It’s been a very busy weekend in politics in Scotland.
Saturday saw thousands gather at George Square, and across the country, to protest against austerity. The SNP Trade Union Group held its first National Conference in Stirling with over 250 delegates and I understand fantastic presentations from Christina McKelvie MSP and Marion Fellows MP.
And on Sunday, the first National Council for the SNP following our historic victory in the Westminster elections took place. SNP delegates were treated to a number of fantastic contributions from MPs old and newly elected. There were speakers making their first contributions; notably Heather Anderson who argued for more reflection on the Zero waste motion speaking passionately and knowledgably about her own co-operative on Whitmore Farm, the Organic Place and winning the vote for the remit back. It was an absolute joy to hear the First Minister and party leader Nicola speak of her experiences in the US, recognise the rise stratospheric rise in membership with a little tease at prospective Labour Leadership candidate, Kezia Dugdale, who seemed a little vague as to whether Scottish Labour membership lay at 13 or 15 thousand at the moment. The killer comment being that either of these claims still leaves them below the 16 thousand plus that make up the SNP Trade Union Group!
On the other hand, Labour have spent the weekend pretending that they understand why, in Jim Murphy’s words, “The party that has traditionally been the tireless champion of the underdog now finds itself in the position of being the underdog.” The answer is in this quote for all to see. They still believe that they have been the “tireless champion” when the experience of the Scottish people and the Scottish Trades Union movement has been far from having a champion. They have been ignored, patronised and taken for granted for too long.
The weekend saw a strange juxtaposition of two parties. While Nicola galvanised the whole of National Council with a positive vision of the future where the SNP’s work is far from done and the height of our achievements is yet to come; Labour gave us, in Ken Mackintosh, a politician so determined to distance himself from politics and politicians that he espouses some bizarre parody of Lady Macbeth in an “un-politics me here” rant or Kezia’s ironic whinge about Scotland being a “one party state.” Ms Dugdale, the Scottish people exercised their democratic choice in a free and fair election. Just about as far from a ‘one party state’ as it is possible to be.
I am content to let Labour continue to navel gaze and angst about what they did wrong, while the SNP get on with doing what they do right; representing the interests of the people of Scotland.