North East Fife Candidates
(click the portrait to be taken to an interview with the candidate)
The Conservative Party candidate – Huw Bell
The Scottish National Party candidate – Stephen Gethins
The Liberal Democrats candidate – Tim Brett
The Green Party candidate – Andy Collins
The Labour party candidate – Brian Thomson
Independent candidate – Mike Scott-Hayward
Interview with the outgoing MP Sir Menzies Campbell
The Saint also caught up with several political societies from St Andrews:
The University of St Andrews Conservatives society has a large, active membership of about 60 or 70 people. For the general elections, they are taking part in traditional campaigning such as leafleting and canvassing, as well as setting up street stalls in St Andrews and Cupar to promote their message.
Ian Donnell, president of the StAndrews Conservatives, said: “It’sabout spreading the message that if you want a unionist party in Scotland,the Conservative party are the only party that pledges not to work with the SNP. Under our leadership there would be no nationalist agenda at Westminster.”
They hold various events, such as ‘Tory Tuesdays’ and dinners with guests. For example, the have entertained Lord Forsyth and Baroness Goldie as well as the Scottish Conservative’s current leader Ruth Davidson.
St Andrews University Students for Independence (STAUSFI) was formed in 2014 during the run up to the independence referendum, to encourage students from all political beliefs to join in yes campaigning.
Though it was formed out of the existing Scottish Nationalist Party society – of which Alex Salmond was a previous president – it now encompasses students from the SNP, Greens, Lib Dems, civic groups and those with no affiliation at all.
Scott Taylor, president of STAUFSI, said: “If you share a vision of a greener, fairer and more prosperous Scotland you’re welcome in our society. “Over the past year we have hosted a variety of debates and guest lectures; have taken students to the Scottish Parliament; have taken students to hear speeches and attend conferences across and outside Scotland; and have even set up the town & gown St Andrews TTIP Action Group which aims to raise awareness of the proposed transatlantic free trade treaty. ”
The society is affiliated with SNP Student but is autonomous in its decisions. Mr Taylor boasted that they are the most active student political society at the University. They hold socials every Tuesday in Drouthy’s.
The Liberal Democrats:
The University of St Andrews Liberal Democrats are currently not an affiliated society, after having lost many members after the last general elections. However, they hope to gain the 25 members needed for affiliation in the near future.
They are active in campaigning in the local area, leafleting, knocking on doors and spreading the Liberal Democrat’s message.
They host pub socials, including quizzed and guest speakers such as Sir Malcolm Bruce MP and Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, gave a talk on international development.
They continued: “Over the party’s history, the Liberal Democrats have popularised fringe beliefs and brought them into the mainstream. Civil Liberties, Pro-Europeanism, Environmentalism and Constitutional Reform are the most notable examples of this.
“We want to champion the Liberal Democrats’ progressive successes and continue them into the next government.”
The Green Party:
The St Andrews Young Greens society was only established this year and has about 15 active campaigning members.
Lewis Campbell, the vice-president of the society, is also running for MP in his home constituency of Dunfermline and West Fife, said: “We want to see an economy and a society that works for people and recognise that this is incompatible with environmental degradation.”
On a personal level, Mr Campbell told The Saint: “The neoliberal agenda of the three pro-establishment parties is causing environmental, social and economic damage in Britain and this is being replicated all over the world. Young people are often maltreated by politicians and being one of the youngest Westminster candidates puts me in a unique position to fight for young people and deliver the best deal for my generation and the future.
“The main points of my campaign is to fight for a £10 minimum wage by 2020, to bring public services like the railways into public hands and to secure devolution for Scotland and for local communities.”
The Labour Party:
St Andrews Labour Society engage in various campaigns. For example, two years ago its members were active in a living wage campaign which got just under 1000 signatures. Now, they are in the middle of a campaign to end zero hour contracts on campus, to guarantee students a minimum numbers of hours in part time jobs.
As part of the general elections, they have been out campaigning in Dunfermline and Kirkaldy as well as locally. Their president Dan told The Saint that labour is a “progressive party for students and for everyone.”
They hold pints and policies socials to chat about current political issues and use their Facebook page to point out the “disgusting” actions and policies of the current government.
“As with most political parties we’re not a monolithic institutions, there’s a huge spectrum of thought and we’re a big umbrella in ourselves,” said their president.