Thursday, June 11, 2015

SNP's Nicola Sturgeon

I managed to chance upon an interesting article about Nicola Sturgeon in the International New York Times – that came with the Malaysian Reserve on June 10, 2015.
Sturgeon (left) is Scotland’s feminist first minister and she was inspired to go into politics because of Margaret Thatcher. Not because the latter was UK’s first woman prime minister but because Sturgeon hated her politics and the unemployment her policies brought to Scotland.
Growing up near a closed coal pit in the 1980s, Sturgeon watched successive Conservative governments push the UK in directions that were overwhelmingly opposed in Scotland. It drove home, she said, the need for Scottish independence.
Sturgeon joined the Scottish National Party when she was only sixteen. It was then mostly dismissed as a fringe group of romantics and dreamers. Now the leader of Scotland’s semi-autonomous Parliament and the surprise star of last month’s UK election, Sturgeon, 44, says she wants to fight the politics of yet another Conservative government Scotland voted against, and secure as much additional power over their own affairs as possible – nine months after defeat in a referendum on Scotland’s independence from Britain.
Then and now, “how Scotland voted didn’t translate into who ended up being the government of the country,” Sturgeon remarked. ”At a very basic democratic level that seems to me to be wrong”.
Alex Salmond resigned when independence was rejected in September 2014 and Sturgeon who was his deputy for ten years, took control. Under her leadership, membership grew. Alex Massie of the magazine The Spectator noted that her party have more members than the British Army has soldiers.
Prime Minister David Cameron couldn't ignore her, even if he wanted to. Last month, he made a symbolic effort to travel to Edinburgh to meet her.
But Sturgeon wants more than Cameron, who has ruled out full fiscal autonomy, has so far offered. She is pressing for new powers to tax and spend, the right to set Scotland’s own minimum wage, and autonomy in welfare policy to counter the tough budget cuts promised by Cameron.
Sturgeon said that Scotland is undeniably a nation, and in her view that means Scots should govern themselves. Her last sentence: “Of course, that was decided in the referendum, not the way I wanted it to be.”
I think Scotland can point the way forward for Sabah and Sarawak.
Finally, I paid a visit to the oldest club in District 51 – TMIKL Toastmasters Club that was chartered in July 1978! To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect and as I stepped into the Bankers Club in KL’s Amoda Building on Tuesday evening, my anticipation grew. But as I sat through the meeting, I found myself immersed in a tidy tangle of speeches and evaluations that were both enlightening and entertaining. Dare I say that it includes my speech as well? I delivered a CC #5 titled “The Curve That Brings Joy”.
Not forgetting the Table Topics session which was equally enjoyable – it had a delicious political flavor – and the “najib” word was used in great abundance with great frequency. I also took up a second role, i.e. Table Topics Evaluator.
To sum it up, I had an awesome time throughout. Certainly, this meeting scored a well-earned 8 over 10.


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