Conservative candidate believes connectivity is the key

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Luke Graham, Conservative candidate for Ochil and South Perthshire, believes that connectivity and broadband is the key to dealing with the issues that matter to those in the constituency.

Speaking in an interview with RBNC, Luke said that poor broadband and mobile connectivity is harming local businesses, health care, and education.

Mr Graham, 29, who will be standing for election on 7th May this year, noted that the Scottish Government’s plan to get 95% of people connected to super-fast broadband may not reach some of the residents of Ochil and South Perthshire.

He added: “I was speaking to a tartan and kilt retailer in Comrie, who said the connection keeps dropping out. So, when [he] came to make a transaction with the customer, [he] cannot complete the transaction. This is a real problem for small businesses”.

The Conservative candidate, originally from Swindon, mentioned that long-distance courses from universities like Oxford and Cambridge could be more accessible to people living in the area, and also put forward the idea of online video calls as an alternative to traditional GP appointments.

Expanding on his idea about GP conference calls, Mr Graham said, “if you are sick, and elderly, we don’t want you to be trudging to a GP, which could be a drive away, when it may not be suitable for you to do so.

“Instead, you can do your video conference from home; you then get your medication delivered directly to your house in a day. That’s the kind of opportunities that I would be pushing for”.

Luke, who has a background working for supermarkets and in economics, admitted that his party had an uphill battle to beat the Labour Party’s Gordon Banks in the upcoming election.

Gordon Banks, who was elected in 2005, is seeking reelection in May.

Mr Graham said that it would require “hard work” to beat the Labour Party, who first took the seat in 1997 and have been the incumbents since, but that the Conservatives’ good economic record will be a bonus.

“It’s just going out and meeting local people”, Luke said.

“If I was elected, I would hope to be sitting in on local council meetings…Helping as an accountant with budget issues and such, as that is my background…Bridging the gap between local and national decisions is extremely important”.

RBNC was also interested to know how Luke would engage young and first-time voters in the election campaign, and how he would use social media to encourage participation.

“I have been putting quite a bit of the campaign on Facebook”, Luke said. “I have also been trying to get on Twitter as well…trying to get a bit of visibility on where I am, and what I am doing.

“I also spoke with the President of Forth Valley College…looking to just spend more time with people, which is something I think young people care about. Getting them involved in the process, and capitalising on the energy that was born out of the referendum”.

Luke Graham will be standing as a candidate for the Conservative Party for the General Election on 7th May this year.

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