ARGYLL AND BUTE is one of the largest constituencies in the Scottish Parliament. It stretches from the rocky top of the Rest & Be Thankful to the sandy beaches of Tiree and from the tip of the Mull of Kintyre to the edge of Rannoch Moor. It includes 23 inhabited islands and a large stretch of the western seaboard of Scotland. The main towns are Oban, Dunoon, Rothesay, Lochgilphead, Inveraray and Campbeltown which is itself the remotest town in the UK.
However it is also one of the most sparsely populated areas of the country and the total electorate is the second lowest of any mainland seat. Argyll and Bute is losing population faster than any other part of Scotland except the Western Isles.
In both geography and demography Argyll & Bute therefore presents some special challenges for an election campaign.
ARGYLL AND BUTE HAS BENEFITTED GREATLY FROM HAVING THE SNP IN GOVERNMENT. The introduction of RET on all the ferry routes has reduced charges and increased traffic. New ferries to sere the area are now being built on the Clyde. The freezing of the council tax has helped hard pressed local people at a time when money is tight. Free education and better health care have been of vital importance as has the provision of new school and health service buildings. There has been over £50 million invested in the A83, which is now fully trunked, and further money is being spent on the Rest & Be Thankful to reduce the impact and number of landslips. There has been an increase in public sector house building, supported by the Scottish Government, which is particularly essential in rural and island areas. The Scottish Government has encouraged growth in food industries and in local employment and is working with Argyll & Bute Council to try to help it overcome its problems, caused by a failure to reform. The roll out of high speed broadband continues and the constituency will see major benefits from that programme in the coming year. But more action is, of course, needed.
ARGYLL AND BUTE NEEDS THE SNP BACK IN GOVERNMENT AND AN SNP MSP TO REPRESENT IT. THAT IS WHY WE ARE RUNNING A VIGOROUS CAMPAIGN TO RE-ELECT MICHAEL RUSSELL.
MICHAEL RUSSELL has lived in Argyll & Bute for almost 25 years with his wife Cathleen who is a local Primary Head Teacher. A writer and TV producer, he founded the Celtic Media Festival now in its 38th year. He was the first full time Chief Executive of the SNP from 1994 to 1999, when he was elected to the first Scottish Parliament. From 1999 to 2003 and again from 2007 to 2011 he was a regional MSP for the South of Scotland. He became the constituency MSP for Argyll & Bute in May 2011 succeeding fellow SNP Minister Jim Mather who had won the seat from the Liberal Democrats in 2007 with a majority of just 815.
Michael was Minister for the Environment in the first SNP Scottish Government elected in 2007. He subsequently served as Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution (with responsibility for producing the first Scottish Government White Paper on Independence) before becoming Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in December 2009. He remained in that post until leaving government in November 2014.
Since then Michael has served on the Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs Climate Change & Environment Committee and has taken a very active role in helping to drive through the Land Reform Bill. He is also a member of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee and Co-Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Malawi.
However Michael is first and foremost the MSP for the vast, wide ranging and very beautiful constituency of Argyll & Bute, holding surgeries the length and breadth of the area supporting local people and fighting for them on a range of issues from poor telecommunications to inadequate delivery of vital services by the current local authority leadership. He wants to continue to work for his constituents in the new Scottish Parliament to be elected on 5th May 2016.
Michael is also a keen photographer. He has posted a photograph every day of the current Parliament on his blipfoto pages, which can be found here: Donors to the campaign of £25 or above will be offered one of Michael's photographic souvenirs of the election - see the "Rewards" boxes on the right of this page.
THE CAMPAIGN TO RE-ELECT MICHAEL RUSSELL AS THE MSP FOR ARGYLL AND BUTE is being undertaken by members across the area who are organised within the 10 SNP branches in the Constituency - Bute, Dunoon, Holy Loch, Strachur, Mid Argyll, Tarbert, Campbeltown, Islay, Mull and Oban & Lorn. The work is well underway and is being funded entirely from resources raised by the constituency. However it is already obvious that the Conservatives and even the Liberal Democrats are attracting resources from south of the border to allow them to produce expensive material that is going into every household. The SNP needs to be able to compete with such UK funding.
Money raised from this crowdfunder will allow the printing and publication of leaflets for distribution across the constituency, direct mailings to sector groups and to the islands and will support constituency activists who have to travel long distances to speak to voters.
YOU CAN DONATE ANY SUM FROM £5.00 UPWARDS - THE REWARD SUGGESTIONS ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE ARE ONLY A GUIDE. THE MORE ARGYLL AND BUTE RAISES FOR THE RE-ELECTION OF MICHAEL RUSSELL THE MORE SUCCESSFUL THE CAMPAIGN WILL BE.
PLEASE NOTE THAT electoral law requires that if you are kind enough to donate more than £50 to the campaign, your name and address will be checked against the electoral register to ensure that you are eligible to donate. Your name, but not your address, will be made available by the council on request after the election.
This page is promoted by Marie Claire Docherty, Elderline House, 73 George Street,Dunoon,PA23 8BP on behalf of Michael Russell, Feorlean, Glendaruel, Argyll, PA22 3AH