Tag Archives: Labour

Airdrie & Shotts Westminster Candidates 2019 – What Now?

The full list of candidates have been announced for the Airdrie & Shotts constituency, and these are:

William Peter Maurice Crossman – Scottish Lib Dems

Neil Charles Gray – SNP

Helen Margaret McFarlane – Scottish Labour

Rosemary McGowan – Scottish Green Party

Lorraine Nolan – Scottish Conservative

We are through the looking glass in many respects. I’ve spoken to people who normally vote pro-independence / SNP who say they don’t know who to vote for, with some people considering voting Lib-Dem. The anti-Brexit vote will have a choice of three of the above, or four depending how they perceive Labour’s stance on any given day. This does mean that if the Tories play strongly on delivering Brexit they could well take a significant amount of voters who would not otherwise be disposed towards them.

This is a reverse of the usual Scottish situation where the Better Together parties are all fishing in the same barrel, but they would still need to increase their vote by around 100% of their last tally in 2017 to have any chance of taking the seat.

Writing off  the Tories still leaves things too close to call with the Lib Dems possibly taking soft SNP and Labour voters, but again still not enough to take the seat. This is an election which the Greens could comfortably have sat out. but they have taken the decision to stand, and Patrick Harvie has said that that these decisions would be taken locally. Given the rather small membership of the Scottish Greens then that decision will likely have been driven by the candidate Rosemary McGowan, and if her participation draws votes from the SNP and is perceived to have lost them the seat then it won’t bode well for the Holyrood elections, and may be a costly vanity project which raises the candidates profile in the short term and damages it in the long term.

I’ve seen no local electoral material yet and as far as I’m aware no hustings will be taking place, so we haven’t exactly reached fever pitch. Locally the SNP dropped around 10,000 votes from 2015 to 2017 and that was primarily down to failure to motivate their core support. Perhaps this was down to the downplaying of independence during the campaign, or maybe this was down to their voters having seen their previous mountainous majorities and assuming that their votes weren’t that important. That mistake could be about to be replayed with the media already shouting that the SNP are likely to oust all of Scotland’s Tories. There’s a hubristic sense of ‘job done’ being displayed which could well be Kinnockian in scope, and if so that will be incredibly damaging.

As it stands it’s still too close to call though, and that’s the message that the SNP will have to shout from the rooftops if they are to entertain their hopes of giving the unionist parties the bloody nose they hope to inflict; otherwise they may find their aim is off and they are left punch drunk on the canvas, wondering what hit them.

Wait For It… It’s the Labour Party (Scottish Branch) Manifesto!

Surely there must be a change in electoral rules to prevent behaviour such as that displayed this week by the Labour Party (Scotland Branch), in that they waited until postal voting had opened before they published their manifesto. How can voters make an informed choice about who to vote for when they either can’t or won’t provide a manifesto? That is what they are asking to be elected on for goodness sake!  Not endless clips of Kezia Dugdale posing in the few schools which remain open in Edinburgh, not the massaged soundbites on BBC Radio Scotland, not on the puff piece spreads in the Daily Record, but the manifesto.  I would suggest that all parties are given a deadline which is well in advance of the date on which postal voting opens, and their manifesto’s must be published no later than that date. No manifesto, no place on the ballot.

One thing that was finally clarified by the manifesto was Labour’s commitment to stand against a future referendum, no matter what the EU referendum brings. While Airdrie Labour candidate Richard Leonard was touting a resolute No on his electoral mail, Kez (as she likes to be known in the manifesto) floundered in interviews, hovering between mibbes aye, mibbes naw, och well it’s up to the individual, ah’ll no stand in their way. Now that the manifesto has confirmed it’s a firm No this should kill off any future Labour recovery as it leaves her party scrabbling around for a third of a share of those 55% who voted No. No matter what way you cut it, a third of 55% is never going to beat that almost combined 45% So no matter how many policies they adopt which are similar to those of the SNP they aren’t going to persuade many people to switch from a Yes stance to an anti-independence version with similar policies. Which leaves her in the unenviable position of having to trawl around for the hard line unionist vote. Unfortunately for her Ruth “clank, clank, ah’m a tank” Davidson has cornered this market with her penchant for armoured vehicles and union flags. So much so she doesn’t even NEED a manifesto. Never mind the policies, look at the pretty colours. Maybe the next Labour Party (Scotland Branch) leader will have better luck…

07/04/15 The Scotch Are Coming!

