News & Articles

Some published articles and blog posts from Tommy Sheppard MP

SNP members must decide if they want to expand or stretch the leadership

SNP members must decide if they want to expand or stretch the leadership

We're nearly there.

The SNP Depute Leader contest is in its final phase. The last hustings debate is in Inverness tonight and most members have already voted. So this week, I want to reflect on what the job might mean.

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Developing a proper regional structure would make the SNP a more responsive, inclusive and accessible party

Developing a proper regional structure would make the SNP a more responsive, inclusive and accessible party

And so the election of a new depute leader of the SNP is underway. Indeed, if previous contests are anything to go by, most people may already have voted.

I’ve made organisational reform the key plank of my campaign. Central to this is developing a regional structure for the party, providing a bridge between the party leadership and branches on the ground.

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Four great candidates, one great big decision – and members must make it

Four great candidates, one great big decision – and members must make it

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the first independence referendum. Getting ready for the second one is providing the backdrop against which SNP members are selecting a new Depute Leader.

Ballot papers go out in four days’ time to more than 100,000 members eligible to vote in the contest. Campaigning by the four candidates began six weeks ago, and the contest has certainly been thorough.

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I believe the SNP organisation needs an upgrade... and I'm the candidate to do it

I believe the SNP organisation needs an upgrade... and I'm the candidate to do it

We're past the halfway mark in the SNP depute leadership contest. Ballot papers go out in just 10 days’ time. This has been, and will continue to be, a good natured campaign – able candidates offering different views of what the job entails, discussing things in a respectful and thoughtful way.

So far there have been 17 hustings up and down the country with many more still to come. A few members have come up to me after these events a little frustrated. They complain that the meetings are meant to help people make up their minds and yet after hearing our presentations they are less sure of how to vote than beforehand.

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SNP depute contest is decidedly dignified

SNP depute contest is decidedly dignified

We’re pretty much halfway now in the ten-week campaign to find a new depute leader of Scotland’s main political party. And in stark contrast to other parties, the SNP contest seems a positive and good-natured one.

Sadly, there are no women in contention, but members do have a choice of four able blokes – any of whom could make a decent fist of the job.

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Women need a better deal ... we can't ease off the gas in our fight for equality

Women need a better deal ... we can't ease off the gas in our fight for equality

The contest for depute leader of the SNP is at the half-way mark. And it’s been an exemplar in how a democratic organisation should conduct itself. Able, thoughtful candidates have treated each other with respect and engaged with hundreds of party activists at dozens of hustings throughout the country. There’s just one thing that could have been better – it’s a shame this has ended up as a blokefest

The absence of any female candidates is a great disappointment and the contest would have been a richer one had there been some. We ought to ask ourselves why this happened. And we ought to make sure that it doesn’t mean that the position of women in Scotland and in our party gets less attention. I’ve heard a number of people remark that whilst it a shame there’s not a woman standing it’s okay since the party already has a strong female leader, and indeed is one of very few governing parties with a gender-balanced cabinet.

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We join parties to change the world

We join parties to change the world

So, I think we can all agree, policy is quite important. We join political parties to change the world. And deciding how it should change can be the most exciting bit. Discussing, thinking, working out how to make things better with others who share the same objectives but may have a different way to get there.

The way we decide policy is crucial to the SNP’s cohesion and strength as a political party. The essence of a democratic process is that it offers a trade-off. In return for being able to argue and maybe win your point of view we each agree to abide by whatever position is eventually agreed by the whole group. People who support a minority position will get behind the majority because there’s been a fair debate on the options. This allows parties, and other organisations, to agree a common way forward and their supporters to rally behind it.

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Our strength is our membership. We need to take everyone with us on this journey

Our strength is our membership. We need to take everyone with us on this journey

I’m standing for depute leader of the SNP because I want us to win the next independence referendum. To do that we need to get active, get organised and reach out, building a new independence alliance.

The past few years have been a time of tremendous change in Scottish politics. Fresh ideas have emerged, and old allegiances changed. Tens of thousands have joined the SNP. We need to get our party match fit to lead and win the next independence referendum.

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Politics should be uplifting and engaging ... let’s make it that way

Politics should be uplifting and engaging ... let’s make it that way

Our party needs an organisational upgrade. That’s why I’m standing for depute leader. Over the next two months I’m keen to listen to members about how they think we can improve but I also want to chuck out some ideas for discussion myself.

This week I’m focusing on the basic unit of our organisation – the party branch. This is internal stuff. Non-party members should maybe look away now. Or maybe not.

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Why I'm Standing for Depute Leader

Why I'm Standing for Depute Leader

Over the past few weeks I have been approached by a wide range of SNP members asking me to stand for the position of Depute Leader of our Party. After much thought I have decided to do so. Here’s why.

At this critical time in our nation’s history we have a window of opportunity, yet we still have much work to do in a short time. To be successful we need to use all of the talents of our party. I believe the job of Depute Leader is key to our success.

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Tommy's Blog Articles

Tommy Sheppard
30 March 2017
Tommy's Blog
Articles
Media
There have been some daft arguments put against allowing people in Scotland to have a choice about the future of their country.You have no mandate Ruth Davidson tells Nicola Sturgeon. Really? Did the SNP not mention this in their manifesto for the Scottish Parliament election last year? Let’s check. Maybe it’s buried away somewhere. No wait. Page 24 has a whole section on a second referendum. It s...
Tommy Sheppard
11 March 2017
Tommy's Blog
I’ve been denounced – again!This time I appear to have incurred the wrath of the Catholic Church in Scotland’s hierarchy. A front page report in yesterday’s Scottish Catholic Observer claims I have a “plan” to outlaw Catholic schools and that my views are “chillingly intolerant”. Sadly due to the deterioration of Scottish journalism once great newspapers like The Scotsman have simply rehashed the ...
Tommy Sheppard
19 February 2017
Tommy's Blog
Policy
The hills around Jerusalem were drenched in sun the last time I was here. It brought out their significance and history. This week, though, the Holy Land has been visited by a Scottish winter. As I peer through the steamed up windows of our VW Transporter, it’s decidedly dreich out there.I’m here on a parliamentary delegation to see if the political mood matches the weather. The trip is organised ...
Tommy Sheppard
30 January 2017
Tommy's Blog
Policy
I write from the train, speeding towards London to begin another week traipsing the corridors of impotence. This week, as many, will be wall to wall Brexit as we debate the terms on which we should be leaving the EU, and try to protect Scotland’s position amid the chaos.But something else is dominating the international agenda and consumes the imagination of every person who dares hope for a bette...
Tommy Sheppard
26 January 2017
Tommy's Blog
Policy
You’ll not be surprised to hear that ever since the UK voted to leave the European Union, I have been receiving lots of letters and emails from constituents raising their concerns. While there have been a couple of requests asking me to respect the UK wide result and vote to trigger article 50, the vast majority have asked me to do all I can to protect Scotland’s place in Europe.That’s not a surpr...