26th September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Sandwick man selected by Conservatives

The Conservatives have selected young local Cameron Smith as their party candidate in next year’s Scottish parliament elections.

Mr Smith, who is a son to SIC councillor George Smith, is a 28 year-old adviser to the Conservative Party and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Conservative Party candidate Cameron Smith (centre) with Tory leader Ruth Davidson and MEP Ian Duncan.

Conservative Party candidate Cameron Smith (centre) with Tory leader Ruth Davidson and MEP Ian Duncan.

He went to school in Sandwick then the Anderson High School in Lerwick, before achieving a Masters in Law from the University of Edinburgh in 2009.

Mr Smith said he was “excited” by the prospect of running for the Shetland seat next May.

He described the vision laid down by Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson as an alternative to the “failing” SNP administration and “floundering” Labour party.

“I am delighted to have been selected by our local members to stand as the Conservative candidate for Shetland. I am excited to launch my campaign, and set out the Scottish Conservatives vision, under Ruth Davidson’s leadership, of an alternative to the failing SNP administration and floundering Labour Party.

“In areas under their control, such as health, education and policing, the SNP in government have precious little to claim as successes.

Their record is even weaker on issues of particular importance to Shetland, exemplified by the current chaos surrounding the fishing discard ban.

“I believe that more must be done to return local control over key issues to Shetland, far beyond simple political slogans that promote ‘island proofing’ yet in practice are met with increasing centralisation over all areas of government.

“I will be working to make this positive change for Shetland – building on the work of Our Islands, Our Future – as part of a dynamic Scotland, grounded in a strong union.”

Mr Smith is described as having been active in campaigning with the local Conservative Association, and has worked on recent Conservative European and General election campaigns and the Better Together campaign.

Chairman of the Shetland Conservative Association, Maurice Mullay said the Tories were now the main opposition to the SNP in the Scottish parliament.

“We are delighted to have an outstanding young local Conservative candidate for Shetland of the calibre and quality of Cameron Smith. His local knowledge and passion for Shetland, combined with political experience at a high level and dynamic character, are tremendous assets for a candidate.

“He can represent the islands and islanders interests at the highest levels with ability, confidence, diligence and enthusiasm. Scottish Conservatives are now the main opposition party to the SNP in the Scottish parliament.”

46 comments

  1. Peter Ratter

    Not a single word detailing the be fits the Conservatives would bring to the Isles. What a surprise.

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      “I believe that more must be done to return local control over key issues to Shetland, far beyond simple political slogans that promote ‘island proofing’ yet in practice are met with increasing centralisation over all areas of government.

      “I will be working to make this positive change for Shetland – building on the work of Our Islands, Our Future – as part of a dynamic Scotland, grounded in a strong union.”

      Do health education and policing not extend to Shetland as well as the above Peter, a lot more here about local issues than the total lack of it from Danus in last weeks paper.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Talking about health, education and policing Gordon, I take it you’re aware that the Scottish Government has [according to SPICe] been OVERFUNDING councils, by £2.52Bn since the “Council tax freeze”?

        Even the Daily [broken] Record had to admit:

        The SNP have been repeatedly criticised by opponents over the £70 million given to local authorities each year in return for them agreeing not to put up the tax.

        But the Scottish Parliament Research Centre (Spice) found the council tax freeze is actually “overfunded”.

        While council budgets have decreased substantially they no longer have to fund Police and Fire services, leaving them a similar pot of cash for other local services.

        Spice said: “Since the council tax freeze was introduced in 2008-09, there has been much debate over whether it is ‘underfunded’ – whether the ADDITIONAL £70 million paid to local authorities each year is enough to cover what could have been raised had local authorities had control over rates.

        “In fact, the money provided by the Government to freeze the council tax has resulted in local authorities receiving more income than they would have done by increasing rates by RPI (retail price index).

