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One year to go!!!!! [18 Sep 2013|11:42pm]
[ mood | hopeful ]

I wonder how I'll be feeling a year from now... nervous? excited? exhausted? One thing is probably sure - I will have very very sore feet!!!

The countdown has really begun now!!!

An Independent Scotland would be good for the world

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[09 Sep 2013|07:37pm]
[ mood | lonely ]

I don't think I've ever been in quite such a dark place as I am right now - and given my ups and downs - that is really saying something.

I have NO ONE to talk to. No close friends. Oh I have lots of "internet" friends (and by those I include the people I know in the real world) but even those that basically live 10 minutes away only want to seem to communicate with me via a screen. I think that obviously says a lot more about me than it does them if truth be told. I am obviously not very good company!

Work is only just bearable - but I'm still the outsider there. I have no relationship - and no signs that that is ever going to change! The last time I was out was Angela's wedding - that was 3rd May. Other than that the only night/day out I've had this year was Angela's hen night. I just go to work, come home, go to work, come home. There's not even the odd day to break the monotony. I don't know how I ended up in this position - but neither do I know how to pull myself out of it. Actually, maybe I DO know how I got here - its called having one really close friend that means the world to you instead of a bunch of casual friends - then they get married and forget you exist! (I have seen Angela twice since May - roughly I get a 2 line email every couple of weeks - I'm not expecting her to be around for me all the time - or even that much - but I think I deserve more than that after 40 years of friendship!).

I'm still paying off the debt from the holiday that never was from last year (and still hurting over it) - and then there is Magic, my wonderful beautiful gentle little boy, the one person the truly loved me without conditions - who was snatched away from me in March. Sometimes he was the reason that got me up in the mornings and now he's gone.

As I said, dark dark place. Just posting here as I thought writing it all down might help me deal. I'm not even looking forward to Christmas this year as I have no plans - first time in years....

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[20 May 2012|05:45pm]

So, airiddh1, your LiveJournal reveals…

You are… 2% unique (blame, for example, your interest in mailer surname), 24% peculiar, 36% interesting, 19% normal and 19% herdlike (partly because you, like everyone else, enjoy writing). When it comes to friends you are normal. In terms of the way you relate to people, you are keen to please. Your writing style (based on a recent public entry) is conventional.

Your overall weirdness is: 31

(The average level of weirdness is: 28.
You are weirder than 69% of other LJers.)

Find out what your weirdness level is!

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WORK... [15 May 2012|11:30pm]
So just when you think things can’t get any worse….

I worked for Graeme (partner), his assistant Lucy and whoever was their current trainee when I started with S&M. In October Isla, the current trainee, finished her 2 years training and was kept on. This meant I now had Graeme, Lucy, Isla AND a trainee. Then in January I was told that the other PA in our “team” who worked for the other partner Duncan, had too much work and that from now on any work Isla produced for Duncan was also to be done by me! This meant I now had Graeme, Lucy. Isla, the trainee and a fair chunk of Duncan’s work - the other PA ONLY had Duncan! I was not amused! Isla, being the most junior fee earner in the team produces a hell of a lot of work. I said at the time that I didn’t think this would work as I was over stretched as it was – but of course no one paid any attention and I just got on with it. I was always busy, but after that, the past few months work has just been so stressful. Isla was working late and coming in at weekends and the workload was starting to get to a level that I could barely cope. Just after the Easter break I came in to discover she’d been in the office over Easter and I had no less than 76 items of work waiting on me – just from Isla alone! On top of this I had work from Lucy and Graeme, plus the general stuff I do as PA for Graeme. I DID think about going down to see HR, but in the end I just got on with it. Barbara (assistant HR) had noticed my huge workload and asked others to help out as they weren’t busy. In the end it took FIVE people to bring it back down to a manageable level of 25! And I had been supposed to do this on my own!!

As most folk know, I’ve had trouble fitting into this office. The people are not at all friendly! I have tried but the most I can get is a good morning and a good night – and that took about 18 months! Then I made friends with another woman that had started just a few months before me and was also feeling like the outsider in the office. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it made just to have someone to actually chat to, go for lunch with etc. Anyway, Anne & I became friends we went for lunch at least once a week – and usually I would sit and listen to her moan about everyone else in the office and what bitches they all were! Of course sometimes I would join in! (tho in all honesty it was mainly her!).

