20th August 2017

Vote for change (Miriam Brett)

‘Other than marching against the Iraq war through the streets of Lerwick, one of my earliest memories of being politically active was listening to Alistair Carmichael speak about human rights at our Amnesty International group at Anderson High School. I struggle to comprehend how the person who spoke so passionately about social justice could prop up a Tory government to oversee cuts that disproportionately harmed the vulnerable, or describe the abhorrent bedroom tax as “a necessary change”.

If the mountain of leaflets is anything to go by, it is clear that there has been a concerted effort to make my candidacy about another referendum. In reality, my party and I have a strong and principled record of challenging an increasingly reckless agenda at Westminster. We have been consistent in our opposition to inhumane welfare cuts, consistent in the need to inject the economy with the investment necessary to stimulate meaningful growth, consistent in our opposition to £120bn of public money squandered on redundant nuclear weapons, and consistent in our drive for a robust and sustainable future energy strategy.

Even as the third largest party, we have managed to push through u-turns on proposed cuts that would have harmed household incomes, pushed through landmark legislation to end violence against women and forced a review into tax evasion. That is what getting on with the day job looks like, and that is precisely what I intend to do.

I read the letter from the Tory candidate about why a vote for the SNP is a vote for cuts with some bemusement – the irony of a Conservative complaining about cuts after imposing years of austerity was not lost on me. The Scottish Government funding from Westminster is an overall figure, much of which cannot be used to fund public services. By the end of 2015-16, £2.3 billion worth of cuts were made to the budget available for public services in Scotland by the Liberal Democrat and Conservative government, in the name of counterproductive austerity that has failed society and failed our economy.

The most logical step would be to stop austerity at its source, and that is precisely what I will fight for. The vision set out in my party’s manifesto is bold and progressive.

I will reject austerity, and push for investment in the UK economy to allow it to flourish. On pensions, I will remain determined and committed to securing the triple lock, and supporting the incredible Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.

The majority of people here voted to remain in the EU, but even many of those who voted to leave have real concerns about the extreme Brexit now being pursued.

I will stand up for our local sectors. I will continue – in all circumstances – to demand the scrapping or radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Securing the rights of EU citizens who have made our isles their home will be a priority. Diversity has enriched our community, and I will be unapologetic in my desire to provide EU citizens the security they deserve. Moreover, I will demand the UK government pass on the £190 million additional EU ‘convergence uplift’ funding for our farmers, and push to ensure that the UK Government fights for our local farmers.

One of the most prevalent issues of the last few years has been that of the presence of food banks across the UK and indeed in our isles. When the Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition took power in 2010, 61,468 emergency food parcels were provided to people unable to feed themselves. By the time the austerity coalition years ended, that figure was over 1,000,000. According to the Trussell Trust the main reasons that people are forced to go to food banks are low incomes, benefit delays and benefit changes.

I will fight for the minimum wage to match the Living Wage, taking it to over £10 an hour by the end of parliament to tackle the problems experienced by low-income households. I will furthermore fight to see damaging welfare reform policies reversed to alleviate the pressure on households. Moreover, SNP MPs will continue to oppose disgusting policies such as the rape clause and the bedroom tax.

In my current role as an advisor, I supported our MPs to back a commitment to Universal Service Obligation, and will now call for it to cover up to 30 Mbps with a mechanism to ensure rural areas are not left behind, as well as pushing for mobile connectivity.

To ensure that our community is not unfairly treated, I will push to regulate delivery charges for rural communities – It is wholly unfair that we pay a disproportionate charge. Furthermore, similar to the City Deals provided for areas such as Stirling and Aberdeen, I will push for UK Government funding for an Islands Deal for Orkney and Shetland.

Orkney and Shetland have voted Liberal Democrat for nearly 70 years, but I do not believe that they are the party they once were. I offer a fresh voice that will fight for our voice to be at the heart of the Westminster agenda, that will stand up for our local industries throughout the Brexit negotiation process, and that will be a champion for the Northern Isles. I hope that tomorrow, when you enter the polling station to cast your vote, you will vote for change.

