I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have lost count of people, whether friends, family or even strangers, who genuinely say directly to me that I should become a politican or go into politics. If one or two people say this, then it’s nothing more than a nice compliment (or otherwise!). But the fact many more say this has struck a chord personally.
I have had a rather bizarre yet fascinating political journey during my young life so far. I have transformed from being a right of centre unionist to a pragmatically minded supporter of Scottish independence within the space of a handful of recent years. And I cannot help but feel inspired by Thursday evening/Friday morning’s overwhelming success for the Scottish National Party – a political party of which I am fully paid up and proud member. I joined the SNP in November 2014 in the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum – I have been seriously impressed with the Scottish Government’s performance since 2007, the positive and ambitious vision for Scotland that the SNP paints a picture of every single hour of every single day and now fundamentally believe that Scotland should be an independent country. I genuinely think that my political thinking and set of views have settled down now and I feel secure with myself knowing where I truly stand now.
I only started becoming an active SNP member within the last month or so due to the recent UK General Election campaign. I mainly campaigned for Brendan O’Hara to become the next MP for Argyll and Bute which he deservedly became on Friday morning. But I also experienced the campaigns for other SNP Parliamentary Candidates across Strathclyde such as John Nicolson in East Dunbartonshire, Natalie McGarry in Glasgow East and Kirsten Oswald in East Renfrewshire – all three of them became elected as MP’s also. It feels great to be on the winning side! But that wasn’t solely the point. I genuinely realised how much I actually really love campaigning and the cause of the SNP’s vision for Scotland has well and truly been set into my heart as well as my head.
But the main question in the context of things is why do I want to become a politician and why do I want to represent the SNP? Let’s break that whole question into two parts. Firstly, the politicial side of things. I frankly love politics. I got engaged with it ever since I was a little boy growing up during the 1990’s. I cannot get away or even run away from either a newspaper or 24 hour rolling news and, inevitably, I find myself (probably in a room on my own) speaking out loudly with my own opinions or perspectives on matters. But I am sick and tired of doing this time and time again without the power of making a real difference. I want to go into politics to make life better for everyone – to improve our economic fortunes, to help the poor and vulnerable, to lead public opinion when it’s appropriate to do so and to offer a different perspective and vision to voters. And with my skill set which includes engaging with the public (which I do on a daily basis working as a pharmacist), offering support to those who require it, speaking up for others, pitching new ideas and policies to improve life for everyone and strong public speaking skills, I feel that I have a lot to offer.
And secondly, why the SNP? Because I fundamentally believe in the idea of Scotland becoming a successful and independent country. But for the time being, I acknowledge that the nation voted No in the independence referendum last year, so I will fight hard to promote the idea of Scotland becoming a federal state within the UK – that means the country having responsibility for everything except elements of foreign policy, defence and VAT. I totally reject the nonsensical, farcical and complete falsehood that Scotland is incapable of running it’s own affairs – we invented much of the modern world and influenced it as well. An autonomous Scotland would be a force for good for everyone in the world, as well as at home. The whole idea of Scotland gaining more and more control from Westminster is not the idea of turning inwards as a country, but turning outwards instead. And ultimately, one day, I want to see Scotland leaving the United Kingdom and joining the world.
As far as how I manage to score the goal in becoming an elected politician is at this time unknown, but I am flexible in terms of where I may want to stand and at what level. Ideally, becoming a councillor would be a good first step and provide a real learning curve in how to handle political matters and how to become a skilled politician. More issues are covered at local government level than many people tend to appreciate and councillors do a very important job for local communities. But I am also open to any other potential opportunity – the elections for the Scottish Parliament take place next year as well as the local council elections in 2017. But geography will also matter and what will matter to me especially is gaining a competent understanding of the issues affecting a particular area. I suppose much of what will define where I might stand to be elected will depend on my own personal circumstances, but in life you have to live and let live. You cannot plan things too finely or else you lose focus on the main objective as to why you want to do what you want to do.
And finally, let me assure you that I am not looking to become a career politician. The real beauty about the new group of SNP MP’s elected on Friday morning is the fact that many of them had careers in the real world and have entered into politics with life experience. That counts for a lot and my years in pharmacy as a student and professional will stand me in good stead, God willing. If I ended up having a political career lasting thirty years then that will be down to being successful and competent at being an elected representative, but my philosophy is to take each day as it comes. After all, you cannot look too far into the future, especially in this volatile day of age!
For the time being, life goes on as normal for me, but my burning desire is now out in the open and it’s time to really get stuck in politically. Nae limits Scotland!