On the eve of the most keenly contested Shetland election in years, Shetland News contacted each of the ten candidates for their final thoughts prior to polling day.
This is what they had to say –
Johan Adamson, Scottish Labour:“Vote for Johan Adamson to also get a say on Brexit, get better and cheaper transport links and get closer to the government.
“With Labour you also get someone connected to one of the largest parties in the UK, one with real progressive policies, who will seek to eradicate fuel poverty and remove the disadvantage we face in Shetland – a berth on the boat, our own community co-operative for green energy.
“Cheaper, greener transport to the mainland, fixed links and new ferries. Investment – so that we can grow the economy of Scotland and the UK.
“Investment is required on internal and external ferries to ensure that our goods can be exported.
“Labour is at the forefront of the fight to stop no deal so that our agriculture is not finished. We need to stand up for the rural way of life and I would seek to do this.
“I’m from here, I live here, and will continue to do so and will stand up for all constituents, and work for a fairer society for the whole of the UK.”
Brydon Goodlad, Scottish Conservative:“As voters go to the polls here in Shetland, they have a very clear choice.
“A vote for the Liberal Democrats or the SNP means a vote for parties that are trying to block the will of the British people to leave the EU.
“I am the only main party candidate that is respecting the outcome of the 2016 referendum.
“Brexit will mean more powers for the Scottish parliament, including over our fisheries.
“There is a huge opportunity for our fishing sector, and we must be ready to seize it.
“It is time for a change from decades of Lib Dem representation – and the answer is not an SNP MSP who will simply toe the party line at Holyrood.
“Shetland needs a strong local MSP who will stand up for this area and ensure we get a better deal when it comes to local services and transport. I am ready to take on that job.”
Stuart Martin, UKIP: “I would like to thank all who I managed to meet on the doorstep and have pledged their support for me on Thursday.
“For those I did not manage to make contact with, I hope you will also give me your vote on Thursday.
“I will speak up for Shetland at Holyrood by putting fishing, agriculture and transport as priority.
“For our young people more local jobs and affordable social housing.
“I will continue to campaign against the Viking wind farm.
“I will fight to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom as I am proud to be both Scottish and British.
“I would just like to say it’s been a privilege to be your prospective candidate in this election
“Stuart Martin – putting Shetland first.”
Debra Nicolson, Scottish Green Party:“Standing for this by-election has been a fantastic experience. I’ve been able to speak to people all over Shetland and there is no doubt there is a lot of concern about the climate emergency. Those people now have the ability to make the other candidates sit up and take notice.
“Every Green vote we get on Thursday counts. As we launch our Scottish Green New Deal – a set of bold proposals to realign our economy, create new jobs and secure a sustainable Scotland, the clearest way for Shetlanders to tell the Scottish Government to take meaningful action is by voting Scottish Green.”
Ian Scott, independent:“If you wish our health service and welfare state to continue, our education and our youth services to be adequately funded, and everything else you hold dear in our country to continue, you vote for the SNP, the Liberals etc. more in hope than in anticipation.
“I do not expect to win this election but I would hope that there are enough people in our islands with big enough hearts to think of others.
“Fight austerity, save our NHS, save our welfare state – VOTE IAN SCOTT.”
Michael Stout, independent: “You the voter have had a great deal of opinion, claims and promises from the national parties in the last few weeks.
“I would like to remind you that Shetland has never faced a time when external influences are more likely to affect us.
“My belief is that national and party politics are more likely to be a constraint than a benefit – and that we would be best served by an independent MSP, using the skills developed from years of political experience at local and national level.
“The tools are there to use – The Islands Act recognises that we have different needs, and needs to be used effectively.
“We still have the spectre of wholly inappropriate industrial wind farms hanging over us as an example of national policy with little consideration of local impact.
“We don’t need a party politician to get what is both equitable and best for our islands – now and into the future.
“I would be more than honoured to be given the chance to use my experiences to achieve what’s right and necessary for Shetland.”
Ryan Thomson, independent:“I’ve run a positive campaign, yes I’ve criticised other parties when I’ve felt it necessary, however I’ve also issued praise when it’s due.
“We have serious issues around transport mainly focusing on a lack of funding from government for our internal ferries, to capacity and cost issues with our NorthLink service.
“I have a track record of being able to implement change, and work for the benefit of the Shetland public.
“We only have 18 months, it will take serious time for any candidate to get up to speed to be able to deliver and implement change during that period.
“That is why I believe there is no better placed candidate with the knowledge and experience I have to be able to achieve positive outcomes for Shetland.
“I will work with the government for the benefit of our isles, but free to campaign against them too. I can work cross party, across parliament, and be a real voice for Shetlanders both at Holyrood, and here in Shetland.”
Tom Wills, SNP: “On Thursday you can vote to make a real difference to Shetland’s future.
“Boris Johnson must be stopped. Shetland didn’t vote for the Tories and we certainly didn’t vote for Brexit.
“It’s an attack on democracy for a group of extreme Brexiteers to shut down Parliament and force through a No Deal Brexit.
“The SNP is widely recognised across the UK as the most anti-Brexit party.
“We’ve worked with other parties to end this chaos – but the Lib Dems have gone soft on Brexit. They’ve been posted missing every time they’ve had the chance to stop this disaster – refusing to work with others.
“If we don’t act now jobs, incomes and public services like our NHS will be on the line.
“And with sky high tariffs our seafood and agricultural industries will suffer immensely.
“We can’t let Boris Johnson cut Shetland off from the world.
“It’s time for action, not words. Vote SNP tomorrow to stop Boris and stop Brexit.”
Beatrice Wishart, Scottish Liberal Democrats: “I am so proud of the campaign that the Liberal Democrats have run.
“We have been out in every corner of Shetland talking to people about the issues that affect them: lowering fares on ferries and flights, improving broadband and the addressing the challenges facing our fishing and agriculture industries.
“There are also many who are concerned that the SNP will use this vote to push for another independence referendum. I totally reject their plan. We voted to remain in the UK and I am committed to making Shetland’s voice heard.
“Tavish worked for Shetland every day in the Scottish Parliament and if I am elected I will do the same.”
Shetland News attempted to contact independent candidate Peter Tait without success.
Shetland News will report live from the election count in Lerwick on Thursday evening.
Read more about all ten candidates at our special Shetland by-election page at: https://www.shetnews.co.uk/category/features/election-2019/