Friday, June 3, 2011

Carpetbagger David Whitton throws his hat into the ring for selection to be Labour MP for Inverclyde, will be two former MSPs going head to head?

Dear All

This weekend, the Labour Party will select the runner and riders for the Inverclyde by-election which include a former Labour MSP, a former soldier and a local authority leader.

They are in the running to replace the late David Cairns as MP for Inverclyde who sadly passed away after illness in a London Hospital.

Throwing his hat into the ring is the recently unseated MSP David Whitton, a carpetbagger candidate.

Whitton who formerly stood in Strathkelvin and Bearsden on a notional majority of 3,583 was hammered by the SNP.

They cleaned his clock but good!

Whitton lives in sunny Kirkintilloch, was a newspaper and television journalist who became a special adviser to Scotland's inaugural First Minister Donald Dewar.

Too arrogant by half, the people won’t warm to him.

On the other hand is a former soldier Frankie Caldwell, who is on the shortlist.

He lives in Inverkip and works in the private sector. He attended Notre Dame High School in Greenock and joined the Royal Tank Regiment as a trooper aged 19.

His service in Northern Ireland and Iraq, where he worked with Iraqi Marsh Arabs, won him an MBE in 2005. He is married with twins, aged 10.

Like the bio on this boy, he ticks a lot of boxes on the social scale, which is important in places like Inverclyde.

Then we have Inverclyde Council leader Iain McKenzie, from Greenock, so he ticks the local box and is also a long-serving member of the council.

He has worked for IBM as a procurement officer. He is married with two grown-up children and is a member of the Unite union.

The unite tag could be a problem.

Another bunny is Melanie Ward, from Helensburgh.

She is a senior adviser for Christian Aid and a one-time president of NUS Scotland. Ms Ward has worked for the Development Education Association and has an MA in international studies and diplomacy. She is active in the Labour Women's Network and is a member of Unite and the Co-Operative Party.

No chance.

Also on the Labour shortlist is Martin McCluskey.

He is a former president of Oxford University student union who works for international volunteering organisation VSO. He was once a policy adviser for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
No chance.

So, it will be interesting to see who gets the slot.

Inverclyde will be a hard nut to crack because of the Labour Party’s history in the area.

But given the result in Glasgow East in 2008, anything is possible.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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