RISE "People's Candidates" to take worker's wage

RISE - Scotland’s Left Alliance today publishes the candidates that will contest the regional lists in May's Scottish Parliament elections.

RISE will be standing 'people's candidates' that have all signed up to a "Charter of Political Ethics' agreed by RISE members.

If elected RISE MSPs have pledged to take a 'workers wage' (the average wage of a skilled worker in Scotland), keep a public log of anyone they have been lobbied by, use their position to promote marginalised and oppressed voices, and will serve a maximum of two consecutive terms in parliament to avoid political careerism.


Cat Boyd

Cat is an experienced socialist campaigner who has been active in a host of movements against war and austerity as well as being a trade union organiser. She played a key role in the independence referendum, speaking at public meetings across Scotland. She is a co-founder of the Radical Independence Campaign, author of Independence: A Feminist Response and a weekly columnist for The National.

John Davidson

John has spent the last 15 years serving in the public sector, trade union and socialist movements. As an activist in his union and community, John has worked hard to challenge injustice and inequality and has successfully campaigned to save offices, hospitals and workplace nurseries from closure. He is currently working to empower our unions by campaigning to bring in an Employment Freedom Bill to reverse the damage done by Thatcher and Cameron to employment practice.  

Pinar Aksu

A well-known human rights campaigner, Pinar recently graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MSc in Human Rights and International Politics. She works for Xchange Scotland as a facilitator, working with various community groups. She also works with Active Inquiry in Edinburgh, carrying out community theatre and using forum theatre as a creative tool for change. Her involvement with politics started at a young age as a refugee rights activist after facing direct experience of the asylum system. She is involved with Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, Migrant Voice, Inspiring Women Scotland and the Glasgow Night Shelter.

Bryan Simpson

Bryan is a Unite activist from Mount Florida. Since the age of 16 he has been an active trade unionist and political campaigner against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, education and public sector cuts and, latterly, for a Yes vote in the independence referendum. Representing Unite’s 140,000 young members as their observer on Unite’s Executive Council, and having represented Unite on the TUC Youth Executive, he has fought for the interests of young workers from across the trade union movement, including helping to co-ordinate campaigns against zero-hour contracts, youth under/unemployment, and disparities in pay based on age and gender.  

Suki Sangha

Suki is a Radical Independence Campaigner and a trade union activist based in Glasgow. She currently works as a Youth Worker, seeing first-hand the impact that austerity Britain is having on some of our youngest and most vulnerable people. Her political activism began with her involvement in the Stop the War Coalition, campaigning against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the subsequent racist scapegoating of Muslim and minority ethnic communities. She has previously represented young workers on the STUC General Council, and currently represents BAEM workers from across the country on Unite Scotland’s Executive Committee, having been an active member of Unite’s regional and national youth structures for several years, campaigning for better working conditions for Scotland’s young people, women, and ethnic minorities.

James McEnaney

Having taught children from a variety of backgrounds in Ayrshire, Arran and now Glasgow, James has seen first-hand the damage done by inequality, alienation and the ‘me-first’ neoliberalism that now pervades so many aspects of Scottish society. As a writer and CommonSpace columnist he has tackled a wide range of issues, including land reform, welfare and disability rights, drug legalisation, reform of our education system and - most recently - the importance of plurality and diversity in post-referendum Scottish politics.

Deborah Waters

As an active campaigner in both the Radical Independence Campaign and Labour for Independence, Deborah played an important role during the independence referendum in linking various campaigns together to maximize the impact of the independence movement. She played a key role in Labour for Independence in Glasgow, and is a long term anti-poverty and workers’ rights activist.

Andrew Rossetter

Andrew has been an active socialist, independence advocate, trade unionist and campaigner on many issues for over 25 years. He has particular experience of campaigning to stop climate change, ending all forms of discrimination, against Thatcher's anti-trade union laws and protecting the rights of those on benefits and independence for Scotland.


Colin Fox

Colin is a former MSP for the Scottish Socialist Party, after being elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2003. He is a lifelong socialist campaigner, and was part of the Yes Scotland advisory board during the Independence referendum.