That all changed last Wednesday. We had gone for lunch on the Wednesday as I was off Thursday & Friday for the election. Everything was fine. Then around 4pmish she came up to me in the office with a face like thunder and told me she had just been told by HR that she was now to work as Isla’s secretary! I knew nothing about it! Nice of them to keep me informed as obviously this affected me as well! She was RAGING! I said to her that I honestly had no clue about it. I then went down to HR myself to ask what was going on. Jennifer in HR told me that Graeme had said that Isla really needed support of her own due to her workload (most of the other junior fee earners already have a secretary). Anne works in a team that is not busy and therefore her boss had suggested her. I said that was fine but I’d be happy to help out still as I know how much work Isla produces and it can get too much for one person. She said if I was happy to do that then she was fine with it. I went back upstairs and told Anne the conversation I’d just had and pointed out that I would still be able to help out so it shouldn’t get as bad as it was when I was doing it on my own. The answer “whatever”. She was making it VERY clear she blamed me so I said to her once again that it was nothing to do with me and I hadn’t asked for help . The reply this time “I don’t see why I should suffer just because you couldn’t cope with your own workload” !!!! Now we had discussed this loads of times and she was always the very one that said I had far too much!!!! Also, she had so little work that she had been frightened they might make her redundant! Now she was raging because she had a proper workload!!! I have never seen someone change so much in such a short space of time! At 2pm we were walking up the road laughing, by 5pm she was glaring at me and walked out the office without saying a word to me! When I came back on the Monday she was very frosty but did speak. However she hasn’t spoken to me since! She either looks away when I pass her desk – or gives me the blackest look. You would think I had personally gone down to HR and demanded that all Isla’s work be given to Anne! I thought okay – let’s not be as childish as she is being about this – so on Wednesday I asked her if we were lunching on Thursday as usual. The reply “no can’t make it”. On Thursday she was sitting at her desk with a sandwich in full view of me. Not a word has passed between us since then. Anne is the really the only person I was friendly with so it is a huge blow not having her friendship. Also, she could cause problems for me if she started to blab anything we had spoken about (as of course I could her, but I wouldn’t as I’m not that petty!). Initially I was very upset, now I’m just very angry! I have done absolutely nothing to deserve being treated like this and I thought we were friends. Her true colours actually shocked me! (BTW this woman is 54!!). I’m torn between making one last attempt to try and resolve things - I’ve thought about sending her an email along the lines of “this is silly, why don’t we go for lunch and see if we can sort things out”, or just cutting my losses. I do have my pride, I’ve already made an attempt to resolve things by initially asking her to go to lunch – don’t see why I should be begging her to reconsider when I’m not in the wrong! Of course, now that she is not talking to me I’m back to square one in the office, with no real allies or friends! I have started looking around for something else but there’s really not a lot out there just now. Trouble is, I’m pretty well paid for what I do (which after all these years of having crap pays is a big deal!) and any jobs that are out there can’t match my current salary. AARRGGHHH….
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THANK YOU DAVID CAMERON!!!! [14 Jan 2012|08:33pm]
SNP membership soars - 800 join in 5 days

Sat, 14/01/2012 - 09:12

The SNP has this week seen an unprecedented surge in party membership following David Cameron’s blundering intervention into Scottish politics on Sunday.

Party chiefs confirmed that 784 new members had joined the SNP since last weekend, boosting party membership by 4% in just 5 days.

Following the revelation that the Tory government plan to dictate the terms of the independence referendum from London, new members have been joining the SNP at a rate of one new member every nine minutes.

At the end of 2011 the SNP announced it had a record 20,000 members. Two weeks later, the figure is touching 21,000.

One new member who tweeted that he had joined the SNP is mountaineer, journalist and presenter on the Adventure Show Cameron McNeish.

Signing up on Wednesday, Mr McNeish tweeted “I guess it's time to stand up and be counted. Just joined the #SNP”

Speaking after he joined Mr McNeish added:

"I suppose with my background in the outdoors and a love and interest in Scottish culture and music that goes way back to my youth the SNP is my natural political home, but I've become increasingly concerned with UK Governments who seem to exist for the prime reason of protecting the interests of the City of London. For some time I've felt it's time to make a stand and I feel the present administration in Scotland has shown that an SNP government is a good government. I don't agree with all the SNP policies but I've always felt the best way to change opinion, and maybe policies, is from within, rather than carp and whinge from outside the stockade. I'm immensely proud of my country, as I think my television programmes demonstrate. I felt it was time to do a little more to secure the future for my little granddaughters, and their children's children. And that future, as far as I'm concerned, is an independent Scotland within Europe."

SNP Business Convener Derek MacKay MSP welcomed the huge support from the public that the SNP has received this week.

Mr MacKay said:

“Cameron McNeish is one of many new members who have joined in support of their country’s future this week.

“We have been overwhelmed with the support of the people of Scotland over the last few days.
“The numbers of people going online to sign up to the SNP is simply phenomenal, one new member every nine minutes.

“David Cameron should reflect on the fact that the SNP has 800 more activists just days after his blundering intervention into Scottish politics. “Nobody cares more about Scotland's success than the people who live here. That's why they've responded in such huge numbers as they believe the decisions over our country's future should be taken by people in Scotland.”
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it's starting .... [10 Jan 2012|11:51pm]
Today Alex Salmond announced that the date of the independence referendum will be Autumn 2014. This is IT! Everything I have been working for for the past 20 years is all heading towards that date. From now until then I promise that I will campaign and fight as hard as I can to help win over the hearts and minds of the Scottish people!!!


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WOOT! [15 Aug 2011|12:18am]
I think my weightloss is finally starting to show a wee bit!! ;-D Shame I can't do anything about the two big bumps at the top *sigh*

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NOTW [19 Jul 2011|05:05pm]
What a sad state the UK is in. If I was English I’d really despair! I don’t think I even need to go into what I think of Cameron and his stooge Clegg – anyone that knows me at all will know my opinion!! However, with regard to the current scandal, how laughable is it to hear the Millipede creature say that what the UK needs is a strong leader not mired in this crisis – well I wonder who he has in mind as it certainly can’t be himself!!! Red Ed, Cooper, Balls, Alexander, Murphy, and most of the present shadow government all were members of the last labour government who were aware of what was going on at the news of the world for seven years and they did nothing. Happy to cozy up to the Murdochs (or too scared not to!), happy to turn a blind eye to dead teenagers, soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks phones being hacked as long as they kept the media on side when it came to election time! (didn’t quite work out the way they had planned even there!).

