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Duly elected

Brian Taylor | 03:11 UK time, Friday, 25 July 2008

Many congratulations to John Mason, duly elected to serve as the Honourable Member for Glasgow East in Her Majesty's House of Commons, not currently assembled.

Mr Mason, in case it had escaped your notice, belongs to the SNP and is a forceful advocate of independence.

Consequences? Conclusions? For the SNP, a stunning victory: up there with Hamilton and the two Govans.

Remember too that those earlier successes were recorded by charismatic, leading figures in the Nationalist movement.

That is not to decry Mr Mason's achievement. Quite the reverse. He faced a tough Labour opponent, a huge challenge - and he has won.

Helped, of course, by a powerful party machine which now frequently outguns Labour.

For Labour? An appalling result in a constituency they have held in various guises virtually since their party came into existence.

Tough fight

As I said earlier, I think they will blunder if they lump the blame solely on the PM. Yes, the folk in the east end may be less than impressed with Mr Brown - but they don't appear to think much of the rest of Labour either.

Will it, nevertheless, add to the pressure on Gordon Brown? Of course. Frankly, though, I don't expect him to stand down any time soon.

He already knew he faced a tough fight. It will, however, increase the trepidation around him.

Other thoughts. The Tories will be pleased to have moved into third place - although still at a lowly level.

Cameron factor? Don't think so. Not in the East End. Feisty candidate, perhaps. Plus folk seem to warm to Annabel Goldie.

For the Lib Dems, a poor night, slipping back into fourth place. Tells them what they knew: that they have to step up a gear.

Any message for independence? Not directly, I would suggest. People seemed more immediately concerned with food prices, fuel costs and the like: turning their anger on Labour.

Put off

However, at the very least, they were not deterred from voting SNP by Labour's reminders of the candidate's fundamental objectives.

Independence didn't seem to scare them as it might have done in the past. Doesn't mean they vote for it in a referendum - but might mean they aren't fundamentally opposed.

Further, they were not put off by a year or more of SNP government in Scotland. Quite the reverse. They are prepared to listen to - and vote for - an SNP offer.

That could be highly significant in the longer run, particularly if Labour continues to struggle.

For now, though, congratulations to the winner. And that is John Mason. Of the Scottish National Party.


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  • 1. At 03:45am on 25 Jul 2008, iain_stevens wrote:

    Its a wonderful night for Glasgow East and Scottish politics.I predict that Gordon Brown will be forced out by the autumn now.James Purnell may not be in the running to succeed him thuogh,as he might get some of the blame for the Glasgow defeat by announcing his welfare changes so close to the by election.

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  • 2. At 03:47am on 25 Jul 2008, Wee Archie Gemmill wrote:

    Congrats on still being up this late at your age, Brian. ; )

    It's a new dawn for Scotland. I might just stay and watch the sun come up.

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  • 3. At 03:53am on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    SNP must be very confident of taking Dunfermline now. When will McConnell formally stand down, Brian?

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  • 4. At 03:58am on 25 Jul 2008, gordybottler wrote:

    Come on Brian. We all understand your loyalty to the spent Labour Party. Without them you probably wouldnt have had a career.

    To try playdown the tetonic plates moving here in Scotland is just plain silly. If we want to read silly we would go to Wendy's Wee Brother. You know Wendy err Douglas Alexander, the ex Labour Leader in the Scottish Parliament.

    What we are seeing in Scotland is the awakening of the Scottish Nation to the fact that they are the proud owners of the Scottish Nation and do not have to put up with the rubbish anymore.

    Alex Salmond has predicted the results of so many changes, and has been correct everytime. Just Two years to go until the Referendum.

    Then we in the SNP will unleash our Scottish Patriots Volunteers onto the referendum which we shall win easily.

    Never say Never Brian. Not when Alex is running the Ship.

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  • 5. At 03:59am on 25 Jul 2008, Dewi_H wrote:

    Yes Yes Yes !!!

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  • 6. At 04:07am on 25 Jul 2008, Ian Lowe wrote:

    Fantastic news - I'm living in Australia at the moment (I normally live in Airdrie), and have been watching this with intense interest.

    here we are, over a year into an SNP government, and quite the opposite of labour's constant attacks that the SNP was a one trick pony, here we have a government that is liked by business, liked by the people and just getting the job done.

    All this despite Labour's petulent nonsense in the parliament over the budget, or scurrying off to westminster to try to undermine Scotland's government for their own benefit.

    As a life long nationalist, I don't think there has been a time when I have believed that we could actually have independence soon.
    Those 2010 elections are looking very interesting now!

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  • 7. At 04:24am on 25 Jul 2008, RossFraeToronto wrote:

    Congratulations to all those who voted in Glasgow East, Scotland needs her citizens to take part in her democracy.

