I’m getting a lot of questions from voters about the forthcoming Independence Referendum and I’ve even received a questionnaire in the post from “Yes Orkney” asking me about my voting pattern in previous years, so this short blog is intended to deal with those questions as they are clearly important.

Indeed, so important is this issue that Theresa May herself has said:

“We will be looking forward to the local elections in May, when voters across Scotland will have the chance to send a clear message to the SNP that they do not want a second independence referendum, by voting Scottish Conservative and Unionist on 4 May.”

I would like to make two simple points:

  1. The OIC elections have nothing whatsoever to do with national questions such as Scottish independence. Councillors have no control (other than their own individual vote) over this issue at all. The local elections in May are about local issues that matter to people in Orkney. (And there are no candidates standing for the Conservative party in the May elections in Orkney, so you can’t do what Mrs May tells you to do, even if you were so inclined.)
  2. I am a member of the Scottish Green Party, I am therefore in favour of Scottish independence and I voted for independence last time. This isn’t me ‘toeing a party line’, this is me belonging to a political party with whom I agree with (otherwise, what is the point?). Unless the question changes considerably, I am likely to vote for independence in the next referendum because Green politics are about devolving power to local communities.

Even if you don’t agree with my (and the Green) stance on this issue you can still vote Green with a clear conscience in these forthcoming elections because these elections are about LOCAL government.

Orkney will always have, and need, local government, whether that is as part of the United Kingdom or in an independent Scotland, so please focus on what a Green Councillor might do to protect and improve Orkney’s schools, bus and ferry services, environment, libraries, social care, leisure centres, museums, housing …

If you vote Green, you are voting to protect local services – please don’t let national politics distract you from issues which directly affect the future of Orkney’s communities. Thank you.

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