Tag Archive | Kezia Dugdale

After The Votes Were Counted The Result Was A Night Of Mixed Emotions

​This will not be an easy post to write nor indeed should it be. As I look back on the events of last Thursday evening it is I hope with a cool head that I review the results of the UK General Election and in particular what it means for the politics of Scotland. 

Having won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats in the election of  2015 it is I think fair to say that for the SNP this was always going to be a difficult night and I say that openly and with a Scottish National Party card in my purse. The fact this was a snap election called by Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to get a mandate for her hard Brexit strategy seemed to wrong foot my party who just didn’t seem prepared for it or the fight it was going to bring. After all the only elections we were supposed to be fighting this year were of the local council variety. 

Talking of the council elections these should have given the SNP a warning of just how dirty  all the unionist parties were prepared to fight. The fact that there were all sorts of tactical voting arrangements in place to defeat SNP candidates should have sent a flashing amber light straight to SNP headquarters and the fact that it didn’t seem to do this is something I find very alarming indeed. All through the council election campaign all three leaders of the pro UK parties were talking of nothing else but the threat of  a second divisive independence referendum and a willing press and media allowed them the space to do so. 

It is my  opinion that the SNP were far too civilised on this issue and we should have went for the throat in a much more assertive manner with all of our pro union opponents and we should have went for Ruth Davidson in particular far harder than  we did and not let her get away with her outrageous and disgraceful behaviour against our democratically elected First Minister.  Ever since last year’s Scottish election Davidson has been acting as if she had won that election, and not the SNP. This should have been held up to ridicule and Davidson should have been forced to defend her Conservative policies rather than get away Brit free with  her one issue campaign on defending  her precious union. 

Now whilst this may be perceived as bias by those concerned I am more concerned  about our apparent lack of fight in meeting this ridiculous claim head on and forcing the unionists on to the back foot.  This must be at least to some extent responsible for our loses on Thursday night as more than any other  party SNP voters need to be inspired by a campaign that motivates them to vote and to me at least that didn’t happen this time 

The matter of tactical voting wasn’t taken anywhere near as seriously as it should have been by the SNP and it  wasn’t just unionists who were  doing it. There were in my opinion three groups of yes voters who exercised their own version of independence and  anyone who says this didn’t happen is denying reality. These groups were left leaning yes voters who voted Labour for Jeremy Corbyn and his vision of a fairer society, Yexit voters in rural areas especially but not exclusively in the North of Scotland , this was a group of voters who voted yes for independence in 2014 but voted to leave the European Union, and the stay at home voters who will always vote SNP when they go out to vote  but who if they feel the party has let them down or are not doing enough in key areas and have not been engaged by the manifesto or contacted by local activists  may exercise their democratic right to withhold their vote and there is no doubt that all three of these factors played against the party on this occasion.

 This however, could have been migitgated at local level if we had been a bit bolder in holding the unionist patties feet to the fire and challenging them on the authenticity and indeed sincerity of their views. For example we should have sought to make much more of the internal Labour Party fued between Jeremy Corbyn and his Scottish party leader Kezia Dugdale and highlighted the fact that far from being  Corbynistas the vast majority of the Scottish candidates had more in common with Kez than they did with Jez. 

Whilst I’m not sure it would have prevented any of our loses to Labour with the possible exception of Glasgow North East, I do believe that such tactics might have firmed up our majorities in a significant number of the seats we managed to hold thus making it easier to defend them at the next election. Instead of that it may well be the case though I hope it isn’t, that we have to go in to that election with the kind of fire fighting strategy aimed at avoiding a whole swathe of loses to Labour in what used to be their heartland seats.  It is my opinion that should this be the case the SNP will be looking at a return of between 18 -23 seats maximum and on a really bad night we could go down as low as 8-12. However if as I think we should, we take a more assertive line against our opponents I see no reason why we can’t win between 44-48 seats at the  next election. 

I believe we have to go down this road as I think there are dangers in playing too nice. Let’s face it we campaigned as the nice party in this election and it didn’t work and to be honest I don’t see it working in  future .  You can call me alarmist if you like, but I prefer realistic. You see I learned from the best my like lecturer in electoral behaviour Malcolm Dickson who did the System Three polls for the Herald and our resident professor who at that time gave guest lectures which I always made sure to attend. I am of course talking about the voice of elections in Scotland John Curtice who I am sure would happy to see one of his former students exercising such caution in their forecasting 

If  my caution is justified and born of out of both experience and I hope reason, my party’s caution was to some extent dictated by the fact that this was a Westminster election and the fact that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn produced by their recent standards a radical manifesto which captured the imagination of voters throughout the UK and had I not been a member of the SNP and been so emotionally committed to my party and our ultimate aim of independence I could easily have been one of the yes voters who could have loaned my vote to Labour Party to get Jeremy Corbyn elected as Prime Minister.

The other key reasons for my party’s caution was the fact that having won an unrealistically high number of seats it was always going to be a night when the unionist voters would indulge themselves in a wee bit of tactical voting to get rid of some of our most talented and high profile MP’s whilst the media predicted the end of the road for our Westminster leader Angus Robertson who lost his Moray seat to the Conservatives, Callum Kerr and Richard Arkless who were the victims of a Conservative clean sweep in the Border constituencies Kirsteen Oswald whose East Renfrewshire seat once the safest Tory seat in Scotland returned to its natural home for the first time since the days of Alan Stewart, Stuart Donaldson in Kincardine And West Aberdeenshire and Pete Wishart who ironically enough fulfilled my  prediction and held on in Perth and North Perthshire. They didn’t pick up on others which were definitely on my vulnerable list such as Angus , Stirling, Ochil And South Perthshire,  and potentially Alex Salmond’s Gordon constituency  though I thought this was likely to be a Liberal Democrat gain rather than a Tory one.  

I have to say that the more the campaign went the more concerned I became for the SNP candidates who were fighting a difficult election on an agenda over which they had little control. At the beginning of the campaign I rather optimistically predicted that the Conservatives would get no more  than six seats and may even be lucky to get that. It is however fair to say that as the campaign progressed I began to see the direction of travel and it wasn’t travelling in our direction and even as a lifetime optimist I started to think the scale of our loses could be and in all probability would be far heavier than I first thought. Indeed on the morning of the election I forecast to a friend that my prediction for my party was between 38-44 seats, a far cry from the 48-52 seats most of my friends and even some sections of the press believed we would win. 

