The vote is clear: a narrow majority of people in Scotland want to stay in the United Kingdom. With an unprecedented turnout of 84.5% of the electorate, 2,001,926 people voted NO to separation while 1,617,989 voted YES.
That shows 55.3% wish to remain in the UK and 44.7% want separation for Scotland.
Glasgow, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire voted YES. With the remaining 28 of Scotland’s 32 local council areas saying NO.
The trio of parties promising better things will now be held to account, and to their own time-table, by all of Scotland’s electorate.
And, in the hours after the settled will of the people of Scotland became known, Alex Salmond announced he would not stand again as leader of the SNP.
This frees him up, perhaps, to fight the tough battles which will now rage in Westminster and throughout the rest of the UK, to re-arrange power and money – the spoils of war. He, himself, mentioned: ‘holding Westminster’s feet to the fire.’
It will be no easy task for the Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the Lib Dems to deliver what they’ve promised – once they’ve clarified what it is EXACTLY, they are offering.
We are now entering uncharted waters in UK history and there is hard fighting coming up. So the people who are now politically active and aware need to continue their vigilence.
As the first referendum results came in with clear NOs from Clackmannanshire and Orkney, the mood in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena became subdued.
Individually YES people were still buoyant. But the NOs had received an injection of hope. Councillor Matt Kerr thought it could still go either way. ‘This has given (Labour) Party politics a bit of a shake. It’s an opportunity. We had to go out and do a lot of work and that was very encouraging. It gave everyone a chance to think about the whole system, not just a single issue they might have been involve in before.’
Southside Councillor Jahangir Hanif was pleased the YES side had fought a ‘positive’ campaign. ‘I hope there won’t be bitterness and that whichever side loses, their activists accept the result.’
David Meikle, the city’s only Conservative Councillor, hoped the ‘silent majority’ would vote NO. ‘But I expect it will be very close. The YES wanted more than the 75% turnout but they’ve failed to achieve that. Glasgow is uniquely placed. With two NO returns already, it will be difficult for the city to make up the difference already showing.’
One of the Better Together campaigners in David’s team was a Conservative Councillor from Salford. Chris Clarkson said: ‘Whatever happens in Scotland will affect us in England. This is a democracy. So I felt I had to get involved. It was my responsibility as a Conservative Councillor. And it wouldn’t be good if we become more divided.’
Glasgow SNP Councillor Mhairi Hunter admitted she couldn’t predict the outcome even with the benefit of seeing the votes being counted. ‘I just hope YES is ahead and wins Glasgow.’
MSP James Dornan called it an ‘incredible day.’ He said: ‘There were queues of people waiting to vote outside all the polling stations in Castlemilk when they opened at 7am. One man – aged 73 – voted for the first time in his life. YES people were cheery. NO people gave the impression this was something they were obliged to do but didn’t really want to. But I am angry with Labour for betraying the workers.’
If you want to persuade people to vote FOR or AGAINST independence on Thursday 18 September you’ll need to have deep pockets – and move fast!
The Green Party and the SNP together have registered £1,494,000 to spend on a YES campaign.
The Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative Parties have £1,434,000 to spend on a BETTER TOGETHER campaign.
If you plan to appoint an election agent then you have till Thursday 14 August to do that.
If you need to register for a vote – you have till midnight on Tuesday 2 September to do so.
So with 100 days to go there is everything to work for – especially if you are investing money in the process.
But what this is about, really, is investing in the future and the kind of future people actually want for themselves and for their children and grandchildren. Most people haven’t taken the time to sit quietly and envisage the world they’d wish to live in. So a few Dream-time sessions are called for. And dreaming is free!
Voter registration midnight on Tuesday 2
Labour was the runaway victor in the Shettleston by-election with Martin Neill fielding 2026 votes to SNP Laura Doherty’s 1086.
The Scottish Conservative candidate, Raymond McCrae, was third with 224 votes followed by UKIP’s Arthur Misty Thackeray with 129 votes. The eight other candidates had votes ranging from 68 to 31 with James Trolland, Scottish Democratic Alliance receiving six votes. This was five more than he obtained in the recent Govan by-election.
