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Viewpoint / Election: ‘Our economic plan is working’

The Conservative's parliamentary candidate Donald Cameron

In the final contribution to our mini-series of candidates’ election statements, Conservative hopeful Donald Cameron argues that the Tories are the only pro-UK party to stand up to the SNP and keep Miliband out of No 10.

This election is one of the most important we have ever faced.

Only David Cameron or Ed Miliband can become Prime Minister, so the choice for voters is very clear. It’s a choice between: a Conservative government which will keep us on track and provide security for families, businesses and the country; or, the chaos of a weak Ed Miliband government propped up by the SNP (which is still intent on trying to wreck the United Kingdom).

The Labour party and the SNP are parties of the central belt of Scotland, and I question whether they really understand, or care for, the people of Shetland.

The Lib Dem vote is collapsing in Scotland, so the Conservative party is the only pro-UK party which can stand up to the SNP and keep Ed Miliband out of Downing Street.

As I’m the first to admit – I’m not a native Shetlander. But I do come from a rural background, and I understand the pressures and challenges of living in a beautiful but remote area.

Whether it’s travel and fuel costs, whether it’s access to high quality broadband and mobile phone coverage, or simply improving our basic infrastructure, these are common problems which matter to many people on these islands, and come up again and again on the campaign trail.

In particular, the high costs of ferry travel and electricity charges are frequently mentioned. These issues also play into the health and viability of the tourism industry on Shetland. If elected, I would make finding sustainable solutions to these problems a central objective of my time as an MP.

I also understand the problems faced by our fishing and farming industries as they struggle against EU regulation and red tape. I would seek to work in tandem with our MEP, Dr Ian Duncan, to assist these industries, which in my view are so critical to the health of Shetland’s economy.

In my day job as a lawyer, I have been involved in cases relating to fishing quota and farm subsidies so I understand the complexity of EU regulation facing these businesses, and the difficulties thrown up on a day-to-day basis.

Being a lawyer is a great training for politics! Not only do you get to understand what makes good law and what makes bad law, but you also learn how to deal with people’s everyday problems, and then try and articulate these problems so that they can be solved quickly and effectively.

One area in which I specialise is employment law, where I see time and time again how too much bureaucracy and state intervention can strangle growth and small-scale enterprise. Small or medium size businesses are often managed by a few individuals and just don’t have the luxury of large cash balances and staff support that huge corporations possess.

And yet these smaller businesses are the real engines of the economy. I believe they should be nurtured. One thing I want to achieve as an MP is to help the many small and often family-run businesses in Shetland and Orkney which I know are the backbone of the local economy and which continue to suffer from too much red tape.

It’s easy to forget or dismiss what the Conservative-led coalition government of the last five years has done. Labour said that the economy could not grow and jobs would be lost if we stuck with our plan. But the deficit is down by half. And there are more people in work than ever before: that’s an incredible fact.

In addition, Britain was the fastest growing major economy in 2014. The economic improvements have been felt in Scotland too – unemployment is down in Scotland by 56,400 since the last General Election. Employment is up in Scotland by 174,000 since the last General Election. And for every lost public sector job, three private sector jobs have been created.

Those are very significant achievements, and I am proud of that record of government. Of course, it’s not been easy and hard decisions have had to be made.

Nor am I complacent that the economy is yet in full health – there is much more to be done. That’s why a vote for the Conservatives would help us continue on the road to economic recovery.

Our long-term economic plan is working. Let us finish the job!

Donald Cameron can be followed on Twitter.

The other candidates are Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dems), Gerry McGarvey (Labour), Danus Skene (SNP) and Robert Smith (UKIP).