So Nicola Sturgeon believes her ministers have an ‘open door’ when it comes to discussing transport and other issues where the Northern Isles have been let down by her government (Sturgeon – ‘the door is and always has been open’; SN, 14 August 2019).
From my experience, the state of the door has never been the problem. Getting ministers to keep their promises, however, is another matter; whether on cheaper ferry fares, fair funding for our lifeline internal ferry services or even just consulting people in Orkney and Shetland before imposing airport car park charges.
Now we have Nicola Sturgeon, back in Shetland for the first time since the last Holyrood election, making more promises about how her government will be more generous if only islanders vote for the SNP. Meantime, islanders are left waiting for her to fulfil the promises from her last visit three years ago.
In truth, Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t like being held to account. That’s why SNP MPs and MSPs are made to agree not to criticise her government. It is also why her deputy leader thinks it is OK to threaten Shetlanders that only a nationalist will get access to ministers. Now it appears Nicola Sturgeon wants to control opposition MSPs in the same way. Well it’s not going to happen.
I know that Beatrice Wishart will be happy to work constructively with anyone to get the best for Shetland. That is how she works – as many local people know.
Equally, like Tavish, she’ll fight hard to stand up for Shetland’s interests on the key issues. After all, what islanders expect is for their MSP to be a strong voice for Shetland and Orkney in Edinburgh, not a cheerleader for the government in the islands.
Liam McArthur MSP
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