General, Miscellaneous
Comments 138

A Political Journey (Saying Sorry)

Here’s a confession: I used to really dislike the SNP.  I’d go so far as to say I actively disliked them. Were my reasons valid? I’m not sure. I voted against Scottish independence in 2014 because I didn’t find the SNP’s case to be credible, and I believed Scotland would be out of the EU if we left the UK. 

From my perspective, the 2014 referendum was exhausting. For those of us on the No side, there were no marches, no gatherings, no messages of togetherness or hope. For us there was nothing but negative news (‘project fear’) and a really uneasy feeling in the gut that we were voting against fear instead of voting for hope.

As I’ve said many times, there was no joy in saying no, and I felt low for months afterwards – which is part of what caused me to dislike the SNP. I held them responsible for my low mood because I felt they’d pushed me into making an awful decision I didn’t want to make. And I worried they were going to ask me to do it again in the near future.

At the time of the first Scottish referendum, I wasn’t a member of any political party, and I’d not paid much attention to Scottish politics. I joined Labour in 2015 because I wanted to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. At the time, people told me it was a mistake, but I didn’t understand. To me, he represented the best in politics – a man with integrity who didn’t toe the party line. He wasn’t going to exchange silly barbs at PMQs, and instead would put forth questions from normal, decent people who wanted to see a change in the way things were done. We’d all had enough of austerity, and Corbyn seemed the man to change it. (Lord, was I an idiot!)

As I sat shocked in front of the TV on the morning of June 24, 2016, Jeremy Corbyn appeared on the BBC saying that ‘article 50 must now be invoked.’ I was gobsmacked. How could someone who claimed to be working for ordinary decent people not see the chaos Brexit would unleash? I am not one to talk to television sets, but I distinctly remember saying ‘you wanted this!’ and I quit the Labour Party that morning (which, by the way, they never acknowledged until my membership fees were due again).

I spent the next couple of months feeling sad and lost – unrepresented by any party as both Labour and the Tories chased the UKIPy Brexit vote. The Liberal Democrats were making the right noises, but they’d lost so much trust after forming a coalition with the Tories and going back on their promise not to raise tuition fees. I wasn’t sure they’d recover, but when a Lib Dem candidate did quite well in a by-election in October, I decided to try to support them by joining the party.

At first I felt I’d done the right thing. I was surrounded by likeminded people who felt that leaving the EU would be a disaster. Everyone was lovely and welcoming, and I had a little hope that things might be alright, but something was niggling me. For the first time since moving to Scotland 16 years ago, I felt a sense of separateness. The Lib Dems were saying the right things, but I couldn’t get fully on board with them. I know now that this was because they were only ever going to look after the UK as a whole, even if the various regions were not best served. I left the party a couple of months after joining because I couldn’t support a party I felt was not looking after the best interests of Scotland.

Since the Brexit vote, I’d noticed Nicola Sturgeon, Alyn Smith, and Angus Robertson were articulating my thoughts and beliefs better than any member of a national party were. Of course, it was probably a mistake as they were all SNP politicians – and I didn’t like the SNP – but I took my first genuine comfort since the Brexit vote in their words. But how could this be? I didn’t like the SNP! Or did I? I began to ask myself what I actually knew about them. As it turned out, not a lot.

Here’s what I’ve since found out since taking a little time to educate myself. The SNP government spends millions mitigating horrific Tory polices. They’ve protected vulnerable people from the bedroom tax, and have been extremely outspoken against the rape clause. They welcomed refugees when other parts of the UK wouldn’t. They legalised equal marriage. They’ve introduced baby boxes to help every baby born in Scotland get a decent start in life. And the SNP has denounced Brexit and the democratic deficit in Scotland since the vote to leave the EU.

Turns out, the SNP is political party speaking for me and my beliefs, and I didn’t see or hear it because I was blinded by the past. If I could forgive the LibDems for tuition fees, could I not forgive the SNP for not doing a better job in the 2014 independence referendum?

Well, yes. I could and I have. I’m not ready to join the party, but I will be casting my ballot for them on May 4th and again on June 8th. And if I’m given the opportunity, I will vote for Scottish independence. I will also be a little more grateful for the humanism and decency of people like Nicola Sturgeon and SNP politicians who do a good job of representing Scotland*.

I have to say that writing this little piece was hard because it forced me to admit to some silly beliefs and grudges I’d held onto for far too long. But here is the bottom line: I’m a liberal person with a slightly left-leaning perspective and I’m lucky to live in a country where most of my fellow citizens feel the same. I don’t consider myself a nationalist, but for the first time since moving to the UK all those years ago, I do feel Scottish.

As the Tories drag the UK into a chaotic Brexit, Scotland has a choice. We can say no to xenophobia, no to cruel cuts that harm the poor, no to economic catastrophe, and no to trade deals with the likes of Donald Trump – which is exactly what the SNP is doing. I’m over holding my stupid grudge and will do my best to make amends for being, well, stupid.

