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by Kirsteen Paterson
01 March 2024
Councillor Altany Craik: Dinosaurs, Dysart and Dougray Scott

Councillor and author Altany Craik

Councillor Altany Craik: Dinosaurs, Dysart and Dougray Scott

Author Altany Craik is the Labour councillor for Glenrothes West and Kinglassie. Life’s a beach in Fife, he tells Holyrood.

Describe the area you represent in one sentence. 
Glenrothes is a new town, it’s got a great environment – very green – it’s a great place to grow up and raise a family, and it’s got lots and lots of roundabouts. 

How long have you lived there? 
All my life. I was born in Glenrothes – I arrived in the middle of the night, rather unexpectedly, so I was born in the house. I’ve stayed here for 56 years – I used to lecture at the college and work at the paper mill – and I now live about 400 yards away from where I was born. I’m very well-travelled!

Tell us something we won’t know about your local area. 
Glenrothes has got lots and lots of wonderful town art. We’ve got a fascination with hippos, and we’ve got a dinosaur called Rexy. The costs of the upkeep can be entertaining at budget time, but it is appreciated, I can tell you.

Who is the best-known person from your area?
Probably the actor Dougray Scott. He went to Auchmuty High about the same time I was there, but we didn’t know each other – at least, I can’t think that I did. He was pretty good in Mission Impossible II but he’s been in loads of things. Well done him, it’s good to see someone be so successful in a particularly difficult field. 

Actor Dougray Scott | Alamy

What challenges are unique to your particular part of the country? 
As a new town, one of the hardest things is to create our own sense of culture. People have come here from all over and how do you make them feel like they belong here? The more we do in our civic space, the events, and creating a better environment, and being inclusive, the more we can do that. To me, doing culture in a new space is something we haven’t quite cracked, but we are starting to find our feet.

What made you stand for election?
I joined my party after the 2010 election and I was unhappy about how things had turned out, not just for Gordon Brown but for the party as a whole. After moaning about it incessantly, according to my wife, she said ‘do something about it’. I couldn’t keep moaning forever, and wanting to make things better seems fairly straightforward to me. Timing is everything and the process for candidacy for the council elections was starting. I was then selected and elected and now I represent the place where I live. What more could you want?

What’s the one thing Holyrood politicians could do that would be of the greatest benefit to the area you represent? 
Think a wee bitty wider than the cities approach in their policies and recognise that geography has a big bearing on how policies are delivered on the ground. I’m trying to make sure it’s not so top-down and we have some more manoeuvrability. Fife has everything from rural to urban geography and if a policy works here, it’ll probably work all over but we need to we need flexibility in how we try to implement things. 

What’s the best thing about living where you do? 
Living in a town, you have all the amenities, but we have close proximity to the coast and the countryside. Within a few miles you’re at the sea, and the Highlands aren’t that far away either. Fife is great for beaches. Elie is great, so is Aberdour, and for just the sea, you’ve got Dysart.  

Is there a particular word you love using that only people in your part of the country would recognise?
Not a clean one, so I’ll just say ‘no’ to that.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?
Glenrothes is wonderful, so it would have to be somewhere warm with the sea. I like the sun, but the sea is more important.

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