11 November 2009

The Negative-o-meter: 11 November

David Kerr

During this by-election I have run a 10k race, dug an allotment, called the bingo, spent an evening with an ambulance crew, taken part in a joinery class, and persuaded two former Labour party officials to vote for the SNP.

That's just a light hearted sample of the amazing time I've had over the last 5 months and the experiences I hope will continue if voters in Glasgow North East give me the honour of representing them at Westminster.

More importantly I've met hundreds of people who are actively working to improve lives in this constituency, to bring jobs to this constituency and to create opportunities in this constituency and I've met thousands of people who are ready to vote for a fresh start for Glasgow North East. I hope to be their MP on Thursday night.

With 24 hours to go before polls open I've set myself one last challenge, to speak to another 1000 voters on the doorsteps, in the streets, at the stations and on their way to and from work. If elected that's the kind of challenge I will always live by - to be open, accessible and available to the people of this constituency.

Ruth Davidson

I’ve been out today on the campaign trail with Michael Gove MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families visiting the campus at North Glasgow College, in Springburn.

I feel that I know the College very well by now, it has played host to several events during the campaign, and it was great to be able to be able to show Michael around.

Earlier this week I wrote about Conservative plans to get Glasgow, and Britain, working again. However, there is no point in creating new jobs if we don’t give people the skills to do the jobs well.

What is really sad is that many schools force kids who are not academic, to study subjects they don’t enjoy and which they don't do very well in. They then leave school without the skills that they need to get a job and to succeed. Because of that they end up unable to get a job, and get trapped in a cycle of poverty.

Labour have done nothing about this. During the last 12 years they have created a benefits system which punishes people who want to work – with marginal tax rates of above 90%.

Labour’s failed system therefore discourages kids at school from learning the skills that they need, and then once they are adults they are discouraged from coming off benefits. And Labour claim that the Tories are the party who don’t care about poverty.

It can’t be said enough times, the best route out of poverty for people is through work. By getting a job people obviously get extra money. But working also builds up self-respect, a sense of community, and an involvement in the wider world which just doesn’t happen if you are unemployed.

That's why the Scottish Conservatives have talked about introducing more vocational training into schools in Scotland. And it is why places like North Glasgow College play such an important role in giving people the vocational skills they need to get jobs.

Michael said afterwards what a pleasure it was to visit the College. Both of us were very impressed with the staff and students who are working hard to acquire the skills needed for the world of work. We need to encourage more people to come here and learn these skills. That means dealing with Labour’s pernicious benefits system, and it means creating jobs. Only the Conservatives have the policies and ideas that can make that happen.

Willie Bain

It is not every day that a famous comedian drops into my campaign centre to lend support to the by-election battle, and so it was a great pleasure to welcome Eddie Izzard to Springburn this morning.

We are all familiar I am sure with Eddie Izzard on stage, but it is great to meet the man behind the jokes. As tempting as it was to share the odd joke, we thought we'd give him a break before his show tonight.

Funnily enough, it is not the first time I have met Eddie Izzard. We met by chance when he, quite literally, ran past me on Springburn Road back in September while he was taking part in his charity marathons.

When I heard he was in Glasgow today I asked him to pop by to speak to the campaign team and was delighted he said yes. Staff and volunteers showed him around the campaign centre and chatted to him about what we have been doing over the past few months. He was also genuinely interested to hear what my campaign is all about.

I have had great support throughout the campaign and I will fight to the last minute to convince people to choose me tomorrow. I've been out knocking on doors with Iain Gray, Douglas Alexander - and later I'll be with Jim Murphy.

Willie Bain
Labour's by-election candidate

Eileen Baxendale

Another day in the by-election campaign and more doom and gloom statistics for the good people of Glasgow North East to contend with.

We should be helping people not drowning them in statistics about unemployment and benefits.

I want to put my 20+ years experience as a social worker and manager to good use.

