Dear Orkney News
Brexit is the main issue facing us at the Election on June 8th. Theresa May, by failing to engage in open debate, seems to indicate that she does not have a good story to tell us. The leading UK newspapers have described the current Tory campaign as the weakest in living memory. Meanwhile Labour and Lib-Dems, in Scotland, have been reluctant to engage with the Tories on Brexit. Lib-Dems, in Scotland are, instead acting as if they are still in Coalition with the Tories. The Tories have been cutting support for working families and the vulnerable young people, while giving tax cuts to the richest.
This is a UK Election about UK, EU and international matters, not detailed devolved issues.
The Tories, Labour and Lib-Dems can, however, learn from the achievements of successive devolved SNP Governments, in spite of unprecedented austerity with limited control of our own taxation and funding.
The Scottish Government has invested heavily in education at primary, secondary, colleges and university levels. Nursing students have access to bursaries and financial support. Students, in Scotland, do not have to pay annual fees of £9000.00. Housing support for those aged 18 to 21 has been restored. Unlike Westminster, the SNP trusts 16 and 17 year olds to vote. There are challenges in education and in other areas, as there always has been.
Having listened to the SNP’s two hour question and answer session, in Shetland last week, featuring Mhairi Black, the youngest MP, over the past two years and Miriam Brett, the SNP candidate, it is clear that the Scottish Education system is alive and well. Only elected SNP MPs will stand up for Scotland, opposing Tory austerity cuts and Brexit.
The importance of open high quality debate has never been greater. Emmanuel Macron the new French President, recently tackled extremism defeating the National Front, at the polls. Meanwhile Theresa May and the Tories have moved in the opposite direction by appeasing and taking over UKIP, not opposing them.
JOHN MOWAT Orkney