Sea Kayaker Hopes To Become Member of Parliament

Could one of these sea kayakers be Prime Minister of an Independent Scotland? He hopes so...

This is Neil and Alasdair Stephen who run the successul Dualchas architectural practice on Skye.

I took the photo as Cailean MacLeod interviewed them in 2007 for our Radio Scotland programmes on The Canoe Boys.

They're both paddlers, and both have been politically active for years, with passions firmly behind the independence cause of the Scottish National Party.

Still, it was a little surprising to discover Alasdair is a prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency in which we live. Yes, he wants to be our MP.

And boy does he look different in his 'official' photo!

However, Alasdair faces a sizeable challenge. Last election in 2005 the SNP did not do well (3119 votes). Even the Conservatives beat them (3275 votes), and in Scotland, that's saying something.

However, Alasdair's biggest challenge is that the current MP is Charles Kennedy (19,100 votes). Almost 60% of the vote went to Kennedy and he has a majority of 43.8% over Labour (4851 votes).

Ross, Skye and Lochaber is biggest constituency in the UK, all 12,779 square kilometres of it, the population density here being so low.

Incidentally, met Charles Kennedy for the first time at a local art gallery event two weeks ago. He seemed a nice enough chap, but then, so is Alasdair. Who to vote for, eh?

A fascinating inside track on what Alasdair is like comes from his brother Neil in a blog entry. Neil writes about them campaigning in Dingwall,

"While I wear jeans and a soup-dribbled jumper, and chase punters down the street hissing “take the leaflet”, Alasdair Stephen now wears a suit and tie, polished shoes and a pleasant smile. He looks people in the eye, is sincerely concerned, and doesn’t argue policy. To be elected a politician you have to listen and be nice. The bombastic finger-jabbing bit comes later."

That's the thing about writing blogs. You never know who'll find them and when they'll reappear.

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