On The Night We Changed The Colour Of Scotland’s Political Map I Gained Some Honourable Friends

Hey everyone With the election over it’s time to confess not only that I celebrated my party’s stunning success in changing the political map of Scotland but also why the SNP success story that was Scotland 2015 meant so much to me. You see this election was the election when the political became personal and after 27 years of campaigning twenty two as a party supporter and the last five as a party member, this was the election which without doubt has given me the most satisfaction and not just because of the tartan tsunami which resulted in 56 SNP Members duly elected to the Westminster Parliament.

Though that statistic both surprised and delighted me, the reason for my happiness is this when Chris Stephens, won Glasgow South West, from Ian Daavidson, When Stewart McDonald took the neigbouring seat of Glasgow South from Tom Harris when Alison Thewliss removed one of Labour’s biggest beasts in Anas Sarwar by gaining Glasgow Central, when Anne McLaughlin won Glasgow North East, the seat even i didn’t believe we could win until just after 8 P.M when i heard it was game on and she would beat Willie Bain and most of all when my new MP Natalie McGarry triumphed in Glasgow East she unseated Margaret Curran I was not only celebrating victories for my party i was celebrating victories for my friends.

Yes I really do mean friends. Those named have been there for me in darker days than now they know my hopes and aspirations and in the case of Chris and Natalie they also know my fears. It was this group and a few selected others who were there for me when I almost lost my flatmate to depression in both 2011 and 2012. Thankfully she is still here and like me she cheered on every SNP victory as they came in though the Glasgow results got the biggest cheers of the night from her apart from her original home seat of Rutherglen And Hamilton West

Natrually the biggest cheer of the evening came when Natalie McGarry became our local MP defeating Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran by more than 10,000 votes. This was the campaign I was involved in so it was only natural that Janette who had voted for Natalie would be pleased with the result in our local area. God knows she knows how hard our magnificent SNP family campaigned to make it happen and elect a woman who will always stand for the principles of equality, and fairness.

On a more personal note i am very protective of our new member of parliament who is one of best friends in the party and knew how to make the most effective use of my talents and skills to her maximum advantage. Natalie like the others mentioned in this post knows both of my strengths and my weaknesses and realised along with our brilliant office manager Alexis Deans where they could best be deployed in a campaign which was never going to be easy. Yes folks Natalie knew that canvassing would not be good for me not because i couldn’t get the message across to voters but because she knew that my writing speed would slow me down due to a physical impairment i have had since childhood.

It was because of this Natalie wanted me to work on street stalls which i was more than happy to do. I was also given the what some would call the less than glamorous but i would call very necessary job of stacking leaflets in to bundles for highly effective leafleting teams and assigned the task of on working on publicity material for her with regards to a personal profile and her candidate statement. This to me was the job from heaven especially when you consider that i am both a blogger and a poet so you can imagine how honoured i was to take it on. This was a task i could undertake at home from the comfort of my own living room and when you consider my flatmate has mental health issues this was an intelligent and constructive use of both my time and my talent. Indeed i would go as far as to say that i felt more valued in this campaign than any other i have ever been involved in and by the time i did my polling place duty at St Michael’s school in Parkhead which by the was a great choice of school for a Celtic fan i felt i had did my bit for my candidate, my party, and my cause, and most importantly of all my friend.

Another victory which also received a rather noticeable cheer from Janette was that of Chris Stephens in Glasgow South West saying to me I know how much this one will mean to you. Believe me she isn’t wrong, Chris Stephens is a man who cares deeply about humanity and It is fitting he was elected on a night when we the Labour Party were all but obliterated from the Scottish political landscape for not caring or being seen to care enough. So i say to the voters of Glasgow South West they have chosen well and have elected a man who will fight every hour of every day on their behalf.

As a comrade and friend Chris has been there for me during some very difficult times and on more than one occasion has given me the support i have needed to cope with my flatmate’s depression. That to me is the mark of the man and it is also why he has not only my respect but my friendship and perhaps most importantly of all my trust and believe me i know who i can trust and who i can’t and Chris Stephens is a man I would trust with my life.

One man i can certainly trust is the newly elected is the newly elected member for Glasgow South Stewart McDonald This victory for one of our youngest candidates was in a my view a brilliant result for the people of a constituency which contains areas of affluence and poverty within a few streets of each other and Stewart will be able to speak to both communities with the passion for a fairer society which drove him to get involved in politics and join the Scottish National Party. Stewart believes as i do that the true wealth of a nation lies with people and wants a better more equal Scotland than the Westminster will ever be able or indeed motivated to provide for our people or our country

As part of that drive for a more equal society It was Stewart who organised the biggest LGBTI political conference that Scotland has ever seen. It speaks volumes for the calibre of the man that the day was an outstanding success and and received very favourable reports in the press and media. This is a man who not only takes his politics seriously this is a man on a mission for a better Scotland. A Scotland he is determined to play his part in creating.

