THROUGHOUT THE LAST MONTH insideMoray has been running weekly articles by five of the candidates contesting the Moray seat at tomorrow’s Scottish Parliament Election.
Three of the four Moray constituency candidates and two of the Highlands and Islands Regional List candidates took up the challenge – today we are pleased to conclude the series with a final address from all five. (The order they appear here is the order they were received by insideMoray).
Independent – Highlands and Islands List (2nd Paper)
Moray is the area caught between two City Deals, where is the benefit for this area? The Scottish pound is best spent in rural areas as it goes from purse to pocket more times and benefits more people before it ends up in the clutches of the multi nationals.
To ensure we secure maximum benefits for our communities, there is a need for a strong, local and independent voice for this region in Holyrood. As a strong advocate for independent politics in local government for over 13 years, I can be that voice. Vote for me and you will be casting your vote for:
- Change. I have travelled the length and breadth of the Highlands and Islands from Lerwick to Campbeltown and from Moray to Stornoway listening and talking to people and what I have heard is that my 5 key priority areas are very relevant in the day-to-day lives of the people of this vast region, albeit with unique local issues in each area. I intend to fight for change to:
1. Improve and safeguard our transport networks
2. Work towards the eradication of fuel poverty
3. Help our local economies to thrive
4. Seek better digital connectivity
5. Bring decision-making nearer to the people it affects
- People Not Party! The last Scottish Parliamentary election saw the “second vote” fail to produce the intended result of proportional representation with many of the MSPs elected accountable to the party leadership rather than the voters. As an independent, I do not have to tow a party line or 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, working with and supporting those who can deliver for the region.
- A new way of working. As I am standing on the Highlands and Islands Region list it means you can vote for me on the Regional ballot paper as well as for your favoured candidate on the separate constituency paper. Elect me as a MSP and I would support whoever gets elected in your local constituency to challenge or support government policy as and when situations dictate to ensure this area and its people can thrive and flourish.
If you want a new approach to politics vote for me on Thursday and encourage your family, neighbours and friends to do the same.
Scottish Labour Party
This Scottish election is the most important since the Scottish Parliament was set up by the Labour government in 1999.
Since then, the SNP have made their argument all about the constitution. They said that if we had the powers we could do things differently. But now we have the powers the SNP have no big plans to make Scotland fairer.
Under the SNP, it’ll be more of the same: neverendum; cuts to schools and services; incompetence. With Labour, we can have real change now. Last year, the SNP manifesto mentioned austerity 17 times. This year, it mentions it just once. The SNP talk the talk but their plans show they will not walk the walk.
Every independent expert says that’s the big difference between Labour and the SNP in this election. Only Labour will end the cuts here in Moray and around Scotland with a fully-costed plan.
Labour’s plan means the end of austerity. Labour’s plan means £833,000 for the poorest children in Moray’s primary schools. Labour’s plan means no more cuts while the SNP’s tax plan means £3 billion worth of cuts. Far from defending Scotland from Tory austerity, the SNP have turned our parliament into a conveyor belt for it – and they want to keep the conveyor belt running.
So here’s my promise to Moray. A Labour Scottish Government will make an anti-austerity pledge – a guarantee that spending on public services will rise – not be slashed. We can make that promise to you because we are being honest about where the money comes from. Yes, the vast majority of people will be better off with Scottish Labour – but those who can afford to will pay more.
It’s fair and means I can make real promises to the people of Moray. A Labour government will:
- Scrap the unfair council tax
- Guarantee a GP surgery appointment within 48 hours
- Help first time buyers onto the housing ladder and build more council houses
- End cuts to education and invest in Moray’s schools
- Extend the free bus pass to apprentices and veterans and protect local bus routes
- Say no to a second referendum
We don’t want Scotland on pause any longer. It’s time for real change. So faced with a choice between using the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in the future or carrying on with the SNP’s cuts, Labour will use the powers and end the cuts.
Scottish Greens – Highlands and Islands List (2nd Paper)
On Saturday we had our last street stall of this campaign on Elgin’s Plainstones, and – maybe because the sun was shining and the pipe bands playing – it was the most positive stall I’ve ever been on.
Often it can be a hard sell to give away a free piece of campaign literature, but on this occasion my colleague, and Regional List candidate, Fabio Villani was being quite literally chased for our election newsletter.
This has been a strange election campaign, and because the result is largely predictable, there’s been a real interest not in who the next Scottish Government is, but who’s holding them to account.
That’s where the Green message is really resonating.
Despite being small in number, over the last five years the Scottish Greens have won on issues from supporting young carers to taking armed police off the streets – and we’ve done it by being constructive and principled.
With more Green MSPs we’ll be able to do so much more.
Our tax plans are the only ones to make full use of Holyrood’s new powers – no tweaking, tinkering, or pennies for whatever – but a fundamental change that shifts the tax burden from those on the lowest incomes to the wealthiest beneficiaries of our society, because that will help fund the services we need, and it is the right thing to do.
