Hon­oured to speak at SNP con­fer­ence

Rutherglen Reformer - - News Form The Pews -

The Scot­tish Na­tional Party an­nual con­fer­ence last week­end marked the end of the ma­jor party con­fer­ences this year.

Our party has con­tin­ued to grow, even since the rapid rise in mem­ber­ship that fol­lowed the in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, and as a re­sult this was our largest con­fer­ence yet.

The first three days con­tained the main busi­ness of con­fer­ence: the pass­ing of res­o­lu­tions.

The SNP is a true so­cial demo­cratic party and this is truly ex­em­pli­fied by the way mem­bers de­cide on pol­icy at con­fer­ence.

Al­most 30 dif­fer­ent mo­tions were put for­ward by dif­fer­ent branches, af­fil­i­ated groups and elected mem­bers, with the 3000 delegates from right across Scot­land then vot­ing on them.

I was priv­i­leged to be able to speak on the res­o­lu­tion call­ing for tougher ac­tion to deal with fixed-odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals, which passed over­whelm­ingly.

An­other mo­tion on the agenda which went through called for firmer leg­is­la­tion on the use of CCTV in abat­toirs to en­sure that we have the high­est an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards pos­si­ble.

Other im­por­tant res­o­lu­tions that passed in­cluded one sup­port­ing a re­view of the guide­lines cov­er­ing blood dona­tion, call­ing for them to be based on an in­di­vid­ual’s as­sess­ment and not on a blan­ket as­sump­tion based on sex­u­al­ity, and an­other high­light­ing the mas­sive prob­lems peo­ple have ob­tain­ing a slot at a driv­ing li­cence test cen­tre and de­mand­ing the de­vo­lu­tion of the rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion to Scot­land.

The va­ri­ety of mo­tions, from de­men­tia care to in­ter­na­tional tax jus­tice, en­sured that a wide va­ri­ety of is­sues were tack­led and prop­erly de­bated.

I’m proud to be a mem­ber of a party that puts its mem­bers frontand-cen­tre of the pol­icy-mak­ing process like this.

Con­fer­ence is also a great time to catch up with char­i­ties and other or­gan­i­sa­tions and learn about the work they’re do­ing in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang and right across Scot­land.

All man­ner of or­gan­i­sa­tions host stalls or come along as ob­servers to con­fer­ence.

It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for politi­cians like my­self to learn more about some of the cam­paigns that many of my con­stituents have con­tacted me about re­cently, such as the talk­ing buses cam­paign be­ing run by Guide Dogs UK or the In­ter­na­tional Fund for An­i­mal Wel­fare cam­paign to end the ivory trade.

Some of th­ese is­sues may not be im­por­tant to ev­ery­one but some could make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to some peo­ple.

The talk­ing buses cam­paign, for ex­am­ple, could give those with visual im­pair­ments a much greater level of in­de­pen­dence and it has my full sup­port.

It is hugely im­por­tant that the SNP rep­re­sent all of Scot­land. Equal­ity and in­clu­sion need to be at the very heart of ev­ery­thing we do.

That’s why I was hugely proud that the fi­nal day of con­fer­ence was en­tirely ded­i­cated to equal­i­ties is­sues.

A whole host of mem­bers gath­ered to­gether to dis­cuss gen­der, race, sex­u­al­ity and dis­abil­ity is­sues in an open and in­clu­sive way.

In th­ese tur­bu­lent po­lit­i­cal times, when hate crime has dra­mat­i­cally risen south of the bor­der, this cel­e­bra­tion of dif­fer­ence couldn’t be more im­por­tant.

It is hugely im­por­tant that the SNP rep­re­sent all of Scot­land

See­ing the big­ger pic­ture Cam­paign­ing groups visit the party con­fer­ence

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