People are calling for Cameron to resign, and yes, I think they are right – but what then? I DESPISE this Government - but as far as I can see the alternatives are every bit just as bad! The Lib Dums have sold their soul, and do you really think the Millipede and his motley crew are any better? Half the shadow cabinet are responsible for bringing the country to its knees in the first place!!! They are as deep in the trough as the Tories are. Besides, what I think would actually happen if they succeed in making Cameron resign (which is doubtful – Tories have thicker skins than elephants) , is that the resulting General Election would see the Tories back in power – but this time with an overwhelming majority! Much as we (my friends – who have brains) might think that incredulous, the fact is that the south of England want the Tories, despite the cuts and the gaffes and the scandals - and what the south wants the south gets. Indeed the latest opinion poll shows support for the Conservative Party is RISING !!!! Yes – you did read that correctly – RISING!!!

As for Scotland, we have a way out, if only we have the guts to take it a few years from now. However, despite what happened in May, and despite what many of my SNP colleagues have deluded themselves into believing, whether or not we do decide to go our separate way in 2015 is a separate issue. In the here and now, if a UK General Election was called, once again almost the entire population (and definitely the ENTIRE population of Glasgow!) would vote Labour “to keep the Tories out” - and once again would wake up the day after election day and wonder why the Tories are back with a thumping majority! You just cannot tell some people! (even with my dodgy maths skills I know that 59 out of 650 does not a majority make!!)

SAOR ALBA GU BRATH!!!!!!! (it’s our only hope – sadly I’m afraid to say, the rest of you are fucked!)
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My Election 2011 - Part 4 - The Day After the Night Before.... [06 Jun 2011|12:51am]
I got home just before 5am. It was almost daylight. Of course there was no way on this earth that I was going to go to sleep. I immediately put the TV on and continued to watch the results coming in - I think I was still grinning even sitting there on my own! My poor cats were very confused! Not only had I come in in the morning, but it was daylight now so Magic thought it was time for breakfast, and Merlin wanted his “cuddle time” in the bed with me and why was I not switching that noisy thing in the corner OFF and going to sleep with him????? It was 5.30am – it was cuddle time!!!! I made a pretence at going to bed – i.e. I stuck my pjs on and washed my face etc – but it just wasn’t going to happen as I could not switch the TV off!!! Actually – the TV coverage was pretty funny too as all the presenters were as shell shocked as we were!

Unhappy shocked faces on the BBC!! *snigger*

So in the end I just got back up, made the boys breakfast, got washed and dressed and put my make up back on! It was 7.30am – I’d now been awake for over 24 hours and no sign of my brain letting me switch off yet! Besides – some councils had decided to do their count in the morning so some were only just about to start!!!!!! By now it was clear that we had won – the question was now by how much? Could the polls really have been right after all? On the TV they were now talking of us having an overall majority – something that wasn’t supposed to happen! (the voting system for the Scottish Parliament was deliberately set up so that no party could ever achieve an overall majority – or so they thought!!!). The morning counts started and still the gains came in. The regional results were also starting to come in, and, despite picking up so many constituency seats, we were still being allocated regional seats, such was the size of the SNP vote! My dad got up to be met in the kitchen by a beaming for ear to ear me! Sleep ??? Who needs sleep?? And still the results flowed in seat after seat, SNP gain. It actually became almost predictable! In Aberdeenshire the SNP took every single seat!!

Alex Salmond arives at the Aberdeen Count

As the day went on slowly but surely we crept towards the magic number of 65 – an overall majority was in sight! At 2.23pm this became a reality when Kirkcaldy fell to the SNP & they held Clackmannanshire and Dunblane!!! We had done the unthinkable!!!!! THE SNP HAD AN OVERALL MAJORITY!!!! And still the votes kept coming!!!!!!! At 5.16pm the final results were announced - Mid-Scotland and Fife - SNP 1, Labour 3, Conservative 2, Lib Dem 1. We had not only made an overall majority – we had surpassed it!!!!!

SNP – 69 seats
Labour – 37 seats
Conservative – 15 seats
Lib Dem – 5 seats *snigger*
Greens – 2 seats
Independent (Margo McDonald ) – 1 seat

I was high as a kite!!! A mixture of total elation, shock and disbelief rolled into one – combined with sleep deprivation - I was practically bouncing off the walls!!! I just didn’t know what to do with myself! At 5.25pm Alex arrives at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh on the cheekily named "Saltire 1" - Alex Salmond's helicopter! It really doesn’t get any better than this!!!! (though watching the biased BBC pundits squirm came a close second - I will not deny revenge is sweet!!!!. My dad & I cracked open a bottle of champagne!

"Saltire 1" LOL!

Alex giving his victory speech

And so that was my election 2011 – an election that could well turn out to be one of the most significant in Scotland’s history – and of course her future – and I was there to witness it - I was a PART of it in my own small way. It was a night I shall never EVER forget. And now the really hard work begins. The people of Scotland – all OVER Scotland, have put their trust in the hands of Alex Salmond and the SNP. WE CANNOT FAIL THEM. This is IT! This is the moment we have all dreamt of. For many of us (my dad for example, who has been a member of the SNP since the early 60s) this is like a pipe dream becoming a reality. I don’t think they ever REALLY thought they would see the day.) An independence referendum WILL now happen within the next 5 years. This is a once in a generation chance. WE CANNOT muck this up. We have to prove now to the people of Scotland that yes we CAN do it. That Scotland can and should move forward and take her rightful place as an independent nation once again – and we can only do this by being the best possible government we can be. It is a heavy task – but I do believe that if anyone can take us there – it’s Alex Salmond!

