Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Glasgow Election Special; Labour Party confident of holding on to Glasgow as they crank up another gear in fight for City, SNP hope for Salmond bounce

Dear All

On the way here to write on the blog, I saw the Labour Party out campaigning in Cessnock, Glasgow then I saw them again!

The Labour Party is out in force!

Battle for control of Glasgow City Council ends tomorrow at 10 pm when the ballot boxes close.

The Labour Party intents to put up a real fight to hold the city, their task isn’t easy by half as they are being pressed from all sides by other parties.

However the council elections aren’t Holyrood elections, people will vote differently just as they do in Westminster.

For the Labour Party, the defeat at Holyrood was a bitter pill to swallow but they approached their campaign in the right way.

They did a local manifesto for Glasgow.

In television interviews the Labour leader Gordon ‘free dinners’ Matheson put up a credible performance as his main opposition, the SNP leader Allison Hunter was a three ring flop.

In a debate he completed dominated Allison Hunter who had to ask him if what she was saying was right!

How embarrassing is that!

Matheson however is on tender hooks, the city might fall if there is a Salmond bounce carried over from the Holyrood election and minor players such as the Greens and Lib Dems get more seats.

The Labour Party has stuck up 45 Candidates through-out the 21 Wards of the City and has expectations in many of the seats of getting their full quota.

A key ward is Govan were the SNP has stuck 3 Candidates, Hunter, Mackie and Mohammed, all part of the Sturgeon clique of Glasgow Southside, Labour has went with two, it was the smart move.

By going with two, the Labour Party has left the door open to voters to vote for Glasgow First Candidate and independent both former Labour councillors.

Stephen Dornan of ‘the rest’ is seen as possibly having the best chance since he unlike all the Scottish National Party Candidates actually lives in the Ward he wants to ‘represent’.

For Labour and the SNP this is a key test, whoever takes Glasgow by a clear outright majority is in the driving seat for the referendum, it doesn’t guarantee a win but control of council is mighty useful.

Coalition is possible if it there is no majority, and recently the SNP put forward a joint budget with everyone else against Labour.

If it comes to it the Labour Party will do a deal with other parties except the SNP, and that will allow them to push hard for major policies.

Interestingly Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said:

“The largest party should have the right to form an administration. We’d sit down and look at what the common ground was with whoever is the largest party. We’d need to look at how our councillors get on with their councillors. If there’s going to be a change in the administration, then there has to be a process of careful negotiation.”

At Holyrood, the Greens thought they would get 5 MSPs in 2011; they made no progress, so the situation on the ground will remain fluid till the bitter end.

SNP Glasgow Council candidate Graeme Hendry is widely tipped as the man most likely to run the SNP group after Allison Hunter steps down, his take on coalition is that he is “open minded” which is possibly a clue that the #changeatthechambers crowd aren’t as confident as they previously were about just strolling in.

In a continuation of his bizarre semi capitulation statement, he added:

“We’ve already worked with other parties on the budget this year and we have to continue to work together as Glasgow needs more than one party to take on the challenges facing the city.”

In other words, if the SNP win a majority, they aren’t capable of running the City of Glasgow.

This is the new leader of Glasgow SNP Council Group in waiting?

He is just another caretaker, another lame duck with no vision and ideas like Allison Hunter.

Gordon Matheson and the Labour Party are expected to get the largest number of seats on paper but they are getting pressed hard and the anomaly of Glasgow First in key seats may allow other parties to get seats they don’t deserve or have worked for.

Tomorrow 10 pm, the fight ends and the fingernails start getting bit.

If the SNP don't win an outright majority by a massive landslide it is a personal disaster for Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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