Tavish Scott and I have met people from all across the constituency, employed, unemployed, at school, college and university, pensioners who have done their bit and many more besides.

They are looking for answers, not headlines and because I'm not a career politician like some of the others I want to be given that chance tomorrow and put my experience from the real world to good use here in Glasgow North East and help them get the answers.

I want to ask the Governments and the Council how the spending in Glasgow is allocated, down to the last penny and is it fair? Is it going to the right people?

I am certain that the Liberal Democrats and I can make a difference and provide the change in Glasgow North East that is so badly needed.

Labour have had 74 years and have failed. The Conservatives are to busy propping up the SNP in Holyrood and not making the right calls in Westminster.

They voted with Labour on the Iraq war when Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell led the Liberal Democrats opposition to the unjust and illegal war.

The Conservatives got it massively wrong on Europe and the recession when Vince Cable led the way, a long time before the experts.

We can't trust the SNP, just look at the promises they made in 2007, knowing full well they could never keep them all, just to get elected!

It is this legacy of broken promises and bad decisions from both Holyrood and Westminster as well as the issue of MP expenses that are losing politicians respect.

Well I'm a different kind of politician, I'm a real person and I believe working together we can change Glasgow North East, and its time for that change tomorrow.

By voting for the Liberal Democrats let's bring a halt to the nonsense and change Glasgow North East's future for ever.

The polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm and you don't need your polling card to vote.

Eileen Baxendale
Liberal Democrat candidate

There is the outside chance of the one or two extra posts, but that's pretty much it now. Willie Bain has said very little substantive and even his campaign insights are basically name-dropping. That doesn't help Labour defend themselves against George Galloway's accusation that Bain is a 'nobody' - though I have to admit, I quite liked the Labour response: "Willie Bain has never dressed up in a red Lycra suit and pretended to be a cat on national television"! Incidentally, I'm not sure that Galloway basically calling the people of Glasgow North East idiots is the best way forward for him or for Tommy Sheridan, but that's another matter.

We've had a mixed bag of posts from David Kerr, and the last one was a quick campaign diary, which I think said more about him than it did about his endorsers. That's a good thing. I'd have liked a little more sweet policy meat but that was a broadly positive note to end on.

Ruth Davidson continued her attack on Labour, deriding the state Glasgow North East has got in during the last 74 years of Labour representation (overlooking who was actually calling the shots for 45 of those 74 years), and so potentially helping Labour to win by standing on an anti-Labour platform despite not being their primary challengers. Paradoxically, if a Tory objective is to keep Labour out, it might have been more prudent to go on an anti-SNP line and so split that vote (and keep the SNP vote steady) rather than join the crowded anti-Labour marketplace.

Eileen Baxendale went and attacked everyone, an unfortunate position to which she had been steadily building. I'm also slightly exasperated at the 'I'm a real person' line. Say what you like about the other candidates, but I'm quite sure they are also real people: I'll have to double-check the Representation of the People Act but I'm reasonably sure that existence is a pre-requisite to being nominated for election.

David Doherty only contributed one post in the last week, and it painted a grim picture of the present and near future. And he had nothing to say beyond that quasi-apocalyptic agenda. Yes, the problems he raises are serious, but if he can't go beyond that to the next stage of putting forward positive ideas to tackle those problems, then the Greens have to hope that their efforts beyond cyberspace have been far better than those on The Steamie. "Where's the beef?" doesn't seem like an appropriate question to ask the Greens, though, and "Where's the Quorn?" doesn't have the same impact.

So that's that: the Battle of the Steamie is essentially over. It was a great idea, but for the next By-Election, whenever and wherever it will be, candidates will have to work harder at this - the online efforts this week would, I suspect, struggle to get into a Roundup. All we've really learned this time is that the candidates want to knock seven bells out of each other, that no one likes poverty (duh) and that the blogosphere is still not being used effectively by the candidates themselves.

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