• The YSI

Councillor Jordan James Linden: Welcome to YSI Summer Conference Address

Below is Councillor Jordan Linden’s welcome address for YSI Summer Conference 2019. Check against delivery.

Friends, Welcome to this SNP City. Welcome to this YES City. Welcome to this Remain Voting, Vibrant, European City. Welcome to Glasgow. AND Welcome to YSI Summer Conference 2019. I am delighted to join John in welcoming you here to Strathclyde University for our Conference. Friends, Since we last gathered in Airdrie in November last year – politics in the United Kingdom has turned even more on its head. We have a Prime Minister, who has madethe word meaningful, lose all meaning. With not one, not two but three attempts at a dead Brexit Deal – which has seen her colleagues force her out. We have a Labour Leader, who has been performing what can only be described as a political hoaky-coaky. Labour are both in and out at the same time when it comes to Europe. It’s time Jeremy Corbyn’s colleagues did him a favour and collectively told him – that like the Prime Minister - his time is up too. Against that backdrop, we in Scotland and in the SNP have continued to offer leadership time and time again – providing UK wide solutions to Brexit but are being ignored at every turn. Therefore, we are working each and every day to shape our own path forward through the chaos caused by Westminster.

Through all of this, our organisation, the YSI, has been campaigning hard to ensure that the voices of Young People are being heard in the debates on Scotland’s Future and on Europe. From campaigning in Council By-Electionsacross the Country; where we have seen enormous success for the SNP. To the incredible efforts of the YSI throughout the European Parliamentary Elections. Where we saw Days of Action take place the length and breadth of Scotland – led by our fantastic Regional Associations as well as a strong presence at both the Launch of the European Election Campaign and indeed the SNP Manifesto for Europe by our young members. I wish to take this opportunity on behalf of the YSI to congratulate our three new SNP MEPs, Alyn Smith, Christian Allard and Aileen McLeod – all three of whom have a wealth of talent and experience to take Scotland’s voice to Europe and to share our clear message that Scotland’s For Europe. I also wish to thank our three other excellent SNP Candidates, Margaret Ferrier, Heather Anderson and our very own Alex Kerr. Each of them worked tirelessly throughout the campaign, racking up the miles travelled, the steps taken, the doors knocked and all of them would have been utterly wonderful representatives of our great Nation. To Alex, who is one of our very own YSI members – thank you for your role as ayoung candidate and your efforts to include the YSI in your activities to help make sure that not only Scotland as a whole but Scotland’s young people in particular were being heard during the European Parliamentary Elections. Conference, The work of our organisation in the European Parliamentary Elections and beyond – would not be possible without the efforts of so many in the YSI, I wish therefore to take the opportunity to thank the NEC, our Regional Associations and their Executives and indeed each and every one of you – members of our organisation – for all your work in delivering for us and for the SNP. Regional Associations and our Members are our lifeblood – and we should never forget that as we continue to grow from strength to strength. The YSI is only the organisation it is – today – through the work of our members right across Scotland. Giving of their time, their energy and their passion to make our work not only possible but a success.

Conference, Today – will provide us with many opportunities to discuss the type of Scotland we want to see. We as an organisation are always at the forefront of developing radical policies for our Party and for our Country; quite often we have seen these being taken on board by our Party and our Government – literally changing Scotland. And on that topic of changing Scotland, particularly as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Scottish Parliament, this month, we should never be shy, in stopping… …pausing… …and reflecting… on the journey that we as a Nation have come on – in particular the change and success delivered by the SNP. The list of SNP government achievements is long, far too long for this speech, but I want to share some key ones with you today. Because this is what the SNP has done and can continue to do - for Scotland. Record investment in our National Health Service, £4 billion more than when we came into office. We are working to close the attainment gap in our schools, with record investment in them and in this year alone £120 million going directly to schools to spend on their priorities. We have introduced a new social security system, that will continually evolve and deliver new and improved benefits with dignity and respect at its core. We’ve continued to protect free tuition and we have increased free high quality childcare for all three and four year olds as well as two year olds in low income households. Prescription chargers remain abolished, ending a tax on ill health. 100,000 premises have been lifted out of business rates, investing in our economic growth. We have become the first country in the world to make free sanitary products available in all schools, colleges and universities. We’ve met our targets to reduce youth unemployment, four years early. And one which I am particularly proud of, is that Scotland has one of the most progressive equal marriage laws, introduced by this SNP Government, and we are second only to Malta in Europe for LGBTI Equality and Human Rights. After over a decade of Westminster cuts, all of these achievements have been delivered by an SNP government working harder than ever to protect the most vulnerable in our society and deliver the best public services anywhere in the UK. As a Youth Wing, we should be proud of our role in influencing many of the policies our Party are developing and we should be proud of the record of our Government in delivering for Scotland.We should never tire of sharing these achievements.

Friends, Scotland has come so far. And so have we. Our membership has grown. Our methods of campaigning have evolved. Our communications have improved. But our primary purpose and goal – has never and will never change. To play our part, in delivering our vision for Scotland. That vision – of course – is of an Independent Scotland. So Friends, Let’s today re-energise and re-commit ourselves - to that vision - and ambition. And let’s together - share our clear message. It’s Our Time.