Natalie Reid

Natalie became active in politics during the independence referendum. Soon to take up a job in the NHS, Natalie looks forward to campaigning for RISE to provide a socialist voice in Holyrood, with MSPs on a worker's wage.

Calum Martin

Calum is a RISE Lothians activist, currently a shop worker, living in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh. He became politically active in early 2012, just after the launch of the Yes campaign, and quickly became involved with the work of the various campaign groups around the referendum, including the SSP, Yes Edinburgh Central, and the Radical Independence Campaign. The last four years have been a real experience, learning organisational and campaigning skills along the way which he hopes to bring to the RISE campaign in the Lothians.

Sophia Lycouris

Sophia is a Greek artist and academic who moved to the UK in 1990. She moved to Scotland in 2007, and became involved with the Radical Independence Campaign, Independence Live and Women for Independence.

Basia Mindewicz

Basia – an art teacher –  is a member of RAZEM, the new Polish left wing party founded on the principles of grassroots, left-wing, movements. Basia advocates the need for a new left in every country. Working with groups like Migrants Resistance Forum, and the Cross-Party Group on Poland, Basia brings diverse networks to RISE, and to the Lothians campaign.

West of Scotland: 

Colin Turbett

Colin recently retired after 40 years of front line social work in various localities in the West of Scotland, giving him an extensive knowledge of the worst aspects of the area’s poverty, disadvantage and inequality, and firing his trade union activism and socialist beliefs. He was chair person of the 2,500 strong North Ayrshire UNISON Branch for 14 years, and represented members at workplace and branch level throughout his working life, proudly pursuing socialist policies in every area of trade union activity.

Kieran McCallum

Like many young people, Kieran became involved in politics during the independence referendum, which fueled his desire to campaign to end poverty and social injustice. Being particularly interested in the challenges facing young people, Kieran has since played a central role in the STUC’s Better Than Zero campaign, which is focused on the abolition of zero-hour contracts. Kieran will be bringing forward the issues that affect young people in Scotland as part of the RISE campaign, including the lack of affordable housing, endemic poverty-pay, and the lack of trade union organization among young people in workplaces.  

Sandra Webster

Sandra is as passionate about politics as she is passionate for change in Scotland and in our local communities. An experienced anti-poverty and anti-Trident campaigner, Sandra is also an unpaid carer and lives with long term illnesses that means austerity has a direct impact on daily life.

Lindsay Brown

Lindsay is standing for RISE to raise the environmental issues that affect us today. He is a long term campaigner for social justice in the West of Scotland and seeks to improve our communities and the environment in which our communities live. He looks forward to promoting socialist policies in the coming months.

Lindsay Webster

Lindsay is a Politics student at the University of Stirling. Lindsay was an active campaigner during the independence referendum, as well as having campaigning against Trident, and austerity, both before and after the referendum.  

William Telfer

WIlliam was born and brought up in Milton of Campsie in a Labour supporting mining family. He became active during the miners strike and joined the SSP in 1997. He served PCS members for 12 years as a national lay official. He has been involved in numerous local campaigns on health, transport, community facilities and more recently, fracking.

Central Scotland: 

Kevin McVey

Kevin brings a wealth of experience as an active socialist of over thirty years in Scotland. Thirty years that has included expulsion from the Labour Party, involvement in the anti-Poll Tax campaign and years of trade union activism. Kevin was a founding member of Scottish Militant Labour, the Scottish Socialist Alliance and Scottish Socialist Party. As an active trade unionist, initially in PCS, he served in a variety of roles including as Branch Secretary of the Cumbernauld Tax Office Branch, which meant representing over 1000 –mainly low paid – workers. Kevin is a proven advocate for working people and his lifelong commitment to socialism provides voters with a track record that can be relied on.  

Julie Silapasith

As a nurse in A&E, Julie witnesses daily the effects that poverty and austerity politics is having on the health of those in her community, and provides a first-hand perspective of the impacts that further cuts to the NHS is the rest of the UK could have on the NHS here in Scotland.  

