Nicola gave a bloody fantastic speech.
The key word of which was inclusion. It may be rhetoric aiming to set a vision that travels in the opposite direction to that of Theresa May and her party but it’s one that I will happily work towards; a welcoming, outward-looking, progressive and inclusive Scotland.
Key points that grabbed my attention were:
- A four-point plan to boost trade and exports:
- a new ScotGov Board of Trade.
- a new trade envoy scheme with prominent/successful Scots to boost exports.
- permanent trade representation in Berlin additional to current hubs in Dublin, London and Brussels.
- doubling the number of Scottish Development International staff across Europe supporting investment and trade opportunities.
I think these are fantastic as the Foreign Office are notorious in their lack of support.
- launching a consultation on new approaches to childcare.
I like the idea that funding follows the child aiming to give parents/carers greater flexibility.
- an extra half a billion pounds into primary care, including GP services and health centres.
- increasing health spending by almost £2 billion.
- an independent review of the system that supports children in care.
The figures quoted re children in care were shocking:
- only 6% go to university.
- half of prison population had been in care
- and those who had been in care were 20 times more likely to be dead by age 25.
If you can please follow Who Cares? Scotland, this group attended conference and helps young people who have experienced the care system to be listened to via independent advocacy, campaigning, training, policy & youth work initiatives.
- all newborns across the country will receive a baby box from next summer
- pilot areas to start 1st January 2017
- a competition to design the box will be launched next month in partnership with the Dundee V&A
But that of course was the end of the conference, there had been the usual every day business up to then and being a Saturday it was even busier than the previous 2 days.
Walking in you were greeted by even more leafleteers than normal, and I have to admire the determination of the two people from No2SNP who were trying unsuccessfully to get attention from the delegates on the walkway from the train station.
Unlike the previous day I didn’t spend the morning in the hall but thanks to the large screens in the exhibition space I could still watch proceedings.
There was some excitement when it came to the debate re charitable status of schools. The resolution was to make all state schools charities – rather than removing the charity status and subsequent tax exemption from private schools.
I had always leaned towards the latter but it was pointed out to me that some private schools are “proper” charities. The main point is for me is equality and at present private schools benefit when state ones do not. If education is a charitable act it is for all children or none.
Anyway, this was a close vote which could not be determined by show of hands so a card count was required. Upon realising this, two of my companions – full delegates unlike me who could not vote – leapt to their feet and sped to the hall.
I believe about 10 made it in time to give a final vote of 464 votes to 455 in favour. Politics at its most exhilarating – or so I presume from the wheezing when they returned. Perhaps in future the SNP Conference app could include online voting?
[I can nether confirm or deny rumours that I was left in charge of a pair of fabulous heels during this time]
Other highlights were accompanying a friend who hadn’t been able to make it until then. Our explorations meant that we met some more lovely people, such as those manning the stall at SNP CND, the cardboard Angry Salmond at the National stall, the lovely Stewart Bremner, and the fabulous Dr Craig Dalzell at CommonSpace (who hopefully I didn’t fangirl too much. Same goes for Peter Bell & James Kelly on different evenings)
I have had a wonderful few days but am absolutely exhausted from it – concentrating is hard. I would recommend any SNP member to attend. You don’t need to go in a group, it is fun wandering around on your own and to be honest you are bound to meet people you know.
Over coffee we had worked out we needed some Pokemon/Tinder/Twitter app so you could identify people you knew from online. Although presumably it could also work to clear the room in some cases! Just need a coder to work on that please.