Election17: Universally Polite – Walter Wilson, Speyside/Glenlivet

All individual candidates or political groups contesting the forthcoming local council elections in Moray are invited to state their case through the pages of our community news site – contact for submissions is editor@insidemoray.news. Here we have views of Walter Wilson, Conservative candidate for Speyside/Glenlivet.

I REALLY DID NOT KNOW what to expect – when I was selected by the Moray Conservatives to stand in the council elections for the Speyside Glenlivet ward I must admit to a feeling of apprehension.

Of course, I had been involved in election campaigns before, but seeing your own name on the leaflets does, I can assure you, make a difference to the way you look at things! For the first time the campaign was about me and what I could bring to the party and to Speyside Glenlivet.

One of the distinctive features of the ward is its sheer extent. I suspect that it is larger than most parliamentary constituencies.

Who would have thought that the same Moray ward would contain communities as far apart as Tomintoul and Dallas? So campaigning in Speyside Glenlivet involves a fair amount of driving. However, you do end up travelling through some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland.

As a first-time candidate I did wonder about the reception I would receive. I am sure all my fellow candidates – particularly those new to elections – must have felt some trepidation as they advanced on their first door knocker. However, I needn’t have worried! Whatever their views, the people of Speyside Glenlivet are universally polite and welcoming. It has been a real pleasure meeting so many new people.

Another element I have enjoyed is the sense of camaraderie that exists between the team of Conservative candidates. We are all quite strong personalities with pretty strong opinions but the level of mutual support during the ups and downs of the campaign has been very reassuring.

I have also been very fortunate to receive some great support from some seasoned campaigners. Mary Scanlon retired from the Scottish Parliament last year but that hasn’t stopped her enthusiasm for campaigns and she has been out supporting all our candidates.

Mary and I go back a long way. She was my economics tutor when I was at Abertay University. In those days I possessed long hair and Socialist leanings. How times change!

Another veteran who came up to support was former Forres councillor Iain Young. Iain actually came up specifically to help Claire Feaver, our candidate in Forres, but she kindly lent me Iain for a day. Iain is a doughty Glaswegian so, as you will imagine, it was a day full of anecdotes and laughter. It was amazing how many acquaintances we had in common.

Finally I have enjoyed the support of a politician at a very different stage in his career. I don’t think anybody could match Douglas Ross for his energy and commitment.

His ten years’ experience as a councillor coupled with his more recent experience serving as an MSP makes him a fascinating companion on the campaign trail. Of course, once my campaign is over in a couple of days, Douglas’s campaign for Westminster will just be starting. Now that will be something to experience!

Also contesting the Speyside/Glenlivet ward are Angus Anderson (SNP), Louise Laing (SNP), Derek Ross (Independent).