26 February 2007

Crackerjack Part V: The Final Insult?

Rumours abound of shenanigans in Glasgow Govan, with Gordon Jackson apparently on the verge of being dumped in favour of Anas Sarwar, son of Mohammed Sarwar MP, and currently Number 1 on Labour's Regional List in the City. This will trigger a bid for the Constituency from Muhammad Shoaib (who has also announced a plan to stand on the List and for the Council) as an Independent.

Firstly, Labour have a strict 'no dual candidacies' policy (or at least, they do now - they waived this rule in 2003), and like to slate other parties for letting Constituency candidates go forward for Regional ranking, so it will be interesting to see if Sarwar vacates his position at the head of the List. If not, expect cries of 'hypocrisy' (I know I'll be making them), especially if he fails to win Govan but gets in on the List.

Secondly, what of poor Gordon? All the way back in July, I said that the Labour Scottish Executive were threatening to de-select him until he threatened to resign the seat immediately, triggering a By-Election. Labour have decided to move at the only possible time: too late for him to do this (if he quit now, the seat would lie empty until Parliament dissolves) but with a few weeks to get Sarwar established, rather than scout around for a candidate in April. Gordon's bluff has been called.

However, Labour are now in a 'damned if they do, damned if they don't' situation. Jackson's reputation as a part-time MSP has clearly (and, by extension, Labour) cost him dear, and keeping him makes things easier for SNP Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon. Sarwar replacing Jackson could trigger a Shoaib candidacy which would split the Labour vote, just as the SSP probably stopped Sturgeon from winning the seat in 2003, simply by fielding a candidate (an action that they aren't necessarily going to repeat this time around).

But in short, to keep his candidacy, and keep the seat, Gordon Jackson needs several miracles. I'll miss these occasional Crackerjack posts...


Jeff said...

Yes, this sure is a fascinating story this one, thanks for the updates.

One thing, Sarwar has next to no chance of getting in on the list vote so it's not "real" hypocrisy for him to stay on the list, as much as I would like it to be. Glasgow is sure to stay a Laboour heartland and the prospect of a Glasgow list MSP is mminimal at best.

And sorry to be ignorant, but how did SSP prevent SNP winning Govan in 2003? I ask because I would have thought that an SSP voter would have Labour as 2nd choice rather than SNP.

Anyway, Govan will be fascinating. I'm sure the twists and turns aren't over yet!

Clairwil said...

The SSP picked up a lot of support from SNP voters, which include many alienated by New Labour's shift to the right. With them out the way, it's a two horse race between SNP and Labour.

Will said...

Most people assumed that the SSP would draw its support from angry Labour supporters, but that turned out not to be the case: the Labour vote went down a bit, as you'd expect, but the SNP vote was hit badly.

Remember that the SSP were (and still are) seeking 'an Independent, Socialist Scotland'. This made them attractive to previous SNP supporters who were on the left of the Party. Bearing that in mind, and the fact that the SSP's vote was almost double Gordon Jackson's majority over Nicola Sturgeon at the last election (though there probably was some Labour peel-off as well), we can see that the SSP made the difference.

Anonymous said...

If Jeff doesn't realise this it makes me wonder how reliable anything he says on his SNP tactical voting blog can be! Shows his knowledge of what happens on the ground is pretty thin!

Will said...

A trifle unfair, Anon. Jeff's blog seems quite a good source for people's electoral options, and ideas on how to use your vote wisely.

In fact, his blog could have been good to have in 2003, if the world of blogging had been as big then.

Anonymous said...

The rumours about Sarwar deposing Gordon have been going dince last June.

From the Herlad on the 16th June "In recent weeks, speculation has mounted in the Govan Labour Party that Mr Jackson will not be its candidate next spring"..."Possible candidates include Indian restaurant owner Charan Gill, Anas Sarwar, on of Labour MP Mohammad Sarwar, and councillors Archie Graham and Stephen Curran".

The story goes that Jackson threatened to quit and force a by-election at the time so they backed off fearing that Sturgeon would take it then. But since we're within 6 months of a by-election if he goes now there will be no by-election.

If Labour have accepted that they've lost the seat anyway then they might do in Jackson and give Sarwar a run out.

Whatever Labour does at this stage I think its too late and Sturgeon will take the seat.

Anonymous said...

Sorry this wacky tale is all paper talk.
It misses the very obvious fact - to those living in the constituency - that Anas and Mohammad Sarwar are out campaigning hard with Gordon.
One thing is certain - Muhammad Shoaib will fare poorly on any shade of ballot paper in May.
Mike Russell had a lucky escape courting him for defection to the SNP in Moyra Jane's cafe years ago...

Will said...

"Anas and Mohammad Sarwar are out campaigning hard with Gordon."

I trust, then, that Gordon Jackson will not be taking a holiday in the middle of the campaign this time.

Besides, Shoaib doesn't need to do well to affect the final outcome: if he takes votes off Labour in what is a marginal seat, his place on the ballot paper could have an impact on the result.

Anonymous said...

Come on you guys you are missing the point. Anas doesn't stand a chance of winning a seat on the list, he's standing to get a profile before he gets his old man's seat when he stands down.Word is young Anas not interested in being MSP one bit.

Jeff said...

Cheers Will. A bit late with my reply but thanks for the support.

I am the first to admit my knowledge of politics in 2003 was wafer thin, but I am mightily enjoying catching up with all you smart folks ;)

And of all regions, Glasgow is one I've looked into least given it's pretty much cut and dried already. A veritable red corner if ever there was one!