RETIRED teacher and current chairman of Shetland Arts, Danus Skene, has been confirmed as the SNP’s parliamentary candidate for the Orkney and Shetland constituency at the forthcoming general election.
It is the first time the 70 year old has stood on an SNP ticket after having fought a Westminster seat twice before for the Liberal Democrats – in North Tayside back in 1983, and in Moray four years later.
Skene, who is hoping to benefit from the huge growth in the SNP’s popularity following the Scottish independence referendum, said his aim was to make sitting Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael more accountable.
The SNP is only the second party to name its candidate for the northern isles.
Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP are all expected to make announcements over the coming weeks. The Greens have already said they will not field a candidate.
Skene said: “I put my name forward because I think there is an urgent need for a new political initiative in the northern isles.
“The isles have been badly served by the coalition. Our MP is part of that coalition to the point of having been a whip putting people through the lobby for policies like the bedroom tax and other changes to the benefit system.
“He now sits in the cabinet, he’s got to be made accountable.”
Born in Dundee, Skene worked as a history and modern studies teacher before becoming an education official at Tayside regional council. He has served on the board of the Scottish Qualification Authority, and also worked in schools abroad in Israel and Kenya.
He added: “As we concentrate to move government power from London to Edinburgh we have to insist on the full implementation of the Smith Commission proposal.
“Home rule should mean what it says, and it means more than what the Smith Commission has offered. It means we have to be able to pay for our own programmes by control of our own tax system.
“I am motivated to do this because of the position the northern isles are in – the need to move decisions down, not just from London to Edinburgh, but Edinburgh to the islands.
“The SNP Scottish government takes extremely seriously the Our Islands, Our Future initiative. We need to get significant decision making powers back to the islands, and that is something I want to follow through.
“The last person to do that successfully was Jo Grimond with the 1974 Zetland County Council Act, and it is time for a major move again.”