    Congratulations also to Mr. Mason MP, I'm so very glad that it was you and the SNP who won. Because your victory can at long last bring some hope to the wee folk in all of Scotland.

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  • 8. At 04:29am on 25 Jul 2008, scot2010 wrote:

    Every Labour trick in the book used!
    -Calling a snap election
    -Calling it in the middle of the Fair
    -Bullying a constituency MSP to stand
    -Swamping the area with activists

    Didnae work though! We, as usual, out fought them. Good luck to John. You're right, he isn't a major figure, just a hard working, conscientious councillor. I'm sure he will bring the same qualities to Westminster. The people of Glasgow East will surely benefit.

    As a SNP member, I would like to extend my condolences to Margaret Curran. She appears to be an honest, if misguided, individual. Not her fault that her party is making such a mess of government. She did the right thing in stepping in to be the candidate, even though it was clearly done under great pressure from her party. She did as well as anybody could've and kept the SNP majority down. If G Ryan had stood, god knows how much we would have won by.

    Don't think Gordy will stand down either. Whether he is forced out is down to his party. Can't see them doing so

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  • 9. At 05:43am on 25 Jul 2008, paraleticutd wrote:

    Wow... Living in NZ and having fought for the SNP in the past,I would never have thought ,we could win in the heartlands of labour..Look out Gordon, Dunfermline will soon be free too. Roll on 2010 ,I am sure all ex pats will arrive by the million to vote for independance. There are over 300,000 Down under for a start. Alex salmond will have a statue as high as the Wallace monument when he goes, a real hero of the people.

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  • 10. At 06:45am on 25 Jul 2008, Caledonian54 wrote:

    Tectonic plates indeed!

    Yes of course it was a by-election and as my Dad always taught me that means giving the incumbent party a good kicking to remind them we matter, but Labour knew exactly what was at stake on this one; as scot2010 said in #8 they tried every trick in the book and worked hard to win.

    Complacency was never a factor - and yet a stunning victory for a good local councillor who had the common decency to actually live in the constituency.

    Mind you, I suppose we'll hear that that the timing was unavoidable and so the reason NuLabour lost was that all their supporters were sunning themselves on Brian's beach in Crete....

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  • 11. At 06:51am on 25 Jul 2008, Mitch wrote:

    A great night and how ironic that the Government put up Douglas Alexander on the BBC to give the labour reaction. It was his sister that caused most of this pain for Labour in the first place.

    Just goes to show....what you know is always better than who you Wendy??

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  • 12. At 07:08am on 25 Jul 2008, heilanlassie wrote:

    Congrats to Glasgow East and John Mason of the SNP. Its very reassuring to know that there is still some common sense left in Scotland and that the voters chose to ditch the New Labour candidate and send a message to Westminster and Gallavanting Gordon'. Maybe he should have descended on G.East and delivered a financial boost of 30millquid instead of investing in Palestine same cn be said of the African continent.Brown's policies dont work,his affection seems to exist for anywhere oversea and from my vantage point here in Canada is that the people deserve better ad unfortunately this is Blair's legagy also but apart from that Brown seems indecisive except whenacting like a Big Yin and dishing out cash that's badly needed on the home front.God you're almost bankrupt! Without the unions he's finished but Scotland could and should go it alone.Can you get your oil and gas back as its been well spent South of the border? Good luck and its been a brawbricht moonlit nicht the nicht..!!!!

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  • 13. At 07:12am on 25 Jul 2008, rotundular wrote:

    Congratulations to John Mason and the SNP for this stunning victory.

    Scottish media - wake up and realise your influence has waned. The Scottish people have moved on - why can't you?

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  • 14. At 07:17am on 25 Jul 2008, Nezavisimost wrote:

    I don't find the 'not a vote for independence' rant unconvincing- It was by Curran's own choosing to bring this by-election into scottish constitutional territory. Her first words after her selection were ' Councillor Mason came into politics for one reasoon, and one reason only- to break up the UK' Well Maggie, by your own words you put him on that platform- he's only in it for one reason, according to you, and yet it seems your very own scottish parliamentary constituents agree with him.

    The people of Scotland are so adverse to independence they just voted for a 'hard line nationalist' over a devout unionist, the best candidate Labour could have hoped for. Spin your way out of that one Unionists. Your era is over.

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  • 15. At 07:21am on 25 Jul 2008, Rab_oRuglen wrote:

    This victory is worth so much more than the one-offs in the west central belt previously, great though they were. This represents a breakthrough built on a substantial foundation of experience, experience that can only come with time.

    No other party leader would have had Alex. Salmond's courage in predicting a win in such a seemingly safe Labour seat. The man is both inspired and inspiring.

    Surely this must herald the beginning of the end of Labour's stranglehold on Glasgow and the west. It is much deserved and long overdue.

