Hey everyone Today is St George’s day and the birthday of one William Shakespeare the man who is England’s national bard. Like Burns Shakespeare’s popularity stretched beyond his national borders and centuries after his death that popularity remains as strong as ever.
Indeed when you consider that both Shakespeare and St George are celebrated on the same day you could say that this is the most English day of the year. It is therefore ironic that it was on this day seven years ago I decided to nail my political colours to the mast and take me down a road which would lead me to eventually join the SNP.
You see it was on this day seven years ago that there was a Scottish Election Hustings at my former place of employment. This was a hustings at which I regret to say our candidate performed particularly poorly though not as poorly as one Mohamed Sarwar two years previously. I qualify that remark only by saying that I would have expected Sarwar as a multi millionaire to perform far better an average Glaswegian who was just proud to carry his party colours.
That fact aside I can’t and won’t excuse a poor performance for which you would have thought that the Labour supporters amongst my then colleagues would have given me pelters. Believe me when I say that if that was your opinion you couldn’t be me wrong if you tried. In fact it was the Labour supporters who crowded round me after the event and told me that the party I had always supported needed me now more than ever before as it needed a voice who was involved in equalities to speak out on equalities. Not only that it needed a voice to speak from the heart.
Sometimes in the cut throat world of politics those who don’t know any better tend to believe that all those in opposing parties hate each other. It is I think fair to say that these people remind me of the title of a well known girlie movie, the movie you may not be surprised to know is clueless. I say this as the kindness of my political opponents will not be forgotten especially that of the man who was local MSP who took a good 10 to 15 minutes of his time to cheer me up and talk of common interests and mutual friends we shared.
At the end of our chat he told me I had a duty to join the party which I had always supported and campaigned for at every election since Govan 88 as I had talent and skills that were needed and I would be a valued addition to the fold.
As we shook hands on this agreement which I’m delighted to say I’ve kept even if I didn’t officially join the ranks till the 2010 election campaign, he informed me I needed to get back to the room and confirm that I would be campaigning that evening. Needless to say I took this advice and went over to chat to my candidate’s election a highly motivated young women who was standing as our council candidate in the ward closest to my place of employment. I told I had noticed that she, like myself had her head in her hands at several points during our candidate’s speech she just smiled and said if we can gain a new member on a day like today the future’s looking better than I thought.
At 6 30 that evening I met that young perspective council candidate and we pounded the streets of the Carlton in search of votes for our party and just under a fortnight later she was elected councillor Alison Thewliss to represent an area she has represented ever since holding her seat at the 2012 council election.
You know as I look back on that campaign I do so with fond memories. I think of the kindness of opponents who were to shape my politics and a candidate now a councillor who was to shape my life. I say thus as she not only became the valued friend she remains to this day but she is also the woman who would provide me with the best Christmas present ever as she signed my statutory declaration which signified my change of gender on Christmas Eve 2008.
I do have to say though, it is perhaps ironic that an independent friendship was born between girls on the most English of days.
Love And Best Wishes