      • Gordon Harmer

        £2.5 billion that could have been spent elsewhere, i.e. on reducing poverty and reducing the need for food banks £2.5 billion that could have been raised as it should through council tax.
        You do realise Robin through all your spin that the council tax freeze puts a bigger burden on the poor than on the better off. Over the last 8 years council house rents have still gone up and here in Shetland some of those rent rises were pretty steep. While over the same period int rest rates have come down so mortgage payers are paying less. Therefore councils have been filling the shortfall from the pockets of the less well off council tenants while the better off are even better off. A real tartan Tory policy that is and here you are defending it, nice one Robin.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Erm…Gordon

        You ARE aware that council house rents are dictated by the council NOT the Scottish Government?
        Furthermore, I’m sure you’re aware that interest rates on mortgages are collected by banks/building societies or other lenders and NOT by the Scottish Government either?

        Once again Gordon, I think you’re a little confused who to blame? OR do you just want to blame the Scottish Government anyway, whether it’s their fault or not?

      • Robert Duncan

        The attempts to paint Council Tax as a wonderfully progressive tax and the freeze as one only benefiting the middle classes always amuses me. Valuations and bands are so out of sync with the market that it clearly isn’t true. Do we really wish to pretend that tax levels increase anything like in line with ability to pay? The bottom (Band A) is around a third of the top (Band H), while the values in question are many multitudes greater. Any suggestion that the freeze does more for the better off is just complete nonsense.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Erm Robin, are you being purposely pedantic, of course rents are collected by local councils, but they are being collected and raised at an inflated rate to make up for the short fall in the Scottish Governments council tax freeze. If you have any comprehension of our language you would know I made a comparison between what folk pay in rent and better of folk pay in mortgage payments to show how the unfair council tax freeze targets the poor. But hey you and the SNP are only to pleased to use the poor as a pawn in the fight against Westminster by ignoring the fact they are the big losers in the council tax freeze.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Jeez Gordon…Are you ever going to get this?

        You’ve just said:

        “but they are being collected and raised at an inflated rate to make up for the shortfall in the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze”.

        Wrong, Gordon, there is NO shortfall, as we’ve now discovered SIC are [and every other council in Scotland] are being OVERFUNDED.

        As far as your last dose of gibberish goes, please read what Robert Duncan has said [above] IF you don’t believe me, just maybe it’ll eventually begin to sink in, coming from someone else?

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin are you impersonating a brick wall there is a shortfall and it is being filled by high council house rents and money from the block grant. The council tax freeze makes a massive difference to what council’s have to spend hence the cuts all councils are making. Your bluff and bluster does not hide the truth. As for what Robert said I know make sense unlike your diatribe, but tell me what other system are we going to use; the SNP local tax system which mirrors the poll tax?????

      • Gary Robinson

        Even if you take the police and fire service money out of the equation then Shetland Islands Council has seen a real terms reduction in its grant of about 19% since 2010. Yet the Scottish Government still expects local government to deliver everything it did in 2010 and more.

        The SIC isn’t over-funded. I don’t know of any Scottish council that is over-funded. If they were then the Scottish Government wouldn’t be demanding that councils make ongoing savings. Would they?

      • James Watt

        @ Gary, you say that Shetlands budget has been cut by 19% in real terms since 2010 while being expected to deliver everything it did and more with less finances.
        Just out of interest, what has happened to the Scottish Governments block grant in real terms in the same time frame, who is responsible for deciding the Scottish governments block grant, and have the expectations on the Scottish Government increased or decreased in relation to the budget?

      • Gordon Harmer

        The reduction in the block grant because of austerity equates at a 10% to the budgets of local councils. Where as the freeze in council tax when everything is taken into account works out at nearer to a 24% cut to the budget of local councils.
        A populist policy which actually targets the poor because they pay more in rent and are the ones who rely more on non existent council services which have been slashed because of the council tax freeze.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Gary

        Can we just take a step back and remind ourselves what has already been stated in our MSM:

        “In fact, the money provided by the Government to freeze the council tax has resulted in local authorities receiving more income than they would have done by increasing rates by RPI (retail price index)”.

        In other words, not only does the extra £70ml pa cover what councils would have received by putting up council tax, but they have actually been over-funded according to SPICe?

