This week’s political scene has been overshadowed by the untimely death of Charles Kennedy. I didn’t know him so would not presume to comment any further. Any death is a sad time for those connected.
Recently I have taken to listening to the BBC parliament channel. Mainly to try and listen to some of our new M.P’s maiden speeches. Given the hours that they keep, it’s not always easy. I have managed to listen to a few ‘live’ and there is always social media where people from different parts of Scotland are proudly sharing their new M.P.’s speeches.
What struck me as I sat at my worktable fighting with cotter pins was the impact these people are making. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t won over Westminster yet, but they are changing some people’s perception. They are picking up the rules and the style fast. I noticed a few maiden speeches throwing the joke back at the establishment. After Joanna Cherry’s maiden speech you could feel the respect. This was no bumkin from the far flung north. This was a highly educated, and well thought of Queen’s Council, and they knew we had increased our intelligence and ability within their chamber.
Dianne Abbot, tweeting to her supporters that the S.N.P. members were not as they were being portrayed in the English press. She liked our new M.P.’s. I missed Tommy Sheppard’s maiden Speech but I am told he did his speech without any notes. Now we all know that he is used to standing on stage and performing but this must have put the frighteners up some of the established people. Maiden speech, no notes and no nerves!
At our Constituency meeting this week one of our members asked Eilidh Whiteford what it was like in Westminster now. Her face said it all. She grinned from ear to ear and said ‘fantastic’. Despite what we have been getting told in the press we are going to have a bigger say in Westminster. Being the third party in the chamber our M.P.’s are entitled to the amount of questions that goes with that status. We will have representations on committees. This doesn’t mean we can win everything we want but it does mean that we have one of our M.P.’s on the committee entitled to put our point of view over. We have got the chair of the Scottish Affairs committee and the Energy and climate change committee. Apparently they didn’t want us to chair the Scottish Affairs committee but given we had most of the Scottish M.P.’s it would have been a bit daft to refuse us.
Eilidh outlined some of the group structure and the plans that are forming to help the Scottish parliament group and the Westminster group work closely together and keep each other informed. If the members of Westminster establishment were impressed with the solidarity of the 56 M.P.’s supporting each other then goodness only knows what they are going to make of the two parliamentary groups supporting each other. We are introducing a new way of working in politics to them. If you have a cause it makes working as hard as you can all the more worth while.