George Adam MSP: There is still that idealistic 17-year-old in me somewhere 

2 0
Read Time:4 Minute, 15 Second

With a jovial smile and friendly handshake, George Adam MSP brightened up the otherwise monochromatic room.

A spacious office with a high ceiling, and walls decorated with black and white photographs of the 1920s and 1950s St Mirren’s F.C teams.

It is situated on the first floor of the Anchor Mill, a Victorian building that once served as a cotton mill.  

George’s love for Paisley shows not only through the photos of Paisley’s football club or the pattern of his ties; paisley pattern of course. It is in the sentiment he speaks with about the town he was born in, especially Ferguslie Park where he grew up.

“Big daft boy fae Feegie”; he proudly calls himself.    

His involvement in politics started at a young age. Growing up under Margaret Thatcher’s government of the 80s he saw the destruction the Westminster government brought to his beloved town. George joined the Scottish National Party at only 17. Looking back, it is the one thing he feels he could thank Margaret Thatcher for.  

The closure of the Linwood Car Plant in 1981 had an especially big impact on deprivation across Ferguslie Park. According to SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) between 2012 and 2020 it ranked as the most deprived area in Scotland. In these difficult times, as he watched his friends being “put on the scrap heap of life”, George appreciated every opportunity that came his way.

And so, once his father finally gave up on him becoming an engineer, he grabbed the car keys his father threw to him saying: ‘Maybe you are a salesman’. He took his chance and became very successful.

He “was a lot happier doing that” because he was “talking to people”. “That’s what I like”, he said to me.     

The current Pheonix Retail Park which was built on the land that used to host the Linwood car plant. Picture credit – Thomas Nugent

It is being able to start a conversation that helps George Adam MSP for Paisley find solutions to issues that the town and its residents face. Successful, he is currently serving as The Minister for Parliamentary Business. Yet, his political career has not always been smooth.

In the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections he lost the Paisley North seat to Labour. Persistent in his goals, in 2007 he was elected councillor for Paisley South Ward, and in 2011 he won the Paisley seat with a majority of 248.    

Asked about the proudest moments in his career as an MSP, George Adam tells me about The Russell Institute. An A-listed building that he, simply by bringing the right people together, contributed to saving from despair.

“That building would have just been an empty building in Paisley. It would almost have become invisible to people as they walked by,” he says.

Very much present in the lives of the people of Paisley, Russell Institute opened its door as a Skills and Employability Hub in 2017, and it continues to bring jobs and opportunities to the local people.   

The Russell Institute on New Street in Paisley. Picture Credit – David on Flickr

George says: “We’re just another northern European nation that has got as much chance as any other to get on in the world, and we just need to grasp that opportunity.   

“If you think, we’ve done this to the regeneration of town within devolution. You know, independence would give us that opportunity to make sure that everybody had that chance”    

For this proud Paisley Buddy, the regeneration of Paisley does not end with the town centre. Redevelopments of the town’s signature buildings: Central Library, Town Hall, and Paisley Museum make him happy. But to George “all roads lead to Ferguslie”.

It is where during the independence referendum he met a young woman who, as he tells me, said: ‘Oh I’m voting yes George’. Asked ‘Why?’  she answered: ‘Because I’ve got nothing, and I might get something better.’     

“I felt quite sad walking away from that door,” says George.

“There was a young woman that was living in poverty, and she called me George. She knew who I was, and she was voting ‘Yes’ because she had nothing to lose.    

“I want her to vote ‘Yes’ for Independent Scotland, but I want her to do it because she believes that we can create a better future for her and her kids.”    

In a time of cost-of-living crisis, when people worry about electricity bills and putting food on the table, independence may not seem like a priority. But for Geroge there is more to it: “The whole point is to give people the confidence to be able to say: ‘I can do what I need to do to get forward in life.’”  

He hopes to see further developments in the town centre and Ferguslie Park. As he dreams big for Paisley, he says: “In part of the history of this town, I’m just a tiny wee speck of it.”  

Happy
Happy
67 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
33 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %
Previous post North Ayrshire football project aims to help fans relive those magical memories
Next post Are Asians running the UK’s Afro-hair industry?

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *