvenes for three weeks prior to the formal referendum campaign.