Councillor Alison Hay is Lib Dem candidate for Argyll and Bute in 2011 Scottish Elections

As we predicted, the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Argyll and Bute have chosen Mid Argyll Councillor Alison Hay as their candidate for the constituency in the Scottish Election 2011.

Councillor Hay was one of two contenders shortlisted for the candidacy, the other contender being Jean Davis from the Western Isles (and we’ll come to that issue below).

Hustings took place earlier this month in Tarbert and Oban. Members were balloted by post and the count took place today in Dunoon. Alison Hay was a clear winner taking 75.7% of the votes cast.

An Argyll & Bute Councillor since 1992, Alison lives in Minard with her husband and son.

She was Leader of the Council from 1999 until 2001 and is part of the Liberal Democrat Group in the Council. Her work with the Council has made her au fait with the problems and concerns of a large rural constituency with a mixture of remote island and urban communities.

Councillor Hay is Argyll and Bute Council’s delegate to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and is COSLA’s spokesperson for  Environment, Regeneration & Sustainability. She also chairs an EU Working Group which brings together local authorities from around the EU.

Her party see Alison Hay as a strong candidate for the election, bringing together her local knowledge with the Liberal Democrat mantra of fairer taxation, a fairer future in jobs and the environment, and a fair chance for every child.

Speaking after the count Alison said ‘I am proud and privileged to have been selected to represent the Argyll & Bute Liberal Democrats in the forthcoming Holyrood elections next near.

‘I believe that more can be achieved by working with people than by imposition from above. Consensus is a powerful thing to fight for.

‘I’m aware that there are different challenges wherever you live in Argyll & Bute and I shall do my very utmost to fairly represent these differing interests at Holyrood’.

Candidate selection: the local versus the parachute

It’s good to see the Lib Dems staying with a local candidate. Argyll is distinguished by its choosing from and electing candidates living in or adjacent to the constituency. There is all the difference in the world between someone who just wants to be an MSP or an MP and someone who wants to represent their own constituency and who knows it intimately.

Constituencies in major cities, with their shifting populations may be a different matter, but rural constituencies are more organic and their candidates should be of the constituency – and first class.

So with no disrespect to Jean Davis of the Western Isles, it does the Lib Dems no credit that they should even have contemplated foisting an external candidate on Argyll.

Let’s hope Argyll continues to avoid the parachute brigade and that parties who select such candidates learn the hard way that this is not what Argyll wants. Politics is not Premier League football – a sharp example of why politics should not take that path. Affinity and fidelity matter in constituency politics.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • There are members of other parties that I would be happy to see in the SNP. Alison Hay is one of such. Good luck, Alison ….but I think Mike MacKenzie will take the baton from Jim Mather

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    Dave McEwan Hill July 23, 2010 11:01 am Reply
  • It’s not a question of “foisting an external candidate on Argyll”. It’s a question of democracy. If suitably qualified and capable individuals within our great party want to put themselves forward for potential selection, it is their democratic right. Let’s stop this “only the local candidate is best approach”. I used to live in Argyll & Bute (and went to school in Oban) and would like to think I still have a strong relationship with the constituency, even though I now live in Inverclyde. Presumably, if your logic holds, my only hope of a political career should I want one has to lie in winning Inverclyde for the Lib Dems – or to join Labour.

    I have no problem at all with you saying positive things about Alison Hay who after all has served as a local councillor (I remember her being elected all that time ago!). But unkindly writing someone off simply because they come from the Western Isles – hardly a million miles away either geographically or culturally – is neither liberal nor democratic. It smacks of a localist intolerance towards outsiders that might be interpreted as a form of snobbery.

    Also, as there were only two names on the ballot form, presumably you’d have preferred Alison to have been electeed unopposed, depriving the local party of the right to select a candidate?

    I should also add that your local MP, Alan Reid, is originally from Ayr with no previous local connections. I’m sure you’ll agree that he’s not a bad MP though!

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    A fellow Lib Dem January 4, 2011 6:33 pm Reply
    • For A Fellow LibDem: You make a lot of very good points which we would instantly not only admit but support. When we talk of candidates being ‘parachuted’ in, that probably happens less in Scotland than, for example, in England and, if one removes the extreme examples of this, the issus becomes clearer.

      How does the advantage of perhaps an initially better candidate stack up against the advantage of local knowledge and the opportunity for development of additional competence on top of that – which a candidate from elsewhere would be equally likely to demonstrate?

      We wouldn’t pretend to know.

      We’re caught between believing – on the evidence – in the great value of the contributions made to adopted places by those who choose them and in the need to develop communal self-respect in growing one’s own.

      And, we’re sure that Alison Hay too would prefer to emerge the victor in a selection process than from an uncontested process. There is a important validation in contest.

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      newsroom January 6, 2011 5:43 pm Reply
  • Glanced at your free newspaper – frankly I am sick to the back teeth of parochial petty politics. How old are you? It is time you grew up and stopped party bashing. You will never be in power and I woud respect your politics if you stopped negative attacking and started to put input into making Scotland a nation to, not only to be proud of, but to be world beating so,please, stop bashing the ruling party. I am ALL for independence, and so should you, that is if you were born in this wonderful nation. And if you were SHAME on you to deny your birth! So, please, if you want to be considered a viable party representing Scotland STOP knocking the SNP!!!!!! Nothing you can add will change my despair – I have read your newspaper with your ever present smiling face – your eyes and mouth tell me a lot, as an artist…………sorry

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    Don McNeil February 10, 2011 6:58 pm Reply

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