Labour meltdown in Scotland part 2

The signs are that the commentators are hedging their bets just a little over the stakes in the Glasgow East by-election. They’re probably waiting for a rash of opinion polls on the impact of Labour’s preferred candidate refusing the increasingly high fence. In the Scottish steeple chase, is the former champion rider Gordon Brown about to be toppled? As Scotland in Sunday reports, Labour are now feverishly playing catch-up.
Not that the London commentators are entirely blind to the events north of the Border. The uber metropolitan, Matthew d-Ancona is getting the message.

The most forthright to date is the Observer’s Andrew Rawnsley.

Behind it all is the smouldering issue of Scottish independence. A TNS system 3 poll for the Sunday Herald shows independence almost neck-and neck with the Union.

But polling methods vary, and this one is out of line with most others that show the Union in a clear lead, though with more powers for the Parliament.

One learned commentator advances Labours’ plight as a reason for cooling on independence.

  • My home parish is the original Labour rotten borough.
    They deserve to lose that seat for so many reasons.

  • Dewi

    What the London media usually miss – There’s a religious context in Glasgow East – on of the most Catholic constituency in Britain – the birthplace of that pre modern binary – Catholic and Unionist.
    It will take a miracle for the SNP to win – but Labour are doing their best to help !!!

  • This is becoming high wire antics without a safety net for Labour.
    Two things stand out quickly as problems in retaining the seat safely in the Labour ranks in Westminster.
    First the rules for Labour Party MSP’s is that they cannot be both in London and Edinburgh.
    When this emerged as a problem first prior to the original Holyrood elections the then M.P. for Falkirk West was the incredibly electorally popular but outspoken Dennis Canavan, a very long time exponent of devolution, and he wanted to stand for the Scottish Parliament.
    Evidently if elected Curran would continue to sit in both legislatures breaking the rule that they (Labour) would not have ‘part-time representatives’.
    Despite others already elected to Westminster like Donald Dewar already being selected to stand, Cananvan was told that he could not be considered for selection to the panel for Holyrood as he was already an M.P.
    To ensure that this nonsense would pass unobserved as a flawed logical argument he was then deemed by Labour (actually Dewar and cabal) as being ‘not good enough as a public representative’ to sit in Holyrood.
    This cleverly obscured the problem of individuals sitting in both places by situating the argument as one about Canavan himself and his qualities. This nonsense did not daunt Canavan who won the seat for Holyrood and subsequently retained his seat as an Independent (predictability Labour threw him out into what they thought would be the political wilderness where he thrived), until for inexplicable reasons he suddenly vacated Westminster and allowed the awful Eric Joyce to very narrowly become M.P.
    Ignoring the fact that the SNP themselves already happily has representatives in both places they will make much of the new direction in Labour ‘part-timers’ policy as a weak solution reached in desperation.
    Secondly the move to accept Curran, if it is successful will play badly with Labour voters as she is too much identified with the failures at Holyrood and is not seen by many as more than an overbearing politician who has her best years behind her and looks as jaded as the rest of Labour.
    In brief outside a narrow band of cognoscenti within Labour circles her credibility is a short supply item.
    Labour pushing her as the solution will look like an arranged colonial marriage agreed between Glasgow and London done in haste to be regretted at leisure.
    This seat is becoming one where Labour looks increasingly like the lost walker who is sure they know where they are because the map is wrong.
    The real problem here is that things are being done in haste to patch over the problem that Labour having allowed itself to think that it was forever the natural party of Government in West Central Scotland, never really looked for talent and ideas outside of a narrow range of acceptable views and people who have grown remarkably detached from their own political anorexia.
    The talent is not much in evidence on the ground in politicians in Scotland now and it shows when this scramble can be watched unfolding.

  • Dewi.I’m a native of that parish-so funnily enough I happen to know a little bit about the place (which I visit regularly because my mother and her extended clan still live there.
    Labour have always relied on the Catholic/Irish vote as their bedrock in the East End.
    However that isnt as solid a foundation as it sued to be.
    I’ll declare an interest,as well as first hand knowledge.
    In the 1987 election I was constituency organiser for the SNP in -as it was then “Glasgow Shettleston”.
    Our candidate was a teacher in a local secondary school who hailed from the Borders.
    Subsequently he wasnt part of the Rangers culture.
    he agreed with me that is was crazy and illogical for people in favour of 32 counties to be voting for a party of the Union.
    We didnt win the seat(although he got the best SNP vote in Glasgow),but we broke the mould.
    After 87 it was ok to be an East End “Tim” and vote SNP.

