A CELEBRATION dinner was held on Friday (June 7) to mark Sir Malcolm Bruce MP’s 30 years representing the constituency of Gordon in Parliament.
Malcolm Bruce first won the newly created seat of Gordon on June 9, 1983, having previously fought the West Aberdeenshire constituency in 1979.
Looking back over the last thirty years Malcolm said, “The boundaries, which in 1979 included not only Bucksburn, Dyce and Bridge of Don, but Donside and Deeside, have changed four times, seeing the seat move northwards, for eight years taking in Keith and Turriff before reverting to boundaries that again included the northern parts of the city.
“Campaigning over the years has changed beyond recognition. Then we had 60 plus public meetings and there was no Facebook or Twitter. Technology was limited too - then there were no mobile phones, no e-mail and no desktop computers.
“There are too many events to recount. Nevertheless they include the winter of 1983/84 when we suffered massive power outages for thousands of premises over several weeks; then there was the BSE crisis when 1000 jobs were lost overnight because of the beef export ban; helicopter engineers captured in Nigeria, Sandra Gregory arrested in Thailand, both involving years of work to secure release.
“Throughout I have campaigned on a variety of local issues – bypasses for Ellon, Bucksburn, Blackburn and Inverurie and other road upgrades, the re-opening of Dyce station, the new Meldrum Academy, upgrades and replacements for other schools; campaigns for health services, community hospitals and clinics; Bucksburn swimming pool, village halls, and working with and in support of local businesses and community groups.
“Nationally I have spoken for my party on a variety of issues especially on the economy – where I launched our campaign to raise the tax threshold to £10,000 and to make the Bank of England operationally independent. I have also been the spokesman on the environment, energy and of course Home Rule, including four years as Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. I am particularly proud of the work I did in the Scottish Constitutional Convention ensuring we had a parliament rather than an assembly with all the powers of the Scottish office and more, and elected by a reasonably proportional voting system.
“I spent six years on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe during which time I was rapporteur for the release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan; rapporteur on the promotion and protection of sign languages, and co-rapporteur on the Khodorkovsky trials.
“For the last eight years I have had the privilege of chairing the International Development Select Committee, which has given me a deep insight into the challenges of eliminating poverty in many of the world’s poorest countries.
“I have also been involved with campaigns on behalf of deaf people as a Vice President of the National Deaf Children’s Society, and vice President and former trustee of Action on Hearing Loss and founder and chair of the All Party Group on Deafness.
“The nights necessarily spent away from home add up to ten years. The diary pressure has always been relentless but the variety is immense and the opportunity to meet so many interesting people, most of them polite, and learn about so many areas of life makes it all worthwhile.”