I have never been one for blind faith in anything or anyone. I question my views and those of others. By questioning myself, I either find flaws and attempt to improve or reaffirm and therefore strengthen my belief. Over the last few weeks I have listened to speeches by the leaders of the Labour, Conservative and SNP parties. Each one I have tried to listen to trying to extract good ideas and policies that I can back. It was Alex Salmond, when he became First Minister of Scotland that said “the SNP don’t have a monopoly on good ideas”. I took that at face value and believe we all have something to contribute.
Jeremy Corbyn has waited many years for his moment in the sun and is basking in it now but it was a speech to the faithful, not so surprising as it was Labour conference but it should have appealed to a wider audience than Labour Party members. Theresa May’s speech, well where do I begin. Take away the nervous cough, the faulty signage, the sheer incompetence of those around her that allowed a prankster to reach her. The actual content was poor and the delivery appalling. Nicola Sturgeon’s speech was calm and concise. It contained big ideas and at the same time policy that directly affects each and every one of us. It wasn’t triumphant in tone but managed to point out the SNP government’s successes.
Cynics will say that of course I would be more impressed by the leader of my party and I understand that but I would ask any unbiased person to measure those three speeches against the leadership maxim laid out by the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” May never got out the starting block, Corbyn came close but he seems to be stuck in third gear. He never really takes off. The shouty bits are contrived. I would say that Nicola Sturgeons commitment to a national lending bank for Scotland, a publicly owned not-for-profit energy company for Scotland, a commitment to fund basic income projects in Scotland, the re-allocation of unused council house funding to councils that need it, lifting the public sector pay cap and increasing free childcare to 30 hours a week, all show that the First Minister can lead while staying engaged with those she is leading. The way ahead is clear and the team are in place to take us there.