A year ago, Leòdhas Massie could not have imagined being named as a Holyrood election candidate for the Scottish Greens.
For a start, the Perth College UHI student had been an active member of a different political party for several years, until last summer.
“Like a lot of folk my age, and younger as well, the 2014 referendum was a big moment for getting involved in politics because it was all around you. You couldn’t avoid it,” he said.
“I became involved then. I got involved initially with the SNP and that was my initial experience of politics.”
Mr Massie, who grew up in Glenelg in Lochalsh and then Garmouth in Moray, had joined the SNP in 2015 amid the disappointment of the referendum result.
“As time progressed, I kind of thought it might be more of a fleeting interest of mine, politics,” he said.
“But then as soon as the referendum was over you know there is another fight to be had.”
However, over time he grew frustrated with the SNP, and gradually realised he had more in common with the Greens.
“I got more and more involved in it, and I’ve naturally migrated more and more towards the Green Party, which represents my views on the environment and left-wing politics, and its vision for Scotland.
“It was basically last summer when I decided to make the switch over.
So as I decided where my allegiances lie in terms of policy and what actually affects everyday people in Scotland I became more and more associated with the Greens and decided to make the switch over.”
“I had a lot discontent while I was a member of the SNP for a while, as I got more involved with politics with a substance, as is what I think of it, when it comes to policy and the implications of everything in Scotland, SNP policy and Scottish Government policy.
“Instead of it just being about these big constitutional issues of the EU and independence, which I came to be involved in politics through.
“So as I decided where my allegiances lie in terms of policy and what actually affects everyday people in Scotland I became more and more associated with the Greens and decided to make the switch over.”
Mr Massie, a former pupil of Milne’s High in Fochabers, will fight for those Green policies at next year’s Scottish Parliament elections, having been named as a list candidate for the north-east.
“I had never actually tried to seek a candidacy before within the SNP, or in any other way, so I was really excited to go for a candidacy, although it was very quick in terms of my membership,” he said.
“But, yeah, I decided it was something I really wanted to go for because the Green message was something I really wanted to stand on and get behind, and that was actually the first time where I had been involved in party politics where I thought I could do that.”
The 25-year-old is fourth on the regional list, meaning he is unlikely to be elected, a fact he is “resigned” to.
But Mr Massie said he was particularly looking forward to the 2022 local government elections, where he could seek to stand in Dundee, a city he has called home since 2016, and where he expects to remain for the “foreseeable future”.
“As a graduate, everything seems a bit up in the air – you never really know where it will take you as you apply for jobs here and there,” he said.
“But I love Dundee, and I love being here, and I like the politics here as well. It’s good to be involved in.
“And I’ve talked with people before about the possibility of standing for election in the local elections, which decisions will be taken shortly about where we are going to want to stand, what the target seat will be and who is going to stand.
“I’m really excited about that. I think there is good momentum in Dundee in terms of, among the grassroots activism, getting another party and another element into the council, which I think is sorely needed.”
Setting up Gaelic society in Dundee
Mr Massie, who takes his Christian name from the Gaelic spelling of the Isle of Lewis, is also a passionate campaigner for the language, and hopes to bring more of his west coast upbringing east.
“My parents went on their honeymoon to the Isle of Lewis, so that was, like, my namesake, and I’ve learned Gaelic from a young age because I went to, basically, an all-Gaelic-speaking pre-school,” he said.
“I can speak a good amount. But especially in Dundee as well, there is not much here in the way of Gaelic resources, so I’ve been trying to set up a Gaelic society in Dundee, or maybe revive one that is already here.
“As far as I’m aware there was one in Dundee but it’s not active any more, so as we come out of this crisis eventually people can start meeting more regularly. I’ve already put feelers out.”
Maggie Chapman, former Scottish Greens co-convener, said: “Leodhas has been a tireless advocate of workers’ rights and of Gaelic language provision, and has done great work raising Green issues in Dundee.”