Congratulations to Robert Leslie,who is the SNP candidate for Orkney & Shetland for the imminent General Election. Green energy policy, social inequality issues and protecting our NHS from Tory privatisation will be right at the heart of his campaign in the Northern Isles.Alongside his day job as an energy officer, Robert has worked part-time for me since I was elected in 2016. I know personally just how passionate Robert is about improving life on our islands and I know that, if elected, he will be dedicated to the job.
As the December election draws in fast, so do the false claims from the Liberal Democrats. Their insistence that they are the ‘number one remain party’ could not be further from the truth. The Lib Dems would rather Scotland exit the EU under a Tory hard-Brexit than give the people of Scotland the right to decide their own future.
The Lib Dems have propped up a Tory government once before and they won’t hesitate to do it again. Let’s not forget that, as part of the destructive ConDem Coalition, Alistair Carmichael supported the roll-out of Universal Credit,which has not only inflicted hardship on many islanders but also upon millions of people throughout the UK. It’s no coincidence that since the advent of Universal Credit, there has been a stark rise in foodbank use on our islands. Take Orkney for instance, between 1st April and 30thSeptember this year, a total of 265 three-day emergency food packages were provided to people in crisis by the Orkney Foodbank in Kirkwall – including 99 provided for children. These figures are shocking, and the Lib Dems need to take responsibility for enabling Tory welfare reform.
With a Johnson/Farage alliance and dodgy back-room deals prevailing, the Prime Minister has shown yet again why he and his party are not fit to lead the country. The Tories are determined to ‘get Brexit done’ – something we voted against in Scotland, because it will harm our communities and make us all poorer.
And what is there to say about Labour? At a time of political crisis where the country seeks strong leadership, Jeremy Corbyn is still refusing to state clearly what his policies are – this time on a second independence referendum.
Last week, we celebrated a hat-trick of council by-election victories for the SNP, with two wins in Fife, and one in Highland. This mirrors the positive response we are receiving on the doors as we campaign for the upcoming election. It’s clear that people are fed up of the broken Westminster system and are ready to choose a different path. If Scotland doesn’t decide its own future, then Boris Johnson will do it for us. A vote for the SNP on 12thDecember is a vote to put Scotland’s future firmly in Scotland’s hands.
Don’t forget, the deadline to register to vote and to sign up for a postal vote is Tuesday 26th November and the deadline for proxy votes is 5pm on Wednesday 4th December.
This is a regular column by Maree Todd, MSP, SNP. All list MSPs in the Highlands and Islands have been offered this same space in The Orkney News where they can share their views.
There are 6 candidates standing in the Orkney and Shetland Constituency to be held on Thursday 12th of December.
David Stephen Barnard, Independent
Alistair Carmichael, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Coilla Anne Drake, Scottish Labour Party
Jennifer Fairbairn, Scottish Conservative and Unionist
Robert Fraser Leslie. Scottish National Party (SNP)
Robert Watt Smith, The Brexit Party