Because it was such a clear-cut win the transferable vote mechanism did not apply.
Fewer than one person in every 18 eligible to cast a vote, did so. The turnout was 17.55% from an electorate of 55,874.
Winning candidate Martin Neil prefaced his speech with commendation of everyone in Glasgow City Council and all the emergency services who had done a wonderful job following the helicopter crashing into the Clutha Vaults pub the previous Friday.
He went on: ‘I must pay tribute to the late George Ryan who served this ward as Councillor for 20 years. His are big shoes to fill but I will absolutely do my best.’
Later he told this website: ‘Not a single day of our campaigning passed without someone saying how much George had helped them.’ George’s widow, Linda, was one of the first to congratulate Councillor Neill once she dried her own tears.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council’s Labour Group said: ‘We’re delighted to have Martin as our newest member of Glasgow City Council. I know he’ll do a wonderful job for the people of Shettleston. He’ll be an exceptionally hard working Councillor and has proven he has the values and work ethic.’
From the weeks of canvassing, Councillor Neill said the biggest issue to tackle was dog fouling. ‘That was definitely Number 1 problem,’ he said. ‘Next is anti-social behaviour. That’s a big challenge. But I’ve got the energy and will be an all year round, open surgery, Councillor.’
SNP candidate Linda Doherty was the only female and the only one of the 12 candidates who lives in Ward 19. ‘This was my first time standing in a by-election,’ said the arts and performance graduate. ‘I’ve really enjoyed the experience.’ Her father John added: ‘I was a bit surprised Laura did this but I’m very proud of her. She worked her socks off.’
SNP MSP John Mason also praised Linda: ‘She’s done a lot of work and is clearly a woman of some merit or she wouldn’t have been selected by the Scottish National Party. ‘ He also commented that there was a problem with the low turnout. ‘That is very disappointing.’
Another of the candidates said it was clear in their campaigning that many people didn’t know a by-election was on. ‘Parties are not allowed to put posters up to show their candidate. So it didn’t ‘click’ with a lot of people they should have been out to vote today.’
While only fourth with 129 votes, UKIP candidate Arthur Misty Thackeray was jubilant. He said: ‘We beat the combined Liberal Democrat (53) and Green vote (41). This is our first time contesting this area. While it is only a council ward by-election, I believe it shows UKIP is on the rise in Scotland and we should be taken seriously.’ An Easterhouse man, he has run his own successful security and investigation business for 25 years.
Martin Neill now joins Ward 19 Shettleston Labour Councillors Frank McAveety (second left in photograph) and Bailie Anne Simpson with Bailie John McLaughlin as the SNP Councillor.
Another by-election another attempt at democracy.
Shettleston is now being targeted by 12 people who have a notion to change the area by becoming a Councillor in Glasgow City Council. In the recent by- election in Govan only two people in ten cast their vote. That was a drop from the previous election where three in ten turned out.
But how can a 20% turnout be democratic? It reflects poorly on voters but spells a powerful message to the elected representatives that people are totally disillusioned with what is being done in their name.
Will there be any change following one new Councillor in Ward 19? No matter which political party or campaigning group the successful candidate comes from, that person will make no difference to the policies of this city. Should the elected person be Labour which is in power with a solid majority, he’d have to toe the party line – especially as a new comer. Should the winner be SNP which is the chief opposition group in the City Chambers, they could put forward as many proposals as they wished. But they’d all be doomed to failure because of the Labour Party stranglehold.
A person from any other party or campaigning group would be somewhere on the very fringes of activities with almost no chance to influence decisions.
Politics in this city are a denial of democracy. The vast majority of voters didn’t cast their vote. So the people in power are there because of the few who took that responsibility seriously.
It would take a seismic effort to change that in any by-election.
Labour Councillers were told they had ‘blood on their hands’ at a stormy meeting of Glasgow City Council today. (Thursday 31 October 2013)
Shouted from the public gallery after a motion to removed ATOS as a corporate sponsor of the 2014 Commonwealth Games was defeated, several people there loudly condemned the Councillors. One man was arrested and charged with alleged breach of the peace. Police Scotland (Strathclyde) say a report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal.