Just next door to Stewart’s constituency lies that of Glasgow Central where local councillor Alison Thewliss stood against and beat the Labour’s Anas Sarwar. This was the man many had tipped to become successor to Jim Murphy should the results be as bad as they feared. This indeed did turn out to be the case but somehow i think the idea of a millionnaire leading anything other than a conga in the Bullingdon Club made many true Labour voters more than slightly afraid as they asked the question what does a millionaire know about poverty and concluded in the words of Paul Daniels that the answer was not a lot. So the voters of Glasgow Central decided to place their trust in a young mother of two children under the age of five Someone i’ve known since April 2007 she attended a disability related hustings at my then workplace as the election agent for our candidate for Glasgow Shettleston at that year’s Scottish Elections. Like the other new Members of Parliament mentioned in this post the friendship i forged with Alison on that spring day will i know endure for the rest of my life thanks to common bonds which unite us. These are not not just a shared party membership card but a shared vision of a better Scotland forged on the principles of fairness, equality, and social justice where our country enjoys the same rights and freedoms as any other nations including the right to make our own choices and decisions and responsibilities which that comes with such power.

Knowing Alison for as long as i have I was delighted at her victory and I know just how hard she will work for each and every one of her constituents. I do that this victory was tempered by my only note of sadness on an otherwise brilliant night. You see one of my closest friends was stranding for the Liberal Democrats in that seat and believe me when i say that Chris Young is one of the good guys on this planet and i have to say that i was genuinely saddened by the fact he didn’t manage to save his deposit gaining only 612 votes. However and let this be said loudly and clearly the dignity with which Chris conducted himself in what was a very difficult night for his party should be a lesson to certain members of other parties on how to behave decently in defeat. Trust me it is a lesson they would be very advised to learn and quickly. Blaming the voters is i think you will find not the way to go about winning them back.

With regards to our candidates in Glasgow North and North West Patrick Grady and Carol Monaghan i don’t quite know them as well as i do the rest of our Glasgow MP’S though i have met them both and heard some really good things about them for people in their local areas. i First came across Patrick during his student days at the University Of Strathclyde where he was an active member of SNP students and later went on to become student President of our esteemed Alma Mata Yes i could tell he was destined for great things even then. As For Carol i think our paths crossed a few times during the independence referendum and i know her to be a hard worker who will n common with all of our magnificent Glasgow MP’s fight with all she has for her constituents no matter how they voted on Thursday.

I do have to say that I expected Patrick to win Glasgow North and had high hopes that Carol could do likewise. There was however one victory even I wasn’t expecting at least not until very late on polling when I had heard as i said earlier in this post that it was game on for one of the biggest shocks of thew night and that the woman who has given me the nickname the strident missile could be in line to defeat Willie Bain in what was supposed to Labour’s safest seat in Glasgow and in Scotland and that woman is Anne McLuaghlin.

When i first joined the party it was Anne and the others in this mentioned in this who made me feel welcome, included, and valued as a new member even though i had been campaigning for the party for over two decades. I remember Anne saying to me that she was delighted i had finally joined the SNP family and claimed the place that was always rightfully mine. One little known fact about our new Member of Parliament for Glasgow is that she is a keen supporter of Spoken Word poetry and has with others including her partner Graham Campbell organised many fantastic events of this kind at the African-Caribbean Centre which for those who don’t know is located in Osborne Street in the heart the city centre. As i often said to Anne i prefer to call this street Swinney Street as i believe it should be named after someone who can actually count.

This was a particularly pleasing result as there is nothing which makes happier than achieving something which people say can’t be done. Well remember the medical profession wrote me off as a child and said i wouldn’t reach my first birthday and yet here i am five decades later much to the annoyance of the unionists still living, still, breathing, and still kicking ass,and let’s be honest it’s usually theirs. So you can see why i was so happy at this result. Like me Anne McLaughlin is a fighter who doesn’t know who to quit and it’s only fitting that Thursday night brought her the reward she so deserved for all her efforts over the years. As for the strident missile joke that happened at one of the spoken word nights when on introducing me Anne said that ‘An Independent Scotland would ne more than capable of defending itself as we could replace the trident missile with the strident missile and then called me up to read.

Make no mistake I really enjoyed Thursday’s result and trust me we earned it. Like no election before this one was personal and I mean that in the most positive way possible. Believe me when I say I am very proud of all our candidates who helped change the colour of our political map. I have to say however and I speak very much from the heart that I am proudest of all of those who stood with me in far darker days than now the people I can really call my honourable friends.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X


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