Election 2016 / Danus Skene – saying Yes to these islands

SNP parliamentary candidate for the Shetland constituency Danus Skene

Most of my adult life has been involved with education, trying to help young people to say YES to the opportunities their lives present.

Born in Dundee, I hold degrees from the universities of Sussex, Chicago and Aberdeen. Briefly a Whitehall civil servant in the early 1970s, I came back to Scotland to train as a teacher. Most of my teaching service was in Elgin, Selkirk and Forres before I became involved in school management and the development of new secondary curriculum. I was latterly a board member of the SQA, the old Scottish Exam Board.


In later years, I took positions in charge of the Church of Scotland’s multi faith school in Israel, and as principal of Coast Academy, in Kenya. I am still involved in Kenya, where with African colleagues I have started a “centre of excellence” school where 300 rural children are getting a good education right now.


I have strong political experience. A Labour member and candidate as a young man, I was a parliamentary candidate for the LibDems in 1983 and 1987. I set out the reasoning behind my party allegiances in an article you can find on www.danusskenesnp.org.

In Shetland for few years now, I am offering you the opportunity to support me in saying YES on behalf of these islands. My greatest single ambition in seeking to be your MSP is to achieve progress in securing greater decision-making autonomy for Shetland.

Our islands need to determine what autonomy we actually want, and work with a SNP Scottish Government to get it – secured, if possible, in the constitution of an independent Scotland. This must include better international access for Shetland to fisheries and oil & gas negotiations.


The SNP Scottish Government has achieved much for Shetland. The new Anderson’s High School is being built. New housing has been built by Hjaltland Housing Association, and more are in prospect. Council tax has been frozen. There is more childcare for pre-school children. We have protected the NHS and other public services from the worst effects of the London Tory “austerity” cuts – for example by preventing the application here of the bedroom tax.

The Air Discount Scheme has been extended, and NorthLink ferry fares frozen for the coming year. Looking ahead, we have built Shetland representation into the partnership that will decide the future ferry contracts, and indeed the specification for the next generation of ferries themselves.

Shetland’s political and administrative starting point is as a Scottish local authority. Basic political decisions are made for us in the Scottish Parliament, and so we stand to benefit from having a MSP who is a Scottish Government insider. At present we are too often seen as carping outsiders represented by the LibDems party without integrity, direction or influence.

So support me in saying YES for Shetland to:

  • Greater autonomy for Shetland;
  • A properly supported transport system over which we have influence;
  • Competent public administration as demonstrated by the SNP Scottish Government;
  • Protection from cuts originated in Westminster in the interest of wealthier groups in the South

Scottish independence does not guarantee these and other desirable outcomes, but it makes them possible.

Danus Skene
Parliamentary Candidate for Shetland
Scottish National Party