It Ain’t Effectively So

The SNP’s newest councillor has been criticised over a £600 “telephone and ICT” expenses bill.

Anne McTaggart, who defected from Labour to the SNP last week, incurred costs nearly fifteen times higher than her colleagues…

McTaggart was a Labour MSP between 2011 and 2016 before she was effectively deselected by party members.

– Paul Hutcheon, 6th November 2019

So sayeth Paul Hutcheon in his ongoing Saga of the Evil Provost, as serialised in the Daily Record. I have highlighted the curious phrase “effectively deselected.” Deselected would suggest a fairly matter-of-fact presentation of the process: that the membership was unhappy with Ms McTaggart, & undertook the established deselection process: effectively deselected, on the other hand, suggests that her deselection came about by somewhat less conventional means. I wonder if anyone could elaborate on that?

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The Crossroads to Independence

I’ve had to change that widget three times now. First it was 29th March 2019. Then it was 12th April 2019. Then it was 31st October 2019. And (for) now, it’s 31st January 2020. I’d say things were getting ridiculous, but really, how could you tell the difference?

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John was there at the very beginning of my journey. As Head of Office for Stuart McMillan & later Derek Mackay, he was ever present in the Scottish Independence Referendum and every election campaign. He was there when I went out canvassing for the first time, a steady hand & cool head. He was there with Stuart McMillan at a fundraiser when I first met his future boss, Derek Mackay. Yet it’s difficult to think of any particular memories of John, because he was always there: on canvassing sessions, constituency meetings, fundraisers, conferences. Any memory of John, for me, was inseparable from any of those memories.

I was only too eager to support him in his successful campaign for the new position of Member Support Convenor earlier this year, helping his team out with leaflets & whatnot. Just last month, when I was feeling so despondent & frustrated, his counsel & reassurance was instrumental in lifting my spirits from the doldrums. John had that way about him: despite being younger than me by just under a year, I always felt he was older and wiser all the same. It’s no surprise to see the heartfelt messages of condolences from across the political spectrum: a harder-working, more dedicated, more thoughtful, & more compassionate campaigner, activist, & person, you’d be hard pressed to find.

I’m no good in the company of death: I suspect no one is. But it stings especially so when it’s a fellow independence supporter, when it seems we are so close. All these people who lived, breathed, & worked for the cause, only not to see it through to the end – or, at least, to share it with us. People who cried with us on the 19th of September 2014, who cheered with us on the 9th May 2015, who shared the spark of renewed determination on the 24th of June 2016. Yet all those who passed between then and now helped build our support, strengthen our resolve, support our campaign: the bricks they laid still hold steady. We just have to keep building.

I was reminded of a bittersweet quote by Richard Bach in The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story: “Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you´re alive it isn’t.” It’s difficult to reconcile the sentiment of John’s mission being finished with the cause he dedicated his life to, since it’s obvious to all who knew him what that mission was. But no one person can win a cause, any more than one Egyptian built the Great Pyramid of Giza. It’s up to all of us.

We lay our bricks, supporting one another, until we reach the sun.

Revolutions with Flowers & Song

Depending on who you ask, between 20,000 & 200,000 marchers turned up for yesterday’s big Edinburgh party. If anti-independence advocates aren’t immediately going for the lowest estimate, they use the curious logic that “only” 3.7% of a nation’s entire population turning out for a march is somehow a mark against support for Scottish Independence.

So I thought I’d have a look at other famous marches from history. While Mr Golden might think they also show a lack of enthusiasm for their causes (not least because the majority of those marches were against his party), I’ll let readers make up their own minds.

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