Wednesday, 6 May 2015

GSW: I've decided for whom I'm voting

My constituency, Glasgow (South West) can fairly be described as a "heartland" of the Labour Party. 

Ian Davidson has represented the seat since 1997 - as Pollok - for the struggling unionist party, succeeding Jimmy Dunnachie and James White before him. Labour have held the seat since reversing the national trend in 1979 and recording a Tory>Labour swing even as Thatcher won the election. 

Part of the seat belonged to Govan between 1885 and 2005, and in every Westminster election bar 1950 from 1918 to 2005, it returned a Labour MP. 

In common with many constituencies in Scotland "served" by Labour in the long-term, it has been wrecked. It is one of the poorest constituencies in Europe. Life expectancy is amongst the lowest in the world. Worklessness and poverty is endemic; poor health more common than further education. Our main industry, shipbuilding, has been systematically  and deliberately destroyed by British government policy and replaced with nothing.

It has suited the Labour Party to keep us in poverty and chained to them, and with Ian Davidson winning 62,5% of the half of the electorate who turned out in 2010 for a majority of 14.671, it looked certain to stay that way.

But it seems as though we're saying "no more". Polls consistently show that Mr Davidson is on the verge of falling. An electorate which overwhelmingly voted Yes in the referendum, defying him, sickened by his statements about "bayoneting" Yes voters, are turning against the long-time MP. 

Even his own activists have abandoned him: his campaign consists of elected members and party workers, shored up by half a dozen bona-fide volunteer activists who are terrified old ladies and bitter old men.

There are only three candidates in this election I'd even consider voting for: Bill Bonnar of the Socialist party, Chris Stephens of the National party, and Seán Templeton of the Green party.

I immediately excluded the Green party - they have never canvassed in the district (I've never seen them anyway, not a street stall, not a leaflet, nor a phone call) in favour of the Socialist and National parties who have a long record of campaigning in the area and are highly visible with street stalls, public meetings and canvassing every weekend for at least a year. As a voter, unattached to any party, an observer of politics rather than a participant, I will lend my vote to those who deserve it, who nurture and are active in the constituency - not those who turn up at election time looking for my vote with nothing in return.

So, who to vote for?
I'm a Socialist. There's a decent Socialist candidate standing, who has an impeccable record of public service in the community. 

And if this was a normal election, I'd vote Socialist. 

But this election isn't a normal one. GSW has suddenly become a marginal seat, and it's a marginal seat between the unionists and the National party. Even at that, I'd probably still be inclined to vote Socialist. 

However, the Nationalist candidate in the seat is as left-wing a candidate as we could be offered. Chris Stephens is a founder member of the National party's Trade Union Group. He's influential and active in his trade union, and at heart, if Scotland had never had a constitutional debate, would certainly be sitting on the left wing of the Labour Party. 

If this was a single-transferable vote election - as it should be - I'd vote Socialist and transfer my vote to the Nationalists. But it's not. It's first-past-the-post, and I don't get to transfer my vote. So in the knowledge that a vote in this constituency for anyone other than Ian Davidson or Chris Stephens is not going to matter in terms of selecting the local MP, I'm going to vote for Chris Stephens - because in this election, it's more important to get rid of a hard-right Unionist MP than it is to vote for my desired party. 

I'm going to vote SNP in this election - and if you live in Govan, Pollok, Drumoyne, Ibrox, Mosspark, Hillington, Cardonald, Penilee, Crookston, Nitshill, or Darnley, I'd recommend that you do to. 

Let's get the Red Tories out in this election, and a Red Vanguard into Holyrood next May.

1 comment:

  1. Daft old bugger threatening to bayonet well over half his voters.

    Then expecting them to vote for him?