Shettleston continues backing Labour

December 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

New Councillor Martin Neill (fourth left) surrounded by the winning team with Linda Ryan and Council Leader Gordon Matheson beside him

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.’

Laura Doherty, SNP Candidate with her Dad John. She was the only female candidate of the 12 who contested the seat and the only one who lives in Shettleston.

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.

EDITORIAL

November 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

 

 

Response to ATOS debate causes Council meeting to be suspended

October 31, 2013 by · 3 Comments 

Protesters outside the City Chambers made their Anti- Atos feelings clear.

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.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDITORIAL

October 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

EDITORIAL

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.

 

 

 

Govan by-election photo call

October 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

SNP candidate Helen Walker (fourth from left) with the Party team including agent Mhairi Hunter, Glasgow City SNP Group Leader Graeme Hendry and Councillor Billie Mc Allister.

Govan’s new Councillor John Andrew Kane (fourth from right) surrounded by the Labour team including MPs Ian Davidson and Anas Sarwar, MSP Johann Lamont and Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Matheson

 

Former Councillor John Flanagan (second left) with his team whose 'No Bedroom Tax - No Welfare Cuts ' platform gave others food for thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conservative Richard Sullivan (second right) with his Party's team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seasoned Green Party Candidate, Moira Crawford with Green Bailie Nina Baker (centre) having a poll night conversation with SNP Candidate Helen Walker (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDITORIAL

October 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

 

 

Helen walking in famous footsteps in Govan

October 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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

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.’

Election candidates start to state their case

October 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

As the Govan by-election hots up, each  candidate was asked what he or she would do first should they be elected to Ward 5 on Thursday 10 October 2013.

This website used whichever social media form each of the 14 candidates seemed to prefer to contact them. The results of the responses will be published as they arrive. The first candidate to reply was:

George LAIRD Independent

George Laird, Independent

As an SNP member in September 2010, I proposed the Scottish National Police Force and Fire Service at the SNP National Assembly. So residents will be getting someone with a decent political track record.

A lot of my ideas – such as social media development – were picked up by the party.

I have been on TV and have spoken in several debates on Scottish independence. As far as I am aware, I am the only candidate to have election videos, so I am taking this election seriously.

I am a local resident and pledging to be a full time councillor. Too many councillors are part time and invisible. For example, 21 people are elected to represent Govan at various levels of government. I don’t think we are getting value for money.

If people want real change then we have to start in our streets and in our community and speak out.

 

John KANE Scottish Labour Party

John Andrew Kane, Scottish Labour Party

First time candidate, John Kane is 65 and has lived in Ibrox for more than 25 years.

Said John: ‘If elected, my priority will be to ensure the Govan area continues to benefit from the Council’s multi-million pound investment and regeneration programme. Having spoken to thousands of people, I will be focussing on the issues that matter. I want to improve quality of life by campaigning for tougher action on littering, dog fouling and fly tipping and ensuring local people have greater access to employment.’

John believes passionately in Labour’s core values of community, fairness and social justice and will be a constant campaigner to ensure he is fully aware of the local issues that affect the people he seeks to represent. As a sole carer for the past 15 years, John has a deep understanding of the impact that disability has on people’s everyday life.

As other candidates send their 150 word statement to this website, we’ll publish it. Each of the 14 has been asked.

 

 

Postal vote deadlines issued for Govan ward by-election

September 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

No fewer than 14 people are standing as candidates to replace the late Allison Hunter (SNP) in Govan Ward for Glasgow City Council.

Govan Cross will be rallying point for the 14 people who want to be Councillors for Ward 5.

The by-election vote will take place on Thursday 10 October using the single transferable vote system.

The deadline for applications for postal votes is 5pm on Wednesday 25 September. People requiring a proxy vote because they will be unable to cast their vote personally, must apply by 5pm on Wednesday 2 October.

Application forms are available from the Electoral Registration Officer on 0141 2874444 or hon the website: www.glasgow.gov.uk/elections

 

The candidates for election are:

Charles Baillie, Britannica Party

Ryan Boyle, Communist Party Of Britain

John Cormack, Scottish Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”

Moira Crawford, Scottish Green Party

Joyce Drummond, Solidarity

John Flanagan, No Bedroom Tax – No Welfare Cuts

Ewan Hoyle, Scottish Liberal Democrats

John Andrew Kane, Scottish Labour Party

George Laird, Independent

Janice MacKay, UKIP

Thomas Rannachan, Independent

Richard A Sullivan, Scottish Conservative and Unionist

James Trolland, Scottish Democratic Alliance

Helen Walker, Scottish National Party (SNP)

This website plans to profile each candidate in the run-up to the election.

Currently the sitting Councillors in Govan Ward 5 are: Councillor James Adams (Scottish Labour), Bailie Fariha Thomas (Scottish Labour), and Councillor Stephen Dornan (Glasgow First).

A former SNP Group Leader in Glasgow, and SNP National Organiser before that, Allison was 71 when she died of cancer after a long and unpublicised battle.

In the 2012 Glasgow Council elections, the average turnout of voters was 23.96% with the highest turnout in Pollokshields at 42.70%. Govan Ward 5 had a 30.61% turnout.