  • Prionsa Eoghan


    This link from a great newspaper is probably worth a thread on it’s own. Dismiss the headline, the real story is that those opposed to independence have fallen by a large margin, and perhaps support for independence has plateaued. In my humble opinion more than enough.


    I know the guy and didn’t know he was a hardline Baptist, nor do I care. Also his dislike of the union flag would be a plus amongst Glasgow catholic voters. Also the east end is not a predominately Catholic area. We are a very large minority. The only people who have ever played the religious card are the Tories, who play up the conservative and UNIONIST bit on their placards in areas known to be Orange. Yet you never see them elsewhere.

    Tom Griffin has made the pertinent point in an earlier thread that Glasgow Catholics hold the key here, as Phil rightly points out Catholics are THE core vote. It is upto people like me to change that. I reckon I have changed the votes of probably dozens at the last Holyrood elections, hopefully that good work carries on to this election. Still can’t get my Ma to change though, much to my frustration. This is the wummin that bounced me on her knee singing Kevin Barry. The over 65 age group are the ones most opposed to independence, a dying species if you will.

    Oh and Saor Alba.

  • PE your mum and my mum sound SO alike lol

  • PE the support for independence only really matters in 2010.
    Best case scenario for Salmond is that scotland are being ruled by Cameron and his Middle England party.

  • RepublicanStones

    PE, have you any idea what the SNP’s policy on the North Sea oil revenue is. I take it if FREEDOM(mel gibson hokey sctch accent) is achieved, the black gold is Scotlands property? Will the Sassanach relinquish it?

  • RS-clearly who owns the oil will be up to the divorce lawyers if the scottish people serve the papers in 2010

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>PE your mum and my mum sound SO alike lol< >PE the support for independence only really matters in 2010.< >Best case scenario for Salmond is that scotland are being ruled by Cameron and his Middle England party.<

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>Will the Sassanach relinquish it?<

  • PE a Govan type victory in the East End would shake the timbers thats for sure.
    However, its my settled view that the slow build up of support-especially as the SNP in the Devolved assembly can act the part of a national government in waiting.
    Independence and the entire constitutional question is now THE issue in Scotland.

    Everything else flows from that.

  • RepublicanStones

    Indeed it is. no need for registration anymore, so I can stick my big green white and orange oar in now. you on it yourself?

  • Dewi

    Wonderful pro-SNP BBC… It would be funny if it were not so absurd.

  • Dewi I know a few people who work in Queen margaret Drive (BBC HQ in Glasgow) it is a given that if you are overtly nationalist then your card is marked.
    The idea that it is a hotbed of SNP propaganda is a nonsense.
    Kirsty wark is queen bee there and she has a visceral loathing of the SNP and is a personal friend of jack McConnell

  • percy

    maybe its time for your political career to begin 😉

  • I would vote for him perci ;0)
    Now my old Ma, she would be a tougher proposition lol

  • percy

    its mostly hand-bags with PE anyway 😉


    Did people catch this excellent piece on my home parish?
    Believe me lads she isnt making it up:0(

  • Dewi

    Phil and Tony – do you think the introduction of PR in local elections is a help? The SNP now have quite a few councillors in the area – indeed Cllr Mason had the biggest first preference vote of any councillor.

  • Dewi-as far as I know-the PR system used (the list) it isnt STV has been of some help, but I cant be really sure about that.

    What HAS helped is having two votes-Lemme Hexplain….

    In the 70s & 80s people in Scotland would say “we onyl have one vote we cant waste it on the SNP.2
    meaning that if you didnt want the Tories in Westminster you had to vote Labour to vote them out.
    The creation of the Edinburgh Duma gave people two votes.
    A Westminster vote and a Scottish vote.
    I know of a few family members who dipped their toes in and voted SNP in Edinburgh, but stayed with labour for Westminster.

  • percy

    Fascinating article Phil, with a sombre ending.
    They have to vote for change to SNP, with Labour in such difficulties in so many policy areas, this constituency only matters to Labour to maintain a false sense of “everything’s tickety boo”.

    SNP must campaign very well, make no mistakes, and I believe they can and will take it.

