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Scottish Independence Debate / Yes Shetland seeks debates with Tavish

Yes Shetland chairman Brian Nugent.

THE LOCAL branch of the movement backing Scottish independence has welcomed Tavish Scott’s “belated” entry to the referendum campaign – challenging him to share platforms across the islands with Yes Shetland speakers.

Last week the Shetland MSP announced that he was going on a tour of the islands from Unst to Fair Isle in August on what he described as “ferry to the referendum” meetings to defend the union.

Yes Shetland chairman Brian Nugent has responded by calling for the events to be opened up so that both sides can make their case ahead of the September 18 vote.

He said Yes Shetland had “made a public commitment to holding meetings in all the islands and as many local areas as possible on the mainland”.

Nugent said the campaign group had staged seven public meetings to date, in Scalloway, Burra, Sandwick, Brae, Bressay, Aith and at Staney Hill in Lerwick.

“Mr Scott and Yes Shetland both want to make the positive case from our different viewpoints, so just let us know the day, date, time and venue and Yes Shetland will be there,” he said.

“He talks about a brighter future – he might want to explain how that ties in with food bank Britain. It is bad enough that there is the need for food banks, but worse that there is no political will in Britain to do anything about the causes.”

Nugent said constituents heard a “constant refrain” from the MSP about how the SNP is centralising powers to Edinburgh.

But Nugent highlighted a comment from Michael Keating, a University of Aberdeen politics professor and director of the ESRC Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change (SCCC), recently.

“[He] pointed out at the SCCC meeting in the town hall that politicians always talk about centralisation in opposition but once in power quickly forget about the issue. Mr Scott was in the audience; he did not disagree.”

Nugent continued: “Mr Scott is right – independence is not like a general election. The current problem is that in Scotland at a general election, if you do not like your government then you can indeed vote, but then you have to hope that another bigger country, down the road, elects a new government that you can be comfortable with.”

He added: “It is time to elect our own governments.”