Christine Grahame is SNP MSP for Tweeddale and Lauderdale

How to win an election

There is nothing to beat two classes of Kingsland Primary P6 pupils asking you how to win an election! Yes they were holding their own elections and had formed various parties (non-political) so I was dishing out advice right left and centre. Number one was to find out what your electorate wants. Then write your manifesto and not the other way round. Number two make sure you have a good campaign manager who will deal with the everyday stuff: posters, meetings, T-shirts, badges all with the candidate's name on them. Have something to divvy out at your stall as you chat about your policies. I think this all went down rather well but the last bit caught their imagination: the T shirts and so on. We somehow all got entangled in a debate about the benefits of handing out personalised cupcakes to potential voters. I haven’t done that yet but seems good to me.

Mr Smokey

No matter where I go to speak to primary classes I am always required to tell the Mr Smokey tale: from his rescue as a cat which had been neglected and starved, through his scary disappearance some years ago for four whole days when he turned up in the middle of the night bright as a button, to life with him now. As he had taken recently to committing the occasional 'accident' in the home, I asked classes P6 for advice. Much was given and some taken. Anyway for the time being 'accidents' have not occurred. This led to much chat about the pets they have. There were of course cats and dogs and rabbits. On the latter I advised one pupil (correctly) that carrots are not the appropriate food for rabbits so one rabbit’s digestive system will be the better off. Top of the pet pops was the giant slug owned by one pupil who at least told us that it was kept in a tank and not a tank in his bedroom. Each to their own I say.


It was great to see Stephen Winyard his family and many of the staff at Parly last week. They were meeting the First Minister who was presenting the Investors in Young People Platinum Award to Yvonne Cowan the accounts director. That is some award to get as they are as rare as hen’s teeth. Well done to all at Stobo which goes from strength to strength.