All things consideredthis  election was not a good one for the SNP or at least not on the surface , but if I take a closer look at it from a more personal perspective I think it could be discribed as a night of mixed emotions for me and my party. Yes we lost some serious big hitters from our ranks but  make no mistake we are a party with plenty of talent in our ranks and I hope that honourable members such as Alison Thewliss,  Chris Stephens,  Joanna Cherry , Lisa Cameron,  Mhairi Black ,  Stephen  Gethins , Stewart MacDonald , Tommy Sheppard and others will be given the chance to shine in this parliament and by doing so demonstrate the wealth of highly skilled representatives we have at our disposal.  
It is I think fair to say  that despite our  loses most of which were inevitable for a party in the mid term of a third term Scottish Government, and in an election when UK politics has been more polarised  than at any time since the 1980’s the SNP still won the Scottish part of this election. I believe to do this in the face of an unprecedented and vicious press and media onslaught represents a truly remarkable achievement from which we should take quiet satisfaction. You see by removing what they see as our most talented MP’s the Conservatives may actually have accidentally strengthened our hand as with no Angus or Alex to cast in the role of the bogeyman it will be so much harder for them cast us as a two man team now than was previously the case. 

Looking back on the  events of the night I have to say that after the votes were counted it was a night of mixed emotions.  From a personal  perspective I had as good an election as was going to be possible given the circumstances as  I watched with pride the return of several of my closest  political allies to serve as their constituency  MPs and my reputation for fairness and accuracy   as a political  pundit was vindicated by my early morning election day prediction being uncomfortably close to the truth 

Meanwhile with regards to the gains  made by the pro UK parties I will await with interest the verdict on the new Labour and Tory intake and how many of them will actually be up to the job. I suggest that it may not be quite as many as they think and once they have to talk on  issues other than their obsessive hatred of the SNP and independence they may  be found out for what they are and the SNP stand  best  placed to benefit from such a scenario.

 At the beginning of this campaign all the unionist leaders in Scotland said they wanted to send Nicola Sturgeon a message, and to a certain extent they got their wish. It is my opinion however, that sometimes people should be careful what they wish for as they may actually get it and find to their horror that it might  not be as good as they think.  

Till next time 

Gayle X

Democracy Matters 

On day 20 of NaPoWriMo I tacke the media made myth that Scotland’s voters and getting tired of voting and may be have a bit of voter fatigue. This is exactly how Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale  want you to feel , it represents by far their best chance of even limited electoral success as they know that a politically motivated Scotland is not in their intersts These people who are no  more than branch office managers for their respective Westminster parties are really keen for Scotland to be quiet and go back to sleep so they can do what they like and no-one will notice or even care. It is therefore fair to say that apathy is one of the most important weapons they happen to have in their quest to keep Scotland subordinate and that’s why I’ve tilted this poem Democracy Matters. I hope you enjoy the read. 
Democracy Matters. 

The drip feeding has started on TV and in the press

as the establishment suggest 

the voters of Scotland are fed up with voting 

 you’ve  got to be  joking 

I never tire of defending my hard won rights and liberties 

I’ll campaign hard but I’ll do it with dignity 

you see I’ve been involved in too many fights 

for too many causes 

to ever even think of giving up on democracy 

so when I hear people say 

I don’t do politics 

I say a prayer for the apathetic 

and hope they remember their words 

when someone they don’t like gets elected 

and their rights are infringed 

I’ve had enough of this cringing 

it really is time for them to stop their whinging 

or shut up and never raise their voice in anger  again 

as for who wins the race to number 10 

God forbid  the Tories will be re-elected 

though I think they will 

I like some Labour policies 

but voting for them would be 

 too bitter a pill to swallow

their still toxic to me 

I voted yes to independence 

and will do so again 

I’m scunnered with Westminster

and their heartless austerity policies

I want to live in a country where democracy  matters 
where our rights and liberties are respected 

and no-one needs to live in fear 

because of who they are 

or what  they are perceived to be 

stereotypes don’t do it for me 

my politics will  never be 

 about giving people different coloured triangles 

this is not 1933 

I wouldn’t be here if it  was

a trans woman with physical impairments 

who supports the Trade Union movement 

I’d have been a cert for the final solution 

my only saving grace would have been

having so many labels 

the Nazi’s wouldn’t have known 

where to place me or what box to tick  

though no doubt they would have got me on something 

trust me I’m not bluffing 

this country is facing a very stark choice 

if we don’t use our vote 

The Tories will claim we’ve made our choice 

more families will be forced in to poverty 

more disabled people will die 

but the top one percent will thrive 

and the media will spin it

 that we’re doing well 

they’ll talk of prosperity and dig out a few selective examples 

as proof of their point 

giving no further thought to consequences of their actions 

or the trail of devastation they leave in their wake 

to be apathetic to this heartless government 

is a risk I’m not willing to take 

If you say we’re voting too often 

that’s your call 

but if you fall for this trap 

 don’t say you weren’t warned 

when your nightmares become reality 

and  one by one your rights die 

at the dawn of a true blue Tory kingdom 

united in your name

 by your apathy and your ignorance 

© Gayle  Smith 2017 

Breakfast Means Breakfast

Hey Readers

In her recent speech to the Conservative Party Conference  British Prime Minister Theresa May seemed to be under the delusion that she could stop Scotland from holding a second independence referendum  should we choose to do so, simply by sneering at us and shouting Brexit Means Brexit. Now far be it from me to put an unelected tyrant with no mandate in Scotland in her place but she needs to be told if there’s any sneering to be done we’re the ones who are going to do it.  Well at least we have a First Minister who has been democratically elected by our people and who but for a corrupt system of PR would be heading a second majority government. It is as a reminder to the Right Honourable Lady that she will never stop the people of Scotland exercising our democratic will that I have written this poem which takes a satirical look at the sinister anti Scottish undertones in her speech. I have titled it Breakfast Means Breakfast , I hope you enjoy the read.

