We are fast approaching the election this May for the next Scottish Parliament. Things have changed considerably in Scottish politics since the last Holyrood elections:
- Scotland has voted “no” to independence;
- the powers and accountability of the Scottish Parliament have increased;
- yet Shetland continues to be let down by a Nationalist administration focused on centralisation and the “Central Belt”.
It is clear that we need a strong counterpoint to the nationalist policies of the past nine years. I’m proud therefore to be standing as your local candidate for the Scottish Parliament elections for the Scottish Conservatives, the only party capable in this election to offer a real “Scottish Alternative” and to challenge the SNP head-on.
I believe that as your local candidate you need not only a candidate that can hold the government to account, but also someone who can put forward ideas and then translate those ideas into actions and solutions.
Since graduating from the University of Edinburgh I have been working as an adviser to the Conservative Party in the European Parliament in Brussels. I work with our senior MEPs on business policy and Scottish issues, ranging from cyber security to the approvals process for cars following the VW emissions scandal.
The experience I have gained working in Brussels, engaging with European Commissioners, UK Government ministers and national parliamentarians from across Europe means that, if elected, I would be well-placed to gain the access to government and decision makers that we need to achieve benefits for Shetland.
During my campaign I am looking forward to meeting many islanders to discuss their priorities and how best to realise the changes and investments we need to keep Shetland being an attractive place to live, work and visit.
From discussions held already, and the work undertaken by initiatives like Our Islands, Our Future and Equal Shetland, I believe the following five issues need urgent action, and as your MSP these would be my immediate objectives to make a positive difference for Shetland:
- A local approach, shifting powers and responsibilities to Shetland;
- Better management of our fishing, aquaculture and crofting interests;
- Guaranteeing community control over renewable energy developments, and securing community benefit from their financial returns;
- Seeking to reduce the costs of air travel and ferry services out of Shetland, and tackling the large costs and infrequent provision of inter-Shetland travel;
- Delivering better mobile connectivity across Shetland, in addition to full broadband cover.
I am also looking forward to discussions about how we secure Shetland’s future in the medium to long term. Shetland has a number of fantastic prospects, such as becoming a leader in decommissioning, a renewable energy hub and extending our creative industries.
In each of those areas decisions taken at Holyrood, Westminster and in Brussels can open up opportunities for new jobs and growth in Shetland. We need to make sure Shetland makes the best of those chances, and if elected I will work hard to turn those chances into realities.
Parliamentary Candidate for Shetland
Scottish Conservative Party