Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Trivia and Susannah

I rarely watch TV these days. I got out of the habit in Sri Lanka and for the last month of course it's just been by election all the way so the only things I've watched have been the news and political programmes and even then, I missed half of them. So, tonight, I was looking forward to watching some trivia. Until I watched it that is.

Honestly what are these people Trinny and Susannah all about? They devoted an hour to a programme that helped shopaholics shop a little less and shopaphobes shop a little more. Now we're not talking about shopping to feed starving children or anything important, instead we're worshipping the act of clothes shopping. There were women crying and saying they couldn't bear to shop - here's my solution, don't bloomin well shop then! Go online, buy out of a catalogue or just make do with what you've got.

Worst thing though was that they used a neurosurgeon who attached something to each shopper's head to measure their emotions when shopping. That told the ones who hated it that they weren't happy. It also told the one who loved shopping that, in actual fact, she wasn't happy. She says she is but the skull cap with the electrodes says different! What a waste of the neurosurgeon's time - he could be off saving someone from a brain tumour instead of waffling on about this nonsense.

Aaaargh, that's it, no more TV for me. There will be no trivial pleasures left at this rate, I can't even enjoy magazines these days. What's happened?! Oh, and that has just reminded me that I DO have something worth doing. I bought a copy of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song today. Not read it since I was 16 but a quick glance reminded me how easily I can get lost in this book. So that's exactly what I'm going to do - I'm off to get lost!

The Northern Irish Accent

My sis's friend Doreen was travelling to Port Glasgow with her family from her home in Ballymena today when she called my sister and said that her husband said:

"we're in Norway"!

"What?"! asks my sister.

"We're in Norway" repeats Doreen.

"What on earth are you doing in Norway?" exclaims the sis.

"No, Janet, we're AN HOUR AWAY" replies an exasperated Doreen. Just thought I'd share it with ye all :-)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

All the world's a stage ...

What I love most about the SNP's spectacular by election victory last Thursday is the fact that it's made headlines across the world. My favourite has to be The Sun's "Gordi's been Glasgow kissed" but there were some other interesting articles as follows:

Par example this, en France.

This was the New York State of Mind.

"Schock fur Brown" is how it was described in Deutschland.

And the reports from Down Under.

"Humiliation" according to this Spanish newspaper.

Fox News picked up on it too.

"Labour in freefall" as far as the Swiss are concerned.

"A bleak weekend for Blair" according to reports in New Zealand.

Scotland has "dealt Brown a blow" according to Boston journalists.

Finally, not speaking a word of Italian, I have no idea what this says but I did recognise the word Glasgow ...

Talking of recognition and Glasgow, who in the world would have cared far less noticed if Labour had won? Nobody gets excited about more of the same and we only ever seem to make people sit up and take notice when we start standing up for ourselves and voting SNP. They can't even use the argument any more that people are voting for the opposition because we're halfway through an electoral term. They can't use that argument because the SNP is NOT the opposition in Scotland, it's the government. Scotland has much to offer the world and the world is watching and waiting with interest - let's not let them or ourselves down any longer!

Monday, 28 July 2008

I belong to Glosgaw

I was in the SNP rooms in Glasgow today and spotted a letter addressed to John Mason MP. Big smiles all round. Till I noticed that according to Dods - the first name in political information and communication don't you know? - he is the MP for Glasgoe East. GLASGOE?! Simple typo I know but what's happened to attention to detail? Still, John Mason MP - love it!

Total Politics? Not in Scotland.

Someone emailed me today to say they were voting me no 1 in the Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging to be published soon. Happy was I although I do realise I need more than one vote! My smile soon disappeared when I read the introduction which said the book will be on sale on the exhibition stand TP is taking at the party conferences of Labour, the Tories, the Lib Dems, the Green Party and the TUC. What about the SNP? Why on earth would you go to every major party conference (and one not so major) but ignore the conference of the party that is in power in Scotland? Do we have to wait for Independence to be taken seriously or even acknowledged by these people? It's a shame because SNP conferences are very well attended and as anyone who reads blogs knows, we probably blog more than any other party in the country so I would have thought it worth their while to be there.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The first ever bloggers' hen night

