Four candidate no shows at Town Hall hustings

The first of seven general elections hustings set to be held across the Orkney and Shetland constituency took place at Lerwick Town Hall this evening (Friday) – though only a third of the candidates actually attended.

With less than three weeks remaining until the country goes to the polls for the first December general election in nearly 100 years the Lerwick Althing event offered candidates the opportunity to vie for the backing of the Shetland electorate.

But in the end the only names set to appear on the ballot paper on 12th December in attendance were the Liberal Democrats’ Alistair Carmichael (aiming to defend the seat he has held for 18 years) and Labour’s Coilla Drake.

Tom Wills, the SNP candidate in August’s Holyrood by-election, stepped in for party-mate Robert Leslie – who we were told will participate in the other six hustings. Robert Smith of the Brexit Party, Conservative Jennifer Fairbairn and anti-monarchy independent David Barnard were unrepresented.

Chairman Andrew Halcrow took a straw poll at the start of the event asking how many of those in attendance had already made their mind up and all but a smattering of hands shot up.

Over two hours the two candidates and SNP stand-in discussed the economy, pensions, Brexit, Scottish independence, climate change and much else in between.

But with three left-of-centre parties, at least as far as the general wisdom is concerned, fielding the questions there were little fireworks, a lot of agreements and only a few impassioned spats, those mostly coming when Mr Wills and Ms Drake aimed shots at the constituency’s long-serving MP.

And in the end it was all for nought (or just abut nought, anyway). A closing straw poll found that none of those who had already chosen their party had changed their mind. Among the handful of undecided voters only two were swayed by the evening’s contest.

• For a full report see next Friday’s Shetland Times.


Add Your Comment
  • Peter Hamilton

    • November 24th, 2019 13:56

    Is Shetland now a Tory free zone? Surely the best way to reverse this is to Get Brexit Done?

    Seriously though, local political parties can struggle to survive being in government, but they have a job to do. Good luck to all those trying to make sure Shetland and Orkney stay on the political map. And, for any dyed in the roots, die hard, genuine One Nation conservatives out there, your party needs you. Not that you’d actually be welcome in the modern Conservative and Unionist Sod Northern Ireland Party, but you’d still be welcome locally.

  • Johan Adamson

    • November 25th, 2019 9:20

    The Lib Dems are not left of centre any more, since their Tory coalition and voting for austerity and seeking to once again prop up the Tories. Not to mention their will to push the button on nuclear warfare if that were called for.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • November 26th, 2019 9:33

    Johan, What do you mean by ” if that were called for.”?
    Are you saying if a foreign power had destroyed London and were imminently threatening an attack on Glasgow, you would do nothing!
    Indeed, a heads up “fundamental orifice policy” from the socialists, both Labour and the SNP.
    I loath nuclear weapons but the policy of deterrence works, ask Ukraine peoples what happened when they gave up their weapons under international treaty. Puttin just walked in! 14,000 dead so far and no end in sight. It is a dangerous world, and the unguarded are vulnerable, the lessons of history are obvious to all but the foolish.

    • Peter Hamilton

      • November 26th, 2019 12:30

      I think there are folk who would locate blame for those deaths at the feet of the current US president and his America First approach. Trump, Boris and Brexit undermine international collaboration.

      Trump has weakened NATO and Boris weakens the EU’s capacity to stand up to his pet Tory-backing oligarchs in Russia. Can Ian peel the scales from his own eyes?

      Foolishness is imagining Britain can be great by standing alone. We only ever punched above our weight through cooperation with other nations, but we really have to be careful who those are. Saudis and US Republicans shouldn’t be writing our foreign policy. Let’s Get Brexit Done and see what happens next, heaven help us.

  • Ian TInkler

    • November 27th, 2019 9:32

    O dear, dear, Peter Hamilton why do you have such a problem with the truth. The Ukraine conflict started in early 2014. Long before Trump, Boris as PM and Brexit. Are you now taking honesty lessons from Corbyn, Sturgeon and Salmond? Or are you just ignorant of the history?
    To get back to my point, nuclear deterrence, under the Nato shield has prevented a major conflict in Europe for the longest period in Europe’s history.
    Just a closing fact, the Salmond/Sturgeon triest would have joined an indie Scotland to NATO. That would have allowed NATO nukes, including Trident into every Scotish port and Airport. Nice one for Lerwick and Sumburgh.

    • John Thomas

      • November 28th, 2019 12:08

      Ian Tinkler’s Logical Fallacies Number 2: Strawman Fallacy
      “In the strawman argument, someone attacks a position the opponent doesn’t really hold…The strawman argument is a cheap and easy way to make one’s position look stronger than it is. Using this fallacy, opposing views are characterized as “non-starters,” lifeless, truthless, and wholly unreliable. ”

      “The Ukraine conflict started in early 2014.”

      Peter never claimed otherwise. Oh dear oh dear.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • November 27th, 2019 18:20

    Pedantic Ian deliberately misses the broader point. “The former secretary general of NATO (Anders Fogh Rasmussen) has warned that President Donald Trump’s public criticism of the alliance risks dangerously undermining the bloc, and encouraging adversaries like Russian President Putin to test its unity.” 16.9.19

    “Brexit; pro-Russian sentiment in Italy, Austria and Hungary; and French president Emmanuel Macron‘s increasingly maverick foreign policy in regards to Russia have combined to weaken the security consensus on Ukraine.” this from ‘We are on the brink’: Abandoned by Trump and with few options in Europe, Ukraine fights for survival, The Independent 19.11.19

    “At least 13 Ukrainian soldiers were killed while President Donald Trump’s administration was withholding military aid from the country from mid-July to mid-September. The men… are among at least 78 Ukrainian soldiers killed in action up to mid-September this year in the east of the country… 4.10.19

    Trump and Brexit are good news for Putin, less so Ukraine. More accurately I could have said there are those who would locate blame for some of those 14,000 deaths at the feet of the current US President. I’ll stand by saying Trump, Boris and Brexit undermine international collaboration though. Peace too.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • November 28th, 2019 16:00

    In fairness to Ian Tinkler though John, had I said there are folk who would lay blame for SOME of those deaths at the feet of the current US president and his America First approach. Trump, Boris and Brexit undermine international collaboration… then Ian would probably have happily agreed with me. After all Ian is a LibDem these days, which we all know is an excellent way to Get Brexit Done.

    I’m not sure I can agree with him that the UK should wage war in Ukraine again without the assistance of our fellow EU neighbours though… Perhaps there should be an advisory straw poll first man.

  • ian Tinkler

    • November 28th, 2019 16:41

    Peter Hamilton stated, “there are folk who would locate blame for those deaths (14 thousand in Ukraine) at the feet of the current US president and his America First approach”. He Elaborated , “Trump, Boris and Brexit undermine international collaboration.!!!”
    Are you having a problem reading John Thomas? Or just an SNP variation with the truth?

    • John Thomas

      • November 30th, 2019 8:40

      You accuse Peter of dishonesty based on the fact that the conflict started in 2014 (ignoring the fact that it continued after that date). He did not claim otherwise. If he tried to claim it started later, that would be dishonest. But he didn’t. Classic straw man. Smells like SNP post-truth reasoning to me. Pot meet Ian shaped kettle…

    • Peter Hamilton

      • November 30th, 2019 13:35

      Ian Tinkler knows better than the former Secretary General of NATO.


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