    Never mind Labour, Brian, the BBC is going to have to up its game too. Again, long overdue.

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  • 16. At 07:27am on 25 Jul 2008, virtualChristchurch wrote:

    Congratulations to John Mason.

    I was watching the result keenly from Christchurch early this afternoon, probably easier than staying up late in Glasgow.

    I hope the Scottish people's confidence continues to rise that we stand as a great and positive Nation on the world stage.

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  • 17. At 07:35am on 25 Jul 2008, Jake-the-S wrote:

    Does this mean there is a faint possibility that we will have a Scottish Olympic team in the London Games??

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  • 18. At 07:55am on 25 Jul 2008, jnsakademos wrote:

    As a Scottish unionist I am appalled by the total ineptitude of the unionist parties. Labour has become an unfunny farce of infighting (whcih took down Wendy Alexander) and post-modern ignoring of obvious truths (cf Douglas Alexander's fatuous post election comments.)

    I increasingly believe the union is doomed. 2010 will be the end, particularly as Labour are doomed in the UK and the Tories will take over - a gift to the SNP.

    Brian, it's time to start talking about the 'I' word seriously. Someone needs to do so, for the sake of our country, Scotland.

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  • 19. At 08:04am on 25 Jul 2008, DavieDites wrote:

    Come on Brian. You cannot view this SNP win in isolation. The New Labour project converted the Labour Party into a right wing party to appeal to the key marginals in England. This alienated their core supporters.

    They got away with this when Blair was PM but the idea was the Gordon would turn things around. He had a few weeks honeymoon before people realised that there was no change.

    Now the key marginals have turned against Labour, their core supporters have abandoned them and finally the unions are threatening to withdraw finance. They are finished.

    The people of Scotland are now faced with a permanent Tory government at Westminster. It is obvious that their only choice now is independence.

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  • 20. At 08:12am on 25 Jul 2008, colken67 wrote:

    Mr Brown did you think by having the by-election on the fair that you would win
    you lost well done Mr Salmond and Mr mason

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  • 21. At 08:18am on 25 Jul 2008, draboy wrote:

    Labour just don't get it. The ludicrous Des Brown, the ridiculous David Cairns and the incredulous denial of Douglas Alexander. We are really scraping the bottom of the barrel with this lot of dunces. They will hunker down with their other despicable colleagues and decide to launch into another futile and expensive foreign adventure and ignore Scotland.

    Well done the canny voters of Glasgow East who have shown courage and sense in electing a very good MP. Roll on the General Election when we can get rid of the rest of these imbeciles.

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  • 22. At 08:20am on 25 Jul 2008, Jockgreenleaf wrote:

    It's all the more astonishing because John Mason is not an impressive candidate and Margaret Curran is. The public seems to have become seriously disillusioned with Labour. I don't think it matters if Gordon Brown is ditched now. Labour is heading for the wilderness in both Scotland and England no matter who their leader is.

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  • 23. At 08:27am on 25 Jul 2008, Riggins wrote:

    How many more times after a result like this one will a Labour party offical say "we will listen to the people and correct our errors" yet each and every time they refuse to listen, instead they tell us what we should be concerend about.

    God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we should listen to twice as much as we say, Labour appear to have no ears and twenty mouths all saying the same thing over and over.

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  • 24. At 08:29am on 25 Jul 2008, Fifesfabprefab wrote:

    I never did like little englanders and I am no more enamoured of little scots. Aside from the fact that apparent ex-pats in the colonies put severalcomments in, other cloud-cuckoos provided most of the rest. I hope that John Mason MP is an excellent representative. I would add that the regular criticism of “nulabour” representatives is being thrown at the politicians the same voters elected. You pays for what you gets and if the outlook is rule by the people I know in the nats, I might even think about starting to vote again. Mind you, my Party would have to offer me better candidates. When my Labour msp was not re-elected, I could not have been more delighted. The nat replacement appears to be willing to work but her back-up Members are very second-drawer quality. The fact that many of the contributors here think that Scottish Independence is a magic potion illustrates why it will not be so. There are many things that need to change in Scotland. Top of the list is the Scottish mentality of ‘here’s tae us, wha’s like us’. I do not think that will happen soon and a vote for independence would merely entrench that bathetic attitude. By the way, why are so many contributions complete with spelling and grammatical errors. Will there be no need for correct language in the Scottish Utopia? Oh, Brian, how come you had the polls closed by 2112 ? Does a Westminster election not require polls to be open until 2200?

