I’m attempting to write from as non-partisan a perspective as possible and by no means am I attempting to defend Alistair Carmichael.
The most basic aspect of being human is the fact we screw up. A lot.
I fear we hold politicians to some higher standard than the rest of us and obviously they constantly fail them. This is because we expect more from them than we expect of ourselves. We expect them to not slip up. We expect them to keep their cool in an argument. We are appalled when they do things that they definitely should know not to do.
That’s unfortunately the human condition. How many of us have lied when someone’s gone “Hey did you say this about me?” Or how many of us have snapped when we’re not being listened to – somewhat akin to Natalie Bennett and her “It’s my turn to talk now!” – and honestly how many of us do things on a daily basis that we know we should not be doing?
The difference being we elect these people to do good for our country and the fact that they’re human like the rest of us scares us. But it shouldn’t. We learn from our actions and we try not to do them again. The SNP wouldn’t have Nicola Sturgeon had she resigned after the whole supporting the guy who’d committed £80,000 in benefit fraud 5 years ago. Mistakes happen because humans are fatally flawed. All of us. At any point we’re all only a couple of wrong turns away from self destruction.
My point is that if we give leeway to those in our own parties who make minor mistakes or judgement calls then we should be willing to extend that to those of other parties because they’re just as human and just as flawed as the rest of us.
If we want change we have to be willing to allow people to learn from their mistakes and change. Otherwise we run a conveyor belt of politicians where the names and faces change but the actions stay the same because no one knows better.
Having only been a member of the Lib Dems for a couple of weeks it might seem a bit extreme to some about how I am feeling but I don’t care. I went into this election undecided but knowing deep down how likely it’d be for me to vote Lib Dem. My grandparents have been members for the liberal democrats for many years. Since I’ve been voting, the first time in 2011, I’ve been voting Lib Dem. When I was studying politics for myself before I could vote I always seemed to agree most with the lib dems. So I hurt today after Thursday nights result. And I am allowed to hurt.
After the referendum, almost half of Scotland was in pain. Once again, that is the case. Labour and Liberals alike are hurt with the SNP sweep, since 2000 more people voted against them than for them. But that’s First Past the Post for you. However what it does show you is how fed up Scotland is with the Westminster way of running things and whilst I still stand by my “No” vote I completely understand the appeal for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP and I only hope that this brings about some of the change we all so desperately need and want, although some of us have different views on the subject of how to go about getting it.
But allow us to hurt. I am aware of the minority of us who gloated after the referendum and whilst I was not one of them I am so very sorry that it was the case. Especially after the scenes at George Square in September. By all means, celebrate as it is an incredible result for your party but right now the parody twitter accounts and the vicious, cruel and sore “winner” Facebook messages only add to the pain we feel. We have every right to be upset just like you were (and I’m sure still are).
I can be asked all you like if I feel like I’m “pinning my flag to a sinking ship” but you’ll always get the same response from me. No, I do not feel that way. I feel had this general election been run on policies rather than a “Get the tories out” platform in Scotland and a “Vote Tory to stop the SNP” in the rest of the UK we’d have be looking at a completely different political landscape. But with the current state of politics that’s just a pipe dream.
This may be a “once in every 5 years” thing but in Scotland for Labour and the entirety of the UK for the Lib Dems, we need to rebuild our parties. We need to prove we can do what we say and we need to regain people’s faith once more.
(I’ve received a response on behalf of Ms Sturgeon which my reaction to can be read here https://beccaplenderleith.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/lets-end-mental-ill-health-stigma-by-ignoring-the-mentally-ill/ It was not at all helpful and was just a party line I’ve been fed. I’m very upset by this)
I don’t want this to be an attack on you or your politics. I’m just highly concerned about things you’ve been saying in this general election that aren’t exactly the truth. I don’t agree with your policies on many things but that is not what this is about. You are Scotland’s first minister and I have to respect that and I also respect that there’s a significant chance you’ll still be first minister after Holyrood elections next year.
My problem is now uninformed you seem to be on certain major issues in our country. I was in the audience for Ask Nicola Sturgeon and had my hand up for a good portion of the time and wasn’t called on so I’ll say it now on the off chance that you ever read this. On Monday night at a newsbeat interview you said “I have to convince you that we are doing enough” in terms of our mental health services. Again last night you said that we are putting a lot of funding into child and adolescent mental health services. A referral to CAMHS should take “no longer” than 18 weeks, yet at the end of the quarter ending in December 2014 only 78.9% were seen within 18 weeks and 86% were seen within 26 weeks. That means that 14% of children and adolescents needing mental health services waited more than half a year to be seen. At the end of the day 18 weeks is still far too long for a mental health referral but if that’s the target then it needs to be met.
Primary mental health care workers for children are being appointed when they only have training in one aspect of therapy which does not always work for people and they should at least have a basic knowledge of several even if they’re only highly trained in one element.
Childline in Scotland has noted a 34% increase in calls from children wanting to kill themselves or hurt themselves intentionally in one single year. Over the last 5 years the number of children and adolescents being admitted to hospital because they has self harmed significantly has doubled.
We cannot blame this on a Tory government. All this is happening under an SNP government with control over healthcare.
This is not an attack on the SNP or their policies so anyone reading this please understand that. I have emailed this to Nicola herself but maybe there’s a chance this way to get her to read it on the move by seeing it on twitter or something.