Parliament’s most youthful MP, the SNP’s Mhairi Black, is making waves across the country following one of the most stimulating speeches in recent memory. The 20 year old politician’s maiden speech has been commended by everybody from individual MPs to pop stars.
Yet how much is well known about the ascending star of Scottish politics? When she was voted for in May, she became the youngest MP since the 17th Century. The last holder of record was Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle, who passed away in 1688.
Mhairi Black drove out Labour’s previous foreign secretary Douglas Alexander from the Paisley and Renfrewshire seat, where she was born and raised. Douglas Alexander had held a seat since 1997, however, it had been a Labour fortress for 70 years.
But Mhairi Black’s success with the better part of nearly 6,000 was an indication of things to come for the Labour party, as seat after seat fell to the SNP. Mhairi only graduated with her politics degree last month, with first class honours from the University of Glasgow.
She was still studying for her final exam, approximately enough on Scottish politics, after swearing in as an MP. She had to fit in cramming between Westminster discussions, revising in the Commons Library. However, before being voted in, she had a career in a fish and chip shop.
If you watch her, she looks like any other normal young girl of her age. An average young girl going through University, someone that was really unknown at the time, and not that significant in the scheme of things.
Nevertheless, for the record it’s quite clear that this young woman has a really frank and blunt approach, and I have expectations that in time to come she will manage to pollute and blacken the Conservatives for what they really are.
Her major speech since being voted in, known as her maiden speech, pretty much caused Twitter to melt down, with almost universal admiration being showered on the 20 year old graduate.
In her speech, she targeted George Osborne, noting that she was given assistance with her housing, while he’d axed housing benefit for under 21s.
She was stated as saying: “We are now in the ridiculous situation whereby because I am an MP, not only am I the youngest, but I am also the only 20 year old in the whole of the UK that the Chancellor is prepared to help with housing.”
She made aware of the distressing story of one jobseeker who burst into tears in front of her after not eating for five days. He’d used the money to pay for his trips to the Jobcentre instead, leaving him with nothing to pay his bills.
That grown man was standing in front of a 20 year old crying his eyes out, and when he was on the bus on the way to the Jobcentre he fainted due to exhaustion and dehydration, because of this he was 15 minutes behind schedule for the Jobcentre, and he was sanctioned for 13 weeks, leaving him again with no money.
She went onto say: “When the Chancellor spoke in his Budget about fixing the roof while the sun is shining, I have to ask, on who is the sun shining?
“When he spoke about benefits not supporting certain kinds of lifestyles, is that the kind of lifestyle he’s talking about?
“Food bank use is going up and up. Food banks are not part of the welfare state. They’re a symbol that the welfare state is failing. ”
She said: “Tony Benn once said that in politics there are weathercocks and sign posts. Weathercocks will spin in whatever direction the wind of public opinion may blow them, no matter what principle they may have to compromise.
“And then there are signposts, signposts which stand true, and tall, and, principled. And they point in the direction and they say this is the way to a better society and it is my job to convince you why.
“Tony Benn was right when he said the only people worth remembering in politics were signposts.”
I hope this ladies journey is very fertile and flourishes. This lady comes across as being really level headed, and I hope that her drudgery as an MP is as effective as her maiden speech.
There will be numerous people out there that will entrust themselves to her, and I hope that she’s a credit to them all. It’s one thing making a maiden speech, but can she in fact make it as effective in practice?
This lady plainly knows where her ancestral roots lay, however, I really hope that she doesn’t get lost along the way.