My Day In The Council Chambers – Debates and Disbeliefs

June 28th 2017. This date doesn’t really hold any political significance. The Local Election and General Election are all done and dusted. The campaigners, candidates and activists have took a short break and hung their raincoats up for a little respite. Today may not bear significance for some but today was massive for the North Ayrshire SNP Councillors. Today was the day they fought back and held the Labour administration to account. 

It was last night, Tuesday 27th July that I received a phone call around 6.30pm. I had just finished work. The person calling me was Kilwinning Councillor for North Ayrshire, Scott Davidson. He asked me my plans for tomorrow and told me that the Council were holding a meeting. He never said anything more than that but I could hear enthusiasm and determination in his voice. 

He’d asked me if it would be ok to pick up his son. Also called Scott. So I made my way over to pick him up and we made our way to the Council building at 1.30pm. The meeting started at 2pm but we wanted to be early as we knew there were limited seats. 

Once we reached Cunninghame House, we could see two flag poles. One with the Saltire and the other with the Union flag. We walked past them as we made our way to reception. The friendly receptionist had to make a few phone calls as she was unaware that the meeting was open to the public and due to recent atrocities, she wanted to double check. 
She confirmed it was ok so we sat back down in the foyer waiting to see when we would be allowed to go in. Just at that we saw Cllr Scott Davidson and Cllr Alan Hill make their way to the door that lead to the chambers. We shook hands and followed them in. 

It was a different set up from last time I was there, one month ago. The public seating area this time was much smaller and the room was smaller due to the sliding panel cutting off 1/3 of the room. This made it more intense, personal. There were two rows of seats so we sat on the back row. We were close and directly behind the SNP councillors. 

The same gentleman last time stood up and told us all to rise as the provost and deputy provost were to make their way into the chamber. We did this and then the Provost sat down then so did the rest of us. 
The Provost (Ian Clarkson) started proceedings by giving us a detailed report on what he has been doing since he was reappointed Provost at the Local Elections in May. He told us that he had attended various events across North Ayrshire and that he had sent his condolences on behalf of North Ayrshire to the Mayor of London and Manchester for the recent atrocities. 
After the Provost report, the Provost asked the Leader of the Council and head of the Labour group Joe Cullinane to read out his detailed report of what he has been doing since becoming re elected as Leader. He stated that he had visited various events and attended the new Garnock school with the deputy First Minister John Sweeney. 
After the Leaders report, Elma Murray (Chief Executive) of the Council spoke to the members about amendments and resignations on port folio holders and if they could take some time to go over which positions need filled. 

John Glover, Conservative Councillor was newly appointed vice chair of Police and Fire rescue. Councillor McLung and Councillor Angela Stephens were appointed to the Licensing Committee. This went on for around twenty minutes and all members agree with no interjections. 
As I sat there, I thought to myself that this was going really well. There had been no arguments or heated debates or the usual mumblings from anyone. This was going to be a quick afternoon. Or so I thought…
Elma Murray had stated to the members that there were one last port folio up for place and she had three nominations for it. I could see a Tory Councillor and an independent Councillor having a whisper to each other and then the Independent Councillor (McNicol) asked Mrs Murray why there were three and not four for this role. He wanted another nomination place to be implemented. One of the Tory Councillors then shouted that this Council were split three ways. When actual fact it was split four ways and later the same Tory Councillor had voiced that he was indeed an ex maths teacher. 

Things got back on track and all port folio holders were now agreed. 
It was at this point that I looked round and saw a blonde haired woman enter the chamber. She sat on the far side of the room directly behind the Labour group. 
Elma stated that the Head of Finances was going to read out her report from the previous year. This would detail income an expenditure for the whole of North Ayrshire Council. 

She started by telling us that the audited reports were very complex and it can be found on the North Ayrshire Council website. She addressed that there was a deficit within the Council budget and money had to be found elsewhere. She told us that the Council tax had risen by 3% and renting costs had went up by 2.7%. It was also mentioned that the Labour administration had left £6.4m in reserves. Which is the lowest recommended amount. 
After the finance report, Elma had asked if anyone had a question. 

Conservative Councillor Billings started the debate by asking the Head of Finance as money was carried forward from last year ‘what would of happened to the projects this year, should that money not of been carried forward’? She replied that those projects would not be  going ahead if that was the case. 

Councillor Billings went on to discuss the Arran toilets and asked how they could be reopened but was quickly shot down when Elma had asked him if he would taken money from elsewhere to pay for this. Councillor Billings said that he no longer wants to debate. 
Councillor McNicol interjected on the topic of Arran. He stated that Arran’s ‘The String’ road is getting £190,000 asphalt resurfacing on it. His question was – “There are many pot holes at this side of the water. Why can we not get that money?” The auditor at the back of the room quickly stated that the asset management approach to resurfacing roads were prioritised and the Arran String Road was on the list before anyone else. Myself and young Scott looked at each other in amazement. It almost touched on a school playground argument but this was just the beginning. 

Questions were starting to be put forward to each port folio holder. I could see the SNP group preparing themselves for a good debate. As none had gone greatly so far. Tories would put forward a question and the Labour Councillor Bell would blame the SNP Scottish Government. This went on for some time.  

Elma asked SNP Councillor Scott Davidson to formally ask his question to the education portfolio holder Councillor Bell. As I looked over at the blonde woman again I could see that she had been wiping tears from her eyes. Councillor Davidson took a glance over at her and gave her a nod of reassurance. 

He said “My question is to the education portfolio holder – “I have with me in this room a mother of a boy who for other reasons I will name as ‘John’. Now John is going into Primary 7 this year. ‘John’ has Autism and has the learning capacity of a Primary 2 pupil. Throughout the years ‘John’ has been unable to learn properly and becomes very anxious when his routine is deflected. The past couple of years have been very helpful to ‘John’ as he was getting additional support from classroom assistants and was started to make good progress. In your manifesto it states that you will protect support staff in our schools. Can you confirm for me the number of classroom assistants that were employed in August 16 and how many will be employed in August 17?”

The room went quite as this was really the first proper, personal question that the chamber had seen today as it was a direct holding of accountability to the Labour group but also with the boys mother in the room, it was vital she got answers. 
Councillor Bell switched on his mic and said “I would just like to thank Councillor Davidson for his question and congratulate him on being the first SNP councillor to ask a question in 8 months.”

I could NOT believe my ears and neither could the rest of the room. Even the Tory councillors were shaking their heads. 
This woman had came all this way to sit in a room full of people that could make a massive significant change to her sons life. Instead this man chose to gain political point scoring. There were mumblings around the room and from the question was answered you could see he and the rest of Labour were on the back foot. 

He responded by saying that where some classrooms assistants would be lost in some schools, they would be gained in others. He then went on to blame the SNP Scottish Government again. He spoke about not enough funding being trickled down to Councils and the SNP throwing money at closing the attainment gap wasn’t going to help things. Which totally contradicted his previous statement. He never answered the question properly and he never gave ‘Johns’ mother any hope nor did she get any answers. 

The Provost had asked if Councillor Davidson would like to respond. He responded first by thanking Councillor Bell for replying but not giving a direct answer and told him that if he was indeed the first SNP Councillor in 8 months to ask a question then “Get used to it!” He also stated that the Labour group were very rusty in their responses and that the SNP group will shake that rust off. 
Councillor Scott Davidson then asked about their manifesto and the fact that it states clearly in the ‘Better Education’ section that they would reject any cuts to additional support staff in schools. Labour also took a desperate stab at saying there were cuts under SNP. Even though it was actually SNP protected education. ‘We promise to protect these services and educational staff’. 
Councillor Bell replied again reaffirming his stance on the SNP Scottish Government and their lack of funding for Councils. It became clear at this stage the Labour group had no real desire to make any change or listen to others wanting change. They had their own plan and they were sticking to it no matter what! 

It is important to remember that this was Labours own local manifesto which was made when they were already in power, knowing the budget for the coming years while stating that they will protect frontline public services including educational staff. Now that they are back in power, they have now cut 67 classroom assistants. 

More questions were being asked before it got back to the SNP group but when it did, it was to create an atmosphere the Labour group had not of hoped for. 
Councillor Christina Larsen took to her microphone and asked the Leader of Finance which is also the Leader of the Labour group, Joe Cullinane. She proved with this question that the SNP group were not just there to make up the numbers but there were there to take over. 

“Can the finance portfolio holder answer what the pay rise is for public sector workers when he has given himself and other portfolio holders a 6% pay rise from tax payers money?” 