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  • 25. At 08:37am on 25 Jul 2008, bovrilheid wrote:

    Labour have forgotten about it's core values. It tries to be all things to all men by getting the middle England vote.....which is fine if you want power in the UK. The problem is that the policies that are good for middle England do not mean Hee-Haw to it's traditional core voters. ID cards being a prime example.....therefore the local promises of what we can do for you in East -Glasgow are not the general policies or priotities of the party. I think Labour would be better served if they were independent of UK labour. With the policies they have they cannot gaurantee the Scottish votes that got them elected to UK parliament.

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  • 26. At 08:41am on 25 Jul 2008, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Why should the electorate of Glasgow East or any other constituency vote for a party with this track record, nepotism and financial corruption, Labour should remember that you reap what you sow.

    April 2006 - Jack McConnell under pressure over breaking the ministerial code of conduct by giving public backing to a luxury golf resort planned by Donald Trump which could prejudice the planning process for the development

    April 2006 - Revealed that Jack McConnell met with furniture tycoon Robert Morris over compensation to relocate his factory on the route of the M74 extension. The £35million was more than double the original compensation offer

    September 2005 Michael Watson MSP jaimed for arson

    August 2005 - Revealed that disgraced former Scottish Executive special adviser, Phil Chalmers, is heading up a bid by French IT firm Atos Origin to secure some of the ID card contracts

    April 2005 - Revealed that Jack McConnell met with Labour donor Willie Haughey to discuss compensation on a land deal where the M74 would pass through Haughey's property. Initial compensation of £7.4 million rose to £16.5 million

    January 2005 - Jack McConnell fails to register a holiday at the Spanish villa of BBC broadcaster Kirsty Wark

    January 2005 - Sarah Davidson, once an adviser to former Scottish secretary Helen Liddell, lands a £75,000-a-year job enforcing McConnell’s smoking ban. The new job was never advertised. She was the civil servant who presided over a £200m rise in the cost of Holyrood before taking a six-month sabbatical to travel round the world

    October 2004 - Revealed that 70% of Scottish quango appointees have links to the Labour party

    August 2004 August 2004 - Former Edinburgh Labour Provost Eric Milligan appointed Scotland’s “welcome czar” to the tourism industry. Although not paid a salary he receives expenses to travel the world

    June 2004 - Willie Haughey, who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Labour party, appointed to the post of chairman of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.
    May 2004 Lord Drayson’s company wins non competitive tender contract after £50,000 donation to Labour

    February 2004 Labour criticised by Electoral Commission for late tendering of accounts
    January 2004 - Revealed that Schlumberger hired disgraced special adviser Philip Chalmers to run the Scottish Tourist Board’s Visit Scotland website. The website is part of a Scottish Executive PFI contract

    August 2003 - Failed Labour candidate Pat Kelly appointed to board of Scottish Water.

    October 2002 - Lanarkshire Labour party hold a Red Rose Dinner attended by a notorious drug baron called Justin McAlroy

    October 2002 - Forty-four constituency Labour parties in Scotland revealed to have failed to register agreements to accept regular donations from trades unions. Failure to do so is a criminal offence

    January 2002 - Norman Murray, Labour councillor and former convenor of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, appointed board member of the Scottish Ambulance Service at £7,305 a year

    November 2001 Henry McLeish resigns as Scottish First Minister after office expense scandal

    November 2001 November 2001 - Jack McConnell admits to affair with Labour party secretary who he tried to keep in situ by appealing to Labour MPs for funds. He says he has had no other affairs

    May 2001 May 2001 - Robin Young, a former non-executive director of Bovis (construction managers of the Scottish Parliament) appointed as permanent secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry

    April 2001 - Failed Labour candidate Keith Geddes appointed to board of Scottish Natural Heritage

    January 2000 Gordon Brown faces Inquiry over flat purchased from Maxwell ruins

    January 2000 January 2000 - Police arrest Philip Chalmers, who earned £50,000-a-year as head of the Scottish Executive’s strategic communications unit, for being drunk at the wheel of his car in a red light district with a prostitute

    October 1999 October 1999 - Failed Labour candidate Joan Aitken appointed as the Prisons Complaints Commissioner
    September 1999 Scottish Labour Party lobbying scandal

    July 1999 Ken Collins, former Labour MEP, appointed chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency with a salary of £45,000

    May 1997 Mohammed Sarwar accused of bribery


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  • 27. At 08:43am on 25 Jul 2008, Stargazer wrote:

    How the mighty are fallen. There was a time when you could put up a donkey against the Conservative party and expect to win. Now Labour can't win a seat, no matter where it is.. Because of that, all the result means is that Labour is in deep deep trouble and it is only going to get worse.

    Gordon Brown is under pressure? Yes, he is. But who in their right mind will want to take over with Labour heading to what looks like being an ignominous defeat? Any young aspirant will want to wait to take over the reins after that coming defeat and to have the kudos of leading Labour back to power: none of them want to be in possession when the defeat comes and see their chances of top office ended for good.

