I’m asking folk in Shetland to put their trust in me as their MSP, because I want to help Shetland reach its full potential. Whatever your politics and whether we agree or disagree, I will always listen and take your case to the heart of government. You can trust me to speak my mind and put our community first.
Shetland is blessed with natural resources and as we decarbonise our economy, we should learn from Norway and Faroe and ensure that our community benefits from the changes that are coming.
To me, this means maximising the level of community or public ownership in any future energy projects, investing in tunnels or bridges and empowering our local democracy. I also believe that by engaging with the Scottish Government as an equal partner, we can get a lot more done for Shetland.
During the pandemic, the number of Shetlanders claiming Universal Credit has more than doubled. The toll on the mental health of islanders has also been heavy and we must invest more in support services as well as prevention.
In one of the richest countries in the world, it is unacceptable that food banks are needed and that so many are living in fuel poverty. Post-pandemic, we need to do more than just recover: we need to build a fairer society and an economy that puts human wellbeing first.
Shetland’s young folk have had to make sacrifices just when their horizons should have been expanding. They need our support to enter local industries such as fishing, farming, crofting and the creative sector – I’d also like to see local training provision for the decommissioning, offshore renewables and space sectors.
Brexit has not delivered. The fundamental problem with UK and EU fisheries policy has always been the lack of local management and control. Shetland already leads the way in local management of shell fisheries and I think we should explore a similar model for other fisheries. As Shetland’s MSP, it would be my duty to prioritise our most important economic sector.
For the next generation of Shetlanders, hope for the future means living on a planet with a stable climate – and in a healthy modern democracy.
We’ve seen what the likes of Boris Johnson are willing to do to our democratic institutions and in Scotland, we’ve been repeatedly told that our future is not our own to decide. So this election is not just about politics: it’s about protecting democracy.
Like Shetland’s famous Lib Dem MP Jo Grimond, I believe that Scotland’s parliament should have all the normal powers of government, except for those that we choose to delegate to the UK, Europe or anywhere else. I don’t think it’s too radical to suggest – like Jo did – that these decisions should be ours to take.
I grew up in Bressay and now live in Hoswick with my wife and our young son. I know how lucky I am to be raising a family here and I want to protect this place.