Rothesay hustings preview: who are the Argyll and Bute candidates?

Rothesay Pavilion will host The Buteman's general election hustings on Sunday, April 19, 2015.
Rothesay Pavilion will host The Buteman's general election hustings on Sunday, April 19, 2015.

The Buteman’s general election hustings takes place at Rothesay Pavilion this Sunday, April 19 - but who are the five people who want the backing of Bute’s voters next month?

Ahead of Sunday’s meeting - which starts at 2pm and is free of charge - and the May 7 poll, we thought this the ideal moment to take a look at the five candidates who are standing for election in Argyll and Bute.

All are described in their (or their party’s) own words, courtesy of their official websites or Facebook pages.

Mary Galbraith (Labour)

Mary Galbraith was born in Campbeltown, grew up in a rural community on the family farm, and was educated in local Kintyre schools. She studied Economics and German at Glasgow University, where she founded the University Amnesty International Group. In her working life she taught English in a German secondary school, worked as an economist, managed community services for Argyll & Clyde Health Board, and now works in business change and IT across Europe.

Mary has campaigned on a range of issues over the years, notably leading the parents’ association that succeeded in setting up the Glasgow Gaelic School which her children attended. She has also been active in groups and served on committees that have campaigned on ferries and better transport in Argyll, local enterprise, elderly care services, and arts and culture.

In 2007 Mary stood in the Scottish Parliamentary Argyll & Bute seat, so she is very familiar with this vast and geographically challenging constituency. In 2010, she fought the marginal East Dunbartonshire seat where she increased the Labour vote, and halved her Lib Dem opponent’s majority.

Her outside interests include music (she sings in a Gaelic choir), football (supporting Scotland in more than ten different countries), and family history.


Brendan O’Hara (Scottish National Party)

Brendan O’Hara is 51 years old and lives in Helensburgh with his wife and two daughters. Originally from Glasgow, he has lived in Argyll and Bute since 2004.

Educated at St Andrew’s secondary school in Carntyne, Brendan worked with Glasgow District Council for a few years before attending Strathclyde University, from where he graduated in 1992 with a 2:1 in Economic History and Modern History.

He has twice before represented the SNP at a General Election; in Springburn in 1987 and again in Glasgow Central in 1992

Brendan is an independent, award-winning television producer and has worked for STV, SKY SPORTS and the BBC. Among his credits are Comedy Connections and Movie Connections (BBC1), The Football Years (STV), Scotland’s Greatest Album (STV), Road To Referendum (STV) and he is currently working on the second series of David Hayman’s very successful series following in the footsteps of Tom Weir.


Alastair Redman (Conservative)

Alastair Redman is a native of the island of Islay, where he is the Postmaster in the village of Portnahaven and vice-chair of the island’s Community Council.

He is passionate about his homeland, and he campaigns relentlessly to improve the lot of all who live there. He believes that the amount of public money spent on the Kintyre & the Islands ward of Argyll & Bute Council fails to tally with the immense contribution which the area makes to the economy through malt whisky distilling, agriculture, forestry, and fishing.

Alastair is determined to ensure that the rural and island communities of Argyll and Bute are treated fairly and with respect, particularly in relation to the provision of services and the quality of infrastructure - and he intends to develop his work with local people to make the area an even better place to live than it is already.

He is a director of his local recycling charity Re-Jig, and cares strongly about the environment.


Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat)

Alan Reid has been the MP for Argyll and Bute since 2001. He was born in Ayr and went to school at Prestwick Academy and Ayr Academy, then took a Maths degree at Strathclyde University.

Before being elected to Parliament he worked as a computer systems analyst and served as a councillor on Renfrew District for eight years.

Alan joined the SDP in 1981 and became a founder member of the Liberal Democrats when the SDP and the Liberal Party joined together in 1988.

Alan Reid has a strong record on delivering for the people of Argyll & Bute. He has supported the £700 cut in income tax and is campaigning to increase this to £800. He fought for and won a 5 year freeze in fuel duty and a 5 pence a litre fuel duty cut on the islands and remote mainland villages.

Following storms which caused great disruption to electricity supplies he won a rule change which gives consumers in the Highlands & Islands the same rights to compensation for loss of electricity supply as the rest of the country.

He worked to secure the future of the Faslane Naval base and to bring all the country’s submarines to Faslane.

He has campaigned to save village post offices and secured a £20 million investment fund for small post offices.

He is campaigning to bring superfast broadband and mobile phone coverage to all parts of his vast constituency.

Among Alan’s other campaigns are improvements to the A82 and A83, to reduce ferry fares on all routes and to restore a reliable ferry service on the Dunoon-Gourock route.


Caroline Santos (UK Independence Party)

The eldest of three, brought up and educated in Argyll, Caroline Santos is delighted to have been selected by UKIP for her home constituency of Argyll and Bute.

Educated at rural Rashfield primary and then Dunoon Grammar, Caroline initially spent time working in the tourist industry on The Isle of Tiree and then at a fish farm outside Dunoon, before going on to spend some of her career working in the care industry while brining up three children, having now returned back to the tourist industry.

Caroline has always had a keen interest in politics, particularly those issues affecting rural areas and believes the cosy Westminster club of career politicians has gone on for too long. A passionate believer in freedom and less Government, with a libertarian angle alarmed by the dictatorship of the EU and the growing cancer of Nationalism back home, UKIP was her natural choice.

If elected Caroline will prove a doughty champion for the issues affecting Argyll and Bute whilst campaigning to end rule from Brussels and promote Scotland’s place at the heart of a United Kingdom.