Joe Cullinane looked angry at this. You could also hear a change of direction in his voice. He replied with audible pauses – “The pay rise for Public Sector workers has still to be agreed”. He then went on about the rise and how it was justified and that even she would benefit from it. 
Now I know Councillor Christina Larsen, she puts others first. She could of sat there quite and not interjected against these inequality ridden benches of the Labour group and the Tories but she chose to stick up for the public sector workers and call the administration out on them benefiting from a rise when others weren’t. Christina is an absolute credit to the SNP group and this question and with her determination to do what’s right reaffirms that. 

The next debate really made me question the sanity and the purpose of the Tory group. More than usual. 
The Provost had asked Councillor Scott Gallagher to ask the question that he wanted to ask to go ahead. Now as you might see in my blog that his name has not been mentioned yet. That’s correct. This is the first time he chose to speak. 
He turned on his mic and asked if he could put the motion forward for the Union flag to be flown outside Cunninghame House at all times next to the Saltire. Now I really don’t have a problem with that. Put both of them together it doesn’t really matter. What bothers me here is that he chose to raise this motion when there are 35% of children in his ward that are living in poverty. The debate went on for over 45 minutes. At each sentence he made, you could hear mumblings from the SNP group as they were disgusted and frankly embarrassed at this motion. 

An independent Councillor stood up and said “I’m going to formally abstain from this motion as it is complete nonsense.”

A Labour group Councillor read out an amendment to the proposal. Before the amendment was read out he stated their views on the matter. He told Councillor Gallagher that schools are understaffed, kids are living in poverty, unemployment is a major issue, libraries are closing, public toilets are closing making it discouraging for people to go to our beaches but here you are asking your first question on a flag. 
Councillor Gallagher had a screensaver face on and did not flinch. He would not retract his motion. 30 minutes prior to this ridiculous debate, the mother of ‘John’ had left. I was relieved at that because if she had heard this debate it would of been a slap on the face to her and her sons education and future. 

The amendments came from SNP m, who chose to go with the status quo and have the Saltire flying at all times and the Union flag on specific occasions. 
A vote on this matter then took place. SNP voted for amendment. Labour abstained with the vice provost voting for the motion. I was watching the vice provost throughout the meeting and it is apparent that the provost role was not so impartial on today’s proceedings. He would shake his head and snarl at any time the SNP group spoke. I really hope someone looks into that. The votes were 11-11. With the Tories’ motion being propped up with an Independent, a few Labour and the vice Provost. Yes you heard that right. It was to go to a card cut. 
Councillor Gallagher went first and picked out a 6. Councillor Marie Burns went last and picked out a 3. It was not looked upon as a defeat. It was more a defeat for the people of North Ayrshire that had just had 45 minutes wasted on a flag. Because of this debate it has now been decided that both flags will no longer fly outside the Council building. 

It was at this point young Scott and I left the chamber. Gave a wave to the SNP Councillors and made our way to the car. We chatted the full journey on our shared disbelief at what just happened and made us even more determined for change. 
The debates carried on and on for the next few hours. The usual narratives from Labour was that the SNP Government were to blame for all their failings. The Tories argued for savings and to take money from other places and give to other places. The SNP were the only group to sit there and raise real important issues but it’s difficult when your up against red Tories and well… Tories. 

The SNP were fantastic and it made me extremely proud to sit there and watch those hard hitting questions and Labour on the back foot. The Tories showed themselves for what they really are. With their silly debates and lack of respect for the electorate. 
What I took away from this is that change is coming and coming fast. The SNP group are not there to lie down and roll over. They are certainly the voice of the people and the next five years will be interesting to say the least. 
TO BE CONTINUED…

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Theresa May has turned around in a panic to leave No.10 door ajar on sectarianism

So, it has been two weeks since the General Election. We are still no further forward in the Tories and the DUP making any formal deal. This doesn’t surprise many of us because both parties are selfish, opportunists, who care not for the people but for how they can gain out of this.  

With Brexit talks currently underway, the Prime Minister may fail to realise that she may not be the Prime Minister who will finish these talks. Theresa May is falling apart, this is transparent now. On the news, she refused to meet with the Grenfell survivors, she’s being rightly criticised for her extreme austerity regime which contributed to a cheaper more flammable cladding being used on the Tower block which contributed greatly to the lives of so many. All over the UK she is being blamed for everything that has went on in recent months. The Manchester bombing, the Westminster attacks, and rightly so. She has implemented the cuts to our emergency services and will save money anywhere she can so that she can stand in front of Jeremy Corbyn on Prime Minister’s Questions and say “look, i’ve reduced the deficit and made a reduction to our debt”. But at what cost? The lives of others. 

 

Theresa May was laughing all the way to the bank with a vision of a new mandate and an even bigger one prior to the General Election. She had it in her warped mind that the electorate would not fight back against her plans to cut funding to our emergency services and health care and back plans for private firm to privatise their NHS. She believed that we would roll over and let her negotiate with the EU with manifesto pledges that doesn’t work for us all, but for the rich in our society. She lost and now she is on the back foot and only a deal with the devil can save her. 

 

Arlene Foster and her party have been all over the main stream media with their strong links to terrorism and their views on homosexuality and abortion. I have read views from bloggers in Northern Ireland that have written that the DUP are “WORSE” than what the media are telling us. 

 

It is apparent for us all to see that Mrs May only has her Prime Ministerial post on her mind. Nothing more, nothing less. She will do deals with the devil just to keep her job. She has crawled through No.10 on her hands and knees while turning back in a panic to leave the door ajar for sectarianism to walk through behind her. She is desperate, forgetful and lonely. Even her advisers are choosing to jump ship. She has zero social skills, which are blatantly obvious to anyone who watches her. She can not communicate with people. She utters the words “Strong and Stable” thousands of times in the hope that it sticks. It may stick, but only for the people that refuse to get off their backsides and do some research. The ones who get their news from BBC, Sky News and STV. They are the people that are letting the rest of us down. Theresa May has them in a trance. “Strong and Stable, Strong and Stable”.

 

 

A deal with the DUP will have unfounded backlash of the Northern Ireland peace process. It is imperative for any UK Government to have full impartiality to it. It’s fundamental and paramount. It’s not frowned up or looked at as a minor breach, it is huge of this goes wrong. Which I think it will. The troubles in Northern Ireland have not long fell short of eradication. The will now bring everything to the surface and its sectarian tentacles and ripples with travel across the water to the west coast of Scotland. 

 

 

With Ruth Davidson, the leader of Scottish Conservative party playing the piper’s tune to the Orange Order and the hardline Unionists. Theresa May and Arlene Foster pander about playing with the lives and making this complete mess more uncertain for us all.

 

The ball is now eroded and battered and lying on Mrs May’s side of the court. She now has to reply to “demands” from the DUP of £2 billion to go directly to Northern Ireland’s health service and Infrastructure and projects. No matter what way you look at this. It is a bribe, and under the Barnett Formula, if Northern Ireland receives financial gain from the UK government then the rest of the Union must also receive financial gain which could mount up to over £20 billion. As much as I would love more money for the rest of the UK, I do not believe this will happen. Leaving the way for another General Election. 

 

The Conservatives have now stopped using their party line of “Strong and Stable”. Because they know they’ve lied to us. They’ve made a mockery of us all. I switch on the news everyday and I don’t know if I’m a pantomime or real life. Yesterday I saw three Rolls Royces being driven in tandem to the Queen’s speech. Two of the cars were reserved for the crown and swords etc in the other. A slap on the face of the victims, survivors and emergency services of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Who have nothing but the clothes on their back. It is left to the kindness of charities and kind hearted people to put donations in place to help them. This is a very real reason why this Pantomime-orchestrated, show of wealth that is our Monarchy is vehemently outdated and much change is needed. I firmly believe that our youth will see to that.

 

 

 

The only politician who has any sane idea of what is going on his the First MInister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon. She has the knowledge, the mandates and the political framework in place to know how to take us forward in the right direction. 

 

Sectarianism is slowly creeping into our politics. It is becoming a reality now. Something that was always kept at bay. Ruth Davidson had gained votes on the back of it and Theresa May is clinging onto No.10 on because of it. Now the leader of the DUP holds all the cards and can openly bribe the UK Government because of it. Where do we go from here? Do we, the electorate, take a stance. Do we ask our friends and relatives who have had enough to get up from their couch and stop shouting at the injustices of our political system and actually do something about it. We need people to get up, knock on doors, do some research, hold this coalition of chaos to account every step of the way. Ensure that our voice is heard again. Kick this unwanted triangle of death out. Or we can sit back and watch the three of them implode with their self arrogance and hatred towards others. Watch them fall apart in negotiating deals and watch them be subdued to car crash interviews. Because if the last two weeks is anything to go by, we can sit back and watch them fall apart and make way for a new Government. A coalition of hope and progressiveness.

 

My guess is, we can do both!

Scotland CAN be an independent Country – My view

Historically and presently, Scotland has questions and reservations that have been put forward regarding their case to break away from the rest of the U.K. There are many variables to becoming an independent nation and can be very complicated. I want to write about the practical and efficacious case in which our nation can become independent away from the rest of the U.K.

