08 - 05 - 2019 / Your Story
I WAS BORN IN ENGLAND AND A LIFELONG TORY VOTER
I was born in England and I was a lifelong Tory voter. My late wife (who was Scottish and SNP) and I first met when we were in RAF Officer training. In 2016 we both considered ourselves Europeans and Voted Remain.
We were both shocked by the Brexit result but at first accepted it - briefly. The things that were said and misinformation of the Brexit Leave campaign disgusted me, especially those of senior Tory MPs.
My journey started by chance at Portsmouth ferry terminal at about 10:35 on the 25th June 2016.
As I stood outside the terminal building with our dog whilst my wife went in to buy us coffee before we boarded the ferry to France. A man walked up to me and said 'Isn't it great?' I asked what and his reply was 'Brexit, now we can stop all the Philippino nurses coming here and taking our nurses jobs' - I was dumbfounded. My wife came out and as we walked back to the car I asked her to share everything she had on the SNP's policies.
As we drove down through France it was the first time we'd ever been able to talk politics. She didn't push me to join the SNP but left me to make up my own mind in my own time. When we arrived at our holiday home I went through things like the Blue Book and was not impressed by the section on defence. I then dug out the 2014 White Paper and considered the defence section could have been far better for an Independent Scotland.
My wife knew Brendan O'Hara so she suggested I put together my ideas on a proper defence stance for an Independent Scotland as we both felt Brexit would be the catalyst to bring about Scottish Independence and as I said to her, 'I don't want to live in a poorly defended country'.
My journey was underway but I was still not convinced about the SNP.
On our return to Scotland my wife arranged for me to meet Brendan and give him my ideas on defence, which were well received. At Brendan's suggestion I then briefed the Helensburgh SNP Branch and he asked if I'd be prepared to go to Westminster to brief the SNP Defence interest group there, which I did on the 23rd January 2017 - the day of the Trident misfire emergency debate.
My brief had to be delayed as Brendan was to speak in the debate so he got me into the Member's Guest area above the Government benches.
I stuck it out for 25 minutes then left to wait in the Lobby.
When Brendan came out he said he'd seen me leave before the end of the debate and asked me why - my answer 'that wasn't a debate it was merely rolling out soundbites, is it always like that?' Yes was the answer - 'No' voters really should go to Westminster and see how they believe we should be governed!
The final tipping point was in March 2017.
I'd hurt my knee so my wife took our dog for a walk and I checked out the news. I can't remember the exact circumstances but Boris Johnson had made one of his many Ministerial gaffs and by the time my wife got home I'd joined the SNP.
The October 2017 SNP Conference was my first and I really enjoyed it. I'd already found the policies were far more socially responsible and the friendly welcoming nature of every Member has been a breath of fresh air.
On the last day of Conference there was a small group of Unionist protesters outside and my wife decided she wanted to speak to them so I went with her. She got bogged down in a discussion with one of the protesters who insisted the SNP was anti-Constitutional - my wife tried in vain to point out the UK doesn't have a Constitution.
Meanwhile I got talking to another guy who started off by saying the SNP was anti-business. I pointed out they'd saved the steel and aluminium businesses and he was totally unaware of that so he moved onto defence, and I blew away that argument too.
Since then I've briefed other Branches on defence, and written articles for iScot on defence, saving Scottish shipbuilding and 'How to Lose the next IndyRef'.
Before she died in September 2018, my wife asked me as her Executor to represent her wishes for Scottish Independence and that is what I shall do.