Breakfast Means Breakfast

I had to tell them no
you can’t have lunch I forbid it
you must understand I’m in command
there is just one meal you’re getting
so don’t go forgetting
Breakfast means Breakfast
Now where are my chocolate digestives
I hope that Nicola and Kezia
haven’t been helping themselves
I’ll need to put their favourites on the top shelves
with that stuff I have to stash away from Boris
no wonder I gave him the job of dealing with Johnny Foreigner
but for now breakfast means breakfast
now where is my Belgian chocolate
damn I can’t remember where I hid it
all I know is I placed it
out of the reach of the children
this is my kingdom not theirs
It’s not fair they don’t like me
well except Ruth
the only one who accepts
my truth
lives by my rules
without question
the rest will just have to learn
what I say goes
I’m replacing Thistles with Roses
and Haggis with Tripe
I don’t care if they don’t like it
I’m banning shortbread and Irn Bru forever
this family is better together
they will not be allowed to leave home
I’m putting my foot down and stamping it loudly
because I’m proud to be head of this house
and no-one will take my position
this is my kingdom
and some tartan agitators
SNP Greens and and Leftie Labour
need to be told
nobody mocks my golden ambition
of a new Victorian age
where those who ruled commanded the stage
and those we ruled knew their place
we got the nice plates and the
the treats
and they got the scraps but  were content with their lot
why can’t the Scots see
this is the way it’s meant to be
I take holidays to Greece
whilst they have greasy diets
which will make them too fat to riot.
I need to keep them quiet
and remind them that no matter the time of day
they will do as I say
and breakfast means breakfast
they are getting no free lunches
yes I know their revenue pays
for my attack of the munchies
but that’s irrelevant
like the Welsh and all others
I don’t like they live in the servants, quarters
my world does have borders
to keep the foreigners out
they may be nice in there proper place
I wear French lace
and Italian leather
but my  family are better together
and they will come first at all times
I can’t decide whether to have
French or Spanish wine
with my Italian meal
It’s a tough decision
but I will make it my way
and the United Kingdom
will rejoice whatever do
as for the Scots they’ll be too busy finishing their cereal to care
eventually they’ll give up in despair
content themselves with one meal a day
and concede their irrational demands
they will love the breakfast menu
it will come decorated in red white and blue
what’s that ?
I heard the door shutting
someone’s left a note
it says thanks for nothing
we’re off out to the Cafe Euro
so don’t wait up we’re not coming back
we’re moving on
the diet is less restrictive
has more choice
and the menu is written in multitude of tongues
it’s the kind of place where breakfast is only served once a day
and doesn’t come with a side of attitudes

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Scotland Knew A Laing Time Ago Westminster Maths Were Flawed But Fringe Politicians Still Live In The Past In The Hope We’ll Go Back In Our Box

Hey Readers.

As the annual GERS report in to Scottish government finances shows Scotland’s economy currently running at a deficit I have no doubt that the more demented amongst the unionist community will be raising a glass of champange or perhaps more accurately swigging from a bottle of buckfast as they celebrate what they will attempt to justify as a vindication of the Scotland is too wee, too poor and too stupid to run our own country without the generous help of the benefits we gain from being part of the United Kingdom.

However if these career hacks and their barely literate assortment of acquaintances whose only interests are what they’ll be served on the gravy train or where their next shellsuit may come from l think for one minute that they can win this argument they are even more deluded than I thought they were and believe me that is not easy.

I say this because a straight talking former Corporol of the 2nd battalion the Parachute Regiment who is a fervent supporter of Scottish independence once told me never to under estimate the stupidity and servility of your average Scottish unionist. It was advice I had received earlier from my dad and my gran and that by the way was my mammy’s mammy and was already heeding, still it did no harm to have the message reinforced especially by a man voted from Castlemilk, who is exactly the type of voter that the British loyal Labour and unionist Party as he always called them would have taken for granted.

As if to prove the deadly accuracy of this assessment the more feral unionists who always take delight in talking Scotland down seem to conveniently forget that the report over which they are salivating was and I quote former Conservative Party Secretary of State for Scotland Ian Laing deliberately designed to make the case against any form of Scottish home rule unappealing to Scottish voters. This whether they like it or not is a fact and therefore this report will by its very nature always have a pro union bias thus taking away its credibility as an objective summary of Scotland’s economic performance.

I would also have thought if the unionists were going to lie to the people of Scotland they would at least have the brains to do it right but alas it seems I have greatly over estimated their powers of consistency. You see it was only two years ago this report claimed that Scotland’s deficit was running at £28 billion. This is a disaster for the unionists no matter how you look at because for it now only to be£14 billion means one of two things, either the SNP have a leadership of such genius we have halved our national deficit in just under two years, or and much more likely the GERS report is a pack of carefully manipulated lies.

Now I don’t know why, but despite the fact I am a card carrying member of the SNP or maybe even because of it, I favour the second option. You see it’s just a wee bit too suspicious to me that these figures take no account of Scotland’s contribution to what the unionists would call national projects from which our people will derive no economic , cultural, or social benefits. These include projects like the restoration of Westminster, The upgrade of the HS2 rail project which doesn’t come within 100 miles of the Scottish border, and hosting the toxic political viagra which our so-called UK leaders deemed to dangerous for a remote part of England yet feels is perfectly safe for the central belt of Scotland which is home to over half of the country’s population.

These statistics also ignore Scotland’s oil and whisky revenue which would and Westminster knows this wipe out any alleged debt overnight. To say otherwise is to mislead the people of Scotland and whilst on the subject of our national drink these figures do not account for the missing money which is syphoned from the Scottish economy and diverted to Westminster when whisky is taken from Scotland to be shipped from English ports so the profits go to the UK Government rather than the country in which it was produced.

This in my opinion is deception and a deliberate act of sabotage. Yet the more sycophantic unionists still try to claim we are better together what i want to know is who exactly is we they are referring to because if we were better together I’m pretty certain we would be feeling a lot happier in our so-called shared nation than we actually are and the SNP would not have won their third successive term in government and increased the number of constituency seats or the majority of Scottish seats in the UK general election of 2015. However living in the bubble of the press and media circus as unionist parties do means that somewhere to the north of cloud cuckoo land the unionists are desperately trying to cling on to the faded dream that they actually still matter and are ramping up the SNP Bad scare stories of which the GERS report is only but one example.

On the day of its release we had unionist politicians who need to get their names in the papers queuing up to bad mouth the SNP and the cause of independence despite the fact that these manufactured statistics only show how Scotland is performing as part of the United Kingdom and give no indication whatsoever of how we would perform as an independent country.

First up you had Labour in Scotland’s leader Kezia Dugdale who made the rather fanciful claim that the report illustrated that we are better together as it showed we benefit from the pooling and sharing of resources we get as part of this union. As if that wasn’t enough the giggle meter really crancked up to full blast with the appearance of the Liberal Democrats Scottish leader Willie Rennie who claimed that the case for independence was now dead.

