Welcome to the third in the burdz series of special election posts from women voters on what they want from politics and politicians. This wee cracker is from Jeane Freeman, who now works in public affairs and was Jack McConnell’s Chief of Staff until 2005.
The other day I watched the video of the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. It made me greet – but then it always does. For the memory of it all……….the many, many folk who fought so hard over those long , long years to bring our Parliament home. The excitement of the campaign for a Yes, Yes vote and the even greater excitement when the results came through. And then the day itself……the sheer joy and hope and pride on all those faces. Folks had travelled miles to Edinburgh. With cameras and picnic baskets and weans.
It made me greet. But I also felt as if I’d been slapped. I looked at all that joy and laughter and pride and I thought, so why have we let that go? So here it is. What I want from politics and politicians.
Let’s start with what I don’t want. I don’t want politicians whose best offer is that they can make me less miserable than I would be without them. I don’t want politicians who think so little of me that they can’t even be bothered to check their facts – or their figures – before they make me ‘promises’. I don’t want politicians who think a series of sound bites adds up to a coherent vision, or any sort of vision actually.
I don’t want politicians who treat me like a child and think that scaring me with their version of the bogeyman will get my vote. Or who keep the difficult truths hidden because I would find it all too hard to understand. I don’t want politicians who are so out of touch with the best of Scotland that they think we don’t have the brains or the courage to face up to the real problems, roll up our sleeves and work for a better day.
I want to be inspired. I want the politicians, especially those who would be leaders, to paint their picture for me of the Scotland we can be. I want to hear their confidence in our nation spelled out, in our talents and skills, our creativity and humanity – and I want to hear of their ambition for my country. I don’t want to be told that the best I can hope for is that things will be less crap than they could be. Yes I do want flowing rhetoric and bright pictures painted – I do want vision. I want my imagination to be fired, my energy riled and my commitment to work hard for that better day to be reinforced.
And then I want that politician to set out the steps that will take us there and show by all that is said and done that we will genuinely work together to do that. That my bit in the plan counts and my part is there for me to play.
Because without all of that, all I’m being promised is tweaking of the same old, same old. And I deserve better than that. Me and 5 million others.
Oh, and I’d like our fine Scottish media to realise that women have opinions, can string great big sentences together and put forward reasoned, articulate views. And when they’ve cottoned on to that, I’d like to see some of those women on those politics programmes! Because you know, we can do better than that.