Scott sweeps to victory with massive majority

It was the perfect birthday present for Tavish Scott as he won a decisive majority in yesterday’s Scottish Election, securing a fifth term as Shetland MSP at Holyrood.

The Liberal Democrat secured 7,440 votes, convincingly defeating his main SNP rival Danus Skene, who polled just 2,545.

A delighted Tavish Scott makes his acceptance speech at Clickimin. Photo: Dave Donaldson
A delighted Tavish Scott makes his acceptance speech at Clickimin. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Labour’s Robina Barton managed to stay ahead of Conservative candidate Cameron Smith to take third place, with 651 votes against Mr Smith’s 405.

The total number of votes cast across the constituency was 11,087, with a percentage turn-out of 62.3 per cent.

Mr Scott, who has served the isles since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, immediately slammed the SNP for “taking voters for granted” after his victory.

The result comes as a marked improvement for Mr Scott, as he managed to secure 3,000 more votes than he did during the 2011 Scottish elections. At that time his nearest rival was independent candidate, Billy Fox, who actually received 300 more votes than Mr Skene did in yesterday’s poll.

Mr Scott’s win followed a victory earlier in the evening for Orkney’s Lib Dem candidate Liam McArthur, who secured 67 per cent of the vote in his home constituency. Mr Scott polled a remarkably similar 67.1 per cent of the vote.

Speaking immediately after the declaration at the Clickimin Centre, Mr Scott said Shetland had sent a clear message – “we’re not for Nicola”.

He added: “The SNP have taken voters for granted – not just here but right across Scotland.

“People don’t like being taken for granted and it’s time some people in their party realised that.

“Above all I want to declare that, Nicola, you don’t need dodgy opinion polls to predict if you can win a second referendum. You just need to listen to people, and people here have spoken – and spoken very clearly.”

Mr Scott thanked returning officer Jan Riise and his staff for running “a commendable operation”.

Defeated SNP candidate Danus Skene expressed his disappointment after the result. Photo: Dave Donaldson
Defeated SNP candidate Danus Skene expressed his disappointment after the result. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Mr Skene was standing as a parliamentary candidate for the SNP for the second consecutive year. In last year’s Westminster campaign he massively reduced Alistair Carmichael’s majority to just 817. This time round it was a different story, however.

He said: “It’s interesting, that last year in the Westminster election I came far closer than … expected, and this year there’s a gap that needs explanation. We will all go away and think about that and work on it.

“But Shetland having persisted with Lib Dem … I sincerely hope something of the purpose and soul of the tradition represented by liberalism returns and achieves a meaningful delivery.”

The result was actually not much of a surprise at the end of the day. Long before the declaration was made, early indications were that Mr Scott would secure a convincing win.

Speaking before the announcement, Mr Scott said he was “gratified” that the support had been so strong.

He said moves by Ms Sturgeon to secure a second independence referendum had “rebounded hugely” against the SNP in the isles. And he said there would be a “very strong desire” to see the SNP deliver.

Mr Scott said: “I’ve been everywhere and I’ve talked about the issues people want action on – to cut ferry fares, improving our broadband services, investing in schools and making sure our health service is all that it can be.”

He said the Lib Dems had run a campaign based on attracting new voters “to the Liberal cause”. That, together with a social media based “Tav-TV” campaign which proved to be a draw for younger people, was particularly relevant given that 16 and 17-year-olds were able to vote in a Scottish election for the first time.

So what did those youngsters make of the experience? Pupils from Anderson High School were attending the count.

Lerwick pupil Eve Thomson said she had been less than impressed by the SNP government at Edinburgh, although she had enjoyed being able to attend the count.

“It’s been a really exciting experience. It’s been really interesting to see how it all comes together, and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“I don’t think it’s great that we’re sort of becoming a one-party state,” she added. “I’d like to see a bit more democracy and a bit more variety.”

Alec Henry said voting for the first time was “definitely an empowering experience” as it gave you a say in what was happening.

Earlier, Ms Barton and Mr Smith both said they had enjoyed being part of a positive campaign.

Following the constituency result the regional list voting in Shetland was announced, with the Liberal Democrats coming first with 3,937 votes.

In second place was the SNP with 2,932 while the Conservatives polled 1,197 and the Labour Party 1,003.

Then came the Greens with 736, independent Orkney-based candidate James Stockan with 701, Ukip with 301, the Scottish Christian Party with 116, Rise with 85 and Solidarity with 33.

That result, along with the others in the Highlands and Islands region, left the area with three Conservative list MSPs, two Labour, one SNP and one Green.

• For more reaction from all the candidates see next week’s Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • May 6th, 2016 12:08

    I said from the start that all Mr Skene and SNP Shetland had to campaign with were empty presses, bare floor boards and a policy “bed of nails”.

    This is because of the policies and actions and the sheer arrogance of their bosses in Holyrood who so assiduously stuffed Shetland during their time in office.

    In the face of that local campaigners’ morale and effort was really quite remarkable, albeit, to no avail.

    Only ‘die hard’ nationalists could stick with them in the circumstances.

    • Robert Sim

      • May 6th, 2016 13:05

      Congratulations to Tavish, who is a principled and hardworking politician.

      You’ll be happy, then, John, that Shetland has returned an MSP who can talk a good game but cannot directly influence government policy.

      You should also realise that the devil is in the detail when it comes to the issues you lambast the Scottish Government for. A prime example, as I have pointed out before, is the “underfunding” of Shetland education. Tht argument really needs to be seen in the light of how money is spent within Shetland education – within a system created by the SIC who need to take responsibility for still not having agreed a coherent strategy for the school estate after many years. It’s not all the fault of one side – unless you are indulging in political sloganising.

      • iantinkler

        • May 7th, 2016 7:11

        Shetland and Orkney have sent out a clear massage to the Nats. We have had more than enough of the Scottish Nasty Party. If the Nats want to keep the Northern Isles as part of Scotland , take note, “Wir Shetland”, is an established fact of life. Scotland needs Shetland, if it has any chance of prosperous Independence. Shetland does not need Scotland for an autonomous future. Shetland needs Scottish Nationalism like a hole in the head and looks to the same with utter contempt in all rational circles.

      • Robert Sim

        • May 8th, 2016 9:23

        “If the Nats want to keep the Northern Isles as part of Scotland , take note, “Wir Shetland”, is an established fact of life.” Are you saying that WS are on the verge of delivering independence for Shetland, Ian? How exactly will that happen? Ray Purchase asked John Tulloch that question recently and no answer was forthcoming. Maybe you are more on the ball and have a practical plan?

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 6th, 2016 14:43

    Danus Skene’s reaction, “He said: “It’s interesting, that last year in the Westminster election I came far closer than … expected, and this year there’s a gap that needs explanation. We will all go away and think about that and work on it”.
    Danus it is simple really, you do not need the backing of a vitriolic hate filled group called Yes Shetland who orchestrated the hate campaign against Alistair Carmichael and tried to paint Tavish with the same brush. Neither do you need to be part of a campaign for a second referendum when despite Yes Shetlands best efforts they and you lost the first one.
    Had you concentrated on matters relevant to Shetland and ditched the I’m with Nicola rhetoric you may have fared better but I doubt it.
    I wish you well and hope you now find the time to convalesce and return to good health.

  • Johnny Smith

    • May 6th, 2016 17:04

    Well done Tavish Scott once again, it was great news to hear that you had TRASHED the SNP. Keep up the good work you have done and given us all here in Shetland over the years.

    As for you Danus Skene I only have one word and that is – GOODBYE…!

  • Robin Stevenson

    • May 6th, 2016 18:18

    Is it congratulations or commiserations for the Lib/Dems? The bizarre notion that by choosing a MP and a MSP that have failed miserably to produce anything worthwhile in the last 40 years is frankly mindboggling?

    Not only have the Lib/Dems failed to get any other seats and remain with exactly the number they had [5], but they’ve now been overtaken by the greens, which push them back into 5th place. Well, that’s certainly going to have some clout in the Scottish parliament?…Not.

    On top of that, we have Tavish having the audacity to tell Nicola what she and her party are doing wrong while the SNP have – not only – been granted a historic third term in office, but having the biggest ever share of the vote in their history.

    So well done Shetland, another 5 years of ineffective sniping from the sidelines, and another 5 years of exactly what’s been delivered to date, courtesy of your ‘extraordinary’ chosen candidates.

    My sympathies go out to the 2,545 voters that chose not to be stuck in a perpetual cycle of mediocrity. 🙂

    • iantinkler

      • May 7th, 2016 12:06

      Thank you so much Robin Stevenson. Your unpleasant and snide comments did so much to inform all objective souls, just how unpleasant Nationalism and some of its cult followers are. I noticed a watershed moment in public opinion when you so nastily referred to all who did not follow your narrow credo as “turncoats”. Please now give us a rest from your malevolent and prejudiced piffle, Shetland voters have, yet again, given you their emphatic, democratic answer, to your cult belief. So just crawl back to from where you came. We have had enough of you and the SNP on these Islands for quite some time. Incidentally, Nippy no longer has a majority so she will now have to rely on snipers from the sidelines, to pass any legislation. My sympathies go out to the 2,545 voters and Dannus Skene, with embittered friends like yourself, who needs enemies? Tick, tock, splat, Whoop, whoop!

    • John Tulloch

      • May 7th, 2016 12:10

      Och, stoap greetin intae yer beer, son!

      Yus got a right hidin frae Tavish! Take it like a man, will ye!

      Aye, an away hame wi ye…”tae think again”!

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 7th, 2016 17:19

        Whit!…Who’s ‘greetin’ John? The SNP results are spectacular, not only an unprecedented 3rd term in office, not only have they wiped out Labour in Scotland, but have actually ‘increased’ their share of the vote by 156,000.

        The voters of Shetland have chosen their man and good luck with that, but as I’ve always maintained, choosing an ineffectual sniper has very little chance of delivering…well…anything frankly?….

        But hey ho! I’m pretty positive that IF and when his party are called upon to make up a couple of seats, they’ll be only too happy to bite the hand off of Nicola? After all, they have form in jumping into bed with anyone that’ll have them?
        Sadly for the Lib/Dems however, the Greens tend to sing from the same hymn sheet as the SNP, [pro-Indy n’all] so I’m afraid Tavish and co may just have to wait patiently at the back of the queue, in the hope that one day they’ll ever be needed?


        You appear to be as gracious a winner as yer man?…. You deserve each other. 🙂

      • Brian Smith

        • May 8th, 2016 13:50

        When do you think Mr Scott’s campaign for an autonomous Shetland will commence in the Scottish Parliament, John?

      • John Tulloch

        • May 8th, 2016 17:38

        All in good time, Brian. I’m sure you don’t really expect me to reveal Wir Shetland’s tactics in an online blog comment, do you?

        Anyway, such initiatives and the timing of thereof would be a matter for discussion between Tavish and the new leadership at Wir Shetland.

        Certainly, the first step – the comprehensive rout of Skene/SNP at the polls – has already been taken however “Peak SNP” having apparently transpired does make it more difficult to extract anything from Westminster.

        If you join us you’ll be able to ask the committee, directly, on our Facebook members discussion page.

    • Ali Inkster

      • May 7th, 2016 14:33

      Wrobin people turned out in record numbers and voted against the snp, Tavish not only increased his share of the vote but also the number of folk that voted for him. What I also found interesting is that quite a number who vote snp in the list agreed with the vast majority of us and that is the snp has nothing to offer Shetland.

    • Christopher Ritch

      • May 7th, 2016 14:51

      Did you miss Nicola Sturgeons speech from Bute House the other day Robin? The one when she promised to lead an inclusive government? She even said her government would reach out and seek to work with others across the parliament to find common ground. Sounds rather different to your comment above?

      • Robin Stevenson

        • May 8th, 2016 14:58

        That, Christopher, is a two way Street, if you’d care to cast your mind back to Mhari Blacks maiden speech in Westminster, where she held out an olive branch to the Labour party and asked them for their support in order to work together, how did that go then?

        Nicola is right when she said that her government would ‘reach out and seek to work with others across the parliament to find common ground’, the question is, who shares that ‘common ground?’ Various parties share fundamental agreement over certain policies, and as the SNP has already led a successful minority government in the past, they know how to horse trade. But frankly looking at the parties and how they’ve reciprocated their support in the past, which party would you imagine would be given the first option of their backing?

  • Alan Skinner

    • May 8th, 2016 14:41

    I would have thought that it is perfectly obvious that Tavish Scott won because he is well-known, well-liked and well-respected, and does an excellent job for Shetland. I believe it has very little, if indeed anything, to do with his representing the Liberal Democrats. I suspect the margin of victory would have been pretty much the same, if he had stood as an Independent.

    • Robin Barclay

      • May 8th, 2016 21:27

      I think the fact that both Orkney and Shetland Liberal Democrats were returned with increased majorities may have been to some extent a vote of confidence by constituents in the Liberal Democrat MP Alastair Charmichael after he was dragged through the courts by a cabal over his leak of that memo in the general election. I still find it strange that someone else wrote it (presumably believing it was a fair summary) – all he did was leak it, then initially deny that he had. It wasn’t as if he made it up himself. Nobody has ever explained why it was written – or maybe I missed it.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • May 8th, 2016 20:22

    An excerpt from a post on Yes Shetland; “The SNP should make Shetland suffer then ask what has Tavish done to help Shetland”. A screen shot of this post is there for all to see on the Shetland Times Facebook page along with the rest of the commentators vitriolic diatribe.
    A perfect example of why Danus should have distanced himself from yes Shetland in his election campaign. Believe it or not the person who posted this diatribe is an ex local policeman and probably the most prolific commentator on one of the yes Shetland Facebook pages. He is still posting on yes Shetland’s pages which, in my book shows that the admins at yes Shetland who have not banned him for this, actually support his vitriolic campaign of hate against anyone who disagrees with their ideology.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.