The Labour candidate for Orkney & Shetland in GE17 had a meeting on Saturday, 3rd June to answer questions from the public. In the St Magnus Centre Kirkwall she answered honestly a host of questions on a variety of issues.
Robina Barton lives in Shetland and is extremely active in her local community. Last year she stood in the 2016 elections to the Scottish Parliament for Shetland. This meeting with the public gave her the chance to explain what motivates her political activism.
Robina explained the values that she has and her deep feelings that socialism and nationalism do not fit together.
“The SNP do not have core values. Their policies look socialist but their party is about gaining independence for Scotland.”
Criticising the SNP Government’s policies on Education and tackling poverty she commented:
“The SNP Government are not doing very much – in fact they are pathetic.”
And she referred to the double whammy of austerity that the people of Scotland were getting first from the Tories and then from the SNP.
Robina was shocked about what she had seen with the impact of the benefits system and believes that in the next Westminster Parliament Labour MPs will get behind Jeremy Corbyn and support him despite their failure to do so in the last Parliament.
She is against the renewal of Trident but supports the current Labour Party position that is in favour of it continuing fearing the loss of jobs if it didn’t go ahead. She was critical of the SNP who she said:
” Are happy to get Trident out of Scotland – moving a problem a few miles south is not a solution”.
She felt nobody knows what will happen with Brexit but did not feel all the powers currently with the EU over farming should go to Holyrood. She conceded that although the Labour Party manifesto said nothing about farming it did address ways to support rural communities.
Robina is not convinced fishing will come out of the Brexit process well but has signed the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation’s Brexit pledge. She wants Parliament to have a final say on any Brexit deal and she would also push for another referendum on Brexit. She didn’t know what it would be like if Scotland and Northern Ireland stayed in the EU and rUK came out.
She would not support Labour having a coalition with the SNP because they are nationalists and that goes against her core values but she would be in favour of one with the Liberal Democrats.
Robina again stressed how much she hates nationalism seeing it as a ‘them’ and ‘us’ situation. She hopes that her standing in the General Election will raise the profile of the Labour Party in the Northern Isles. Asked if she would stand again she confirmed that she would consider it. The election has given her the opportunity to say some of the things that she feels need to be said.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
The candidates standing in Orkney & Shetland 2017
Labour: Robina Barton
SNP: Miriam Brett
Liberal Democrats: Alistair Carmichael
Independent: Stuart Hill
Conservative: Jamie Halcro Johnston
UKIP: Robert Smith