        While we appreciate that all councils have faced cuts since 2010, as a result of Scotland’s block grant being reduced, it still remains the fact that there has been no actual detriment to councils, with regards to the council tax freeze.

        All I can imagine by you statement: “I don’t know of any Scottish council that is over-funded. If they were then the Scottish Government wouldn’t be demanding that councils make ongoing savings. Would they?” Is that, perhaps, this was said prior to the SPICEe report?

        So have the MSM got it spectacularly wrong then and the £2.52bn – given to our 32 councils – haven’t been over-funded each year since 2008?

      • James Watt

        Gordon, let’s pretend you are right, and the council tax freeze is to end because it is unfair on the poor.
        Would you replace the council tax, and if so what with? If you keep the council tax how do you plan to increase council tax without also increasing the cost to low income families and adding significant extra expense to the already stretched benefits system?

      • Gordon Harmer

        We don’t need to pretend James, it is a fact the poor are the only ones who have had 8 years of rent hikes on their council house rents over and above what is reasonable to help recoup what has been lost in council tax. Why replace the council tax when all it needs is a tweak or two to make it fair and put a bigger burden on those whom can afford it.
        It is not the council tax that is the problem but the fact that is frozen which has two detrimental effects, one on lost council revenue causing cut backs which in turn hit the poor the hardest whilst they are having to cope with hikes in their rent.
        We have a Teflon coated government in power in Scotland who’s mantra has been fairness; using the poor as a pawn in the political game is not fair. In the last 8 years I have had more holidays than the rest of my life thanks to the Scottish government because my council tax has been frozen and thanks to other forces my mortgage has gone down. I don’t hear council tenants saying the same.

      • Robert Duncan

        “It is not the council tax that is the problem but the fact that is frozen”

        It is not the council tax freeze that is the problem but the fact that it is not proportionate to actual modern house values, does not increase proportionately with house values, and is in no way a progressive tax. You simply cannot claim to be looking out for the poorest people in society whilst demanding a stop to the council tax freeze without first implementing significant reform.

      • James Watt

        Why use so many words Gordon when you could have just said, I don’t know of any fair way to increase council tax without also hitting the poorest hardest, because you avoided answering my question, instead you preferred to embark on another SNPbad rant.

        Could you provide evidence that council rents are being increased to recoup the council tax freeze, because I have had informal discussions with a senior accountant at our local authority and they dispute your claims, they also state quite clearly that the UK Government has legislation in place to stop such a thing happening.

        https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/294064/hbsgm-section5-2013-14.pdf

        Can I also ask where you holiday, because a hypothetical average 3% increase every year since 2007, would provide a total saving of £390 over 8 years on my council tax which is in the region of £1400, if you seriously want me to believe you can afford extra holidays because of the council tax freeze you must be heading to Yell for your extra holidays. Or perhaps like most of your comments about the Scottish Government you have made yourself look silly by using hyperbole instead of facts.

      • Ali Inkster

        I was under the impression that rents up here increased because of the snp theft of the housing support grant, and the subsequent bartering that left holyrood still getting £2.5 million a year of our money while pledging to pay for house building to the tune of £10million over god knows how many years, ( house building they should be paying for anyway).

      • Gordon Harmer

        James, a classic losers reply; With no knowledge or the possibility of knowledge as to my holiday history you launch into a well worn ad hominem attack, long winded, judgmental and opinionated with a typical wiseacre delivery. Delivered in such a manner so as to take the heat of your usual string of rhetorical and empty platitudes. Council rents have gone up by close to the maximum they can to make up for lost revenue due to the council tax freeze. Rents which would normally rise by an smaller percentage on an annual basis. You prove to me that rents would have gone up by the same amount they have if there was no council tax freeze.

        Robert, it is not up to me to implementing significant reform; public services need to be paid for. You lot rumble on about Westminster taking money out of the block grant and then defend the Scottish government for freezing the council tax and starving local authorities of much needed fund, smacks of hypocrisy to me.

