Tag Archives: molly nolan

Molly Nolan: We need to take power from Edinburgh to create a fair and liberal Scotland

This weekend we are publishing all the speeches from the rally Alex Cole-Hamilton held to mark his election as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Here, Molly Nolan, who stood for us in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, talks about the effect of the SNP’s centralising agenda on rural, highland communities.

A family of four moving away can be a cataclysmic event in a small community. Last week, I spoke to a teacher in the North Highlands, and we got to talking about depopulation in the area.

“When the MacLeod family left with their children, that was a very dark time for the community,” she recalled. “Overnight, the school roll dropped by a fifth.”

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the spectre of depopulation was a nineteenth century trauma, but this is the reality for parts of our country in 2021.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have long stood up for Scotland’s most remote and rural communities. And in many ways, as our local teacher can attest, our work has never been more important.

The SNP has been in power in this country since I was 9 years old, and in my lifetime, my generation has seen the gap between urban and rural Scotland grow ever wider.

The pervasive centralisation of the current Scottish Government has hollowed out our local authorities, weakened our regional development capabilities, and moved vital healthcare services further away from the communities that need them. It has decayed our transport network and centralised jobs.

Such short-sighted decisions have serious consequences for the entire country. In our rural areas they are felt through communities themselves melting away. Over the next decade, the population of Caithness, Scotland’s most northernly mainland county, is projected to shrink by over 9%. In Sutherland, over 7%, in the Outer Hebrides, over 6%.

In my own area, we are set to see depopulation of 4.4% in under 10 years.

These are devastating figures, and they are not confined to the Highlands and Islands. From Inverclyde to Aberdeenshire, working age people are moving away in droves.

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Meet the candidates: Molly Nolan

I’ve been catching up with some of the candidates in next year’s key elections to find out about their campaigns, what brought them into politics and how you can help them.

We head north h first to speak to the brilliant Molly Nolan, the Scottish Parliament candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.

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