Falkirk’s family election connections ...

The Goldie brothers
The Goldie brothers
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This year’s local election will be a real family affair.

FATHER AND SON

The SNP had a father and son pairing in the past, with former councillors David Bryson and his dad Len serving together at the same time – now Labour boasts the only father and son combination with Craig Martin and son Craig R.

“It was a very proud moment when Craig was elected in 2007,” said his council leader dad, standing in Ward 4 (Carse, Kinnaird and Tryst). “I didn’t really encourage him to go into local politics, but he must have seen what I was doing when he was growing up and now he wants to work hard to help the local community.

“Craig is his own man and it’s great to have young people in the chambers who are keen and enthusiastic.”

The Martin men admit the odd difference of opinion has cropped up during the last five years.

Craig R, standing in Ward 6 (Falkirk North), said: “We do agree on the final outcome – but not necessarily on the best way of getting there.”

His dad added: “I’m old school Labour, coming from the unions – Craig comes at things from more of a strategic angle, but we both do our best to represent the people who voted for us.”

And now with a new addition to the Martin clan – seven-month-old Craig M – the Labour lads are not ruling out the possibility of being Falkirk Council’s very first grandfather, father and son serving at the same time.

FATHER AND DAUGHTER

A father and daughter combination could very well be a new feature in the Municipal Buildings council chambers after the election, with Conservative candidate Malcolm Nicol standing in Ward 8 (Lower Braes) and 21-year-old Amanda Nicol running for Ward 2 (Grangemouth).

Councillor Nicol said: “I’ve been a councillor all of Amanda’s life so she could not fail to take in some of the things I was doing, but we were quite surprised when she said she wanted to stand.”

Convener of the council’s licensing board, Councillor Nicol was a long-standing elected representative for Grangemouth before moving to Polmont.

He said: “Amanda was born and bred in Grangemouth and has a keen interest in local affairs. It’s not about politics, it’s about helping people in the local community and she is a young person with a lot of new ideas.”

Would Councillor Nicol come to his daughter’s aid if she found herself locked in a verbal duel with an opposing member?

“If anyone takes a pop at Amanda she’s quite capable of looking after herself – she doesn’t need dad to protect her,” laughed Councillor Nicol.

BROTHERS

Twins Dennis and Gerry Goldie were a fixture in the council chambers for years until Dennis stepped down five years ago to pursue the MSP seat for Falkirk. Now he is standing with his brother again in Falkirk South.

“We didn’t argue so much when he wasn’t there,” laughed Gerry. “I would say Dennis is a born politician – he was Falkirk’s youngest ever Provost – and his background is in the trade unions.”

The brothers may look the same, but they did not always see eye to eye.

Gerry said: “I think The Falkirk Herald reported ‘twins fall out’ at one stage. Dennis and I don’t always feel the same way or vote the same way on things – we have different opinions.”

Councillor Goldie did admit it would be good to have his brother back alongside him when the election dust settles, however.

Arguably even more well known than the Goldie brothers, John and Harry Constable had over 80 years of combined service in local government. Sadly Harry died in 2009 and John passed away last year.

SNP group leader David Alexander was a colleague of both brothers and said their presence is sorely missed in the council chambers.

He added: “The chamber is still a strange place to be without a Constable being there. Although they were brothers they were totally different, but they did share a commitment to public service and a determination to represent the people of their ward – even in the last few weeks of their lives.

“John was always perceived as the stronger brother when it came to politics, but Harry came into his own with individual casework. Both John and Harry played an important part in the modern history of Bo’ness and are much missed.”

UNCLE AND NEPHEW

Rounding off this year’s family election connections are Councillor John McNally, who is standing in Ward 3 (Denny and Banknock) and his nephew Colin Chalmers, who is in the running to become an SNP councillor for Ward 7 (Falkirk South).