I haven’t always voted for the SNP. My conversion to that party was more of an internal slap in the face after many discussions with someone who became a good friend who I thought at the time had a screw loose. He talked of Scotland “paying its way” and being denied its own income. My understanding at the time was that Scotland was the poor relative on these islands so you can imagine my reaction when after a lot of personal research I found out he was right. My change of stance also meant a change of political colour.
I was brought up in Pollok, Glasgow. That’s a place where Labour used to weigh the ballot papers at an election. I was one of the number who voted Labour because my socialist parents voted Labour and they talked of Labour as being the party that would protect and look out for the interests of the ordinary working man and woman. I displayed the kind of thinking which has held us back too often in recent decades. I was guilty of not looking too closely at my party of choice before voting for them.
When I moved to England, I continued to vote Labour and that was further justified because Maggie Thatcher was on the throne and many of the people I knew were Tory. I liked being the one socialist voice bobbing around in a sea of Tories.
I opened a new business in Shildon, County Durham with two other blokes. One of the men was the brother of Tony Blair”s election agent before he became the party leader. That meant my business was slap bang in the middle of Tony Blair’s patch. Andy’s (my business partner) brother would visit the office regularly and I would hear the chat about what they were doing to further the career of Mr Blair. It all sounded exciting at the time because here was the man who could possibly unseat the Tories. Then Maggie got stabbed in the back by her own people and John Major took control. That meant that Tony Blair had an even better chance at the next election against someone who looked rather gray and dull.
When Tony Blair got elected in 1997 as the Labour Prime Minister, it was as if the whole country breathed a sigh of relief. The thought at the time was “At last! We can finally reverse the evil acts of Queen Maggie”. We waited. Nothing happened. Not one single privatised industry was re-nationalised. It was almost as if Blair and his team agreed with the privatisation career that Maggie and the tories had made for themselves.
Then we saw the formation of a new parliament in Scotland and an Assembly for Wales, that was good because it seemed at the time that Blair and his colleagues were actually doing something out of the goodness of their hearts. What we didn’t know at the time was that John Major had ignored the representations and threats from the OSCE and now those threats included getting dumped out of the EU and Blair had to act. He literally had no choice.
If you don’t understand that last part, read this and all will become clear;-
I think the Iraq war initially got me questioning my support for Labour. I didn’t support that action at all because I could see that it was more to do with the oil than justice for the Iraqi people and just how did Bush turn what happened to the twin towers into an action against Saddam? I still haven’t got that one no matter how many ways I look at it.
My support for that party was over and now I was in uncharted territory. Thanks to my friend for leading me to the SNP.
I’ve now watched the rise of the SNP for years now but I didn’t become a member until they won the Scottish Election in 2011. The party having taken the reins of power from Labour have done a very good job and many of the good social policies like free university tuition and free prescriptions to name just a couple have shown that they are thinking as we “the people” do.
During the run up to the referendum the SNP took a back seat to the Yes Campaign because they recognised that even though Scottish independence was top of their wish-list, there were many who would be put off by a campaign run by them. Now that campaign is well and truly over, the SNP have stepped into the centre of the ring to get “pro-Scotland” MP’s elected to Westminster in May. The rush to get the job done has been most heartening.
I have to admit, if I was still a Labour voter, I’d be pretty sickened by what I’ve seen over the last year and that SNP banner would seem awfully enticing. Now that we’ve got Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister there’s now no room for folk to use the “I cannot stand that Alex Salmond” card anymore. He has always been a good guy and she has taken the reins beautifully. What a great advertisement she is for a progressive Scotland. Perhaps Alex Salmond will get to play a major part yet again if the General Election pans out as the polls are predicting. Here’s hoping.
The movement continues and “the dream never dies” says Alex. I wholeheartedly agree.
I commend the SNP to anyone and everyone who wishes for a fairer, greener and more equal Scotland.
If “Carlsberg” made political parties, they’d build the SNP because logically, if you wanted to build the best, how could you come up with anything else?