 

First of all, it seems more and more that people across Scotland are wishing to deter Scotland from self determination. The people that don’t want us to govern ourselves seem to like the status quo. They prefer to being ruled by an extreme, austerity-ridden government. But this week’s General Election has taken a turn for the worse. The story now is that, due to a hung parliament and a lesser ‘strong and stable’ mandate. The Conservatives find themselves having to be propped up by the Democratic and Unionist Party. A party in Northern Ireland which has odious views on homosexuality and abortion rights.

 

Theresa May would be on our television (not debating with other politicians) but standing at a podium, surrounded by hand picked audience members telling anyone who would care to listen that Labour and the SNP’s hint of a coalition would be complete and utter chaos. It is now apparent that the coalition of chaos is the one she plans to form with the DUP. Our bias media refuse to pick up on this and broadcast the links of the Northern Irish party to the UDA and terrorist organisations. If Labour and the SNP had formed a coalition, Rupert Murdoch and co would have broken fingers with printed, slanderous hatred. I thought the days of hatred, right wing propaganda would be over but it seems it is beginning all over again and there is enough people pushing it than not.

 

Scotland is renowned around the world for their innovation. They have invented the tyre (Dunlop of Dreghorn) which is around the corner from where I live and where the First Minister of Scotland was born and raised. They invented the telephone, the television, penicillin and many more. An ONS report researched and claimed that Scotland was the best educated country in Europe in 2014. It would take a very uneducated person to say that Scotland does not have the brains nor the braun to go at it alone.

 

In 2014 Johann Lamont, leader of the Scottish Labour Party said on TV that the Scottish people were not genetically programmed to make political decisions, therefore all decisions relating to the independence referendum should be made by Westminster. This car crash interview sealed her fate and she resigned not long after. It’s people like that that bring our great nation down. It’s TV stations like STV, ITV, BBC Scotland and Sky News that make it difficult for our views to be heard. That’s why I’m writing this. If you can, please make this blog go as far and wide as you possibly can. Retweet, share, copy and paste as I write about the reasons we can be a prosperous, independent country.

 

The Scottish parliament held a vote, once section 30 had been triggered. The vote was to determine if our MSP’s wanted another Scottish referendum or not. The vote was 69 in favour and 59 not in favour. This is a favourable mandate for a second referendum and one which no Conservative or Labour MP or MSP can deny.

 

There are still certain issues to be addressed before we put an ‘X’ on our ballot papers. Lots of formalities must be addressed. Currency is an issue with most people but for me it is not a priority. The pound was established when Scotland and England entered the union together in 1707 and is as much ours as it is there’s. It’s no secret that the SNP want to enter talks with the EU about re-entering membership as 62% of the Scottish electorate voted to remain. Ruth Davidson campaigned to remain and so did Kezia Dugdale who called the First Minister the day after the EU referendum to state her concerns and made a slight indication that she may drop opposition attacks against the SNP should Scotland want to break away from the UK and re enter the European Union. There are rumours of a Scottish Central bank, which would be the most popular decision. The idea would be to form a temporary transitional bank of the union and then latterly transcend into a central bank in Scotland which holds the Scottish pound. It makes sense that this should be the approach we take.

 

Over the past couple of years, there has been many, many debates and discussions regarding Scotland’s sustainability to be an independent country within the EU. Now people will also counter that, how can Scotland be an independent nation and have to ‘answer’ to Brussels? My view on that is clear. The UK government are proposing ripping up the Human Rights Act, the Dubs amendment and the Eden project. The regulations and acts which the EU held over the UK is what kept us all fair and it also kept the Tories in check. Giving them a free hand to do what they like is scrapping the workers rights, human rights etc. They will obliterate our rights and the EU were the only safe place we had to hold them to account. We’ve now lost that. Which is why we must leave the UK.

 

There are talks and debates about how Scotland can financially sustain an economy. It will be a risk, there is no doubt about that but it’s our risk. Denmark is an independent country and have just cleared their debt. The talks closely look at trading and who would trade with us and why would we leave the UK when they’re our biggest trading partner. Good point. Although every question that is being asked about Scotland can be counter-asked with the rest of the UK on the uncertainty of brexit. The EU is their biggest trading partner so what makes them different to us. They will lose their place in the single market and will have to look elsewhere for trade or pay heavy tariffs.

 

Trading with Scotland will not be a big issue, the rest of the UK will still trade with a Scotland within the EU because geographically it makes perfect sense. Right now trading costs consist of shipping, transport, and possible tariffs. The EU regulations on tariffs will still need to be discussed but the rest of the UK will be begging to trade with Scotland as it is ‘just up the road’. No shipping costs and no border delays. It makes business sense for both Scotland and the rest of the UK. Nothing will change.

 

Scotland’s exports (not including gas and oil) was £27.5 billion in 2014. Last year Gin exports were £400 million and beer exports were £470 million. £5 billion in whisky to the UK in tax and exporting whisky is at £1 billion. Exports to the rest of the world are £16.4 billion, to EU it is £12.3 billion and to the rest of the UK it is £49.8 billion. But I can assure you that in an independent Scotland, all of those figures will rise. Especially the rest of the UK, as I touched on prior. We can discuss facts and figures forever but what is clear is that so as if there are only a man and his dog in Scotland fighting for independence then the fight will never be over and judging on the Independence march on June 3rd, there is certainly and appetite for it. There will be politicians, unionists, TV news presenters and the usual tabloids trying their best to put us off. But my message to them is this… We are a beautiful country, we have had enough of being governed by the Tories. It is turning into a dictatorship and has never been a democracy. What we vote for we never get. We have had enough and this will never go away. The next generation wants it and it will happen. We see through all your lies and rhetorical narratives. You can cut, cut and cut until we have no money left, but we will always have hope, we will always have the fight in us to hold you to account and counter it with a fairer more prosperous solution. You can have your coalition of chaos with the DUP, you have to work with their backward thinking policies for the next 5 years and I hope they make it hell for you. Your 12 Tory MP’s that were elected in Scotland won’t even be able to pass any votes due to EVEL. Things are falling around you and I promise that you have taken Scotland for granted for too long. It is time for us to leave the sinking ship of the UK and look forward to a brighter, fairer future.

My day as an SNP polling agent

It’s two days after the General Election. June 8th 2017, a significant day in history to which we are able to determine who we want as Prime Minister and more importantly for me in Scotland, the number of MP’s we can send down to Westminster to hold the new or old Government to account. This is my insight on the doors of polling stations and out and about on the streets chatting to local voters. 
It was an earlier start for most of us on polling day. I remember going to my bed the night before and saying to my girlfriend that if I don’t get up for the two alarms I’ve set then please feel free to hit me with something. It was fundamental to have a person with an SNP lapel on their chest standing at the polling stations as soon as the doors open. It may sound unneeded by most but the impact that has is fundamental to gaining votes. 
I got up at 4.22 am, knowing that I had a few hours left but I was too excited to go back to sleep. Today was the day. I got a shower, went down stairs and got ready. Proudly putting my SNP lapel on the left hand side of my chest. I nervously waited for an hour or so before I left. I was nervous because this party, the policies, the progressiveness and vision we share, means so much to me. I didn’t want to let anyone down either. 

My primary aim for today was to make sure I do my best to help our SNP group get our two MP’s re-elected to Westminster. Patricia Gibson, who was the candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran and Dr Phillipa Whitford. Who was the candidate for Central Ayrshire. After that it was simply crossing my fingers and praying that the rest of the SNP candidates got elected across Scotland. 

I received a text message when I was just about to get in my car from Cllr Scott Davidson, who I was meeting in Kilwinning to direct me of where I had to be and what I was doing for the day. This man is like a machine. He doesn’t stop. He works tirelessly and endlessly to ensure no stone is left unturned and I have the upmost respect for him as a person and now as a Councillor. He directed all of the activists to their stations, he had a plan for everyone and even made contingency plans when one of our activists had to leave as her daughter was in an incident. He was on his feet all day, ensuring voters got out and vote and making it possible for a landslide victory for both candidates. He is a true credit to the SNP and someone I hope is around for many years to come, playing a vital role in the party. 

