I’m exhausted and I haven’t done half as much as I wanted to do to support the SNP, to canvass, to change people’s minds, but I’m still exhausted. I can’t imagine how candidates like our own Drew Hendry feel, or the army of canvassers, or the Election Agents like Jill McAlpine – Still emailing at 1am and again at 8am. They must be utterly, utterly shattered even though the results are looking fairly good. Not that I am suggesting that they relax at all but if it’s this exhausting when the outlook is positive then what must it be like for those poor souls where the outlook is bleak. It must be gut wrenching.
I feel like I keep holding my breath. It feels like the whole of the country is waiting to see what happens next. Lots of people seem to be on short fuses and to be frank if one more person calls me a nazi or a fascist this week, they will find out how short my fuse really is. It feels a bit like a football match. It can be agony until the game is over. Watching the Old Firm match or a Manchester Derby is no pleasure for those who are passionate, even if your team is one up at half time. It feels a bit like that now. All to play for but much to lose.
So what’s going to happen tomorrow – well, why would I have a clue? After the referendum I have no faith in my ability to make a judgement. I thought YES were going to win! At least it’s not all or nothing this time. More than 12 seats for the SNP would be fantastic – the most they have ever had was 11. After the referendum we would have been delighted to think we could double our presence in Westminster and I am going to hold onto that thought but, in truth, anything less than 30 and I will be disappointed because whilst I don’t know what WILL happen I know what I want to happen and any less than 30 will make that more difficult.
I want Scotland to have a loud independent voice in Parliament. And that’s independence with a small “I”. It means a voice outwith the strictures imposed by being part of a UK wide party. A voice which shouts for progressive policies and MAKES people listen, a voice which challenges others and argues and fights for the people that it represents. Where commitment to people is reflected within the policies it promotes and where Scotland’s left of centre voice is shouted loudly and strongly. I want my party represented in Westminster by real people as MPs – people who are not coddled by being a parliamentary adviser and then a shoe in for a safe seat. I want our voices to be heard saying something different, I want their loyalty to be to the people they represent and the policies that best serve them. I want our MPs to be people who have never been complicit in the cosy libdem/labour/tory dominated corridors of power with their leather seats and subsidised champagne and who don’t have an eye on a seat in the House of Lords.
I often hear people saying that the SNP don’t have a monopoly on “Standing up for Scotland” and I am sure every single MP elected from whichever parties would say they would do just that – Stand up for Scotland and yet, let’s look at things like the Bedroom Tax. A policy that Scotland did not want and wasn’t necessary and yet – despite that – we got it anyway. Scottish Labour MPs abstained in their own debate some even not turning up at all. Surely if it was not good for Scotland, at the very least Scottish MPs should have turned up and voted against it and yet they didn’t. I saw something on Twitter recently which said if all MPs in Scotland stand up for Scotland then how come we got the poll tax and lost Ravenscraig? Old news I know but these things still hurt.
So as a newish SNP member I want to hear the SNP MPs stick up loudly, strongly and often for what is right for Scotland. I believe that what is right for Scotland is in most cases, going to be right for people in the rest of the UK. I will not tolerate my new party being complicit in delivering austerity for anywhere or anyone in the UK. I accept that even with 59 MPs they will not be “in charge” in the way the papers would like to suggest they will be, but I want to see them try. I want to see them be a thorn in the side of the main parties. To argue and debate forcefully and to ask questions that make the other parties squirm.
I want them to behave themselves, no lobbying scandals, no expenses scandals, no calling each other names and no fist fights in the bar. They are in Westminster representing the many in their party and in Scotland, not the few idiots that we have seen jumped on and paraded as the face of the SNP by the vile press in the last few days.
The candidates, the SNP members, the people that I have met over the last couple of years have given me confidence that that this is how it will be and I am excited by this prospect. I believe that these new Scottish MPS can be trusted to do their very best to be the very best they can. I want the SNP to win over the rest of the UK like they won over me and like they appear to have won over Scotland. By doing that the rest of the UK can see that a different sort of politics is possible and, in five years the prospect of the next General Election will be as exciting for the rest of the UK as it is for many of us here in Scotland right now.
So good luck to them all – to Natalie McGarry as she squares up to Margaret Curran and her unpleasant tactics even with her sore foot; to Mhairi Black who has faced the most awful attacks during her campaign to replace Douglas Alexander; to our own candidate Drew Hendry as he prepares to go to the polls to unseat Danny Alexander and to Paul Monaghan, Danus Skene and Ian Blackford as they hope to break the Libdem hold in the far north of Scotland; to Tommy Sheppard who I cheered at conference; to the smiling Anne McLoughlin and the talented and committed Philippa Whitford. To you guys and to everyone else – hold your nerve and remember to breath. Good luck.