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Election / Campaign round-up 30 April 2021

All4Unity lead candidate Moira Ramage.

ALL4Unity, which targets the list vote similar to Alex Salmond’s Alba party but for the opposite political aim, has apologised for chopping Shetland off its unity election leaflets.

The party’s lead candidate for the Highlands and Islands Moira Ramage said she could only apologise for the error, which shouldn’t have happened. “It’s entirely our fault,” she said.

“I understand why people would be angry. I would be too. We are trying very hard to make a change for the better and move away from the constant ‘neverendum’ which is so damaging to Scotland. Hopefully people will be forgiving.”

The party, led by George Galloway, aims to win seats in each region and has calculated that it needs six per cent of the vote to be successful.

Ramage added: “Our aim is to ‘Save Our Scotland’ from the disastrous consequences of breaking from the Union.”

Scottish Labour candidate Martin Kerr.

SCOTTISH Labour has described first minister Nicola Sturgeon as “detached from the reality” after she claimed that the Northern Ireland protocol provides a blueprint for Scottish independence in Europe.

Local candidate Martin Kerr said the Scottish economy would be under greater threat should the county gain independence.

“We just have to look at the situation in Northern Ireland to see how border controls can impact on a country’s economy. This would lead to even more delay in getting Shetland goods to England, Ireland or the EU, particularly in the case of fish, shellfish and livestock, some of Shetland’s main exports.

“Any further delay is going to severely damage these industries. [Labour MP] Ian Murray is right – our priority has to be about getting our economy going again, not hindering it by the threat of independence.”

SNP candidate Tom Wills.

SNP candidate Tom Wills has floated the idea of setting up a Shetland energy trust as a vehicle to negotiate a local energy tariff for electricity coming from the Viking Energy wind farm, as well as tackling the high levels of fuel poverty in the isles by implementing energy saving initiatives and home insulation schemes.

In his latest blog, Wills writes that the opportunity to eliminate fuel poverty was missed when oil industry came to Shetland 45 years ago, and it should not be missed again now that the isles are set to become a net exporter of green energy.

He said: “Shetland will now play an important role in achieving climate change targets and per capita, we will probably play a bigger part than any other community anywhere, given the scale of the Viking Energy windfarm.

“But again, there has not been enough organised discussion or ambition about how, as a quid pro quo, Shetland’s high level of fuel poverty could be tackled. This should change.

“There is a real moral duty for all concerned to provide electricity to Shetland at a more affordable price. If elected I would engage with SSE, the SIC and the SCT and others to explore how such a scheme – a local energy trust – might work.

“Shetland already has a charitable trust, an arts trust, an amenity trust and a leisure and recreation trust: I think we should also have an energy trust that is dedicated to eliminating fuel poverty and decarbonising energy use.”

The blog can be found here.

Scottish Greens Highlands and Islands lead candidate Ariane Burgess.

THE SALE of an oil field 90 miles east of Shetland will have a “dire environmental impact” at a time when we should be tackling the climate emergency according to Ariane Burgess, the lead candidate for the Scottish Greens in the Highlands & Islands.

This follows news that EnQuest has acquired control of the Bentley oil field, one of the biggest ‘under-developed’ oil fields in the area.

Burgess said: “Scientists say that we only have nine years to stop irreversible damage from climate change. We need real climate action, not more oil field exploration.

“So many skilled people work in the oil industry, and we should be using their skills to build a fairer, greener Scotland.”

“That is why we are calling for an end to new oil extraction licences and are presenting a costed plan for 100,000 green jobs across Scotland. We must invest in creating green jobs by boosting renewable energy, public transport, warm homes and restoring Scotland’s natural environment. Our future depends on it.”

Conservative candidiate Nick Tulloch.

CONSERVATIVE candidate Nick Tulloch is backing his party’s plans to invest an extra £600 million to tackle the treatment backlog in the NHS.

The £600 million fund will help to tackle the backlog in treatments and procedures in Shetland which built up under the SNP and has been exacerbated by the pandemic, Tulloch said.

The fund would be managed by a taskforce that would be independent of government, led by clinicians with the skills and expertise to get patients in NHS Shetland seen as quickly as possible.

Tulloch said rebuilding the NHS after the Covid-19 pandemic must be a top priority.

“The Covid crisis has created a major backlog of patients in NHS Shetland who are waiting on vital treatments and procedures,” he said.

“We must treat this backlog in NHS Shetland with the seriousness it deserves and ensure patients are treated as quickly as possible.”

The Scottish Parliament elections take place on 6 May. There are six candidates contesting the Shetland seat. They are in alphabetical order: Martin Kerr (Labour), Brian Nugent (Restore Scotland); Peter Tait (Independent), Nick Tulloch (Conservatives), Tom Wills (SNP) and Beatrice Wishart (Liberal Democrats).

To find out more about all the candidates standing in the election, including those on the regional Highlands and Islands list, visit our Scottish Parliament election 2021 page below.