Heck of a birthday present for Stuart (yes, it’s really his birthday!)
The votes have been cast, the ballots counted, the results announced.
For those who voted for the SNP – from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank each and every one of the people of Greenock & Inverclyde who voted for Stuart McMillan and the SNP. Every single vote counted, for every single vote was the sovereign choice and decision of one of the people of Scotland. Not one of you owe us, Stuart McMillan, Nicola Sturgeon, or the SNP anything – it is we who owe you everything. We do not expect your votes. We do not own your votes. But we do cherish them as the priceless gifts they are – for without them, we are nothing. That was just as true back in the early 20th Century as it is today, whether we’re in government or not.
For everyone who voted for a different party than the SNP – thank you for voting too. I may not share your views or your faith in your party, but I champion your right to express them at the ballot box. The engagement of Scottish politics in the past few years has seen increases of all sorts of political viewpoints in the public consciousness, which is only a good thing. Democracy is all about the engagement of differing viewpoints, and change only happens when we talk to the people. I hope that the candidates that were elected to represent your views do you proud.
For everyone who voted for the candidate of a smaller party that did not receive representation – your vote was not wasted. In the annals of history for this brilliant land, your vote will be counted alongside the party of your political expression, and your vote will remain in your heart as long as you live. That is the essence, the soul, of democracy, and nothing can take that away. It wasn’t that long ago, relatively speaking, that the SNP were in the position of a small party. But from small things come great achievements.
For those still opposed to independence: remember, the only people who can take Scotland out of the Union are the same people who can keep Scotland in. No matter what politicians or journalists or academics say, you – we – are the people who decide our future. We in the SNP and other pro-independence parties believe the ultimate expression of that will is independence. In time, we hope you will agree – but until then, rest assured that the matter is, and always will be, in all our hands.
Until then, I’m having a rest. The Parliamentary Piper is going back to work.