Saturday 8 November 2014


We were privileged last night to attend Nicola Sturgeon's speech and question and answer session in Dundee's Caird Hall.

The hall, which holds around 2,300, people was pretty much sold out. There were a few seats not taken in the balcony, but the body of the hall was jam packed. One was reminded of David Cameron's visit to Perth where they couldn't even manage 200 people in the audience, despite going around the old folks homes inviting people and offering tea and biscuits.

The "One Great Thing" Big Country song announced the arrival of the Deputy First Minister, and the hall stood, as far as I could see, as one.

Nicola's first word was: "WOW".

And she kicked off with an apology to the pub owners of Dundee for doing them out of business.

Then she got down to her brass tacks.

She talked a little about her own situation. She has been elected leader of the SNP, and it is expected that parliament will elect her First Minister of Scotland within the next few weeks. 

She said how incredibly privileged and proud she was, and promised us that she would work tirelessly for the good of Scotland, both to make the country more economically sound, and to make it a fairer, more decent place to live. She admitted that she was probably the luckiest leader ever to have come into power at a time when her party had grown from 25,000 to 84,000 members. She acknowledged that some people were saying that this surge in membership would be a problem for her... she wished all her problems would be that small.

She addressed the referendum, and said that it was the most exciting thing that had happened in Scotland in her political lifetime. She said that she absolutely accepted that the Yes side lost... and she was prepared to take her share of the responsibility for that. However, she said that that didn't stop her campaigning now for the very very best that can come out of the deal that Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, along with Brown, promised the country.

She said she would oversee the government of the country for the benefit of every Scot, whether they voted yes or no. She added that she knew that there were some, perhaps even many, who had already changed their minds since the referendum. 

Promises made by unionists were already being broken. The Labour Party, for example, having promised devo max, now appeared to consider that a small amount of independently raised income tax would cover that description. 

This was borne out later be several people who prefaced their questions to Nicola by saying that they had recently joined the SNP because they were sickened by the betrayal of these "vow" promises.

She was lavish in her praise of Alex (and that got a cheer that raised the rafters), but also of other colleagues. John Swinney, who was in the audience, got a special mention for finding so much cash from a reducing budget to help Scots caught in the horrors of Tory benefit cuts. Patrick Harvie was also given high praise (and audience applause for him too was rafter raising).

In a hall of over 2000 people, there were, of course, far too many people who wanted to ask questions for the amount of time alloted, so, despite the fact that Nicola was prepared to go on answering questions a good half hour after the the event was due to close, nowhere near half of the questions could be answered.

However, she has promised to come back. She has said that if (when, I'd say) she is endorsed by parliament as First Minister, she will hold meetings on a regular basis around the country... her and her cabinet. So perhaps there will be an opportunity for those who didn't get a chance last night, to ask their question next time she's in Dundee.

One question came from a young lad of ten. (I should have said that the hall was full of people of all ages, from this lad, through teenagers, middle agers to people in their 80s.) Anyway, the lad said that one day he'd like to be prime minister of Scotland and asked if there was anything he should be studying. Nicola suggested that the best thing would be for them to arrange to get together in Edinburgh and she would take him around, introduce him to some people... and maybe let him sit in the first minister's chair in parliament.

Te deputy first minister ended as she began... with a standing ovation.  Mum and I had sore hands and Munguin had sore paws!

It was a great evening, and I came away from it reinvigorated.

I think that with Nicola at the helm, and 84,000 members (one in ever 50 of the adult population of Scotland) we will move forward towards independence, and I look forward to seeing Nicola as the first First Minister of an independent country.


  1. If everything goes well next year, I will be crossing the Tweed somewhere right before the GE. I am bloody excited to make my homage to Scotland. I hope the air will be as electrifying as the indyref. Been reading on Scotland and now stuck researching historical Scottish railway lines. Particularly interested with the Waverly and North of Scotland routes. What a wasted opportunity that Beeching Axe; simply gobsmacked. I think the lines were the precursor to NHS.

    1. When the SNP government came to power in 2-007 quite a few things in the Scottish NHS had been privatised.

      As far as I can make out most of these deals were not renewed by Nicola when she was Cabinet Secretary for Heath.She promised last night that any government she leads will keep the NHS free from business as much as she can.

      The TIPP talks she said, are secret and we in Scotland know nothing about what they mean. The UK government have given assurances, but their promises are like chocolate teapots

    2. AHAH: Great. Get in touch when you get here. I'm a railway fan.

      I agree completely that the cut were incredibly short sighted and we should be reinstating railways and providing a first rate, and cheap service to keep people off the roads.

      Instead of which Britain has the most expensive train service in Europe and one of the worst. Certainly slower and less efficient than any of the other large countries...Italy, Spain, France and Germany.


  2. we will move forward towards independence, and I look forward to seeing Nicola as the first First Minister of an independent country

    You said the same about Alex Salmond , does anyone actually remember him and how did that turn out for him ?

    1. Well, it may not have worked out for him, but he leaves the country a lot closer to independence from the raj than he found it.

      The imperial government is in a mess after 4.5 years of power. The Scottish government after 6.5 years, is more popular than ever and set to win seats at both our own parliament and the one in England.

      The opposition in England and Scotland is in tatters. Miliband is facing a coup and the Scottish leader resigned after saying that she was run from London like a branch office. (I think she will find the term used by the Electoral Commission is "Accounting Unit").

      He leaves the party with 84,000 members, more than triple the figure he started with. On a Friday night the incoming first minister can fill a 2000 seat hall in Dundee, with people aged from 10 to 85...