Another person who is very similar to Cllr Scott Davidson is the father of our First Minister. Robin Sturgeon, he is the main co-ordinator and directs the activists in the Irvine area and around. He is one of the most hardworking, loyal people I’ve gotten to know and he has the SNP’s best interests at heart, no matter what. When he just missed the quota to become Councillor at last months local elections, he was straight out the next morning, organising a street stall to help re-elect Dr Whitford to Westminster. He also is a massive credit to the SNP and it will be a joy to learn from him over the coming years. His hard work and knowledge is invaluable to the party and the Cunninghame South group and he never seeks recognition for it. A true gentleman that will always put the interests of the party and work tirelessly to ensure we succeed on every level. Without him would enable more challenging times. Cunninghame South is very lucky to have him. I respect and admire him greatly. 
I arrived at Love Hall in Kilwinning to meet Cllr Davidson and his son Scott. M. Davidson. Both were in suited attire, ready for the day ahead. We got some pictures taken and then I headed off to Nethermains Community Centre, where I would be a polling agent till 10am. I parked my car the recommended 25 feet away from the doors of the polling station as it had SNP placards on the back window. A last visual display for anyone going to vote. It was only last month I stood at this very spot, talking with the same caretaker. He had no interest in politics so we chatted about the weather. It was raining, heavily and I left my jacket in the car. I breathed in the air and stood proudly with my SNP lapel. Just as I did over one month ago. 

The steady trickle of voters started to transcend past me and into the building. I would welcome them and hand them a leaflet about the changes Patricia Gibson wants to implement in North Ayrshire and Arran and how it is imperative that people knew the Tories had cut 2.9 million of funding to North Ayrshire and Arran. And further cuts were still to take place. Patricia Gibson was, and is the best person to challenge them and be our voice. 
An elderly lady from a distance came nearer and nearer to me. At first I thought she would walk past me and make her way to the door. She walked straight over to me and said “ok, tell me why I should vote for your party”. Nothing like being put on the spot but I had prepared. I told her about the Tories cuts to her pension and the axing of the triple lock and how the SNP had ensured our elderly would keep their winter fuel allowance while down in England the Tories planned to axe that too. I told her about bankers bonuses and our plans to tax them. I told her about the £120 billion funding that we will put into public services thus putting an end to austerity. I mentioned that the reason she gets free prescriptions and free personal care is due to the SNP and that my kid had just been to his primary one class, where he had a large, healthy portion of fruit and ham with veg for his lunch. I told her the SNP had implemented this. I told her that Patricia Gibson had a vision for her constituents and that she aimed to ensure more funding was put in place for North Ayrshire and Arran. That with Patricia’s voice she would be looked after in amidst of right wing Britain. That no matter how bad it gets, she has an MP that will fight for her every step of the way. We chatted for about ten minutes and after she said “that’s it then, SNP it is”. This made my day, my week, my year. I had helped someone make one of the most important decisions of their life. I had made a difference, no matter how small it was. That one vote gained wasn’t down to just me. It was down to the SNP groups commitment to putting people on the doors at polling stations because if I hadn’t been there, who knows who she would of voted for. 

Again, like last month, Anne walked over from her house at 9.55am. She had a smile on her face and a spring in her step. She knew the importance of today and you could see what it meant to her. She was there to take over from me so that I could get back to Love Hall to meet Cllr Scott Davidson and his son Scott. When I arrived at Love Hall there was no where to park. It was a narrow road leading to a junction up a hill. It wasn’t designed for so many cars parked on it. There were voters going in and out and I learned quickly that I could make sense of who had voted for us and who hadn’t. There were some people that could win a poker tournament though and left me scratching my head as to who they’d voted for. Cllr Scott Davidson had a plan in mind. The percentages were looking on par with the 2015 General Election at the same time. So he decided that it would be an advantage to send Young Scott and myself around the doors to remind our voters to vote. This turned out to be very important as a couple of voters had indeed forgot or were planning a day out. We had a map in hand and names and addresses so young Scott and myself took off in my car and made a start to lifting the turnout percentage. Scott is 20 years old and has a mind beyond his years. We had a very good chat about politics and a few laughs too. For someone so young, he really has a keen interest in politics and not only that, he is very politically aware. He is like his Dad in many ways, very smart, innovative and cares about others. It was a pleasure to spend most of the day with him. I would urge you to remember the name as both his father and young Scott himself, will be making Kilwinning and North Ayrshire a vibrant, lustrous town in the near and distant future. 

We rallied around door to door putting leaflets through to remind our voters that today was the big day. We had our SNP lapels on so it was prominent of who we are and what we were there for. Elderly, young kids and voters of all ages would stop and have a chat with us. Giving us a thumbs up and a wave. Construction workers shouting over to us “cmon the SNP”. A lady chapped her window from a distance to get our attention only for a second to let us know we had her support. It was brilliant. It was giving us a second wind to push for votes. It kept us going. 

We made plans with Cllr Davidson to be back and finished for 2pm. We would meet him and John Ferguson at the towns local cafe, The Boulevard. The notes and addresses of the voters and been soaked in the rain but you could still make out the figures of the people we had reached. We had been on our feet since 6.30am and we now stopped for lunch at 2pm. We could have kept going all day without a break because the buzz and adrenaline was thriving amongst us. We sat at the table and spoke about everything. John Ferguson is a retired teacher and ex Councillor. I could listen to his past experiences and stories for ages. He helps with the current councillors with advice and the formalities of paperwork and the do’s and don’ts of the political world. He’s a rock to the group and an invaluable asset. When he speaks, people listen. He is empathetic to the younger electorate and wants nothing more than for them to have a bright and prosperous future. He could retire and go holidays and relax but instead he wants to fight for what’s right. Fight for the next generation to have a fairer society under the SNP. It’s a pleasure to know him and listen to his vast wealth of knowledge. 
We finished our lovely lunch. I had to leave the group for a brief moment as I had arranged to take my Mum to hospital for tests. She is due to undergo treatment for cancerous cells found in her body. More tests are yet to be done but the doctors want this to happen as soon as possible. She will get another biopsy on Tuesday to understand the full extend of operations that will be required. My Mum is remarkable and special. I love you Mum. 

Once I’d dropped my parents off at the hospital, I quickly realised that I hadn’t yet voted myself. I picked up my Girlfriend jodie on the way to the polling station and drove round to Elderbank Primary School. When we arrived at the table to receive our ballot papers, we said ‘hi’ to the public sector workers. Familiar faces that we have saw over the years. We walked into the booths and marked an ‘X’ next to our local candidate for the SNP – Phillipa Whitford. On the way out I stopped and had a chat with the SNP activist who was standing outside. We chatted for about 15 minutes. It was great to see so many activists doing their bit. The importance of being there when voters made their way into the building is vital. Just as we touched on earlier. 

It was reaching 6pm now and I dropped Jodie back off at the house. I told her I was sorry for being away for so long today but she knew what this meant to me. She is very supportive of my activism and for that I’m thankful. I phoned Cllr Davidson before I drove back to find out where they are and what the rest of the plans for the day were. When I got back to Love Hall I saw more and more people walking through the doors to cast their vote. It was a frequent flow of people throughout the day and the rain never seemed to deter anyone. Cllr Davidson asked young Scott and myself if we would go back to the streets and continue to do what we were doing in reminding the voters of the task in hand. 
We carried on our mission and again we had people chapping windows, tooting car horns and the odd wink here and there from people on the street. It was encouraging to know that so many people backed our vision and shared the same views. The people we met were lovely, engaging and couldn’t of been nicer. A testament to the communities in Kilwinning. I’ve worked, lived and played for the local football team here and it reaffirms my love for the place. At this point now we were soaked right through but that didn’t matter. We enjoyed this. It is our passion. 

I got a call from Cllr Davidson just before 8pm asking if we can head back to Love Hall as his wife Lorna was manning the door and she had to get back home for the kids. We got there just before 8pm with many addresses being ticked off the list. It was a productive day but it hadn’t quite finished yet. There were two hours to go before the ballot boxes were shut. Cllr Davidson asked young Scott if he wanted to go home but his thoughts were purely on ensuring every vote counted for the SNP so decided to stay with me until the doors were locked. I was happy with that. It also shows what this meant to him. He’s clearly a bright young man with a bright future ahead of him and his parents are very proud. He’s clearly been brought up with principles and a political drive. 
The last of the voters started to trickle through the door. The late comers, the people finishing their shift from work. I sent Cllr Davidson the last update of the turnout. Around 58% averaging the three tables with North Ayrshire and Arran turnout at 64.5%. At this point Cllr Davidson was at home getting ready for the count. He keeps going, even through the night he doesn’t stop working. Astonishing commitment. A gentleman walks in to vote. He stops for a brief chat. States that he went to school with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Throughout the day, young Scott and I tried to determine who people were voting for. We couldn’t put our finger on who this gentleman would vote for and of course the rules stated that we couldn’t ask or chat about it until after he had voted and was outside the building. We nodded and listened to him speak about his time at school with Nicola. He seemed less than impressed with the SNP and wasn’t giving anything away still. He then proceeded to make his way in to vote. Five minutes later he walked out of the building. He spoke to us more and told us about his business and that all of his friends and employees were voting Tories. He said that one of his friends said he would vote Tories because Theresa May had nice legs. Young Scott and I looked at each other as if this was some sort of joke. This man had Unionist written all over him. Then something amazing happened. I asked him if he didn’t mind telling us who he’d voted for. I had never asked anyone outside the polling station this before but something inside me had to ask. His response blew me away. He said that he’d voted for the SNP because they had helped him in his time of need. That his business rates, through the Tories had sky rocketed and there were no light at the end of the tunnel for him and his business. He told me that the SNP had reduced his rates thus making it affordable to finance his business. I looked at Scott and smiled. It was a great ending to a great day. I told the gentleman that it was indeed the woman that he had just voted for’s husband that had helped 2300 businesses across North Ayrshire in reducing their business rates. MSP Kenneth Gibson. It really was a wonderful moment. The SNP had helped him get back on his feet and he saw past the rhetorical conversations with his employees and friends and chose to vote for the progressive party that helped employ them all and keep his business alive. 

