Author Archives: Sheila Ritchie

John Stewart: 1972-2022

This is not an obituary; I just want you to understand what a special person John Stewart was. John has died, aged 49, of lung cancer. John was a good man, and a lovely one.

His (much older) husband, Neil Fletcher, has been my friend since he, Neil, was at Aberdeen Uni in the 80s.. And we had some gey times back then. I knew his life, his friends and his boyfriends……and then John arrived on the scene to study Divinity. Neil was maybe not at his sylph-like best at the time (I know, I know), and the two of them were quickly christened “Fats and the child”. John was soooo young. Bear in mind that, back then, in the early 90s, their relationship was illegal. But we were Liberals and no-one cared about such a silly law.

John was, in those days, a quiet soul. And, if you know Neil, you will realise that meant John was a bit in the shadows. But he always knew who he was. He took an Honours degree, after a subject switch, in Church History, and, no surprise, Politics. John was active in his local church, Langstane, in Aberdeen, and, always happy to serve, became the Presbytery’s youngest elder.

Given the company he kept he became, quickly, an active Party member. Having graduated in 1996, he spotted that Sir Robert Smith’s campaign was in a bit of trouble and turned up at Bob’s house, to help. He then persuaded the Feds to pay him, and donated his salary to the campaign fund! He didn’t leave for 10 years.

He resigned as an elder over the Church of Scotland’s stance on homosexuality. Although he was blessed in a long and loving (if sometimes stormy) relationship, he had to deal with homophobia, and, when it hit, he met it head on. That quiet soul never put up with it.

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Scottish internal elections

We’ve got a raft of vacancies open on various Scottish Liberal Democrat committees.

Being on a committee is a really potent way of having your say on how our party is run. If you’re keen to get more involved, why not take a look?

Scottish Executive Committee – responsible for the day-to-day management and conduct of the party.

8 vacancies remaining to be filled

 

Scottish Policy Committee – responsible for researching and developing policy, as well as putting together election manifestos.

2 vacancies remaining to be filled

 

Scottish Conference Committee – responsible for organising Scottish conference

3 vacancies remaining to be filled

 

Never stood before? Don’t worry – the federal party has put together a guide to the process that you might find useful: https://www.libdems.org.uk/getting-nominated

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