Miriam Brett
SNP candidate

36 comments

  1. Michael Garriock

    Miriam Brett. How much of the above did you write yourself in your own words, and how much was copy & pasted/pro forma pre-drafted SNP authored literature? As beyond the couple of opening and couple of closing paragraphs, I’m struggling to tell.

    Reply
  2. John Tulloch

    Wellington reputedly said of Napoleon’s army at Waterloo, “they just keep coming in the same old way.” And so it is with the SNP. They never learn.

    Noticeable by its absence from Ms Brett’s letter is any bragging about local achievements. Instead she focuses on threadbare national soundbites – “greedy Tories”, austerity”, etc.

    Local issues include:

    • 23 per cent cut in SIC funding since 2011, while the SNP Scottish government received an increase from Westminster;

    • Repeated false claim they will “radically renegotiate” the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on rejoining the EU, knowing it to be non-negotiable;

    • Ms Brett’s refusal to sign Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) Brexit pledge to fight for full abrogation of the CFP;

    • Reneged undertaking to fund Shetland’s inter-island ferry funding deficit (£6.5 million annual subsidy by SIC);

    • Reneged pledge to cut NorthLink ferry fares;

    SNP Westminster MPs take their orders from Nicola Sturgeon. Why reward the above scandals by voting SNP Brett, now?

    Voters are not stupid. I repeat my oft-stated advice to the SNP: If you want to win you must change. Change your attitude to the Northern Isles and change your damaging policies. Then you may get somewhere.

    Reply
  3. Suzy V Jolly

    Re bedroom tax – so you think it’s okay for people not getting housing benefit to live within their means in a one bed dwelling but as tax payers, should subsidise some folk who refuse to take in lodgers/transfer to a smaller dwelling? There are cases whereby people want to move to a smaller property but none are available or were on the waiting list for a two bed but offered a three bed, etc.

    The Gov. stated they want to secure the rights of Brits living outwith the UK within the EU and that it must go hand in hand with those EU nationals living here – YOU state your priority is EU Nationals living here – clock the difference.

    You can’t legislate to end violence towards women, you can legislate to penalise those found guilty and powers of arrest without the victim’s statement; that’s different but not the same as legislating towards ending violence towards women.

    The SNP should be judged on its record – they fail to recognise democratic process, fail with payments towards crofters, can’t even get their own website working adequately.

    Time for a change – ZERO SNP representation in Westminster would be excellent!

    Reply
  4. Robert Sim

    I see that the three posters ahead of me – Michael Garriock, John Tulloch and Suzy Jolly – have no answer to the important points Miriam makes in her letter about the record of the SNP in the Westminster parliament. Instead, they attempt to muddy the waters by bringing in irrelevant points about the performance of the devolved administration in Holyrood. For the umpteenth time, this isn’t a Holyrood election, folks, but a UK general election.

    The SNP is poised yet again to have the largest number of Scottish MPs and thus be the party which can justifiably say it represents Scotland. The UK-based parties will soon forget Scotland’s interests after tomorrow – and that includes the interests of Shetland and Orkney. We will certainly see that during brexit.

    It therefore makes sense to return an SNP MP who will be part of a strong and capable group which will help to protect our interests, particularly in the context of a much-reduced Tory majority. Help the SNP to hold the Tories to account on all the important issues – including the position of fishing during the brexit negotiations. The Tories are certainly capable of bargaining that away.

    Reply
    • Suzy V Jolly

      @ Robert Sim – You should have gone to Specsavers (or better still, a local optician as opposed to a national chain). If Miriam wants to muddy the waters regarding bedroom tax and the other points I commented upon, I have every right to reply.

