Friday, July 25, 2008

Glasgow East: small earthquake, not many dead

Strolling down Argyle Street on a sunny Friday morning, it would be fair to say that coming fourth and losing our deposit doesn't look good. This could be because it isn't.

That said, it's hard to see what positives we could have drawn from any viable result that would have resonated beyond the political anoraks. Let the Conservatives brag about overtaking us - their vote fell, after all, and we won't be seeing much of them in the East End of Glasgow from now until the next election, if then.

What we can conclude, however, is that history is repeating itself. Just as in the period from 1992 until 1997, voters will rally behind whichever Party looks most likely to beat the Government, regardless of whether or not they actually are the theoretical nearest challengers. This offers us a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. Can we establish ourselves as a credible alternative to Labour in places where they can be hurt?

I leave those kinds of tactical issues to the leadership, both political and campaigning. Instead, I'm taking my aching bones for a bit of retail therapy before heading to Chester. For me, the campaign continues...

4 comments:

Martin said...

Just waitng for Chris to tell us how we really won, Mark.

Gordon said...

I would rather ask not "...can we establish ourselves as a credible alternative to Labour ..." but simply "Can we establish ourselves as a credible Party."

On present form the answer has to be "No". The comment threads on LDV are remarkable for their complacency. On the 'SNP win in Glasgow East' post a comment by 'Mouse' asserts that a good candidate was given nothing to say. Instead "... it seemed it was all about the local fire station".

Is this true? Only half true? Even if it was only 10% true it would be shocking. It used to be that Liberals were, well, liberal and had something principled to say.

I believe that voters are fed up with having to choose the least-worst option. Why not give a positive Liberal alternative? Or is there no-one in Cowley Street who knows what that is?

Anonymous said...

"Is this true? Only half true? Even if it was only 10% true it would be shocking. It used to be that Liberals were, well, liberal and had something principled to say."

Happy about the opportunities for anonymous posting.

It is half-true, yes. Certainly I found there was a definite split in quality of the various folks who had come to Glasgow to manage the campaign between those who were clearly competent, friendly and liberal and those guilty of the very complacency you describe evident in the save the fire station 'campaign' and the leafleting strategy which inundated middle class neighbourhoods and left some of the poorest areas (Parkhead and Easterhouse for example) virtually untouched.

Ian however is a fantastic guy with lots to say as I'm sure you can confirm for yourself if you can get ahold of any of the media coverage (youtube has the Scotland Today debate, I believe). He is also a true liberal and shares many of the same concerns about complacency as you do.

"I leave those kinds of tactical issues to the leadership, both political and campaigning." - I don't think you should. I don't think that's a liberal, progressive attitude. If citizens should hold their governments to account and demand explanations, surely activists should do the same with party leadership.

Anonymous said...

"Just waiting for Chris to tell us how we really won, Mark."

We didn't 'really win' but we certainly didn't 'really lose'. Our voters transferred their support to the SNP because they saw the chance to lose Labour a seat. There were a lot of people in GE very hostile to Labour and with the media portrayal, the vote share and the scale of the SNP campaign (who must have used the full £100,000 budget) the Nats seemed the most credible challengers. This actually bodes quite well for the 20-or-so seats where we're the main challengers come the next general election.

Look forward to 'SNP cannot win here' graphs coming to a constituency near you.

P.S. - I'm for Ros too. I met her partner at the by-election and he's an amazingly nice chap. Just the kind of ambassador we want. I'd be prepared to vote for her on a 'vote-Ros-get-Mark' basis.