Had a much needed night out last night to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of Alison Thewliss. We were joined by Jennifer Dunn and Aileen Campbell so it was a bloggers' hen night. Aileen was of course responsible for the silly hats but that's where I drew the line. And funnily enough it was a step too far for VODKA VODKA in the city's West End who snootily told us to remove the hats before we went in (when pressed they said it lowered the tone!). We started off on the Glasgow Bus Tour which was great fun, had a quick drink at VV before going for dinner at Brel, a Belgian restaurant - Alison worked in Brussels for a year. We wanted to book a private booth at a karaoke bar but we'd left it too late to book so we sat outside a few bars in the West End and sipped on cocktails. It was a great night out and I was very happy to be there to celebrate Alison's forthcoming wedding.


My friend Lesley lives in Belfast these days and she was telling me she had to get up early on Friday morning to do a 12 hour shift followed by a 6 hour shift. You can imagine she wasn't looking forward to it. Anyway she was grumping around and switched the TV on and guess what the first thing she saw was? Yep, me jumping up and down and apparently with the biggest most genuine smile she's ever seen - she was right, it was totally genuine and I was very happy. Anyway it cheered her up and she was telling everyone "that's my friend Anne".

Trouble was, there was no-one else there but that's nothing new for Lesley, she's quite happy to talk to herself from time to time. Certainly happier talking to herself than some of the new friends she's acquired since arriving in Belfast. She went on a protest against George Bush when he visited a couple of months back and made the grave error of giving her number to some "socialists" she met there. They've not stopped phoning since and it's driving her mad. Apparently they call up and say "we're going to watch a video about the miners' strike in nineteen canteen, do you fancy coming?"! Lesley is genuinely quite shocked and almost offended that they think she'd spend her Saturday night doing that. I laughed as she was telling me this particularly as she described them as lovely people but "you know the type, all grungy, not very streetwise and STILL like Nirvana"! As I say I laughed and kept to myself the fact that the best party I ever had was in January when a big group of us watched by election coverage from 1988 and 1989! But that's different ... isn't it?

Saturday, 26 July 2008

4 o'clock in the morning and it looks like it's gonna be another sleepless night

Yes, I know how Crystal Gayle felt now! No man lying next to me "talking in his sleep, sleeping in his dreams with some sweet lover" but all the same, I CAN'T SLEEP! I finally got home at 6.30pm last night, lay on my bed "for ten minutes" at about 7pm and aside from the two minutes I woke up for around 1am, long enough to get UNDER the covers before I froze to death, that was me - slept right through. It's been a long but very exciting three and a half weeks and an interesting experiment in coping whilst suffering sleep deprivation. All of the byelection campaign team have worked the entire 24 days without stopping AND without complaint it has to be said - "there are none so motivated as them that are doing what they believe to be right" as some great philosopher said (me)!

It's been long hours but thankfully not quite as long as the last couple of days. I think I've averaged about 6 hours sleep a night until now (more than some of my colleagues I should point out) but on eve of poll (Wednesday) I took work home with me and got to bed around 1.30am before getting up at 5.15 again! By 6.30am the campaign rooms were packed with activists waiting to find out what polling place they were going to!

The work was then non stop throughout the day until polls closed at 10pm when those of us who were counting agents had to race along to the counting of the votes. That went on till 3am whereupon we had to do another mad dash along to the pub where our party was taking place - hundreds of activists were waiting to greet John Mason as the new MP and we couldn't let them down even thought the pub had long since stopped serving even soft drinks!!As we were all leaving at 3.30am we got a call to say Alex and Moira Salmond were on their way through. Well, we obviously wanted to see them so we stayed. Finally we got home at 5am.

I was staying chez Bellgrove Belle but I still had to get online and email photos of the count to the editor of the Scots Independent who was going to print the following day. I think it was about 6am that I finally put my head on the pillow. Not for long though. We had to be at the press conference for 12 noon and then it was off to the campaign rooms to clear them out. Which brings me to getting home last night at 6.30pm.

So what I'm trying to say is that it may be for different reasons to yer Crystal woman, but the fact that I'm awake at four o'clock in the morning, is hardly surprising! Right, will attempt more sleep so that I'm bright and breezy for Bellgrove Belle's hen night later today ...

