everyone, my name is Alasdair MacPherson and I live in Bannockburn in
Central Scotland, probably most famous for the Battle of Bannockburn which
took place in 1314.
Cowie, I am 43 years old and have been married to my wife Elaine for 22
years. I have two children, Claire who is 18 and Alasdair who is 15.
been a member of the Scottish National Party (SNP) since I was 16.
I am the
Convener of the Bannockburn branch of the SNP, and I am also the Convener
of the Stirling Constituency SNP. Stirling Constituency encompasses the
branches of the SNP within the Stirling Council area.
been an SNP activist for twenty years and I contested the local authority
elections in 2003 for the SNP. I contested the Bannockburn East ward, and
came in second place to the New Labour candidate, polling 634 votes,
Labour polled 834 votes, a majority of 200.
standing for the SNP again at the next local authority elections, which
take place in May 2007.
voting system has changed in Scotland for local authority elections. They
are to be contested under the STV form of Proportional Representation (PR)
for the first time in 2007. Prior to this, councillors were elected on a
“first past the post basis”.
Council is currently made up of 22 wards, but in 2007 there will be
seven new multi-member
wards. Basically each of the seven new wards will be made up of three
Earlier this year, Stirling Constituency SNP advertised for candidates to
contest next year’s local elections. The constituency received thirteen
applications from members willing to stand as candidates. I put my name
forward in January this year.
order to select the best candidates for next year’s local elections, the
SNP held a vetting process, which took place on 30th April
vetting process started on 10am and went on until 3pm.
SNP appointed assessors from the Stirling Constituency area, who had
attended training days for the vetting process, and also external
assessors from other SNP branches throughout Scotland.
first part of the vetting process was a series of questions which we had
to fill out and hand back to the assessors. The questions were based on
SNP policy and the structure of local government.
After a short coffee break, we were asked to select a piece of folder
paper from a small bundle placed on the table. Each piece of paper had a
subject written on it and each candidate had to speak for one minute, in
front of the all of the candidates, on that particular subject. The
subjects were selected from SNP policy.
was asked to speak on “specialised secondary schools”. I am pleased to say
that I had read up on the SNP policy on this very subject during my
studying of party policy over the last few weeks.
Once all the candidates had completed their speeches we were taken away
for an individual grilling from two assessors. The assessors questioned us
on a number of issues, mainly on party policy and why we wanted to stand
as a candidate for the SNP. The individual assessment lasted for about
fifteen minutes, and then we had a lunch break.
After lunch, we were asked to throw questions at each other, based on
party policy. Not as easy as you think, but I competently managed to
answer questions (I think) on family matters and the rights of children,
again all based on SNP policy.
conclude the vetting process, all the candidates were split in to two
groups and were told to argue the merits for approval or refusal of a
hypothetical planning application. Each argument was discussed as if it
what was in a committee situation, and was very interesting and very
entertaining also I must add!
vetting process closed at 3pm.
am pleased to say that I heard the next day that I had passed the vetting
Stirling Constituency SNP will now put forward the names of approved
candidates to the branches, who will select their candidate to contest
next year’s election.
branches will select the most appropriate candidate to contest the seat.
The branches have been told that candidates much be selected and in place
by the middle of June 2006. I will be putting forward my name to contest
the new Bannockburn ward, which includes the villages of Cowie, Fallin,
Plean and Throsk.
2007 Stirling Council elections are scheduled to take place in May 2007,
which gives us nearly a year to campaign.