1.       Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I am Alex Fergusson; I am 58 years old; I am the constituency member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale; and I am the Presiding Officer of the Parliament.

2.       What made you decide to enter politics?

I was always very enthused by the idea of the Scottish Parliament. I had not been involved politically before the advent of the Parliament at all, but I was particularly exercised by the fact that whenever anybody talked about rural Scotland, they seemed to talk about the Highlands and Islands. I come from the south of Scotland, and I was keen to provide a rural voice from the south of Scotland.

3.       What did you do before you were an MSP?

I was a hill sheep and beef farmer in South Ayrshire. I had done that all my life, and I very much enjoyed that activity, but when politics came along, it was even more attractive. I keep saying that I dipped my toe into the water of Scottish politics and I fell into the puddle.

4.       Can you tell us a little bit about the place and the people that you represent? 

Galloway and Upper Nithsdale is a very large rural constituency. It is over 125 miles from north-east to south-west and, as you would imagine, fairly sparsely populated. There are five main centres of residence, and it is exactly what you would imagine a large rural area to be. Its forestry and agriculture are still very important, and tourism of course plays an ever-more important role. Those are the main industries still in that constituency.

5.       What are your main interests outside politics?

I guess that rugby and curling are the two main ones. I still watch rugby. I have no longer have time to indulge myself in curling, but one day perhaps I will get back to it again.

6.       Who would be your ideal dinner party guest (past or present) and why?

After some thought, I think that it would have to be my father, who curiously enough would have been 100 years old on the day of this interview. He was one of the wisest men I have ever met. His answers were always thoughtful and logical, always with a degree of Christian thought behind them. I would always look to him for inspiration whenever I need it.