But it’s not just about reforming tax, it’s about investing in a better future, and that’s exactly what our MSPs will do.
- We can deliver 204,000 jobs in clean, green industries; and we can help small businesses, social enterprises, and employee-owned ventures to flourish.
- We can eradicate fuel poverty; raise standards in private housing; and make private rents affordable.
- We can achieve real change in who owns Scotland, by increasing support for community and public ownership of energy and giving communities the same rights as developers.
- We can fight for a ‘Carers Wage’ which values people who care for young and old, and we can welcome people fleeing conflict abroad.
- We can open up college places and apprenticeships , and we can commit to a job, training or education for every school-leaver through a Scotland Guarantee.
Tomorrow you’ll have two votes, the Scottish Greens are only asking for one.
If you want to see a principled and constructive opposition, a bolder parliament, and a better Scotland, then Vote for the Scottish Greens, and Re-Elect John Finnie.
Well, this is it. A final pitch to the readers of insideMoray for their support in tomorrow’s election.
I have to say I’ve thoroughly the campaign and the response we received at our street stall on Saturday signalled to me a real change of opinion in many local people. Moray has always been a two-horse race between the SNP and the Scottish Conservatives and I was very encouraged by the feedback at the weekend and throughout the campaign.
I was also delighted that Ruth Davidson became the only party Leader to visit Moray during the election when she joined me in Keith yesterday.
As we toured the Keith Kilt School people wanted selfies with Ruth and as we had lunch at Boogie Woogie or when we visited local shops there was a great deal of warmth for Ruth and people wishing us both well on Thursday.
In this election there is a clear choice. You can vote for the Scottish Conservatives who have pledged to respect the decision made in the referendum for Scotland to remain a strong part of the UK; you can vote for the Scottish Conservatives who want to keep the tax you pay in Scotland at the same level as the rest of the UK; you can vote for Scottish Conservatives who oppose dangerous legislation such as the Named Person Bill. Alternatively you can vote for one of the selection of left-wing parties.
By giving both your votes to the Scottish Conservatives you can also help to make Ruth Davidson the Leader of the Opposition. Holding the SNP government to account and providing the scrutiny and challenge that the Labour party has failed to deliver.
And by voting for me as your local representative you can elect a strong voice to stand up for our area. In my time on Moray Council I’ve always put the interests of those who elect me as my top priority. Sometimes asking difficult questions or voting against the wishes of my peers but always for the greater good of those I represent.
I want to ensure our farmers get the money they expected from the Scottish Government, I want to see improvements in our local health and education services, improved connectivity and infrastructure and a whole lot more.
With your support for me on your purple ballot paper and Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives on the peach paper we can deliver a real difference in Moray and Scotland.
Scottish National Party
In this election campaign I have spoken to thousands of voters across Moray. Having had the privilege of serving as Moray’s MSP for over ten years I’m once again asking for your support to continue in that role.
I am enormously proud to represent Moray in the Scottish Parliament. I’m also proud of the SNP Government’s record of delivering for Moray with investment including the Fochabers Bypass, the biggest flood alleviation schemes in Scotland, investment in new schools, health centres and dental practices.
A vote for the SNP is a vote to continue delivery in health, education, keeping crime down, strong economic policies and a Scottish welfare system based on dignity and respect.
From conversations on our High Streets and on doorsteps these are the issues that are important to Moray voters and the issues that the SNP and I, personally, will continue to champion.
Nationally I believe this election campaign has clearly shown that Nicola Sturgeon is the only credible candidate for First Minister.
As voters make their final decision it is crystal clear that to ensure we have a First Minister that can stand up to the Tory government at Westminster, that can protect jobs in Scotland, and who has a plan for Scotland’s public services it has to be Nicola Sturgeon for First Minister.
In contrast Labour’s leader wants to tax some of the poorest and short change our NHS to pay for Tory austerity, while the Tory leader plans to tax students for their education and introduce prescription charges.
The lack of ideas and ambition from the opposition parties shows they are unfit for government.
The SNP has set out a clear plan for Scotland that can transform and reform our country and Nicola Sturgeon has shown that she is ready to deliver that plan.
From support for our youngest children through to widening access to university we can make real progress in closing the attainment gap and ensure Scottish education is among the best in the world.
We’ve made a clear commitment to backing Scotland’s NHS with the finances it needs to transform our health service, making it fit for the future.
With less than 24 hours until polls open the choice in this election is crystal clear. We will always put Scotland first, which is why I am asking you to make it ‘Both Votes SNP’.
That’s it – the information is there, it is now up to you all to place your vote and decide the next five years at Holyrood. The editor would like to thank all five candidates who have provided us with in insight into their thinking over the last month. We regret that one candidate, the Social Democratic contender, has shunned both this opportunity and every other media request to engage with voters.