Friday, 25 July 2008

The morning after the night before

It's morning and I'm trying to type quietly. Makes me feel like I'm on one of those TV programmes where someone has a video camera and records their personal thoughts in a diary style - in whispers, late at night or early in the morning. I know it's not early but it is for me having had 4 hours sleep. I'm staying with Alison Thewliss and shortly we'll be heading out for the press conference. It is beginning to sink in. The phone keeps going with texts and messages and there have been dozens of emails. I've also just read some of the news coverage and am beginning to take in the enormity of what we've just achieved in the SNP. But I think the thing that made me realise the momentousness of the occasion more than anything was hearing my friends last night (most SLIGHTLY younger than me) describe the win as "my Hamilton" or "my Govan". And I remember Govan vividly. I remember how I felt and I've often felt a little sorry for folk who don't have "a Govan" or "a Hamilton" because winning a by election is just the most fantastic feeling. So, now they do and I am very happy to have been part of it. Being in a political party is very unifying but fighting a by election together is bonding in a way that's hard to describe that to anyone who hasn't experienced it. So, still taking it in, still desperately needing sleep but still a lot of work to do before we can move on and win the next one. Motherwell and Wishaw - bring it on. Just give us a wee break first!!!

Live from the by-election count

It’s five past midnight on 25th July. I am sitting, as you can see, at the count for the Glasgow East by-election in Tollcross Leisure Centre (got up at half 5 this morning after 4 hours sleep and not had a moment to put a drop of makeup on so no comments about the state of me thank you very much!). What a whirlwind of a day – I can’t tell you the result because they’ve not counted the votes yet. At the verification of the votes we do sampling to try and get an indication of the outcome. I am a very cautious person when it comes to things like this – I was there (and distraught) when Jim Sillars lost Govan in 1992. It had all been going so well but it changed on the day. The Labour Party had phoned thousands of Govan voters the night before telling them that if they elected Jim Sillars it would be the one vote that would bring us a Tory government yet again. They fell for it and the rest is history. But the experience taught me that it ain’t over till it’s over. And that’s when all the votes have been counted.

What I will say is that we have done exceptionally well. I don’t know if we’ve won. I genuinely can’t say. All I will tell you is that we’re all smiling and the other main party isn’t. If we’ve not won we’ve taken them close. The atmosphere here is incredible. In some ways it’s making things worse for us that the other parties keep coming up and asking when the party’s organised for!!! I am keeping my fingers crossed and I am very very excited …

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Jive talking

Yep we're kinda happy!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Elaine's a (Mary) doll!

Elaine C Smith was out on the campaign trail in Glasgow East yesterday - supporting the SNP obviously. We went to the same drama school, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, a few years apart. It was funny to chat to Elaine and discover we had very similar experiences at the RSAMD - and we shared our likes and dislikes of lecturers :-) We compared notes and yes, the same one who was the king of conceit in Elaine's day had not improved any by the time I met him. And the one who peered down the top of the girls' leotards hadn't calmed down any, I was able to tell her. Anyway it was great to meet Elaine and more importantly, the voters loved her and listened when she told them she'd be voting SNP.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Another Labour Gift

You have to ask the question whose side are THEY on producing leaflets like this. Two of the quotes are from the Daily Record so clearly reflecting the thoughts of the people - NOT! The middle quote from John Mason is "I see very little difference between a Tory government and a Labour government". I imagine most folk in Glasgow East will simply think "me neither"!

Wish you were here ...

NB The image attached to this blog posting was removed as soon as permissions to show the image expired - however, it was a photo of Gordon Brown with Margaret Thatcher on the steps of Downing Street.

It's the Glasgow Fair and we're in holiday mode here at the SNP By-Election HQ. No that doesn't mean we're stopping working - in fact, we got a record number of members for a weekday in today. All it means is we're currently delivering a "Wish you were Here" postcard to the voters - it's from the Labour Candidate to the

Labour Prime Minister who has been absent from the entire by election campaign. Of course it shows GB and his role model Lady Thatcher. I'll leave you with a reminder of that quote from Pa Broon:

"I admire the fact that she is a conviction politician ... I am a conviction politician like her."