It was now 9.59pm. With only one minute remaining, we noticed a car speeding up the road. A man jumping out and running faster than Usain Bolt towards the doors. We said ‘good evening’ but he had no desire to exchange pleasantries as time was ticking on his vote. He made it and on his way out he had a relaxed look on his face and explained to us that he had finished work at 6pm and fell asleep. It just shows the importance of our votes and what it means to people. Even up to the last minute. 

I had a great day campaigning, polling with wonderful people. All sharing the same vision. We won across Scotland with our second highest result ever. Our two MP candidates that we campaigned for have been re-elected and will continue to be a strong voice for us in a time of uncertainty. I wanted to share my experience with you all and I hope you have gotten a little insight into my day. Thank you. ALBA GU BRATH. 

May-ism = Terror-ism

Over the past few years there has been a surge in terrorism, there has been bombings, shootings, beheadings and vehicles knocking people over and killing innocent victims. I want to write about my own personal views on what is happening in today’s society. I want to take a look further back. I feel that, as a society, we’re feeling some sort of normalisation when we switch on the T.V and watch the news to see that another terrorist attack has occurred. Well it’s not normal. It’s not normal at all.

 

Growing up, going to school in Scotland, terrorism was never thought of or mentioned. I remember in March 20th, 2003 when I was only 16 years old, my Dad was watching the news and shouting at the T.V calling Tony Blair and George Bush all of the names under the sun. His anger was directed at them because they were taking military intervention in Iraq as they believed that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Government at the time had weapons of mass destruction and therefore could use these weapons against the west. ‘Fair enough’. I thought. I would argue with my Father that we should go in there and stop them. Obviously I listened to the media at the time tell me and everyone who would listen that this was a good idea and that we had to do it. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was a clueless, immature 16 year old. Not all 16 year old’s are like that but as I wrote in previous blogs, I was never interested in politics when I was younger. Only as I got older and had children of my own, I started noticing things around me, which made me do some research so my kids would get a better life and if I can make the smallest of differences to divert the course they’re currently on under a Conservative Government, then I will do it with everything I have.

 

The invasion of Iraq and Libya has followed from years, decades and even centuries of mass murder, invasions and conquering of other countries. The U.K and America have made history over the years for all the wrong reasons. A recent study has found that the United Kingdom has invaded around 90% of the countries around the globe. That’s almost 200 different countries. History will always repeat itself if we fail to learn from the mistakes of the past. Sadly it will be a long time before that ever happens. The UK feel the need to invade other countries around the world even as recent as 2003.

 

I feel that the military intervention in Iraq and Libya and most likely more, have been a direct infliction on what we see today on our streets. Islamic State terrorists have been made through these invasions. This is becoming more clearer as the years pass. The solution to preventing attacks on our streets, should have been solved a long time ago. Is it too late to prevent? For our sake’s, I hope not. The only way this can be prevented is by working together with the European Union and other countries around the world to help with intelligence and data.

 

Theresa May. Our ‘strong and stable’ Prime Minister became Home Secretary in 2012. She held this role for 6 years. 6 years of looking after the 4 union of nations to deter any threat and look closely with monitoring of immigration and terror suspects. As far as refugees were concerned in her time in charge of the Home Office, the UK may as well of left the European Union as they refused to take part in any of the EU relocation or resettlement scheme. The infamous ‘Go Home’ vans would tour the country and leave poor, innocent muslims fearing for their lives. This, in my mind was the start of May-ism. She always had a hard approach to anyone seen as a ‘drain’ on society and most importantly, the economy. She once joked about Ken Clarke’s approach as Justice Secretary saying “I lock them up, he lets them out.” The sign of times to come.

 

 

Only a few weeks ago, Theresa May took a trip over to Saudi Arabia to discuss the sale of arms. This is a country that have been known for their links to funding terrorists organisations such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. So we should all be forgiven for not believing her heartening performance speeches that succeeds the callous attacks in Manchester and London. She has played her part in making this happen. That is why we cannot give her a free hand to do what she likes. We must stop her now before it gets much worse. The only person standing up to her is Nicola Sturgeon. When Theresa May does or says something that will be detrimental to the disabled people, the youth, the pensioners of our society. She is there to counter her with positive alternatives. No one else has been doing that. Our SNP MP’s will carry on that voice down to Westminster and ensure that whatever Theresa May does or says, they will counter it and hold her to account.

 

 

When Labour left office in 2010 there were 12,700 personnel in the security and intelligence agencies. The Tory-led coalition immediately cut staff with the promise to recover them over time, but they never did – despite the growing terror threat. The real deterrent is on the streets. In our nursers, our Police officers, firefighters, intelligent personnel, our paramedics and first responders. They are the real deterrent, not some out-dated nuclear missiles sitting collecting dust on the River Clyde naval base. Under May’s watch as Home secretary. She has cut 20,000 Police Officers which have left forces around the UK in a perilous state. She has cut 3,382 Firefighters since 2010, while cutting fire stations also. The has made a drastic decline in response times to house fires. The statistics of response times are now unknown as they would be updated on a yearly basis but the Government refuse to project these figures currently. That speaks for itself. In Scotland, policing is a devolved issue. The Scottish Government has made no plans to cut officer’s on our streets.

 

It is frustrating to know that the nuclear trident system costs in total £208 billion, which is over £32 billion per year. Amber Rudd, the current Home Secretary stated last week that there is ‘no money tree’ to sort out our problems. I say, that is the money tree right there. Could you imagine the impact that money would have if put to our NHS, or Police, Firefighters, Nurses and paramedics. It would have a massive impact on our social security, health and intelligence agencies tackling and preventing terrorist attacks. So Mrs May, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. You may want to sit at the fancy table with America, Russia, France, China, India and Pakistan to compare how many nuclear weapons you have but there are over 180 countries that don’t have them. It’s not needed. It can’t be used. It is illegal for them to be used in any form. Put that money into the services that have been deterring terrorism since the 7/7 bombings. Make them stronger and more stable. “Enough is enough,” you said. Well enough is enough of you and your party that want to cut every service that keeps us all safe just so that you can fulfill your obsession with balancing the books and having other countries pandering to your ego of being a ‘super power’. Enough is enough on the strain you have caused on our public services and the lies you tell us to deflect these issues.

On Thursday, we as the people can make a decision to stop the recurring narrative that history repeats itself. Put an end to the wars and trident and have SNP voices at Westminster looking out for you. We need to stop the May-ism getting out hand, because as it currently happens, May-ism = Terror-ism.

 

Why we must vote SNP

Over the past year and more substantially, over these past few months, I find it difficult to comprehend the full intentions of the Prime Minster of UK, Theresa May. Sometimes I sit back and think that she is deliberately trying to sabotage her chances of winning the election by cutting everything in sight. Young, to old are all getting a bit of May-ism in their life. She is introducing the dreaded rape clause and dementia tax. My thoughts quickly turn to the reasoning behind her method and I can’t think of any. I really can’t. We are indeed the 7th richest country in the world. Why is the Government embarking on an extreme austerity course. This completely negates my brain. The only thing I can think of is that she is not ‘strong and stable’ after all and that she really wants to give up. She called a snap election that she said she wouldn’t do. She’s introduced all of these dreadful, appalling, abhorrent policies to us in her manifesto. I personally think she has saw the full scale mess that brexit is going to do to us and thought ‘this isn’t for me, I’ll make the electorate out me as soon as possible so that I don’t get the blame for this cock up’. 

I heard a recording of one of Theresa May’s personal advisors. He said to an undercover journalist that the bombing in Manchester is a ‘good’ thing as it works in Theresa May’s favour coming up to the General Election. He then proceeded to say that it would be good for her campaign as the IRA once bombed Manchester and Jeremy Corbyn has been getting a tough old time of being an IRA sympathiser in the press. Now this recording didn’t make the news of course. What I love about twitter is the honesty and desire to right the wrongs from the people that use it. I have many SNP members/followers on my timeline everyday and that’s where I get my news. I occasionally watch SkyNews or BBC news but that is just to debunk their reporting and anxiously laugh at our democracy slipping down the toilet with their reporting with their inept approach to seeing any other party do anything good but the Tories. 

