I grew up in one of the most deprived areas of the UK – a council estate in Kirkcaldy during the 1980’s miner’s strike. My route out of that was to work hard at school and go on to complete a degree and eventually a PhD.
This solid educational base has led me to a career which has taken me right around the world – from Australia to Brazil and Dubai.
My experience tells me that education is fundamental to reducing inequality in Scotland and elsewhere in the world. As a academic who manages one of the UK’s leading engineering programmes at a Scottish university, I continually come across students with backgrounds like mine who must leave university because they simply cannot afford to support themselves. This injustice is why I joined Labour.
Can Labour win in Colinton/Fairmilehead + Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart?
I would not be standing if I thought these seats were not winnable – I have other things I could do with my time! It will not be easy, but I am certain that we can win these seats if we have the right candidate who is willing to make the case for social justice and strong local services.
The SNP and the Tories are happy to watch our city slowly decline, but it’s up to us to make the case for investment in transport, schools and social care as we know this is what Edinburgh needs. This shouldn’t be about right v left, or rich v poor. It is about convincing everyone that local services matter and there is a positive alternative to SNP/Tory cuts. We must take this message to every door – Yes, No, Tory, SNP, & Labour.
Why am I the right candidate?
I have lived in Colinton/Fairmilehead for 15 years and cycle the length of the ward every day on the way to work. My son and daughter both went to Buckstone Primary School, before moving on to Boroughmuir High School, where I contribute to the Parent Council. I’m also an elder at Fairmilehead Church and an organiser for Christian Aid.
Together, these things mean I’m relatively well known in the community and understand many of the challenges it faces. Like you, I value the ward’s green space but recognise that we need a Councillor that will ensure it is protected and enhanced. We also need a local champion that will ensure the ward’s schools, roads and social care get the investment they need. I think that person is me.
Do I have any campaign experience?
I have knocked on thousands of doors. I ran the #NoThanks campaign in Edinburgh South in 2014 – my team of over 100 volunteers knocked on the doors of over 2000 people in the final week of the campaign. After that I joined Labour and the campaign to get Ian Murray MP re-elected in 2015 – I was a key part of his team. In 2015 I also campaigned to get Councillor Marion Donaldson elected in the Leith Walk Ward (we took the seat from the Greens). In the 2016 Holyrood elections I was a key member of the campaign committees to get Daniel Johnson MSP (Edinburgh Southern) and Blair Heary (Edinburgh Pentlands) elected.
I have learned a lot from these campaigns. I know how to develop a data driven campaign strategy, and also how to use social media. I know how to win.