Tactical Tommy

I hear on good authority that Tommy Sheridan is telling people to vote SNP in this week's by election. Indeed he was overheard to be saying to people "thank you for your support but if you want to change anything here, vote SNP". I hope that's true and if it is, I'm shocked and delighted in equal measure. It's not an easy thing to do. I can't think of any circumstances in which I would advise anyone to vote anything other than SNP. Mind you that's because I don't believe that any other party (including Tommy's) genuinely supports Independence. They may not be genuine in their desire for an Independent nation but this advice on tactical votes indicates a willingness to sacrifice short term gain for the long term benefit of the community. That halo's not quite as tarnished as it once was ...

Patience of a Saint

The SNP activist who shall remain nameless but who spent the last few days campaigning in Glasgow East before hopping gaily onto a flight back to Brussels where he works, only to discover he had a middle seat. It wasn't so much the seat that bothered him. Nor the position of it. More the two fellow travellers who flanked him. He'd Charles Kennedy on one side of him and George Foulkes on the other. (I'm guessing Lord Foulkes was to his right!) I'm not sure I could have coped even if I had tanked the drinks trolley in the way that he, apparently did! Anyway all I can do is salute this fellow SNP activist, not normally noted for his tolerance, and wish him better luck next time!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Played for Morton, fellow Greenockian, fantastic actor and now he's backing the SNP

Martin Compston, I love you!

Progressing into the wrong constituency

Opinion polls. Interesting gauges of public opinion. Predictable sometimes, unfathomable at others. Rarely accurate predictors. But generally speaking, they give a flavour of the thoughts and feelings of a cross section of people. The opinion poll that came out the other day showing Labour to be a fair bit ahead of the SNP in Glasgow East was from Progressive Scottish Opinion. Now I won't argue that their methodology is confused and therefore it's wrong. Nor will I suggest that the fact they're not listed as members of the British Polling Council makes their work unreliable. Instead I will make this assertion and I will make it confidently:

Any polling company that conducts its Glasgow East opinion poll in the neighbouring RUTHERGLEN constituency is, as my dad would have said, FULL OF TUMSHIES!!!

Yes, it's true. SNP councillor Gordon Clark, who lives in Rutherglen, called me at Campaign HQ the other night to tell me he'd just been asked by PSO how he was voting in the Glasgow East by election. The caller was heard to tell his supervisor that he had hundreds of 0141 647 .... numbers to call. Anyway, there is only one poll that counts and that is the one taking place this Thursday. Speaking of which, better get back to work ....

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Nicola Sturgeon is NOT 40!

Here's me last night with my good mates James Dornan and Nicola Sturgeon. On my previous blog, I had a commenter getting very upset that I referred to Nicola as a good friend - on the grounds that I was name dropping. I guess now that James is a councillor that's name dropping too lol.
Anyway, today is Nicola's birthday and I just wanted to wish her a very happy birthday and tell you all that she is NOT 40. I was entertaining myself today by telling the hundreds of members who came out to help in the Glasgow East By-Election that it was her 40th. She is in fact 38 and looking very good on it I think.
At the end of the campaigning day today we had curry and other international dishes for our members (food from Sri Lanka, The Congo, Pakistan, India and Mexico) served outside in the lovely sunshine.
Nicola had just left to go to a meeting when Alex Salmond told me to call her back but not to let on why. When she returned Alex had primed the members and we immediately began singing Happy Birthday to her. She'll forgive us eventually ... anyway it was a great end to a fantastically positive day's campaigning and it was a very happy crowd of SNP members who left here today. Talking of which, time to go home!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Labour Blunder Numero XXX

I'm getting quite annoyed with the Labour Party in this by election. Is one of their tactics to try to make it easier for us? They seem to be making mistake after mistake. A friend of mine who I believe may be a member of the Labour Party said to me the other day as she made a suggestion for a gift I might want to get for John Mason if he wins, "after all, he is getting so many gifts from the Labour Party"!

Tonight on the Newsnight Scotland candidate debate, Margaret Curran Labour MSP for the area was forced to admit that she didn't know where the Labour MP's constituency office for the same area was! What?! They shared a huge number of constituents, they are representatives of the same party, they should have been working hand in hand for the people of the East End of Glasgow but if she didn't know where his office was, I'm forced to wonder if she even knew his name! Unbelievable!

What is wrong with the Labour Party?

