Long-time lurker, first-time Parliamentary candidate.
The rumours are true. My colleagues in East Lothian have selected me as their candidate for Westminster, and I persuaded Robin to come out on Monday to help me launch the campaign at the Seabird Centre.
The local papers gave us some great coverage, with colour pics in both the East Lothian News and the East Lothian Courier (click below for larger images). It's now time to reveal the secret of our success over the last ten years, which is simply Robin's trademark scarf. Colour pictures are much more eye-catching, and you can't use a black'n'white shot of the scarf. Seriously, it's media magic.
The keen-eyed amongst you will notice I don't live in the constituency, but at least one other major party candidate stays further away than Edinburgh, so I'm hoping not to be in the firing line of too many League of Gentlemen type leaflets.
And it is a fascinating part of the world: socially diverse, with ex-mining communities, surfers and wealthy commuters to Edinburgh. It's also home to an awful lot of infrastructure and industry, especially energy. Older members of the Scottish Green Party have bittersweet memories of the campaign against Torness, so it's a curious honour to be able to campaign against nuclear power in this constituency. Labour, of course, remain ultra-loyal to nukes, and I'd point you to an article I wrote in 2008 about the relationship Anne Moffat and Iain Gray have with the plant.
We have a small but very committed branch locally, who led our successful campaign to block ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Forth, something we finally secured through an agreement with the SNP in May 2007. A good wee campaign in the area should help drum up some more members and activists, and help us return a Green MSP for South in 2011 and local councillors in 2012.
Thanks also to Malc, Jeff and Stephen for their kind words, although, as Stephen says, "I obviously won't wish James too much luck". He put the 2005 result on his blog, and that was indeed the last time the seat was contested.
However, a lot's happened since 2005 (including a change of Scottish Government and the SNP's subsequent difficulties, as well as Labour's loss of the plot nationally and locally). We also know how most of the seat voted in last year's Euros (although the Westminster seat includes Musselburgh too).
Another problem with the following graph is that it compares a non-PR election with a PR one, and we do better when elections are fairer. One might expect the Lib Dems to do so as well, though, but like Labour, their vote roughly halved between 2005 and 2009. Those caveats out of the way..
One thing I won't say, though, is this: only Greens can win here. But I'm certainly going to enjoy the contest.