Why Glasgow East matters

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

I’m reading the reaction to the by-election with interest. Yes, I know it’s not Islington, but Richard’s a Glaswegian-in-exile. And although he spent most of his youth in Shawlands on the south side, they did have a few years in Shettleston in Glasgow East. He felt Deborah Orr’s profile hit the right note, disillusion with Labour but not necessarily enough for an upset. It seemed inconceivable that Labour could lose here; we expected a Lab hold with their majority cut.

Instead there was a dramatic swing to what was effectively the Stop Numpties Party, as people from all sides backed the candidate most likely to beat Labour – with the tightest of squeezes on the other parties including the Lib Dems. Islington South voters should brace themselves for a letter from Emily Thornberry telling us that the latest election shows that if we don’t vote Labour, Islington will go SNP and it will be the end of civilisation as we know it…..

Does Glasgow East matter? The UK media is very London-centric. The stunning result in Dunfermline didn’t make headlines in the way that Brent East did. An SNP win doesn’t transfer easily south of the border. And Margaret Curran’s dignity in defeat – she said her politics is a cause not a career – may wear better than the macho air-punching by the winner.

Yes it matters: not as an acute crisis but because it’s part of a chronic decline. It’s the last election before the summer break, so will shape the political mood for longer. Losing Crewe was unfortunate; losing Glasgow East is carelessness. And to lose a safe Labour seat in Scotland is a personal humiliation for Gordon Brown.

I don’t think Brown will go a day sooner because of this result. But it does make you wonder: if Labour can’t win in a seat like Glasgow East, then where can they?



  1. bridgetfox said

    Touched to see I am now an honorary Scottish blogger!


    Richard will be very proud 🙂

  2. […] Why Glasgow East matters on Bridget Fox’s blog. “Losing Crewe was unfortunate; losing Glasgow East is carelessness. […]

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