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Dumfries and Galloway Council

Question: what made you get intersted in politics? Do you think that councilers should get full time pay?

Asked by leyla to Alastair, Elaine, , Jane, Sandra, Ted on 22 Sep 2010 in Categories: .

0 Comment on this question

  • Photo: Jane MaitlandJane Maitland answered on 21 Sep 2010:

    My family first – my granny was a councillor, she was born in 1901 so will have been a bit of a pioneer.

    Then I studied politics at uni.

    Full time pay? We are your representatives. We do not carry out the work that flows from the decisions we take. We do have to prepare carefully and read and understand many reports in order to perform properly. Is this a full time job? Yes, if you allow it to be and go the extra mile. But as a non-office bearer you can do the minimum requirements perfectly legimately and hold down another occupation. I think we are paid reasonably now.

    There is another part to this – because we are representatives, ideally collectively we need to bring wide experience to the table. Making politics a full time job would invite people early on to do nothing else in their lives, which I think is limiting if too many were to go down that line.


  • Photo: Elaine MurrayElaine Murray answered on 21 Sep 2010:

    I’ve been interested in politics since I was 10! I put this down to my granny, who was very interested in politics. When my grandad retired they came to live with us and my granny and I happily discussed politics with each other for the rest of her life. She got me interested in Scotland having its own parliament. Sadly she died in 1997 and never knew that we got our own parliament or that I would be a member of it.
    Councillors should get full time pay if they are doing the job full time!


  • Photo: Sandra McDowallSandra McDowall answered on 21 Sep 2010:

    Thinking back, I suppose my father had something to do with it. He was a great Labour supporter and we used to have some rather heated discussions as I often disagreed with him. He always encouraged me to listen to other people’s point of view, though, and to remember that they could be right. I came to live in Wigtown in 1969 and got involved in a number of community organisations, eventually becoming secretary of the local community council. I was also one of the many who fought to make Wigtown Scotland’s National Book Town. Having done that, I was a bit annoyed when an outsider decided to stand for election to represent the town I knew so well, so I decided to stand myself and the rest in history.
    As far as pay is concerned, I think it right and proper that Councillors are paid. When I was growing up, Councillors tended to be those who could afford not to work. Now anyone interested in either community or politics has the opportunity to stand.


  • Photo: Alastair WittsAlastair Witts answered on 21 Sep 2010:

    I was interested in politics from an early age, but first became active when I joined Edinburgh University Nationalist Club when I was a student. Then I joined the SNP in my early twenties when I became convinced that Scotland was getting a very bad deal as part of the United Kingdom, and nothing since then has persuaded me to change my mind- in fact, quite the reverse.

    No, I don’t think councillors should get full time pay, though some weeks I work as many hours as full-time employment. I don’t know how other councillors with another job fit it all in. But I think the present councillors’ allowance should be kept. It’s enough to get by on if you don’t have any other income (I think!) but if there was no councillor’s allowance a lot of people couldn’t afford to do the job, only the better off, and poor people have brains too!


  • Photo: Ted BrownTed Brown answered on 22 Sep 2010:

    Hi Leyla,

    I am not sure that I was ever “interested in politics”, well not for its own sake. I just wanted to make a difference. For me politics is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

    At around the age of 16, I found myself becoming more and more angry and frustrated about the way that I thought that the establishment and the “grown ups” were making a mess of everything. So I looked around to see what I could do, plukes and all, to change things.

    The choices that I had then. were to join the “Young Tories” or the “Labour Party Young Socialists” I dropped in to meetings of them both, but very quickly realised that my 2 up 2 down, no bath and outside lavvy background did not chime with the Tories view of the world. The rest is history as some would say.