Variety Is The Essential Spice To Flavour Political Friendships

Hey everyone. As those in the political village recover from post Dunfermline hangovers gained from celebrating or drowning their sorrows it is I think time for reflection and for me at least contentment that whilst my party did not win this seat and trust me I was gutted for our brilliant candidate Shirley-Anne Somerville we fought the good fight which in reality for all of us no matter our party is all we can actually do. However, I have to say that it was a comment made by my long standing friend Billi Ramsay in a Glasgow Library which made me face the events of Thursday evening or if my friend and fellow poet Jim Higo wants me to be pedantic about it, the early hours of Friday morning with an air of peace which is most unusual for me on an election night.

You see I hadn’t seen Billi for a wee while so it is fair to say I enjoyed our brief catch up at the end of Glasgow Writers at GoMA which as regular readers of this blog will know is an essential part of my Thursday’s. As we chatted Billi said he regularly reads my blog, well I’ve always known he is a man of taste and culture and this is merely proof of the fact if indeed any were needed.

On chatting about my latest rantings I mean posts Billi said he had really enjoyed my post I had made in support of Ed Milliband and his right to defend his father from the slanderous comments made by the Daily Mail. Billi said what he liked about this was the fact I had brought my own father in to it and therefore was able to illustrate my empathy for Ed on a very personal level. He also said that the fact that I am not in the same party as Ed Milliband and profoundly disagree with him on many issues added weight to my defence of him. This is not the first time this particular post has received complementary comments. It was praised another fellow poet Jim Carruth who expressed similar sentiments to Billi when we chatted about my blog at a recent mirrorball event.

This got me thinking and I said to Billi that I was glad he mentioned that one and especially on the day of a by-election as it can get a bit frosty on the stump when we are all competing for votes.

However it is important to remember we can and do have friends in other parties. I say this because there are some people I know who believe that if you are a member of one party you can’t have friends in another because that would surely be treason.

This is in my opinion totally wrong and it’s funny how you only hear these sentiments expressed by those who have never been involved in any politics at any level. Whether
It be through university, trade union campaigns, women’s groups, LGBT equality, protest marches on important issues (poll tax, bedroom tax,) etc culture, aka spoken word, traditional music, community groups or a host of other ways I have made many friends and comrades who have differing views from my own and I thank god for it. I have learned much from them and become a more culturally, socially, and politically rounded person because of it.

You see I believe by learning from my opponents I can gain a greater understanding of them and of the circumstances which shaped them. This is the reason why I wrote the post in support of Ed Milliband and have also supported and will continue to support campaigns by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson and Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale on issues such as gender equality and poverty.
Indeed some of my opponents have even inspired me to write new poetry. In this I cite Aileen Colleran, Kezia Dugdale, Patrick Harvie, as politicians whose views though different from mine in some areas have provided me with ideas for new poems and blog posts. This reminds me I did get something positive from Dunfermline. No I didn’t have a tenner on Cara Hilton, this is personal due to my twitter friendship with her I am delighted to say that Scottish Green Party candidate Zara Kitson will be my first guest blogger on tartantights and will tell me and my readers wherever you are why she joined the Greens. This is a post I look forward to reading though I don’t know if she’ll write a poem to do it.

Whilst on the subject of poetry I must say that both my life and the Scottish poetry scene would be much poorer without the contributions of valued friends such as Pete Faulkner, Jim Monaghan, Marc Sherland, and the one and only Chris Young. All of those mentioned could be said to hold different political views to mine and each other’s in a number of areas but who in other areas can and do unite in common cause. You see to me that is what both politics and friendship are really all about, respecting each others opinions and valuing the diversity they offer us. It is an oft used cliché that variety is the spice of life and whilst this may be true, I think it is only fair and to say that it is certainly the case that in the crazy world of the politics it is the essential spice which adds flavour to add to our cross party friendships.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X


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