Arriving at the SECC for conference, the Armadillo resembled a huge igloo under the snow but the buzz among delegates was warming. By mid-morning, the hall was already receptive as I seconded Mike and Angela’s motion on Delivering for Scotland’s Schools, highlighting early years focus that will boost literacy and numeracy and, in turn, reduce unemployability that blights too many school leavers.
In the afternoon, my motion on SNP achievements in councils to complement those of government could have descended into trite self-congratulation. However I felt real pride in relating how green SNP administrations had led the way these past four years: solving major budget crises in cities; working with other parties; building affordable homes; refocussing schools; exhibiting new ideas.
Then to the BBC’s makeshift studio to be interviewed on justice with Stewart Maxwell MSP. Stewart and I had coincidentally talked at the CSPP dinner just the night before and so were soon both in full flow: he defended the Meghrahi decision and the advisability of avoiding knee-jerk automatic sentences; I waxed lyrical how extra police enable rural policing to lower crime levels even further and spread that sense of security people want—and associate with the small towns of East Lothian.
Swapping doorstep war stories at the Law Society of Scotland’s reception that evening, it was clear that this opportunity I feel in East Lothian is found from Orkney to Dumfries. While none exhibited ‘candidatitis’, and saw their contest as in the bag, the SNP’s record is standing us in great stead—demonstrated competence at local and national levels.
As we left, the snow had gone and the views across to the Science Centre in Govan were a much clearer good omen. That was where we met four years ago, prior to winning the Govan seat and power. Now it’s Kelvin’s turn.