My name is Humza Yousaf, I’m a MSP for Glasgow, also a Minister in the Scottish Government. So I’m a Glasgow boy, born and bred. I was born in Glasgow, raised in Glasgow, educated in Glasgow. I now have the great privilege, the great honour, of serving as an MSP in this great city.
We have in this city great prosperous, and we see some wonderful examples of that prosperity. What we have on the other side, the flip side, is you can go in to many housing estates that have been neglected, not for years, but for decades and people on top of that historical neglect are facing local issues like the onslaught of austerity from the UK Government, the disabled members of the community are facing cuts to their welfare and to their budget. Those that can’t find work, those quite desperately trying, are getting hammered by the cuts to the welfare system as well.
I get asked all the time why did you join the SNP, what made you get involved in the SNP. I think the SNP chose me as opposed to me choosing the SNP. I was interested in my local community. I was always a local activist but also I was interested in what happened beyond Scotland’s borders, beyond the UK’s borders, much like most nationalists I know were actually internationalists at the heart of what we do.
I was very involved in the movement against the Iraq war and when I heard Alex Salmond in the Parliament speaking against it and I saw the SNP speaking so forcefully against the Iraq war not afraid to upset the establishment at all. Actually calling that invasion what it was, calling it illegal, saying that it was deceptive, and saying that it was putting our sons and daughters in harm's way for no reason. When I saw the principle nature and stance that the SNP were taking, that was it, I had to be part of it.
I would make a plea actually to anybody who cares about their local community, who cares about what’s going on, is angry and upset about what is going on, don’t wait for somebody to determine your future for you. Take the future in your own hands. Be part of the biggest movement in this country. Be part of the most exciting, energised movement these islands have ever seen, certainly in my lifetime and I am sure many other people’s lifetimes as well. Be part of it, don’t just sit, this is not the time to be a spectator, this is not the time to sit back and just let others dictate what’s going to happen. This is the time to get involved and I’ve got no doubt at all we’re living in historical times. We are living in momentous times. People will talk about 2014 and 2015 in the textbooks of Modern Studies for decades to come and you have a chance to shape that future. So don’t leave it to somebody else, join the party, join the movement and get yourself involved and make the difference that your country needs and deserves.