Wikinews interviews Donald Mackay, UKIP candidate for 2021 Airdrie and Shotts by-election in Scotland
Monday, May 10, 2021
Voters in the Scottish constituency of Airdrie and Shotts are to go to the polls on May 13 to elect a replacement member of parliament (MP) to the United Kingdom House of Commons.
The outgoing MP for the seat is Neil Gray — a representative of the pro-independence Scottish National Party — was resigning to run in the Scottish Parliament election, which was to occur on May 6. Gray won the seat with 45.1% of the vote at the 2019 general election, winning 13.1% more than the second placed candidate Helen McFarlane of the Scottish Labour party, who received 32.0% of the votes.
One of the eight candidates running in this constituency is the leader, secretary, and immigration spokesman of United Kingdom Independence Party Scotland (UKIP), Donald Mackay. On their party website, UKIP says since their beginning in 1993, they have campaigned to take Britain out of the European Union, and claim "it was the efforts of UKIP that forced former Prime Minister David Cameron's hand into holding an In/Out Referendum on 23rd June 2016". After party leader Richard Braine's resignation in 2019, Peter Walker, writing for The Guardian, wrote that UKIP was "now polling at less than 1%, having been largely supplanted by [Nigel] Farage's new Brexit Party", now Reform UK. Two polls conducted shortly after the resignation by Panelbase and Deltapoll showed UKIP at 0.499% and 1%, respectively, compared to the Brexit Party at 8% and 11%.
Wikinews spoke to Mackay about key political issues in the electorate.
Why did you decide to run in this by-election?
((Donald Mackay )) UKIP are a mainstream party and should have a candidate in all Westminster elections[.]
((WN )) What are your thoughts on how the coronavirus pandemic has been handled by Westminster?
((Donald Mackay )) Been handled very badly. Destroying small businesses through a lockdown is not the answer.
((WN )) What do you think needs to be done to improve transport services in the Airdrie and Shotts constituency?
((Donald Mackay )) No real comment on this[.]
((WN )) Do you support the idea of a second independence referendum?
((Donald Mackay )) I am a Unionist. If the people of Scotland wish to be politically independent[,] that is their prerogative[,] but my belief is that Scotland is already to some extent independent (it has[,] after all[,] a so-called government) and I would prefer to see Scotland as an integral part of the United Kingdom.
((WN )) Do you think the Conservative government is doing enough to combat climate change?
((Donald Mackay )) I am not interested in climate change, being a sceptic on the matter.
((WN )) As the leader of UKIP Scotland, what does your party stand for?
((Donald Mackay )) The party stands for:
- Scrap[ping] Holyrood parliament
- Total commitment to freedom of speech.
- No more lockdowns or invasion of individual freedom of movement.
((WN )) Your party's 2020 manifesto references "Cultural Marxist social engineering of society". Do you stand by that, given that term has been described as an antisemitic conspiracy theory?
((Donald Mackay )) Not sure I would use the phrase cultural Marxism but the politicisation of our schools/public sector/police/football teams is something I firmly oppose.
((WN )) How does your party distinguish itself from the similarly anti[-]EU Reform Party?
((Donald Mackay )) As far as I am aware Reform UK do not propose the abolition of the Scottish parliament.
((WN )) What is a local issue that you think isn't being addressed that should be?
((Donald Mackay )) Local sensible investment to make Airdrie a more attractive town to live/work in.
((WN )) If you're elected, what's one thing you'd like to change about the law?
((Donald Mackay )) Primarily to remove any restraint on the freedom of speech/thought.
- "Airdrie & Shotts parliamentary constituency - Election 2019 - BBC News" — BBC News Online, May 10, 2021 (date of access)
- "About UKIP" — UKIP, May 5, 2021 (date of access)
- "Meet the UKIP Scotland Team!" — UKIP, May 5, 2021 (date of access)
- Louise Wilson. "Candidates for Airdie and Shotts by-election confirmed" — Holyrood, April 16, 2021
- Judith Tonner. "Two elections in one week for Airdrie & Shotts voters" — Daily Record, March 26, 2021
- Stephen Bush. "Who'll win the Airdrie and Shotts by-election?" — The Statesman, March 24, 2021
- "Deltapoll Survey Results (PDF)" — Deltapoll, October 31-November 2, 2019 (poll fieldwork)
- "General Election Polls (PDF)" — Panelbase, October 30-31, 2019 (poll fieldwork)
- Peter Walker. "Richard Braine quits as Ukip leader after less than three months" — The Guardian, October 30, 2019