Welcome to a new feature for ScotlandVotes ahead of May’s election. We’re calling it #16for16. 16 candidates that will be making an impact during the campaign and may be making a bigger impact in the Holyrood chamber after the election.
Our sixth profile is the SNP’s Ben Macpherson.
What’s your name? Ben Macpherson
Where are you standing? Edinburgh Northern and Leith
Which party are you standing for? Scottish National Party (SNP)
How old are you? 31
What is your current job/role? Solicitor (though recently resigned to campaign full-time).
What have been your previous jobs/roles? Public Affairs Assistant for a renewable energy company; Clerical Assistant in a school; Campaign Assistant for an international charity.
Why are you standing? To help other people, work towards building a fairer society and encourage constructive political discourse.
Earliest political memory? Walking home from primary school and learning of John Smith’s sad and sudden death, written on an A-board outside a newsagent.
First election you can remember? 1997 General Election.
Where do you see Scotland in five years? I’d like to see us more confident, more equal, aspirational and looking forward.
Favourite campaigning anecdote? During the referendum campaign I was canvassing for Yes nearly every day. One evening a guy answered his door with a mug in his hand. The mug had a Union Jack on it. I immediately prepared myself for a negative response. I was wrong. He was a passionate Yes voter for all the best reasons – democracy, internationalism, equality and building a better future… At the end of our chat I mentioned the mug. He said, “och that, flags aren’t what matters most”. He was right. A perfect reminder that Scotland’s constitutional evolution is about so much more than our various identities.
Tell us something not many people know about you My great-great-grandfather Walter Walsh knew Keir Hardie… and Walter believed in Scottish independence as far back as the late 1920s.
Also, I walked from Edinburgh to London when I was 20.
Biggest vice/guilty pleasure? Pizza.
What do you perceive to be the next big issue in Scottish politics? Taxation and social security, coupled with developing our economy for the future.
Favourite place in the world On top of Arthur’s Seat on a sunny day.
How do you relax away from politics? Running, catching up with friends, travelling, going to the cinema and watching boxsets. I used to play football regularly but don’t get to much these days. I read too, but mostly political books!
Other #16for16 profiles: