We need to think positive – Humza’s appointment of Julie Hepburn might prove to be inspired

A Voice From the Political Wilderness

12 April 2023: Humza Yousaf, Leader of the SNP appointed the well known Independence activist and campaigner for Amnesty International Julie Hepburn to a new role of “Head of Strategic Delivery”.

About Julie Hepburn

Julie is a long-standing SNP activist and member of the National Executive Committee. On her motivation for political activism,she said: “I’ve been a member of the SNP for almost two decades, and while political activism can be tough at times, for me it’s been an overwhelmingly positive and empowering experience. “Politics is the vehicle through which we achieve change, and I am determined to help change our communities and our country for the better. Securing independence for Scotland is the single most important change we can make to deliver a fairer society and better life for everyone who lives here. That’s why I’ve dedicated my adult life to campaigning for independence.”

“I vividly remember attending my first SNP Conference 20 years ago in Dundee. The whole conference was alive with debate, ideas and personalities, and there was some stooshie over housing policy. It was fantastic. Like a number of people, I was hesitant about joining a political party, but was immediately reassured by the vibrancy of debate and room to contribute to those positive discussions. I felt genuinely empowered as a new member, and excited about my involvement.”

“One of the many strengths of the SNP is our internal democracy and I was surprised to read the suggestion that the Party should take a “command and control” approach to the selection of our parliamentary candidates. The Party’s NEC needs to be more effective, transparent and accountable.

“We need tailored campaigns for different communities – whether this is a physical community or a community bound by a shared identity. It’s about how we communicate the arguments and benefits of independence to a diverse Scotland.”

“I’m running to be the SNP’s depute leader for a number of reasons. I’ve made this choice because I was asked by so many activists across the country. They’ve asked me to stand because of my proven track record of service to the party, my previous commitment to driving forward internal reforms, and my work in supporting others across the SNP. However, most significantly for me, I want to use the skills, experience and networks I’ve built up over almost two decades in the SNP to help prepare us for another independence referendum and indeed future elections.”

Comments On Julie’s 2020 Campaign for Deputy Leader of the SNP

I was impressed by Julie Hepburn’s campaigning efforts in her unsuccessful bid for the Deputy leadership post when at the outset she said in her view the 2014 Independence Referendum had failed because the “Yes” movement had conducted its campaign like a General Election and in doing so allowed itself to be dragged by “Better Together” activists into pointless debates about future policy matters resulting in little time being devoted to pushing hard on the principle of independence.

I was also pleasantly surprised with her proposal to separate the political and constitutional issues so that the wider independence “Movement” would be able to get on with the business of campaigning for independence free of interference in or undue influence over policy matters. The tactic would also strengthen the political Parties abilty to continue to engage with the public over political issues and provide good governance.

She was also a lady in a hurry a pragmatist clearly recognising the need to get on with the task of gaining independence, when she said: “Let’s not expend energy arguing over the finer points of policies that the future governments of an independent Scotland may or may not decide to pursue, and focus our arguments on the wider principles of self-government and the potential that gives us to transform our country.”

She raised her voice to impress upon Sturgeon and her cabal a need to make the “constitutional ceiling” the overarching issue of the SNP’s 2021 Holyrood election campaign with her message that: “Throughout our campaign, we need to demonstrate each point where the constitutional ceiling limits our ability to make life better for Scots. Let’s campaign on the defining issue facing our country: should we stick with the status quo and remain in the clutches of Westminster failure, or do we choose a better future and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands?”

Julie’s sage advice fell on deaf ears, Sturgeon was not inclined to think outside the constraining though financially well remunerated box of Westminster devolution and rejected Julie in favour of the more acceptable Keith Brown.


5 thoughts on “We need to think positive – Humza’s appointment of Julie Hepburn might prove to be inspired

  1. Hepburn did not support Regan, the only candidate who stood on a pro Independence ticket in the recent leadership election. Hepburn’s endorsement of Yousaf is a rather interesting take on pragmatism considering Yousaf is intent on following his predecessor’s route to Independence.

    Hepburn’s participation on the SNP NEC appears to have met with Murrell and Sturgeons approval, pragmatic? certainly not principled in the light of ongoing controversy within that party.!!

    Liked by 1 person

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