    Can SNP do a deal with Celtic FC on the quiet 😉

  • Percy-as I posted earlier-when I ran the 87 election campaign in the East End it broke the mould.
    As I’m from a fairly well known clan in the area-big Fenian tribe-boxers-you get the idea.
    I had scores of my cousins out leafletting for the SNP.
    The old guard of the SNP (for them it meant Staunch Northern Protestants) were horrified, but the mould was broken.
    It was ok to be a “Tim” and be in the SNP.
    before the only political home for such folk was the Labour party.
    It was after this that salmond started to talk up the Celtic tiger/independence success story stuff about ROI.

    the rumour is that the SNP will field Elaine C Smith as candidate.
    She is a well known actress and would be a hit on the hustings imo

  • Dewi

    SNP candidate chosen Phil – Cllr John Mason

    Full list so far

  • Cheers Dewi.
    Thats a bummer.
    No way will my clan vote for a Mason………

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>its mostly hand-bags with PE anyway ;-)< >meaning that if you didnt want the Tories in Westminster you had to vote Labour to vote them out.< >Phil and Tony – do you think the introduction of PR in local elections is a help?<

  • PE- I havent got my head around the local list PR system-how does it work?

  • Dewi
  • PE I went back to the East end in the mid 80s and I was shocked at how many young lives were being lost to addiction.
    I worked in the Easterhouse Project Trust for a year-there was full blown underclass developing in front of my eyes.
    Glad you’re doing well in Oz

  • percy

    Much the same here m8, if the family hadn’t left Ireland in the 60’s I’d have been in the IRA, and would most probably be six foot under.
    Or in Conor Murphy’s shoes as MP for Armagh. lol
    We’re the same age 😉

    Got your drift, respect!
    And am glad to note its a different ball game now in this by-election. Fingers crossed.
    Think its your destiny to win, but I’ve been called a moon-child before.

  • Cheers Dewi.
    I dint know where I got this “list” thing in my head.
    People in the SNPI spoke to were telling me about this one and that one being put on the local list so they had a chance of being elected etc

  • Dewi

    Ahh that’s the list for the “top-up” seats in Holyrood. You get two votes – one for your constituency and one for a party on the list. Within each region the top up candidates are elected to ensure proportionality.
    P.S. PEs now back in Glasgow!

  • percy

    I’m confused, this is a by-election for an MP coming up, so its Westminister first past the post no?

  • Go raibh maith agat Percy.
    Conor is a sound fella
    BTW my East End tribe are Murphy
    The word in Baillieston when i was a kid there was
    “Hit one Murphy and they all feel pain!”
    The site of me in 1987 hitting everydoor in the parish with an SNP leaflet raised eyebrows-it just didnt happen in my-well lets clal it like it is-ghetto.
    To say I have a deep hatred of the labour party doesnt really quite do it justice.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Sorry Phil it is STV for the councils, hence labour went from being in control of the vast majority of councils to now just 2. The SNP now have the most councillers, who’d have thought that?

    PR for Parliament is additional member plus first past the post, first vote for first past the post in the secures constituency seat, second vote goes to regional list. The SNP won big in regional lists for Glasgow as they won the popular vote but won few fist past the posts. Say Labour had won big in the regional vote, they would have added few seats as they had won most first past the post seats. This worked against the SNP in Tayside and the north-east, against Labour in Lanarkshire and Glasgow. SNP nearly took Coatbridge and Airdrie btw. Hope this helps;

  • Percy-yeah you’re right it will be FPTP

  • Dewi

    Percy yes – FPTP – different constituencies to Holyrood also.

  • Thanks PE-I knew I hadnt imagined the “list” thing.
    everyone was going on about it-it didnt sound like the Irish system.

    However I’m no psephologist thats for sure lol

  • heck

    sorry to butt in to this lovefest but I have a question.

    How is the war in Iraq playing? If I lived in the constituency that, for me, would be sufficient reason to not vote labour.

    I tend to see the scots as rather militaristic (all those scottish regiments with kilts and all that) so maybe there is more a “support our boys” attitude.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>I worked in the Easterhouse Project Trust for a year-there was full blown underclass developing in front of my eyes.
    Glad you’re doing well in Oz<

  • You’re very welcome Heck:0)

    the “martial traditions” of the Scots have more to do with economic conscription that wanting to bayonet a stranger for,err, cultural reasons.

