I listened to Angus Robertson speak in Edinburgh last night. It is a rare experience to hear a politician speak and have fundamental doubts dispelled. It is even rarer to experience a politician who not only really communicates ideas but who also listens. Angus was ably supported by Derek Mackay MSP.
Because of his key role as SNP Leader in Westminster, Angus does not have the media exposure that senior SNP politicians in Holyrood have, and although his considerable talents are familiar to party members, he is not as visible to the wider Scottish – and UK – public as ideally he should be. His formidable talents and abilities are therefore applied out of the limelight – and maybe at this crucial time in Scotland’s history that’s the way he wants it to be.
The combination of three crucial roles – party leader in Westminster, defence strategist and spokesman and independence campaign manager – must place an enormous burden on his shoulders, but it is one that he is manifestly well-equipped to carry. On last night’s showing alone, this is man in whom I can place my trust, and it was abundantly evident from the large audience that they shared this view.
He implanted certain key ideas in my mind, one’s that I found it uncomfortable to take on board, while recognising their total validity.
And so to my early New Year resolution, on this anniversary of my mother’s birth. (Moya, as everybody who ever knew her called her, would have been 110 years old today.)
I will resist the temptation, ever-present, to be negative, especially towards those who don’t agree with me.
I will try to mirror the positive approach that is the essence of the Scottish National Party, and a key factor in its electoral success and appeal.
I will recognise that other Scottish voters, commentators, politicians and political parties have an absolute right to express their views, and if I want to change them, I must first understand them and secondly address them without rancour.
I will remind myself daily that there are people who love Scotland but have different views of its future from me, and that we share that central, vital point of agreement.
I will recognise that the independence of Scotland is my objective, and that goal trumps all others. (I only ever had one deal breaker – one thing that I can never compromise on – that of a non-nuclear Scotland. Since that goal can only be achieved by Scotland’s independence, my key objectives are therefore inseparably linked and in harmony.)
I will keep constantly in mind that the goal of independence, and therefore the referendum campaign, cannot constrained by the SNP manifesto, and that others, from all parties - and no party - who seek independence have different views from me and my chosen party, the SNP.
I will also keep constantly in mind the central fact that after independence, the question of who governs Scotland will be determined by the electorate. The relationship between the parties, and between each party and the electorate will undergo a sea change, similar to, but much greater than the one that followed devolution and the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.
If my little blog is to have any relevance to Scotland’s future, I will have to resist the ever-present temptation to yield to the easy option of throwing chunks of red meat to the already converted, and instead contribute to the much more complex task of trying to influence the unconverted.
I regret that, knowing my own limitations, I will regularly fail to live up to these resolutions. When I do, don’t hesitate to slap a grumpy old git’s wrist. Some of you may even miss the red meat.
Here’s a picture of some old Weegie with a bottle of Glenmorangie standing next to the Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill …
|Kenny MacAskill and some Weegie|