I’m asking folk in Shetland to vote for me as their Member of the Scottish Parliament because I want to help our islands reach their full potential, to ensure everyone here can thrive and that we protect our environment.
This campaign will be very different from the 2019 by-election, because of COVID and because this time, Shetland won't be the only constituency in the whole country with a campaign on! Producing good online content, taking out adverts in the local papers and printing leaflets all cost money: this crowdfunder will go towards those costs.
I grew up in Bressay and now live in Hoswick with my wife Andrea and our young son. From a younge age I helped out on our small family croft in Bressay, and later crewed on my Dad’s tourist boat, getting my boatmaster's ticket. In time off from studying mechanical engineering at Glasgow University, I worked in Lerwick fish factories, bars and restaurants.
I've now worked in offshore renewables for twelve years and for the last three, I’ve been working with the tidal turbines generating electricity in Bluemull Sound. Before that, I studied marine engineering in Norway and worked in South America for four years. My time abroad taught me two things that drive my politics:
Firstly, how much we have to be grateful for: our wonderful NHS, free education from nursery to university, and a welfare system that provides at least a basic safety net that many countries lack. We must do everything we can to protect these from the Tories.
Secondly, I realised how much better things could be if we create a society that prioritises human wellbeing, protects our environment and treats the resources of our country as if they belong to us, the citizens. The UK is the fifth richest country in the world, but poverty is still rampant and Westminster consistently puts the finance “industry” before the green industrial revolution we really need. Norway has a trillion-dollar wealth fund: the UK has a web of tax havens instead.
Shetland is surrounded by small independent countries that share wealth around more equally. These same countries have also protected their fishing industries, whereas the UK has repeatedly sold ours out. As we emerge from the pandemic, this election is an opportunity to think about what sort of society we want to live in.
Like the famous Shetland Lib Dem MP Jo Grimond, I think that Scotland should have a parliament with all the normal powers of government, except those that we choose to delegate to London, Brussels or anywhere else. I don't think it's too radical to suggest - like Jo - that the choice should be ours.
I know how fortunate I am to have grown up in Shetland and to be raising my family here. I want to protect this place. Whatever your politics, I will always listen and work with everyone in these isles, to achieve the goals we hold in common.
Yours for Shetland,
Donations will go to the Shetland SNP branch bank account for use on this campaign. By making a donation you confirm that you are eligible to make political donations in the UK, and that this donation is not made for or on behalf of any other person.
Anyone donating over £50 is deemed to have made a regulated donation and will be subject to permissibility checks. All such regulated donations will have to be reported to the Electoral Commission in my election return.
Promoted by Patrick Ross-Smith on behalf of Tom Wills, both of Moars Park, Weisdale, Shetland, ZE2 9LN