Voters are set to go to the polls tomorrow as a by-election gets underway in Aberdeen.
The Kincorth/Nigg/Cove area by-election was originally due to take place on May 14 this year, however, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Only one new councillor will be appointed and will join councillors Sarah Duncan, Alex Nicoll and Philip Sellar.
Ten candidates from across the political spectrum, as well as those standing independently of party politics, are vying to be elected into the seat, which has been left vacant due to former SNP councillor Stephen Flynn stepping down following his appointment as MP for Aberdeen South.
The current administration made up of a Conservative/ suspended Labour/ independent administration holds a total of 23 seats, while opposition group SNP hold 18 seats, and Liberal Democrats hold three.
Here are the candidates:
Shona Simpson – Labour
Home: Aberdeen – born and bred
Job: Retired teacher
Previous political experience: Candidate for Aberdeen South at the last General Election
Key issue: Ensuring that Aberdeen City Council receives its fair share of funding to keep services going, given the cuts to funding over many years made worse by Covid
What is your best quality? Tenacity
What is your worst quality? Impatience
What would be your message to voters? I am only interested in working for the people of Kincorth, Nigg and Cove and concentrating on what is important for them
Moria Henderson – Liberal Democrats
Job: Primary teacher
Previous political experience: MA (Hons) 2:1 in Politics and International Relations and active in previous Liberal Democrat campaigning
Key issue: Education
What is your best quality? I care about people and want to make a positive difference for them
What is your worst quality? Time management.
What would be your message to voters? We need councillors who will focus on the challenges facing our city and not refight national political battles. As local councillor, I will work to rebuild our local economy from the impact of the pandemic, provide the best possible education for our children and young people, and ensure the council delivers the best possible services for local people. I will also fight for a fair funding deal for our city from the Scottish Government. As local councillor, I will always put the interest of the people I represent and our city first.
Bryce Hope – Scottish Libertarian Party
Previous political experience: My main political experience is mostly debates and presentations – I wouldn’t even consider myself as a politician – more as an ordinary guy who is happy to speak up for a freedom which was promised to us as members of a ‘liberal democracy’.
Key issue: The right of the individual to live according to their own values using the resources they earn and create.
My best quality: I think my best quality is my ability to turn my hand to many things – I am never scared to try something and I always do my best to produce a quality outcome.
My worst quality: I have a habit of swearing when I don’t mean to – especially if something irks me.
My message to voters: I believe I speak for a silent majority of voters – those who have become disillusioned by the systems of governance and the parties who represent us. I am one of those voters. I look at the proposals of any and all parties and I see the same thing posted on each manifesto with minor differences; all they outline is their next party-political crusade. This has been going on for decades now – but has come to fruition in the form of Covid legislation. While there are many issues in the local area that need addressing (wasteful spending, taxation, mediocre infrastructure, the list goes on) the most imminent danger that we face right now is the increasing Covid legislation. If the government can’t fix a road, then why trust them with your life? Local and national lockdown restrictions have brought about untold destruction to individual lives and a devastating increase in public spending. Not only are we driving dependency and poverty onto our population but we are gearing up our descendants to pay it all back – with interest.
My goals as councillor will be to:
– oppose all lockdown restrictions and regulations,
– oppose more powers for licensing and environmental officers,
– seek to reduce your cost of living by giving government a diet,
– seek to abolish corrupt governmental organisations such as Aberdeen Inspired,
– seek to reduce local council spending and taxation to a fair, minimal level.
Miranda Radley – Scottish National Party
Home: Not given
Job: Caseworker for Kirsty Blackman MP
Previous political experience: I have been an SNP activist for a number of years. I love getting out and door knocking to speak to people and listen to the issues that matter to them.
Key issue: I’ve been campaigning on issues that matter to residents including protecting greenspace, improving transport links and ensuring children have safe routes to schools.
What is your best quality? My work has given me experience of helping people access the support and assistance they require, and advocating on their behalf in often difficult and complicated circumstances. I am a great listener and I understand the routes available to Councillors to address issues brought to them.
What is your worst quality? I like to over-prepare, I’m precise and pernickety regarding details.
What would be your message to voters? If elected I pledge to put what matters most to residents at the heart of the council and be the hard-working and committed local representative the ward deserves. I will always listen to your priorities, holding regular surgeries and putting you first in all my actions.
Daniel Verhamme – Scottish Green Party
Job: Life scientist working as a translational research associate (cancer field) for a small company, former researcher at Universities of Dundee and Aberdeen.
Previous political experience: First-time city council candidate, active in Greens branch (Aberdeen South rep), internal candidate (local and national), involved in election campaigns, life-long green activist.