      The SNP’s record in Westminster? So that’s the one whereby they were reported as having no respect for the place and behaving appallingly, right? I have no faith in Miriam Brett whatsoever. I wouldn’t vote for her if she was the only candidate standing. I do not believe she has the skills for the job. The SNP are yesterday’s news and are losing support daily.

      Reply
      • Brian Smith

        There have been a good few stupid contributions during the past month, but this must be the stupidest.

      • Suzy V Jolly

        @Brian Smith re “There have been a good few stupid contributions during the past month, but this must be the stupidest.”

        Troll much? Obviously you’re someone who takes everything literally and doesn’t know what figuratively means. I know what happens if a seat isn’t contested.

        I’ve voted in every election except one since I got the right to vote. As a woman, I realise and appreciate the struggle of those that went before me, with some going on hunger strike in prison so that women were enfranchised. But just because Miriam is a woman doesn’t mean I’d vote for her.

    • John Tulloch

      You suggesting national issues outweigh local ones, on which the SNP has been atrocious, will not make it true. No amount of virtue signalling and posturing in London can outweigh the damage done to local people’s lives by SNP policies and actions.

      I summarised in my above comment several very important local issues on which the SNP has betrayed Northern Isles voters and those “chickens will come home to roost” when the election result is announced on Friday morning.

      Reply
      • Robert Sim

        John, replying now is all a bit irrelevant now that the UK campaign is over; but I can’t resist pointing out the vacuousness of your points which you will no doubt continue to post on here up to and including the next Holyrood election unless challenged.

        Jonathan Wills has previously answered your point regarding how well Shetland is funded. We are still in the midst of the Holyrood term, with work still going on over transport funding, so your claim that the SNP in Edinburgh has “reneged” on transport funding is a classic distortion of reality. And how on earth you can claim that the SNP’s commitment to “radically renegotiate” the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on rejoining the EU is a “betrayal” of Shetland voters beats me. You can only “betray” someone if you have actually carried out – or not carried out – some action; and your point is simply hypothetical.

      • John Tulloch

        Robert Sim,

        You won’t fool anyone. Here’s what I said above:

        “Voters are not stupid. I repeat my oft-stated advice to the SNP: If you want to win you must change. Change your attitude to the Northern Isles and change your damaging policies. Then you may get somewhere.”

        The Shetland and Orkney electorate has now spoken, loud and clear.

        I told you so. 🙂

      • Robert Sim

        Hardly a stunning prediction, John. The Northern Isles has been Liberal/LibDem for decades. You promoted a negative message of “stop the SNP at all costs”. It’s a wee bit more demanding to envisage real political change.

      • Brian Smith

        Mr Tulloch’s own candidate in Orkney and Shetland got 1.05 per cent of the vote.

    • Michael Garriock

      Robert Sim, if the SNP HAD a record of achievements in Westminster, I might well have commented upon them, but as I said on another thread on here where i asked you to list such achievements over the last two years, whatever you or Ms. Brett may perceive has been achieved, hasn’t filtered down to make one damn bit of difference on the ground here in Shetland.

      ANY government is more than capable of giving away the UK’s fishing interests if it suits them, we just have to make sure they don’t. What makes your claim laughable that the SNP might in some way protect them, is that the SNP’s longstanding position is that they’re already given them away.

      No matter how many times Ms. Brett repeats it, renogiating the CFP remains a lie. Despite much signs to the contrary the EU still adheres to democracy when it suits them, and no amount of shouting and jumping up and down by the SNP will change the majority of EU members voting to keep the CFP at least as harmful to us as it is. The EU would rather do without Scotland than give us a better CFP deal.

      Reply
  5. Ian Tinkler

    Same old story, austerity and wicked Westminster, SNP funding cuts to Shetland, greatest cuts to any authority in Scotland. Not even a passing reference from Miriam Brett of Edinburgh forcing austerity on Shetland.
    I am no great friend of the liberals, but they are benign and forthright. Miriam’s vote for change? More SNP division, more endless indy refs, Sturgeon already talking Indie 3. More young children inspiring Miriam by becoming politicised for her PR efforts and SNP indoctrination. Sturgeon is now a proven liar or a breaker of confidences; Miriam works for Sturgeon! Miriam’s, changes, I would hate my kids to have to live with those, I will vote against the SNP.