The i 

Dear Sir, 

I am not a regular reader of your, or for that matter any other national print newspaper, so I am unsure if the views expressed on Monday by the likes of Messrs Terry Jowle and Rod Williams are run of the mill viewpoints or not. To me they epitomised some of the swivel-eyed anti-Scottish hatred I have been hearing on television and radio and I would be horrified if these were widely held views. I found Mr Williams comments particularly disturbing. The Scottish electorate, having come through a two year referendum on independence, is far more factually aware than many people south of the border would give credit for, and it would appear far more aware politically than much of the English electorate as well. We know fine well that with the vast majority of the electorate in England vote Conservative, Britain will have a Conservative government. Likewise if the vast majority of England votes Labour we will have a Labour government. The Scottish vote has seldom changed the balance (once in the last 69 years if I recall correctly) and in the past when Scotland has continually voted Labour many Scots felt they had made a difference when Labour had won, when in reality their vote made no real difference. They were simply in step with the English electorate. This year is no different. We will still get the government England votes for. That some people seem to believe that a handful of Scottish constituencies will bring England to its knees and drag it off to the left is fanciful in the extreme, and indeed in Mr Williams case verges on the panic inducing. All that was missing from his letter was the references to rivers of blood. As a Scot, I find it highly ironic that some English voters are now up in arms at the thought of MP s from another country possibly holding sway over theirs. That has been the situation here in Scotland for over 300 years. Not nice, is it?

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy

The Post Referendum Letters: 25/10/14 (Advertiser)

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir,

The article in this weeks Advertiser about MSP’s expenses in this weeks Advertiser was a timely one. As one who regularly criticised our former Labour MSP Karen Whitefield for her expenses claims, I thought it only right to check out Alex Neil’s expenses as a comparison. A common criticism I made of Ms Whitefield was that living less than an hour from Edinburgh she had a habit of making overnight stays in Edinburgh when a taxi home would have been far cheaper. As the people of Airdrie have elected an MSP from outside the constituency it stands to reason that Mr Neil’s claims will be higher, and as anyone can see if they go on to the parliamentary website the majority of Mr Neil’s claims are travel and accommodation based. It’s also worth noting that his claims for a hotel are on average £20 per night less than his Coatbridge counterpart. Living less than an hour from Edinburgh, surely she could get a train or taxi home for far less than £115?

This should also apply to MP’s. During the recent referendum campaign I finally met our local MP, Labour’s Pamela Nash. When I complained about her expenses her reply was that perhaps I should “spend less time online looking at her expenses.” This is a bit rich coming from a woman who voted in Parliament to support the security services being given more powers to snoop on our private emails and retain electronic information about us. Prior to writing this I checked her expenses again, just to get my facts right. It seems our MSP’s claims in Monklands, Labour and SNP alike, pale into insignificance when compared to Ms Nash’s. £1516 a month for the rental of a house in Lambeth, council tax, gas, electricity. That’s over £19,600 a year! Coatbridge’s MP Tom Clarke may be living the high life in a hotel at around £150 a night, but he still manages to come in at around £3600 a year less than Ms Nash. Taxis to Edinburgh airport are another stand out on Ms Nash’s list, with claims made due to there being “no direct public transport available.” Here’s a thought, get the train to Haymarket and catch the airport bus or take the tram, like normal people have to.

What really makes this all the more galling is that as Scottish MP’s they have far less responsibility than MP’s from the rest of the UK. Health, education, sport, transport, housing, agriculture and more are devolved. Scottish MP’s are virtually part time. They should be on half a salary, never mind the full salary, and they certainly don’t need to employ more staff to do work they should be doing themselves. More powers are supposedly going to be devolved, but here’s the problem. The “more powers” we are promised are now tied to limiting Scottish MP’s ability to vote on English only matters, and these powers are now being put at risk by Labour who as usual are putting their party first. The SNP do not vote on matters which have been devolved. Curiously the Blue Tories, one of the main complainants in this matter allow their one MP to vote on English only issues. Anyone outside of Labour would see it as right and proper that if a power has been devolved that Scottish MP’s do not vote on it, yet Labour who are putting forward a weaker “Devo Max” package than even the Tories are willing to scupper these powers simply to retain power in England. It looks as though this very thing may have forced the resignation of Johann Lamont who now complains that her party in Scotland is having to dance to London’s tune.

In this time of greater austerity we should be looking at cutting the costs generated by Parliament, and I think it should be uppermost in all MP’s and MSP’s minds that their allowances should always be thought of as other peoples money, and that when claiming for rail travel, meals and hotels and hiring staff that they should be out to get the best value that they can find for the taxpayer. When they believe that they are entitled as a right to first class travel and 5 start hotels then they have lost the right to represent us. They are not finding a solution, they are simply part of the problem.

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy,