The refusal by the SNP General Election candidate to support local fishermen by signing the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation pledge tells us a little about her views on fishing and quite a lot about what sort of MP she would be if she were to be elected.
Representing a fishing community is never easy. There are few politicians or civil servants who really understand the industry. That is how it was possible for Conservative minsters in the 1970s to describe the industry as “expendable”.
It is also why the interests of the industry have been traded off against other sectors of our economy in negotiations over the years. So the fishing case must be made time and time again.
That is why it is so crucial that anyone representing these islands listens to and to works with the fishing industry and its representatives. Alistair Carmichael has worked closely with the Shetland Fishermen’s Association and others to put the case for local fishermen as our local MP.
The SNP candidate could do worse than seek the advice of Winnie Ewing. I may have had my differences with Winnie over the years but I never once doubted her commitment to the fishing industry. I have no doubt that if Winnie had been asked to sign that pledge it would have been signed before the paper hit the desk.