Key issue: ‘Get there on yer bike – if you can’, but the Greens are not a single-issue party at all, our list is extensive! Advocating a Just Transition for Aberdeen is key as it covers so much. Workers and businesses need support, based on sustainable choices that lead to a green recovery from Covid-19 and the climate crisis. This comes with delivering affordable and beyond 2030-proof housing, quality care and education, and conserving green space from Loirston Loch to St. Fittick’s.
Best quality: I am motivated, I believe ‘Get on yer bike’ is achievable.
Hopeless quality: Believing ‘Get on yer bike’ is at all feasible in Aberdeen!
Message to voters: People living in Kincorth, Nigg and Cove have different degrees of satisfaction. A joint vision and collaborative drive towards bringing about a better future for all is the most effective way. I will constructively work on that and together with the sitting councillors. I believe one of them is a keen cyclist so it would be great to ride my KNC active-travel circuit with him and any interested folk, on breaks from addressing the ‘issues’.
Lisette Bellizzi Houston – Registered SNP but standing as an Independent
Home: City Centre
Job: I work for OGUK, or Oil and Gas UK, a non-profit trade organisation that represents the interests of the Oil, Gas, and Energy sectors. I am the Member Relations Adviser.
Previous political experience: Locally, my previous political experience was as a Caseworker for an MSP in 2017 and 2018. I wasn’t involved in the politics – I helped answer constituent queries.
What is your best quality? My best quality is that I sincerely care about people and the challenges they face. Running as a local councillor isn’t about politics for me. I don’t want to run for any higher office. I want to help with people of KIncorth, Nigg and Cove with the obstacles they are experiencing, particularly during and because of Covid.
What is your worst quality? My worst quality is that I have high expectations. If people demand change, they must be willing to participate in the change. I’m not a fan of all talk and no action.
Message to voters: My message is to voters is that I love Aberdeen, I love the people of Aberdeen, and I am running to represent their interests. In speaking with the constituents of Kincorth, Cove, and Nigg, I am aware there have been some incidences of crime and that people are concerned about this. I know they want to build up the Kincorth Community Center and keep the area safe. I want to ensure that they have the resources they need to keep the neighbourhoods secure and beautiful, as I know residents go out of their way to plant flowers to brighten the common areas that everyone can use.
Christopher Wyles – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Job: Procurement Administrator, Robert Gordon University
Previous political experience: I have entered this by-election without any previous political experience, nor with any ambition to use this as a springboard to higher political office. I am standing only to give a voice to my local community.
Key issue: To improve our green spaces and reduce anti-social behaviour.
What is your best quality? I think one of my best qualities is that I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m prepared to work hard, but that doesn’t mean having to be serious all of the time.
What is your worst quality? I feel that my worst quality is that I am quite impatient. My wife thinks my worst quality is that I can’t butter toast properly (I always miss the edges!)
Message to voters: This is a chance for us to decide who speaks on behalf of our community in the Town House. Please use this opportunity, get out there and vote.
Andy Finlayson – Independent
Age: Not given
Home: Cove Bay
Job: Retired chartered civil water and environmental engineer with Scottish Water
Previous political experience: Chairman of Cove and Altens Community Council for some 20 years, two terms as chairman of Community Council Forum, founding Member of Civic Forum and five years as a city councillor.
Key issue: Matters that relate to the impact of the New Harbour on the Community due to the proposed new access road, the effect of the additional traffic on Wellington Road and the potential loss of Green Belt land such as the much loved Doonies Rare Breeds Farm.
What is your best quality? Ability to take on board problems and work out a satisfactory solution.
What is your worst quality? I have been told that I have failed to obtain recognition for my achievements.
Message to voters: If I am elected I will readily listen to your concerns and endeavour to ensure they are resolved to your satisfaction.
Simon McLean – Independent
Job: Not given
Previous political experience: Chair of Planning and Transport for the Aberdeen Community Forum.
Key issues: Protect the NHS, reform the Council, build more Council houses, clear the drains and repair the roads. Not waste money on questionable and expensive projects like an incinerator.
What is your best quality? Not given
What is your worst quality? Not given
What would be your message to voters? I will work full time here in Aberdeen for our community; listening and putting residents first. We need scrutiny, transparency and accountability to reform the Council. I’m concerned that the current council chief executive, Angela Scott has stated her first duty is to the (London) Stock Exchange. I will pursue answers and share public interest information with Aberdeen residents. We need to break the mould in local government; we can improve our council and protect needed services.
Sochima Iroh – Independent
Mr Iroh did not respond to the Evening Express.