A WESTERN Isles council worker has been selected as Shetland’s Labour candidate for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election.
Cameron Thompson, 23, has lived the majority of his life in the Western Isles.
Since leaving school, he has worked for the islands’ council, and he is currently employed in its finance department.
Thomson is also a trade union representative for UNISON, occupying the role of vice-chair of its Scottish young members’ committee.
In his spare time, when he is not spending time being the father to four year old Joshua, he keeps himself busy with a variety of outdoor activities.
As someone who has lived most of his life in islands, Thompson is aware of the challenges of rural communities, particular for those on low incomes.
“I am all too aware of the high costs of goods in our island groups,” he said.
He is said to be “acutely conscious of how long distances and the cost of ferries affect the prices of many items found in Shetland’s stores and supermarkets”.
“This is an issue that needs addressing, and not with the sticking plaster that the present Scottish government have applied to the problem,” Thompson added.
He said that this is particularly true of the costs of ferries that link the islands to the mainland of Shetland.
“The temporary solution offered by the SNP candidate on this issue is the worst kind of short-termism, one prompted by sheer opportunism and the coming of an election rather than real thought.
“We need a long term plan that addresses the unfairness implicit in the current situation.”
Thompson is also said to be familiar with issues such as social, cultural and psychological support during the pandemic, and wind farms in island communities.
“Shetland, much like everywhere else, will be affected by the wider issues that Labour seeks to solve – ending poverty, proper funding for the NHS, combating nationalism, the need for a care service, and much more,” he said.
“However, our islands are unique in many of the challenges that we face, with the obvious being travel links to the mainland, digital connectivity, and the potential we have for renewables.
“If these things aren’t brought to the forefront of the debate, then we all risk getting left behind as the SNP continues their programme of centralisation.
“I wish to speak to people throughout these islands to find out how they feel about this and other issues.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be Labour’s candidate in this election, especially in these extraordinary times. My most important task is to look, listen and learn. I intend to do this to the best of my ability over the coming months.”
Thompson will go up against current MSP Beatrice Wishart (Liberal Democrats) and the SNP’s Tom Wills in the election on 6 May.
The Conservatives have yet to formally announce a candidate, while the Greens are focusing on the Highlands and Islands regional list vote.
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