Decisions, Decisions…

In Inverclyde the SNP have an opportunity to defeat New Labour in a Westminster election – for the first time ever. Genuinely win Inverclyde, not just contest Inverclyde, I mean to actually receive more votes than the New Labour party. Inverclyde is no longer a case of pinning a red rosette on a donkey. They wont be weighing the votes this coming May that’s for sure. So who is going to take on New Labour’s Iain McKenzie for the honour of representing the good people of Inverclyde? Well, that person is still to be decided by the 1200 odd members of the local SNP branches.

For me the choice is very simple; it has to be Ronnie Cowan. So here’s why I’m hoping that Ronnie is selected as the SNP candidate to contest Inverclyde. Now I know many of you will not particularly care who is selected, just as long as that candidate wins in May right? Well to you folk I say this. Inverclyde will not be an easy victory for the SNP. The referendum 49.9% YES vote doesn’t translate into 49.9% of the electorate voting SNP. New Labour are in severe danger of conceding Inverclyde let’s make no mistake about it. However for that to materialise, the SNP will have to have a strategic and well-organised effort on the ground. Ronnie has demonstrated amply over the last 2 years he has all the leadership and campaign skills to take this seat for the SNP.

Personally I worked very closely with Ronnie for the final 4 months of the referendum campaign. Ronnie, without a doubt worked harder than any other individual in Inverclyde for a YES victory. Ronnie has shown that politics for him isn’t about glamour; it isn’t about becoming a well kent face. Ronnie is driven by a desire to change; a heartfelt belief that Inverclyde and Scotland deserves better. Ronnie didn’t spend his energy during the referendum on Facebook stats or on Twitter feeds. Ronnie’s energy was spent on knocking doors; organising leaflet drops; on planning YES events and many more mundane activities essential to a healthy political campaign.

Did anyone ever come into the YES shop over the course of the final few months? Grab a wristband, a badge, some advice, maybe even a little literature? Well that shop was the brainchild of Ronnie. Without Ronnie’s drive and selflessness, there wouldn’t have been a YES Inverclyde shop. I know this because I manned the shop in Ronnie’s absence when he was at his full time job. And what a pain it was to be in the shop when Ronnie was at his job. My phone would go constantly, first thing in the morning; non-stop on his dinner break. And on his drive home from work he would pop in and ask about all the on-goings of the day’s activities. Now I’m not telling you this because I love a trip down memory lane. If you have a vote in this upcoming selection process, you have to think very carefully. Do you want to select a candidate who simply talks the talk, or one who walks the walk? Gaining more votes than New Labour in May will require all the skills and expertise Ronnie has gained and harnessed over the last two years as the leader of YES Inverclyde.

I had a conversation the other day with a SNP friend of mine and she said to me: “How come I don’t recognise Ronnie”? So I’ll tell you a little story from the campaign, I feel encapsulates why Ronnie should be selected as candidate down to a tee. It was a Friday afternoon in the YES shop. I was suited and booted, and rather excited as Nicola Sturgeon was coming to ‘officially’ open the YES shop. As you can imagine when she arrived the shop was stowed out with people. I even seen a few SNP councilors in the shop – and trust me that was a first. Naturally Nicola was mobbed with everyone wanting to chat or say hello and get the obligatory selfie. Yet I couldn’t see Ronnie anywhere. So I went looking for him. I found Ronnie standing under his umbrella at the pavement outside the shop. I walked up to him and before I could say anything, he said to me: “You know Gary, if we had that many people in the shop out canvassing with us, we’d win Inverclyde hands down.” That might not sound much, but it captures everything that makes Ronnie the ideal person to represent Inverclyde. There was no fanfare from Ronnie when Nicola arrived. There was no demand that he should be the one in the photo that’s going into the Greenock Telegraph. And that is why my friend doesn’t recognise Ronnie. Ronnie isn’t in this for an ego trip. He doesn’t value his face being plastered over the papers or demand his voice is the one that is heard loudest in the crowd. What Ronnie values, is what wins you elections: good honest hard work. Make no mistake about it no one will work harder than Ronnie if selected as candidate for the SNP. No one has had more doorstep conversations than Ronnie over the last two years. And most importantly, no one is better placed to take advantage of the YES boom the SNP are currently experiencing. Ronnie has shown how effective he can be leading a team of volunteers across party political boundaries. Imagine what he can achieve leading hundreds of dedicated SNP activists? The prize is Inverclyde!

Finally, if politics is to truly change, ensuring the right people are elected to office is paramount. Ronnie Cowan is an honest, down to earth grafter; if you want a politician to represent the people of Inverclyde, you will not get a better candidate than Ronnie Cowan. But don’t take my word for it, ask anyone who’s worked along side him, or even better – before you cast your vote – contact the man yourself.

Whoever you choose, I hope this has been helpful for you.

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