Personally as someone who has spent a lot of her time at the Edinburgh Fringe in recent weeks I never knew Kezia and Willie were such gifted comedians I look forward to seeing their shows at the fringe next year I’m sure they will both be very entertaining. That said however, I feel I must correct them and especially Willie on the case for independence being dead as the only things which are dead in Scotland at this time are The Labour Party and The Liberal Democrats and that unlike their opinions on GERS that is a fact and the parties concerned have little or no chance of recovery any time soon. Part of the reason for there bloody and brutul massacres at the hands of Scottish voters was due to their bad mathematics You see only fools would argue that and 14 billion pound deficit which I have proved doesn’t really exist when Scotland’s money ceases to be used for Westminster vanity projects is such an enormous black home that it would stop a nation from.existing whereas a 1.6 trillion debt is not a black hole but is merely a deficit. This to me is illustrates a level of incompetence so death defyingly stupid that those who support this argument should not be allowed to be leading a queue for a bus never mind a nation.

So I say to my friends and fellow yes voters not to panic over these figures they were made by Westminster for Westminster and a few fringe politicians and if you’ll forgive the pun we knew that a Laing time ago. You see with Scotland’s parliament being set up as a devolved administration, it is a fact whether the Brits like it or not that it can’t run at a deficit. This however is a fact that an arrogant punch drunk unionist elite are relying on you not to know. You see they need to keep Scots ignorant of the facts to carry on with their little power games and the reason they are getting so vicious in their self loathing hysteria, is because they know the Scots who have have had a longer nap than the sleeping beauty are beginning to wake up and realise John Bull is no prince charming. We have also realised that since the deficit we would be allegedly running at was made by Westminster then it should be paid by Westminster.

To argue to the contrary and against the interests of your people shows the kind of disturbing and delusional tendencies that only the most calculated sociopaths possess.I concede that if the SNP or any other pro independence party had been in coalition with any of the Westminster governments at UK level then Scotland then they may have some liability for the shared debt that was acquired during that specific period but since was not the case then it can I believe be successfully argued that Scotland had no say in accruing the deficit especially since the British establishment are so fond of referring to our country as a region of the United Kingdom rather than a nation within a family of nations.

Therefore by examining this argument in detail I have I believe shown by use of things such as fact reason rather than the unionist it’s right because we say it is school of thought that this is Westminster’s deficit and Westminster and only Westminster should be forced by the international monetary fund if necessary to pay it in full. The days of unionists bullying Scotland are over and over for good. This has been proven not only by their defeat but by the scale of their defeat I would have thought that they would have got that message by now but alas on planet union the self serving and self deluded are still on full bully mode in spite of the comprehensive thrashings they received at the Westminster and Holyrood elections. Like drunks in the gutter who shout at the moon and dares to tell the stars to leave the dark night sky they still cling on yesterday in the vain and futile that the dawn will never come.

Now I hate to be cruel but someone needs to tell them there are of four nations in these islands and we all need to move on. It’s time they were told to stop living in the past and face a future where the people of our nations may actually get along better because the empire is finished and it will never return no matter how much the unionists want it to.

You see the problem the unionists have to face is actually really a simple one, they want to win the future by living in the past and can’t understand why this is doomed to fail. This kind of attitude may have worked in a pre referendum Scotland before 2007 but not anymore we have awakened from our long sleep and we won’t going back in our box. We have discovered a world outside of Westminster and decided we are going to be part of it and no amount of bad mathematics is going to stop us fulfilling our dream and building a better tomorrow.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

From Daddy’s Girls To Optimists To A Green Man Whose Really Switched On Every Living Witness Knows The Same God Knows Loves Us All

Hey Readers

As you will know if you are a regular reader of this blog I am a regular attender at church and consider myself to be a practising Christian. So yesterday morning I took my usual place in the pews at my local church and enjoyed an excellent and thought provoking sermon delivered by The Reverend Roy Tuton who was standing in for our usual ministerial team. 

In the sermon the Reverend Tuton preached from the book of Exodus and emphasised the value of difference as he pointed out that no matter where we may be in the world it is the same god who cares for and loves us all.

This god he told us, is the god of Sturgeon the god of Davidson, the god of Dugdale,  the god of Harvie, and the god of Rennie. This to me was a masterstroke in how to connect with all hues and views in the rainbow which I am sure make up every parish in Scotland and really spoke to my condition as a political activist and member of the SNP.

You see this comment made me think on a similar quote by my friend and fellow poet Jim Monaghan made during the independence referendum in 2014. When chatting to me during the referendum campaign Jim said that it was important to remember that your  fiercest opponent in one fight could be and more than likely would be your staunchest ally in another. Needless to say I agreed wholeheartedly with those sentiments when Jim expressed them so it should come as no surprise that I still agree with them now. 

On hearing them yesterday morning I reflected during the quiet times the sermon gives us of what I may have in common with those who are my political opponents and I must admit I found admirable qualities in each and every one of them.

In Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson I found a woman of deeply held principles and though I disagree strongly with on the constitutional issue this is a woman worthy of respect who has a very likable personality.

I also have something else with Ruth, and that is that I too identify as an LGBT Christian. As she and I both know this is not an easy journey but we are I hope comforted by the fact that god has placed us in our communities to show faith to others and be living witnesses to the fact that no matter how we are perceived the inescapable truth is that god loves us all and celebrates us for who we are.

I now move on to Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale. When I thought of Kezia I thought of someone who is a lot more like me than she’d like to think. For example like me, Kezia’s politics are driven by passion and the desire to see a fairer more equal society.  A classic example of this came when she led the fight to abolish pay day loans as she saw the horrors these loans brought upon the poorest and most vulnerable of our country’s citizens. Like me Kezia is a Daddy’s girl and I envy the fact that she still has hers here to take pride in her success and I know from reading his tweets just how proud of his daughter her dad actually is.

To be honest her dad, whose political leanings are closer to mine than Kezia’s is I’m sure delighted that his daughter has gone so far up the political ladder in what is after all a reasonably short period of time.  Personally I think she got the right job before she was ready for it as circumstances thrust it upon her but through it all she has maintained a dignity during what have been difficult and challenging times for her party and which involved a very public coming out as a lesbian during the recent Scottish election campaign. Despite our political differences this led to me writing a poem in support of her decision to go public about her sexuality entitled Journey To Pride to show my solidarity with her on this issue.