For Julie, RISE provides the vehicle which is necessary to connect with, and maintain, the democratic energy unleashed during the referendum. Locally, Julie played a leading role during the independence referendum, organising events, speaking at public meetings and working with the Indy Girls to empower her community to use their collective voice.  

Liam Stevenson

Liam became involved in politics during the independence referendum, where he organized numerous public meetings, events and campaigns for the Yes campaign. He spoke at a variety of events and decided to maintain political involvement after the referendum ended. He is a co-founder of TIE - Time for Inclusive Education - an inspirational LGBTI+ campaign which has made waves in the last year. He has toured Scotland, appeared on an array of media outlets and taken the message of the campaign to schools and the Scottish Parliament. Liam will be standing to raise the issues affecting ordinary people, and to put people power at the heart of Scottish politics.

Maria Feeney

Maria is a socialist organiser in Motherwell and has built up a presence for left wing ideas locally and nationally. She helped to run the inspirational refugees campaign, Wishaw to Calais, which set out and successfully provided for those in Calais suffering in the current refugee crisis. This campaign altered the mood the people of Scotland had towards the crisis. Maria is currently studying Politics, and is determined to provide a strong socialist voice in a rapidly changing world.

Fiona Gallagher

Having lived in Motherwell all her life, Fiona has spent years working with some of Lanarkshire's most vulnerable. Whilst volunteering at her local food bank, she became acutely aware that there was a desperate need to provide for parents struggling to meet the basic needs of young babies. This lead her to establish North Lanarkshire Baby Bank, to provide practical assistance to parents. Fiona was an active campaigner during the independence referendum and played a central role in the Indy Girls and Lanarkshire Forum for Independence. The energy of the Yes movement, and seeing the effect that the collapse of the steel industry has had on the local community, have inspired her to make a stand, for RISE and for her community.

Derek Watson

Derek first became involved in politics through his work volunteering in the third sector in his home town of Motherwell. Having seen the destruction created by the decline of the steel industry, and the ensuing poverty, Derek hopes to highlight what the legacy of deindustrialization has done to parts of Scotland.  .  

Margaret Keenan

Margaret is a support worker for the Cumbernauld locality. She became politically active during the referendum and, while an SNP supporter previously, she decided a more radical approach to austerity was needed. Being a worker within North Lanarkshire for over 14 years Margaret knows in detail the changes needed, and will put the community at the heart of her political decision making.

South of Scotland: 

Sarah Collins

Sarah is a Unison steward in East Ayrshire, where she was previously branch secretary. Sarah has been involved in the trade union movement for several years, serving on the Scottish TUC's youth committee where she was Chairperson for 2013-14. She is currently a key organiser with the STUC's Better than Zero campaign and is studying for a PhD in labour law at the University of Strathclyde.  Sarah grew up in a typical pro-Labour family in Ayrshire but she became politically active through the Stop the War campaign in 2008, and remained involved in various campaigns such as the Coalition of Resistance anti-austerity movement, and subsequently the Radical Independence Campaign throughout the referendum. Sarah is passionate about international as well as local politics.

Dan Foley

Dan is a socialist and independence activist based in Dumfries. He played a central role in organising pro-independence activities during the referendum in the local Yes group and in the Radical Independence Campaign.

Laura Waters

A mother of three, Laura is determined to take the voices of ordinary people into Holyrood. She knows first-hand what it is like to be isolated by poverty and, as a woman, will fight to end gender pay inequalities. Laura is a passionate anti-racist and anti-austerity activist and will seek to build unity against austerity.

John Dennis

John has played a vital role in the local trade union movement and is a life long socialist campaigner. He is the Secretary of Dumfries and Galloway Trades Council and brings with him a wealth of experience in the labour movement.

Rosemary Dale

Rosemary has spent her adult life active in progressive political causes, movements and campaigns, including years of anti-war protesting. She was a teacher for over 20 years where she was also the trade union representative for her school. She recently made local headlines for organising solidarity actions with the people of Greece against austerity.

Stuart Cooper

Stuart is a social worker from Ayrshire. He was recently involved with organising the Refugees Are Welcome counter-demonstration against the Scottish Defence League in Monkton, South Ayrshire. Stuart is passionate about LGBTI+ rights and wants to ensure that the voices of LGBTI+ youth are heard in Parliament.


Highlands and Islands: 

Jean Urquhart

Jean Urquhart has represented the Highlands & Islands Region in the Scottish Parliament since 2011. Elected on the SNP additional members list she resigned the party whip after National conference in 2012 when the delegates narrowly voted to change party policy on NATO membership. As a long time anti-nuclear campaigner she remains unconvinced by the prospect of ridding Scotland, UK and the world of its nuclear weaponry through membership of a pro nuclear club. Committed to Independence Jean continued to campaign in the wider YES movement and participated in the RIC conferences. Jean is a member of the Finance Committee. Her focus has been on rural issues as you might expect, crofting, land reform, ferries, rural transport, small business and social enterprise. Nationally, she launched 'Not My Xenophobia' website, convenes four cross-party groups on Poland, Culture, Adult Learning and Crofting and is a member of others on Epilepsy, RMT, Palestine, Rural Affairs, Tourism and Human Trafficking.

Conor Cheyne

For the last 5 years Conor has been campaigning on a wide range of issues in the Highlands, from the anti-bedroom tax campaign to organising the anti-austerity march and rally in Inverness during the summer. He is central to developing a Highlands specific manifesto, and has played a key role in the Yes movement locally, as well as being an active trade unionist.


Louis has been a trade union activist for many years. He is the chairperson of the Inverness and Highlands branch of the TSSA. He is also an activist in the Inverness and District Trade Union Council. As an industrial rep, he has campaigned for equality and diversity for a £10/hour National Minimum Wage, to bring all working families out of poverty. 


Originally from the north-east of England, Suzanne is a Local Government Officer who has been living in the Speyside area for the past 14 years. A life-long socialist and republican she found her interest in politics revived by the campaign for Scottish Independence and the desire to build a fairer Scotland. Suzanne is a member of the SSP and is keen to take forward the issue of public transport for Highlands and Islands remote and rural communities. 


Jenni Gunn

Jenni became active in politics during the referendum campaign and became a socialist organiser in Stirling during her time at Stirling University where she recently completed her Masters in Research. She has been a member of the board of directors for 'Our Generation' - the successor organisation of 'Generation Yes' - and has been an active member of Women for Independence. she has been a member of the Scottish Socialist Party's Executive Committee for the past two years. Jenni Currently works in the the care sector, working in a support and advocacy role for young people and adults with learning difficulties. Through this work, Jenni has seen first hand how cuts are affecting both staff and service users, and is committed to fighting for both disability rights and better pay and conditions for care workers.

Bryan Quinn

Bryan is a mature student currently studying Business and Psychology at Stirling University. Previously he worked as a production coordinator for an on-line publishing company and was the campus President while at college. During the referendum he was heavily involved with Yes campaigning in his local community. 




Connor became involved in politics during the referendum campaign. Yes Dundee gave him crash course in street stalls, public speaking and door-to-door canvassing. Connor's work with the SSP has been wide-ranging, from organising public meetings and socials to calling pickets outside councillors' and MSPs' surgeries. He was a principal force in facilitating the Save Menzieshill High campaign early last year, and enjoyed returning to the community where I grew up in order to fight for social justice and to give political confidence to parents and pupils there. Since last year he has worked full-time as a writer for a small Dundee company that produces a daily legal publication committed to the defence of human rights and access to justice.


Sarah works as a welfare-rights advisor and freelance architect, and has previously been an academic lecturer in geography and sociology. A large part of her time is spent as an activist with the Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network, which combines advocacy, protest, education and political engagement. She has also been very active in housing campaigns and in discussion on housing policy. She have organised long-running tenants’ campaigns against council house demolitions have helped to change longer term policy; she has published critical accounts of the impacts of neoliberal housing policy and how to fight it and has written detailed housing policy proposals for Commonweal. She has also been active in both Tayside for Justice for Palestinians and Scottish Jews for a Just Peace, both as an organiser and as a speaker.