    Is this a vote for independence? No. Not really. But there is not too much doubt that there is a growing core of Scottish voters who are fed-up with Labour and that cannot bring itself to vote Conservative and that are fertile ground for the Nationists. They could be convinced if the parties that support the Union don't get their act together.

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  • 28. At 08:44am on 25 Jul 2008, BillBeattie56 wrote:

    Does this mean that Malawi will not have a new high comissioner?

    Better not chance it Jack.

    Well done Glasgow a great result for John Mason and the SNP really made my holiday

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  • 29. At 08:59am on 25 Jul 2008, DrLecter wrote:

    An SNP win by so narrow a margin. High drama indeed! Now who could have had the appendages to predict such a victory beforehand, save the bolshy First Minister?

    I have to say this win has taken my breath away. I had predicted a Labour victory by a narrow margin (3000-6000), as private polling had indicated some heavily entrenched views and party loyalties, especially amongst the 65+ age group. There was little acknowledgement of the potential consequences of their respective votes on generations to come. Asking many people in the area why they had voted for any given party usually met with the same unthinking answer, "because that's what we've always done." Frankly that had me very worried, as the younger age ranges had shown an unwillingness to engage and get out to vote, despite their apparently superior level of political awareness and sophistication.

    There are no doubt a whole range of reasons why this result occurred, and no matter who had emerged victorious, it is to be hoped the winning candidate will actively engage with and combat many of the well documented issues and problems from which the area suffers so unfairly. Mason himself seems a really nice man, indeed I've spent a few hours in his company in the distant past seeking his viewpoints on a number of topics. To me, he comes across as stolid, sensible and with a very hidden wicked sense of humour. A bit of a school master if you will!

    As for the others, didn't Auntie Annabelle go down a storm on the streets of the East End, even if few people put pen to paper in support of her candidate! Her bumble-bee personality seemed to appeal to people across the age ranges, and I'd be unwilling to bet against a creeping sense of future conservatism in the newer developments of the area.

    Congrats as ever to the winner, and commiserations to the valiant runners up!

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  • 30. At 09:01am on 25 Jul 2008, WebPendragon wrote:

    I sincerly hope that Gordon Brown remains in Downing Street till after the next UK Election.He is without doubt the Party's greatest Leader since Michael Foot.

    Seriously,what a great night for Scotland and the SNP.

    Frankly, I have always thought that Annabel Goldie is wasted on the Scottish Tories.How about some blue -sky thinking from the Conservatives ? What if they were to accept that the game is up for the Union and endorse Independance ?.There really is space for a genuinely Scottish Right-of - Centre party that is not compromised by it's association with an increasingly fading "British" identity.

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  • 31. At 09:02am on 25 Jul 2008, scot2010 wrote:

    Just heard you're no weel Brian. Hope you're feeling better soon. The Arabs need their most famous supporter for the new season.

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  • 32. At 09:05am on 25 Jul 2008, AndrewFR wrote:


    what has Dunfermline got to do with it? if you're referring to Brown, his seat is Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy.

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  • 33. At 09:09am on 25 Jul 2008, andfreedom wrote:

    Let's hope all those claiming this is a win for Scottish Independence (something I support) remember that the SNP ran a campaign based on "If you don't like Gordon Brown vote for us".

    However on a UK basis, why isn't there a cut off point in the opinion polls that forces a General Election? Labour still have over 2 years in power left before they will be forced to call an election, if they wanted they could do almost anything they wanted in that time (if they got there own side in line); destroy the country, sign us over to the EU, make us change our first name to Karl after their communist hero. It seems ridiculous that such an unpopular government can still weild so much power, surely a victory for British apathy if anything.

    And no Des Browne it has nothing to do with the Global Economy, thats the same under any Government, people voted for the other guy because you and your party are useless.

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  • 34. At 09:18am on 25 Jul 2008, minuend wrote:

    Margaret Curran v John Mason - John Mason won.

    Labour v SNP - SNP won.

    Gordon Brown v Alex Salmond - Alex won.

    Westminster v Holyrood, Holyrood won.

    Unionist media v Scottish voices, Scottish voices won.

    Labour government v SNP government, SNP won.

    UK v Scotland, Scotland won.

    Unionism v Nationalism, Nationalism won.

    Which-ever way you look at this astounding victory for the SNP the voters in Glasgow East have sent a very powerful message to the London establishment.

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  • 35. At 09:31am on 25 Jul 2008, LM wrote:

    This result is a damning inditement of Labour policy, nothing more, nothing less.

    A solidly working class seat has turned on Labour because they no longer represent their interests in any way. The mishandled proposals for welfare reform being the latest gaffe by the government.

