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Saturday 18th April 2015

Inverurie, SNP walkabout.

Aberdeenshire gets quite warm further inland. Prosperous Inverurie feels pleasantly Provençal, its’ neat, impressive town hall glistening in bright sunshine as locals gather in the market square to await the arrival of the SNP party leader, Nicola Sturgeon.

The SNP candidate for the constituency of Gordon is ex-first minister Alex Salmond. In the memorial garden he crouches down to chat with unsuspecting picnickers and their children. The scene is presided over by a statue of a soldier from the Gordon regiment.

The traditional ‘flesh pressing’ and ‘baby kissing’ of previous election campaigns has been distinctly absent across the 2015 campaigns and from my sketchbooks but upon the arrival of Nicola Sturgeon I’m able to sketch a proper unmediated walkabout.

‘Shall we have a wee selfie ?’ Ms Sturgeon asks children with SNP stickers stuck to their foreheads.

Before taking a tea break in The Mitchell’s Dairy, Salmond and Sturgeon have a chat, table by table with all their fellow diners. I make a very quick sketch of a young boy as he gives Ms Sturgeon a drawing he’s done for her. It is covered in hearts.

But for the ‘selfies’ and ‘high fives’ this event appears to represent very ‘old school’ canvassing.

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SNP Walkabout

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Scotland April 2015  Scotland April 2015-2  Scotland April 2015-3

12.30 Saturday 4th April 2015

SNP party leader Nicola Sturgeon addresses a ‘Scrap Trident ‘ demo in George Square, Glasgow.

Surrounded by civic architectural splendour, George Sq, Glasgow, is filled with a dedicated, enthusiastic, and huge number of ‘anti-trident missile’ protestors. They promote an imminent ‘blockade’ of the west coast, Faslane, nuclear missile base.

My train arrives at Queen St station opposite the square  just in time for me to see the Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon address the flag waving crowd. I draw a few of them. OAP’s with CND badges pinned to their woolly hats berate the members of the press pen, especially those from the BBC. ‘We’ll come to London and burn down your houses ‘ they shout.

Nicola Sturgeon has tiny hands. She uses pointy gestures, holds up single or double digits whilst delivering her message and  often clenches both fists with elbows held close to her well cut platinum-blue jacket. She is very popular with the nationalist crowd who wave saltires overlaid with the number 45.

I climb up onto the plinth of Prince Albert’s equestrian statue and make some drawings of Mrs Sturgeon surrounded by press photographers.

This is the first occasion during the 2015 election campaign period that  I’ve been able to witness and capture the phenomenon of a candidate creating any kind of ‘political fervour ‘. Members of the crowd who I speak to after the SNP leader has left refer to her as  ‘Oor Nicola ‘ and rail against negative representations of her in the press.

SNP in Glasgow

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