Local column: Thursday 27th October 2016

HARD YARDS IN HOMETOWN IS RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

Last weekend, I spent a day on the doors in Inverurie, canvassing ahead of the upcoming local council by-election. 

Along the way, a member of our canvass team spotted a few gentlemen trying to jump-start an unresponsive car, so we stowed the campaign leaflets and offered to lend a hand. 

Getting behind the car, we heaved it up a hill, and stood back in anticipation as it rolled away, with the driver frantically twisting the key.

Despite our efforts, we were unable to resurrect the vehicle. Incidentally, it wasn’t the last we saw of the car either. Following our initial intervention, we were soon putting our backs into it once more, shoving the car to the side of the road following a snapped tow-rope. The work of a MP is as varied as it gets. 

Thanks to a few photos I posted to Twitter, the Press & Journal proceeded to publish a story claiming that we’d been trying to jump-start the motor of SNP council by-election candidate, Neil Bailie. 

This was not the case. The car belonged to two constituents of mine, and Neil himself was busy campaigning at the other side of the town at this point!

So we were not the only ones putting in the hard yards either. 

I’d be surprised if Neil hadn’t been to every corner of the town throughout the weekend, as his campaign to represent Inverurie on the local council continues. 

Earlier that morning, he’d been with me as we reviewed the flood prevention measures at Port Elphinstone. Whilst the work is still ongoing, it was encouraging to see the impressive bund at Davidson Park. As we stood there,  Neil recalled his own experience during the onslaught of Storm Frank back in January, manning the relief centre at the British Legion and on the ground in Methlick, Kintore and Port Elphinstone. 

Later, we stood by the SNP stall in the centre of the town, handing out badges and saltire flags to passers-by. It came as no surprise to me to see many people who knew Neil well and stopped by to chat. 

Neil was voted Inverurie citizen of the year in 2014 for his services to the town, and was central in Inverurie Events’ Christmas lights campaign. Neil is a well-kent face.

Being ‘local’ is central to success in governance. You need someone who knows the issues faced by communities, who knows the people and feels the impact of decisions affecting their area. 

However, the idea of being ‘local’ is much more than that. A local is proud of their community, and works hard to making it the best possible home it can be for the people who live there. It's all about the hard yards. Be that in boardrooms or jump-starting a knackered Ford Focus.

With that in mind, I don't think you can get someone who is willing to put more hard yards in for their hometown, than Neil Bailie.