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‘Caithness could rightly be forgiven for thinking it’s forgotten,’ says Alba candidate ahead of Thurso event

By David G Scott

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Ahead of Alex Salmond’s appearance in Thurso this week, the Alba Party’s candidate for the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross highlights the importance of the event.

Former SNP member Steve Chisholm, the party’s candidate for the area, said he was looking forward to the visit of Alba leader Mr Salmond and the chance to meet up with Highland councillor Karl Rosie who went over to the party earlier this year.

Mr Chisolm said: “I think it’s disappointing that party leaders are rarely seen this far north and it seems to me that most feel Caithness is just too distant and too time-consuming to visit during the hectic schedule of any national election campaign, be it for Westminster or Holyrood. Caithness could rightly be forgiven for thinking it’s a forgotten and neglected part of the country.”

Alba leader Alex Salmond (left) with local candidate Steve Chisolm. Picture supplied
Alba leader Alex Salmond (left) with local candidate Steve Chisolm. Picture supplied

He continued: “As a Highlander, born and brought up on a forestry estate off the beaten track near Spean Bridge in Lochaber, and for many years now working in Easter Ross, I can empathise with many of the issues affecting rural and remote communities but even then, I recognise that Caithness has some unique challenges.

“I’ve been a supporter of Independence since my primary school days and one of the many things I really like about the Alba Party is their very clear and unambiguous position on Independence. They are the only party with Independence on the ballot paper and a very clear plan to deliver it which we’ll discuss at the Thurso meeting.”

He talked about the virtues of the party’s Highland Manifesto which provides “new ideas and proposals” that are totally focused on the region’s issues.

“Health will be a key topic of discussion and in our Highland Manifesto we are committed to restoring consultant-led maternity services to provide high-quality care for expectant mothers.

“We envision innovative ways to achieve this by establishing a partnership with another NHS Trust which can bring experienced consultants to Caithness on a rotational basis. Similarly, we need to take a fresh look at how we incentivise the recruitment and retention of health practitioners in General Practice, nursing and dentistry where our critical services are seriously under-staffed.

“Other likely topics of discussion will be roads and transport infrastructure, combatting depopulation, tourism and opportunities for sustainable well-paid jobs in the growing renewables sector.”

Steve Chisholm is the Alba Party’s candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross. Picture supplied
Steve Chisholm is the Alba Party’s candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross. Picture supplied

Mr Chisolm also stressed the importance of the Highland Green Freeport for the investment, job opportunities and impact that will also be felt in Caithness.

Despite the region being rich in energy resources, he says it is a disgrace that many residents have to live with such high energy bills compared to other parts of the UK.

“Alba policy is for Scotland to have a 20 per cent stake in all wind farms, following Denmark’s stance on public ownership, as well as a community share at every landfall point.

“People remember how much was achieved during Alex Salmond’s time as First Minister, especially during his time leading a minority Government. For me, coming from a business background, that shows that politics need not always be adversarial and that when opportunities arise to work with other parties for the greater good of the people then these should be embraced.”

The Park Hotel in Thurso is the venue for “An Evening with Alex Salmond” on Thursday, June 20, starting at 7pm.

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