    Your analysis might hold some water in,say,Perth, which is clearly associated with a family regiment (The Black watch), but the East End?
    Nah-loads of guys join up to the various services.
    Moreover the MOD budgetcuts mean that many of these traditonal regiments dont really exist anymore.
    The nearest the East End has to a family regiment would be the Paras.
    The average east End punter seems to be considered normal in that miliue lol

  • Prionsa Eoghan


    You hypocritical bastard. You slag us aff for having a ‘lovefest’ yet are anti-war. Make your mind up ma man ;¬)

    Seriously Iraq will lose labour more votes than pro-SNP sentiment, then we have the 10p fiasco. Haud oan……………….is it too late to change my prediction that Labour will hold on?

  • Prionsa Eoghan


    The point you make about Perth also applies to Tayside. The reason that the SNP don’t go the whole hog and be a Republican party, too many of these people still have an affinity to Scotland’s UDR. For me the SNP position is temporary, if not most of us will go post independence.

  • percy

    Go raibh maith agat Phil
    some good stuff there on your site.
    I’ve got a play together in genesis for Irish Unity; I’ve parts written for a lawyer and a bi-girl, but I haven’t actually persuaded them to partake.
    Not Yet !!

    Gordon Brown is an Uncle Tom, Brit arse-licker.
    I’m actually going to vote Tory next time on the grounds that I could have a very good chat with Cameron, perhaps even influence him.
    Get him to see the break-up of the UK will be ok, we’ll all get along just fine.

  • PE
    It was the Project Trust I was working at (Frankie Vaughan etc) at the same time I was running the SNP in the East End.
    Easterhouse wasnt part of the GS constituency so it worked for me.

    My condolences on living in Brigton-get out ASAP ;0)

  • Well done on the play Percy-mail it to me.

    I doubt the Etonian Cameron (I wonder if he related to Locheil?)would be influenced by anyone outside his chinless tribe tbh.

  • percy

    Living in Brigton(until do house up and move on)

  • PE-Salmond has, correctly in my view, parked the monarchy issue.
    Publicly he is Brenda’s best pal.
    He is after the 1707 deal not the 1603 one.
    So Scotland would still be under Frau Windsor.
    When pressed on it he says such things are a matter for the Scottish people at a later date.
    Smart move imho.
    the annexation of scotland was a long process-severing those ties will take a long time too.

  • Prionsa Eoghan


    My family live in the Skinheads area, I lived just over the motorway in Bal-toi, and rent out my old flat there. Was it the project up on the border with the Drummy and Aggro you were at?

    Should be gone from Brigton next year, just re-modelling a house I bought. I have 3 boys and just couldn’t bring them up here.

  • Percy I thought you were living in BRIDGETON!
    It is Glasgow’s Shankhill.
    An awful, awful place.

  • PE-you’re bang on the Project was/is on the Westerhouse Road-two big Nissen huts just set back off the road.
    When it got hot we would have different gangs in on different nights LOL
    The I would go home and watch “Hillst Blues” lol

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>I’ve parts written for a lawyer and a bi-girl, but I haven’t actually persuaded them to partake.<

  • percy

    The Play I’m working on is a Reality Event, it involves real people doing real things in real-time.
    The actors involved have to trust me.
    So that’s going to take time.

    One idea I had with Cameron was writing a letter outlining how “the broken society” as the tories call it, can’t actually be fixed.
    But its not a problem, because as people nowadays are tending to find like-minded groups to identify with; self-esteem and confidence issues are to resolved within those groupings.

    Its forward not backwards we need to go, as all the institutions like Church/State have let us down.
    We see and hear only the negative aspects of this “group-soul” vis-a-vis our current problems with gang culture and knife crime, however even blogs like this are examples of people making choices.

    I’m saying you don’t have to be respectable anymore and sit down with relatives year in year out who you may have nothing in common with.

    Its a radical idea, but personal for me, as I don’t get on with my family.
    I’ve never had their support ever.

  • I hear you Percy, fair play.
    However I take anything that the Tories say about moral renewal with lorry load of salt TBH

  • Prionsa Eoghan


    The Lennie is gone now, no bad thing. St. Andrews is now one of the best schools in Scotland with six excellents. A new St.Benedicts is there instead, having shut 3 Catholic primaries to create a new massive one. The pitches beside is where my young eyes witnessed the barny of all barnies. A team from the Drummy against one from the aggro, sure we went expecting to see trouble and we weren’t disappointed. Sword fights in the late 20thC.

