Liberal Democrats are hoping to restore voters' faith

The Scottish Liberal Democrats had a poor result in the Western Isles in the 2011 bid to win the Islands' seat at Holyrood.

But that is in the past and this time they are hoping that the experience and wisdom of Inverness councillor and crofting lawyer Kenneth MacLeod will result in a better outcome for the party locally.

Mr MacLeod was born and brought up in a crofting township in Wester Ross, but has several family connections to the Western Isles and has during his career visited the region often, building contacts and friendships in his role of representing crofters in a number of high profile Land Court cases.

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For instance when the Pairc crofters started their bid to buy out the estate from their landlord he was initially consulted, drafted their constitution and attended initial meetings.

And it is crofting which he believes is an important issue for the electorate during this campaign.

He blasted the Scottish Government for the recent fiasco over delays to the crofters’ basic payment scheme.

He said: “I understand the Government paid an exorbitant amount to administer the system, but people were not being paid. I come from a crofting community and know how difficult it is. I think crofters have been treated appallingly by the Scottish Government.”

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He went on to criticise the three tier system of payments and added that he and the Scottish Liberal Democrats would work to ensure a more appropriate system of payments to crofters.

In his leisure time Mr Macleod is a 3rd dan black belt in judo, so dealing with the political swipes which could come his way at Holyrood would be child’s play in comparison.

As for his party’s fortunes nationally he believes the coalition caused untold damage to the Liberal Democrats who were once firmly favoured across the Highlands and Islands region.

“I did not personally approve of the coalition it did massive damage to the party, “ he revealed, adding: “I regard Liberalism as a sort of political faith. We betrayed the electorate by going over to the faith of the ruling class.

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“We need to show the electorate that there is an alternative to the SNP.

“We need to highlight that their centralising agenda doesn’t work.

“Local Government has been starved of money in recent years. We need to energise the voters of the Highlands and Islands and bring them back to their original faith in the party.”

Although Mr MacLeod is a committed Christian and a member of the Free North congregation in Inverness, he is dubious about the wisdom of the Christian Party ‘Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship’ in fielding a candidate in this election, he explained his position: “There are Christians in every political party and so there should be. I have a lot of friends in the Free Church, but I am disappointed that a single-issue party are fielding a candidate, that is daft.”

Pictured is the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for the Western Isles is Kenneth MacLeod.