The new team

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland
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My Election 2011 - Part 3 - The Count [06 Jun 2011|12:18am]
As the day drew to a close I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go to the count. I was a counting agent, but, having not seen or heard from anyone throughout the day, and having been left to go to the count on my own, I was thinking of giving it a miss. Under the circumstances I wasn’t entirely keen on arriving on my own, plus the idea of going home and relaxing with a cup of tea and my feet up was getting more and more appealing! I had mentioned this to Shona earlier in the evening, who was also spitting flames that I’d been left to go on my own as she could understand my reluctance! (said even she wouldn’t like turning up on her own!) Anyway, my phone had died on me about 8ish, so I got my dad to cover, and popped down to see her. Turned out she had somehow “acquired” *ahem* two counting agent passes for Catriona and Ross!! So that was settled, as they’d never been to a count before, they needed someone who knew what they were doing, and I needed someone to go with…. so off we set!

In the end, to be honest, I was worrying about nothing! I have been an active member of the party long enough to know a lot of ppl outwith Camelon branch and had no problems finding ppl to chat to! – but it was good to have company! The verification part of the count started fairly quickly and after showing Catriona & Ross what to do, I found the ballot box for Camelon High and began watching! This time there were 3 sets of ballot box papers to be verified before the count proper as they had to verify the AV referendum votes as well. When you are at the count, you watch the ballot papers being verified – the idea is that you try to see who the vote is for and how the ratio is going in each bundle – far for an exact science – but it generally gives you a good indication of what way it’s swinging. Normally it takes a wee while before you start to get an idea of how things are going, but this time the buzz started early on!!!! I stood there at one particular ballot box with another SNP colleague in total disbelief as vote after vote appeared to be going our way! The pair of us went over to report the sample to Stephen (who was collating the samples to try and get an overall picture) in a state of shock!!!! It became apparent vey early on that things were definitely heading our way!

A very happy looking Michael at the count!

Around 1am Chris, Ross, Catriona and I headed off to get some of the free sandwiches etc provided and see what was happening elsewhere in the country. (the verification process takes a while – esp when you have the AV votes, the Constituency votes and the List votes to do!). We had just sat down with a sandwich and a drink when the first result came in - Labour had held Rutherglen – but there was a 7.4% swing from Labour to the SNP! A promising start!! 15 minutes later the SNP's Linda Fabiani wins East Kilbride from Labour’s Andy Kerr . It's the SNP's first gain of the night. There was a whole bunch of us crowded round the TV screen and a giant roar went up! Fantastic start! At 1.35am the SNP take Hamilton from Labour. The swing from Labour to the SNP was 11%. Winnie Ewing, who won the Hamilton by-election for the SNP in 1967, says she is "moved beyond words" by Christina McKelvie's victory.This was followed by another SNP gain, then another…. Everyone was on a high – although at this point I suspect still a slightly nervous high – could the polls REALLY be right?

We headed back through to the counting hall where the constituency count proper was just starting. Those that had stayed in the hall were now walking about with big silly grins on their faces! It was apparent by then that that question wasn’t would we win – but by how much! I went back to the Camelon High table and watched. At this stage of the process the votes are put into trays for each candidate, once this is done each tray is counted and the vote total is placed on top. Now Camelon is (was) one of Labour’s strongholds, even within Falkirk, and the Labour candidate was a Councillor representing Camelon for many many years! On the verification sample it looked like Labour was slightly ahead in Camelon – which is what you’d expect. Watching the votes pile up in the trays it looked pretty evenly split between Labour and SNP (the other 2 parties were complete non runners). Now normally had we even come close in Camelon this would be counted as good. Just as the final numbers were being tallied and labelled Michael (our candidate) came up and we both looked on in disbelief –

SNP – 641
Labour – 518
Conservative – 100
Lib Dem – 32 (tries not to giggle at the Lib Dem vote)

We had even won in Camelon! This was a first. Michael was quite visibly shocked (and delighted!). I was over the moon! This is MY area. I do help with the campaign all over, but this part of Camelon is always pretty much just left up to me to do on my own. It’s the area I’ve covered myself for the past 19 years. The area where, when I first went out campaigning back in ’92, people shouted abuse at me and ripped up the leaflets – and here we are – 19 years later and the SNP WIN in CAMELON!!!! I can’t begin to explain exactly how HUGE this is for me! All those years finally coming to fruition! The 1000’s of leaflets pushed through doors in all weathers finally paying off! WE WON IN CAMELON!!!!!!

The individual ballot boxes all counted, we waited on the final figures. We knew Michael had won - and we knew he had won well – we were just waiting on the declaration and the final figures to be announced. By this time the word had also come through from the hall next door where the Falkirk East count was taking place, that Angus had also won in Falkirk East! Everyone was smiling – you’d’ve had to surgically remove the grins on everyones faces! Most of the Labour people had skulked away. I thought that was really poor form as they should have stayed to support Dennis no matter what. All those years we’d had to stand there putting on a brave face as the Labour ppl rubbed our noses in it – but at least we stayed and supported our candidates ! But it has to be said, payback was so sweet!!!!!!!!

