I LIVE a privileged life in a beautiful town but I have faced many challenges. Growing up in Glasgow’s east end, when I was a teenager we lost my dad and ended up moving to Milngavie. I joined the SNP 10 years ago when I lived in the south side of Glasgow for university.

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while in my degree year. I returned home to my mum in Milngavie, so she could help me and I could adapt to using a wheelchair. As a wheelchair user, I see very few political representatives who can appreciate my circumstances and the barriers and challenges disabled people face every day.

I also received support from Gil Paterson MSP, who helped me navigate the minefield that is the UK benefits system. It really showed me the difference an honest, hardworking public representative can make in people’s lives. This was one of my reasons to want to seek selection as an SNP candidate for May’s election.

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Before the indyref in 2014, I started to get more active in the local SNP branch. I was more motivated than ever to fight for Scottish self-determination, get rid of nuclear weapons on the Clyde and ensure a more egalitarian society. During the independence campaign I worked with my branch women’s officer to deliver events and creative ways to engage the public. We had “Blether” nights at a local venue and I invited the Spirit of Independence fire engine to the village.

This creative way of thinking has helped me overcome my diagnosis and resulting impairment. I tried some wheelchair rugby, but I am not an athlete. I tried some stand-up comedy, but I am only mildly amusing. But at my heart I have always been a political activist.

I am a member of Scottish CND, I am fully committed to the removal of antiquated weapons of nuclear annihilation from an independent Scotland. I think Scotland should be leading the way in nuclear disarmament.

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I am also an environmentalist. I set up a local anti-fracking group and petitioned my SNP representatives to ensure no fracking would go ahead in Scotland.

At the last General Election I worked with activists from across the political spectrum in a guerrilla-style leafleting campaign called “No Mo Jo” where we distributed 3000 leaflets in East Dunbartonshire to help oust Jo Swinson. We focused on her voting record, and if you live in Milngavie or Bearsden you may have received one of our leaflets.

Mostly, I love this place I call home. It was my refuge when I was at my weakest and I have long been fascinated by the history of the area. We were the frontier of the Roman Empire, we were the seat of the earls of Lennox, we were pioneers of industry and invention.

There is so much history in Clydebank and Milngavie, from neolithic rock carvings in Faifley to more recent triumph over adversity in the Clydebank Blitz.

It would be an honour to represent the area in the Scottish Parliament.

Debra Torrance
via email

MANY years ago, a friend told me how he’d watched a farming neighbour walk around his field inspecting his cattle. The farmer had paid particular attention to one beast, notably thinner than the others – running his hands along the neck, sides, rump and down all four legs.

When he was finished his inspection the farmer walked across to the fence for a chat. “What’s wrong with the thin one?” asked my friend. “Nothing,” was the reply. “That one’s for our own freezer”

“But it’s much thinner than all the others,” said my friend.

“That’s because all the others are fed hormone boosters.”

This was back in the days prior to European Union regulation banning such practices.

The current Westminster government’s determination to make a trade deal with the USA – and using their “UK Internal Market” bill to force a lowering of standards for our own livestock hygiene/feedstuffs/welfare, food labeling, and etc – suggests we’re heading backwards, instead of forwards.

Internal Market Bill? It should be renamed the Infernal Market Bill.

Ian Waugh
Dumfries & Galloway Indy Hub

DESPITE warnings from SNP MPs about the impact of the Internal Market Bill, it won’t be until it is implemented and the Tory UK Government starts to interfere in our devolved parliament that most people will start to realise the dangers of this legislation.

It’s bad enough that it gives the Tory government the right to break international treaties and will effectively ensure that no other nation will be able to trust the UK Government again, but giving Westminster the power to potentially overrule popular policies such as free university tuition in Scotland will come as a shock to many. This will have a devastating impact on a wide range of our devolved public services.

The Internal Market Bill effectively removes our parliament’s power to represent the elected wishes of the Scottish people. The only way to ensure our parliament retains any power is to push for independence.

Bruce MacFarlane