Winner in 2016: Liam McArthur (Liberal Democrats)

AS is also the case in Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, the most fundamental truth about Orkney politics is that it’s not necessarily plugged into nationwide trends.

There are occasions when it might be, for example in 2015 when Danus Skene almost took the Westminster constituency of Orkney and Shetland for the SNP on a massive swing that was comparable to what was being seen elsewhere in Scotland.

But given that the SNP’s national vote was almost as high in the 2016 Holyrood election as it had been a year earlier, a logical expectation was that they would also be competitive in the Scottish Parliament seat of Orkney – and they simply weren’t.

Normal service was resumed with the Liberal Democrats retaining the seat by an overwhelming margin, and with the SNP vote actually declining slightly since 2011.

Conversely, though, the SNP gave the LibDems a decent run for their money in the Orkney vote for the 2019 European elections, which perhaps was a trifle unexpected in a LibDem stronghold on a day when Jo Swinson’s party were storming to a historic second place across the UK, ahead of both the Tories and Labour.

The National:

The lesson is that there’s little point in trying to extrapolate from national polls to predict the Orkney result this year – the local LibDem majority could increase even if the SNP have a good election

nationally, or it could fall back sharply even if the SNP underperform elsewhere.

What does seem extremely likely, though, is that the LibDems will squeeze out a victory of some sort.

They’ve held the seat since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, and they’ve also been in possession of the Westminster seat of Orkney and Shetland without interruption since 1950.

Realistically, the mission for the SNP’s Robert Leslie will be to retain second place, which they actually failed to do in 2011 due to a strong campaign from an independent candidate, and to eat into the LibDem lead sufficiently to set themselves up for a shot at winning outright next time around.