Billy Wolfe’s Flag in the Wind
When I was selected to be the
Candidate in the 2007 election one very important person
supported my candidacy.
That person along with his wife Kate
was Billy Wolfe. Billy and I had been acquainted years before on
a bus to SNP Conference in Perth. He was involved in the trade
union group and had come along to selection meeting in 2006 to
lend his support and that of Kate too.
As you all know Billy passed away
last year but left a lasting legacy of peace and integrity.
This brings me to election campaign
2011 again in the selection process Kate gave her unequivocal
support. Kate had been very involved in another election in 1967
and she had experienced a great success when Dr Winifred Ewing
was elected to Westminster as MP for Hamilton.
Now Hamilton is an iconic seat for
the SNP and knew that the eyes of people within our party were
on me to bring Hamilton back to the SNP
I had a small but well-motivated
team and we set our campaign plan as one to win – a tall order I
hear you say. Labour had held this seat of Hamilton at
Westminster, Scottish and council levels for decades. It was
going to take a lot to make that change. Well that change we did
At the beginning of that campaign I
was leafleting in the village of Quarter where I was invited to
a big high profile event in the evening. It was the Bingo in the
Bowling club. On the heady heights of socialising it may seem,
however I believe these events are very important for local
communities to come together and maintain the strong bond that
holds them together.
Now Kate and Billy have a flag pole
in there front garden and Kate was adamant that she would put
Billy’s flag back up for the election campaign. She asked
someone from the bowling club to help her and right after the
bingo we did just that. Kate proclaimed “You’re going to win
now.” How correct she was! Kate raised the standard!
We had help from my friends the
Strathleven Artizans too in the form of King Robert and my
We had a bill board or two too….
During the next 5 weeks we worked to
win and on the evening before polling day we had a good old
fashioned car cavalcade and when we reached Quarter, Kate was
out in her garden and we all slowed down to salute Billy’s
Saltire. Kate had decorated the garden with McKelvie posters and
lots of flags and balloons; it looked great.
With trepidation and excitement we
entered into polling day. My team were re-invigorated and up for
the day, which did seem a bit surreal considering how exhausted
we all were. There was a feeling of a change of attitude in the
constituency which ultimately led to expectation in my teams
eyes. People wanted a better nation and they wanted to be part
As the polls closed and we got ready
to go to the count we gathered in my election agent Graeme’s
house. There I thanked my team for their hard work, dedication
and belief in our cause.
The count was buzzing, we started
ballot box sampling and realised we were winning ballot box
after ballot box. I kept saying to my team “keep Salm and carry
on” a very clever headline in the Sun newspaper that day.
Well we had the Rutherglen result
first and our candidate Jim McGuigan run it very close by that
time we knew that East Kilbride was looking good for us too. Hot
on the heels of the Rutherglen result came, the much awaited
triumph for Linda Fabiani.
Linda and Christina Victorious
Linda, Aileen and Me
Aileen was next and the rest they
say is history…I will make mention of my friend Clare Adamson
who is now a regional MSP and I am delighted to have her on our
Linda, Clare and me.
I was so delighted for my pal; she
had worked so hard for 12 years and this all paid off with a
wonderful win. She will be a fantastic constituency MSP for East
The result for Hamilton, Larkhall
and Stonehouse was in, we gathered around the returning officer
to agree the spoiled papers and get an interim result. It was
such an amazing feeling to see the numbers before me and I had
to gather myself and my thoughts for the declaration. I remember
the look of terror on Graeme’s face when he asked me where my
speech was. I answered that “it was all in my head” I had waited
a long time for this moment and I had rehearsed everything I
would say. My team all waited eagerly for the announcement and
to look down on their emotional but happy faces was brilliant.
This was a real team effort they helped me gain such a great
majority of 2213. My work starts now to ensure that all 12202
people who voted for me are confident that they made the correct
decision. I will not let them down.
Graeme Horne is now officially the
happiest election agent in Scotland.
One of the early calls I made was to
someone who had set the trend, won against all the odds and
supported me from the start. That call of course went to Dr
Winifred Ewing she sounded delighted and told me she was
“walking on air”. I dedicate this win to her and also to all the
people who believed in me especially to one of many special
people Jamie Williamson. Jamie was my political Da and if he was
here today I think he would be over the moon. I think he would
also approve of my nomination to be convenor of the Parliaments
Europe and external Affairs committee. More on that another
So as I unpacked my office I came
across a card sent to me by Kate & Billy Wolfe dated the 31st
May 2007 wishing me many satisfying and happy experiences. Well
Billy there’s nothing more satisfying than winning Hamilton,
Larkhall & Stonehouse and I have Kate and Billy to thank for
that as they were the first signatures on my original nomination
for the seat.
Billy’s flag is flying just that wee
bit prouder today….
Mum, Lewis, Jack and Me
Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton,
Larkhall & Stonehouse