Candidate Robina Barton welcomes launch of Labour Manifesto.
15 May 2017
Robina Barton, Labour Candidate for Orkney and Shetland has welcomed the launch of the Labour Party Manifesto this week.
She said : “Labour will create a fairer society with a strong economy for the future that makes life better for the many, not the few.
"Labour’s programme of tax reform will clamp down on tax avoidance by those at the top, freeing up billions to invest in vital public services.”
The NHS will receive an additional £37 billion over the course of the next Parliament, including £10 billion of capital funding to make sure that NHS buildings and IT systems are fit for the modern day.
Labour will implement a real Living Wage of £10 an hour and protect pensioner incomes, keeping the Triple Lock on state pensions over the lifetime of the next parliament, and committing to keep the Winter Fuel Allowance and free bus passes.
Labour will back first-time buyers, building 100,000 genuinely affordable homes a year to rent and buy by the end of the next Parliament.
Labour will stop cuts to school budgets, introduce free universal school meals for primary school children, and bring back maintenance grants for students from low and middle income backgrounds.
Robina said “The choice in this election is clear. If we want to see real change, if we want to see people’s lives and prospects improve, if we want to see an end to food banks and poverty then we need to get the Tories out. The only party that can do that is Labour.”

Labour's Robina Barton welcomes values-based campaign
8 May 2017
Labour Candidate Robina Rendall Barton has launched her bid to be the MP for Orkney and Shetland.
Robina, 39, stood for Labour in the Scottish Parliamentary elections last year coming third behind the incumbent Tavish Scott (Lib Dem) and the late Danus Skene (SNP).
Robina’s campaign will focus on Labour values and a number of key issues including the NHS, education, housing, the environment and violence against women.
Through a combination of statements, public events and door knocking she is hoping to rally people to the Labour cause, starting with a letter in this week’s paper.
She has previously stated to the Shetland Times that she finds politics tiresome.
Her view is that too much time and press coverage is spent on petty squabbling instead of actively seeking solutions to the problems faced by our society.
She has expressed a hope that in this election people will listen to what each of the candidates has to say and give serious thought to how they place their vote.
She has also stated that while she may make use of Facebook she is going to give Twitter a miss.
‘I did start up a Twitter account for the Scottish elections but to be honest I didn’t want to use it.
“If something is worth saying in relation to an important and complex issue then it’s going to need more than 140 characters and I think people need to come to terms with that.’
Throughout the course of the campaign she will be touring both Shetland and Orkney but will not be able to cover as much ground as she would have liked due to the limited time available.
She said : ‘In the Scottish Elections last year I made a point of trying to visit the outer islands but since we only have a month and I have both Orkney and Shetland to consider that is not going to be possible this time.
"I’m disappointed because all the islands are different and it’s important to hear the range of views.
"I will be setting up a couple of phone conferences which I hope will allow people to engage and give me their questions and concerns. I’ll advertise in the Shetland Times and Orcadian and I do urge people to pick up the phone and challenge me. Failing that an email or FB message will do just as well’.
*Robina can be contacted via :
email :
Facebook >>>

Robina's Letters to the Press
The Daily Mail is loving it.
The DM says Labour is taking us back to the 1970s with their leaked manifesto.
Interesting attitude to the most progressive manifesto we’ve seen in a long time.
A manifesto that will properly fund our NHS, and most importantly its staff, invest in care services, deliver a real living wage of £10 an hour by 2020, and get trains running on time.
Not to mention making education more accessible for all with the scrapping of tuition fees and the reintroduction of grants.
I see in the Labour manifesto a real chance to reverse the backward trend we are currently experiencing.
A trend towards societal division racism, poverty, and ever greater inequality (oh, and lest we forget, bringing back fox hunting).
If Labour is taking us back to the 1970s the Tories seem to be aiming for the 1770s.
As for the SNP, I’m not sure they have an aim (beyond Independence of course).
They say they are ‘holding the Tories to account’ in Westminster, but they’re not doing so well on the home front.
Food banks have handed out nearly half a million 3 - day emergency food parcels in Scotland since 2011 under the SNP and the Tories, with figures rising year on year to a staggering 145 000 in 2016 (reference : Trussell Trust figures).
About a third of recipients are children.
As Kez puts it, “That’s the brutal reality of two governments more obsessed with the constitution than delivering for working families.
“In a country as wealthy as Scotland it should shame the SNP and the Tories that working families can’t afford to feed themselves.”
It should, but it doesn’t seem to.
Three- day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis (Scotland)
97,910 adults 47,955 children
89,764 adults 43,962 children
81,575 adults 36,114 children 2013/14
49,041 adults 22,387 children
9,760 adults 4,572 children
Total 331,adults 156,851 children


