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by Sofia Villegas
03 July 2024
Councillor Chris Kane:

Kane at the Hungarian Formula 1

Councillor Chris Kane: "A pivotal moment in Scottish history literally happened in my backyard"

What’s your earliest memory?

I remember sitting on a carpet at nursery school and a witch coming to see us for Halloween. I have this vision of a woman with a big pointy hat and a green face who sang songs. I remember being scared and excited at the same time. I also remember asking her if she was a real witch and she said “yes”.

What were you like at school?

I was reasonably bright at high school. I was at the lower end of the top set at school. I had much brighter peers that pushed me on.  I also enjoyed extracurricular activities and took part in the school shows, choir, and orchestra. I also talked a lot, so when I was 15 I went on work experience to the local radio station and they gave me a job.

Having a role at the local radio when you’re a teenager, that must’ve been a bit scary.
I think when you’re 15, you’ve got an amazing level of raw confidence, so the microphone didn’t scare me. I just really liked the idea that it opened up a world where you could speak to people all over the district that you couldn’t see.

Was that your first ever job?

Not at all. My dad runs an electrical store so my first job was dusting in the family business, probably around the same time that I was meeting witches at nursery school.

Who would be your dream dinner date?

It would be a dinner party with both my grandfathers as they died when I was very young. My paternal great-grandfather died in a mining accident when my grandfather Frank was 12, so he had to leave school to become a grocer’s apprentice and I think I would have liked to speak to him about his journey from losing a parent at 12, to suddenly finding you are the main breadwinner, to going on to have a successful business career. My other grandfather Eric was a dispatch rider during the Second World War and was in Normandy in D-Day. They are two figures who I heard a lot about in my youth, but never actually met. 

Councillor Chris Kane

What led you into politics?

I was always interested in politics growing up, but I became a journalist rather than an activist. In 1992 I did my first all-night radio broadcast covering the count for the Stirling constituency, but I avoided party politics because I thought it was the right thing to do as a journalist. Then when I moved out of journalism, I decided to become a community councillor and really took to it. 
However, the limitations of the job became apparent after a few years, and I realised it was Stirling councillors who could make a real impact in my community, so I became one of them. I like public policy and taking on problems such as eliminating child poverty, and these are big meaty subjects that if politicians get right, they can make a big difference in.

And did you stand for elected office immediately?

When I decided to get involved in party politics, I got active very quickly. 

My first election was when I stood as a community councillor. I then put my name forward for a local by-election in my Stirling East ward, following the 2015 election. However, I didn’t get it, so I stood again in the 2017 local elections and was elected to office. 

And if you weren’t a politician right now, what would you have liked to be? 

When I was young I wanted to be a pilot and when I was in high school I thought I’d like to do law, but because I went for work experience at the local radio station I shifted into media and loved it, so I would probably go back to writing or broadcasting.  

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Watching Star Trek. I am a bit of a geek, I also like a bit of malt whisky. I like the story of whisky as much as its taste. I also like singing the backing vocals to Midnight Train to Georgia, but only in the car and when I’m on my own. I once tried it on a drive with my wife and family and they very quickly told me to shut up and just concentrate on the road.

What was your best holiday ever?

We are big Formula 1 fans in my house. It brings us together as a family and that’s nice because my kids are 16 and 14 so they’re starting to go off and do their own things. Last year we went to watch the Hungarian Formula 1 and it was just a fantastic experience.

Kane with his sone, Matthew, at the Hungarian Formula 1

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

The first place would be my local newsagent last Saturday to buy a lottery ticket, then I would go back to 1314. I live on the edge of the Battle of Bannockburn battlefield and every day I look at the same landscape that Robert the Bruce did back then, so I would like to go back to June 1314 to see the pivotal moment in Scottish history which literally happened in my backyard.

What’s the worst pain you’ve ever experienced?

My wife tells me I could probably win an Oscar every time I stand on a little bit of Lego or stub my toe on a bit of furniture. However, I remember being on a plane when I was very young, not being able to equalise the pressure in my ears and screaming for the entire flight. I just remember it being traumatic. 

What’s your top film of all time?

Some Like it Hot. It’s a little gem that cheers up my afternoon during Christmas time. However, I also have to give a shout-out to Braveheart as it was incredibly important for the local economy here and has had a huge impact for 20 years. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I’m the Labour candidate for Stirling and Strathallan for the general election, so hopefully I’ll be getting ready to be the first person to successfully defend the seat since Anne McGuire did it in 2010. 

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