People in Shetland will have the chance next month to take part in the SNP government’s “national conversation” as part of a Highlands and Islands question and answer session via video link.
Locally the event is being held at the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway, along with other venues in Thurso, Fort William and Dingwall. The audiences will be directly linked to the Scottish government offices in Glasgow, from where constitution minister Michael Russell will host the conference.
The event, which takes place on Monday 2nd November between 6-8pm, is designed to allow people to have a say about issues that concern them most in their region. Thousands of people in other parts of Scotland have already taken part, either through different events or on the website.
Representatives from local organisations have been invited to attend the event, which is being facilitated by the University of the Highlands and Islands, but there are still places available in each location.
Mr Russell said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to speak to people right across the Highlands and Islands and hear their views about constitutional change and discuss the issues that concern them most.
“Every day we are faced with situations where Scotland is being disadvantaged by the current devolution settlement. It’s now been 10 years since the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament and while in that time we’ve seen some historic achievements such as the introduction of the smoking ban, the abolition of tuition fees, the council tax freeze and many others we believe that now is the time for us, as a nation, to consider whether the current powers and responsibilities of the parliament remain fit for purpose.
“I believe that full independence is needed to tackle the problems that people in the Highlands and Islands, and Scotland as a whole, face now and to make sure that we can unlock the unlimited potential of our country. I do, however, accept that there are other views, including support for further devolution.
“It’s clear that the right to choose Scotland’s future lies solely with Scotland’s people. That’s why the national conversation is so important – it’s an opportunity to have a mature, grown up debate about all of the options before allowing the people of Scotland to reach a decision about their future.
“Those who have already taken part have explained how decisions taken by the government and the parliament affect their lives – and told us what more is needed to help achieve their aspirations for themselves and for our country. I encourage people from the Highlands and Islands to take this opportunity to join me in the video conference to discuss these important questions about Scotland’s future.”
Attendance is free but as places are expected to be taken up quickly people are urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 244 1893. People who cannot make it along can still have their say by logging on to www.anationalconversation.com and posting a comment.