Donald Cameron MSP, Con­ser­va­tive

The Oban Times - - News -

I AM de­lighted and hon­oured to have been elected as an MSP for the High­lands and Is­lands and, as I said in my maiden speech on May 26, I will make it my mis­sion to en­sure that your voice is heard as loudly as pos­si­ble in Holy­rood.

It seems like the elec­tion was just the other day but I fully in­tend to hit the ground run­ning and, in­deed, the ref­er­en­dum on the UK’s mem­ber­ship of the EU is al­ready upon us.

I’m sure a lot of peo­ple will feel that there seems to be an end­less pro­ces­sion of elec­tions and ref­er­en­dums at the mo­ment but, thank­fully, I have found the de­ci­sion to re­main in the EU a sim­ple one to make.

So I’ll spare you the cam­paign jargon or end­less sta­tis­ti­cal claims.

I sought elec­tion to the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment be­cause I want to se­cure a pros­per­ous, sus­tain­able and well- con­nected fu­ture for the High­lands and Is­lands and it is for th­ese same rea­sons that I be­lieve we should re­main in the EU.

I will be vot­ing to re­main be­cause of the huge op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by the EU’s sin­gle mar­ket of around 500 mil­lion peo­ple. To have un­re­stricted ac­cess to such a large and var­ied mar­ket pro­vides our busi­nesses, small and large, with the chance to ac­cess cus­tomers abroad in or­der to grow and cre­ate jobs right here at home.

To take one lo­cal ex­am­ple, you can quite eas­ily find that the best ta­pas in Spain are ac­tu­ally made with shell­fish which comes from the wa­ters of the West Coast. The abil­ity to make th­ese eco­nomic links, with min­i­mal ob­sta­cles, is cen­tral to the prospects of small busi­nesses across the West High­lands.

This, I think, is the de­ci­sive fac­tor.

It is all very well to say that we could still trade if we left the EU, which is true, but I think it is the lo­cal sup­pli­ers, rather than large in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses, that would strug­gle with the new hur­dles that would likely come with sell­ing into the EU from the out­side.

To se­cure a grow­ing econ­omy that re­tains tal­ent by pro­vid­ing jobs now, and in the fu­ture, we need our small busi­nesses to have the in­ter­na­tional reach that the EU’s sin­gle mar­ket pro­vides.

Of course, we also need to im­prove dras­ti­cally our broad­band cov­er­age and trans­port links, where the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has re­spon­si­bil­ity.

In this, as with the Euro­pean Union, I will al­ways work to keep our re­gion open, con­nected and thriv­ing.

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