Election campaign communications can be very revealing.
An interesting contrast in the material we have received from candidates below the frontline of the contest is between a letter receibed from the Orcadian independent, James Stockan, who is standing in the Highlands and Islands Regional List vote; and Mick Rice who is the Scottish Labour candidate in the Constituency vote for the Argyll and Bute seat, within the Highlands and Islands region.
For Argyll has been struck by the differences – and by the nature of those differences – between communications from these two candidates.
Hardly known for lack of opinion, we are keeping it to ourselves this time and are publishing both, without our own commentary and in alphabetical order of surname, for readers to make their own comparisons according to their own criteria.
Each is a public letter from the candidate in question.
Mick Rice, Scottish Labour candidate for the Argyll & Bute constituency
I see that Alan Reid, our former LibDem MP, (Dunoon Observer 4 March) is attempting to garner the UNIONIST vote to stop the NATIONALISTS in the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary election.
Personally, I think that any politician who spent their final years in office propping up the Conservative austerity government ought to be permanently placed in a “time-out” box!
But then the leaders of the SNP are just as bad as their only policy is to hope for the failure of the UK so they have an excuse to hold a second referendum.
What a choice!
There is another way – as I have been selected as the Argyll and Bute Labour Candidate. Unlike candidates from some of the other parties I am big enough and experienced enough to have some of my own policies!
I am campaigning for a federal solution to the national question, where each of the nations has greater powers. We need a stronger Scotland as a component part of a vibrant UK! Let us abolish the House of Lords and have an elected second chamber based in a new Senate House in Glasgow!
I want to help create an Independent Scottish Labour Party – which has a Manifesto addressing the needs of Scotland’s workers, pensioners and young. An Independent Scottish Labour Party that can, when necessary go into coalition with like-minded parties to select a UK Government!
Many Scottish voters were enthused by the YES campaign – not because they were nationalists – but because they were fed up with the top-down patronising attitude of the old parties – including Blairite Labour. We now need to establish an Alliance with those YES voters to create a Scotland that works in harmony with the rest of the UK – rather than a Scotland that is always looking for the exit door!
I am available to speak to Yes groups and SNP branches anywhere in Argyll and Bute as many local activists will be keen to support a new Progressive Alliance rather than tired old establishment candidates.
I also have lots of ideas specific to Argyll and Bute that I will write about as the campaign develops.
James Stockan, independent candidate for Highland & Islands Regional List vote
Equality and Fairness for all
In May 2007 the Scottish Government stated its commitment to improving and ensuring fairness in Scotland. Since then, we have undoubtedly seen pieces of legislation and policies that have begun to make a difference to communities, including within the Highlands and Islands. But 9 years on, there is still an alarming lack of fairness with regards to the provision of services to the Highlands and Islands and I believe that, more than ever, there is a need for a strong independent voice for this region in Holyrood. As a strong advocate for independent politics in local government for over 13 years, I think I can be that voice.
I have travelled the length and breadth of the Highlands and Islands constituency from Lerwick to Campbeltown and from Moray to Stornoway listening and talking to people and what I have heard is that my five key priority areas are very relevant in the day-to-day lives of the people of this vast region, albeit with unique local issues in each area.
Vote for me and you will be casting your vote for:
- Our unique community here in Argyll and Bute. I intend to fight for change and improvement to ensure the following priorities are delivered and that the Highlands and Islands do not continue to miss out.
- Improving and safeguarding our transport networks
- Working towards the eradication of fuel poverty
- Helping our local economies to thrive
- Seeking better digital connectivity
- Bringing decision-making nearer to the people it affects
- The last Scottish Parliamentary election saw the Additional Member System or “second vote” fail to produce the intended result of proportional representation with many of the MSPs elected accountable to the party leadership rather than the voters. I say: People Not Party! As an independent, I do not have to tow a party line; I do not have to keep quiet when my party whip tells me to do so; and I will always be free to respond to the needs and desires of those who I represent, without infringement working with and supporting those who can deliver for the region. Therefore, voting for me would be the best opportunity for a strong, local, and independent voice in Parliament.
- A new way of working. As I am standing on the Highlands and Islands Region list it means you can vote for me on the Regional ballot paper as well as for your favoured candidate on the separate constituency paper. Elect me as a MSP and I would support whoever gets elected in your local constituency to challenge or support government policy as and when situations dictate.
I recognise that there has been encouraging improvement made by previous Scottish Governments. However, there is still a long way to go. If elected, I will work with whichever Government is elected, other MSPs and councils across the Highlands and Islands to ensure that this region and its people can thrive and flourish into the future.