Credit: Instagram @CamiGlasgowSGP

Meet the UofG student running to become an MP

University of Glasgow student Cameron Eadie talks Green party politics as well as the challenges and benefits of running an election campaign as a student.

At just 20 years old, University of Glasgow student Cameron Eadie has thrown his hat in the ring in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election. The Scottish Green Party candidate begins his final year all while gearing up to contest the seat on 5 October. 

Victory for the Greens in this election is seeming like a remote possibility. Polling shows that the election is overwhelmingly likely to be a two-horse race between the SNP and Labour. When asked about his goals for the election Cameron responds: “we’ve not spoken about percentage points at all. It’s just getting in, talking to people, hearing about what support is out there for the Green policies that we’re putting forward and opening up the discussion.”

Despite being coy, Eadie remains genuinely optimistic about his campaign and what it means for the locus of Scottish politics. If elected, the Scottish Greens hopeful would become the youngest sitting Member of Parliament and first student to be elected as an MP since fellow Glasgow University student Mhairi Black was elected for the SNP in 2015. 

“As a young person, I think my age does come up when I’m knocking the doors and canvassing, which I have been over the weekend. I met one lovely old lady who said: ‘either you’re far too young or I’m far too old’.

“But I think it’s important that young people do start to get involved in politics, because Parliament should ultimately reflect the population that it represents. And I think if as a society we neglect one group of people, for example young people, then it’s not a particularly fair or representative democracy that we live in. I look around me and I look at kind of who would be the adults in politics? Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Donald Trump. I’m not particularly impressed.

“And many people have said to me: ‘I never actually thought about voting Green, but I like the fact that you’re young and you’re standing and are a bit more hopeful.’  So I’m kind of standing there to give the people that are pro independence or pro joining the EU and are also worried about the climate crisis and important things like child poverty to vote Green. And hopefully that will, by voting for me, send a message to the Westminster establishment parties that they need to take action on those things now.”

Cameron also remains sceptical that the election is as much of a Labour/SNP contest as the media seems to frame it: “When I’m on the doors, I get a lot of people that are not particularly keen about Keir Starmer’s Labour are offering, but then are also upset about Margaret Ferrier and don’t know [if] they can trust the SNP again.”

Ferrier, the last elected MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, lost her parliamentary seat following a successful recall petition after being suspended from the Commons for 30 days for breaching COVID rules. The then-MP was ruled to have damaged the reputation of the Commons and put people at risk after taking part in a debate in Westminster and travelling by train while suffering from coronavirus in September 2020.

Ferrier has confirmed that she will not be standing again in the seat. Instead, Eadie is up against the SNP’s Katy Loudon, Labour’s Michael Shanks, and the Conservatives’ Thomas Kerr. Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has called the by-election a chance to “demand better than the same old SNP failure”. 

It is fair to say that Cameron knows the community in Rutherglen and Hamilton West well. He has grown up, went to school, and has lived all of his life within the constituency. The constituency itself contains some of the most deprived postcodes in the country with one in four children in Rutherglen living in poverty. I ask Cameron if putting the climate crisis “front and centre”, as he pledges to do, will really resonate with the people of Rutherglen. 

“So, of course, as a Green, it was not really a surprise that the climate’s got to come first, in my view. The most important issues in this campaign are the climate crisis, independence, the EU, and child poverty. The climate crisis has to be the first thing in that order: it’s front and centre. 

“But as I say, I’m also standing for action on child poverty and continuing what we’ve been doing in Holyrood to tackle it. There are some worrying trends there that [we] definitely need to take action on, but I don’t believe that the SNP or Labour are offering bold enough action on these things and that’s why I’m looking to kind of push them by standing.”

For someone aged 20, Cameron Eadie has an interesting resume. In July of this year he contested the East Kilbride West council by-election, besting the Liberal Democrats and claiming a modest 4% of first-preference votes. He also participated in the John Smith Centre parliamentary internship, in which he worked alongside Humza Yousaf while he served as Health Secretary. 

“I really enjoyed it. I was interested in health policy, so I think that’s why I was put with Humza, because at the time he was Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care. It got me experienced at the front line of Scottish politics. I really got on with Humza and I still keep in touch with some of his office team. Humza’s a stand up guy…obviously we’re a different party, but on a personal level, he’s a great guy.”

Despite claiming that once the by-election is over his priority remains finishing his dissertation, he says he does see party politics in his future. 

“I think if I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be standing. But truthfully I’ve learned a lot during this campaign. When it comes to elections. I think I’ve seen that the Greens are the only party that’s actually thinking about what future that we are going to inherit when we go out into the workforce after University and what our children are going to inherit. I think the Greens are the only ones that are actually taking that at all seriously and that message resonates with voters.”

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