      • James Watt

        Gordon, I seem to remember you posted an email you received from an acquaintance claiming you were among the few decent posters because of your ability to make a reasoned argument, your last comment to me blows that claim out of the water, asking you for facts has resulted in a vitriolic outburst. It amazes me that you find someone questioning you so upsetting, perhaps if you answered questions the first time i wouldn’t need to resort to platitudes.

        On several occasions you have stated as fact that rents are being increased to recoup the council tax freeze, yet haven’t once proved this. The mere fact that rents have increased more in recent years does not back this up, as over the longer term they have only increased 1% above the retail price index

        The reference to your holidays was in response to you suggesting you’d had more holidays in 8 years than you’d had previously thanks to the council tax freeze. No offence intended, I was making the point that a band D homeowner in Shetland has only saved in total around £400 over that 8 year period so was wondering how this fitted in with your comments.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert and James, I don’t know how to make things fairer for Scottish voters, but hey neither do our elected representatives Swinney’s controversial property super-tax has battered the Scottish housing market and is set to blow a £50m black hole in the SNP’s finances.
        The spectacular failure of his Land and Buildings Transaction Tax ( LBTT ) the first levied in Scotland in more than 300 years will raise questions over the SNP’s economic credibility ahead of further powers being devolved to Holyrood.
        LBTT was launched in April. In the three months from May to July, it raised almost a third less than stamp duty the previous year. The Finance Secretary hopes to raise £235million by next April but analysis by estate agent Savills suggests this is woefully optimistic and he is likely to fall short by 20 to 25 per cent, raising only around £ 185million. And before you say this is SNP bad, bad, bad, simply because there is no SNP good.

      • Robert Duncan

        The LBTT is only a minor alteration of the stamp duty rates in the rest of the UK. It was introduced because stamp duty, like council tax, was outdated, disproportionate and in need of reform.

        Those feeling hard done by about it are the ones paying more than 5% – i.e. those paying more than £325,000 on a property… Calling it a “super tax” is another hilarious example of hyperbole.

        It’ll be interesting to see if the shortfall continues. There is certainly evidence that many property purchases were rushed through between the cutting of UK stamp duty and the introduction of Scotland’s own rates between December 2014 and April 2015. That’s a discrepancy that won’t exist from now on, if you’re buying property in Scotland now, you’ll be paying the LBTT rather than stamp duty.

      • James Watt

        Hardly a battered housing market Gordon, tax take doesn’t tell the whole story.

        “The total volume of sales across Scotland was 24,685, an increase of 1.6% on the same quarter in the previous year. This is the highest volume of sales for this quarter since 2008.”

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-33688923

        Also the latest report from Savill is quite favourable, with only the prime sector (houses over £400,000) suffering any lasting effects of the LBTT

        http://www.savills.co.uk/research_articles/141280/192265-0

        If you think the SNP are failing because of the reasons you mentioned above, I would like to get your views on the Conservatives, in relation to the drop in income tax that has seen the deficit rise to £12.3 Billion from the expected £9.3 Billion.

        http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/22/uk-deficit-rises-steeply-after-surprise-fall-in-tax-receipts

      • Gordon Harmer

        James if you stuck to the facts instead of your usual spin I would not turn on you for your vitriol. I claimed my holidays in the past 8 years were funded by what I have not paid in Council tax hikes as well as what I have saved because of the low interest rates reducing my mortgage payments. I can assure you that the two added together come to thousands over 8 years.
        What I say about council rents going up comes from the mouths of friends and relations who are council tenants.
        You use informal discussions with a senior accountant at our local authority to base your case, was that an SNP authority? Try speaking to those who are affected by these decisions i.e. council tenants.

    • James Watt

      What benefits will the Conservatives bring to Shetland?

      I think you already know the answer to that. None, just look at what they have done since becoming a majority government at Westminster and you have a rough idea of where this candidates priorities would lie.

      If you are a higher earning homeowner with 2 or less kids and a nice big inheritance to look forward to, then this is your man. If you want someone to do what’s best for the majority of the population and look after the services that many depend on in Shetland then you would have to be crazy to vote for the Conservatives.