When it comes to Patrick Harvie I could eulogise all day on the good points about the most switched on green man in Scotland. I had the privilege of campaigning with Patrick during the independence referendum and contrary to what The Daily Mail may have you believe I found him to be polite, charming, and willing to give his time to anyone if he was able to do so. I will admit I share many of Patrick’s political principles especially on sustainable communities and fracking which I pray will never be allowed to destroy Scotland for the sake of a one off payment of fool’s gold. Like Patrick I believe this would be environmental vandalism of the worst possible kind and would have profound implications for the future of our nation which would be negative and long lasting.

Finally I look at Willie Rennie who for those who don’t know is the highly optimistic leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.  I like Willie and I like his boundless enthusiasm for his party. I find it refreshing that far from giving up on them during what have obviously been a very challenging few years for them Willie is even more determined than ever to win hearts , minds, and coverts to the cause of Liberal Democracy. Trust me there are no limits to this man’s optimism he’s even tried to get me to join his party because I signed a petition agreeing with their stance on one particular issue and we all know that he has as much chance of that happening as there is of me climbing Mount Everest and I’m terrified of heights.

My fear of heights aside however Scottish politics needs people like Willie Rennie as it needs all the leaders mentioned in this post. To me and to democrats everywhere choice of political viewpoints is essential to a healthy democracy. We in Scotland are lucky to have plenty of parties to choose from. We are also at least in my opinion, fortunate that we have politicians of substance and talent who are willing to lead them and put themselves forward to take difficult and challenging decisions in the name of their beliefs.

It is thanks to my belief in the living god that I am able at least to some extent to see past the party colours and focus on the individual and the circumstances that shaped them because when it comes down to it each party member and for that matter voter no matter how similar we may be in some ways will have had different life experiences which will have played a part in who making us who we are. Now whilst I appreciate that this may be difficult for some people to understand particularly those obsessed by social class I think it is something worth celebrating that as different as we may be that one fact unites us no matter what views we hold or where we are in the world and that is that from daddy’s girls to optimists and a green man whose really switched on, every living witness knows the same god loves us all.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

The Gift That Keeps On Giving Has Failed The Campaign Test

Hey Readers.

As we approach the most important UK wide vote since 1975 and less than 24 hours before Britain goes to the polls to decide to whether or not to remain in the European Union  the leader of Labour’s Scottish branch Kezia Dugdale has compared the Leave campaign to Yes Scotland which campaigned for Scottish independence referendum.

This is the latest in a series of high profile gaffes by Ms Dugdale who though likeable in a personal capacity, has or so it seems an uncanny knack of putting her foot very firmly in her mouth at a moments notice. Indeed Ms Dugdale has been cautioned by former Westminster Labour MP for Glasgow South Tom Harris who is chair of the Scottish Leave campaign to tone down the referendum rhetoric and I have to say that on this occasion I agree with the former honorable member.

Believe me this is something I never thought I would live long enough to say and agreeing with the most right wing representative Labour has ever had does make me feel ever so slightly uneasy. I mean this is a man who would make the likes of George Robertson, and Gordon Brown Look like later day versions of Karl Marx and that in itself is no mean achievement.

As f insulting yes supporters just hours before the vote Kezia has yet again let her rivalry with the SNP get in the way of the facts and could actually have damaged support for the remain campaign had the SNP support had been in any way as petty as she has been in making this regrettable comparison

By all accounts Kezia is a thoroughly decent woman and I have that on good authority from many members of the SNP who know and like her whilst honourably disagreeing with her politics. However this episode shows why the more unkind amongst her opponents describe her as the gift that keeps on giving as this argument is couched in the language of the simpleton. Indeed I was faced with a similar smear from someone whom I consider to be the most gullible human being I have ever met. I dismantled this vacuous argument on that on that occasion and I am going to do it again. I say this not out of malice but because I believe that if an argument is flawed you have both a moral and political duty to expose those flaws.

Now I don’t know about you but I would have that Kezia Dugdale would have had better things to do that indulge in petty political posturing which she knows contain not one single grain of truth. You see most SNP members I know will be voting for remain and doing so for exactly the same reasons we voted yes on the 18th of September 2014. You see we stick with our principles and believe in a Europe that works for Scotland. I know that the European Union is far from perfect and there are many areas in which it needs reform but unlike the British union we believe that this is a union which works for Scotland rather than conspiring against it.

It is my opinion that Kezia Dugdale by making this quite frankly ludicrous statement has shown her one of her greatest political shortcomings and that is naivety as nobody who wishes to be considered to be a remotely credible politician would have made such a sweeping generalisation about those who for the most part are on the same side as they are on this occasion.

This inflammatory comment shows why a potentially talented politician will in all probability never be elected First Minister of our nation as she is far too accident prone to be charged with this level of responsibility. She is if you like, a politician who though nice enough is quite clearly out of her depth and believe me it shows that she has been the right job ten years too early.

I illustrate this by saying that to any impartial observer the Yes campaign and that of Brexit could not be further apart and though it may be cruel to do so I think to remind Kezia Dugdale that it wasn’t the yes campaign which was endorsed by UKIP, Britain First , and the Loyal Orange Order it was better together the pro unionist campaign of which she was proud to be proud to be a part. Yes all leaders of the Brexit Boys Club were red white and blue union jackers to the very core of their being.

So sorry as I am to burst Kezia’s bubble she really has left me no choice. You see I won’t tolerate a false comparison between the positive vision of the yes campaign and the relentless British nationalist negativity of Brexiters. Indeed there is only one vague similarity between these two very arguments and that is that Kezia Dugdale opposed them both. So it seems to me that in that Kezia gained her political awareness not from the school of hard knocks or the university of life but the school of petulant politics at which she was the star student at least she was if you believe her mentor George Foulkes. Meanwhile if like myself, you are more inclined to live in the real world it has to be said that statements like I want Nicola Sturgeon’s desk do not present the image of a potential future leader of our country.

I will concede that it may be perceived I am being ever so unkind with that latest comment, though after all having been a judge in what in the fiercely competitive world of spoken word poetry contests I am known to be a very harsh marker. However if there is one thing I can pride myself on it’s my honesty. I have given Kezia plenty of praise in the past when I believed she deserved it and will do again when the occasion demands, But when you fail your campaign test it illustrates why no matter how nice you may be then you can never be the kind of politician to whom I or any others who have political savvy would look for leadership or inspiration.

