23rd February 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Political activists enter the fray ahead of council elections

Two more contenders for May’s council elections have emerged.

Ian Scott, who has stood in every council election since the days of the poll tax, is contending in the Shetland Central ward, while long-standing campaigner Vic Thomas is competing for votes in the Shetland North area.

Mr Scott says he wants to fight against public spending cuts on behalf of communities and social services, using the council’s reserve fund to “bolster” the economy.

The 62-year-old from Scalloway, who has worked as a window cleaner for the last 35 years, told The Shetland Times he wants to see schemes in housing, apprenticeships and childcare established.

“I’m fighting for the ordinary working person who doesn’t amass a massive wage up at Sullom or on the fishing boats,” he said.

“I’m appealing to the folk who have given up on local council. I’m appealing for them to vote for me, so at least they’ve got a voice against the absurd charitable trust nonsense, and their Tory/Liberal friends.”

A political activist for many years, Mr Scott has fought “every election since the poll tax”.

“It is important that there are alternatives put to what we’re getting just now. We have to fight the cuts and we’ve got the means to do it.”

Vic Thomas wants local politics to be based on common sense and represent communities. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Mr Thomas, meanwhile, says he sees democracy fading “into the swamp of elected dictatorship”.

“I believe in government bottom up, not top down and governance designed to be flexible to avoid the barriers the one-size-fits-all system we have creates. The bigger the system becomes the more remote the leaders are. Time for change.”

He says he is against centralisation, insisting some existing rural councillors have a “shocking record”. He says he “will not support the ‘in the best interests of the whole of Shetland’ mantra if it favours one community over another”.

“My vision of Shetland has its foundations on ethics of honesty, common sense and fairness and I have six topics that I wish to champion in my election manifesto and, if successful, into the council.”

He listed these as sustainable communities, rural development, planning, waste energy and resources, greater and more open democracy and island devolution.

Mr Thomas insists “the unfair wedge of cutting rural services was jammed under the door years ago”. He says recent councils, as well as the present SIC, have “hammered the wedge in ever harder”.

“The SIC attitude in recent years, has in general terms favoured Lerwick development over rural development. Its time to turn this on its head with some alternative thinking.”

Mr Thomas and Mr Scott join several others who have already said they will stand in the election. They include Ryan Thomson, Ian Tinkler, Duncan Simpson, Alec Priest and Frankie Valente

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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