Liam McArthur is right that islanders expect their MSP to act as a strong voice for local issues in Edinburgh [Keeping ministers’ promises is the problem; SN, 19/8/19]. Yet for the last three years, the Lib Dems have refused to take part in any budget talks whatsoever with the Scottish Government.
The SNP is in minority government at Holyrood so depends on other parties sit down and get round the table to pass their annual budget. This acts a golden opportunity for MSPs from smaller opposition parties to win a lot for their area – an opportunity the Lib Dems have said they will continue to snub.
Of course if the Lib Dems want to talk about actions not words, let’s look at their record in government: the rising use of foodbanks in Shetland, the hundreds of women affected by last minute changes to their pensions, the U-turn on tuition fees for students in England or the money the Scottish Government is now spending mitigating against the bedroom tax.
Tom [Wills, SNP by-election candidate] is serious about securing change for Shetland. Whether it’s his plans to introduce an Islander Discount on NorthLink cabins, secure free fares for foot passengers on SIC ferries or get rid of parking charges at Sumburgh – Tom is ready to sit down and work with the Scottish Government to get things done. I know he’s already been speaking with government ministers about his plans.
Hearing from voters on the doors, I know Shetlanders are ready to try something different, away from the ‘blame-game’ politics that will only hold these islands back. Lend Tom your vote on the 29th August and let him prove what can be really achieved.
SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands