Scottish Election 2021: Boxing champion Alex Arthur is coming out fighting for Alba – Steve Cardownie

Last week I wrote about the (more often than not) negative impact showbiz or sporting celebrities can have when they endorse a candidate or a party in an election.

By Steve Cardownie
Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 7:00 am

This led me to speak to one such sporting celebrity, Alex Arthur who is not just endorsing a party in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election, but is bucking the trend by standing as a candidate.

As a sports fan I did what I could to ensure that Ken Buchanan, the former undisputed world lightweight champion, was afforded the recognition he deserved from his home city when the council held a civic reception in his honour in 2016 and presented him with the Edinburgh Award a year later in 2017.

So I was interested to see that another former world champion pugilist from Edinburgh was hitting the headlines by entering the political fray.

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On winning a gold medal for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, Alex said that standing in front of a Scottish Saltire during the medals ceremony was one of the proudest moments of his life and as a supporter of the Yes campaign in the 2014 referendum, he had decided to join the Alba Party and is now one of their list candidates for the Lothians.

If elected, he intends to focus on sport “in our working-class communities to ensure that in the recovery from the coronavirus, no young person is left behind”.

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He said that “there is massive talent all over Scotland and I will dedicate myself to making sure that that talent has the support needed, to inspire our recovery and to maximise their potential. There are champions everywhere.”

Alex Arthur, left, in action against Peter McDonagh at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall in 2010 (Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA)

Born and bred in the Dumbiedykes, Alex used to relish going around Edinburgh’s housing schemes for the Yes movement but is finding the current campaign a different “kettle o’ fish” due to Covid-19 restrictions, which has meant the opportunities to deploy his people skills have been somewhat curtailed.

He readily admits that he is not a “politician” but told me that he was determined not to throw in the towel after 2014 and that the Alba Party has given him the opportunity to climb into the political ring and continue the quest for Scottish independence.

He now devotes much of his time to charitable work, which he was keen to play down as he is not seeking any credit for doing so, but it provides him with a great deal of satisfaction which is reward enough for his efforts

He was keen to speak about Ken Buchanan who “everyone involved in boxing looked up to” and told me that Ken used to come into his dressing room before his fights, from his amateur days to his professional contests, to wish him “a’ the best son” which meant the world to him, and which spurred him on in his many winning bouts.

Alex Arthur is standing as a candidate for Alex Salmond's Alba party in the Scottish Parliament elections (Picture: Alba/PA Wire)

That a relatively small city such as Edinburgh could produce two world boxing champions with only a few decades between them is a remarkable feat and now, one of them, Alex Arthur, hopes to have another winning debut on May 6. This time, it will definitely go to a judge’s decision – this time, the electorate’s.

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