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by Sofia Villegas
07 June 2024
Alexander Stewart: 'I'm known as having a bit of a voice'

Tory MSP Alexander Stewart

Alexander Stewart: 'I'm known as having a bit of a voice'

What was the first record that you ever bought?

Sandy Shaw’s Puppet on a String. I remember asking my mum to buy it when I was five or six years old. 

What record will always get you on the dance floor?

There’s nothing better than a decent ceilidh. Even if it’s just playing records, they get people engaged. 

What is your karaoke song?

Angels by Robbie Williams. However, I’m also into opera and musicals so I’ve done a little bit from Les Mis at karaoke. I’m in the choir at the parliament and I’ve performed in the past myself, so I’m known as having a bit of a voice.

What do you want played at your funeral?  

My Way by Frank Sinatra. Being a Conservative MSP is challenging, and I’ve chosen to do things my own way in this political career. So that would be one that would certainly resonate with me.

Your colleague Brian Whittle is also part of a parliamentary band. It seems the Scottish Conservatives are a musical bunch.  

I think you have to have some kind of charisma to express your opinions and put yourself in front of television cameras and under the microscope because when you are on a stage, you become the focal point of attention and not everyone likes being in the spotlight. If you’re used to performing, this all gets easier. I always tell people that I turn up, I perform, and I leave, and that is what I do in the chamber. I turn up, I perform my speech or my questions, and leave. 

What songs or music are guaranteed to make you cry?

There are not many pop songs that do, but musicals or operas will certainly make me cry. The first time I went to watch Les Mis in London, its vocal pitch and sensitivity brought a tear to my eye at certain times. To sing anything from it – and I have performed some of these solos – like the chorus of Do You Hear the People Sing? or One Day More is just phenomenal. The high you get from being on stage and performing some of these songs is just unbelievable because they are so emotional, and you also sense that in the audience.

What music do you always associate with your childhood?

I’m a child of the 60s and still stick on Radio Two on a Saturday morning when Tony Blackburn does his Sounds of the 60s show. In the mid-70s, the music scene became slightly more heavy metal and moved into more punk settings, so I will always revert to the 60s. There were great harmonies and musicality. People could sing and the songs were fantastic. Even today, songs by Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield or The Beatles are still relevant.

What record do you absolutely hate but can’t get out of your head?

Captain of Your Ship by Reparata and the Delrons. It’s awful. It’s a 60s song but it’s quite bizarre.

What record would you be embarrassed owning up to having in your collection?

The Birdie Song by The Tweets. Really, why did I think that was a good song to buy?

What was the last band you went to see and who with?

I mostly go to classical things, and I recently went to see La Traviata. However, the last pop thing I did was going to Rewind Festival at Scone Palace. 

What song do you associate with your political wins?

The Winner Takes It All by Abba. I’ve done politics now for 30 years and the lyrics about how the winner takes it all and the loser stands small beside the victory, well, are true. Standing at a platform when you’ve lost and you’ve lost by a small amount is worse than when you lose by 20,000 votes but, when you win well, you take it all. 

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