* My MSP is Michael Matheson, with whom I’ve met on several occasions. I am extremely lucky to have such a kind, compassionate, and understanding MSP.  I could not ask for better representation. The same goes for my MP John McNally, who I’ve met once and corresponded with on several occasions. He’s worked hard to fight Brexit in the Commons and I’m grateful for his and the SNP’s stance on social issues and environmental issues, as well as Brexit.  The fact these two gentlemen have been nothing but excellent really adds to the silliness of my grudge.

21.04.17 Edited to fix a mistake I made. I stated that ScotGov was the first to legalise equal marriage. England and Wales were first.

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Full-time entrepreneur, part-time ukulele plinker, occasional photographer, skin care fanatic, slightly over-sized clothes horse, moderately-successful gardener, unapologetic crazy cat lady, creative soapmaker, happy hen keeper, and enthusiastic birdwatcher. I bake nice cakes, but can’t find a hat to fit.

138 Comments

  1. Paul Brown says

    Seeing through the fog of hate and disinformation surrounding some political parties can be as daunting as the first time you open your eyes underwater without goggles in the swimming pool. Your body just doesn’t want to do it. I know because, every now and then, I force myself to take a good look at the Tories and make sure I’m not dismissing them purely on the basis of their 1980s legacy in Scotland (spoiler: turns out I’m not). I’ve also noticed that a lot of people have been ‘conditioned’ to hate the SNP – not simply to oppose, but actively to hate. Even other parties which ought to be seeking alliance with it on certain issues treat the SNP like a bunch of lepers wearing charity collection vests, despite being more than willing to occasionally pal up with others who are normally their mortal enemies.

    So you’ve not been a dick. You have in fact resisted the conditioning far better than many others and done what participants in democracy are supposed to do – weighed up the options and chosen the one that best fits your own feelings and opinions at the time of asking. And if times change, it’s normal and right that your choices do, too. I haven’t always voted SNP and I doubt I always will. But right now, I strongly feel it’s the right, if not the only, choice for Scotland and those living here.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thanks, Paul. I do wonder how I’ll feel in future – it’s been a wild ride to get where I am, and I’m sure it’s not over just yet.

      I worry for parties who can’t see past their own noses because of their SNP envy/hatred. They’re really missing a trick here. Every ruling party needs a healthy opposition, and after independence, who will serve that function in Scotland? Surely not any of the parties who wilfully put their political interests ahead of the country. Voting against young people and EU citizens having a say in their own future? I wouldn’t trust anyone who did that.

      We should get together soon. How long has it been? Sixteen years? I’m sure my Paul would love to catch up with you, too. x

      Liked by 2 people

      • Paul Brown says

        It’s the most disturbing thing about modern politics, I find – that so many are so blinkered by ingrained antipathy that they can’t make any kind of informed choice at all. A strong opposition is indeed necessary; but that opposition must be in the form of considered and intelligent scrutiny, not empty slogans and playgrounds insults. As you say, there doesn’t seem much of the former around at the moment.

        Would love to meet up at some point, it has indeed been 16 years – though I saw Paul either last year or the year before (they’re starting to blur alarmingly) at a lunch with Alasdair and other former colleagues. The main stumbling block will be matching up my and my wife’s erratic shifts with whatever hours you both keep!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Empty rhetoric makes me crazy, and there is an awful lot of it about. May and Trump are the worst for it.

        Where are you these days? We can come into Glasgow if you’re about. Maybe have a drink and tapas.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul Brown says

        We’re still in Glasgow, West End by Estate Agent standards, ‘nearly Clydebank’ according to those of us who actually live there. Tapas sounds great, but the next few weeks are a bit hectic, even without the double election. Leave it with me! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Gawd, couldn’t agree more. The lack of willingness for folk to (even occasionally) challenge their own views and objectively research out of their own echo chambers is truly disturbing and undemocratic.

      Liked by 4 people

      • It’s not an easy thing to do, and I really feel for people who have publicly painted themselves into a corner over independence. Things have changed since 2014 – I was pretty firmly no then. But I can see no other way forward for Scotland now, and to do what’s right for the country, I had to take a good hard look at the baggage I was holding and let it go.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. kininvie says

    I know you’ve said you haven’t joined the SNP, but I think if you take the plunge you’ll find yourself surrounded by friends and like-minded people. The best thing about it though is it is genuinely democratic, and members guard their rights vociferously. I’ve been a member for years, but I’d leave like a shot if I thought the kind of control-freakery you read about in the press had any basis in reality. We’re a very diverse bunch, with members from all over the place – both geographically and politically, bound together by the overriding idea of independence. That leaves lots of room for discussion and debate. Give it a shot….

    Liked by 4 people

    • I will give it some thought, but I don’t know if I’ll ever join another party. Labour burned me pretty badly. That said, I’m more than happy to support the SNP – both monetarily and with campaigning.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ElaineS says

      Great blog! Scots have initially a fear of the unknown, we’re canny by nature but once we believe in something there is nothing we can’t do to make Scotland a successful and prosperous Indy country. Pulling together is what we do best if our dogmatic determination has anything to do with it, just like those fine Scots of Eigg!