    Reply
  6. Peter Hamilton

    Well done Robina. Good bye Theresa.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      I agree, Robina did very well. No thanks to you, Wills, Smith and Morton.

      How does it feel to have abandoned a ‘rising ship’ and boarded a sinking one? 🙂

      Reply
    • ian_tinkler

      Theresa is still there Peter, just! It is Miriam, Angus and Alex et al. that have aa gone! Sadly for them, my comments did not drive people and votes into the arms of the SNP, I will try harder next time. Whoop, whoop.

      Reply
      • ROBERT SIM

        Don’t worry, Ian! The SNP still has most Scottish seats and is the third-largest party in Westminster – remarkable for a party that had a handful of MPs before the 2015 election and only puts up candidates in Scotland. Shows what a positive message can do. The UK parties in Scotland of course had a one-dimensional and negative message of ‘stop the SNP’. Sad. And of course the Tories et al have already forgotten all about anything north of the border.

      • ian tinkler

        Sillier comments than your usual, Robert Sim. I would love to see the SNP try candidates South of the border; you just lost 40% plus of yours North of the border! The one in Shetland and Orkney was beaten soundly by the Libfiber as your SND colleagues so delighted in telling us, endlessly. Not had such a good laugh in a long time, it goes to show what utter bilge you were spouting before the election. Poor Miriam, beaten by Ali C by 5000 odd votes, after the endless hype from the usual suspects with all those ex-labour and ex-liberal sycophantic new turncoat recruits praising her virtues. Salmond is also gone (lol), I think your SNP has gone over the hill and is well on the way down, now man up and get over it. Let us try Indie2 that should offer the Coup De Grace of the SNP, until Indie3,4,5 ad infinitum.

      • Robert Sim

        “I think your SNP has gone over the hill and is well on the way down…”. They’re the third-biggest party in Westminster, Ian.

        When I was a young lad in the mid-1970s and becoming politically aware, the SNP really were pretty much a protest group. Now they are the dominant force in Scottish politics, being the governing party in the Scottish government and having the largest number of MPs from Scotland .
        We have seen in this election once again how the other parties (and individuals like yourself) in Scotland nowadays define themselves entirely in terms of the SNP, to the extent that the UK-based parties have no policy to offer Scotland or indeed the Northern Isles other than ‘stop the SNP!’. The only rationale behind that, as far as I can see, is an irrational fear of Scotland asserting itself as an independent nation again – something all other similar-sized countries around the world see no difficulty in being.

        We have plenty of time over the next two years to watch brexit unravel; and at that point an independent Scotland will start to look like a desirable option for many who are fearful of the idea now.

      • ian tinkler

        Sure, Robert Sim. You would hope to see Brexit unravel, just so an Indie2 would have a better chance. What other horrors would you like your fellow citizens to suffer to improve your bid at independence? What a disgusting attitude to have. Wishing the UK to fail, “so an indie Scotland may look more desirable”.
        If you lost the Indie 2, Sturgeon would go for an Indie3, then 4,5,6 7, just how many referenda before the SNP disappears up its anti-apex in a puff of methane?
        Get over it; we do not want endless divisive referenda, ask Miriam, she found out the hard way. Look at Salmond, that was some rejection, smacked out of Westminster by the wicked Tories and they were his constituents.

  7. Peter Hamilton

    Sublime thanks John. Delightful night. The only surprises were good surprises. Corbin has piled on more Labour votes than any leader since Atley. Truly remarkable achievement.