On June 8th, we all have a choice. If you live in Scotland, you must vote for the SNP. I’m not writing this because I’m a member. I’m writing this because the Tories and Scottish Labour have failed you. The media is biased and filling our heads with nonsense. Take time to research and learn for yourself. Take a look at the SNP manifesto and what it can do for you. I promise you won’t look back. £10 per hour living wage, banning zero hour contracts, reinstating housing benefits for 18/21 year olds. When those big banking fat cats get a large bonus, tax free, SNP want to tax them and put that money back into public services. Extending childcare to help you to worry less when you’re employed. Reversal of the disability cuts imposed on our disabled by the Tories. And many many more. This is a great time to vote. To have your voice heard, now more than ever. Theresa May has given up on us. Our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t. The Tories have no plans for brexit negotiations and it could lead to having no deal at all, which is catastrophic for Scotland. It could cost up to 80,000 jobs. Your Mum, Dad, brother, aunty, even you could end up unemployed. You could lose your house, your rented accommodation because the Tories don’t want to help you with housing benefits. 
The UK is in a massive downward decline and there is nothing ‘strong and stable’ about it. They are only words and I was told that actions speak louder than words. I don’t see any action from the Prime Minister. Ducking and diving debates on tv and making perfectly selected public meetings. It’s a slap in the face to the electorate and we aren’t buying it. Theresa May was Home Secretary for 6 years and had complete control over immigration and monitoring terror suspects, yet nothing was done. She would rather sell arms to Saudi who fund terrorism, than reverse the cuts on Police, FireFighters, nurses and GP’s. She doesn’t care about you. Every Tory I’ve spoke to bang on about reducing the deficit. They have made this a target since 2010 and nothing has changed. Their new target is 2025 and it won’t happen then either. In Scotland the SNP have made sure we have more GP’s, Police and better paid nurses than anywhere else in the UK. That’s why we need to vote for SNP. 

Theresa May wants to sit at the top table of the elite prime ministers and presidents and look down their noses at the poor countries they’ve invaded throughout the years. They want to have a nuclear deterrent programme that they can never use but just want to have it there to show the world their might. The reality is, the terrorists are hitting our innocent people on the streets and concerts, on their way home from work or on a night out. What use is nuclear deterrent there?! Trident costs £32 billion per year and in total will cost £208 billion. Imaging if we put that money to our Police officers, paramedics, nurses, FireFighters. To stop the use of foodbanks. That is the magic money tree right there Amber Rudd. Please, if you get to the bottom of this blog, I urge you to vote for SNP in Scotland and send all our Mp’s down to Westminster to put a spanner in the works of this dreadful U.K. Government and turn the wheel on democracy again. 

The SNP manifesto- What it means to me

Last Tuesday when the manifestos launch was to be held in Edinburgh, my fellow friends and SNP members Val and Susan Johnson had messaged me asking if I wanted to go up in the train with them. I’d never been to a manifesto launch before. I said yes instantly. However due to the sad and atrocious Manchester attack, the manifesto launch was briefly put on hold and rightly so. 

I got up at 6am this morning. Getting the kids ready for the day ahead before I set off to work for 8am. I knew today was significant as today was the day The SNP outline their plans to tackle poverty, education, Health and much more. I was looking forward to it. I already knew most of what would be in today’s manifesto simply by looking in my heart and doing the right thing in life. It’s The SNP way of life. Look after each other and take care of the people less fortunate. Work hard, look after your family and kids and we’ll help you along the way. If you’re disabled or elderly. We’ll be there by your side. If you’re young and finding the transition into adulthood a little difficult. We’ll be there to guide you. This manifesto had all of that and more and I’m a very proud SNP member right now. 

The 1% cap on public service workers have been a massive topic of discussion lately and one that this manifesto hopefully puts to bed. The SNP plan to scrap that 1% cap and discuss further options to raise pay for these workers we so desperately depend on. Not only that, they pledge to put in over £120 billion into public services quashing silly rhetorics from other parties stating that The SNP are a party of austerity. They plan to raise the living wage to £10 per hour. That’s not much of a contrast to other parties but with an independent body governing pay increases, this is difficult to amend. 

The SNP want to introduce the 50p tax rate. I’m delighted with that and I’m very proud to see the party that I love ask the high earners of £150,000 to pay that little bit more so the low earning families don’t have to. I spoke to a gentleman who was on £180,000 per annum and he was more than happy to pay 50% from £150,000 to £180,000. He told me he didn’t care if it made a dent in his wallet by a small amount. As long as it helped people. That’s the Country I want to live in!
When I read that The SNP want to call on the new UK government to increase health spending per head of population in England to the current Scottish level, which is 7% higher, it made me excited that the rUK can now see that we’re not Anti English and only for independence but we genuinely care about the health care cuts that the Tories are inflicting on rUK. 
With the Tories manifesto outlining their plans to cut disability benefits, bereavement benefits, housing benefits for 18-21 year olds. It was reassuring when I read in The SNP manifesto their plans to oppose each and EVERYONE of those cuts including the two child cap and the controversial rape clause. 

When I wasn’t working, one thing that really annoyed me was being sanctioned by the job centre for being five minutes late or better yet, being on time every time but still not getting paid. Then having to phone them at a premium rate to find out where your payment is. The SNP have set out plans to abolish the premium rate calls to Department of Work and Pensions. Again affirming that they’re the party for the people that need help the most. This is all on the back of mitigating current bedroom tax policies imposed by the Tories and ensuring our kids get free school meals and making closing the attainment gap a very high priority. On the back of ensuring our elderly have their winter fuel allowance and free prescriptions while our teenagers go to uni with free tuition and have the best start in life. So to those that assume our First Minister isn’t “Doing the day job”. – Please see above. 

This manifesto is about hope, about doing and most of all, about everyone. It is standing up to the uprising of the Thatchers’. It’s about making people feel valued and looking out for one another. It’s sending a message to the low paid working families to not be scared. To go ahead and start your family because The SNP will be right behind you every step of the way. To the self employed, to the nurses and teachers. To the young person that wants to dream big, to our elderly that are fearful of getting by from one day to the next. The SNP will be there. Pushing you and willing you on, holding your hand and whispering in your ear to not be afraid. This is our party and we are right behind you. 
VOTE SNP JUNE 8th

MAY DAY – Save Our Elderly 

I’m 29 years old. I’ve sadly lost all four of my grandparents. Cancer took three of them and COPD took the other. I lost both my Grans in the same year. It’s horrible when we lose loved ones. You don’t expect your grandparents to live forever, but you don’t expect them to die either. It’s a catch 22. When I see an elderly person walking down the street in the rain or standing there waiting on a bus, I don’t think of a stranger. I think about my own grandparents. I suspect most of us are the same. I saw an elderly lady walking too cast her vote on the day of the local elections. I offered her a lift. She duly accepted, when she got in my car she spotted my SNP lapel. She said thanks for giving me a lift to the polling station son but I need to tell you that I won’t be voting for your party. I said that that’s not why I offered you a lift, I did it because it’s a long walk and I didn’t want you to walk so far. At the end of the journey she got out and told me should give us her 3rd vote. We have that little special place in our hearts for the elderly. We were told from an early age to respect the elderly and never swear around them or treat them bad. That’s why when I saw the Tory manifesto come out last week my thoughts were no different. I read on twitter snippets of pledges and cuts to our elderly. Now I say ‘our’ elderly collectively because we all need to look after them. They’re not a burden nor should they be treated as such. We all get old, we all will be in the same position. Time flies. Don’t think yours won’t too. 

The prime minister of Great Britain and the leader of the conservative and unionist party, Theresa May, has relied on the consistent propaganda of the main stream media to reach and brainwash our elderly. Most of our elderly don’t research the news or challenge what is being reported to them. They see the 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock news every night and they’re happy with it. This is what the Conservative party want. They tell our elderly that all the other parties are bad and that Theresa May is a strong and stable leader while Jeremy Corbyn wants to bring terrorists to our country and harm them, while Nicola Sturgeon wants to break up the union thus causing an economic disaster. They are targeted by the Tories and the BBC, Sky News and even STV. It’s everywhere on TV. I’ve seen it first hand, on many occasions. If someone tells you something frequent and often enough, what happens? Yes! You start to believe it. Without the necessary research to challenge these views. It sinks into your brain like a sponge. It’s not their fault that this is happening. They just watch the news. It’s the democratic imbalance of our country’s media that is at fault. You can almost forgive our elderly for wanting to vote Tory. Until now!
I just wish my Grandparents were alive so I could chat to them about what’s going on in the world. After I’ve given them all a kiss and a hug. To get that time again would be remarkable. I don’t have that time with them anymore but I do have the chance to voice my concern about the elderly we do have here on earth at the present moment. The elderly that are being taken for granted by the government as a ‘solid vote’. They think they’ve got our elderly vote no problem. It’s our duty as human beings and grandkids to stop that happening. 

In Scotland, social care is devolved. Our elderly up here will still receive free care no matter what. That is the mitigation of The SNP Government. That to me, is a Government that cares about us all. The Tory manifesto wants to stop the £300 winter fuel allowance payments, paid to our elderly when extra heat is needed for winter times. One pensioner in every seven minutes dies due to being too cold in their house in the winter. One every seven minutes. That’s almost 13 pensioners by the time it takes for a football match to start and finish. It really does take a cold hearted person to play with increasing these figures by cutting little allowance they have. In Scotland, our elderly will keep the winter fuel allowance. Why? Again, because our Government cares. See the frequency throughout here? 

When you get to a certain age. Which we all will. We will lose the person closest to us. We may become widowed or we may be the one that passes first. I hope that for me it’s the latter as I would hate to see my wife pass before me but I would want to leave her in a world where her government will look after her when I’m gone. The bereavement cut has been announced by the Tory government in the last few weeks. Normally when a spouse passes away the widow or widower receives financial support for up to 21 years plus. Its there to help you through this difficult time for years to come as you will not have the stability of a second income. The Tories cut that payment from 21 years plus to 18 months. In my eyes, the grieving process won’t even begin to set in after 18 months. I saw on the news a gentleman by the name of Alan. He didn’t want his surname to be revealed as he wanted to protect his family. He was a dying man, if he died the day the news report went out, his family would have received £60,000 in benefits to support them. If he died a week later, his family would just receive £6000. This was one of the strongest men I’d seen. He was pleading with the Tories to rethink their cruel welfare cut. They never even acknowledged him. He died two weeks later. 

I’m scared that a world we live in and a world I bring my children up in can renew trident at the total cost of £208 billion and conduct a mass array of austerity to everyone within its shores, cutting Police, FireFighters and GP’s. A world that our U.K. Government think of our elderly as a ‘solid vote’ because they’re feeding them lies in one ear and taking money from them behind their back. They’re axing the triple lock. Which means that pensioners no matter what happens with inflation or economically will still have an increase in pensions. That security will not be there anymore. Pensions are a reserved issue and hits everyone across the uk. The WASPI women, born in the 1950’s have their pension frozen with no sign of increased payment due to the Tories reforms. Theresa May might as well wear a balaclava and run around snatching handbags and purses. After all that is effectively what she is doing. 

Social care in England and Wales has been dangerously underfunded in the past few years with the Tories stating that £10 billion plus has been put into it over the past 3 years when statistical analysis data suggests it has been around £4.5 billion. That’s less than half. They don’t want social care for our elderly. They see them as a burden on public spending. That’s why they have introduced a new workers right. They have proposed a bill that if you are caring for a relative who is ill and in need of constant care then you’re now allowed to take a year off work to care for your relative. Sounds good right? Wrong. Because in that year you won’t be working, therefore you won’t be earning your normal income to support you or your relative. The government then don’t need to fund your relatives social care because your doing all the caring. You might receive carers allowance but that is nothing to them. They want to take your house off you when you die to pay for any social care costs up to the value cap of £100,000. This is a party that is doing this on the back of imposing an already existing bedroom tax. So they want money for your spare room, they want your house when you die and they DON’T want anyone living in a mansion to pay mansion tax. 
It’s not morally right, and Mrs May, perhaps you had grandparents many many moons ago and forget the basic principles in life but my Mum and Dad taught me to respect my elders and treat them the way you would like to be treated yourself. I somehow think you skipped that lesson in amongst your caviar and fox hunting but be rest assured. Your type of hard heartedness is a dying breed. Our youth are smarter, wiser and more respective of their elders than you or your Tory friends will ever know. In years to come you’ll be known as Thatcher. 02 and we will be dancing in the streets on Independence Day at street parties across Scotland all the way up into our 90’s. 

The Rise And Fall Of The Scottish Labour Party

Scottish Labour were always there when I was growing up. In our values, visually too. On lampposts, on bridges, graffiti on the roads saying “Vote Labour”. These graffiti ‘Artists’ were petty criminals but they still had socialist values up here. It was a good time to be alive, to know that your values and principles were met with others in your own community. They were socialists, fighting for your workers and human rights and the only party that would show empathy to any concerns or difficult situations you found yourself in. I remember when I was outside playing. My Mum would be minutes away from shouting me in to stop playing football as she had made dinner. Hearing a faint sound of a microphone in the distance. “VOTE LABOUR!” Would echo around the streets. Everyone in Scotland were the same. Hard working, socialists. I would run into the house when my Mum had shouted me in and sit at the dinner table, patiently waiting for my dinner. I’d ask my Dad what that sound was and why they had a microphone. He told me that it was people campaigning for Labour. I’d ask him frequently the difference between Labour and the Tories as that was what seemed to frequent the television spot at dinner time. He’d respond that Labour were for the working families. The people that need that little help in life. He’d also explain that the Tories were for the rich and that they didn’t care about us. I thought that seemed a little over the top as he said it with such passion and hatred towards them. Now I’m older and have a family of my own. Dad, you’re right!

I’m now 29 years old and have two beautiful children. Before them, politics did not seem to bother me. To be honest, I didn’t really care what went on in the world. My world consisted of football, boxing and hanging around with my friends. Now I’m fixated on bringing those Labour values back to Scotland through The SNP. 
When I watch Kezia Dugdale and her backbenchers on FMQ’s or other tv programmes, I wonder where they have lost their way. I was too young to remember the Donald Dewer years and the devolvement of the Scottish Parliament. I remember my Dad being joyful at that but not fully satisfied with it. With Tories promises and pledges to Scotland always there while never coming to fruition. It was a frequent situation we found ourselves in. “Enough is enough!” Would be the narratives around the work places and bus stops. We need self determination and to be rid of the Tories once and for all. 
We had new Labour in 1999. Tony Blair taking over from John Major. A relief. A new start for a new generation. He was a young Prime Minister. We were full of hope. We put our independence venture on the backbench for the time being to give this new guy a chance. Maybe he’ll help us. Maybe he’ll bring changes we so desperately need. Him, alongside Gordon Brown brought in working tax credits. Something that my family were forever grateful for. My Dad always said that if employers paid their employees a fair and sustainable living wage there would be no need for a government top up of tax credits. The bankers got greedy, employers got greedy. The rich want more and more and well us… The working class. We’re the ones that suffer. Same old story. 

When 2003 came round and the years of the Iraq war. We were told by the main stream media that invading Iraq was the only thing to do. It’ll help these people and save us from weapons of mass destruction. They were wrong. They were all wrong. They spent billions and billions of pounds on a war that should have and could have been avoided. The new Labour weren’t so new now. They were worn, old and torn. They were ageing beyond their means to govern. Tony Blair was called a war monger. His hair went from jet black to grey within a few years. New Labour no more. And Scotland? Well we were let down again. 

The rise of the SNP started making headway when these people of proper Labour values felt let down and had no where to turn to. The SNP offered hope, prosperity and principles we all still had in us. They offered fairness and equality for everyone. A party that we could believe in again. When Scottish Labour MP’s went down to Westminster, they got institutionalised. They became part of the system. Part of the establishment and worse of all, part of the problem. They let us down. The SNP offered us a new way of thinking. A new direction. They offered me hope that my kids will grow up without the many cuts the Tories want to impose on them. 