      I'd say that the SNP were looking up, Labour looking down, the Liberals in dire straits and the Tories... well, who cares about the Tories in Scotland.

  3. I was going to put up a post on your last thread Tris about your wee *ahem* night out with "De Management!" last night but thought better not cause I'd only spoil the surprise. ;)

    I had the immense pleasure of listening to Nicola in the Easterbrook halls in Dumfries on 31st October so I knew exactly what you would experience.

    I find it utterly astonishing that here we have the new First Minister elect travelling around the country and speaking to THOUSANDS of people. Yet she was a member of the LOSING side in the referendum. Remind me again how are things going in Labour these days. They must really be enjoying themselves after all they WON the referendum didn't they? Oh wait a minute their Branch Office *ahem* leader resigned firing off a broadside against London Labour. RED ED is under constant fire about resigning, or not resigning, or resigning or ... :D

    As if all of this is not enough the membership of the Green party, SSP, SNP etc all continue to INCREASE meanwhile Labour's membership numbers are ... well the less said about the better I reckon.

    We had another branch meeting of the SNP down here in Annan the other night and well let's just say the branch membership goes from strength to strength. Before the referendum our branch membership stood at around 70, the first branch meeting AFTER the referendum the branch membership had DOUBLED to around 150 and the latest figures show that the branch membership has ... well ... erm ... well it's sort of DOUBLED AGAIN to around 350 members! LOL

    Can you imagine what the effect would have been had we actually WON? LOL

    1. Well, yeah Arbroath... you will know what it was like. It was just electric. She lifted us all. And my hands really were sore.

      There were people cheering and whooping... it was like being at a party with a very special guest.

      We didn;t hang around after because we didn't think that with a crowd that size she would do a meet and greet, but I see form photographs on Facebook that she did, the star that she is.

      Munguin is furious with me of course, and I've had a cut in wages, which I didn't think was possible!

      Congratulations on your branch membership multiplying by 5!

      As Nicola pointed out, that's an awful lot of voices on social media, which is important as organs like Bella and Wings, Scot Goes Pop and Bateman Broadcasting take over from the tired old newspapers and the BBC.

  4. Sad that I am on holiday and could not be in Dundee. I remember Winnie Ewing having a public meeting at the Caird Hall in 1968 when over a thousand people turned up for it. That was in the days when public meetings were the norm and not the exceptions as they are today. I do hope she does another one as I know a lot of people wanted to go but couldn't get tickets

    1. Well, it's not sad to be on holiday :) but I'm sorry you missed the event. It was really something else.

      It's the second time I've been at a packed event on a Friday night in Dundee. The first time was in the Steps when I was surprised that a few hundred people wanted to be at a political meeting instead of at the pub at the weekend... Last night was just amazing. 2000+

      I was lucky I saw the email right away and replied within minutes. Within 24 hours there wasn't a seat to be had. Although some people didn't turn up, and they didn't have a way of transferring the tickets... which was daft.

      She has promised to take government around the country.

      I think she enjoys this kind of thing to be honest, and she is so good at it.

    2. Difficult to think of any other politician who could attract such a crowd. The last time I saw a crowd like that in Dundee was at a Hibs/United game on one of my infrequent visits to Dundee but will visit again when the Museum of Design opens. Hopefully, Muinquin will invite me round for a small sherry!

    3. Well, to be fair, when Spud came to Dundee as part of his 100 towns tour, he attracted a bit of a crowd in the square just outside the Caird Hall.

      And as I pointed out, not too long ago in our neighbouring city, Perth, Mr Cameron managed to attract a crowd of as many as somewhere relatively near 200, + or -.

      So never say that politics is Dead in Dundee.

      Munguin says you can come for small sherry as long as you bring a bottle... He's fond, he adds, of vintage champagne, and Tris always comes home with the cheap stuff...

  5. Thanks for sharing this Tris. It's been almost surreal watching the indi parties membership soar. It's only a matter of time now i feel , as your commenters note the gap between Scotland and Wm is huge.

    Murphy will be forced on labour and the party will die .

    So many labour supporters really hate the guy. A Blairite more like a tory now.

    His victim play really pissed of folk too.

    Nichola is going the right way , and Alex Salmond will guide her through the process when needed.

    Anon - You have nothing to say. Troll . Fire off a dig and show yourself for the fool you are. How can anyone believe any labour/Tory/Lib after their behavior dueing the ref. Don't you realuse YOU have been fed shit for years.

    And tell us .. How should we go about running our country ?? Whats your take .

    This is an indi site . Your lost if think your digs matter.

  6. It looks like the BBC and the press want Murphy. I wonder why. He'll be a disaster.

    So far the coverage has been mainly about him though. Actually, it would be hilarious if he lost, becasue he is so big on ego; then better still if he lost his seat and had to go cap in hand to Ed, or whoever is leading Labour by that time, asking for a seat in the Lords.

    I'd say Findlay is the one the SNP should consider the biggest challenge, because he does actually have some left of centre policies, and he could win some Labour voters back.

    Murphy is charmless. Quite apart from his right wing, Blairite, warmongering, anti Palestinian, pro USA dominance, as you say he';s not overly popular particularly with the women members, some of whom are said to consider him to be creepy! Don;t blame them!

    He came over a unbelievably rude on this tour of his. He also couldn't answer criticisms. He just shouted.

    That works well at Westminster.

    And what was he like over that egg...? LOL You'd think he'd been hit by a trident missile all the greeting and whining and needing police protection.