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by Sofia Villegas
01 February 2024
Cammy Day: I was elected at the same time as Obama; he probably got more votes

Cammy Day: I was elected at the same time as Obama; he probably got more votes

What’s your earliest memory?

My earliest memory is probably from around Christmas time. I remember my mum working two or three jobs so that me and my three brothers would walk into a room full of gifts. With my mum having dementia now, it is lovely to hold this memory. 

What were you like at school?

I was a reasonable student overall but I also used to hang out with some people who didn’t always behave. I also remember that I hated having to do cross-country runs in PE and I sometimes would hide my trainers in my house so my mum could allow me to skip the class. Funnily enough, I have gone from hating it to quite enjoying it now – I ran the London Marathon a few years back and I often run to work.

Who would be your dream dinner date?

I was elected around the same time Barack Obama was elected as the US president – probably with a slightly bigger vote than me – so having dinner with him and Michelle Obama would be a massive achievement. 

What is the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

As a city council leader, I often get a hard time on social media and it’d be good if people came to me and learned a bit more about me before believing what they read online.

What led you into politics?

I suppose it followed from my background as a community development worker in some of the most socially deprived parts of Edinburgh. Not long into the job I learned that while I could help people with an immediate issue, I couldn’t fix the underlying problem, so I joined the trade union movement. I then realised it was politicians who could change your life, so I got involved in politics. This might be a cliché but I believe that every single day, at some level or another, politicians decide something in everybody’s life.

Did you stand for elected office immediately?

Not really. When I left school, I went right into work. Initially, I had office jobs and then got into community work. After this, I began studying community education and social policy at the University of Edinburgh and eventually got into politics in my 30s. I then stood for council twice in 2002 and 2007 before becoming an elected member of City of Edinburgh Council in 2008.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I quite like having a nice glass of cava. I think I’ve got a pretty busy lifestyle with my job in the council, so I’m not shy to have a glass of cava – or two or three.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I would go back to school where I was a bit more carefree, I didn’t have to pay bills, and all I had to do was study and learn new things.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?

Well, it came from my dad, who unfortunately is not with us any more. He had his own roofing company that was effectively a one-man band, and I always remember him telling us, ‘work hard and you’ll do well’.

What skill should every person have?

I think everyone should learn to treat people how they would want to be treated.

What is the worst pain you’ve ever experienced?

It was an accident I had when I worked at a supermarket as a teenager. A tonne of fizzy juice pushed me onto the road, fell on my leg and snapped it in half. All I could see was a bus approaching me and a police officer pushing my head down so I wouldn’t look at my bust-up leg. Then all I can recall is being in an ambulance feeling quite happy as they had given me lots of gas and other medication. I ended up going into surgery where they put a pin in my leg, which they later gave to me as a souvenir. Although, remembering it all now, rehabilitation was even more painful. 

Do you still have the pin?

Yes, it is lying in my house somewhere.

What’s your top film of all time?

Sister Act. I love gospel music and the film is just full of light-hearted fun.

Did you go and see the show at the Edinburgh Playhouse?

No, but I went to the one in London a few years ago. 

And do you prefer the live or the film version?

Both are fantastic, but seeing the performance in person was a bit more exciting. 

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