Whilst Bruce Crawford is busy running proceedings in the hall, it would be unfair not to mention the talents of the many who don’t appear on the stage. Staff from SNP headquarters are always busy and even though they’re on their feet all day they still have a laugh and a joke with you. Sometimes it seems like Peter Murrell, the party’s chief executive, is everywhere at once. At one point I saw him having a word with Brian Taylor when Brian was sitting in the hall. The next minute, Brian got up and left. I really, really hope Peter asked him to leave for all the nonsense he talks about the SNP but (sadly in this case?) I know Peter’s professionalism and drive to see his country free keeps him from making such rash comments.
Most passionate debate of the day came from the campaigners to save the RAF bases at Lossiemouth and Leuchars. Speakers talked not only about the job losses of the RAF personnel but also about the effects on the wider community and of course had unanimous backing from the conference.
One of the other interesting debates of the day, led by Mike Weir MP, was on fuel poverty for those who rely on LPG or home fuel oil. Not something that grabs headlines perhaps but with a 50% increase in cost over the last few months, the sort of issue which shows that the SNP are in touch with the real issues affecting the people of Scotland.
After Alex Salmond’s storming speech on Saturday, it was hard to see how Nicola Sturgeon could equal his effort but she was on fire. Delegates love to give her an extra cheer because of her hard work but also secretly because we know it embarrasses her. Nicola is held in great affection in the party because behind the extremely talented professional person that she is. We also see her at private SNP social events (where there is no photo opportunity) where you’ll find Nicola giggling with the children or making a point of listening to everyone’s stories about campaigning even though she has no doubt heard lots of similar ones a dozen times or more.
Rounding off conference was a performance by young Scottish band Jakil who recorded the party’s campaign song ‘Let’s Work Together’ which went down to huge applause in the hall. They were then followed up by Celtic fusion band Sketch who played their new single and led the party in the traditional closing rendition of Scots Wha Hae.
By the end of the day, delegates left with a spring in their step, none bigger than party treasurer Colin Beattie as the party had surpassed its target of £500,000 to be matched by Brian Soutar, giving it a £1,000,000 election fund. 1,000,000 leaflets were given out for delivery around Scotland so the party will be busy campaigning hard until the election in May to win the right to serve the people of Scotland once more.