Friday, 25 July 2008

John Mason MP

Well, what a fantastic result for the SNP in Glasgow East!

It is fast approaching midnight, we didn't get home until 4am this morning, we were up rather early to pick up the keys to our new house in Cumbernauld, and I have spent the rest of the day packing and moving boxes around. My feet still ache from yesterday, I am absolutely shattered, but I couldn't be happier.

The removal van is coming early tomorrow, and so I should head off to bed soon. But there is no way I was going to let these historic events pass without a wee comment on my blog.

It's hard to explain just how amazing it was in the early hours of this morning to learn that John Mason had won the Glasgow East by-election. I don't know if it was because I was so tired, or because my hayfever tablet was wearing off by about 1am, but I must admit to shedding a couple of tears when the news came through. It was a very emotional few hours.

The only thing that actually makes me feel a little sad is that the by-election is over! I have so thoroughly enjoyed campaigning in this by-election. I have met some fantastic people over the last few weeks - fellow activists and Glasgow East residents alike.

I blogged a few days ago about the lady who originally wasn't going to vote for John because he was too good a councillor. Well, on polling day, I was given her street to knock-up. I didn't get her in this time, but I spoke to her husband. He told me they had both voted that morning, and that he had been a lifelong Labour supporter. That's right HAD BEEN. He was now a committed SNP supporter and keen to see independence sooner rather than later. I mentioned to him that I had previously spoken to his wife. He gave me a smile, and said 'Yes, I know. She would never tell you this, but she DID vote for John Mason'. Yeah!

And this by-election has been full of encounters like this - meeting people who had always voted Labour but have switched to the SNP. Not just for this by-election either, and that's what really matters. Speaking to people on the doorsteps, it is clear that interest in and support for independence is growing. There are a huge number of people who are genuinely open-minded about independence, and that in itself is amazing progress. And the more contact they have with SNP activists, to answer their questions and lay to rest some of the outright lies told by the other parties the better things will be.

Labour are now suffering at the polls because of their complacency, their ineffective representation and often indifference to the people they have been elected to serve. I met so many people on the campaign trail who had met their Labour representatives a number of times because of various issues. A good thing you would think? Well, actually, no. The feedback I had from residents was that those who had met their Labour representatives were those most likely to be critical. The very last person I spoke to on polling day was particularly damning of his Labour MSP, who he described as treating him with contempt when he went to this MSP with a housing issue. This man had been speaking to John Mason and Nicola Sturgeon a few days ago, and had been impressed with what they had to say. He was voting SNP for the first time, and swore he would never vote Labour again. As soon as John Mason gets his constituency office up and running, the man I was speaking to will be straight along to see him.

At last, Glasgow East has a hard-working MP who really is on their side.

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