      I’m 62, spent most of my life cocooned in the Labour family who,after looking back,seeing they were as devious and deceitful as the Tories but hid it more. Since l became Yes in 2011/2012 it re-awoke my fight for what l now truly believe in -Independence and l help spread the truth as we really do have the nastiest opposition. What a difference understanding even the basics of devolved politics, Scotland’s economy and learning about our history.

      Thankfully our young folk are politically awake, keen to lean about politics of Scotland. When there’s a high % in the young folk are Yes voters and goes to show once you pick up the basics onwards, it’s not hard to see why many are now Yes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. I can only imagine what it must feel like for people who have wanted independence for years. I’ve only been a convert for a few months and I’m chomping at the bit! I know it’s a slow and steady proposition, but I am so ready to be free of crazy Tories and their brexit madness.

        Like

  3. stephaniekeenan says

    You’ve got nothing to say sorry for! For me, I have piles more respect for someone who can appraise the situation and change their mind, than those who can’t bear to ‘lose face’. Please know you’re very welcome x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I was really nervous writing this little piece, and a bit scared letting it go out into the ‘wild’, but everyone’s been lovely, and I’m heartened to hear other people have made the same journey I have.

      Like

  4. Always enlightening to see how different people finally arrive at their “comfort zone” politically. That’s how I have seen my ultimate arrival at the SNP Membership. One of feeling let down by the idea of Labour and what it (perportedly) represented.
    My gut feeling pre 2014 was always that this small country (6M people) could and should be in charge of all its own affairs. Labours willful closeness to the Westminster trough culture changed them irrevocably and the final straw was THAT alliance with a totally discredited party in Scotland.
    However, the “loss” of that 2014 vote merely solidified my belief that it will ultimately happen and that nothing worth having comes easily.
    That includes joining a party you never thought you might – until you look, listen and find what it is you were searching for.
    Onwards to Indy… Walk with everyone, your more than welcome.

    Soar Alba.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely comment. I wish that I’d had the same belief in 2014, but I was too afraid – we’d be broke, we’d be out of the EU, we’d all be a lot worse off. Of course, I don’t believe any of that now. Independence is the only way. I believe it will come much easier this time.

      Like

  5. Great to read stories like this. You’ve put a great deal of unbiased thought into what you want your country to be like, an example to all. If you ever do feel like joining the SNP you’ll be made very welcome and will meet some inspirational people. I joined in 2012 because it just felt the right thing to do at the time, my wife joined a year later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I already feel very welcome. When I made the move from no-to-yes, I was prepared for eye rolling and I-told-you-so, but it didn’t happen. Not even once. Everyone was so welcoming and kind, and no one made me feel stupid or like I’d crushed their dreams. Talk about a forgiving bunch! This gave me the courage to look into things a bit more, and to speak out about my change of heart.

      The SNP community is brilliant. If I were to ever join another party, it would be this one.

      Like

      • Iain. says

        No honest person is 100% certain in something as complex as politics. All anyone can do is keep an open mind, strive to know the truth, and work things out rationally. We should all ask ourselves ” am I a fool” every day. The real danger are the swivel eyed loons who are convinced by their own prejudices. I was a labour voter for years, but they’ve left me now, and I joined the SNP in 2014 out of despair at the result. I don’t pretend that Independence would be straightforwardly successful. But post EU Britain looks an awful lot more problematic to me. And turning our backs on the EU project is just wrong. Morally wrong.
        Hope you join one day. Nice to hear from you. ( I have hens too).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am so glad to hear you say that leaving the EU is morally wrong – I strongly feel this, too. Liberal democracy is the only way to have a fair, civil, and just society. We (as the UK) should be ashamed at thumbing our noses at the EU. I’m happy that Scotland has a chance not to be part of that.

        I’m sorry your party left you. It’s a rotten feeling, and I’m sure lots of people down south are really struggling with it, too.

        Yay for hens! 🙂

        Like

  6. This is a lovely article. There’s no need to apologise, we all make decisions with the information we have at the time, not even I thought things would get as bad as they have following a no vote. As a fervent yes back in 2014, I’m just sorry we didn’t manage to convince you sooner.

    I hope you’ll get involved in campaigning, along with others who have moved from no to yes since 2014 as I think your perspective and experience will help us run a better campaign and convince more people to make the leap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. If any of us knew it would get as bad as this, I’m convinced we’d be watching events unfold down south from a safe, independent distance.

      In 2014, half my staff said no. Now every one of them is ready to vote yes. I’ve no doubt this is happening all over the country.

      The Yes campaign in 2014 was up against a tsunami of misinformation. Of course, many of us can see now that a lot of it was untrue. I think the upside is that independence probably won’t be gained on a knife-edge, and that means a lot more people will be happy about it and willing to do the work building the kind of Scotland we want to live in.

      Like

      • Diane says

        Elizabeth. Wonderful to hear your story and that of your workface. We still see so much negativity online that sometimes it’s difficult to believe people are moving from no to Yes. Your story highlights they are and gives me more hope than ever that this time we will win. Thank you

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think we will win. People are changing their minds every day. One lifelong Labour supporter I know says now that there is no way but SNP and independence. Old grudges and grievances are being put to the side for the greater good. And when you think about it, that’s a wonderful thing on so many levels.