      Reply
  2. JohnTuloch

    @Peter Ratter,

    What did you think Mr Smith meant by this bit?

    ““I believe that more must be done to return local control over key issues to Shetland, far beyond simple political slogans that promote ‘island proofing’ yet in practice are met with increasing centralisation over all areas of government.”

    However, he does needs to specify which “key issues” he wants us to have control over.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      John, John

      Don’t you get it yet? It’s a wink wink nudge nudge, meaning “Vote for us and we’ll do everything in our power to blee..Oops I mean, work with you”.

      Isn’t it funny that he’s talking about how bad”increasing centralisation” is, when HIS government is one of the most centralised governments in the world?..Affectionately known as “The dark star” of the economy, inexorably sucking in resources, people and energy from the rest of the UK.

      Absolutely priceless 🙂

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        i would wish to see firm commitments to specific proposals from all the candidates before deciding whom, if anyone, to support. Devolution of powers must not stop at Holyrood and arguably, THE key issue for Shetland is the early recapture of our fishing grounds from the “clammy clutches” of the EU – one in five Shetland jobs depends on fish and the present oil-related construction boom won’t last.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John

        I agree, Scotland’s representation in the EU on Scottish matters fishing/farming/oil etc MUST come from Scottish ministers, we need to represent our arguments with a seat at the EU table and make sure that that representative has Scotland’s/Shetlands best interests at heart and avoid electing people like Henry McLeish who thought it was a great idea to give away 6,000 sq miles of North sea while moving our borders.

      • John Tulloch

        Alas, no, Robin. You see Shetland needs control of our fishing grounds and following an independent Scotland into the EU will not achieve that.

      • Ali Inkster

        Wrobin pray tell the MPAs on the west coast of Scotland and around the western isles being imposed by holyrood, who are they for and to what purpose? Who in the industry backs these proposals? This is a scheme straight out of Edinburgh that the SSnp claim has support of the industry. So who in the industry supports it?

      • Robin Stevenson

        John

        You often hold up the faroes as a fair comparison to Shetland as an Island group, but with their own autonomy, fishing grounds and roughly double the population of Shetland, perhaps you could explain? Why does Denmark have to give them 6% of their GPD each year to keep them afloat? [if you pardon the pun] Of course IF Shetland decided it was best to stick with the rUK [rather than Scotland] then it goes right back to the question of whose EEZ encroaches on whose?

        Ali

        I’m led to believe that various bodies are involved in discussions over Scotland’s MPAs [marine protected areas] including the fishing industry, but in particular Scottish natural heritage [SNH] whose main aim is:

        *Promote care for and improvement of the natural heritage
        *Help people enjoy it responsibly
        *Enable greater understanding and awareness of it
        *Promote its sustainable use, now and for future generations.

        http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/protected-areas/national- designations/marine-protected-areas-(mpa)/scottish-mpa-project/

      • James Watt

        @Ali, I’m sure someone as knowledgeable as yourself is aware the MPAs aren’t just an idea Holyrood dreamt up, it is a UK wide policy but they are known as Marine Conservation Zones in England and Wales.

        An as for support for MPAs, well I can’t speak personally, but the Scottish creel fishermans federation seem to support it, and creel boats make up nearly 80% of the inshore sector.

        http://www.scottishcreelfishermensfederation.co.uk/news.htm

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson, you write:

        “Of course IF Shetland decided it was best to stick with the rUK [rather than Scotland] then it goes right back to the question of whose EEZ encroaches on whose?”

        The EEZ arguments are complex and the outcome would depend on many variable such as whether Orkney and the Western Isles go the same way. We can’t foretell such things so EEZs are hypothetical, only worth discussing if we know.

        What we can tell is that if Shetland accompanied an independent Scotland into the EU as the SNP plans, Shetland would have no EEZ at all and the EU would still be pillaging our waters, forcing Shetland vessels, as now, off their traditional fishing grounds.

