Four years as a Stringer, and five votes – it has been a rollercoaster

“Well, at twenty minutes to five, we can now say the decision taken in 1975 by this country to join the common market has been reversed by this referendum to leave the EU.”
“I’ve also encountered this evening, something many people have encountered before tonight and I suspect many people will encounter after tonight which is, in politics, that you live by the sword and you die by the sword.”
“Scotland is looking more and more like it will reject independence.”

In 2013, when I came to university, I was given the incredible opportunity by my lecturer Eddy Borges-Rey to become a Stringer for BBC Scotland’s general election team.

A stringer is basically a freelance reporter, who relays stories, videos, pictures and final results to the HQ either in Pacific Quay or London.

When I took up the job, I knew the independence referendum was on its way, and soon after the UK general election, but as I come to the end of my four years at university, I have somehow managed to complete five votes.

That’s two referendums, two general elections and one Scottish election, each – and I say this with as much emphasis as is possible – has thrown a complete spanner into the works of politics as we know it.

The Scottish referendum for its uniqueness (“its once in a generation”-ness); the general election, which saw David Cameron scrape through a majority government after five years of coalition, a Labour party in turmoil, and a landslide SNP victory; the Scottish election, and its surprising lack of a majority for the SNP; the Brexit referendum – which needs no justification as to its importance and this election, and that is another kettle of fish entirely.

Each time I have worked with the BBC has ended in a drive home with BBC Radio Scotland on, and mostly me yelling, “Holy sh*t! What the hell is going on? Oh my God.”

Working with the BBC has been an absolute privilege. I have been incredibly lucky to have this opportunity, but I do not doubt that maintaining an active political/news-oriented blog present helped with my being made aware of the opportunity by my lecturer.

This general election was one of the best stringer shifts I have done. Perhaps it was because I was far more active in getting interviews (pushing in on a conversation between a lady and none other than Michael Matheson, Scottish Justice Secretary), or maybe the result was so extraordinary.

Even so, each year has had its own theme, and its own incredible opportunities. You never know, it might not be long before the next opportunity.


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