Michael wins!

The final result for Falkirk West was:

SNP – 15,607 55.3% +13.5
Labour – 9,862 35% -4.3
Conservative – 2,086 7.4% -2.7
Lib Dem – 644 2.3% -6.5

That meant Michael had increased his majority to 5,745 a swing of 8.9%!!!!! There was a massive roar and applause. Everyone was hugging and clapping each other’s backs. Georgie turned round and gave me a big hug LOL!!!!! Totally amazing result. To be fair to Dennis, he gave a very dignified speech with no digs or stings in the tail – and he was duly applauded by us (half the Labour ppl had already left at this point!). A few minutes after the Falkirk West declaration was announced, it was the turn of Falkirk East. Angus had won the (previously Labour) seat by a majority of over 3,000!!!!!!!

SNP – 14,302 50.77%
Labour – 10,767 38.22%
Conservatives – 2,372 8.42%
Lib Dem – 727 2.585

Michael & Angus - Falkirk West & Falkirk East's newly elected MSPS

Queue another round of cheering and hugging. I went over to congratulate Angus and was met with a big bear hug! This was a big result for Angus. Michael had been No 2 on the list, so even if he hadn’t made it on the constituency vote he would still have been elected via the regional list, but Angus was 7th on the regional list so he really HAD to win! However, unlike Dennis, the now ousted Labour MSP Cathy Peattie made a complete fool of herself – going into a big rant about the SNP! We had been prepared to be respectful to her in defeat as we were with Dennis, but as a result of her rant she was instead met with a roar of boos. Sad woman – could have at least walked away with her dignity – but she ruined it for herself by letting her own bitterness take over.

Glum faces on the few remaining Labour supporters

The two Falkirk results now declared, Catriona, Ross and I decided to head back to the TV lounge to catch up with what was happening across the country. It was now about I think 3.30amish (have now checked – the Falkirk result came in at precisely 3.36am!) The counts for the regional votes were still going on in halls. A lot of ppl joined us - every one of us looking somewhat shell shocked and all wearing a huge idiotic grin on our faces that just could not be shifted!!! Back in the TV lounge the night (morning) was becoming more and more surreal as seat after seat fell to the SNP. The biggest shock of all was when Glasgow seats started to fall. I don’t think any of us could really take in what was happening! Never in our wildest dreams did we expect it to be THIS good! We sat for about an hour and then I thought I better ask Catriona & Ross if they wanted to head off as I didn’t think it was fair on them – but my GOD what an experience to have for your first ever count!

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My Election - Part 2 - Election Day [05 Jun 2011|11:25pm]
An early start for me – but thankfully I didn’t have to be at Camelon High polling station until 8am as Peter Paterson had agreed to do the first hour due to me going to the count later on! So I didn’t have to get up til 7am instead of 6am! Annoyingly, after the lovely weather we’d had leading up to it, the day was dull and dreary, though at least not raining at this point! I arrived at Camelon High at 8am to take over from Peter. I was actually fairly surprised at how busy the polling station was and it looked optimistic for a decent turnout! Two hours passed very quickly! My dad then cane up to take over so I could go home and freshen up, wash my hair etc. I went back at 12 – around the same time as the heaven’s opened – and that seemed to kill off the voters! It was VERY quiet for most of the afternoon. Fortunately I had my old Labour pal Isabel there to keep me company! I always end up standing with her every election! It’s quite enjoyable as she used to be a cleaner in Camelon High at the same time as I was at school there so we have lots to reminisce about!!! Makes the time pass quicker when you have someone pleasant to stand with!! Only us there tho – not a Tory or a Lib Dem to be seen all day!!!

Throughout the day tho, I had problems with the covering of the three polling stations in Camelon and I was not amused! I had said weeks ago that this needed to be sorted out WELL before election day, in fact I’d even created a draft timetable and sent it to Colin, and offered to arrange the cover myself but he didn’t get back to me! In the end, at around 7.30pm THE NIGHT BEFORE Georgie arrives at my door with our polling/counting cards and says “can I just leave you in charge of cover for the 3 polling stations at Camelon” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Exactly how I was supposed to do anything about it that late in the day I don’t know!!!! In order to be a polling agent (i.e. stand at a polling station) you need to have your names submitted to the Council a week before. You are then issued with a pass that entitles you to be there. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do if you’re short the night before!!! Anyway, I told her we currently had 3 polling stations and only 4 ppl to cover them which was just not going to be enough. She was supposed to be “floating” so I thought that she would be able to cover for a wee while, or if she knew if any of the other stations in Falkirk were oversubscribed then she could point pp in our direction. In the event, no one came near any of the Camelon stations. This meant Peter ended up spending from 8am to 10pm at one with no break at all, I managed to have 2 short food breaks only because my dad was covering for me, and then Elaine announced she wasn’t planning on doing anything after 4pm!!!! This resulted in me having to frantically phone round for cover! In the end Shona’s daughter Catriona and her BF Ross came to the rescue! Shona was spitting fire when she found out the fisasco!!! (Shona is the one that got me involved in the SNP in the first place – she used to be our branch organiser but has since left the branch – funnily enough, because of Georgie!!!!! This would NEVER have happened when she was orgamiser – and that was back in the days when we didn’t have that many people!!!)