The motion was moved by SNP Councillor Billy McAllister from Canal Ward 16.
While recognising the ‘immense economic and social benefits’ to be derived from the 2014 Commonwealth Games and commending the international exposure which Scotland and Glasgow would receive from the Games, Councillor McAllister said: ‘ATOS must go as a sponsor. This is a company without any conscience. It is destroying lives.’
He gave details of individuals who had been assessed by ATOS Health Care as fit to work. One died within weeks of being declared fit for work. Another committed suicide. Said Councillor McAllister: ‘At least 10,000 people have been declared fit for work. ATOS is an ugly stain on our society. Their costly contract should be pulled. I do not wish to accept the shocking damage ATOS is doing to Glasgow’s citizens.
Even as people in the public gallery applauded him, the Lord Provost gave him a dressing down for being ‘disrespectful’ of her by continuing to speak well beyond the time permitted.
SNP Councillor John Letford of Maryhill/Kelvin Ward15, supported the motion to removed ATOS as a sponsor of the Games. He said ‘ATOS is the problem, not the solution.’ He called on people working for the health care assessment sector of the company who believed in social justice to follow their conscience and move to another job. ‘We must remove this monster called ATOS,’ he said.
But Labour Councillor Archie Graham for Langside Ward 7, who is Executive Member for the Games said: ‘You must separate ATOS health care from the Games sponsor ATOS which is a different arm of the company.’ He accused the SNP Councillors of attempting to damage the Commonwealth Games. He produced a picture of Nicola Sturgeon, SNP Deputy First Minister ‘enthusiastically participating’ in a Commonwealth Games lead-in event where she was being ‘cheered on’ by ‘the man from ATOS.’ He said it had been decided that ATOS was capable of delivering the Games’ services. ‘It is now impossible to distance ourselves from them. Where would the billions of pounds of sponsorship come from now?’ he queried.
Both Green Party Councillor Martha Wardrop for Hillhead Ward 11 and First Glasgow Councillor Stephen Dornan for Govan Ward 5 spoke out strongly against retaining ATOS as a sponsor for the Games.
Councillor Wardrop said she strongly criticised ATOS and the way it treated people being assessed. But challenged the Labour group that their concern was ‘All about the money they are bringing to the Games.’
Councillor Dornan urged Labour Group members to vote with their conscience. ‘Money can never replace people. That’s your choice.’
In his final response, Councillor McAllister said to Councillor Graham directly: ‘Shame on you if you put profit before people. You can’t say this is outwith your area. This is about our constituents in Glasgow. If you don’t vote with your conscience, this will come back to haunt you. This should not be about party politics,’ he warned.
The final vote was 29 for Councillor McAllister’s motion and 42 against.
At that point the public gallery erupted with people shouting down to the Councillors and throwing down handfuls of monopoly money.
One man shouted: ‘How will the disabled athletes look on this?’
As the police intervened in the public gallery the Lord Provost closed the Council session. Most Councillors re-assembled after a 20 minute break to continue the business of the day.
During the recess Councillor McAllister said he was very angry about the whole issue. ‘A lot of Labour Councillors said to me privately they’d like to support this motion but the Labour Group have whipped them into voting against it. It shows the state of Labour in Glasgow when they can’t vote with their conscience. We govern the city. If we don’t condemn the way ATOS goes about its health business we are condoning it.’
Before the Council meeting re-convened, Councillor Graham called Councillor McAllister’s conduct ‘an outrage.’
For the first time in 40 years SNP lost a by-election in Govan.
Whatever the personal feelings of the team who supported their young candidate, they would have been expected to wait and congratulate the winning, Labour candidate – who took full advantage of his election speech to rub salt into the wounds of his opponents.
But the SNP did not do that. The team was good enough to return to have a group photograph taken at the request of the Editor of this website and smiled for the occasion. But their hearts must have been sore.
