THE FIRST person to publicly signal their intention to stand for the upcoming Scottish Parliament by-election in Shetland has stepped forward – a councillor with an anti-austerity message.
Shetland Central member Ian Scott has formed his own party, Fight Austerity, Save Our NHS, Save Our Welfare State, in the hope of securing votes from islanders disillusioned with the current state of politics.
He is the first person to publicly declare their intention to stand in the by-election, which will take place on 29 August after Tavish Scott steps down after more than 20 years to take up a role with Scottish Rugby.
“I’m asking the betrayed Liberal voters, and also the disappointed SNP supporters and the ill-served Labour supporters, to tell the rest of Scotland that change is desperately wanted and needed,” Ian Scott said.
He pointed to the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition at Westminster between 2010 and 2015, saying “honest” liberal supporters were “cruelly abused”.
“I’m also appealing to our young constituents,” Scott added.
“There is a better future – there has to be a better future. I’m imploring those of us who have no interest in politics, to think again. Every vote counts.”
At the heart of Scott’s message is a desire to retain public services from cuts.
“The wealthy don’t use our hospitals, our schools, our care homes, our buses, trams, our youth clubs, so they have no wish pay for them,” he said.
“We need to unite and fight to retain the public services, because once they are gone they are vitally impossible to take back.”
With Tavish Scott in post since the start of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, many view the upcoming by-election as an opportunity for change, with some believing that a vote for the Lib Dem was often for the person and not always the party.
It remains to be seen, however, just how many votes Ian Scott will bag in the by-election in the face of historic Liberal Democrat allegiance and also the rise of support for the SNP within the isles’ electorate.
“I believe I’ve got every chance of doing very well,” he retorted.
“I believe there are enough people in Shetland with enough common sense and passion to vote for somebody who will not betray the health service, youth services or mental health provision. I’m asking everybody to say ‘damn it – enough is enough. Let’s start the fight now’.
“I’m asking the people of Shetland to take a bold, determined stride towards a healthy, happy and prosperous future for us all. It’s not too late; it’s never too late. Shetland can look forward to having a Scott who will fight its corner.”