        So following the SNP route would be very damaging for Shetland.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John

        Right now Scotland’s and Shetlands EEZ is one and the same, the trade off with the EU has to have subsequent benefits [in other words] where we may have to sacrifice our fishing quotas we benefit in other ways, the question is, do we get more out of being a member or not? let’s say -for example – we gain far greater fishing quotas, now, in order to make it fair with our European partners what should we offer? more fishing quotas for less farming subsidies perhaps?
        We have to look to the overall picture and decide what is MORE beneficial to Scotland in its entirety? rather than a single issue.
        No doubt, over the coming months – until the EU referendum – we’ll be hearing arguments on both sides, who knows, either you or I may change or stance once we have ALL the facts?

      • John Tulloch

        Robin, you write: “We have to look to the overall picture and decide what is MORE beneficial to Scotland in its entirety? rather than a single issue.”

        As I said earlier today, every time you write you make my case for me. Shetland needs to leave the EU and as our interests are very different from Scotland’s, we will be wise to leave you as well.

        You tell me it’s better for Scotland to be in the EU, fine, stay in/rejoin if you wish but following the SNP “pied piper” would be very damaging for Shetland and Shetlanders will be wise to leave you to it.

      • Ali Inkster

        Aye Wrobin it’s just a bit like vote yes and everything will work out fine, well maybe for them with their snouts in the trough.

    • Duncan Simpson

      http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-news/14508-fishermen-feel-ousted-by-urban-kids.html

      This is what the industry and communities affected think of the MPA policy. Marine resources must be protected yes but through proper fisheries management not prevention!

      Shetland needs control of its own waters before any of this misguided green appeasing nonsense makes its way north!

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Duncan

        Could I draw your attention [particularly] to the comments made at the bottom of this report from both scientific experts and many people throughout the fishing industry:

        http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0047/00479038.pdf

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson,

        Re the comments you refer to, I’m reminded of Saddam Hussein’s “election” – by a 100 percent vote!

        Surely, there must have been some negative comments on this, why didn’t the Scootish Government publish those as well?

        Every time you write you enhance the case for Shetland to become self-governing.

      • Robin Stevenson

        John

        You seem to be under the assumption that I’m against the fishing industry? [Which of course I’m not] Fishing has to be both beneficial and sustainable, short term fortunes could quite easily be made – I’ve no doubt – by raping our seas [dredging and bottom trawling] etc, but unless there is some kind of body in place to make sure that doesn’t happen, then we’d end up with a ban on this or that type of species until nature had time to catch up. the negative comments – which I too – have no doubt were many – were saying what? “Leave us alone, keep your nose out and let us plunder?” Regardless of the environmental impact, regardless of the long term sustainability.

        Whether or not Shetland was autonomous, some kind of protection body would still need to be in place.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson,

        Absolutely. An autonomous Shetland would have our own fisheries regulator, guided by both science and practical voices from the industry – that’s a significant part of the attraction.

  3. David Spence

    David Cameron showed his true colours, as did Ruth Davidson, when they came up to the islands prior to the referendum. All they were caring about was Sullom Voe, and the revenue this could bring.

    If the people of Scotland voted for Independence, but Shetland voted No, then Shetland had the option (I think) to join England, thus all the revenue from Sullom Voe going to England rather than Scotland.

    It is just so typical of a Tory (which is Irish Gaelic for ‘ Outlaw ‘ rob the poor to pay the rich ) to just think of themselves and what would benefit them, and not Shetland or the people of Shetland.

    As for benefits, Peter……….Zero would be the answer.

    ‘ Look after number 1 ‘ ‘ Self, Self and Self ‘ is the vile Tories moto.

    Reply
    • martyn neeson

      well said david, good to see someone on here talking sense

      Reply
  4. Tony Forrest

    What is your opinion on the Barnett Formula? (assuming that you know what the Barnett Formula is)

    Reply
  5. David Spence

    I hope this gets through?

    Well Tony, I do know what the Barnett Formula is, but like any system dependent of financial matters, this can be manipulated and adjusted.

    Reply

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