Saturday, 5 January 2008

The things we do for our political beliefs...

I was out campaigning today in Kilsyth, in advance of the council by-election at the end of January. The weather was awful! Within 5 minutes I could no longer feel my feet, which were drenched and I also - rather strangely - lost the feeling in just one set of fingers. I have a circulation condition that means I really suffer from the cold. The blood drains from my hands and feet when I spend any length of time out in the cold, and it can cause an odd mix of shooting pains and numbness. The GP told me to get ski gloves, and try to stay indoors as much as possible in winter. Not great news for a political activist like me! And not a very practical way to live my life either.

So there I was, out and about today, shivering in the wind and the rain as I knocked on doors. I must admit, I was feeling really sorry for myself :o(

But no matter what the weather, like many political activists, what drives me to do it is my absolute passion for politics. Not politics for its own sake, but the power of politics to change things for the better.

That's why I believe so strongly in independence. But for me independence is only the start for Scotland. Independence is the foundation for building a fairer society, and a more prosperous nation. So, even after Scotland becomes independent, I'm sure I'll still be involved in politics and pounding the streets.

I know that knocking on the front doors of strangers at the weekend is, on the face of it, a very bizarre way to spend your time. As an activist - particularly a drenched and shivering one - you do sometimes get people looking at you with a combination of bemusement and pity...

Anyway, after contemplating what drives me to suffer in the cold for my cause, I returned home to switch on the TV and view more news about the political situation in Kenya. I may have been dodging the rain in Kilsyth today for my political beliefs, but over there activists are dodging bullets and machetes. So I am very privileged to be able to campaign without fear for my physical safety, and without fear of arrest or intimidation.

It may or may not rain tomorrow (it probably will), but I will still count myself very fortunate indeed.


Jimmy79 said...

How are things going in the by-election so far? This should give a good indication for your upcoming Westminster election shouldn't it?

Julie Hepburn said...

I think that Kilsyth SNP have a good campaign going. Our candidate, Dr Claire Fyvie, is a great choice and people in the area have been very positive on the doorsteps so far. The opinion polls all tell us that the SNP has become even more popular since we formed the Government in May 07 - and I think more and more people are becoming open to what we have to say. The Westminster election may still be some way off, so I wouldn't want to speculate on how results now may shape that campaign. However, I do think that the election in May last year has demonstrated that there is no such thing as a safe Labour seat. Come the Westminster election, if people want an SNP MP, then they may well vote for one... All I can do is get round as many people in the constituency in the meantime and talk to them, and try to do what I can on their behalf (although a 'mere' candidate is quite limited in these respects). I'm working hard - that's all I can do. People will make up their own minds.