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SNP branch is upbeat

SHETLAND’S SNP branch says the party’s high standing in national opinion polls is a sign of “the democratic desire of the whole of Scotland to have a far stronger voice in Westminster than it has ever had before”.

Ahead of May’s general election polls in recent months have shown a surge in support for the SNP, with the Labour party fearing it could lose many of its seats north of the border.

Some news outlets are reporting support for the nationalists as high as 53 per cent, while other polls have suggested Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael could even be the only Scottish Liberal Democrat left at Westminster in the next parliament.

SNP Shetland branch organiser Angela Sutherland said: “Apart from Labour, Lib Dems are also suffering rejection now for two reasons.

“Firstly their broken 2010 election promises such as bringing in £9,000 annual tuition fees in England, but secondly for becoming the catalyst that unleashed a Tory austerity plan, widely perceived as unjust, that saw the poorest in society pay for the mistakes of the rich.”

Carmichael won a huge share of the vote in a seat held by the Lib Dems since the 1950s back in 2010. His 11,989 votes represented a 62 per cent share of those who turned out, whereas Labour, the SNP and Conservatives won just over 2,000 votes apiece.

And despite his party’s poor standing in polls nationally, the incumbent MP will campaign on various achievements for the Northern Isles as a cabinet minister.

In a recent mailshot to Shetland and Orkney households, he flagged up his role in keeping a coastguard station and emergency tug stationed locally, along with policies including cutting the level of fuel duty by five pence a litre in island communities and raising the threshold at which income tax kicks in.