On first preference votes cast in 2012, James Adams and Allison Hunter were both elected at stage one. James Adams had 1727 votes and Allison Hunter had 1450 votes. Stephen Dornan and Fariha Thomas were both elected on stage 13 of the preference count. Stephen Dornan had 603 votes and Fariha Thomas had 504 votes at stage one of the preference count.

In that election there were 297 rejected papers the vast majority because the voter had marked 1 against more than one candidate.

 

UKBA ‘go home’ campaign condemned

August 30, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

A Scottish charity which supports asylum seekers has condemned a UK Borders Agency advertising campaign branding it ‘shameful and deeply offensive.’

Positive Action in Housing (PAiH) say a new poster campaign begun by the UK Borders Agency in Glasgow’s Brand Street where asylum seekers are required to ‘sign in’ often weekly, is racist and xenophobic.

Giant posters depict a destitute refugee and say “Is life here hard? Going home is simple”. On each chair in the waiting room, there are large stickers saying “Ask about going home”.

Said Robina Qureshi, Director of PAiH: ‘A similar London based poster campaign is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority. “Go Home” is a well-known racist taunt that has been used for decades in this country by fascists and racists against those of us from immigrant communities. That a government agency should decide to take up the same racist and xenophobic refrain while “processing” would-be refugees to this country, is shameful and deeply offensive.’

She added that claiming refuge is a human right. ‘The reality is that refugees coming into the UK are caught up in the incompetent bureaucratic mess that is the British asylum system – a system that in November 2012 failed to deal with its asylum backlog, and left more than 100,000 items of post relating to asylum cases unopened. Some of the asylum seekers concerned have been left in limbo for an average of seven years.

‘This campaign is designed to harass and wear down those from refugee communities and undermine the excellent anti-racist work already being done in Scotland. I would urge people to write to their MP and MSP to call for this hate campaign to be stopped now and to raise the matter in Parliament’

James Dornan SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart has condemned the UKBA campaign and asked Home Secretary Theresa May, to stop it immediately.

He said: ‘There is no room for this type of abhorrent xenophobic campaign which will only serve to make already vulnerable people feel unwelcome and fans the flames of racial bigotry.

‘We only have to look at the terrible events in the Middle East right now to see what ‘home’ can be like for some of these people. There are upwards of 1300 Syrian asylum seekers in the UK – some of them in Glasgow – does the Westminster Government really think it is appropriate to be telling people like them that it is “easy” to “go home”?

Mr Dornan has also lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament pointing out that the UKBA tactic only fans the flames of prejudice and demanding the Home Secretary end the scheme at once.

He added: The UKBA clearly has absolutely no idea how modern Scotland treats vulnerable people. I strongly condemn this poster campaign by the UKBA and urge them to reconsider this so-called pilot and remove their extreme tactics from Scotland.’

Margaret Wood of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said: ‘Asylum seekers have a legal right to claim asylum. People come here to claim asylum after experiencing the most appalling circumstance. They are traumatised especially in Brand Street where they have to go through difficult and stressful experiences in the process of making their claim. It is absolutely disgraceful that UKBA has run their campaign there. It should not be allowed. The phrases used are reminiscent of a period when people were hounded. Everyone hoped that time had passed.’

A Home Office spokeswoman told this website: ‘The posters are being piloted at reporting centres in Hounslow and Glasgow. They do not use the wording ‘go home.’ Information on our voluntary returns scheme is available in all 15 reporting centres across the country.

She added: Those with no right to remain in the UK should leave voluntarily. These posters are designed to ensure people know that we can provide sensitive advice and assistance to help them return home with dignity. The Home Office will continue to work closely with community groups who welcome the opportunity for someone who is not here legally to leave the country of their own accord.’

John Wilkes, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: ‘We are very concerned about the appropriateness of new signage in the Home Office reporting centre in Glasgow.

‘When vans bearing the slogan ‘Go Home’ appeared in London we shared the widespread concerns of many MPs and the Deputy Prime Minister that such hostile and aggressive language risked inciting racial hatred in our communities. We were pleased that the Home Office saw sense and immediately withdrew this inappropriate campaign.

‘Now we hear reports that information displays promoting the message to ‘go home’ are being used in the Home Office reporting centre in Glasgow. We understand that these posters are part of a pilot project being trialled by the Home Office to promote and inform people of the support scheme provided by the UK Government for those people who voluntarily choose to return home.

‘However, voluntary return is just not an option for many refugees who are from war torn countries such as Syria, Iran and Eritrea as they would face certain persecution and real threat to their lives. One young asylum seeker burst into tears when he saw the message about going home and seeing family and friends again. He has no idea if his family are alive or dead.

‘Asylum seekers who report to the Home Office have the right to a fair and unbiased decision on their claim for protection and many will go on to be granted refugee status and protection in the UK. Using blunt communications to suggest that going home is ‘easy’ is insensitive and inappropriate and can send the wrong messages to people about whether their claim will be treated objectively and fairly. We urge the Home Office to take on board concerns about the appropriateness of the language and communication style being used.’

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