Hi, I'm John Ferry, and I'm the Scottish Liberal Democrats candidate for the Westminster parliament (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale).
What makes you get involved?
The big picture and seeing how that impacts us on a day-to-day basis. When liberal values drive our politics, it tends to create better outcomes for everyone, at all levels of society. A liberal approach to issues like the refugee and migrant crisis, to the challenges of drug addiction or the need to improve health outcomes, offers us the best chance of improving lives and changing our country for the better. That's why I put myself forward to run for Parliament, and that's why I continue to work at local and other levels to promote the liberal approach.
Recent years have been especially difficult for the liberal cause. Nativism, nationalism, the politics of 'us' versus 'them', rising inequality and a political culture that seems to incentivise outright intolerance of opponents in place of respectful debate, has not been good for democracies, but that just means we have to try even harder to turn things around and put us back on the right path to a more hopeful future.
What are your main areas of focus?
I'm very interested in the economy. I was a financial journalist for a while (I run my own small PR consultancy business) and so economics and finance has always been an area of interest. But that doesn't mean I'm only interested in abstract theories and graphs. I'm more concerned with working out how to revive our high streets than how to increase the tax take of the Treasury.
And before getting involved in politics?
I was a financial journalist for 10 years, writing for a range of publications. I then switched to offering media relations services as a PR consultant, which I've been doing for the last 10 years or so, and which I still do today. My focus is the financial sector. Day-to-day I might be writing press releases, speaking with journalists, ghost writing articles or helping to put in place marketing projects.
And when it's time to relax?
Living in Peebles, we are really lucky to have some of the best cycling country in the UK on our doorsteps. I'm a qualified mountain bike leader and am active with my local bike club, so I am regularly out on the trails at Glentress and other parts of the Tweed Valley. I am married to Amy, a research nurse, and we have two school-age boys - who also love to be out shredding the trails on their bikes.