Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Glasgow North-East by-election 2009

The Glasgow North-East by-election was held in November 2009, following the resignation of Speaker Michael Martin
MP. There is a good wiki article -
The constituency territory is mostly Springburn and bits of Maryhill and was expected to be a straight and close fight between the SNP and Labour. The reality was a bit different. The turn-out was an abysmal 33% (the lowest ever in a Scottish by-election for Westminster) of which the Labour candidate took 59%. The SNP came second with 20%, the Tory 5%, the BNP 4.9%. The Solidarity candidate, the once-charismatic Tommy Sheridan got 3.9%, and the candidate for Sheridan's esrtwhile party, the Scottish Socialist Party (which before it collapsed in feuding had 6 Holyrood MSPs), got 0.7%
I remember this was when it was new - looked really good
Tommy Sheridan - the self-described 'The best fighter that money can't buy' -was expected to do fairly well. An early sign that all was going badly was in a Guardian media interview in which Sheridan responded with increasing bile to easy questions, while Galloway stood at his side muttering things like 'Judean Liberation Front'. One of the most puzzling and least analysed aspects of British politics is why working-class constituencies - unlike elsewhere in Europe - do not vote for left-wing parties (parties to the left of Labour that is). The BNP candidate may have lost his deposit, but still outpolled Sheridan and the other socialist pygmies put together. Later, in his Daily Record ciolum, Galloway drew a lesson for the fading appeal of socialism in general - 'Left-wing politics of the kind Tommy - and, to some extent, I - represent have missed that floodtide. We will have return to the drawing board, or else be beached for ever.'

Another fighter who 'coulda been a contender', John Smeaton. 'Smeato', the baggage handler who became a media star by helping others to overpower a terrorist at the Glasgow Airport carbomb attempt, stood for the Jury Team, in a campaign that could be summarised as 'Smeato Goes to Westminster'. He got 258 votes, 1.2%.

Most posters were defaced quite quickly; in the case of the SSP, it's likely that a Solidarity activist got this one. In true socialist tradition, the SSP and Solidarity hated each other much more than they hated the capitalist parties.

These three are rare SSP survivors. . .
. . . as is this one attacking the Labour candidate, which must have gone up on the eve of the poll
The SNP candidate, a member of the ultra-conservative and secretive Catholic organisation Opus Dei, was not regarded as one of the SNP's brightest lights, but when he was picked it was expected to be an easy fight. He looked good on this car hoarding. . .
which reverted to its original message of cleanliness once the polls closed
The Scottish Socialist Party also put a few forlorn banners such as this. Their candidate got 106 less votes than Smeaton.
Election fever

A few days after the poll. No one felt much like taking the 'Strong Local Candidate' posters down with any urgency

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