  • percy

    right on prionsa, it stays in the system for days 😉

    Phil I do live in Brighton, Sussex;
    Have an orange scottish neighbour — a billy.
    But we’re so chilled its great.
    He turned his back on all that bigotry.
    we’re forever teasing each other about the old firm

  • PE I arranged a Fives tourney once-I think we held it in the gym hall at St.Leonards.
    Anyway I got a grant to host the thing.
    I got a referee,prizes the lot.
    the Project was connected-we got Tommy Burns RIP to hand out the prizes.
    It was the centenary season (87/88.
    We had the whole thing videoed by professionals.
    I reckon we lost out ona biz opportunity.
    We could have sold it as a kung fu traning video lol

    Fek those boys were into it.
    Anyway at least that night it was just shins that were getting it.

  • Fair play Percy.
    Brighton is much better than Bridgeton lol
    BTW what did your neighbour make of the Manchester street party?

  • percy

    I do my fighting playing chess online.
    That due to being a big wuss though.

    Missed the reference to manchester street party?

  • Percy-UEFA cup final-rioting ;0)

  • percy

    yeah disgusted, even said that’s why he left scotland for those type of reasons.

  • Percy.
    fair play to him.
    They’re scotland’s shame-thats for sure.
    My cousins husband (cracking bloke) grew up inside Ibrox.
    Diehard etc etc.
    Handed back his season book a couple of years ago.
    Couldnt handle the poisonous atmosphere.
    Funnily enough that happened after he spent a year on a buidling contract in kerry.
    he also did some work on paidi O Se’s pub.
    Got into the GAA etc.
    fek it he’s a Kerry fan now!
    After that he didnt feel like wading up to his knees in his wife & daughter’s blood every saturday………..
    His views on the Loyal ones in manchester would make a provo blush

  • percy

    brilliant phil, these true stories are coming out everywhere; read one about a fella on a loyalist estate in Belfast.
    To cut along story short, he thinks his side are head-bangers, and it was only though working with catholics that he came to see that !

    Moral of the story is when a loyalist is turned inside out, he becomes an ally.

    Unionist politicians are very much like wolves in sheep’s clothing; outwardly respectable, but full of inner menace; that travels down to the feral youth; as is witnessed every saturday and in the marching season.

    Shinners never had that problem, because we’ve no hiding clothes, everyone knows where we’ve come from. Ok you’ve got a few sheep who wear wolves clothing, the reverse of the unionists; but its a minority.

    One of my “aces” is to reflect upon the notion that the tri-colour has been stained over the centuries in feuding between the orange and the green, so the white part is bloodied and dirtied.

    To clean it up is the reconciliation, tears for fears. And when the middle part of the flag is truly white again, we’ll have unity.
    Just have to translate that theory into action.
    That’s my plan. Its happening anyway, as your story and mine shows.

    However, looking for a big push though, perhaps next summer 😉

  • Percy. Being hunminded is a disorder.
    One day we’ll find a cure.
    They have self worth issues loving greater England.

    It the imperialist equivalent of Stockholm syndrome.

    they love their captors.

  • percy

    good diagnosis phil, there is a cure.
    Nuclear option: split the atom of guilt.
    There’s only one narrative of the troubles/history
    easier said that done!

  • Cant argue with that percy

  • percy

    aye phil, the root cause is being fed on a poisonous diet of prejudice and misinformation.
    I feel a certain pity for them, they know not what they do. But the leaders know and turn a blind eye.

    We need thunderbolts and lightning 😉

    really good talking to you, our nearest date is in a few weeks with the by-election. Gods speed.
    Good luck, we’re all counting on you.. lol

  • Sound.
    I’ll be over at me oul ma’s for a bit of electioneering;0)
    thats for sure
    hail hail

  • joeCanuck

    It’s not politically healthy for one party to be in charge for extended periods of time. We in N.I. should be more aware of that than our neighbours.
    If nothing else, governments run out of energy and fresh ideas.
    Labour needs some time in opposition to recharge themselves.

  • JoeC
    The interesting thing about Labour in opposition was their body lan guage in Hollyrood.
    They looked shattered , depressed.
    They thought, with some justification, that they would always be in power in SCOTLAND

  • Dewi

    Latest from the Herald – loved this:
    “With her roots in Baillieston, Ms Curran has talent and can play the local card, but her plans to be in both Westminster and Holyrood make her an easy target for opponents. Only yesterday, Labour removed from its website an attack on Alex Salmond for doing the same.”

  • Dewi. It will be a durty oul by-election thats for sure

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    The latest gaffe from Labour;

    Will it never end?