Nigel dons an MSP’s hat

Nigel Don celebrates his 7286 majority win over the Conservative candidate Alex Johnstone following the count in Arbroath's Saltire Leisure Centre. Mr Don was joined by some of the party activists, local Councillor Mairi Evans and Euro MP Ian Hudghton.
Nigel Don celebrates his 7286 majority win over the Conservative candidate Alex Johnstone following the count in Arbroath's Saltire Leisure Centre. Mr Don was joined by some of the party activists, local Councillor Mairi Evans and Euro MP Ian Hudghton.

ON what was a historic night for the Scottish National Party throughout the country Brechin will have a voice at the top table - with Nigel Don being elected in the newly formed Angus North and Mearns constituency.

Mr Don became the first Brechin resident to be elected to Holyrood.

Although born in London, his links with Brechin go back numerous generations, as his grandfather and great-grandfather and beyond were “Brechiners”.

The Surname Don has a long association with the very creation of what remains what’s left of the present day Brechin Infirmary.

The result for Angus North and Mearns was as follows:- Don Nigel (Scottish National Party) 13,660; Johnstone Alex (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party) 6,374, Kevin Hutchens (Scottish Labour Party) 3,160; Sanjay Samani (Scottish Liberal Democrats) 1,726.

The voter turnout figure was 47.98 per cent.

Speaking on Friday, after a few hours sleep, Mr Don said he was relishing the challenge of representing the constituency at Holyrood.

“I took the view that this ought to be a seat we would win and any sort of majority is a good one to have.

“As an MSP for Brechin, I live in Brechin, right in the middle of it.

“However, throughout the constituency there are essentially five communities out there and a great deal or rural locations on top of those, all of which I need to ensure I given equal amounts of time too.

“I represent all those five communities. However, as I do live here there is no doubt that it gives you a clear indication to exactly what is going on around the place and, rest assured, I will be heavily involved in these in the weeks ahead.

“I don’t think I have one priority at present, other than the logistics of getting organised in what is a brand new constituency.

“There is no office, no staff, no telephone and, in terms of simply getting organised, we are starting absolutely from scratch.

“What’s important to you as a constituent largely depends on where you are.

“Here in Brechin, town centre regeneration, local services, the Inglis Hall in Edzell and rebuilding of the high school are all important topics.

“Are we putting the money in the right places and is the council making the right decisions and how do we influence all of that?

“One of my ancestors Sir John Don was involved with the founding of Brechin Infirmary and I think that line of my family would have looked at this and said that’s what we do.

“Obviously politics have changed completely, but if they were having the opportunity to look at their great grandson or their great, great grandson, the message would be clear - carry on the work because this is what we do.

“I will do everything in my power, within the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament, to try and ensure that the next five years for Brechiners, and indeed all of the people in Angus North and Mearns, are happier ones.”

Nigel Don was elected by Party List to the Scottish Parliament to represent North East Scotland region at the 2007 election.

He was educated at King’s College School, Pembroke College, Cambridge (BA) and the University of London (LLB).

Nigel’s previous jobs include a 13-year career as a chemical engineer with Unilever. He later became a music teacher and a publisher.

Prior to his election to the Scottish Parliament, Nigel was a councillor for Ninewells ward and SNP Group Convenor on Dundee City Council.

He was elected in May 2007 to the multi-member Lochee ward but resigned as councillor in 2007 to concentrate on his role as MSP.

Outside of politics, he lists sport and music as his main interests and he is a member of the Musicians’ Union.