Thursday, 23 October 2008

Dressed for independence

I am no fan of Sarah Palin's politics, but I am envious of her clothing allowance.

I can only imagine what activists in my constituency would say if I suggested that our campaign funds could be used to fund my haircuts, clothes and shoes! After they had stopped laughing of course...

Anyway, here I am outside SNP Conference in Perth last week with my other half. I don't need a clothing allowance to look stylish, I'm sure you'll agree ;o)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Alcohol motion - update

Well, the YSI amendment (mentioned in my previous post) was defeated after an interesting debate at SNP Conference today.

I personally voted for the YSI amendment, and regret that it did not pass - although a substantial number of delegates voted in favour too.

I fail to see how the YSI amendment could have been interpreted as an attack on the Scottish Government. Indeed, the YSI speakers in the debate all praised the general thrust of the proposals and the approach to this issue. I agree with the vast majority of the proposals in the consultation paper as well, I might add, and I congratulate our Government on putting forward some quite radical proposals.

The debate today was in stark contrast to the hysterical reaction of the opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament. Contributions from all perspectives in the debate today were principled, measured and constructive.

While I may lament the result of the vote, at the same time I am proud of the SNP's democratic credentials. The media and opposition parties might not get it, but we are a democratic party and that means having debates - including debates about our own Government's policies. This is healthy - especially in a governing party!

More on Conference soon...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

SNP Conference

Well, it's SNP Conference this week and I'll be packing up my over-sized suitcase as usual and heading along.

There are 3 debates on the agenda that I am particularly interested in contributing to - those on asylum seekers, alcohol abuse and deprivation. I will update next week on whether or not I was selected to speak in the debates and regarding the outcome.

The resolution on alcohol abuse will no doubt generate an interesting exchange of views due to the YSI's amendment on the Government's proposal to raise the age at which you can buy alcohol in off-sales to 21.

Contrary to press reporting on this issue, the YSI have not 'hijacked' this debate at Conference. For every National Conference and National Council, all SNP branches, constituency associations, elected members and affiliated organisations like the YSI can submit resolutions for debate. Earlier this year, one branch submitted a resolution about the Scottish Government's consultation on alcohol and this was published as part of the Conference agenda. At this point, the aforementioned bodies and individuals can submit suggested amendments to these resolutions, which the YSI duly did. This was accepted by the committee responsible for putting together the agenda, which is facilitating the debate in question.

To suggest that the YSI have somehow set out to hijack this debate at Conference does them and the SNP a disservice. The YSI have enaged in the formal policy-making processes of the party, with a very measured amendment. And the SNP has accepted this amendment, because the party is relaxed about internal democratic debate.

I am looking forward to hearing all of the various views put forward, and I hope to add my own.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Tories Rule - (not) OK

So, the Tories think they can rule Scotland from Westminster, regardless of the election result in Scotland. Of course they do - look at their record!

David Mundell's comment sent shivers down my spine:

"We will have the right under the devolution settlement, whether the SNP likes that or not, to implement David Cameron's agenda in reserved matters regardless of how many MPs in Scotland we have."

Even if they don't have a single Tory MP elected in Scotland (I actually count David Mundell as zero MPs at the moment - he's as much use as a chocolate fireguard, as my dad would say), they still think they have the right to impose policies upon the people of Scotland that they have rejected at the polls.

Not that New Labour hasn't been foisting unwanted policies on Scotland from Westminster over the last decade, but they at least had an electoral base in Scotland and were the senior coalition partner in the devolved Scottish Executive.

These latest comments from the Tories demonstrate very clearly why they will never revive their fortunes in Scotland. The arrogance is astounding.

And, they demonstrate why independence will always be the better option than being at the mercy of Westminster politicians.