Last weekend we took the Scots Independent stall to the SNP conference in Aberdeen. The number attending was down on pre covid times. The train strikes may have been as much an influence as a fear of crowded places.
Many had a little flutter in the stomach when approaching the venue. It was, after all, the first time we had all gathered since 2019. Some of the HQ staff are still working from home so it )was a big deal for them too. Friday afternoon we set out our space so we were ready for the early star on Saturday.
There was a good vibe from the delegates. Really looking forward to many of the debates and the key speeches. We were pleased to welcome our subscribers to the stall for a long awaited catch up. We even got back some subscribers who had lapsed during the time we had not been meeting.
The delegates had obviously been missing conference and were keen to be listening to debates again. All the sessions were well attended by the delegates in the venue. Most of the fringe events were very well attended as well.
Saturdays key speech was from deputy leader John Swinney. You can read his speech here
Much of what he said was what the delegates wanted to hear.
Sunday morning our First Minister answered a question from Laura Kuenssberg with the phrase ‘I detest the tories’. This brought outrage from the Conservative and Unionists. So much so that when Nicola came round the stall holders that afternoon the size of the press group around her was ridiculously large. All they were doing was trying to hear her say something they could twist and use against her. They had no consideration for anyone in the exhibition area, they merely shoved people out of their way. I am surprised no-one was injured. When she got to our stall Ian asked if she could sign his agenda as this was his 50th annual conference. The press wanted her to do it to camera but she held her ground and was even cheeky to Ian.
Stephen Bird, who writes for this blog, has printed mugs and coasters saying I’m with Nicola, I detest the tories.
Stephen Bird – mugs and coasters
Monday brought what is now seen as the big event. Over lunchtime many people could be seen arriving in anticipation. The security teams shut the building while Nicola was on stage. This meant we could not get our stock out to the car so we joined others listening to the speech. She was in excellent form and there were many standing ovations. If you didn’t hear it you can find it here
I think it’s safe to say the party is in good spirit for the upcoming campaigning.