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Stirling Council Elections 2007 - Bannockburn Ward
The Vetting Process


Hello to 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.

Born in 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.

I have 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.

I have 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. 

I intend standing for the SNP again at the next local authority elections, which take place in May 2007.

The 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”.

Stirling 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 current wards.

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.

In order to select the best candidates for next year’s local elections, the SNP held a vetting process, which took place on 30th April 2006.

The vetting process started on 10am and went on until 3pm.

The 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.    

The 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.

I 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.

To 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!

The vetting process closed at 3pm.

I am pleased to say that I heard the next day that I had passed the vetting process.

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.

The 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.

The 2007 Stirling Council elections are scheduled to take place in May 2007, which gives us nearly a year to campaign.


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