Monday, August 10, 2015

Glasgow Labour leader Gordon Matheson set to quit his post as Council Ward by-election result prompts Labour Councillors to demand EGM for his removal, Labour needs stability and a steady hand at the helm, Stephen Curran could be the man for the job, one thing is certain, Councillors need to be more active on the doorsteps of Glasgow if they want to hold their seats

Dear All

One of the worst kept political secrets is that City Council leader Gordon Matheson wants to go to Holyrood and become an MSP.

As well as wanting that position, Matheson also wants to be the Deputy leader of Scottish Labour, two other people already MSPs are also in the running, Richard Baker and Alex Rowley.

I would think Kezia Dugdale is in a good position ahead of her main rival Ken Macintosh for Labour, and some people think that Alex Rowley would be best suited to be her Deputy.

It now appears after considerable speculation and threats of rebellion that Gordon Matheson is to stand down early.

August 17 is tipped to be the date of his early departure prompted by talk of mutiny and a rather poor showing in the four by-elections recently held in the City, in the Wards of Calton, Anderston, Langside and Craigton.

Turn out in Matheson’s own ward was just 14.5 per cent, in Calton, it was equally dire, 16 percent with the other wards returning around the 20 percent mark. By-elections usually have poorer turn outs, and the party who previously held the seat usually gets their replacement in, unless extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise.

Apparently, the people down at Scottish Labour HQ thought his plan to remain until 2016 was unsustainable due to the rather bad result, not the result I suspect but the fact that Labour voters couldn’t be motivated to come out to support the party.

Understandably, the Labour Councillors are concerned whether they will be able to hold their seats in 2017, and they want someone who is focused on gearing up to that election, rather than Matheson who is eyeing a seat in 2016.

Labour strongholds of Calton and Craigton saw swings to the SNP of 25 and 22 percent.

The Labour Party in Scotland has a problem, they need a new campaign model, they need retraining and they need new people who actually know campaigning and live within their own wards. One thing which caught my eye in the Craigton Ward was the pictures posted on twitter which showed mostly elected party members, MSP, MP, Councillors and university student members with the absence of ordinary people.

Interesting such is the strength of feeling by Councillors that over half of the Glasgow Group decided to press for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to vote in a new leader. This led to Scottish Secretary Brian Roy reassuring the rebels last week that Matheson is on his way out.

It would be unfair to put the blame for Labour’s woes at Gordon Matheson’s door; he did win a convincing victory in 2012 despite the Labour Group being dogged scandal after scandal. Half of the then Labour Council Group got the chop and in some cases this was long overdue and necessary, some people were unfairly treated, Andy Muir for one. Former MSP Frank McAveety is one person who might declare for the job along with Archie Graham, Glasgow’s deputy leader, others mentioned are Stephen Curran.

If I was picked the new leader, I would go with Stephen Curran, Labour needs stability, and Stephen Curran has a decent track record and appears to be a grafter which ticks all the right boxes. What Labour doesn’t need is a caretaker to limp along; they need someone that the public can relate to inspire confidence.

A Labour source said:

“The rebels have been asked not to press for an EGM and have been given a commitment that Gordon Matheson will stand down on Monday the 17th.”

As they say, never a dull moment in politics.

One of the most amusing things in this episode is when Sturgeon proxy, Susan Aitken, leader of the SNP opposition in Glasgow said:

“It is time to give Glasgow back to the people”.

Less we forget, the ‘people’ in this case the SNP have robbed the city of hundreds of millions from Glasgow budgets, Nicola Sturgeon, a non Glaswegian not only did nothing to stop it, she kept her mouth firmly shut when it was getting done.

Unlike most people, I have met the SNP Group close up; most of them are dullards with no original thought or imagination. These are the type of people who would sit back and allow the City to be financially asset stripped by the SNP Government and then attempt to blame Westminster.

If you are going to create a hellhole, it helps to take away the money that is used to protect the poorest and most vulnerable in society, the SNP has form on this by their ‘middle class welfare-ism’ policies.

At the same time, they play up to the gullible in sink estates that in SNP Land, it would be all ‘milk and honey’, an endless nirvana. It seems some Glaswegians can’t tell the difference between ‘shit’ and ‘honey’. The only people getting nirvana is Nicola Sturgeon’s cronies who are plugged into taxpayer funded cash.

If I was a Labour member, I would be keen to see Stephen Curran be elected as Glasgow Labour leader at the Council in preference to others. Although Gordon Matheson wants to go to Holyrood, it is by no means certain in the current unstable political climate he could make it, unless he perhaps tops the Glasgow list.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

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