Anyway, I digress, back to the polling station! Interestingly, unlike in 2007 where I had become increasingly excited as the day progressed because I could just sense there was something happening, this time I didn’t feel it! In fact, I was quite worried that we might not win the seat at all. The people that were coming in to vote were very much keeping their cards to their chests. Usually you can tell who someone is voting for - a smile, a subtle nod, the way they make eye contact are all dead giveaways – but not this time! Of course you always get the ones that make a big thing of it and are all over whichever party representative it is they are voting for, but in general you learn more from the other, more subtle ones! I wasn’t getting a BAD feeling – but certainly nothing like I’d felt in 2007! I thought Labour had got the old guard out to vote after all!

Flying it for Scotland - our saltire!

It started to pick up again around 5pm as people came in on the way home from their work. The atmosphere also started to change a bit then. I think the core “Labour vote” had come out in the afternoon!!! (take from that what you will!!!!) From 6pm onwards the feeling was a lot more positive! I had another short break at 6.30pm to get some food and then back for the final stint – 8 til 10pm! For the last two hours I was the only party representative there! Labour obviously thought they’d done enough and had buggered off to the Labour Club to have a drink and pat themselves on the back!!! That’ll teach them! They obviously hadn’t learned the lesson of not taking the voters for granted like last time, as from what I heard they had pretty much abandoned ALL the polling stations by 8pm! (although apparently they were seen in my street at around 8pm knocking on doors, offering to run ppl to the polling station according to Angela’s dad – there were no takers!!!) .

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My Election 2011 - Part 1 [05 Jun 2011|10:21pm]
Now that I’ve managed to scrape myself off the ceiling, I thought I should really write down my own thoughts and experiences of the 2011 election – esp as this could well turn out to be one of the most significant in both Scotland’s past – and her future.

As anyone who knows me well will know, the lead up to this election for me was not a particularly good one due to issues within the branch. It also meant for the first few weeks of the campaign proper I was not as involved as I should have been (however- as it turns out this was not so much due to fallings out as I assumed but rather poor organisation – but that is a whole other rant!). In actual fact, this election campaign started for me back in December 2010, when I braved the snow and ice to put our first batch of pre-election leaflets out! (turns out I was about the only one that actually did this LOL! Am I sad or what?). The election campaign proper kicked off at the end of March and with the visit from Alex Salmond at the beginning of April. He was on top form that night – very funny and totally on the ball - and of course another chance for me to meet him! I think I’ve met him probably about 10 or so times now over the years and I’m happy to say that he has not changed at all since he became First Minister! I know a lot of people think he comes across as arrogant or smug but honestly, irl, this is not the man I’ve met. He is warm, attentive and can be extremely funny! No airs and graces about him at all. Unfortunately I seem to be overcome by the stupid bug every time and end up babbling something stupid instead of what I actually want to ask him! Aye – I am, I guess, a bit awestruck! I’m not ashamed to say Alex is one of my heroes – even if he does look a bit like Shrek!!! Thanks to the lovely Chris I got another photo with him (it’s quite handy being pals with a photographer!) It was a nice start to the campaign – Alex has a way of really firing you up!

Michael Matheson (Falkirk West), Alex & Angus McDonald (Falkirk East)

Alex and a babbling idiot!

During the campaign I could not believe how positive the feedback was – both on the doorsteps (do I sound like a politician now?) and in the increasingly optimistic opinion polls. I kept waiting for something to go wrong!!! It was too good to be true – or so I thought! I think the killer moment for us, the one that sealed Labour’s fate, was the “Subway incident” when Iain Gray, the Labour leader, ran into a Subway shop to hide from a small group of peaceful protestors!!!! It made him look ridiculous – and this man wanted to be First Minister!!!? Anyway, throughout the leafleting campaign I was met with pretty much nothing but smiles and “good luck”. Oh – and I should mention at this point that my wonderful niece Keera did her first bit of campaigning in this election – helping me deliver leaflets a few times. The MOST impressive thing about this though, is the fact that before she agreed to help me, she got the leaflet and read the entire thing – both sides, before announcing that “that’s okay I will do this – I agree with the things on it” !!!!!!!!!!!! WOOT! She is only 11! Methinks/hopes she is going to follow in her Auntie’s footsteps!!! 

The final opinion polls before polling day were starting to get even more unbelievable – predicting the SNP could win 62 seats! I have to admit I did not believe these for a second!!!!! Before the 2007 election the polls, although not as high as this, had also showed the SNP with a goof lead, but in the end we only won by one seat. With this in mind I did note dare believe we’d achieve anything like that! How wrong was I?????
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a night I will NEVER forget [08 May 2011|12:28am]

The photographer in this clip is Chris who took thephotos of me and Alex a few weeks ago

Listen to the Labour candidate's rant at the end! tee hee!
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Electoral map of Scotland as at 6th May 2011 [06 May 2011|11:03pm]

Look at all the pretty yellow!

