To win in every single constituency in Glasgow, but lose the referendum was quite a surreal feeling; we’d given it our all in Shettleston, the culmination of everything we’d learned. Volunteers worked incredibly hard; we surpassed all canvassing and leafleting targets. Ballot box sampling giving encouraging results. Standing in Emirates Arena with my baby daughter in my arms, hearing the returning officer confirm that Glasgow had voted Yes, when we all knew Scotland had, with a few notable exceptions, voted No was bittersweet.
But yet, the strangest thing was yet to come; out of Friday and Saturday’s despair, people began joining the SNP in droves. First in thousands, then tens of thousands. At the time of writing, we may be able to fill Old Trafford with SNP members and still not get them all a seat. In my own ward, people have joined from every part – Bridgeton as well as Calton, Parkhead and Reidvale and Dalmarnock. A friend likened the feeling to the closing scenes of It’s A Wonderful Life, and that’s probably as best as I’ve heard this phenomenon described. The Greens and SSP have been similarly boosted. All these new members, determined to fight on, to keep the flame which felt on Friday morning as if it might be guttering, burning brighter than ever.
There have been assemblings of people to rally again, coupled also with collections for foodbanks. That’s almost beyond words. My friend Marco Biagi spoke at one such event in front of the Parliament last weekend, which I absolutely commend you to watch: https://www.youtube.com
The phrase “the Parliament behind you is BEHIND you” is a real rallying cry to work on towards independence.
The challenge and opportunity of all these new members has been taken up by the candidates for deputy leader of the SNP – Keith Brown, Angela Constance and Stewart Hosie. We’re incredibly fortunate to have such talent in the party and, at the present time, I can’t even begin to choose between them. It seems fitting that our new members will have this privilege as one of their first acts in the party.
How now, Brown Vow?
Grant Thoms mentioned “The Vow” much vaunted by the Daily Record prior to the referendum; following the Labour and Conservative party conferences, that Vow today stands in tatters, with Gordon Brown and the same newspaper now begging the public to sign a petition to get the UK party leaders to honour it. Utterly shameless that this newspaper proclaims itself as “Scotland’s Champion”. I do hope that we get an alternative roll of honour – 100,000 people joining the SNP instead and working to make independence happen. Strange times indeed, but filled with more hope than I could have imagined.