        Like

  7. Bugger (the panda) says

    Your political odesye was and identical one to my own. Labour-Lib Dem(turncoats) SNP but No then SNP HELL YES.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lovely piece, Elizabeth.
    I am not a member of the SNP, nor would I vote for Independence if I thought that the ‘Nationalism’ on offer was a neo fascist one party flag waving introverted xenophobic state.
    We are campaigning for self Determination, that’s all. A Scottish Government made up of Scoots citizens, elected by their fellow Scots, and accountable to their fellow Scots.
    The Union is clearly by its sell by date, if it ever had a time when it was just and fair at all.
    I am a Red Clydesider; red lead runs through my veins.
    Tony Blair destroyed the Labour Movement, aided and abetted by Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, John Reid and the others who formed New Labour and Cool Britannia.
    To this day it breaks my heart to witness the insincere feckless posturing of the Dugdales and Lamonts of this world.
    They are not Labour.
    I shall vote YES in the next Referendum, and when we are an independent nation once again, outward looking, inclusive, and socially democratic, I shall look at my options when we hold the first genuine Scottish GE in 300 years.
    In the meantime, I am backing the SNP and the greater Yes Movement, and the Greens ,to fight our cause on the political front.
    The Scottish Tories alarm me. They are heartless, cruel, and hell bent on destroying our civic society and its institutions.
    The Leader of the Lib Dems has just announced that he would not rule out another Coalition with the Tories. Says it all really.
    You are finding all of this hard and challenging. We all are. But nothing worth having was achieved easily. Otherwise it wouldn’t be worth having?
    Thanks for your article, Elizabeth.
    I too have problems getting a hat big enough to fit my bonce.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a lovely comment. Thank you. I wish there was an easy way to convey what you’ve said here about it not being about nationalism. Because it isn’t. I don’t want to live in a union where one nation decides what’s best for the others – especially when those decisions are taken by people I feel are truly evil. This has brought me to where I am today – supporting the SNP and the indy movement.

      In the meantime, Big Heads unite! 🙂

      Like

  9. Jen Bonnar says

    A heartfelt welcome to you. I feel very much the same. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk to both my local MP Gavin Newlands and my MSP Tom Arthur and both clearly have the interests of their areas and Scotland as their driving force, as well as being really nice people. I think if you do go out with local people, you’ll notice the solidarity, good humour and desire to protect those in society who need it. Even with different ideas on some things, the core values are the same

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Stuart McClurg says

    Thank you for your honesty.when your on a journey you can get lost ,but as long as you check out your directions, you will get to your destination in the end,thats whats important.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mary White says

    This got me abit choked up reading it. It’s so lovely when someone finds there way to Yes, I can’t say.
    And what do you know, but I get to the bit about the two men I voted for in Holyrood and Westminster, only to find that we live in the same area! How cool is that?! Welcome home😍

    Liked by 2 people

      • Ruth Davis says

        I very much enjoyed reading your blog Elizabeth, thanks.

        Like Mary White I also stay in your area and have been an ardent Yes since before the 2014 vote. I helped in anyway I could during the campaign, speaking at meetings, delivering leaflets etc as I felt, as a very obvious English incomer (despite living here for 20 years), that it was important to show that this isn’t a Nationalist movement, it is a civic movement and about democracy and self determination.

        It’s a shame you missed out on the marches, gatherings and messages of togetherness and hope, it was a truly wonderful thing to experience being part of such an inclusive, welcoming movement and I hope that you get to enjoy it during the next campaign, because there will be one! I don’t know if you might be interested in attending this next week? I’m going along as Alan is a very engaging speaker. I also may go along to a WFI meeting too. Hope to bump into you sometime! 🙂 Ruth

        https://www.facebook.com/events/106027513260401/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Ruth, I’d be delighted to attend the gathering. Thanks so much for the invitation. Do you know of a WfI group in our area? Maybe we could show up as newbies together. :). x

        Like

      • Ruth Davis says

        Hi Elizabeth, thanks for answering. 🙂
        There’s no reply button under your comment so I just hope this reply isn’t in the wrong place…
        There is a WFI Falkirk group but the facebook page doesn’t look particularly active at the moment. I’ve sent them a message asking if there are any imminent meetings/actions in light of the local elections and now a general election announced. I’ll let you know of any reply I receive.
        Maybe see you next week in Bo’ness. x

        Liked by 1 person

      • The reply system on WordPress is not the best I’ve seen!

        I’ll keep an eye on their Facebook page. If you hear of anything going on, please let me know. I saw my MSP today and he also suggested WfI. I look forward to my first meeting!

        Like

  12. Emily Bryce says

    Hi Elizabeth, I so enjoyed reading your blog. I was a former Lib Dem voter, I lived for a while in NW Highlands and Charles Kennedy was my MP, I was a great admirer of him. I had to move back down south after I lost my husband.
    I live in a neighbouring constituency, and since Indy Ref joined the SNP.
    I am a member of Stirling Women for Independence, you’d be made very welcome at our meetings. We are a friendly bunch of like minded women, some are members of the SNP, some are in no party at all, it’s a safe place to talk and discuss.
    I dread the future of living in a country run by extreme right wingers, with a PM who appears to be a total control freak and leaves me feeling very cold.
    We have to send a clear message to Westminster in June, that Scotland wants to head in a different direction with our own self determination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a lot of time for Kennedy. I know he had his demons, but he was a good man. And he was right about things (Iraq) that not many others would admit at the time.

