As some of you know, I write for the Steamie blog on the Scotsman website. We Steamie bloggers were invited to do a video blog to kick off the coverage of the Scottish elections for the Scotland Votes website.
I was mildly petrified at this, not just because of the face for radio issue. It's not that I can't talk, as the field of donkeys without hind legs near my house can testify, it's just that doing it with a camera in my face tends to interfere with my natural flow. Anyway, I wasn't going to chicken out and last Tuesday morning gamely arrived at the headquarters of Weber Shandwick with lovingly prepared script in trembling hand.
Kez Dugdale had done hers the week before, filmed in front of a window. When I went, I was told to stand next to a mildly rude looking plant in front of a black wall. I joked at the time that it looked a bit funereal and I may have chosen not to wear a black top if I'd known that was going to happen, but never mind, you learn from experience.
My delivery is, shall we say, less than perfect. To my eternal shame, I completely mucked up the bit on civil liberties. It's just such a key issue for me and for us. I suspect whatever was close to the end was going to come into danger of running out of memory space. The finished article, though, is less bad than I remember.
The first take was a bit of a nightmare. When I watched it back, I realised that I was moving around, presumably with nerves. It looked like I was dancing. Seriously, you could have put on a backing track, so, second time around, I was concentrating on trying not to move as well as get the words out in approximately the right order.
Anyway, the evidence is below for you to judge for yourself. I think I should probably stick to written blogging in the future, but I actually did enjoy the experience, and Noman from Weber Shandwick, who filmed me, was so lovely and encouraging.
Like chefs deconstruct their signature dishes - you know, a Tiramisu becomes a bit of chocolate sponge next to a pile of gloop, I thought I'd deconstruct the video by letting you have a look at the script I had prepared so you can see how the words should have come out:
I want to talk a bit about where the Scottish Liberal Democrats are at and highlight a couple of what are for me key issues. We’re in upbeat and determined mood. Alex Cole-Hamilton in Edinburgh Central has built a vibrant grassroots campaign that’s seen him knock on over 10,000 doors since last Summer. The reception we’re getting across Scotland is much warmer than the opinion polls would suggest, I think because people like what we’re about.
Even at a time when money is very tight, we’ve made the tax system fairer – from April, 90,000 Scots on low incomes won’t have to pay tax any more. Labour talk about a living wage for public sector workers, but already we’re doing something better which covers everybody, including pensioners.
As the mother of an 11 year old, for me it’s all about education. I want my daughter to have an education that challenges her to the absolute limits of her capability. I don’t want her teachers being dictated to by a minister in Edinburgh – they know her best and they should decide how and what she learns.
No child should ever be held back because of their background. Even with free university education, only 1 in 5 students comes from the poorest areas in Scotland. That has to be tackled and I think that the Liberal Democrat idea of a pupil premium, extra money, targeted on those kids will make a huge difference.
The Lib Dem approach to public services has always been that they should be people centred, with decisions made as locally as possible. I’ve been very worried by the rush to create one national police force. I think it’s ridiculous – policing needs in Rogart, or Findhorn or Campbeltown are very different from priorities in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
I remember the worry of my husband being out of work for nearly a year in the mid 90s. That’s happening to too many people now. Lib Dems have ambitious plans to grow our economy, so all of Scotland can benefit, to create long term, stable skilled jobs in areas where we excel, like green technology and renewable energy.
For me, personal freedom and civil liberties are hugely important Last year we voted against the almost casual quadrupling of pre-charge detention in an afternoon. We take freedom seriously and always instinctively fight for it.
I want to leave you with three things which sum up what the Liberal Democrats will be campaigning on this year – freedom, opportunity and giving power to local people.