Indeed at the recent Scottish Election where her party was pushed in to third place behind the SNP and Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives and if you judge on constituency seats alone fourth place behind the Liberal Democrats it was identified that one of Labour’s key problems was that Kezia Dugdale had a major credibility problem with the Scottish voters who couldn’t see her as a credible challenger to Nicola Sturgeon let alone an alternative First Minister and believe me when I say that outbursts like this one will do nothing to remedy that issue for her or her party.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

When Scotland Spoke With A Confident Voice We Decided To Vote For The Credible Choice

Hey Readers. As I readied myself to watch the Election coverage I had a feeling it was going to be a good night for the SNP but for a party seeking a historic third term in government this night surpassed even my expectations. You see I had never believed the polls that when they claimed my party were going to win a second consecutive majority. This to me was a tactic by a predominantly unionist thinking press and media designed with the twin aims of lulling our voters in to a false sense of security whereby SNP voters may consider splitting the ticket and giving their second vote to another pro independence party such as the Green Party or RISE whilst mobilising the unionist vote behind whatever candidates were best placed to defeat the SNP.

Looking at these tactics one could argue that the first of those tactics failed completely and the second had only a limited degree of success and was far less effective than they had hoped.  On a bright sunny day the SNP vote was out in force as happy confident voters made their way to the polling station to make their voices heard and make Scotland matter

Make no mistake I was nervous as I waited for the results to come in
you see as someone who has always been a keen observer of electoral behaviour in Scotland and elsewhere I more was convinced than many of our activists that there would be at least some degree of tactical voting which would in all likelihood cost us our majority though only the most embittered unionist would believe they could stop us from winning the election overall.

For an election which was if you believed the pundits supposedly in the bag months ago the declarations were painfully slow to come through. At first I wondered why this could possibly be and the Celtic supporter in me came racing to the surface and all sorts of conspiracy theories leapt in to action. The fact that Orkney was the first seat to declare did nothing to ease my suspensions and the seat as expected was held by The Liberal Democrats Liam McArthur 

It wasn’t long till the next declaration and this one was a
more accurate sign of how the night would pan out as Rutherglen , Cambuslang And Blantyre resulted in a gain for the SNP as Claire Haughey unseated the sitting Labour MP James Kelly with a  majority of more than 3,000. This was an excellent result for the party and the successful candidate who has worked in the NHS as a mental health nurse and is a strong trade unionist will be a very useful addition to the SNP team at Holyrood  

Next up it was Hamilton Larkhall And Stonehouse where Christina McKelvie held the seat she won in 2011 with an increased majority over Labour This is a result which will not only go down well with the voters who re-elected a hard working and talented constituency MSP  but also amongst the members of Shettleston branch where Christina’s son Jack is a member and our spokesperson on youth issues.   

This was followed by Shetland which was held by the maverick MSP Tavish Scott who gave what has to be one of the most crass acceptance speeches I have ever heard in my life. Scott has I think it’s safe to say always been a bit of a loose cannon and a bit too full of himself for my liking. This Liberal Democrat who was neither liberal nor democratic used what should have been a moment to celebrate his and his party’s achievement to launch of a vicious and vitriolic attack on both Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. Personally I found this to be rather sad but he was given a lesson in class by his own party leader Willie Rennie who on gaining North East Fife from the SNP paid his successor, defeated SNP MSP Rod Campbell a warm and generous tribute. Now that, Tavish is how acceptance speeches should be made.

Before Willie’s victory the SNP had successfully held on to Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley where Willie Coffey had been returned for the third successive election and gained Greenock And Inverclyde from Labour as Stewart MacMillan cruised to victory with a majority of 8,000 from the new Labour candidate Siobhan McCready.

It was also around this time that the Conservative Party gained their first seat of what transpired to be their most successful Scottish election to date, with Oliver Mundell the 26 year old son of Scottish Secretary David Mundell gaining the Dumfrieshire seat from The Labour Party’s Elaine Murray who finished third behind the newly elected Mundell, and the SNP’s Joan McAlpine There would be further Conservative success in southern Scotland later in the with Finlay Carson holding Galloway and West Dumfrieshire and John Scott holding Ayr despite a fierce challenge from the SNP who in Jennifer Dunn had an outstanding candidate who would have been a great asset to both her party and the parliament had she been successful.

The main story of this election was of SNP success and there were early victories for the party with Linda Fabianni holding East Kilbride with an increased majority, Keith Brown doing likewise in Clackmannanshire And Dumblane and Dundee Scotland’s most emphatic Yes City in the 2014 independence referendum returning two SNP MSP’s as Joe Fitzpatrick held Dundee City West and Shona Robison was re-elected for the fourth consecutive election in Dundee City East. I have to say however though I was delighted with the results in Dundee, it did provide the one personal let down of the evening as some of my party booed Labour’s Jenny Marra as she made her defeat speech after losing to the sitting MSP Joe Fitzpatrick in the western half of the city.

This disappointed and angered me as Jenny is one of her party’s most talented MSP’s and also by quite a distance one of the most likable. Believe me when I say she is the kind of opponent I respect which is why I found this behaviour so difficult to take. This isn’t the way I do politics nor is the way of my friends within the SNP family. I may not agree with Jenny Marra on certain issues with regards to the constitutional future of our country but I recognise someone who will fight for my rights as a trans woman and I prefer to build bridges rather than walls. So having given Tavish Scott his character for being crass and undignified in victory I am equally capable and ready to hand out a political yellow card to my own side if I think some of us may have played an unfair game as I believe was the case in this instance. To those who indulged in this type of politics I say only this by word of caution. Whilst it is true that politics arouses deep seated passions let us remember that we are ambassadors of our party and our cause and therefore to try our best to conduct ourselves with dignity and treat others the way we would want them to treat us.

This was however was my only disappointment of what was turning out to be a great night for my party In the hour or so which followed there were victories for Justice Secretary Michael Mathieson in Falkirk West, and Finance Secretary John Swinney in North Perthshire where he faced a tough challenge from the champion of right wing conservativism and top Tory tweeter Murdo Fraser. It was also around this time that Environment minister Fergus Ewing held Inverness And Nairn, Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead
retained Moray, and SNP business manager Derek Mackay was re-elected in Renfrewshire North And West. There were also comfortable victories for returning MSP’s Aileen Campbell in Clydesdale, Jamie Hepburn in Cumberland And Kilsyth and Alistair Allen in Eilean Siar

Though it was great to see familiar faces given a fresh mandates from the voters it is true to say that every team needs new blood to refresh it and amongst the well known names there were a number of new faces elected to the SNP team in parliament many of whom were women. Having already mentioned the success of Claire Haughey earlier in this post it is appropriate to highlight the success of Gillian Martin who retained East Aberdeenshire and Jenny Gilrurth who held on to the Central Fife seat previously held by the outgoing Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick. There were also other notable successes for strong talented women candidates with Jeane Freeman who succeeded Adam Ingram as the party standard bearer retain Cumnock , Carrick, And Doon Valley and Annabelle Ewing gain Cowdenbeath from Labour’s Scottish deputy leader Alex Rowley.

By this time a pattern was beginning to emerge and that pattern was in the main one of the SNP holding on to the seats gained in their two previous election victories in 2007 and 2011 and making inroads to the remaining Labour seats and gaining all but three of them.

The most prominent of the causalities were former party leader Johann Lamont who was convincingly beaten by Humza Yousaf in Pollok as the SNP turned Glasgow a bright shade of yellow winning every constituency in the city, and the man she defeated in the 2011Labour leadership contest Ken McIntosh who lost his Eastwood seat to Conservative Jackson Carlaw. It isn’t often I’ll praise a Conservative opponent but I will make an exception for Jackson Carlaw who on the occasion of his victory took time out to pay tribute to his two main rivals Stewart Maxwell of the SNP and of course Ken McIntosh. In what was arguably the best and most gracious acceptance speech I have ever heard, Jackson Carlaw complimented the skills, talents and the commitment of his opponents and wished them well in their future endeavors.

After the Eastwood result there were more gains in Glasgow for the SNP at the expense of Labour. In Maryhill/ Springburn Bob Doris defeated sitting MSP Patricia Ferguson and in Provan where Ivan McKee unseated Paul Martin. The loss of these seats was a devastating blow to Labour particularly as they had stayed true to the party cause in 2011 on a night when Labour seats were being hoovered up by the SNP all over Scotland.

In other results First Minister Nicola Sturgeon easily retained her Glasgow Southside /Central more than doubling her majority in the process. Glasgow also saw Bill Kidd increase his majority from 7 in 2011 to 6,198 as Glasgow Anniesland once the political home of one Donald Dewar became an even brighter shade of yellow. So I think I can safely say that the man who needed five recounts at the last election may not have needed one on this occasion. Cathcart saw the hard work of local MSP James Dornan rewarded by an almost five fold increase in his majority and in the seat which in my early years on earth was the deepest shade of Tory blue when in the pre devolution years of the 1960’s and 70’s it sent maverick MP Teddy Taylor to Westminster this SNP victory was all the more significant as it proved, that the much heralded or perhaps should I say manufactured Conservative revival did not extend to the seat which was once its Glasgow heartland.

The Tory revival such as it was had little impact outside the south of Scotland and the border constituencies as they failed to make inroads into former strongholds such as Stirling which was once the seat of Scotland’s most hard-line Thatcherite Michael Forsyth or Strathkelvin and Bearsden which was certainly in my politically formative years of the 1980’s always regarded as
traditional Tory territory. The fact that both these seats were held by the SNP with comfortable majorities shows how much Scotland has changed in the intervening decades. We are a very different country from the Scotland I grew up in.

Proof of how much Scotland has changed can be illustrated by looking at my own constituency of Shettleston. This former Labour heartland was held by the SNP and popular local MSP John Mason dramatically increased his majority from just over 700 to just over 7,000. This was a brilliant result not only John but also for the hard working team of activists who worked tirelessly for his re-election. Though I did as much as I was able to do I feel that special mentions must be made for branch organiser Jennifer Layden, branch secretary Laura Doherty, Alex Kerr, Bob Bothwell, May Findlay, and Linda Pike who made the best the jam I’ve ever tasted and sold it to raise funds for John’s re-election.

Still on Shettleston but on a more a personal note, I would like to wish defeated candidates Labour’s Thomas Rannachen, and the Conservative Party’s Thomas Kerr, both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting whilst on polling duty at Swinton Primary best wishes for the future. Both guys are excellent young candidates who served their parties well and will I am sure enjoy better nights in years to come. Indeed such was his accuracy in predicting how his party may fare, I can see young Mr Kerr becoming the new Bernard Ponsonby and though he may not be thinking along those lines just yet it is certainty true to say that stranger things have happened.

By the time of the Glasgow declarations The Labour Party had finally won two seats with former leader Iain Gray holding on in East Lothian which ironically enough was the SNP’s top target seat and Daniel Johnston gain Edinburgh Southern from the SNP. This result was undoubtedly Labour’s best on what was otherwise a disastrous night for the party. This is a fact which only the churlish and petty minded hard-line unionist could even attempt to deny. Indeed to bury their heads in sand on this will only accelerate their decline even further as you get nowhere by living in denial. It should perhaps be remembered, that Edinburgh Southern is not your typical Scottish constituency and is amongst the most affluent areas
in the country.

Looking at this seat in a bit more detail this result though going against the national trend wasn’t entirely unexpected as there were a couple of significant factors which played well for Labour in this constituency. One was the popularity of us the local MP Ian Murray and the other was that there was a degree of tactical voting in Edinburgh that benefitted Labour in this seat. There is also no doubt there was a significantly higher instance of tactical voting in our capital city than anywhere else in Scotland even staunchly unionist Aberdeen yielded three out of three MSP’s for the SNP and speaking on a personal level as someone who has worked in equalities Mark McDonald’s result in Aberdeen Donside was particularly satisfying.

This tactical voting in Edinburgh certainly helped all unionist parties make capital gains. I just hope that those involved didn’t find voting for someone whose party they don’t actually like wasn’t too taxing for them. Taxing or not it brought all pro union parties a union dividend as it helped the Conservative leader in the Scottish parliament Ruth Davidson win Edinburgh Central in a very close contest with the SNP’s Alison Dickie, and the Liberal Democrats in Edinburgh Western where Alex Cole-Hamilton gained the party’s former stronghold by defeating the SNP candidate Tony Gulliano. However it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the SNP in our capital city as Ben MacPherson gained the Edinburgh North and Leith seat which had previously been held by Labour’s Malcolm Chisholm with a majority of 6,000. The party also held the Pentlands seat so long a stronghold of Conservative grandees such as Malcolm Rifkind and the late David McLetchie, and successfully defended Edinburgh Eastern as Ash Denholm held the seat of the former Justice minister Kenny McAskill and defeated Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in doing so.

As the rest of the results started to show the picture of the night It was great to see Fiona Hyslop hold Linlithgow and the excellent Angela Constance retain Amber Valley with an increased majority. Amongst other highlights were the victories of Gail Ross in Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross and Kate Forbes in Skye, Baddenoch , and Lochabar both of whom replaced colleagues who had decided to stand down at this election and their successes will build on the legacies of Rob Gibson, and Dave Thompson. The election of Gail and Kate will I’m sure be very good news not only for a party who have gained two powerful articulate voices, but also for their constituents for whom they will fight with passion, power, and purpose.

By the time the final constituency was declared it was easy to see despite what may happen on the list who had really won the Scottish Election of 2016 and who would govern in our devolved parliament for the next five years and despite what a pro unionist press and media would like to have you believe it wasn’t Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservative And Unionist Party.
Despite the Tories having their best results in Scotland for more than 30 years the clear winners were the Scottish National Party and their leader Nicola Sturgeon.

As for some of those elected on the list let’s just say that parliament is about to become a more entertaining for all of us. With the election of colourful Conservative characters such as Glasgow’s Annie Wells and Professor Adam Tompkins Labour’s Anas Sarwar and the Green’s co convenor Patrick Harvie it is safe to say that lively debate will not be in short supply. Indeed Harvie who has been joined by five colleagues rather than just one has as a result has seen his party overtake the Liberal Democrats as fourth largest political party at Hollyrood. Amongst his new colleagues are land reform expert Andy Weightman and our youngest ever elected member of the Scottish Parliament in 21_year old Ross Greer who gained a place on the West of Scotland list. For both Ross and the parliament in general I think I can say with a degree of certainty that exciting times lie ahead as Scotland’s newly elected representatives take us on the next stage of our democratic journey.

However when all the results were declared and all the numbers crunched there could be no disputing that the belonged to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.
For the woman who took over as First Minister at the mid way point of the last parliament, this result has not only been a victory for the SNP it has also been a huge personal success for her both nationally and in her constituency of Glasgow Southside/Central where she more than doubled her majority over the Labour Party. It was if you like a vindication of her tenure and a personal endorsement from the voters of Scotland that she was indeed their choice to lead our country

This parliamentary diet more than any of its predecessors will I think be instrumental in shaping the future of our country and will tell us a lot about the society we wish to create. How that will pan out is something of which only time and history will be the judges but believe me when I say this election was more important than many people realise for some highly significant reasons which can and will alter the destiny for years and possibly decades to come. The main factors at play in this scenario are as follows

(1) This election proved once and for all the SNP could win without Alex Salmond. This therefore destroys forever unionist claims that the SNP were a one man band only electable under Salmond’s leadership.

(2) Nicola Sturgeon asked for a personal mandate from the people of Scotland she has now been given that mandate. With her request now granted she must and I believe will use it prudently and wisely for the benefit of all who live here.

(3) The SNP won 59 out of 73 constituency seats and secured over a million votes in doing so. By gaining such an unprecedented mandate it is the SNP and only the SNP who won this election. Only the list saved unionist parties from complete and total oblivion.

You see the pro British unionists can talk up the Tories all they like and I’m sure more than a few of them had a glass of stale beer or flat champagne to celebrate the fact that the list system which was devised to deny any party a majority was triumphant in its aim this time. They forget however that the SNP with 63 seats (it is my view ridiculous that they were allocated only four on the list) were only two short of achieving what in this system was considered to be almost impossible and doing it for the second election in a row. This by any standards is bordering on miraculous, but for a party going for a third term government to actually increase its number of directly elected members and increase its share of the vote is a result of extraordinary proportions. So just in case the Tories and their unionist allies try to spin a result for Britain, Let these statistics tell the story they don’t want you to believe

Constituency Seats
SNP 59
Conservatives 7
Liberal Democrats 4
Labour 3

List Seats
Conservatives 24
Labour 21
Greens 6
SNP 4
Liberal Democrats 1

Final Total
SNP 63
Conservatives 31
Labour 24
Greens 6
Liberal Democrats 5

So to bring this post to an end I have to address a couple of issues that the unionist press are too scared to ask of any party but particularly of the Labour party who on the evidence of recent events are who need to address these issues more than most . This will make the narrow minded amongst their number angry that I even dare to question them but for the genuine members of pro UK parties and especially those in the Labour party who actually believe in the union rather than how it can serve their careers my line of questioning will I think be aa welcome one.

My first concern is very straightforward and in dire need of an answer so please tell me and the voters of Scotland when are you going stop persisting with this ludicrous tactic of opposing the SNP just for the sake of it even on issues where there is quite clearly common ground. This kind of behaviour is not only unproductive it is also unprincipled and gives voters the impression you are both arrogant and stupid and are therefore unfit to govern.

Also I hate to inform you but this talk of Scotland being one party state is complete and utter drivel, our opponents know it and so more importantly do the voters. Personally I find it funny in the peculiar sense of the word that there was no talk of this kind when Labour were running Scotland with more than 50 MP’s at Westminster but the minute the tide turns there is this of carefully manufactured hysteria against the SNP and our supporters. So let me set the record straight just to avoid any doubt. This is a democracy and there was more than choice on the ballot papers on this election day just as there has been on all other election days when I have exercised my right to vote. The fact that only one of those choices was credible is however a very different matter.

Talking of credibility I feel that I must ask the unionist parties yet another question namely when are you going to stop this obsessive SNP bad mantra which seems have been your default position for the last god knows how long.
You see on the evidence of this result the public are not only bored by it they are beginning to get seriously hostile to it and if you are ever to be remotely credible again you have to start thinking bigger than you are doing at the moment and stop acting like petulant children who have grounded and banned from playing with their favourite toy until they have done their homework. It seems to me at least in the case of the Labour Party that you still haven’t moved on from the shock of your first defeat to the SNP in 2007 and still believe that you have some sense of entitlement to rule over what you see as poor little Scotland till all seas or at least the oil wells run dry. What you don’t seem to realise is that the Scotland of 2016 is a far more confident land than the Scotland you led in the early years of devolution and at this election we spoke with a confident voice.

It is my view that until the unionist parties embrace that confidence rather than trying suppress it, then they have no chance of ever returning to power. This means, they will make our job of winning for Scotland so much easier than it should be and the race for second place will continue to be the only real contest in Scottish parliamentary elections not only in 2021 but also for the foreseeable future. You see the reason we won this election was a very simple one, with the other parties in either in meltdown or actively campaigning to be in opposition rather than in government we really were the only credible choice and somehow I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X