I don't understand why they keep getting it so wrong and particularly in the Glasgow East by election campaign. Blunders are abounding and this is just crazy. John Michie, the Taggart actor, is out campaigning for Labour when it's revealed that he made a TV piece in April about how beneficial Independence would be for Scotland. This was not an actor doing a voiceover, this was his personal view. And he was very convincing. Unlike his subsequent and hurried statement today taking it all back. The Labour candidate could only say "he's told me he's been misrepresented"! Misrepresented? Well it was HE would was doing the representing.

Is there anything equivocal about this statement? If anyone has any doubt about his pro Independence stance they're going to have to explain it to me because there ain't no doubt as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Being young isn't a crime

John Mason and Alex Salmond were visiting a fantastic project in the East End of Glasgow today. It's called the Global Glasgow Youth Project and it's based at Cranhill Arts Centre. Some of their funding has come from the Scottish Government's "Cash for Communities" scheme which takes money made by dodgy means from even dodgier criminals - and invests it in projects hardest hit by crime. As it should be!

These guys have done some tremendous work including a peer education project in South Africa and you can see some of the photos of that project here. John Mason made the point that we are too keen to condemn all young people and these guys demonstrate that we're wrong to do that.

I was listening to a Radio Scotland discussion on crime and one journalist said she lived in the East End. Her area wasn't particularly affected but often as she sat on the train home she passed groups of youths standing looking scary at the Red Road flats. Big deal. Now I know that for many people, particularly older people, it can feel threatening just to pass a large group of young people but it's important to realise that more often than not they're doing nothing wrong and mean no harm.

I am staying chez Tartan Hero whilst he's away (combination of house sitting and being too tired to drive home to Greenock some nights) and it's not the least scary place I've stayed in I have to say. But the other night when I got home at 10.30pm there was a ferocious looking mutt in the front garden. It was a pit bull terrier and it was locked into the garden but I had to go via the garden to get into the close. I'm not a dog person and I'm definitely not a frothing-at-the-mouth-kind-of-a-dog person. So I sat in the car for a while wondering what to do. I spotted a "gang" of teenagers further up the road and they were shouting (excitedly, not aggressively) and swearing a fair bit. I can imagine they'd be intimidating to older people.

I was too tired to be intimidated and I asked them if they knew whose dog it was. They did and they reassured me it wouldn't touch me. But it didn't. Reassure me that is. They realised I was nervous and immediately went into the garden and held onto the dog so I could get into the close. "Just let us know when you're in the house missus" they called after me "and we'll let him go". And that's what they did. I shouted out the window to thank them and they were still holding onto the dog for me. Now these guys looked like troublemakers, but they were really polite friendly and helpful to me. Chances are the "gangs" hanging about the Red Road flats are mostly the same.

Projects like the one above are the kind of things that stop kids getting into too much mischief but let's remember that the majority of kids are not getting into trouble. And hanging about in big groups of other young people happens when there's nothing else to do. But it doesn't necessarily mean trouble is looming.

Bellgrove Belle - get yourself well ...

The hazards of being a politico - Cllr Alison Thewliss aka Bellgrove Belle was delivering leaflets in her ward part of Glasgow East the other night when she got bitten by a dog. She went to hospital and got herself bandaged up - we were all thankful it was her right hand as she's getting married in a couple of weeks and we haven't seen the ring yet but we don't reckon it'll fit over a bandage. Anyway worse was to come when it became infected yesterday and the hospital decided to keep her in overnight. Hopefully she'll be back fit and well today so we can tell her about her hen night that we've organised in her absence ;-) Ah, the things we do to get our message across!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


One of my friends who is also heavily involved in the by election at the moment, was telling me about a conversation she had with two others as they headed in to the campaign HQ the other morning. The other two were telling themselves off for being overly cynical about life and expressing a desire to try to be less so on that particular day. "Never mind" says the friend "you'll have Pollyanna to keep you company all day" - referring of course to me!! As she told me this later on I thought "I'm nothing like Pollyanna, why do people keep saying that?" ... before remembering that as the aforementioned two walked into the office that morning, I was skipping through singing "The Sun Has Got His Hat On"!!! Hmmm, a point well made perhaps.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

How can Margaret Curran stoop so low?

