Highlands and Islands Alliance

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HIA symbol

The Highlands and Islands Alliance (also known by the Gaelic name Càirdeas, meaning friendship, goodwill or alliance) was a registered political party that was formed to contest the first election to the Scottish Parliament. They contested only the Highlands and Islands electoral region for the parliament but were unsuccessful.


They stood on a platform of trying to ensure that what they described as the distinctive voice of Highlands and Islands experience was heard.[1] That independent minded MSPs would be elected, with people with a track record of practical problem solving become MSPs. They also stated that they wanted to ensure that the relationship between communities and their MSPs was "dynamic and empowering". Although they claimed to represent the Highlands, some were quick to point out that they had little or no policies regarding the Scottish Gaelic language, other than some token recognition.

They had contested only the Highlands and Islands region for the 1999 parliament, polling a fairly poor 2,607 votes (1.29% of the regional total).

They produced a gender-balanced list, with the intention that any MSPs they managed to get elected to be on a job sharing basis, so that two people would take up and share equally the responsibilities of one representative.[2][3] The job-sharing proposal was an interesting feature of their platform. This was initially not allowed by the returning officer, but after HIA took the issue to a European Court (via QCs working pro bono), the law was changed and all HIA candidates stood on a job-share basis.

The Alliance did not contest either the 2001 general election or the 2003 Scottish Parliament election. They do not appear to be an active political movement any more.


  1. ^ "Highlands and Islands Alliance". BBC News. 14 April 1999. 
  2. ^ Ward, Lucy (26 January 1999). "Putting New Labour's family-friendly policies to the test". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "Shouting is drowning the voice of the people, claims Alliance". The Herald. Glasgow. 3 May 1999. Retrieved 6 April 2016.