I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the people of the Western Isles for
the way they responded to my bid to seek election. Not just those who voted for me,
but also to those who reacted to me in a positive manner, even though their vote
lay elsewhere. I started the campaign with very little recognition and I am proud
to say that by the end people were approaching me in the supermarket to discuss the
issues facing our islands.
I believe I made a strong case for change in the islands and I stand by the approach
I took. I believe in our islands and our potential. Over and over again, on the doorsteps,
people expressed concern about the impact talk of a second independence referendum
was having on our communities and our country. I agree. I respect people who have
a strong belief in a cause, even though I do not share their belief. However, sometimes
we must set that to one side to ensure that our communities are not jeopardised.
The campaign was short and very difficult. The worst of humanity hit our islands
which showed the very best of our islands. I don't think any of us will forget this.
So, five weeks after starting, I found that 5,000 of my fellow islanders had put
their faith in me and crossed the box next to my name. A combination of my realistic
but positive approach to the difficulties we face and a strong Labour manifesto which
was steeped in the values that most islanders hold dear - community, compassion and
I promised you that if you gave me your vote then I would fight for the islands.
I was not elected, but I will carry on fighting. Please continue to come and chat
in the supermarket, or anywhere else, because I am going to do everything I can to
ensure our islands have a viable future. Mòran taing.