      I’d love to come along to one of the WfI gatherings. I almost turned up at the craft one in Stirling a couple of weeks ago, but chickened out.

      The thought of living in Brexity Trumpland turns my stomach, too. So let’s not. While I’m not happy about this snap election, I am hopeful for Scotland. It, along with the council elections next month, gives us a chance to rid ourselves of Tories on two levels, and the third won’t be far behind.

      Like

  13. Alan Gordon says

    I’m full of prejudice but after reading your piece, I realise I to need to dig deep and question my long held grudges and distaste. I now don’t I d that you plink the uke but just to give vent to yet lingering resentment, have you tried the baritone ukulele? Thanks for your honesty and enjoy the rest of this hope filled journey in convoy together towards a better future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alan, I play baritone almost exclusively! And tenor guitar, too. Do you play baritone? I’ve never met anyone else who does.

      One thing that helped me change my mind was to look at the changes with the SNP since 2014. There are quite a few and most are positive.

      Like

      • Alan Gordon says

        My daughter plays uke, among other instruments. I play guitar. A couple of weeks ago a couple of us got together to play some tunes and the chap that normally brings a banjo, another prejudice unless it’s played as on Crooked Still band, pulled out his latest instrument, baritone uke. A big improvement on the banjo.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have an eight-string baritone uke that makes the most beautiful noise (when played by someone with actual skill, of course). A baritone would suit you. It’s DGBE and uses the same chord shapes as a guitar. I bet you’d love it.

        Like

      • Alan Gordon says

        I haven’t come across an eight string baritone uke, I’ll check them out. I toy with the idea of trying an octave mandala, a friend plays this, or the Irish bazouki. The eight stringed baritone might do it, thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If you’re close by, you can have a shot at mine to see if you like it. The nylon strings are much easier on the fingers. My husband has a mandolin and I find it a bit sore and fiddly. Never tried the mandala or bazouki. I only started playing in 2014, so I’ve still a long way to go.

        Like

  14. Aileen McCann says

    What a journey you have been on. I find your honesty of your journey very brave. It can be hard to be so honest with ourselves as you have been. I know a few people who have also been on a similar journey. Some would never join the SNP (or any political party) but would now support them for independence. They didn’t realise the wider independance movement out there. They have now looked into it and have changed their minds to yes. They voted no for the same reasons you did and I have to say their reasons for changing their minds are very similar to your own reasons. I was a yes in 2014. Just because you voted no in 2014 doesn’t mean your stupid, you voted for reasons that where right for you at the time. Peoples paths change in life for many reasons.
    Anyway welcome aboard and like you hope for a better future for Scotland X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It’s odd, but I thought a lot like the people you know. I didn’t understand that a person could be for indy and not SNP. Isn’t that nuts? But of course it makes sense.

      Just as No voters had many different reasons for saying no, Yes reasons were many and varied, too. I was certainly never a unionist, but I thought indy voters were nationalists. Again, that is just crazy.

      The only way to get around this sort of us/them nonsense is to speak openly and honestly, even if it’s uncomfortable.

      Like

  15. Kate says

    What a great blog, Elizabeth. I have nothing but admiration for your courage in speaking out. I know myself it isn’t easy to admit that perhaps we got things wrong. Having said that, I don’t believe you did get things wrong. Politics is like ‘The Hobbit’ – a journey there and back again. We see or hear things that we think we agree with and we follow that trail. When we get there, we find, nope – not what we were looking for. And then we head off in another direction… It’s not wrong… it’s just a journey. And that is Scottish politics!

    I grew up in Canada under a very different, liberal political umbrella. When I moved to Scotland, I found it quite difficult to live through WM’s ‘by your leave’… and so I started MY political journey. I quickly found the SNP and it was a party I felt comfortable with. So I have voted for them for many, many years now.

    But we all have our own thoughts, our own needs, our own ideas of what a political party should be, what it should provide and how it should influence our daily lives. There is NOTHING wrong with alternative opinions and I have absolutely nothing against anyone else believing other political ideologies. (I DON’T hold with the current hatred being displayed though by ANY party hard liners). So I would NEVER call you a dick for not voting ‘yes’ the first time! LOL!

    On the contrary, I say ‘thank you’ for examining your journey and deciding to try the SNP road to see what IT could offer you. My belief has always been that Scotland has such wonderful, talented and intelligent people, full of spirit (not the whisky kind! 😉 ) with the ability to overcome any problems that independence may bring with it. The people of Scotland have put their greatest asset to work – themselves! They are innovative with a long history of overcoming a problem by inventing the solution! And the government that they’ve elected will help them do that. I’ve read today many unionists saying that Nicola Sturgeon is just out for herself. They fail to remember that Nicola can’t do a darn thing unless the people of Scotland vote for her!! WE have that power – and we have the power to take HER power back. Nicola and her party know this and they are in complete agreement that her election is a contract between her and the people of Scotland with both sides having responsibility for making this country work. You’re willing to accept that responsibility too and give it a go. That is good enough for me!! NO APOLOGIES NEEDED, my friend! Happy to travel with ye on THIS road. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a beautiful post. Like you, I’m an import, but the politics around my childhood were very different: conservative, religious, and a bit scary!