I am still in shock. I thought we would probabbly win - but I thought it would be close again. Never in a million years did I think we'd end up with an overall majority. Our electoral system is designed to try and prevent that!!! But we wiped the floor with them! Result after result "SNP gain" No one could take it in!!! Not the activists, the candidates or the ppl in the TV studios - the whole of Scotland is in shock I think! At the count there was just a sea of smiling faces wearing SNP rosettes! We couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces! I CANNOT PUT INTO WORDS HOW I'M FEELING TONIGHT - suffice to say I've been close to tears several times today (tho I think I'm a possibly a bit over emotional due to the not having had any sleep since 6am YESTERDAY thing....). We even won in GLASGOW! The west awakes at last!! This is what the past 19 years has all been about. Finally, Labour's stranglehold over Scotland is over. This is a new time for Scotland. She has changed forever! Onwards and upwards!

Results from my ballot box (i.e. the area I cover campaign wise) generally considered a Labour stronghold:-

SNP - 641
Labour - 518
Conservative - 100
Lib Dem - 32

That works out as the SNP taking 49.7% of the vote - IN CAMELON!!!! The same place where they used to shout abuse at me and rip up the leaflets and fling them back at me!

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Resounding victory sets SNP up for majority government [06 May 2011|04:24pm]
Resounding victory sets SNP up for majority government
Date: 06 May 2011
By Nick Mitchell and Stephen Emerson

THE political map of Scotland looks radically different today as the Scottish National Party romped to the kind of victory which few had predicted.

• A jubilant Alex Salmond at the election count for his Aberdeen East seat with wife Moira last night (Pic: PA)

No seat was safe from the massive gains the Nationalists were amassing in the constituency results overnight as they surged ahead of Labour.

Whole swathes of Scotland have turned bright yellow as the Nationalists toasted a victory which leader Alex Salmond hailed as "spectacular".

Mr Salmond's rival Iain Gray, on the other hand, has announced that he will stand down as leader of Scottish Labour in the Autumn. He told BBC Scotland that he takes "full responsibility" for the defeat.

This afternoon the SNP crossed the 65-seat line, meaning they will govern Scotland with a majority and will be able to push through their measures with ease. It also places an independence referendum firmly on the agenda.

Speaking after he held Aberdeenshire East with about 64% of the vote, Mr Salmond said the result has shown that Scotland has rejected "negative campaigning".

He said: "I hope after this result we'll see an end to negativity and scaremongering in Scottish politics - no more insults to the intelligence of the Scottish people."

Mr Salmond also looked ahead to a strengthened SNP government over the next five years, adding: "It is clear from the indications we've had so far that it is likely the SNP has been bestowed trust in a way that no party ever has before in a Scottish election.

"We will take that mandate and that trust forward. We'll take it forward to increase the powers of our parliament."

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray only just held on to his East Lothian seat - winning by a margin of 151 votes.

Questions remain over his future as the man to pick up the pieces for the party, with several of his likely successors, including former ministers Andy Kerr, Tom McCabe and Frank McAveety, losing their seats.

In a statement, Mr Gray conceded defeat to the SNP: "It is now clear that the SNP has won the election, so early this morning I spoke with Alex Salmond to congratulate him on his victory.

"Labour has lost many talented representatives, and it seems very likely that Labour's new and returning MSPs will play their part in the democratic process in the Scottish Parliament from opposition, but will do so with gusto."

The Liberal Democrat vote collapsed as the public delivered a damning verdict on their Westminster coalition with the Tories and they fell behind the Tories with just two seats. Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott held on to Shetland with a reduced share, but his party was beaten in areas where it had previously enjoyed a comfortable majority.

The Conservatives themselves have picked up seven seats so far, with leader Annabel Goldie losing out in her constituency but remaining an MSP thanks to the West of Scotland list.

Nowhere was the SNP's success more stark than Glasgow, where the party made significant inroads into this Labour heartland, taking Anniesland, Cathcart, Kelvin, Shettleston and Southside, as well as two seats on the Glasgow list.

In the Glasgow regional list, Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, and Tory candidate Ruth Davidson both won places on the Holyrood benches.

In Southside, SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon won with an increased majority over Labour's Stephen Curran.

Outspoken Respect Party candidate George Galloway failed in his Scottish Parliament bid and did not attend the count.

It was a similar story in the capital. The city's electoral map, once a mix of Labour red, Conservative blue, Lib Dem yellow and nationalists, was completely revolutionized on a night which saw the SNP become the dominant constituency force in Edinburgh by some margin.

Five of Edinburgh's six seats were taken by the nationalists – all bar one a gain from another party. In the one they already held – Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill's Edinburgh Eastern – boundary changes may have given Labour a helping hand, a notional majority of 545, but it wasn't enough.
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Scottish election: SNP surges to 'historic' victory [06 May 2011|02:50pm]
The Scottish National Party has secured an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament elections after seizing more than 25 seats from its rivals.

The party has reached 65 seats in the 129-seat parliament, with some counts still to declare.

Labour leader Iain Gray congratulated SNP leader Alex Salmond on his win.

The SNP's rivals all saw their share of the vote fall, with the Lib Dems suffering the heaviest losses.

Mr Salmond described the unfolding Holyrood election results as "historic".

The SNP majority is the first in the parliament's history.

The SNP has been ruling as a minority government for the last four years, which followed two terms of Labour/Lib Dem coalitions.

Prime Minister David Cameron offered his congratulations to the SNP leader for an "emphatic win".

Among its successes, the SNP won all 10 first-past-the-post seats in the north east and still managed to pick up an additional regional list seat after amassing more than 140,000 votes.

Mr Gray said he had spoken to Mr Salmond early on Friday to congratulate him on his victory.