With the general election coming up and campaigning still well and truly underway we have a chance to send 59 SNP’s MP’s down to Westminster. Now I’m not saying that number is going to hit but I’m sure it won’t be far from it either. The Tories manifesto came out last week and all it has said is ‘cuts, cuts, cuts’. To our disabled, our elderly and our youth. We need to send strong voices down there to hold whoever is in charge to account. When I watch PMQ’s I see on the left and right benches mumblings and laughing and childlike behaviour. Even when important issues are being discussed. When I look over to the corner. Where the third biggest party in the U.K. are placed I see MP’s that want change, that shout and clap at important issues but most of all, that turn up for important issues being discussed. We need to send these people back there again and more. Because they are fighting for you. They are the old labour on steroids. Empathetic, understanding MP’s that have not only been through what you’ve been through but will fight for you till the very end. 
I like Jeremy Corbyn. I really do. He wants peace, he wants to scrap trident and use that money for public services that we need. He wants to keep the triple lock for our elderly and ensure that they’re looked after no matter how the economy goes. He wants more Police on the streets. He wants free tuition everywhere in the U.K. He wants to instil old labour values again and bring them back to the left. In layman’s terms, he wants them to be more like the SNP are for Scotland. That’s not a bold statement to make. Look at the facts. U.K. Labours manifesto also came out last week and there were many similarities to what The SNP have already made happen. He wants free tuition, abolish the bedroom tax, abolish hospital parking charges and he wants to reach 60% of renewable energy targets. All of which The SNP have implemented and more. I admire Jeremy Corbyn for that. He’s fighting a losing battle down there. He’s fighting the establishment and even his own party. He’s fighting against a Scottish Labour Party that don’t back him but would go into coalition with the Tories at anytime. He’s fighting the main stream media who scrutinise everything he does and doesn’t do. He’s a good man. I know a good man when I see one. He wants to help people. He pledges to tax the rich and give to the poor. The Robin Hood tax he is calling it. The rich are scared. That’s why your Rupert Murdochs and the likes are linking him to the IRA and belittling everything he does. I wish him all the best but his time will hopefully come. Not for me though and not for Scotland. Because we’ve seen it all before.

The Scottish people have seen this their whole lives. The Scottish Labour Party are named ‘The Red Tories’ here. And rightly so. They’ve turned their back on us since before the 2014 referendum when they stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories on everything. When Joanne Lamont stated that the people of Scotland weren’t genetically programmed to make political decisions. She didn’t last long after that. We are a different breed of people in Scotland. We are smart and courageous. We will give everyone a chance and go by the mantra ‘fool me once, shame on you’.  Fool me twice, shame on me’. We’ve gave Labour a chance. They fooled us. Now we want to be part of something that can change our lives and mean it. Not false promises and maybes but the real deal. Jeremy Corbyn is good for the rest of the UK but he does not have a clue what goes on up here. Because if he did he would not be able to sleep at night knowing what Kezia Dugdale and her party are doing to Scotland. She attacks values of The SNP. Values her party once cherished, instead of attacking the real enemy which is the Tories. We have visions she can only dream of and the will to back it up. We have hope and pride amongst us that she can only see in her wildest of dreams. She’s lost. That’s why she attacks The SNP at every turn. She knows we will never go back to her party and what they have done to us. I wish you all the best Jeremy but Scotland will make up her own mind and if you want to fight the Tories like us, you will need to rid yourself from the shackles of Scottish Labour who are holding you back. We may only be able to send 50-59 SNP MP’s down to Westminster but their voice is like a lions roar to us and we won’t go away. 

I JUST DONT GET IT!

I have watched political debates over the past couple of weeks, I have sat in a council meeting where things just didn’t add up, I sat in front of the TV watching the news and found myself hearing and seeing lies and rhetoric narratives. I saw on twitter that The Conservative Party in Aberdeen went into coalition with The Labour Party. Things just aren’t adding up. I don’t remember the Thatcher years and judging by want my Mother and Fathers generation have had done to them, I’m glad I wasn’t old enough to realise. I’m old enough now. I have kids of my own and I see things changing around me. Changing fast. Every day this week I found myself staring at the wall thinking ‘I just don’t get it’. 
My passion is fuelled by my kids, my Mother, My Father, My niece and nephews. I’m 29 years old and I’m 100% a family man. I love my family. I would do anything for them. I can be a little too enthusiastic sometimes but that is who I am. That is me. This is all relatively new to me. I love being a member and an activist for The SNP. They share my views. They share my passion. They share family values. As I look around at the media, the Labour Party and the Tories, I see totally different people. Totally different opinions, different views. Now I was always brought up to respect other people’s views and I will continue to do so throughout my adult life. But I just don’t get it! I don’t get how it’s seen as a good thing to cut the elderly pension, to tell them that they can pay for social care but not just now. Pay when you’re dead. We will take your house from you and your kids will have nothing. Now this doesn’t apply to Scotland because guess what? Social care is free up here. Why is this not looked upon by these people as a good thing. All four of my grandparents have sadly passed away. It’s always tough when you lose someone you love. My Father took two heart attacks not so long ago and it nearly tore me apart. People’s lives matter. It’s our Grans, Papas, Mothers, Fathers. You could speak to any hard working elderly person in my town and ask them who their property will be left to when they pass. They’ll give you a skelp around the ear for asking but then tell you it is going to help their kids and their grandkids. It’s a beautiful sentiment. A sentiment that the Tory Government want to take away from them. As if cutting their winter fuel allowance wasn’t enough. They want to take their hard earned money when they die. 

The Scottish Government and The SNP have really done wonders up here and most people don’t notice. They see Ruth Davidson or Kezia Dugdale on the TV saying SNP are bad etc. But the reality is they’re scared. Elderly people and indeed most people don’t like change. But change can be good. Change is happening right now. You just haven’t saw it yet because the Scottish Government has made the changes easy for you. The SNP have been in power for over ten years. That is a remarkable achievement itself. Most people are not aware of the devolved powers and achievements that have been made. Bedroom tax. Still there. Not in Scotland. Social care pay. All there and more. Not in Scotland. Nurses are paid £309 more than anywhere else in the U.K. Winter fuel payments proposals to be axed in the Tory manifesto this week. All there, NOT in Scotland. Because our Government will protect its people. It’s harsh to to say this but sometimes I hoped that our Government let people feel the affects of the Tory cuts and not put these things in place. Let them feel the pain that Tories can and will inflict on them. But they wouldn’t do that and every SNP member I know would never let it happen either. Our hearts are in it for the neighbour next door, for the elderly, for the disabled and for working families on low income. 
When I sat in the North Ayrshire Council chambers last Wednesday, I didn’t know what to feel. I stared at the wall again with the same questions. ‘I don’t get it’. When I saw the Conservative Party Councillors raise their hand in unity with Labour I just ‘don’t get it’. Surely a party that wants to help people can only be looked upon as a good thing. I’ve been out on the streets with my local SNP group and that’s where we get to chat to real people that are being hit hard the most. I love chatting to them because I learn so much from them. I don’t pretend I know it all. Sometimes I even find myself asking the questions. When I saw the leaders debate on ITV the other day with all the Scottish leaders. I watched it twice. I saw hatred in Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdales eyes when they spoke of independence or when they were shouting at Nicola Sturgeon. I saw Willie Rennie speak absolute nonsense and believe the nonsense he would speak. That is scary in itself. I saw our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon battle against three people and still come out the winner. You saw a smile on her face and a spring in her step as she walked into the studios. Now if someone was lying and delusional, wanting the Union to break up to put herself in the history books and make Scotlands economy crash, she needs to be in Hollywood and not Holyrood. She is a wonder of our generation and when my daughter grows up, Nicola Sturgeon will be her role model, forget pop bands or sports stars. 

When I see things on twitter from people that back the Union and people that hate The SNP, I try to challenge them to a debate. They don’t like to debate because there is so much going against them. I don’t get why people want other people to be homeless. To have to go to foodbanks. To stop little infant kids to have free school meals. I just don’t get it! Why do people think this way. What is their motive of such hate and anger. The world is massive and we are all the same. Why can’t we look after each other and treat each other the same. I suppose it’ll be up to our kids in years to come to stamp out the right wing hatred but it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere fast. If ever. 

The political world is changing and I’m finding myself more and more saying ‘I just don’t get it’. Theresa May refusing to debate with other leaders to hold her place as Prime Minister surely should be looked upon that she is hiding something. That she will lose these debates as she cannot back up her dementia tax policies. When I was younger I looked at adults and thought to myself that they’re smart. But reality is, they’re not that smart at all. Politicians like Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond squabbling like little children. Theresa May and her husband talking in ‘The One Show’ about boys jobs and girls jobs. Half of MP’s on PMQ’s laughing and sniggering at every comment on very serious issues. Issues that could keep someone alive or be dead in the morning. I just don’t get it. Our equality, our fairness to each other is not about being a liberal and an extreme leftist. It is about having a heart. Having empathy for each other. Having been in a situation before where you’re able to help the person next to you get through a tough time. That’s what I want my Government to be able to do. That’s why I’m proud to be a member of The SNP. I’m proud when I stand in the street and talk to people. Whether they hate me or not because I know that I’m doing the right thing. I may go home and stare at the wall thinking ‘I just don’t get it’ when people’s comments are negative or remarks of hatred towards others but I snap out of it, I get back up and I look to the future. A future my kids will be part of when I’m gone. Knowing that I’ve helped do it for them. No matter how small it may be. To know that we’re sticking to our principles every step of the way and not doing it for political reasons but because we genuinely care. On June 8th we have a vote. A vote that can change this horrible inward looking Government. A vote that needs to be heard. To tell these people that you can hate, preach, shout, swear, hurt all you like but if you come after our kids having the best future they can have. Then we will stop you.