I was gobsmacked to read this on Guido Fawkes' blog - congrats to him on getting the exclusive on this one. Why on earth would Margaret Curran do something not only so wrong but so bloody stupid? Words fail me which is just as well seeing as I've got no time for any :-)

Monday, 14 July 2008

By election photos

Not got time to blog right now but I've updated the SNP for Glasgow East photo blog so please take a look at that. It demonstrates how well the campaign is going and if it motivates you to come and help, you will be made very welcome.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Fantastic Saturday campaigning

Can't tell you how good today was. I can't tell you because it was indescribable but also because I am too tired. I'm sure every person in this photo will sleep soundly tonight - it's been a long day. (More pics here btw.) But when several hundred of your fellow members are out campaigning across the constituency it certainly gives you a good feeling.

It all ran like clockwork. From 10am members were in and out delivering leaflets and putting up posters (pity whoever has to take them down because there are thousands!) And from 11 onwards we'd teams of members canvassing right across the East End.

So at lunchtime we thought it only right to give them a little break. Many of them came back for our BBQ and "rally" where Alex Salmond and John Mason addressed the crowds. We were then treated to a performance by Laura McGhee, a singer/ songwriter/ musician from Glasgow who is a big supporter of the Party.

And after that? Back out to work. One member said to me tonight that he drove round the constituency this morning and EVERY SINGLE street corner had people with SNP carrier bags - a military operation he called it.

That's exactly how it feels - like a military operation with a regiment of dedicated footsoldiers :-) Tonight, they'll be footsoldiers with very sore feet I'm sure.

Working hard

Here I am with my good friend Jamie Hepburn who's been out most days in Glasgow East. It's only been a couple of weeks but I think you can see by the photo that most of us are getting nowhere near enough sleep! Eyes like half shut knives - is that what they say? I don't care, I'll catch up on my beauty sleep when we win. Might need quite a bit of it but I wouldn't care if I aged 5 years irreversibly if we won this by-election - that's how strongly I feel about it. I'll be drinking loads of water and slapping on the moisturiser in a desperate attempt not to age too dramatically of course but if that's the price I have to pay, bring it on!

Friday, 11 July 2008

SNP canvasser gets more than he bargained for!

This is Fraser, a smart kind of a guy, early 30s happily married to the lovely Maddie. So you can imagine the shock he felt tonight when he was out canvassing the Glasgow East by-election (for the SNP obviously) and was propositioned by a female voter! She invited him in and answered his questions for him. When he was finished, he was about to stand up and leave when he heard her say "would you like to take your shoes off and make your way up to bed now?"! The way Fraser tells it time stood still, he held his breath wondering how to get out of there without having to take off his shoes or go anywhere near the bedroom but without losing her vote at the same time. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder. "What on earth is going on?" he wondered before heaving a sigh of relief to discover a child, balancing on Fraser's shoulder while he took his shoes off before making his way to bed. It's like nuggets like that, that make it all so much fun!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Remember, the voters have a LIFE!

An interesting discussion on Newsnight Scotland tonight about whether or not the SNP could ever work in partnership with the Labour Party. Someone made a point that I've frequently made myself - and that was that whilst members of the respective parties have a deep antipathy toward one another, supporters of each of the parties do not.

Lorraine Davidson reckoned that such is the hostility between members that we cannot walk down the same street without hurling abuse. That's not quite true. We've grown up a lot in Scottish politics over the last decade and I can't remember the last time I witnessed that kind of antagonism. I will admit, however, that feelings run deep.

From my point of view, I just don't get it. I do not understand why anyone would campaign for the Labour Party. I've often watched them (well, okay, not often seeing as you rarely see them!) and wondered if they really and truly believe what they are saying. Is it that they see a career for themselves? Do they have an emotional attachment to the Party?

I could understand the latter - I am deeply emotionally attached to the SNP and if we ditched our principles in the way that the Labour Party has, it would break my heart and I'd struggle to accept it was really happening. So it would take me time to extricate myself from it. I guess I would stay for a time, hoping, praying, no doubt campaigning for a return to the principles on which we were founded. (This is all hypothetical you understand because it just wouldn't happen in the SNP.)

But I don't honestly think that I would be out there campaigning and faking it. And that's what I think Labour activists MUST be doing. It MUST be fake. They can't seriously have joined the party as unilateralists, as socialists and not know that something has gone terribly wrong with the Labour movement - for example, the Iraq war; for example, Son of Trident!