    I think it's a real shame that most of the media try to portray this as a vote on Gordon Brown (essentially suggesting it's a personality issue). The simple fact is that Labour is gradually showing it's true allegiances to big business, and voters don't like it.

    Creeping privatisation, price rises and a generalised lack of real democratic accountability are what caused this defeat for Labour. The media should acknowledge this and get out of their parliament-centric mindset for once.

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  • 36. At 09:41am on 25 Jul 2008, Woundedpride wrote:

    As an Englishman watching all of this from the comfort of the home counties I can only say well done Mr Mason for making the lifetime of this government shorter and the 'stewardship' (if you can call it that: 'gaffeship' might be better...) of this Prime Minister much shorter.

    Surely Labour MPs - on their sun loungers until October while those of us who pay for them are still at work, by the way - now understand that they can never ever expect to win power again with Mr Brown and, moreover, that Labour is now so unpopular that many of their seats in England, Scotland and Wales previously thought to be above the tide line are now well within striking distance of the waves of public resentment.

    Do us all a favour, get off the sun loungers and get Mr Brown out of office this month or next. Please. The thought of Cameron in No 10 has no appeal for many of us.

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  • 37. At 09:41am on 25 Jul 2008, Fit Like wrote:

    Well done to the SNP for last night's result. They can be rightly pleased with what they achieved.

    However, before too many people get over carried away, the point to remember is that this was a mid-term Westminster by-election where, traditionally, disgruntaled voters frequently give (as one earlier poster so eloquently put it) the sitting Government a good kicking only for the losing party to regain the seat at the next General Election. It is notoriously difficult for parties winning mid-term by-elections to hold on to these gains come the main poll.

    This doesn't detract from what the SNP achieved last night but it does indicate the task at hand. A task that, perhaps, will be made all the more difficult when, in 2010, we are faced with the real possibility of a Conservative Goveernment at Westminster and the Scottish Labour Party falling back on its old ploy of claiming that a vote for the SNP is a vote for the tories by the back door.

    Anyway, interesting times.

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  • 38. At 09:50am on 25 Jul 2008, Backinmcr wrote:

    In all the analysis of the Glasgow East by-election may I suggest that the result suggests the "permanent Labour voter" may ditch Labour when an appropriate other left party is available (as with nationalists in Scotland and Wales). Who in the government thought it was a good idea for James Purnell to launch his americanized welfare plans in the same week as a by-election in on of the most benefits dependent part of the country?

    While there must certainly be some scroungers, Labour needs to be aware that the vast majority of people on Incapacity Benefit do not see themselves in this way. I suspect that many recipients do not vote (I do grasp that the current system had some negative side-effects in socially excluding people), but for those who do we just saw a news cycle in which *any* benefits recipient would feel personally attacked.

    Labour may already have lost the next election, but if it loses the poor and the working class, it will find it very very hard ever to come back. In England there is no real alternative to Labour (so working class people may just stay home), but if Scotland and Wales are lost, when will there ever be another Labour government?

    I fear that Mr. Purnell has succeeded in creating the political space for a much worse set of Tory policies which will demonize the working class and benefits claimants while allowing the continued expropriation of national wealth by the rich.

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  • 39. At 09:52am on 25 Jul 2008, Wopitt wrote:

    27- Cricket

    I agree, there are 3 main reasons why people could have chosen to vote for the SNP.

    1. They want independence
    2. They are satisfied with the SNP leadership in Holyrood
    3. They are fed up with Labour

    I suggest that point 2 is probably the most significant in increasing the size of the vote for the SNP, and point 3 in decreasing the Labour vote - as shown by the reduced turnout.

    The SNP are entitled to their moment of triumph and glory, but a vote for the SNP in a by-election is not a vote for independence, any more than a vote for Labour was a vote for the Union. We voters are quite capable of making the distinction, and we know that we will get our chance in 2010. In the meantime, Alex Salmond is doing a good job and deserves recognition as the most effective FM since devolution.

    Congratulations to Mr Mason, and I wish him well in addressing the issues that have been highlighted during the run up to the vote. Glasgow East deserves a break.

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  • 40. At 09:55am on 25 Jul 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    I'd have to agree with the general tone of the blog by Mr T. This by-election victory is not an endorsement of independence, but rather a protest vote against the incumbent government in Westminster. Remember that while the labour candidate attempted to put the spotlight on independence, the SNP fired back that it was a choice between the two governments, directly firing their ammunition on the rising price of food and fuel and the rise in crime at Gordon Brown. I would say that the voters were convinced to fight on that battleground, not the battleground of independence.

    However, as the blog goes on to say at the end, the people were ready to consider an offer by the SNP and respond to it. And we should all know the power of normalisation; a precedent has been set, namely that an SNP candidate can be elected in a glasgow heartland, overturning a huge majority. It is much the same situation as having the first SNP government; it was not a vote for independence, but now we all have experience of government by the SNP and are more comfortable with it. By such 'salami slices' is the road to independence walked, rather than one huge leap.

