I've had a few emails back, and I'm going to publish (most of) these over the next day or so. I've asked the permission of the candidates - and they said yes. It might be interesting for you guys, and it might even spark some questions of your own.
First to reply to the email was Lis Bardell of the SNP.
I'm attaching another leaflet (!) though accept that this doesn't necessarily equate to the kind of reach for authenticity through new media that you're advocating....In the use of new media, I feel a bit like I do with French....I understand more than I speak! I understand its value and possibilities but don't always know which button to press...
This election, however, has also brought home forcibly to me how things can get "buried" in email. The volume of messages I have received means that the immediacy of the medium is almost cancelled out by the volume!
Anyway, I'm encouraged that you liked the fact that I put favourite holiday pics on the website...it did seem to me that they give a flavour of what I might be like as a person. As I say, "we're real Scots who like real weather....so we holiday in Scotland!"
That's also the reason I put an old-fashioned CV up....just as one would if applying for any job. The cv lists my real-life work experience and a bit about the kind of community commitment and involvement I've had.
Since this is my first time standing for any kind of political office, these are, essentially, the skills and experience I would bring to the job. I believe it's a good time to be a first time candidate, not associated with some of what has been going at Westminster.
I would like to think that those who have known me in my professional career in public service would say that I had conducted myself with integrity and complete commitment to accountability.
Two major things motivated me to consider putting myself forward to be a candidate.
Firstly, I was enormously angry about the Iraq War....both the decision itself and the way it was made by big majority government in the teeth of opposition from so many citizens and by, to put it kindly, the manipulation of information. I believe, still, that Iraq...and Afghanistan conflicts...will influence for the worse the world my children will inherit and I feel a continuing responsibility about that.
Secondly, when SNP won at Holyrood in 2007 and undertook minority government, I felt that politics in Scotland became more open, inclusive and exciting. There has been more of a chance for individual representatives to make a difference and also get a hearing for the concerns of local constituents. Which is surely what representative, democratic government should be about!
You ask for an idea of what I've been doing "on the campaign trail"......well, today I was out in Blackburn this morning.....delivering letters and speaking to people. Then I spoke to 200 members of the local Mosque in Craigshill followed by leafleting at the Mall in Craigshill and an interview with BBC Radio 4 "The World this Weekend" (Goes out Sunday, 1.00pm). Since I got home I've been answering emails and phone calls and will soon be on to phoning more voters.....who mostly seem to appreciate a candidate calling - even if they don't intend to vote for me! Will also try to get more up on my website since I understand that failure to do so invites immediate obsolescence!
In the course of the rest of the week, I've been in Fauldhouse, Stoneyburn, Breich, Midcalder, East Calder, Kirknewton, Craigshill; regularly making phone calls. Yesterday, I was visiting Livingston Credit Union with Angela Constance and John Swinney and then at the SNP Press Conference on the Economy in Edinburgh.
Earlier in the campaign we had a couple of "Ladies Days" reaching for the women's vote....."Ladies for Lis" and the "Bardell Belles" were out in Broxburn and Livingston.
That's just some of it! I find people, on the whole, very willing to engage which is great because, when I started, I kind of imagined that every encounter would be like Newsnight with Paxman! The public are much more polite and committed to give and take.
Which was pretty good as a starter for ten. We've exchanged a couple of emails since then. I'd asked a couple of questions about what Lis would do for accommodation and travel to/from London were she be to be elected. Here's the reply:
If elected, I would prefer to travel to London by train and hope it would be possible to pre-book....because prices at last minute are pretty frightening...and you can imagine the comments re expenses if...as they requently are....flights are cheaper.
Re accommodation, I would have had no aspirations to purchase....and certainly no aspirations to a moat. I have lived in Craigshill for the last 25 years and holiday in caravans.....I like the simple life. I understand renting may now be centrally organised for incoming MPs.....and that sounds fine. Since there would be a lot of travel between London & Scotland, I'd ideally like to be able to walk to work in London.
I think it would be efficient to have somewhere to leave stuff rather than be always packing......
However, this is beginning to feel like tempting fate!! Outcome still uncertain....It's going to be a hectic few days ahead!
I've got more questions, so we'll see how things pan out over the days ahead... You can put your questions to Lis by email here.
Next up, the SSP. But that's for tomorrow!