Anyway back to the point. Political activists get so caught up in the politicking that they forget - political opponents may be arch enemies, their voters are not. Your average Labour voter in Glasgow East has no problem with your average SNP voter and vice versa. If you ask a Labour voter who their second choice would be, I bet you most of them will say the SNP and again, vice versa. Ask an SNP member who their second choice would be and you'll find few who'd tell you Labour - more likely it'll be any party other than Labour. Any party other than the Tories too mind you. Any party other than ... hmmmm, gets difficult for us.

But the voters are not caught up in the fundamental principles in the way that we all are, it's just not that black and white for them. Probably because they've got LIVES unlike the rest of us!! I think perhaps the SNP learned this lesson in the not too distant past and that's why we probably run more positive campaigns than any other party these days. Highlighting the failings of other parties is an important part of campaigning, slagging them off just because we don't like them, is not. I hope we continue in that vein and it would be something the other parties would do well to remember too.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Labour Lie - for today

Couldn't believe how daft Margaret Curran was on two counts today. First, her "challenge" to John Mason to debate live with her on TV. Well, of course he'll do it, we have nothing to hide and it gives us the opportunity to show a wider audience that John is clearly on their side. So she throws down the gauntlet, John says no problem, bring it on, to coin a recently made famous catchphrase - could it be that the former government minister reckons she can out-debate John Mason who is but a lowly councillor? Let's just wait and see shall we? I know who my money's on and it's not the rather confused Mrs Curran. Which brings me onto the lie. IMAGINE saying LIVE on TV that you've lived in the East End of Glasgow all your life when you have actually lived for quite some years in a rather nice district on the South side! What on earth was she thinking of? If this is how it's going to continue, I'll be happy!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Rock on Tommy

Yuk, I hated that catchphrase - was it Cannon & Ball - couldn't stand them. They made me laugh not once AND the one with the curly hair nearly crashed into me in Blackpool once. However right now, when time is of the essence I couldn't think of another headline for my once in a lifetime praise for Tommy Sheridan. He's just been asked on Newsnight Scotland who he wants to win the Glasgow East by-election and he's been honest enough to say his party is fighting for 3rd place and they want the SNP to win. Excellent. I take back all I said the other day - what was I thinking believing the Daily Record?! Fair enough, Solidarity is still fielding a candidate but I would not criticise that. I have been in the SNP for more than 20 years and I remember days when almost every seat was unwinnable to us. I gave short shrift to anyone who suggested we shouldn't stand because we couldn't win. People have to have the right to vote for what they believe in. The problem I had with Tommy himself standing was that he has an incredibly high profile and would have taken more votes than any other candidate from his party. Anyway he obviously read my blog, had second thoughts and sought a way to make recompense. Endorsing the SNP for a win has gone some way toward doing that! Having said that ...... isn't THIS just so typical and so funny?

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Too tired to tango

But not quite too tired to blog. The reason I'm tired is because I'm working full time as the campaign co-ordinator for the Glasgow East by election - for the SNP obviously. There's not much time for sleep and absolutely NO time for daydreaming which is always more troubling for me. Not this time however. I am loving every single minute of the campaign. I emailed members today and asked them to eat, sleep and breathe the Glasgow East by election and that's what myself and everyone else in the campaign team and in the local branches has been doing since Monday. It's been fantastic so far and today was an incredible day. We'd hundreds of members out campaigning across the constituency (including Alex Salmond, above) despite the torrential rain. They were drookit but they didn't care. They'd come back for more work and after a quick cup of tea they were right back out again. Anyway it was a great day and we're all going to sleep well tonight before getting up early tomorrow to start again - we've little more than two weeks to get our sensational victory so there will be no rest for the foreseeable future ...

Shock withdrawal of Labour by election candidate George Ryan

I was absolutely astounded to hear the news that the Labour Party held their selection meeting tonight and still managed to have no candidate! Unbelievable. Could it get any worse for them? Apparently Cllr George Ryan just didn't show up! There are rumours that he didn't really want to go to Westminster. Can't say I blame him. I look forward to the day when no Scottish based politician has to go to Westminster for anything other than an international visit. However, if you're the only candidate on a shortlist of one, there has to be something far wrong to just not show up! It's yet another indication that the Labour Party in Scotland is falling apart.