      I once thought I didn’t like Nicola Sturgeon, but I realise now that I absolutely love her and would give her a huge hug and a thank you if I could. She has sustained me through the horrifying Brexit vote, and she’s not put a foot wrong in dealing with the weirdoes in Whitehall.

      And I share your love of this country. It’s been so good to me and my family, and I’m happy to call it home. I’ve lived in a few places in my life, but none have felt more like home than Scotland. It’s time to pull together and get her on her way to full potential. There are great people here. We can do this. x

      Like

  16. Jon Drummond says

    I can only reiterate what so many others have said here. Your honesty is to be admired and commended in what is a difficult political environment not least with friends and family.

    On that level alone I salute your courage for going public with your frank but lovely story.

    I think I can assure you that your journey will continue to be a fruitful one and that your opinions and thoughts will be welcomed and given respectful consideration. Such has been my experience since I returned to Scotland after over 20 years away.

    It took me long enough to realise the agenda of so many politicians but I do think, at long last, we have, in the SNP, and Greens to their credit, elected individuals who understand the meaning of public service and wish to see their country and especially population thrive and prosper in their, own right.

    Self determination is the norm and sharing your journey has been a pleasure this evening.

    Welcome ++. Let’s look after each other. Hope over fear and all that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. That’s very kind of you. And I agree with you about having parties in Scotland who do stand up for everyone.

      When I saw how much the Scottish Government was spending to offset some terrible Tory policies, I was honestly a bit choked up. Why on earth was I being so negative?

      Thank you for the warm welcome. Everyone has been so lovely.

      Like

  17. Steve Bowers says

    What a lovely/difficult/interesting/complicated/realistic thing to write, it must have been very difficult for you, first of all to face up to reality, then to confront it, then to challenge it.
    Well done you.
    Life is all about our own journey, let’s hope yours leads to a country making its own decisions in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. It wasn’t an easy thing to admit, but I hope it helps others who might be hanging on to old baggage. Sometimes we just need to realise it isn’t serving us any more.

      Like

  18. 100%YES says

    Welcome on board the Independence movement, well still trying to achieve the one Million mark so if any one who hasn’t donated please donate @ https://www.ref.scot/ all donation will help Scotland achieve a country we all want.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ann love says

    Scotland has a way of making you ge that way. I’m a reformed prody as I was brainwashed into the orange order as a child. Let’s hope many Christians vote as Jesus Christ taught not with out of date bigotry. Thx for your honesty.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Eleanor Ferguson says

    I hear people saying ‘ oh I hate Nicola Sturgeon’ . No reason ,just thoughtless parroting of the Daily Mail or someone else in the media. I wish they would do what you have done and give it a little thought and educate themselves a bit more. Do they really want what the Tories are doing, are they really comfortable with disabled and vulnerable people being treated so badly. I’m so proud of what the Scottish Government has done to mitigate the cruel Tory cuts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not comfortable with Tories on any level. I’ve seen what they can and will do if given enough rope. They’d hang us all.

      Like

  21. Thank you so much for sharing Elizabeth. When there is so much anger on both sides (god, I think there are at least 6 sides these days) of the political debate, conversations can often feel like battlefields. I regularly check myself, as an independence supporter, to make sure I am not being blinkered or messianic, because I know some of us can be a bit too – erm – “passionate”, and I try to look at the other point of view and find common ground. It can be very hard when the other person’s defenses are up so high that they can’t begin to engage with you as a fellow human being trying to figure out the best way forward. It is lovely to hear that after trying a number of avenues which didn’t feel right, you have been able to open up to possibilities you didn’t consider an option before. I would love to read more of your thoughts, especially around what we can do to break down those barriers between each other. Not in a “how do I convert you or change your mind” kind of way but in a “are you happy with the status quo? What would you like to see change? How could we get there together?” kind of way. by the way, if you are not already familiar with them, you would probably enjoy Women for Independence, which is an easy way to get to speak to like minded people in a very supportive and nurturing kind of environment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you taking time to read my post, and to comment. I’m happy to hear that you’re also taking mental stock. You’re so right that we can get locked into a way of thinking without really knowing why.

      I am definitely going to check out WfI. I nearly went along to a meeting recently, but got cold feet at the last minute. Must be a bit braver next time!

