(NOTE: This election was contested under our old name 'A Better Britain - Unionist Party')
We are pleased to introduce the first of our candidates for the local elections this May: Jeff McDonald will be standing in Fortissat ward where he hopes to give a real voice to unionists who have been let down by the Scottish political class. Below is a short Q&A interview to give a little information on why he is standing and what he is standing for. Similar interviews on our other candidates will follow shortly.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 42 years old and a married father of three children. I work as an electrician, and graduated with a BA Social Sciences from Glasgow Caledonian University. Although I now live in Coatbridge, I grew up in Glasgow and went to Whitehill Secondary. I’m an elder in the Church of Scotland, and attend services at Glasgow Cathedral. In terms of hobbies, I’m an avid reader, with particular interests in art and history.
2. Why did you decide to stand for the Unionist Party?
I can see the way this country has been going for a good number of years now, and one problem is that the mainstream unionist parties are too soft on the SNP. The Tories have made far too many concessions to them by handing over powers to Holyrood and refusing to rule out a second referendum. What really got to me was seeing top Conservatives like Ruth Davidson and Adam Tomkins saying a second referendum should not be blocked by Westminster. Davidson, Rennie and Dugdale are all part of the same liberal establishment at Holyrood. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll vote for them to help beat the SNP, but they need to do more than criticise the SNP: we need people in Scotland to really promote the UK and argue for the Union from a British, not just Scottish viewpoint.
As a Leave voter, I also think it is vital that people like myself get some form of representation in Scotland. Even though 2 out of 5 Scots voted Leave, right now a pro-Brexit party doesn’t have a single Scottish seat at Westminster, Holyrood or even council level. That’s over a million people whose views don’t have any representation by Scottish politicians. From a democratic viewpoint, that’s something that has to change.
3. What is your political background?
In the past I’ve voted for either Labour or the Conservatives; my parents did the same thing and I think that’s pretty common out here in Lanarkshire. But it was the independence referendum that was my real motivation to get involved in politics. I started out by handing out Better Together leaflets for the No campaign round my local area. Since then I’ve been hooked, and that’s how I ended up getting involved in the Unionist Party.
4. What would you do for your constituents in Fortissat?
I think I can offer something a bit different because I can provide a strong voice for working-class unionism. As well as sticking up for the Union, I’ll fight to improve public services and campaign against privatisation. With Fortissat being a semi-rural ward, one thing in particular that is needed is better bus services, because a lot of people in the towns and villages have to rely on public transport.
5. How confident are you about the election?
I think we could really take the big parties by surprise and cause a bit of an upset. It’s a four seat ward, so the threshold to take a seat is fairly low. It’s not uncommon for people to win seats in wards like this with just a few hundred votes. If unionists vote smart and use their second and third votes, and so on, then we could give the SNP a nasty surprise. The way they won 56 seats at Westminster wasn’t reflective of how people voted, the electoral system just worked in their favour. At these council elections, the vote-ranking system will make life much tougher for the SNP. It also gives candidates from smaller parties a real chance of making a breakthrough. We’ve already been leafleting in the ward, so I’m confident that we will get our message across and be able to really challenge for a seat.
If you would like to help out with Jeff's campaign, find out more about candidates in your area or even consider standing yourself, please get in touch with us through the 'Contact Us' section of this website.