I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out what this election is about. It comes down to four things:
• Local needs
• Brexit
• Scottish Independence
• Everything else
Re : local needs (by which I mean Orkney and Shetland), you won’t find much variation in the policies of all candidates (except Stuart Hill who doesn’t have any policies).
Cheaper transport links to the Scottish Mainland, better phone signals and faster broadband are key. Whoever is elected on June 8th will have these at the top of their agenda.
Brexit doesn’t fall along party lines (I’m against), but candidates will want to ensure the best deal for fishermen and crofters in negotiations with Europe.
Setting aside the SNP, the issue of Scottish Independence doesn’t fall along party lines either (I’m against).
Which leaves ‘everything else’.
At this point party politics come into play, and we can see the difference between the candidates.
We can do this by looking at a single issue - foodbank usage.
The Conservatives don’t say much on foodbanks except that there are ‘complex reasons’ why people use them.
Beyond need and desperation I’m not sure what these are but anyway, the Conservatives aren’t bothered that many families across the UK can’t afford food.
The SNP take Labour’s stance on foodbanks.
They think they’re a bad thing.
Trouble is they won’t actually do anything about them.
They have huge devolved authority which would allow them to alleviate food bank usage by reducing financial inequalities in our society.
Unfortunately they won’t because it’s in their political interests to keep the status quo and blame Westminster.
For the SNP our impoverished are a political bargaining chip.
The Liberal Democrats also have affinity with Labour when it comes to foodbanks, but the difference is that while some believe Labour have a slim chance of forming a government, the Liberal Democrats have none.
So where does this leave us?
Well basically, if you want to see a fairer society where the majority are better off, healthier and happier, vote Labour.
If you don’t then take your pick.
Robina Barton
Labour Candidate Orkney and Shetland
Birka, Bressay,


“Societies that exhibit large income inequalities also tend to score badly in terms of health and a range of social problems.” (*Source: The Spirit Level 2009)
On Da Level, a report by the Shetland Commission on Inequalities, states that 1 in 15 people in Shetland are income deprived; half of all households are in fuel poverty; and food parcels have trebled since 2010.
Link : >>>
I couldn’t find equivalent data for Orkney but the Orkney Community Plan makes clear that Orkney, too, is home to individuals and families who are struggling.
Link :  >>>
Link >>>

In our islands we face other kinds of inequality - difficulties relating to transport, digital connectivity, access to medical services, and sustaining our agriculture and fishing industries.
We need our government to be are aware of the challenges we face and we need a government that is interested in working with us to tackle them.
The Tories have no interest in tackling inequality.
The SNP profess to have an interest but have signally failed to use any of their extensive devolved powers to this end.
I am standing for Labour because tackling inequality and making life better for everyone is at the heart of their mission.
They, and I, stand for the many, not the few.
Robina Barton
Labour Candidate Orkney and Shetland
Birka, Bressay,


I wasn’t quite sure what to make of John Tulloch’s letter in the Shetland Times last week.
I think it was meant to be a compliment and not to suggest that I’m horribly old!
Nevertheless, it did make me think.
The year that Miriam Brett was born I spent Christmas in Westminster.
To be exact I was bedding down in Westminster Quaker Meeting House and volunteering at a shelter for the street homeless in Blackfriars.
I was 15 at the time. I doubt that would be allowed today – health and safety…. But it was the first of many Christmas/New Year weeks I spent there.
Eventually I came to manage the shelter.
That was the year I moved to Shetland.
The shelter had moved to Union Chapel in Islington, and policies and procedures had moved on.
They had to. In 1992, most of the street homeless were middle aged alcoholic males.
A lot of ex-army men who had taken to drink, lost their wives and found themselves on the street.
We let them drink in the shelter, unlike most other shelters in London, so we usually catered for the folk that had been kicked out of everywhere else.
They were decent people at heart, polite until the drink took over, and predictable in their behaviour.
Yes, they could get angry and violent but you always knew they’d eventually calm down and fall asleep.
And they had interesting life stories to tell.
But as the years went on, the shelter environment got more challenging.
The guests got younger, their behaviour was erratic and threatening, drugs were rife and it was altogether a much more frightening environment.
More frightening and much, much sadder.
Because we were working with young people who had never known what it was to have a settled life or a loving family.
Their lives had been chaotic from birth.
We banned the alcohol and policed the drugs but we alone couldn’t solve the problems.
It’s many years now since I worked the shelter but my father is still involved and I know things haven’t got any better.
I tell this story because when a lot of folk think of London they think of the Westminster bubble, and a city of wealthy self-satisfied people, and it fuels the call for Scottish Independence.
But when I think of London, I think of cardboard city, and a young woman, all small and yellow, dying of hepatitis, and two guys spending a night in the shelter doorway with bags of glue clamped to their faces, and a group of men thinking it would be funny to give a lad with mental health problems a cup of p*** to drink.
And I think “that is my country too, and it is my responsibility”.
I am never going to support a movement that only cares for Scotland when people the length and breadth of our tiny British Isles are left in poverty, vulnerable and struggling from day to day.
The SNP vision of an Independent Scotland seems incredibly small to me.
6 million people out of 60.
It’s not enough.
And under a Conservative government nothing is going to change.
So, despite their well-publicised divisions and spats, I continue to stand for the Labour party that brought us the NHS and the welfare state.
The party that believes in working together for the many not the few.
The only party that can come close to challenging Tory dominance.
Problems aside, Labour values still endure and I’d back them any day over the SNP, who have no values at all, just an insular approach to life.