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This article is written during a brief interlude in the EP election campaign with just over a week to go. The SNP government is achieving high approval ratings in opinion polls and our support in terms of voting intention is also very positive.
The final Strasbourg session of the five year term blended into the formal start of campaigning. Some excerpts from my campaign diary follow.
Saturday 9 May
Radio Tay called me in for a lengthy interview to outline the main themes of the SNP campaign. This was followed by doorstep campaigning around the city of Dundee.
Sunday 10 May
Joined with Julie and Jamie Hepburn and their campaign team identifying support in Lennoxtown area of the Cumbernauld constituency.
Monday 11 May
Attended final of a primary school Euro Quiz competition. Two of the schools participating, one in Dundee and one in Inverness had qualified for the final following visits I had made to their classes.
Wednesday 13 May
Following an early interview for GMS at BBC in Edinburgh I joined the other SNP Euro candidates for the formal launch of our campaign by First Minister Alex Salmond. The launch took place at Pelamis Ltd. at Leith, where 100 or so skilled workers are busy manufacturing a massive wave energy generation machine. The opportunities for Scotland to harness the enormous wave and tidal energy resource around our shores is one which SNP MEPs ,and the Scottish Government, are pledged to support in every way possible.
Thursday 14 May
Morning visit to Banff & Buchan Collegeʼs Outreach Centre in Macduff with SNP Westminster candidate Eilidh Whiteford, followed by voter ID work on the doorsteps of Whitehills village. In the evening in Aberdeen I took part in as cross-party hustings event at the University.
Friday 15 May
Toured the Fishing 2009 Expo in Glasgow with Richad Lochhead and Eilidh Whiteford. The occasion allowed us to underline the SNP record and future commitment to standing up for Scotlandʼs fishing dependent communities.
With a major review of the CFP already underway, the more SNP votes we can gather in this Euro election, the stronger our influence will be in this crucial process as we push for the return of management powers to Europeʼs fishing nations.
Saturday 16 May
Campaigning, and receiving a warm reception, on the streets of Lerwick, Shetland. Took the opportunity to hold a joint surgery with Dave Thompson MSP and we both spoke at a public meeting organised by Shetland Branch SNP.
Monday 18 May
Doorknocking with the campaign team in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine in the village of Kemnay.
Tuesday 19 May
In Aberdeen speaking at an afternoon seminar aimed at encouraging ethnic minorities to participate in the democratic processes in Scotland, followed by doorstep campaigning in Aberdeen Central constituency.
Wednesday 20 May
The 20th May is officially designated as European Maritime Day.
Appropriately therefore this was the launch date of the SNP Fisheries Manifesto at Macduff Shellfish in Mintlaw. The fish processing sector is a major employer around Scotland and supplies substantial quantities of high quality seafood into the EU single market area. Evening event in Edinburgh in the form of a hustings organised by Scottish Environment Link.
Thursday 21 May
Following a comprehensive interview conducted over the telephone with Radio Station Leith FM it was back to the doorsteps of Dundee assisting with the hands-on campaign in the west of the city.
Friday 22 May
While Alyn launched our Agriculture Manifesto in Perthshire, I met with North East office bearers of the National Farmers Union in the Thainstone Centre followed by a campaign visit to the Gordon constituency with Westminster candidate Richard Thomson.
Saturday 23 May
A very successful session of high profile town centre campaigning with Stewart Hosie MP and his team in Carnoustie, Monifieth, Broughty Ferry and Dundee.
Monday 25 May
SNP Euro candidates assembled in Glasgow for the launch of the SNP manifesto by Depute FM Nicola Sturgeon, before heading off to Benbecula with Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan.