SIC - Orkney & Shetland valuation joint board

Letters / Time to step up to the plate

Now that Kate Forbes has published the draft budget in the Scottish Parliament, we can all see that the issue of funding the running cost of our inter island ferries has been resolved. Or has it?

SNP government announces full inter-island ferry funding

Yes, Shetland Islands Council have been allocated £5.5m extra this year to cover the full cost of running our ferries, and yes, that takes some pressure off the overall budget for the council and making it easier to protect our public services.

I don’t think I have ever heard Steven Coutts so delighted on Radio Shetland on Thursday night, and rightly so.

But, (there is always a but isn’t there), this budget needs to be passed in the Scottish Parliament.

The way the parliament was set up in 1999 makes it almost impossible for one party to achieve an overall majority. The largest party (in this case the SNP) must therefore work with the opposition parties on all issues, including the budget, and gain enough support to get a majority in favour of each issue.

This is where our current MSP comes in. For the past few budgets, the Liberal Democrats (all five of them) have steadfastly refused to support the budget unless independence was taken off the SNP agenda.

Instead of helping to govern our country when given the chance they chose gesture politics instead. Pathetic really.

So, what we need to know now: is Beatrice Wishart going to vote for a budget that will greatly benefit her constituents or is she going to carry on with this childish political point scoring that does nobody any favours?

Time to step up to the plate, back the budget, back the SIC and most importantly back your constituents. In short, time to start acting like the MSP Shetland needs.

Iain Malcolmson
South Nesting