Mhairi Black: The Labour Party took voters for granted

I want to leave my home town better than when I found it

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The Independent Online

It genuinely feels humbling to have been trusted by so many people to be a voice for them in the corridors of power.

Across Scotland, people are so politically educated; they aren’t interested in your age or your gender. I can’t help what age I am, but what people have recognised is the quality of the arguments that all the parties made.

The reason that we’ve seen such a strong surge toward the SNP is because we do have quality of argument and we’re listening to people and pursuing policies that people want to see.

What people are looking for in their representatives is ordinary people, folk that understand what’s happening and understand the issues – but more importantly, people you can engage with. Parliament has been filled with out-of-touch politicians who are often self-serving and  self-interested.

The SNP’s campaign was a positive campaign. We weren’t interested in just constantly slagging other parties off. What we wanted to do was say: “This is what we stand for and this is what we’re trying to argue for.”

Ordinary working folk, and especially those out of work, are feeling the squeeze more than anybody else. People are suffering from it and they were voting to see an end to that, to see a change. The SNP were the only party offering that.

Renfrewshire has got some of the worst poverty in Scotland. We’ve got people who are relying on food banks. There are people who are in work and find themselves in food banks and that’s just wrong.

The SNP’s success has shown that Scottish voters are not susceptible to simple political spin any more. People are so switched on and so educated that they want cold, hard facts and they can see through all the gutter campaigning and mudslinging tactics.

The problem with Westminster and with the Labour Party is that they became very out of touch with people; they took voters for granted.

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Mhairi Black, Britain's youngest member of parliament since 1667, greets Labour candidate Douglas Alexander during the declaration of the general election results for Paisley and Renfrewshire South

 

We were promised an awful lot during the referendum. We have to make sure that Scotland gets a strong voice so we can get what we were promised. As has been made clear by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, these newly elected MPs will not decide when there will be another referendum – the people will decide that. The job of the SNP MPs is to try to make Westminster work in the best way it can.

People have voted to maintain this Union, so we want to represent people, and if we want to genuinely be a voice for Scotland, we need to work our hardest to make sure we can make this system the best it can be.

I was asked during the campaign: “What’s the ultimate goal for you?” Genuinely, it’s just if in five years’ time I can look at my home town and say  that it is better than it was when I found it, then that’ll be a success.

I intend to be in London as much as is necessary. I would also like to be in my own constituency as much as possible because ny feeling is that Douglas Alexander would appear very vocal during election time and then disappear to London, with his presence not being felt for another five years. That’s what I think has been wrong in many constituencies across Scotland, so I wouldn’t like to fall into that category.

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