There were rumblings at the various polling stations in Govan of less than harmonious relations between the two parties’ supporters. It is a sad indictment of the relationship between them that such a situation is allowed to fester and grow.
We should expect that those who are chosen by their political party to lead, are worthy of that leadership.
Increasingly from Westminster to Holyrood to Glasgow City Council, the quality of leadership is short of the expectations of ordinary citizens.
In preparation for the Referendum we would do well to remember that.
Some say it is too close to call. But the by-election in Govan Ward 5 will, again, be an historic pointer to our future.
The seat is for Glasgow City Council following the death in July of Allison Hunter a former SNP Group Leader in the City Chambers.
There are 14 candidates. Eleven of them have taken the opportunity to submit a photograph and 150 words to this website. Each was invited to say what they’d do first if elected. Their statements are posted here for the 5000 monthly, unique visitors to this website to view.
Govan is an interesting place that used to be its own place. Since last century it has been part of Glasgow. It has a history going back to pre-Christian times.
Politically it has been pragmatic – choosing the best person for the job at the time. Some might call this strategic voting.
In Westminster terms one of its most famous MPs was a Conservative, Sir William Pearce, who died aged 55 in 1888. He is remembered mainly through the Black Man statue of him opposite the Pearce Institute which bears his name.
By 1970 Govan was a long-held Labour stronghold when 22,364 people cast their vote for their MP giving Labour’s John Rankin the seat with 60.1% of the vote.
In 1973 SNP’s Margo MacDonald famously won Govan’s Westminster seat from Labour with 41.5% of the vote – 6360 out of the 15,168 cast with MacDonald being one of four candidates.
In 1988 Jim Sillars gained the seat for SNP from Labour with 48.8% of the vote – 14,677 out of the 30,104 cast. Sillars was one of eight candidates who included Bob Gillespie for Labour and Bernard Ponsonby for the Social and Liberal Democrats.
In 2012 for the Glasgow City Council elections four Councillors were elected.
James Adams (Labour) and Allison Hunter (SNP) were both elected at stage one. Adams with 1727 votes and Hunter with 1450 votes. A different counting system was used where voters had to mark 1 against the candidate of their first choice, 2 against the candidate of their second choice and so on. The others elected on stage 13 of the preference count were Stephen Dornan (Glasgow First) and Fariha Thomas (Labour)
A total of 7221 votes were cast at that Council election in Ward 5 but only 6924 of them were valid. The vast majority of the 297 rejected papers had the figure 1 against more than one candidate.
It would take a brave person to forecast who will win the Govan Ward 5 seat on Glasgow City Council in tomorrow’s by-election. It will be useful to see how many of the 23,542 voters choose to cast their vote. Last time, only 30% bothered to go to the poll. Which means that seven out of ten people didn’t use their vote. While this is supposed to be a democracy it means that the result is undemocratic because of apathy. So whatever the outcome, it will not be representative of the majority and apathy will have won.
Tomorrow is Decision Day in Govan. Those with a vote have 14 candidates to choose from to elect a new councillor in Ward 5. The by-election follows the death of much respected Allison Hunter, SNP Councillor and former SNP Group leader in Glasgow City Council.
Aiming to be her party’s successor is 20-year-old Helen Walker who has been a worker within SNP for some time.
Here is Helen’s statement:
Helen WALKER, SNP
‘After speaking to hundreds of local residents these are the priorities they want me to pursue.
- More jobs and continuing regeneration with better opportunities for young people.
- More effective action and tough penalties to tackle antisocial behaviour, flytipping, littering and dog fouling.
- Action to improve poor roads and pavements.
- Better consultation with residents.
- Better local access to childcare.
- A moratorium on the closure of day centres for people with learning disabilities and an end to disproportionate cuts affecting disabled people and carers.
- Funding for the Riverside Ferry.
- Strong opposition to unfair Tory policies like the bedroom tax.
I will be a strong voice for Govan in the City Chambers and will speak out if the administration takes decisions that are wrong for our area. Without a strong SNP voice, Labour would take Govan for granted- and that would be bad for everyone.’