With just three days to go until the General Election, the Stornoway Gazette offered the five candidates a final chance to convince you why you should vote for them.
Over the last three weeks we have quizzed candidates on the issues which our readers’ say are important to them.
The candidates have discussed the 2p electricity surcharge and fuel poverty; the economy and transportation; foreign policy and Europe.
Alasdair Morrison - Scottish Labour
The choice facing the Western Isles next week could not be clearer.
It is either a political diet of the same absence and neglect that’s seen our islands’ prospects diminish, or the chance to elect someone who’ll apply himself, work hard and help make a difference.
We need a clear, distinctive island voice raising issues of importance and adding to the national debate.
We need a return to values based politics.
We’ve seen and had our fill of identity politics.
We need renewed vigour, focus and energy.
We have to deliver the inter-connector to take our renewable electricity to the markets in the south.
We need to ensure that every home and business has access to fast and reliable broadband connection.
We have to unblock our hospital beds, tackle our disgraceful levels of fuel poverty and reform our ferry and air services, and much more.
If you want to help transform our islands and a return to the politics of making a difference there is only one vote, one person and one party who has a record of delivery in our islands.
Vote for Alasdair Morrison on May 7th..
Angus Macneil - SNP
Over the last ten years, I have worked for, and represented constituents as diligently as I could.
I know my way around Westminster, which was an important part in politically isolating the then Labour government when they tried to close the Hebrides Range and forcing them to retreat.
Also more recently, behind the scenes making it abundantly clear to those responsible in the Ministry of Transport, that closing Stornoway Coastguard Station was not a very good or clever idea.
Also, I was quite surprised to recently discover that in the last five years, I had spoken in debates and Question times in the House of Commons, more than any other MP in Scotland, in fact, since the publication of the article, I have also spoken on matters in the budget and VAT in Tourism, amongst others.
Overachingly, this election will be about giving Scotland a voice. We will ensure we can help other areas of the UK overcome the damaging austerity of the two main parties, ensure that we bring growth to the economy to help relieve pressures on budgets and support our pensioners to move away from the second worst State Pension in Europe.
We also need a strong Scotland through the SNP to bring changes to the electricity market for producers and consumers in the islands.
Many people are telling me that this will be the first time they are voting SNP and they are doing so because they understand that the SNP will put their families and communities’ concerns first.
John Cormack - Scottish Christian Party
The end is in sight and it’s been a busy week. The printer I had lined up refused to print leaflets for me because they have a policy of not printing material that might offend people.
This episode illustrates clearly why we need the Scottish Christian Party and politicians with strong Christian convictions.
The printer was undoubtedly motivated by fear, fear of being associated with anything that might antagonise the aggressive secular humanist lobby.
Against this backdrop, the Christian Party is the only party willing to take a stand. Though the whole country opposes the perspective we represent, we will hold fast because we are not motivated by pragmatism, swayed by public opinion or impressed by the latest fashion.
Instead, we hold firm convictions grounded in Biblical principles. We have a different worldview informed and shaped by God’s word. Our country needs to rediscover the source of all wisdom and knowledge.
So to vote or not to vote Christian that is the question. Do you see the need? You have an opportunity, will you be bold and have courage to stand against the secular humanist tide? The country and Christians in particular are watching.
Ruaraidh Ferguson - Scottish Liberal Democrats
As the election date moves closer, those of you who haven’t already used your postal vote will no doubt be weighing up the pros and cons of various candidates.
The Gazette has kindly given a platform for all candidates this week to say exactly why you should vote for them. As I have already mentioned my ambitions within this election are different to others, and rather than use well-worn spin to exhort you to vote Lib Dem and Ferguson, I would rather ask you to ignore all the hype about coalitions from all political parties, and consider the issues that are most important to you.
Instead of just voting for a particular party because that’s what you have always done, I would urge you to consider the issues that you feel are most relevant.
Remember that some local issues raised during this campaign, transport, health, fuel poverty and same sex marriage are devolved to Holyrood and as such any candidate elected will have no direct influence on them.
Focus instead on issues such as pensions, defence, foreign policy and the constitution as these are the day to day policies your new MP will be asked to vote on, and then make your choice.
If your choice is Lib Dem then I thank you for that but if not then that is what elections are about.
Mark Brown - Scottish Conservatives
I decided to get involved in politics five years ago, not to glorify my CV, but to put real life experience into practice in a new field. I come from a humble working class council scheme background and no, I’ve never seen a silver spoon or a duck house either!
More than ever, the Electorate do not want ‘just another career politician’.
I want to restore decency and morality in politics where solutions and not criticism is the main theme.
Also, where I agree with opponents I will say so, rather than create false dividing lines for political purposes.
Politicians must also stop seeing themselves as a special breed, destined to be ‘Statesmen’ and make a greater effort to understand the needs and aspirations of the people they are here to serve.
This is where I can offer the electorate across the Western Isles a difference. I will use a common sense approach backed up by real world experience that, in my opinion, is vital in politics today.
My message is a simple one. Don’t just hope for better Western Isles representation at Westminster - vote for it. An effective MP who will always put constituents above party politics – vote for it. Mark Brown as your next MP – vote for it.