Independent candidate standing in Highlands and Islands constituency
13th April 2016
People in the Highlands and Islands will be able to vote for an independent candidate with their second vote in the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections for the first time since 2003.
James Stockan, an Independent Orkney Islands Councillor of over 13 years, launched his campaign at the end of March 2016 and is now on a tour around the region covering as much ground as he can before the election.
Local authorities in the Highlands and Islands region are made up by a majority of Independent councillors but there are not currently any elected Independent MSPs from this region.
Mr Stockan says he is campaigning to be the Independent voice of the region in Holyrood. "We Independent councillors are not a rarity in the Highland and Islands - there are 130 of us altogether, that is 60% of all councillors in the region - but where is our collective voice within the Scottish parliament?", said Mr Stockan.
"We represent thousands of people across this vast region and yet we ourselves do not have a strong voice representing us at Holyrood. I want to be that Independent voice."
Mr Stockan has been outspoken about the difficulties facing many people in the region and has set out his plan to tackle what he sees as the five main areas that need improvement by government. They are:
- 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
Mr Stockan said: "This region has been subjected to shocking neglect by successive Scottish Governments who have failed to adequately tackle the plight faced by many of the people who live here."
“Taking transport as an example, how are our businesses and economy expected to thrive if people have to rely on roads or use a train service that have suffered from a disgraceful lack of investment. Where is the investment for the A9 north, the A82, the A83 and the A95 - all important routes for the region?”
“For too long, the Highlands and Islands has suffered from ineffectual representation which has frozen out the needs and desires of those who live here.”
“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. Therefore, I would be able to offer the Highlands and Islands, a strong, local, and independent voice in Parliament”.
James Stockan at Scrabster Harbour as part of his campaign tour of Caithness.