      Like

      • You should definitely go to WFI! It is such a positive organisation, and it is exactly about finding a space to explore and discuss political opinions in a very open, caring environment. It does not demand the same level of buy in and commitment as joining a single political party, generally there are a wide variety of women with different viewpoints and the ethos is empowerment rather than everyone having a single view of the world. Our group in Midlothian is fantastic and I feel so lucky to be on the journey with such a great bunch of women! Hugs x

        Liked by 1 person

  22. A wonderful and inspiring journey you have taken. A reminder to us all of how fortunate we are in Scotland to have the opportunity to fully embrace self determination. You have encouraged me to think past the stumbling blocks thrown again at us and dig deep for the next step on the process realising the dream so many of us now have

    Liked by 1 person

  23. rowantree633 says

    A wonderfully honest post – thank you – will reblog if I may. Like you, I find that British mainstream politics has moved so far to the right, that as a centre-left voter, I found myself in a vacuum, politically speaking. I have voted LibDem since the 80s until the swing to the right started around the time of devolution –

    I began to wonder what it was all about. Since then the SNP has stepped neatly into that vacuum and now I am a member of the party and an activist. I do not know how I would vote if living in England – there’s no choice in reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please reblog, thank you! It’s just awful that so many people have been abandoned by their parties. I was, and it was a horrible feeling. I don’t ever take for granted how lucky Scotland is to have an escape. I just hope there are enough likeminded people here to make it happen.

      Like

  24. rowantree633 says

    Reblogged this on Nigel's Mountains and Modelling. and commented:
    This wonderfully honest story by Elizabeth encapsulates the political journey that many are making in Scotland – things have changed so much for so many since September 2014. I feel sorry for voters in England who seek an alternative to the mainstream parties but find they have no real choice. In Scotland, we do.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Grace. Mc ginnity says

    A really heartwarming piece, and one that I believe people could identify with, on our way to a new caring and successful destination.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Toni says

    Hi Elizabeth.

    I read your blog with much interest. In 2012, when I first started taking an interest in the Independence Referendum, I was an unthinking NO. By that I mean, I was born in Somerset and have family there. I also have Scottish family as mum is Scottish. I always described myself as British, having an English dad. I had a sentimental connection to the UK. When I began to see that the media, particularly BBC and also STV to a lesser extent, were not reporting what I was seeing on the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow, I started to look at social media. While online one day, I found an organisation called Future Learn, who were offering free courses through Edinburgh University, on Understanding the Referendum. I am so glad I did that course, as I learned so much from the Political tutors and professors. They were unbiased and balanced in the information they gave and opened my eyes to the political situation in Scotland and also the rest of the UK.
    I gradually came to see that independence was best for Scotland, in that running our own affairs within Scotland was obviously the best way to serve the people of Scotland. I was devastated on 19 September 2014 and have remained a firm supporter of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, and the Greens. I love England, the land and the people I know there. I hope they can come to a similar realisation to us in Scotland, that the Tory way is not the best way to run a country.
    Some people worry that there is too much dependence on social security in Scotland. I think the Scottish Government’s scheme of certifying business’s that pay the Living Wage, is the best way to help working people to be self sufficient, leaving the social security system to pick up the slack and look after people who really are unable to fend for themselves.
    Saor Alba.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re so fortunate to have been able to attend that course. I like to think I’m getting a similar education now through a bit of self-study. The one question that stands out for me is this: if Scotland is such a drain, why is the UK government so keen to hang onto it? Once one fully examines this question, a lot of stuff snaps into pretty sharp focus.

      Like you, I want to see a fairer, more just society. I run a small business here, and we do pay the living wage. I am aware that some companies can’t, but there are some that can and choose not to. It would be good to see everyone held to the same standard. It isn’t just about profits – it’s about people we work with and care about having decent, healthy lives. Compassion isn’t a weakness, and I get very tired of the Tory insinuation that it is.

      Governments of smaller countries are much more accountable, and I’d welcome this. I’d also welcome living in a country that doesn’t sell arms, interfere in the affairs of other nations, or go to war because our biggest potential trading partner wants it.

      We can achieve all of this in Scotland. I just hope enough people feel brave enough to take the chance.

      Like

      • Toni says

        I absolutely agree with everything you said.
        It is hard sometimes not to be influenced by the history between the two countries, England and Scotland. There has been a lot of unfairness in the treatment Scotland has received from the English parliament over the 310 years of the Union. The best way forward is to look to the future and make Scotland the kind of country that other countries want to emulate. We are a great mix of peoples who in general live and work happily together. Lets make it a nation people want to live in and contribute to, where everyone has an equal chance in life, and where those in need receive help and are able to benefit from it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the exciting bit – building the country you want to live in. When I compare that to the Brexit attitude, the contrast is so stark that I can hardly believe the UK has lasted as long as it has.

        Of course, there are millions of people in England, Wales, and N Ireland who are about to be force-fed something they don’t want. We’re very lucky to have an escape up here.

        Like

  27. Eric says

    That’s a great journey you’ve been on and then to arrive at the end making your decisions like that is great to hear. Those were all the things I also liked about SNP. I’d never been in any political party but joined 2013 and was immediately surprised that it is the membership that set the agendas in the party. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I truly believe the SNP is Scotland’s best chance at going from good to great. Not sure I’ll ever join another party, but I’m happy to support any party who honestly have the country’s best interest at heart.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There will be more people to come, too. We all have different levels of tolerance. Not sure if mine was high or low, but I’m happy to be where I am now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better. These elections have the potential to be brutal. Hopefully everyone else is as fed up as we are with Westminster and Whitehall nonsense.

