CONSERVATIVE MSP Jamie McGrigor has challenged the party’s Argyll and Bute candidates to at least double the size of the ‘blue corner’ in the Lochgilphead council chamber at next month’s local authority election.
Mr McGrigor, a Highlands and Islands regional MSP since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, spoke to The Buteman during a visit to Bute to help local candidate Peter Wallace in his campaign to win one of the three Isle of Bute ward seats on Argyll and Bute Council.
“We have candidates in all the wards in Argyll and Bute,” Mr McGrigor said, “and we’ve had a terrific response so far.
“The independence issue is there – people are telling us independence is a step too far and that they don’t want to see the SNP gaining a lot of publicity by winning a lot of council seats.
“At the same time, the cry we are hearing from people is that it’s all very well to have views about Scotland’s constitutional future, but please, while we are still alive, can we have better roads, better organised schools and something to help tourism.”
Mr McGrigor said he believed the party was making steady progress in overcoming the ‘anyone but the Tories’ attitude prevalent for many years in the west of Scotland.
“The sort of candidates we are getting now are a much cleverer lot,” he continued. “They are people who are progressive, maybe not tied up in Conservative dogma as much as in the past, and are looking around for ways to improve Scottish people’s lives.
“I would like to see seven or eight successful candidates in Argyll and Bute. I’m sure the sitting councillors will return; I think Peter’s got a good chance on Bute, and we’ve got a good chance in Islay and Oban.
“You have to set your targets quite high, and I would like to see our representation in Argyll and Bute at least doubled.”