    The pundit's chat on the night, as I recall, was a prediction that Labour would retake this seat in the general election, and I am forced to agree. But then again, the SNP have broken the Labour monopoly, certainly in Glasgow East. Labour may well still be able to repair the breach, but it will never be so strong as it was again.

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  • 41. At 10:05am on 25 Jul 2008, scotsman88 wrote:

    I’d just like to remind the SNP supporters on here of a couple of things.

    1. People vote SNP for many reasons. Just because you are winning in by-elections and in the Scottish Parliament does not mean that support for independence is rising. In fact, support seems to remain fairly static (in a 3 option poll)

    2. Labour an the SNP fight hard against each other, not because of the independence argument, but because they are essentially fighting for the same group of voters. Both parties fight for those who have political leanings to the left of centre. I’m tired with Labour and agree with a lot of what the SNP has to say. However, because I am fundamentally opposed to Independence would never vote for a party who supports it. There will be people who are tired with Labour, but not so fundamentally opposed to independence who will vote SNP because they need a party, other than labour, to fill the centre-left of politics.

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  • 42. At 10:06am on 25 Jul 2008, Wee Archie Gemmill wrote:

    #18 "Someone needs to do so, for the sake of our country, Scotland."

    If you're a Unionist your "country" is the United Kingdom, and Scotland is just a region of it. If you want to claim Scotland as your nation, then stop clinging onto the butcher's-apron strings and let it be one again.

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  • 43. At 10:06am on 25 Jul 2008, Licquor wrote:

    The tide has been turning for quite a while now in the Scottish political arena. The Labour coastal defences have almost been eroded to nothing.

    Gordon Brown is going to take the backlash for this defeat, he must wish Wendy Alexander could have held out for a while longer.

    The Labour party performance in Scotland has been deplorable for many a year and only the entrenched voting of the "Ah vote fur Labour cus ma faither did" electorate has seen them stay in power as long. The support of the Scottish media over the decades of course has promulgated this.

    I spent many years thinking that I would never see independence in my lifetime, lets hope I can hang on for another couple of years.

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  • 44. At 10:08am on 25 Jul 2008, badgercourage wrote:

    I don't think this is mid-term blues.

    Put crudely, Labour no longer represent working people. So why vote for them if they persue policies similar to, or to the right of, the Tories.

    Announcing the welfare "reforms" (which I'm glad to say will never reach the statute book now) was also crass and showed how out of touch these clowns are.

    I congratulate the SNP on their campaign. They clearly look more like a government that the Labour Party.

    And I look forward to Scottish independence, which I now judge to be in the best interests of all in the UK, except perhaps the Northern Irish.

    Also to a world where England and Scotland (and maybe Wales, who knows?) can have grown up discussions as separate but equal countires within the EU, neither blaming the other for all their ills.

    Bring it on!

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  • 45. At 10:13am on 25 Jul 2008, Wee Archie Gemmill wrote:

    #24 "By the way, why are so many contributions complete with spelling and grammatical errors. Will there be no need for correct language in the Scottish Utopia?"

    First rule of being snide about other people's grammar on the internet: make sure your own house is in order.

    - "Englander" has a capital E.
    - "Scots" has a capital S.
    - "Nats", when an abbreviation of Nationalist as in Scottish National Party, has a capital N.
    - "MSP" is an abbreviation of a title and should all be in capitals.
    - "independence" is not a proper noun and should NOT start with a capital.
    - quoting a sentence such as "Here's tae us, wha's like us?" also needs to start with a capital, since it's a sentence in its own right.
    - Your first sentence quoted above needs a question mark at the end.

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  • 46. At 10:26am on 25 Jul 2008, Jayeduk wrote:

    Congratulations to John Mason. I hope that he has a very successful term and can bring Glasgow East the prosperity it deserves.

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  • 47. At 10:35am on 25 Jul 2008, halcyonhalogen wrote:

    I feel ill. You know there will be love lost between the nations. It's not hard to push for independence based on hatred and mutual animosity, oppression and bloody-mindedness. The real trick is to find the truth of the matter. To show respect; and to understand that any relationship has its good points and bad points.

    I predict plenty short-sightedness and yet hope against hope for proper progress for all those concerned. The aching silence of this debate bodes ill to my mind. If this is divorce then why-oh-why is there no mediation or counselling taking place? It's just a bloody battle, isn't it?

    Anyway, raise the standards; fly the flag. Let's get it seen to. There will be winners and losers, same as ever. Remember to be who you are.

