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Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh
Europe - 4th April 2013

Europe matters.

It may seem distant, it may even seem irrelevant.

It isnít.

Itís crucial for Scotlandís wellbeing, as we unfurl the carpet towards the Referendum.

If the SNP gets the recognition we are striving for in these European elections, I believe, we will be holding the coat tails of Referendum success, in our own hands.

And we will be, an independent nation, once again.

We all believe this already, I know. But I feel passionately that a great result in these elections is the affirmation we need to create Referendum momentum.

With more MEPs elected this time round, we will have tangible evidence of confidence, conviction and intention.

Believing in what I say is important to me.

Standing as a candidate in these elections is no idle notion.

I am putting every inch and fibre of my being into this campaign because I absolutely believe, in the concept of the European Union, in sharing ideas, culture, education, research and development, and business, across a powerhouse of 504 million people.

That powerhouse strengthens all of us.

It gives us security, justice, the upholding of our human rights, reasonable working hours, treaties on food quality, climate change, on energy supply and in areas like maternity and paternity rights.

What can I bring to the SNP Team Europe table?

Now, I can rhyme off a list of skills Iíve acquired as; SNP National Womenís Officer and driver of the Womenís Academy, Lawyer, Human Rights Activist, founder of the Scottish Asian Womenís Association charity, actor, TV producer, mother Ė but Iíd far rather explain why I believe I am the best person to take the SNP forward in Europe.
My overarching priority will be to represent and serve the people of Scotland in the European Parliament.

I will make Europe relevant to ordinary Scots. I will push, cajole and persuade the media to listen to why Europe matters here and I will dig out the human, real life stories that make it so interesting.

I will share information with readers of Scots Independent, with colleagues in our Branches, Constituency Associations, the Scottish Parliament MSPs and Local Councils by delivering short and quick to digest briefings, keeping everyone up to date with whatís happening and why itís relevant.

Itís good to talk.

I will bring a new voice, a new set of talents and skills, a new background of experience, as a woman, as an Asian woman, as a mother and a full-time negotiator, at home as well as at work.

I speak four languages, including French. I know Europeís complex institutions and I have lots of personal contacts there, ready and willing to help me. As part of SNP Team Europe, I can contribute in hugely positive ways, propagating the infectious enthusiasm I have, for the future of Scotland.

As a member state in waiting, only we can speak for Scotland because we, the SNP, speak only for Scotland. London speaks for itself.

It was M.A. Jinnah, as leader of a newly independent Pakistan and a figurehead very close to my heart, who said: "Give me great mothers and I will deliver you, a great nation"

Well, this mother has delivered her four children, and now it's time, time to deliver for my nation. Scotland.

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