Sunday, 6 July 2008

By-election Update

I was out in Glasgow East again today, and this time I succeeded in getting Anne McLaughlin to stand still long enough to take a quick snap!

Anne is the campaign coordinator for the by-election, and she is doing a fantastic job. The media always refer to the SNP's by-election 'machine', and that machine is people like Anne, me and all the other activists that chap on doors to speak to people, post leaflets through letterboxes and climb up lampposts to put up posters (although with no head for heights I don't help with that one). Then there are the volunteers making sandwiches for all those returning to the campaign rooms for lunch and tea breaks, the people making up all the campaign packs, bundling the leaflets, blowing up and tying up balloons, inputting information, making calls, and too many more jobs to mention. And Anne's job is to coordinate the whole spectrum of campaign activity.

Anyway, enough of 'behind the scenes'. I had a great day campaigning today. Jamie and I met loads of people who are voting SNP, and pretty much everyone we spoke to knew about the by-election. There also seems to be a lot of people wanting to join the SNP, and so a fair number of membership forms are also being handed out on the doorsteps.

I'm not familiar with the parts of Glasgow that the by-election covers, and from coverage in the media you would think it would be quite bleak. It has problems, like most areas, but it also has a lot of positives too. One thing that really strikes me so far is just how friendly everyone is. I've met some great people on the doorsteps, and had some really interesting exchanges. Another thing I've noticed is the number of people who have met John Mason over the years as their local councillor, and there is a lot of goodwill towards him.

A few people have asked me what our chances are of winning this by-election, and so people are really aware of the potential to upset the Labour Party that has so badly let them down.

I think having John Mason as the candidate, a well-known and well-liked local councillor for a fair chunk of the constituency, the growing popularity of the SNP and a Labour Party in disarray may be a winning formula...


Jeff said...

To what extent do you think Labour picking Margaret Curran (rather than a lesser known councillor for example) will harm the SNP's chances?

Julie Hepburn said...

Do you mean as opposed to their preferred candidate, Cllr George Ryan or to our candidate Cllr John Mason?

I'm not sure either way to be honest. From my experience, people voting Labour tend to do so for historic or cultural reasons - their family has been Labour for a couple of generations, they have voted Labour all their lives, everyone they know votes Labour... You would be amazed at the number of people who APOLOGISE for being Labour voters on the doorstep, as if it is an inherent part of themselves that cannot be changed or is difficult to change.

So, I don't think who the Labour candidate is will make much of a difference.

Having said that, I do think candidates can make a big difference to the outcomes of elections, especially by-elections. I think John Mason will win the SNP more votes than another candidate might have done, because he is a well known and evidently well liked local councillor (based on the number of people volunteering that information to me).

I know it sounds like I'm saying our candidate will make a difference because he's good and their candidate won't because they are all rubbish - but that's not quite what I'm getting at.

I think candidates can make a difference, but I think in a traditionally Labour stronghold like this, where voting Labour is more of a habit than a proactive choice, Margaret Curran won't add anything to Labour's campaign. Her voting record in the Scottish Parliament may also lose her votes...

And because John Mason is a popular local councillor, combined with the fact that people are a lot more open minded about voting SNP these days, should give our campaign a boost.

Indygal said...

Thanks Jules :-) Ya eejit lol.

Jeff said...

Thanks Julie, i've been swithering between some of what you say holding true and the other belief that Curran will convince enough core Labour voters to back her simply on the basis they recognise her and she seems to shout a lot. (which Glaswegians tend to like more than other Scots)

I've heard lots about Mason being a well-liked local councillor so, as you say, hopefully that makes a big difference.

Good luck!

Julie Hepburn said...

Cheers Jeff

It all depends on what you are shouting about I suppose, and these days all Labour politicians seem to shout about is the SNP!