Measure the candidate, not the party

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At the last two Scottish Parliamentary elections, the electorate has been presented with candidates labelled on the ballot papers as “Alex Salmond for First Minister”.

During the last election more than any other, the Nationalists sought to turn our parliamentary democracy into an American-style presidential campaign.

We were urged to vote not for the candidate who we thought would best serve our local communities but instead for the person at we did – or did not – want to be the next First Minister.

Local issues and good track records were seen as irrelevant.

When the SNP tsunami swept the land, Dunfermline, like many constituencies, lost a well-respected, hard-working local MSP.

In his stead was a little known SNP victor, the 69-year-old Bill Walker.

There is absolutely no doubt that Mr Walker was voted for purely on the basis of being the SNP candidate.

By allowing this man to stand as its parliamentary candidate for Dunfermline, the SNP let down the town big time.

I can only hope that its candidate vetting procedures are seriously improved in future.

The unscrupulous, self-centred nature of Mr Walker is now manifesting itself by his refusal to resign – for what can only be personal monetary reasons.

The people who elected him clearly mean nothing to him.

List MSPs are seeing a big increase in their caseloads as people choose to take their problems to them rather than Bill Walker.

If anything is to be learned from this sorry affair may it be that in future elections we all take a long, hard look, not just at the colour of the rosette, but the face of the person wearing it.

The role of the electorate is not to elect the First Minister but their own local representatives.

Only if we get them right will we have a parliament truly fit to serve the Scottish people.

C Chalmers

Dunfermline

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