My name is Ryan Thomson, I am 34 years old, and I have lived in Shetland all my life, originating from Baltasound, Unst. I am married to Lesley, and we have three boys, James, Gary and Lewis.
Standing as an Independent, I can make my voting decisions based only on what is good for our islands, and not what a Mainland party tells me to. There’s no-one in Edinburgh or London telling me how to vote. I have the freedom to analyse the information on any vote, speak to the local people, and act in accordance with the best knowledge available, rather than on dogmatic party lines.
My manifesto revolves heavily, but not exclusively, around transport, which given our geography, is such a key issue for so many, including our aquaculture, seafood, and agriculture industries.
I’ve been very vocal on the need for change on our lifeline ferry route from Lerwick to Aberdeen. Folk need to get on and off the isles at an affordable price, and Industries need to get their goods in and out quickly and affordably.
You shouldn’t have to be well off to be able to afford to use what is a lifeline service. For me and my family to go south this summer would have cost £561.76. This is simply not acceptable, nor sustainable.
If elected as MSP, I will push for a resolution to the crippling cabin costs faced by islanders. A resolution to the capacity issues, particularly at bottleneck periods. A resolution to freight capacity issues, and push for 7pm sailings every night from Lerwick.
I will work with Transport Scotland and Ministers to make sure they know precisely what our service needs. Thriving businesses and Industries here in Shetland not only benefit our islands, but the country nationally.
Fair Ferry Funding
Our internal ferry service is under threat. I will work constructively with the government to finally secure fair funding for our internal ferries, so we can concentrate on securing a proper, sustainable service, which meets the needs of the islands they serve.
Fixed links are an absolute necessity going forward. We have an aging fleet of ferries that is expensive for the council to maintain – and those costs will only rise over time.
For me, it’s not a question of ‘can we afford it’, but rather, can we afford not to?
We need to see some progress. The National Transport Strategy is key to delivering this project and I am keen to be as involved as possible to press on the government the socio-economic and environmental benefits of fixed links for Shetland.
An issue which continues to tear the country in two. It can be hard to cut through the political fog Brexit has created.
I think that No Deal would be bad news. It makes sense to me that we secure a deal with Europe, as they’re a huge trading partner to the UK.
Shetland’s new MSP must use their position to pressure both the Scottish Government and Westminster Government to ensure that any difficulties caused in any Brexit scenario are limited for our local industries.
The Air Discount Scheme scheme is absolutely vital for Shetland. Getting on and off Shetland is already prohibitively expensive – local people cannot afford to lose that 50 per cent discount. I will build a positive working relationship with the government to ensure the continuation of this vital service beyond its current deadline of December 2020.
We can keep voting in the same parties and wonder why things don’t change, or we can try something new.
I am hoping that over the coming weeks I am able to convince the majority of Shetlanders that I have the passion and enthusiasm to represent them in Parliament.