Young Tartan Tory: A Personal Experience | Rory Richmond

Being an open and honest Conservative member since high school has already given me a lot of life skills; being able to handle criticism (soft and sometimes tough) for one. I think other classmates saw it as an opportunity to belittle me in front of everyone, but I think they were rather shocked and amused at my level headedness towards it.

I’m an ecstatic teen who loves sports and going to the cinema. As such, a lot of my friends, family, and classmates are shocked to find out I’m a member of the Conservative Party. It seems like you cannot be both of these, due to the perception of a Conservative member being over 50 or a bore.

I live in the constituency of Glasgow Southside, some may know it as the seat of Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland. It has been held by the SNP since the seat’s formation in 2007, with the SNP vote and majority increasing at each election. Before the constituency creation, the area was represented by Labour, likewise with the Westminster seat. The area has been plagued with fly tipping, rodent infestations and the graffiti is everywhere. Almost half of all children living in Glasgow Southside live in poverty. I think this is a grave shame on Sturgeon, as our MSP and The First Minister. The community spirit is like no other though, people of the community do come together and try to get change implemented.

Living in such an impoverished area has taught me so much about life, and in some ways I think it has better prepared me to achieve my aspirations of university and good employment.

Since my interest and now involvement in politics, I must confess I haven’t always been in the Conservative and Unionist Party. Originally, I was a member of the Labour Party after I started to research their different policies, including on the Union – this was just before the Scottish Parliament election. Then I began to see the policies of the main opposition party, the Scottish Conservatives, and my mind was made up a couple of days later. I just felt they were the only party fully embedded in embracing the Union – which is a massive topic for me, among others.

The incompetency of the last 14 years of SNP control was one if not the main reason I first got involved in politics. Under their government, the number of full time teachers has declined by well over 1,000 since the SNP took office, they have failed to provide superfast broadband to every household and business by 2021, Scottish pensioners stuck in persistent poverty has increased under the SNP, so much so that it’s now higher than anywhere else in the UK, and since 2017 over 500 police officers have been cut. Examples of the SNP’s utter inability to lead are endless.

Recently, I attended the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, my first ever conference, and to say I enjoyed it was an understatement. Getting the train into Manchester, walking into the conference hall and seeing the enormity of the event was magnificent on its own, but to be able to walk around freely and see MPs, like Chris Philp, David Duguid who is doing a terrific job in Scotland, and cabinet ministers like Sajid Javid was surreal. I even briefly bumped into Shaun Bailey who ran a terrific London mayoral election campaign and the legend himself, Stanley Johnson.

I felt and still feel the energy; the unity at the conference is one of such magnitude, strength, and steel is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. When the Conservative Party shows it’s togetherness, it shines for all to see, and so I will cherish it for a long time to come.

When I told my family and peers about my activities and attending the conference, the views were slightly mixed. I recall a few peers being very negative towards me because of this, and I must say some of it, I believe, has permanently cut ties. Luckily I have always had a very supportive family, especially my mother, who taught me the value of tolerance – especially important, considering we politically disagree!

In Glasgow Southside, there may not be barrel loads of money floating about, but we are all neighbours, family and friends, and workmates. Granted, there are notable different backgrounds, different creeds and cultures, different families, but we all look out for one another.

The last two years have shown what Glasgow Southside, Glasgow, Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole, can achieve by working together. It is that unity spirit that has and will guide us. The opportunity to put the hard work in and the challenge to be where we want to be, but with us all together helping each other.

Photo Credit.

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