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Practical policies

Mary Galbraith – Argyll and Bute
Douglas Beattie, Monday, April 20th, 2015


The first hurdle facing Mary Galbraith in her quest to win on May 7 is geography, for Argyll and Bute is a vast and beautiful expanse of western Scotland with long stretches of road and water separating towns and villages.

 

“The challenges here are having enough good quality well paid jobs right across the patch” she says. “Just fixing the economy in Helensburgh or Oban doesn’t help people in Rothesay or Islay. You have got to have the right mind-set to think about the local area.

 

“Tourism is obviously important” – this is home to some of Scotland’s best whisky and a number of remote islands – “however it is seasonal and tends to be at the lower paid end of the scale. What we need it a diverse economy that reaches all parts.

 

“I was involved with a local economic development trust in Kintyre for a few years, and we need lots of local solutions as well as some bigger ones.”

 

Currently held by the Liberal Democrats with a slim majority Argyll and Bute is a marginal constituency which could help decide who runs Britain for the next five years.

 

Galbraith, who was born and brought up in the area, sounds genuinely confident about her chances of victory and rightly so given her strong track record of fighting on a wide range of issues around education, care and culture.

 

However, one campaign has dominated of late, as she explains, “few public service obligations are as clear-cut as lifeline ferry services to our islands and west coast communities.

 

“That’s why the Scottish government’s insistence on putting CalMac Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services out to tender is disappointing. I will continue to fully support the unions and local communities who oppose this unnecessary tendering process.”

 

It’s clear she’s passionate about getting a better deal for the people up and down the constituency.

 

“This is an area very close to my heart, it’s where I was born and grew up and I know the whole place. I was always going right across the whole place from a young age – I feel I’m connected to the whole of Argyll and Bute.”

 

Galbraith also feels that what Labour is offering is a “practical” set of policies.

 

“People are struggling to make ends meet, there are lots of people who are really finding things tough and we are offering great policies rooted in the real world” she says.

 

“The one I love is the £1,600 Future Fund” – a new deal for Scotland’s young people not in university – “we are offering people who are going to be working for engineering companies real chances.”

 

She sums this up, saying “It will also give you help in that, you get driving lessons, help to buy equipment whether you are a hairdresser of a forestry worker.”

 

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