“Kirkcaldy needs change, and I can offer them an alternative.”
These are the words of Conservative parliamentary candidate for Kirkcaldy Ian McFarlane, a 25-year-old advocate who is fighting for the town’s seat at next month’s election.
Ian, who was the president of the Conservative Association while he studied at St Andrews University, has vowed to fight for more jobs and bigger industries to come to the town, as well as better planning and town-centre regeneration if he wins the seat.
Ian is the youngest of the four candidates standing for election in Kirkcaldy, but at just 25 he says his age is a positive thing.
“I definitely think it’s a good thing being younger.
‘’I want to fight a positive campaign and I don’t want to be negative or disparaging about my opponents, but I know they have been involved in professional politics for quite a long time.
‘’As a young 25 year old who is enthusiastic and keen, I will be able to bring new ideas and vision, which has been lacking.”
Ian, who began door knocking in the area last week, also hopes that by standing for an election at a young age, he may be able to help encourage younger voters out to the polling stations.
“It’s definitely a positive attribute and it’s good that young people get encouraged into politics because politics is the medium by which change is brought about, and hopefully I’ll be able to do my little bit in my own way to inspire other young people to be interested in that.
“There are a lot of issues and problems in Britain,” he continued, “and although we are one of the most developed and successful countries in the world there is bad poverty and terrible issues in all sorts of areas of public life.
‘‘It’s important that people get involved and try to make changes to improve these things.
‘‘It’s easy to be negative about politics and politicians but it is a way you can really try to make a difference – not the only way, but one of the ways.”
Ian has said there are a number of issues in Kirkcaldy which he feels are important to the town’s future, including the new swimming pool, the growing number of people losing jobs or becoming bankrupt, and the regeneration of the town centre, as well as larger, national issues.
When asked about how much of a say MSPs have on a local level, Ian said it’s all about arguing strongly and fighting hard.
He added: “MSPs have a strong say, especially in a minority government situation which is what’s likely to happen again, because every vote does count.
‘‘Individual MSPs can have a real sway if they want to.
‘‘The role of the MSP is a powerful one, especially in the current political climate.
“The Conservative party in the Scottish Parliament ensured there are 1000 more police on the streets, and they ensured there are reductions in corporation taxes by working and co-operating with the other parties – by doing this they managed to achieve real successes.
‘‘I think it is possible, and there are real opportunities for people working together and making changes.”
This week, Ian gave up his job to focus completely on his campaign - a bold move but one he feels is necessary, despite an acknowledgement that the Conservatives have never had a political stronghold in this part of Scotland.
He added: “I’m a realist and I just want to do my best and try to get as many votes as I can – to try to offer the people of this constituency an alternative to the left wing and centre left parties.
‘‘In the Conservatives they do have an option to vote for something different.
‘‘Hopefully I’ll be able to increase my vote percentage and I’ll certainly be fighting full out to win.”