      Like

      • Macart says

        On the back GEs, SEs and an EU ref, the real danger is voter fatigue and that scares the bejebus out of me. That people switch off from the current level of engagement.

        I believe the importance of the next couple of ballots, (a GE and indyref2), knocks the rest of them into a cocked hat. They’re going to be just THAT important to every single one of us.

        Every new voice heard. Every new vote. Every mind opened to even the possibility of change, is much needed and greatly appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps there’ll be some time between the GE and the next Scottish referendum. With the talk of transitional deals, we might have a bit more space and breathing room which will allow people to recover.

        There are a lot of people up in the air over independence – they’ve not quite decided what they’ll do. I think the GE will bring them down to the ground with a mighty thump, and they’ll know exactly what side they’re on. If the Tories win big, and I suspect they will, that will be enough for a comfortable majority of people itching to vote to get out from under a Brexit-crazy government and a tanking economy. We need to be there to encourage and help them when the time comes.

        Like

  28. Gill says

    Welcome to the light side from the dark side. I applause your frankness and your self reflection. It’s really refreshing to hear/see someone speak so passionately, without rancour and hatred. As I said – Welcome! Gill

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I really enjoyed this piece but I find it interesting that nowhere, as a non-nationalist who now supports independence, believes in the EU, is to the left of centre, etc…did you mention the Greens. I’m a Scottish Green Party member, so I’d love to find out why!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy to support the Greens. But as the SNP are in power, I feel they’re in the best position to help achieve independence.

      Like

  30. graham says

    Elizabeth, your testimony is both fine and humbling (and also graceful).Aach, and it’s also gorgeously open-minded and generous. May you always feel at home in this wayward, beautiful, wee diddy nation. May we never fail your trust. Blessings, g

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Elizabeth, you made me shed some tears. Partly out of frustration that I can’t vote at all because I’ve lived in Europe more than 15 years, partly because of the way you described things. While I would have voted for independence in the referendum, I know of others like you who assumed that the UK was the only way to stay in the EU, and now feel betrayed.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Norrie Hunter says

    You are so welcome to join the yes campaign. I am a Green Party supporter but have great respect for the SNP. Good luck for the future

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! At this point, I’m happy to support both the SNP and the Greens as I’m a fan of a functioning opposition, and I think these two parties both complement each other as well as keep each other in check.

      Like

  33. Enjoyed reading about your journey Elizabeth – I’ve been an SNP voter and member for 30 years, in that time they have evolved from a slightly eccentric institution to one that is totally now focused on doing its best for all Scots. I have many friends in the Greens too and have sympathy with a lot of their polices – especially land reform. So thanks again for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bill. I do honestly believe the future of Scotland rests with the SNP and the Greens.

      I like your user pic. Is that a banjo?

      Like

  34. gorbalsgal says

    Thanks for sharing the insights and experience of your political journey thus far.
    I truly believe that the multiplicity of peoples living in Scotland are they only ones suited to decide what is best for Scotland now and into the future.
    Like you I am a left leaning liberal or democratic socialist who believes than only through being a good internationalist can you become a civic nationalist.
    Good luck on your journey and again your thoughts and experiences are appreciated
    Fiona

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Fiona! Scotland really is an outward-facing nation. I feel blessed and fortunate to live with so many like-minded people.

      Like

  35. It’s a long journey that we undertake in our lives,sometimes we are so busy with other things that we just go with the flow,I’ve always fantasised about an independent Scotland,of course it was never going to happen,at least that’s what I thought,I was a teenager in the sixties,I was all about banning the bomb,I was about world peace,I love the Beatles,but loved the stones even more,years have gone by since then,and I just accepted whatever government got into power, then Thatcher happened,wow were my eyes fully opened,how on earth could one woman do what she did?she decimated my part of Scotland,she pillaged and raped my Glasgow,she left thousands in dire straits,she destroyed my lovely beautiful Scotland,our proud shipbuilding,gone,our steel works gone,whole areas of industry gone,I vowed then that when an alternate Scottish party came along,a party that put Scotland and Scottish people first then that’s the party that I would stand up for,I’ve watched that party grow,I’ve witnessed just how much they really do care for the people of Scotland,I’ve watched them mitigate some of the terrible policies introduced by an English government,bedroom tax for one,I’ve been privileged to have gone to college at age 56 and not have to pay fees,I enjoyed free prescriptions,free bus travel, but,that’s NOT the only things that matter,what matters to me is the genuine actions and the caring of the people of Scotland,I’ve had the privilege of meeting Nicola and had my photo taken with her,(it’s also in the latest handbook),she and her fellow parliamentarians are some of the most down to earth and friendliest people I’ve met,easy to talk to,just the most ordinary people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I moved here from the US in 2001, so I missed the Thatcher years. My husband remembers them well, though. I did live through Reagan, who had a similar strategy to move money up the ladder in the hope that some of it ‘trickled down’ again . Needless to say, it didn’t. If I’d had to the chance then to rid my country of that kind of politics, I would have.

      We all have the chance to do that now. And we can build a more equal and fair country. I am looking forward to the challenge. x

      Like

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