He continued: "Labour has lost many talented representatives, and it seems very likely that Labour's new and returning MSPs will play their part in the democratic process in the Scottish Parliament from opposition, but will do so with gusto.

"Labour's MSPs will work constructively with the new Scottish government to create jobs and tackle unemployment wherever we can."

Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University said the SNP was now expected to have a majority at Holyrood.

He also indicated Labour appeared to have had its poorest performance in Scotland for at least 80 years.

He added it was fairly clear that the party's campaign had "badly misfired" and "badly missed its target".

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray was only narrowly re-elected with a majority of 151 votes, while his Lib Dem counterpart, Tavish Scott, also held on to his seat, despite losing 20% of his constituency vote in Shetland.

Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie returned to Holyrood on the west of Scotland list.

Mr Salmond has described the election as a watershed and declared his intention to hold a referendum on independence.

The party leader - who held Aberdeenshire East with about 64% of the vote - said: "Firstly, I think it demonstrates that Scotland has outgrown negative campaigning.

"I hope after this result we'll see an end to negativity and scaremongering in Scottish politics - no more insults to the intelligence of the Scottish people."

Referring to an SNP forerunner, the National Party of Scotland, he added: "Some 70 years and more later, the SNP can finally say that we have lived up to that accolade as the national party of Scotland.

"We have reached out to every community across this country."

Prime Minister David Cameron said he would campaign to keep the UK together as he congratulated Mr Salmond.

He said: "I passionately believe in our United Kingdom, so I congratulate Alex Salmond on his emphatic win, but I will do everything obviously as British prime minister to work with the first minister of Scotland, as I always do, and treat the Scottish people and the Scottish government with the respect they deserve.

"But on the issue of the United Kingdom, if they want to hold a referendum, I will campaign to keep our United Kingdom together, with every single fibre that I have."
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[06 May 2011|11:58am]
Name Party Votes % +/-%
Michael Stephen Matheson SNP 15,607 55.3 +13.5
Dennis Goldie Labour 9,862 35 -4.3
Allan Finnie Conservative 2,086 7.4 -2.7
Callum Chomczuk Liberal Dem 644 2.3 -6.5
Turnout 28,199 47.9 -793
Majority 5,745 20.4

Swing 8.9% from Labour to SNP
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[06 May 2011|05:06am]
Just back from the Falkirk count where we won BOTH seats!

Can't take in what is happening right now!!! We are winning everything!!!!!! This is truely seismic!!!!
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[05 May 2011|12:02am]

Sums it up nicely!!!

I thought I was okay - I was quite calm earlier but now I'm all AAAARRRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!! 6 hours and 59 minutes til the polls open!!!!
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OMGZ!!!! Trying to keep calm... [04 May 2011|12:48am]
SNP in touching distance of full majorityPremium Article !
Published Date: 04 May 2011
By Eddie Barnes

THE last major poll before the Scottish Parliament elections has revealed that Alex Salmond is on course for a thumping victory tomorrow, with support for Labour having seemingly leaked away in the course of the seven-week campaign.

The TNS poll ahead of last night's Scottish TV debate suggests that Alex Salmond is in touching distance of a full majority at the Scottish Parliament, and would be able to legislate to hold a referendum on independence with the support of the Greens.

By contrast, the poll indicates that Labour has lost more than a quarter of its support since the start of the campaign at the end of March and is in danger of falling to its smallest representation at Holyrood since the start of devolution.

It comes only days after a YouGov poll for Scotland on Sunday at the weekend had given hope to the Labour campaign by suggesting that the Nationalists' lead was tightening as the race came down to the wire.

The TNS poll shows that the SNP's support appears to be holding steady, on 45 per cent on the constituency vote and 38 per cent on the regional list vote, similar to previous polls over the past few weeks.

However, the poll gives Lab-our 27 per cent on the constituency vote and just 25 per cent on the regional list vote, down 10 and 11 points respectively from the last time TNS surveyed opinion at the end of March.

Compared to that poll, the Conservatives have gained slightly, with 15 per cent on the constituency vote and 16 per cent support on the regional list.

There is also some welcome news for the Liberal Democrats, with the poll putting them up three points at 10 per cent on the constituency vote and at 9 per cent on the regional list - just a point ahead of the Greens on 8 per cent.

The Scotland Votes seat projections suggest that, on such a showing, the SNP would win 61 seats, up 14 on their current standing. Labour would win just 32 seats, down 13. The Conservatives would win 18 seats, the Lib Dems nine and the Greens eight.

Such a result would give Mr Salmond a clear mandate to continue with an SNP minority government for the next five years, able to turn to either one of the Lib Dems, Greens or Tories to secure a majority.

For Labour, however, it would mean a humiliating return to opposition.

Aides to the Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray sought to brush off the findings last night, noting that the poll had only included half of all those surveyed - those who were "fully committed" to one party and were "certain to vote".

However, a victory for Scottish Labour now would be a major political upset, with several Labour candidates privately acknowledging that they expect the SNP to emerge as the biggest party on Friday morning.

Last night's debate was the last of four leaders' debates held since the end of March, and marked the final stage of what has been one of the longest campaigns in recent political history.

Labour began with a small lead over the SNP, and on track to become the largest party at Holyrood, but has watched as that lead has been comprehensively overturned by the Nationalists, putting the SNP in touching distance of a historic second term in office.
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