An Aberdeenshire SNP councillor has announced she won’t be standing for election again after deciding “party politics isn’t for her”.
Geva Blackett was elected to represent Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside in 2012 and has been a proud ambassador for the community in various ways since then.
Ms Blackett has been involved in everything from saving local bus services to dressing old shop dummies as police officers and placing them by the roadside to deter speeding motorists.
She also fought for years for the replacement of the crumbling Gairnshiel Bridge and battled against bank closures.
But the Nationalist councillor became embroiled in controversy last summer when she appeared to suggest on Twitter that local Tory rival Andrew Bowie should be “dangled” from a bridge.
Ms Blackett took a “period of leave” from her role on the Cairngorms National Park Authority board, apologised to Mr Bowie and took a break from social media afterwards.
‘It’s a distraction’
Blaming frustration with the presence of party politics in local democracy, she has now confirmed she won’t be seeking re-election to Aberdeenshire Council next May.
Ms Blackett told us: “I just feel that party politics, across the board, isn’t for me.
“I just feel like it’s a bit of a distraction from concentrating really on what might be important to constituents.
“Constituents want local councillors to deliver for them.
“I’m not saying you can’t do that in a party structure, but what I am saying is it’s no longer for me.”
‘I have made a real difference to people’s lives’
An email Ms Blackett sent to SNP members in the area said she reached the decision after “much deliberation”.
It added: “I have really enjoyed my two terms serving this ward as a representative of the SNP and feel I have contributed quite a lot, both to the SNP team in the council and – perhaps more importantly – to the residents of this ward.
“Te greatest rewards have always come with knowing that sometimes I have made a real difference to people’s lives.”
Speaking to us earlier today, Ms Blackett said she has “always been very passionate” about the place where she has lived and raised her family.
She said: “Being a councillor has been a way to put back more than I have taken out.
“I think I have done that, I hope I have done that.”
What does the future hold?
When asked if she would still take an interest in community life, Ms Blackett said she was “too passionate to stop”.
“You just never know what paths are going to open up to you”, she added.
But before she leaves Aberdeenshire Council behind her, Ms Blackett said she was keen to offer advice to any prospective successors.
She said: “I am happy to talk to anybody about that, regardless of their political persuasion.”