Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Glenrothes - What Now?

Don't worry regular readers, I haven't been hiding in a cupboard over the weekend, distraught over Thursday's result in Glenrothes. I just haven't had internet access.

I think both Richard and Anne's postings on the result best reflect my own feelings.

Obviously, I was disappointed not to win - not least for Peter Grant and all the activists who have worked so hard over the last few months on this by-election campaign. Suddenly, those 'campaigning holidays' we took in Glenrothes at the expense of a genuine holiday seem even more of a sacrifice.

I was disappointed, but not deflated. As Anne says, defeat can be as motivating as victory. Personally, I was texting our campaign coordinator in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East about our planned activities for November first thing on Friday morning!

In the face of such a negative campaign from the Labour Party, I am very proud of the SNP campaign. We could have stooped to their level and distributed nasty anti-Labour leaflets, but we didn't. I'm glad we didn't. On polling day itself I spoke to one woman who had already voted SNP that day, who stated her intention to write to Peter Grant after the election - regardless of the result. I initially thought that she had an issue she wanted him to take up on her behalf, but no - she wanted to congratulate him for the positive SNP campaign. She said we were the only one of the main parties not to have put something 'nasty' through her door.

Yes, I think we all recognise now that the SNP should have been more direct in taking on Labour's smears about certain local issues, but that doesn't mean that we should have engaged in the kind of negative campaigning that Labour resorted to out of desperation.

This by-election has reminded me that we cannot take it for granted that good ideas, reasonable arguments, hard work and positive campaigning are enough to persuade people to vote for the SNP. We are up against a barrage of negativity from all the parties who want to deny Scotland independence. That doesn't mean that we have to fight dirty to counter their tactics, but we do have to be constantly aware of the need to overcome it.

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