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Dumfries and Galloway Council

Meet the scientists!


Councillor for:

Nith Ward Councillor since 2007


Scottish National Party (SNP)

Council job:

Deputy Leader, SNP Group; Vice-Chairman, Police, Fire and Rescue Committee


Primary School Teacher (until 2007)


Alastair Witts

I'm very old (over 60) with three grown-up children and three grandchildren at primary school. Also one long suffering wife who thought we'd have plenty of time together once I retired from being a teacher, but being a councillor's not like that.

Favourite Thing: Sailing along the Solway in my little boat with the wind blowing steadily (but not too strong!)

Me and my council work

I’m the SNP councillor for Nith Ward, which covers central Dumfries then south.

I’m on various council committees: Education, Police & Fire, Policy, Nithsdale Area Committee and the full council , which everyone is on. Then I’m on other committees that the council supports, like the Dumfriesshire Educational Trust (it gives grants to students!), the River Nith Harbour Authority, Dumfries Town Centre Group and quite a few others. I go to Community Council and School Council meetings in Nith Ward. I hold councillor ‘surgeries’ once a month in various places in Nith Ward- Georgetown, Cresswell, KIngholm Quay, Glencaple and the SNP office in Irish Street, and anyone who wants to can come along and talk to me, though they can phone or e-mail me if they prefer to do that. I try to get out and about round the ward to meet people, and have visited all the schools in Nith Ward and talked at least to the Head Teachers. And I’m sure I know a lot of the pupils because I was a teacher at Calside Primary for a long time until 2007. But don’t hold that against me if I once told you off!

My Typical Day

There’s no such thing as a typical day for a councillor, everyday is different in some way.

Well, let’s take last Monday. I went early to meet up with the other SNP councillors in the Council Office in English Street for our usual group meeting. Then in the afternoon I was at the Dumfries Town Centre Group with another Nith ward councillor and officers to talk about ideas we had to make the town centre better. Then I phoned council officials about problems people in the ward had asked me to help with. I went home for tea, and then in the evening sent some e-mails and read papers for meetings later on in the week. Quite a busy day. Sometimes it’s quieter- but nowhere like what I was told when I was persuaded to stand for the council- “Oh, it’s not much work, only about 3 days a week.” Aye, right! Not that I mind if I can help people.

What I'd do as "Youth Champion"


Places for young people to meet and talk with friends. Things to do. Break down barriers between young people and older adults.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

hard-working, conscientious, patient (usually!)

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I’m usually a boring classical music fan, but like the Proclaimers too.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

I’ve climbed lamp posts to put up political posters in the middle of the night(not recently)

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

to keep good health, to sail round the world, to see Scotland an independent country.

What did you want to be after you left school?

I wanted to be an advocate (barrister), but Holy Joe (RE teacher) talked me out of it.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

We were once in front of the Head for refusing to pay our bus fares from the sports field.

What's the best thing you've done as a councillor?

I got a new street in Dumfries named after an old lady’s famous ancestor>

Tell us a joke.

What did Freud(psychologist)say comes between fear and sex?Funf!(German numbers)