Tomorrow, Alex Salmond will be touring the East End of Glasgow with our fantastic candidate (or 'hard line' as the Daily Record described him) Cllr John Mason. The Labour Party have cancelled their campaign day tomorrow! I'm liking the way this election is going so far ...

Friday, 4 July 2008

Chippy Scots

What is this obsession with us Scots? I watched Question Time tonight and there's all this debate about whether or not the Scots and English like each other. And now I'm watching This Week and the chat is all about the same thing. But we're okay because Michael Portillo said he's a bit Scottish himself and he apparently has "great admiration for the Scots". Why? He didn't say and that's because he doesn't mean a word of it, it's just one of those patronising things you say when you're feeling superior. "Many of my best friends are black you know" - that kind of thing.

He's just added his considered opinion - oh no, wait a minute, that wasn't an opinion, it was stated as fact - that: "they" (us, the Scots) "have a terrific chippiness".

"I don't think they're THAT chippy are they?" chips in Diane Abbot.

"Oh yes, they're certainly chippy but it's the smaller nation thing isn't it?" declares Mr Know-it-all before going on to prove his point by telling us that the "Catalans are awfully chippy vis a vis the Castillians".

Feeling kinda chippy myself now but would like to point out that recognising the injustice of a situation where a much larger neighbouring country has more say in your nation's affairs than you do, is not chippy, it's just smart. And it doesn't make us chippy, it simply makes us determined to restore justice. Which is precisely what Scottish Independence is all about.

Patronising comments from people who reckon they can sum up the character of an entire nation are extremely irritating. Still not sure I'd say I am now feeling chippy. Pissed off is more to the point! At least Sandi Thom made sense when she pointed out it was just as likely there were chippy Welsh and English folk as chippy Scots!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

How's it going in Glasgow East?

Just in case you were wondering - we're getting loads of SNP members from across the East End of Glasgow, and indeed, the country coming out to campaign. So much so that we nearly ran out of campaign packs today and we have LOADS! Here's just a few of this afternoon's turnout. You too could be joining this merry band. If you don't have the details of when and where we're meeting, email me and I'll put you on the update list - unless of course you're a plant from another party in which case I'll sniff you out! By-elections! They bring out the "mischievious" side of some parties!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

So they all rolled over and one fell out ...

First Wendy, now Nicol Stephen has resigned as Leader of the Lib Dems in Scotland. I'm wondering if it's just that they can't stand not being in power. The Labour Party has been in control in Scotland for forever really and the Lib Dems? Well, they got a taste of power when they were in coalition with Labour in the Scottish Parliament until 2007. None of them seem to have adjusted to opposition terribly well. Hopefully (and I do mean this) their successors will do a better job than they do - after all, the people of Scotland deserve a thriving parliament where good strong debate is alive and well and the opposition do as good a job of scrutinising bills etc as the government does of running the country.

Happy talking talking happy talk

Campaign folks in fine fettle.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Speed limits for Landrovers

I was driving up to Glasgow today and as I approached the airport, I slowed down to 40mph. Now why would you think I would do that? Could it be because that's the new speed limit there? Correct. I know this because there are loads of signs everywhere and I'm so clever I can actually read them! It makes sense to slow down anyway because the lanes are much narrower and more winding than they used to be. Anyway the guy behind me apparently couldn't figure out why I was going at 40mph and obviously couldn't read. He came up so close I thought he was attached to me. That irritated me but when he started flashing me I was sorely tempted to do something that would have been very wrong. Therefore I didn't :-) Instead I just made doubly sure I was not going the slightest bit over 40mph which, judging by the quick glance I had at his face, made him almost apoplectic with rage. Angry man in big, bad gas guzzling landrover - not a pretty sight.

But wait till you hear this. We reach the 60mph zone and I do what any normal person would do (if the conditions are right - and they were) and speed up to 60. Now that DID make him apoplectic judging by the contortions on his face. Like I said, not pretty Mr Landrover Driver and completely unjustified seeing as I was going at 40 in the 40mph zone and 60 in the 60mph zone. He then sped up to whatever speed which was breaking the law but I guess that'll be my fault an' all. Anyway just a little trivia in the midst of all this by election fever. Speaking of which - must go!