Donald Cameron MSP, Conservative
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.