Wednesday, 31 December 2008

That was the year that was

Most normal people at this time of year, apparently sort out their finances, springclean the house, get their hair cut etc etc. I just write and write and today I've been on a bit of a writing frenzy - not of the blogging variety. However it's now time to update the blog and review the year - it's a personal review, the political one comes later!

It's been a funny old year for me - first the 3 months (Jan to April) in Sri Lanka having never been away on my own, never been to a developing country and never been away for more than 2 weeks. As anyone who read my Indygal in Sri Lanka blog will know, it was something of an adventure for me.

I then came home to find I'd been selected by the SNP as one of the European candidates for next June's elections. As we have an internal ranking system which largely determines who gets elected, I spent a fair bit of time speaking and answering questions at Euro hustings up and down the country. The "biggies" take place in February this year and the results will be known on 10 March. Almost certain to top our list is current MEP and Party President Ian Hudghton who invited me out to Brussels for a few days to shadow him in JUNE. That was a whirlwind visit, my feet barely had time to touch the ground and I know what hard work lies ahead should I be elected.

Hard work is one way of describing the month of July when we were faced with a 24 day campaign to win the Glasgow East by-election. I was delighted when the SNP's Chief Executive Peter Murrell asked me to be Campaign Co-ordinator and I did what I suspect most of our activists did that day - packed my bags, waved goodbye to my family and told them to expect me at the end of the month. Little did any of us know that we weren't going to just put in a good show, we were going to WIN the by election. I loved the international coverage as John Mason's victory sent shockwaves across the opposition parties. Yesterday I looked through the by-election photoblog and it brought back a lot of happy memories.

The by election was over and it was time for me to get on my travels again - this time to Northern Ireland and to the Republic. I spent time in Belfast, Donegal and Derry. It's the first time I've been to Ireland and I loved it.

No rest for the wicked and as soon as I got home I started a new job working for two of our MSPS - Bob Doris (who I'm still working for) and Stuart McMillan - the latter gave me the chance to work closely with the residents of a Greenock alcohol rehab centre which was closing and the former, amongst other things, allowed me to help some asylum seekers which is something very close to my heart.

SNP Conference in October I loved! And it was a very different conference for me this year. I found myself leaving parties early to read up on whatever I would be speaking on the next day. When did I get all serious?! My friends and former workmates at SNP HQ were not impressed when I didn't even make it to the karaoke night! This is unheard of for me and I got a bit of a telling off for it!

It got to November and my feet were getting itchy again so off I went, this time to visit a friend in Cordoba in the South of Spain. It's a beautiful city, if you get the chance to visit, do it.

The end of the year has been just as busy as the rest of it with various parties, friends to meet up with, family to catch up on and more reading than I've ever done. It's becoming obsessive but that's no bad thing! And after the year I've had I think it's time to relax.

I've got my own personal goals for this year which I'll keep to myself but having read all of that I can't believe I told someone last week that "not much has happened this year"! What was I thinking? Anyway I hope you all have (had) a very good Hogmanay and an even better 2009!

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