It's the eve of the Liberal Youth Scotland AGM, so I thought it would be an ideal time to post my own personal answers to Ruaraidh Dobson's 10 questions that he posed to all the candidates of the Federal Liberal Youth Elections.
So without further ado or fanfare here goes.
1. How long have you been a member of - and involved in - the party?
I first joined the party at the Social and Liberal Democrats stall at the freshers fayre at Kingston (then Polytechnic) University. This was the first freshers intake after the merger of the Liberal and Social Democratic Parties and therefore a little shy of 21 years.
2. Why did you join? Was there a specific policy or event?
I grew up with liberal politics in Northern Ireland. When I've voted there it has been first preference for the Alliance Party (except the first Assembly election when that went to the Northern Irish Woman's Coalition followed by Alliance 2,3). When I went to Kingston I was already keenly aware in environmental issues and human rights. I'd a choice of two parties, but being an economics student with my fresh A'level in the subject the Green's economics didn't add up.
3. When did you last go leafleting or canvassing?
That was Saturday last weekend in Edinburgh South. I'm currently working on a little post budget one to put out in my local seat, which I'll run off on my printer.
4. How often do you do so?
As often as I can do and often in by elections until my legs give in (like Livingston and Glenrothes)
5. How involved are you with your local party and local campaigns
I've been local party treasurer, secretary as well as a council and Westminster candidate. For two years I was also vice-chair of the Lothian Region Lib Dems. I've written local focuses, press releases, knocked on 1000s of doors and delivered to many more, taken on the MSP and MP in the local press as well as raising many local concerns in the local press or Scotsman. As well as attending many local meetings about a vast range of issues run by concerned citizens.
6. What do you think your biggest contribution to the Lib Dems has been?
Apart from standing in 2005, I say being a campaigning mountain goat. Feed me and watch me keep moving, whether that is Tenement mountaineering in Edinburgh or Glasgow or taking out a bag full of leaflets in West Lothian, Dunfermline and West Fife or Glenrothes to name but a few.
7. What’s your biggest campaigning weakness?
Not knowing when to stop. 2005 with a GE followed by a by election starting from my front door meant I may have lost the love of a good person to my mistress politics. I've learnt since then to get a little personal down time with a loved one in elections since.
8. Who’s your political hero? (Other than Obama, everyone says him )
Sir Oliver Napier the first leader of the Alliance party in Northern Ireland. Napier was the founding leader in 1972 a position he held for 12 years. He set up the party to offer an alternative to the sectarianism of the Ulster Unionist Party. In 1979 he was the closest any Alliance candidate has thus far come to securing a Westminster seat when he was within 1000 votes in East Belfast of beating the current Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson.
9. …And who’s your political nemesis?
Would currently be the Save St. John's Hospital Group on West Lothian Council. The single issue group arose and possibly denied the people of West Lothian Lib Dem representation in the 2007 elections. Since then they have entered a coalition with the SNP and have overwhelmingly followed where the Nats have led.
(note: the main parties main players had at a public meeting in 2004 decided not to politicise the issue of St John's before one of the big two started to break that agreement)
10. The single transferable vote is introduced. Setting aside any personal relationship with candidates, where does your second vote go? If you say Green, you also have to give a third vote.
So as I'm likely to say Green two it is where will my third vote go. At the last election it would probably have been the SNP because with the exception of independence they wanted a lot of the same things as I do. However, having forsaken the things we have in common at the moment I'm not sure. The Tories haven't told us what they stand for, Labour using keeping Woolies alive with pick and mix (but far to much liquorice or aniseed for Stephen's taste) and as stated the Nats have abandoned my principles. Hand me the manifestos when they come out.