Local Conservative candidate in Central Ayrshire Marc Hope recently gave an exclusive interview to the Irvine Herald about this plans for the campaign and the area if he is elected by the people. He also spoke about his background and his influences growing up. Credit to the Irvine Herald newspaper for conducting the following interview and to Steve McKendrick for the attached photo:
What inspired you to enter politics?
My father and family. Dad believes in working hard, clear values and a moral compass – I still ask for his take on things today and advice. George Younger, the MP for Ayr when we were growing up, arranged for my mother and myself and my brother to visit Parliament as a young boy and I remember clearly being inspired by the place, the vital decisions that were being made and what we saw there.
Who have been your biggest influences?
I have had a series of great mentors as managers/leaders over the years – and learnt a lot from them. I would particularly single out former GB Athletics Captain and Olympian hurdler Alan Pascoe, with whom I worked for over 10 years in UK Athletics and their major events in both Scotland and England. I also learnt from my fellow councillors on my eight-year stint on Wandsworth Council, particularly on the importance of delivering for your constituents at a real tangible local level. My wife too has been a major influence/rock.
What do you think you would bring to Central Ayrshire, if elected as MP?
I believe I can bring a breath of fresh air to representing Central Ayrshire, with new energy and ideas. Central Ayrshire is a great place to live and work, but I can see there are some real challenges too. I want to use my professional business experience to get the changes needed locally – I’m used to deadlines and making the most of tight budgets. When I am elected, I and our impassioned supporters will have walked many thousands of steps in Ayrshire, learning the issues and with the deep desire to make a difference to our residents’ lives.
What are some of the key issues you feel need to be addressed in the area?
It is vital to ensure our young people don’t fall through the net, which is all too easy. So issues like youth unemployment, training, and apprenticeships are top of the agenda for me. It is key to train our young people for the vital life skills they need to compete in today’s world. I believe strongly on encouraging self-worth and pride in what one is achieving and contributing to the community.
Also for our ageing population, it is vital everyone who needs to be looked after is looked after.
I also intend to use my experience in the field of sport and physical activity to ensure that our facilities and opportunities in the constituency are the very best they can be. Sport is a route out of crime, obesity and unemployment – it helps give a purpose to young lives. I’ve worked on major disability events and it is vital to improve accessibility and encourage important opportunities.
What advice would you give young people interested in serving their community?
I am wary of offering advice, often second-hand experienced served up for the moment; however, young people are close to the ground and their locality – so I say look around, ask questions, be insistent in your curiosity. Find two other people who share and can debate your views, and form a group.
Grassroot politics may seem a long way from Westminster but from small ideas inspiration grows, and inspires others. Look how energised we all were during the referendum debate. This is your community – nurture it and it will repay you.
Who would be your ideal dinner guests?
Alex Salmond. That may seem like a strange choice of dining companion, but I would like to meet the man behind the man. I didn’t come into politics to make enemies – or believe everything I see in the media - I’d like to decide for myself. If he turns me down, well I think I would choose my grandfather, as I was very close to him, He would be proud I’m standing here today for Parliament and he would certainly have masses to say about the politics of today.
What three items would you take to a desert island?
On my island would be a book of Robert Burns’s poetry – as a schoolboy, I don’t think I was able to decipher the hidden meaning in his words, but being on the island I would have plenty of time to explore what it was like to live in his world. I would also bring along a dog I grew up with (a Basset Hound called Rimsky, named after the composer) as they are remarkably good at listening. Lastly, a bottle of the finest Ayrshire whisky to toast the sunsets.