THERE’S often more to politics than meets the eye.

Many thousands of column inches have been devoted to the myriad of backroom deals conducted throughout our political history, the sometimes shady ulterior motives behind the big decisions and the dark arts of political communication that have given an edge to campaigns and helped shape public opinion over the years.

At the same time, while politicians rightly carry out their day jobs within the full glare of publicity, the work that goes on quietly away from the front lines of politics to enable this to happen is often one of the overlooked aspects of our democratic process.

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While TV shows like The Thick of It, Borgen and The West Wing have in turn satirised and glamourised the roles of those who are normally out of sight, the reality is that the contribution that’s made at every level of politics by this backroom army of staff is substantial and significant.

The team in each MP’s office is responsible for the hidden and often thankless tasks that enable our representatives to carry out their public duties. When I think back now to my time as an MP, one of the great privileges was to work within a group who were each dedicated to serving our constituents and supporting me by making an active contribution to my parliamentary work.

Over the past two years my team were at the forefront of every success I had as an MP.

Whenever I got to my feet in the House of Commons or made an appearance on TV or radio, I knew that because of the diligence of those around me I always had everything I needed at my fingertips in order to ask an effective question or get my argument across in a debate. Whenever I was on camera, I was grateful to those on the other side of the studio for the preparation they’d put in to make sure I was able to do my best.

Even more importantly, this team set up and ran my offices in Alloa and London from scratch, in a matter of weeks. They answered the phone, sorted the mail, drafted reports and attended meetings on my behalf. Each and every day they dealt with a vast array of new challenges with consummate professionalism, often in emotionally draining circumstances. My team spoke with constituents who were absolutely at the end of their tether because they had faced injustice or administrative mishaps and had been left reeling from the fallout, and did everything they could to help. They secured houses for people who had been left homeless, they ensured that those left behind by our uncaring benefits system had food on the table and power to heat their homes and that families split apart by our discriminatory visa system could be reunited. No stone was left unturned.

I could not have served my constituents as well without them, and I know that their dedication, tenacity and hard work made a positive difference to me, but more importantly, also to the lives of hundreds of people across Ochil and South Perthshire.

The result of June’s General Election still grates. Two months down the line I’m still raw from my own experience, and despite all my hard work, I know I have unfinished business in politics. But my biggest regret remains that the team of men and women who supported me in this endeavour also lost out.

I would not wish on anyone, the fate of discovering the inevitability of redundancy at 3am on a Friday morning in a room of cheering opponents.

This week, along with all those MPs who were not re-elected in June, my team and I completed our work in winding up my parliamentary office. All correspondence has been attended to and all casework is complete. Our bills have been paid, our floor has been swept clean and we’ve handed back our office keys. For now, our job is done.

As we move on to our next challenges, I will remain forever in the debt of those who worked so hard and so conscientiously in the service of others.

So to the modern day Kasper Juuls, Oli Reeders and Donna Moss’, I want to say on behalf of my former constituents, our party and most of all myself, thank you for everything you’ve done.