Election 2016: An independent voice is needed in Holyrood

James Stockan is an Independent candidate in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections for the Highlands and Islands – this includes Moray, so James will appear on second voting paper at Moray polling booths.

James requested the facility to write weekly leading up to the election on May 5 and as a non-alligned independent community site, we accord him that right.

James Stockan
James Stockan

AS AN ORCADIAN, I care deeply about the island communities that surround me.

Having enjoyed a childhood, a working life and a loving family, I have benefited greatly from the culture, people and opportunities that Orkney has provided me over the years. Now, after serving for 13 years as an Orkney Islands Councillor, I want to make a positive difference in Holyrood for the people across the Highlands and Islands – including Moray.

It is for this reason that I have put myself forward as an Independent candidate on the regional list in the upcoming Scottish Parliament election on May 5th.

I am currently Chair of the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HiTRANS). This experience, along with representing Orkney Islands Council (OIC) on a variety of COSLA Committees, gives me confidence to claim that I work effectively within and across local government and with both the Scottish and UK Governments.

Honesty, integrity and hard work

I believe I have a track record of seeing through a problem, recognising the potential or opportunities it offers, and then collaborating with partners in the community to deliver solutions. Whatever it is I undertake, I always hold fast to the traditional values of honesty, integrity and hard work.

If elected as your MSP, I would focus on five important issues affecting our rural communities:

  • Improving and safeguarding our transport networks
  • Working towards the eradication of Fuel Poverty
  • Helping our local economies to thrive
  • Seeking better digital connectivity
  • Bringing decision-making nearer to the people it affects

These issues are extremely prescient across the Highland and Islands but I believe the region provides unique local challenges and opportunities that I want to embrace during my campaign and then hopefully in Parliament.

This region has been subjected to shocking neglect by successive Scottish Governments who have failed to adequately tackle the plight faced by many of the people who live here.

Taking transport as an example, how are our businesses and economy expected to thrive if people have to rely on roads or use a train service that have suffered from a disgraceful lack of investment. For instance, where is the investment for the A95 – an important route for the region?

For too long, the Highlands and Islands has suffered from ineffectual representation which has frozen out the needs and desires of those who live here.
A local voice in national politics

I am standing in the Regional List ballot which means that for the first time since 2003 people in the Highlands and Islands will be able to vote for an independent candidate on the regional ballot paper in the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections.

This means you can vote for me on the regional ballot paper as well as your favoured party candidate on the constituency ballot paper. If you elect me as a regional list MSP, I would support whoever gets elected locally here in Moray to challenge or support government policy as and when situations dictate.

As an independent, I do not have to tow a party line; I do not have to keep quiet when my party whip tells me to do so; and I will always be free to respond to the needs and desires of those who I represent, without infringement. Therefore, I would be able to offer Moray, a strong, local, and independent voice in Parliament.

Get involved with the campaign!

To achieve this, I need your help! I plan to be in Moray during my campaign and I would be very keen to meet with anyone who would like to help with the campaign or who would just like to know more. Please get in touch by email: stockanformsp@outlook.com or through my Facebook page: James Stockan For MSP on which we will post details of forthcoming visits.

All Moray candidates in the 2016 Parliamentary Election plus list candidates for the Green Party and an Independent were invited to submit their views on one day each week until Friday, April 29 – they will then be invited to sum-up their cases on Sunday, May 1 in a final address on insideMoray before the election.  Candidates for the Banffshire and Buchan constituency that includes part of Moray around Buckie have also been invited to submit their views.