Rhuaraidh Fleming: Meet the SNP Holyrood candidate for North East Fife

To help people who live in North East Fife. I have spent a decade working in, and campaigning on issues affecting, the constituency.

I have years of experience of helping people here with their problems but I want to do more and being MSP for North East Fife will help me do that. Public service is central to what I want to do. I know the area well and want to use my experience to help everybody who lives here.

What was the first event or thing that got you into politics?

Growing up, the news would be on TV every night in my home. Being able to see world events, from my earliest memories such as the Omagh bombing and Bosnian war, probably helped develop my broad world view. In terms of local and party politics, my mum was convener of the SNP constituency association where I grew up so politics was a regular source of discussion and activity, especially around election time.

What’s your career experience beyond politics?

I worked in retail, on shop floors and behind the scenes. Those jobs provided excellent life experience – of speaking to anyone and everyone and of building an understanding that everybody in those shops, from floor workers to management, all had to work together or the entire operation could fall apart. That instilled a strong sense of ethics, teamwork and co-operation in me.

Why should the people of your constituency vote for you in May?

I have dedicated my adult life to working and campaigning in North East Fife. Most recently, I led a high-profile, local campaign to save bank branches at risk of closure. North East Fife needs somebody who knows every part of the constituency and understands the issues affecting our diverse range of communities – that is something that I offer. I will be North East Fife’s voice in Parliament –something our area badly needs.

If you’re elected, what do you hope to achieve?

North East Fife will face unique challenges due to the double disaster of Covid and Brexit. Our education, tourism and food and drink sectors, for example, are at risk because of both issues.

I want to help our communities recover from the effects of both. Part of that will be achieved by leading from the front in the next independence referendum as an MSP, to help convince people that Scotland’s future is best placed in Scotland’s hands.

With the powers of independence, what’s the one thing about Scotland you would change?

Put an end to regressive, harmful policies introduced by successive Westminster governments like those of the Lib Dem/Tory coalition that reduced individuals’ wellbeing as well as our international reputation. Being able to make policy in Scotland’s best interests without having to keep money aside to prevent damage from Westminster would be life-changing for people.

Tell us something unusual about yourself?

I stopped playing football aged 23 after being on the receiving end of one dangerous tackle too many and turned to floorball, becoming club captain of Fife Floorball Club. An indoor, fast-paced, easy to learn sport, it isn’t well known in Scotland but MSP David Torrance has supported and helped the club – an unexpected link to my Fife colleague. It has been a real shame to not have any training or games since March but hopefully the Scottish league can get up and running again next season!

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