11 by-elections, thousands of doors knocked and friends for life: Margaret Ferrier on campaigning over the past year

Margaret Ferrier has campaigned in 11 different local by-elections in ten short months. Prior to that she was the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West and previously worked for a manufacturing construction company.

Margaret spoke to us about her busy year campaigning.

You are a very busy activist, can you tell us about your campaigning?

I started campaigning when I joined the party in 2011. I became active straight away and took up an office bearer role as branch secretary. My first campaign was Anne McLaughlin’s in Port Glasgow where I stuffed letters into envelopes. I’ve come a long way from that. Since July last year after the General Election I decided that I would start campaigning in all of the by-elections. I have been to every single one, except for Perth as it clashed with the Rutherglen by-election.

I was also delighted to be elected on to the NEC at autumn conference last year and have been able to voice members’ opinions and ideas there. The NEC has decided to move their meetings about and hold them where there is a by-election so that we can go out as a team afterwards and campaign.

What motivates you?

It’s in my character, in my makeup. I work hard, am naturally enthusiastic and a self-motivator. I just get on with the job. I do it for the party as a member and I know that it will lead us to an independent Scotland.

What do you enjoy most about campaigning?

Two things, firstly I enjoy talking with people. If you’re afraid to chap doors and have a conversation with people then you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it. Secondly I really enjoy helping the candidate because I feel they need a bit of support and guidance. I like to think that our candidates and elected members are going to work hard and be great ambassadors for the party.


How many doors do you think you’ve knocked during your time campaigning?

Since July? Thousands, and many more since I joined the party.

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met and places you’ve been?

I have met loads of great party activists and lovely voters on lots of doorsteps. I have travelled to Elgin, Inverurie, Cardonald, Fortissat, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Penicuik, Selkirk, Lochaber, Perth and Kinross and of course Rutherglen in my own patch. I have seen a fair bit of the country and made so many new friends.

Why should people get involved with the SNP?

I can’t think of any other political party I would rather be a member of. It’s a great party to join. I would encourage anyone who is thinking of joining a political party to consider the SNP. Colleagues and activists become friends that you look out for and are supportive of, it is great being part of the SNP family.

What’s been your biggest political achievement?

Without a doubt, my biggest political achievement so far was being elected in May 2015 as the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

I stood in a local by-election in February 2013 which was a good experience and was also the local Yes campaign co-ordinator during the independence referendum. That all stood me in good stead, and it got me better known in the area. I wasn’t even considering standing for Westminster until a branch member suggested I put myself forward. I went away and thought about it and said why not? It was great to win the seat for the SNP for the very first time and it was a privilege to represent the area for two years. I’m just sorry my parents weren’t alive to see my success.

How you can help us win elections


Join the SNP: If you’re not already a member of the SNP, join us today. You’ll get email updates, a biannual member’s magazine and you can attend your local branch meetings and our National Conference.

Get involved in your local branch: If you are already a member, find details of your local branch on my.snp.org

Donate: You can donate here at any time, or call our fundraising team on 0131 525 8904 from 9am to 5pm, Monday – Friday.

Host an event: Within your local branch you can help organise public meetings, coffee mornings, leafleting and canvassing.

Keep informed and spread the word: The SNP website will help keep you up to date with our latest campaigns, news and policies. In the Policybase you’ll find the answers to regularly asked policy questions. Our Updates section keeps you up-to-date with the latest news and interesting articles you can share on social media.

Be visible: An easy way to show your support for the SNP is to wear a badge or display a car sticker. You can buy these items and much much more, at www.snpstore.org.

Post on social media: Don’t forget to send us all your campaigning pictures by using the hashtag #ActiveSNP.