    I wish Miriam well and expect Shetland Labour will enjoy a fresh lease of life if they can but find something worth doing. Challenging the LibDems to take a tougher line on SCT would be a welcome start, but perhaps Drew Ratter remains to influential for that.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Regarding the charitable trust, you should start with your pals in the SNP. Get them to support democracy at SCT first. Then that would put the pressure on the LibDems and Labour,with whom you have zero influence, now.

      I expect you and Jonathan coming out as SNP at the end of your SCT democracy campaign will have sickened a lot of people who supported you in the mistaken belief that you were Labour/”Independent Socialist”, respectively.

      Reply
  8. Peter Hamilton

    John, think about it. There are people in all parties who think SCT should be run for the many, not just by the few.

    My tactical decision to back SNP against LibDem does not change anything. Carmichael is a capable politican but I won’t forget him propping up an austerity delivering Tory government when the excuse was to reduce a deficit that remains. Ongoing misery for millions.

    I remain Labour at heart and am very heartened by Corbin’s success.

    SCT remains misled. Fair enough for the local Liberals to back Viking Energy in this way were thus up front, but why shouldn’t folk get a say over what happens to their money? That is not quite the point you’d hear Dr. Wills raise – but his objections are as principled as yours were and Danus’s were.

    SCT, as currently run, remains an insult to the people of Shetland and the local LibDems remain hopeless on the issue – as do Shetland Labour and yes, Shetland SNP. How far do the Viking tentacles extend?

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      “How far do the Viking tentacles extend?” We may well ask however a more pertinent question is “How far do the SNP tentacles reach?”

      My view of the stewardship of SCT remains the same however my view of the ‘Campaign for Democracy at SCT’ has changed.

      Selling out Shetland to the SNP is not a price worth paying for victory over Bobby Hunter.

      I’m bitterly disappointed.

      Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      The deficit was over £150 billion when labour left office it is less than £50 billion now.

      Reply
    • ian tinkler

      Peter is on the turn again, Labour at heart, yet backed the SNP! A man definitely in two minds, anyone hazard a diagnosis?

      Reply
  9. ian tinkler

    I am no Torie nor a supporter of May, but May did get 43% of the UK vote, an increase on Cameron’s vote share, from two years back. Sturgeon could only manage 37% of Scotlands vote, a drop of 23%, from two years back. “Dead Women Walking”, both of them?

    Reply
    • ian tinkler

      Maybe a maths error there did not want to go unlucky!!

      Reply
    • Robert Sim

      If the leader of the party that gained by far and away the biggest number of Scottish seats at this GE is a “dead person walking”, what does that make Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale and Willie Rennie, whose scare stories about independence and diversionary tactics regarding the devolved administration, covering up their lack of actual policies, gained them so few Scottish seats between them?

      Reply
      • ian tinkler

        The Tories won the most seats, Robert. The party that lost the most was the SNP. Sturgeon lost more than anyone, twenty or so out of fifty. She is already talking about taking indy2 of the table. Your Snaty harder liners are already accusing her of betrayal, (Scot Goes Pop) “Dead Woman Walking”, I do hope so.
        http://scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk/

      • ROBERT SIM

        “The Tories won the most seats, Robert.” What I said was: “…the leader of the party [Nicola Sturgeon] that gained by far and away the biggest number of Scottish seats at this GE…”. Emphasis on “Scottish”. Do you see the distinction?

    • Bill Adams

      In the interests of numerical accuracy, Ian, the drop was 13% not 23%,
      but simple arithmetic is not your strong point.
      You really should get your abacus sorted.
      In addition there is an extra major party contesting elections in Scotland
      but of course you are too biased to take that into account.

      Reply
      • ian tinkler

        Drop in seats Bill, 22 from 50ish. Makes May dropping 15 from 300ish look not too bad. You will note I preceded your correction by several hours. Are you slowing down, you are usually a bit faster?

      • Bill Adams

        Drop in seats, Ian, was 21 and not 22.
        Always happy to correct your errors.

      • Ian Tinkler

        Thanks, Bill, always here to help the Petit minded. It was those two votes that did me!

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