By-Election 2019 / Michael Stout


Originally from Fair Isle, I’m a 58 year old widower with a grown up family, living in Quendale. I was the SIC member for Lerwick North and Bressay 2012-2017, serving as chair of the environment and transport committee, chair of Shetland’s regional transport partnership ZetTrans and as deputy leader of Shetland Islands Council.

I’ve had a wide range of life and work experiences; from early days crofting, crewing the ferry, and the many other jobs associated with life on a small island, through to later employment in the voluntary sector and as manager of the Shetland Alcohol Trust. I’ve also lived away from Shetland; college in Aberdeen, touring Europe with Hom Bru, and a spell living and working in Devon.

My creative side has seen me involved over the years with music and the arts as a sound engineer and events technician; the biggest grins are usually associated with woodworking, boats, and the sea!

Why I’m standing:

Very simply, because I believe that my years of hard won experience with not only local politics, but a great deal of engagement at national level, gives me the confidence and ability to represent Shetland well in the turbulent times ahead. The only real certainty looking ahead is that of change – and within those lie opportunities.

An independent MSP, free from party constraints, working effectively in Holyrood as well as with the local authority, can secure the best outcomes for our future.

I am not making election promises, other than to do my best to work hard and competently on your behalf, and continue with the approach I took during my time on the council. A core part of that is to have a good working knowledge of the wide range of issues likely to come up, but more importantly to quietly establish good working relationships with colleagues; little is achieved without those.

The one area I will mention specifically is transport; not surprisingly it will form a significant part of my interest and focus. The agreements reached over fair funding for our internal ferries must be enacted; similarly the principle of fixed links being treated as national infrastructure projects rather than the responsibility of the local authority needs to be accepted and acted on. Our external air and sea links not only have to be currently fit for purpose, but also in the future; Shetland cannot thrive, and continue to be a net contributor to the national economy without good transport links.

With the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, a possible second independence referendum on the way and Westminster politics in an unprecedented state of flux, it would take a better crystal ball than I have to foresee the future and the external influences which will affect us. 

However, especially now with the Islands Bill, and the concept of ‘island proofing’ built into that, there will be ways to minimise negative impacts, but more importantly, capitalise on opportunities presented by the coming changes.

Shetland has gone through massive changes in my lifetime; an unusual scale and rate of change. Oil and relative affluence have brought their problems as well as benefits but I believe we are well placed to take on the challenges ahead of us, and would welcome the opportunity to play my part in that. As folk who know me will attest, I care about Shetland; the place and the people.

I will be a strong voice for our islands’ best interests. With my personal and political experience to draw on, along with enthusiasm for a new challenge, please consider voting for me on 29 August.

Michael Stout

Phone: 07387 963681