LAST year wis a turbulant year in the North-East. The general election saa Eilidh Whiteford an Alex Salmond loss their seats in Banff an Buchan, an Gordon, tae the Tories. This has gien the rest o Scotland the impression that aa owre the North-East the teuchter-Tories, fa votit agin Independence in sic large nummers in 2014, are ettlin tae bring doon the SNP ae vote at a time. Whiles this impression isnae far fae the truth. The SNP passion fir centralisin mair pooers in Embra an Glasgae tae the destriment o the North-East can turn fowk here agin them. But let it be kent that aneath these Tory claes there’s aye fowk fechtin fir the cause aa owre the North-East.

Neebra quine MSP Gillian Martin is ane o the bonniest fechters, haudin forrit fir the North-East in Holyrood. Since stairtin the independence activist group “Quines for Indy”, it’s been a whirlwhind for the North-East Mam, fa formerly worket as a lecturer, as weel as runnin a video production business in the ile an gas industry. Follaein the first indyref she decided tae, as she hersel pit it, “pit her money far her mou is”, an roll up her sleeves fan it cam tae politics. Her successes in 2017 shaw that an MSP can acheieve a wheen guid things gin she’s the smeddum o Martin.

Martin was ane o the loudest voices tae pit forward the idea o trialling the period poverty scheme, whilk is noo being pilotet in Aiberdeen, tae the national cooncil. “Aire’s a lot o guid stuff that happens in Aiberdeenshire that the rest o the kwintry can learn an benefit fae”, Gillian has said, an went on tae state that she was “fleein the flag o the guid practice o Aiberdeenshire” by pittin forward the ferst members bill that was passed durin this session o parliament. The bill was passed as laa, an noo local authorities will hae tae ensure that aa school transport, nae jist in Aiberdeenshire but across Scotland, is equppied wi seatbelts. The tragic incident fan a school bus driver deed at Deeside last month was a sad reminder o fit wye sic a laa is sae important.

We’ll soon fin oot the results o the trial o the period poverty scheme. it’s gaun tae be gey interestin tae see the ootcome. We maun aa support the idea that the state should be giein quines a wee caird tae haun ower at the shoppie or chemist for free sanitary products, and ettle tae pressure the government intae rollin oot the cairds owre the rest o the kwintry. Gillian Martin is adamant an aa that 2018 will be the year that she brings awareness tae the issues regarding youth sexting an sharin sensitive picters. Ae wye she plans tae dae this is by workin wi students at North-East Scotland College tae pilot a competition far the youngsters mak films highlichtin the aforementionet issues.

Martin also had her hauns full in 2017 wi an influx o constituents comin tae her for help. She pits this doon tae the fact that the nae lang appointed Tory MPs, David Duguid an Colin Clark, are simply nae daein their jobs. Fowk are gaun tae them lookin for a bit o support an advice, but they are jist gettin ignored instead. Ae example o this bein Duguid’s treatment o the closures o RBS branches in Turra an Banff, whilk Martin hersel recently tweeted aboot. It took almost a hail month, fae the 5th o December tae the 29th, for Duguid tae reply tae a letter aboot the closures. We’re lucky tae hae Gillian tae help wi sic maitters, but at the mintie she seems tae be ae quine daein the job o three, an that’s jist nae fair. It’s aboot time that we got fowk fa actually care aboot their constituents back intae positions o pooer in the North East.

Hopefully, the new year is gaun tae be ane in whilk mair fowk in the North-East o Scotland get involved in political ongoins an staun up for fit they believe in. We cannae thole bein unner the “teuchter-Tory” banner a meenit langer. It doesnae represent fa we are. Tae Martin, bumpin up the number o quines involved in politics is fit “gets her oot o bed in the mornin”, as it’s crucial that nae only weemin, but fowk fa are disabled an fae ethnic backgruns are representet at aa levels in government. If the young quines o Scotland can only see aulder, fite men in positions o political power, they’re gaun tae get the impression that they dinnae belong in sic positons, whilk is absolutley nae the case. The MSP for Aiberdeenshire East believes that onybody fa wants tae represent their wee pairt o the warld can an should. If that applies tae you, Martin has some advice: dinnae wait, dinnae ask for permission, jist get stuck in. Ye can visit yer local branch an see how ye can help the political perty o choice, but ye dinnae hae tae. If that disnae tickle yer fancy, an “ye dinnae want tae gaung doon the party political route, ye can still hae a political vyce”. Ae wye o deein so is tae write aboot, or campaign for, things ye care aboot in yer local community, which is exactly foo oor local MSP got involved in politics tae begin wi. If aire’s ony wye at aa that ye can get involved in helpin tae oust the Tories an mak the North East a better place, then noo is the time tae dae it.

Mair rural placies, sic as Aiberdeenshire, an the fowk fae them fa work hard tae mak oor kwintry a better place, can often get owerlooket because aire’s sic a focus on the central belt. Fowk can often neglect their wishes tae get involved wi politics because they dinna think that they can mak a difference, but it’s mair important noo than iver that aa that changes. If aire’s ae thing for sure though, it’s that oor little corner pits forward a great example for the rest o the kwintry, an Gillian Martin, as she’s shawn time an time again, is jist the quine for the job.