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Election letters 2019 / Blackmail

The unedifying row between the SNP and Liberal Democrats about who secured the internal ferry funding seems to be generating more heat than light (Row over who secured ferry funding continues; SN, 22 August 2019).

All I can say is that we have had eight years of the Lib Dems in office with Labour, followed by 12 years of the SNP, and it is quite clear that the promises made to people in Shetland have repeatedly been forgotten about by the respective administrations, once they disappear down to Holyrood.

So far as the SNP are concerned, their main message in this by-election seems to be that unless we elect an SNP MSP, Shetland’s interests will continue to be neglected.

“I’m not sure that message, which is tantamount to blackmail, is going to be well-received.

SNP politicians clearly have short memories. It was only after intense pressure from Shetland Islands Council, and from MSPs representing all the opposition parties in Holyrood, that the SNP were shamed into meeting their own election pledge on funding Shetland’s internal ferries.

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston worked collaboratively with Lib Dem, Labour and Scottish Green MSP colleagues, as well as councillors in Shetland and in Orkney, to put pressure on SNP ministers to deliver what they had promised the people of the Northern Isles.

Too often, communities in the Highlands and Islands, including here in Shetland, have been an afterthought to the SNP.

“That’s why it is so important Shetland elects an MSP prepared to work with colleagues from across the political parties in holding this central belt focused SNP government in Edinburgh to account.

Brydon Goodlad
Conservative candidate for the Shetland by-election