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  • 48. At 10:38am on 25 Jul 2008, Greetings_Earthlings wrote:

    To the victor the spoils. Congratulations to the Bishop of Motherwell and John Mason of the Scottish National Party. A majority of 365: that was the hand of God, Earthlings. Be suitably impressed and bow down in awe.

    While out campaigning in the highways and byways of the subordinate territory of Scotland, the political party known as SNP found a moral compass lying in the gutter and it picked it up. This has enabled the independence movement to slay the lumbering political dinosaur that was blocking the road to independence. The Labour fortress having fallen to the SNP, the country now lies before it practically unguarded by the forces of British unionism. It would appear that a new era may have dawned. Will the next UK government rise to its challenges, or will it be the last government of the UK as presently constituted?

    Therein lie political issues which are not without a moral dimension. As the Bishop of Motherwell will no doubt wish to remind you before long, everything to do with politics has a moral dimension, just as everything in this world has a dark side because what you refer to in your mythology as an angel descended from the heavens and entered your inner being:

    "... without longer pause
    Down right into the world's first region throws
    His flight precipitant, and winds with ease
    Through the pure marble air his oblique way
    Amongst innumerable stars, that shone
    Stars distant, but nigh hand seemed other worlds;
    Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles,
    Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
    Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales,
    Thrice happy isles; but who dwelt happy there
    He staid not to inquire..." (Milton, Paradise Lost, Book III)

    Who stayed not to enquire who dwelt on other worlds? The true embodiment of evil, Lucifer, who came to Earth instead but, so far as I am aware, has not actually been a candidate in a by-election. Unlike Lucifer, who, I fear, you are stuck with, I now take my leave of you, having generally tried to leave your planet pretty much as I found it, although a little benign intervention would not have gone amiss, I feel. Toodloo.

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  • 49. At 10:39am on 25 Jul 2008, siliconglen wrote:

    The result emphases the comments I made 2 months ago on this blog that Labour and Gordon Brown will hang on until 2010 and then be ousted by the SNP in Scotland and the Conservatives in England. We will look back to today and the May elections to see the writing on the wall. Seats previously thought to be safe Labour will fall to the SNP and the 2010 election for Labour will see heads roll in same way that 1997 did for the Tories. It's time for change.

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  • 50. At 10:39am on 25 Jul 2008, dubbieside wrote:


    I am glad your blog is back, missed it while you were away.

    If you had any doubt that this is a true shift in the political landscape just wait till the next by-election, which unfortunately may not be too long in coming as the MP for Glenrothes is ill.

    Any idea that Labour will learn from this are right out of the window, you can hear them already, by-election, mid term blues, world economic slowdown etc. This is the labour version of "it was a big boy that did it and ran away" it wisna me, it wisna us.

    Labours total policy now is all cross your fingers and wish for something to turn up.

    On Browns lack of leadership. Who in their right mind would want to lead Labour to a record general election defeat? Brown is there until the morning after the next general election. I can hear the spin now, new start, sent a message, back on track etc.

    It would make you laugh if it were not so serious, how much more damage can Brown do to Scotland in the next two years?

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  • 51. At 10:39am on 25 Jul 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    Can I add to #45 that there is in fact a space between the words 'severalcomments', and while I appreciate it is mere pedantry beside the excellent points made by the Rev, I add it only in order that the criticism is slightly more complete.

    Rev, an excellent job, I applaud you. I do not mind poor grammar or language construction within blogs as mine is far from perfect; but those who give criticism while being blind to their own imperfections must be shown the error of their ways.

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  • 52. At 10:42am on 25 Jul 2008, Bob_Shaw wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 53. At 10:43am on 25 Jul 2008, Wopitt wrote:

    44 Badger

    The realisation by that we will be irrelevent in the EU will be what prevents the demise of the Union.

    A new settlement that allows us to deal with local issues separately and international issues together is the most sensible outcome for all parties.

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  • 54. At 10:44am on 25 Jul 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Independence didn't seem to scare them as it might have done in the past."

    As I've been telling you for months - the Labour media scaremongering just doesn't work any more. The days when the Scottish people believed it are long gone.

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  • 55. At 10:46am on 25 Jul 2008, osian wrote:

    Congratulations! A completely unexpected result - I nearly had a heart attack when I saw it this morning! Alex Salmond and the SNP continue to be the strongest political force in the Uk at the moment - wish we had a leader like him in Wales.

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  • 56. At 10:48am on 25 Jul 2008, scot2010 wrote:

    #41 Scotsman88

    You don't say why you oppose independence so vociferously. From the tone of you post, you would like a left of centre government. Scotland will always elect such a government. The UK has rarely done so, and, IMHO, will not do so anytime in my lifetime. If you want the social justice and reforms that such a government brings, independence seems the obvious choice. It is for me

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  • 57. At 10:48am on 25 Jul 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    All we've been hearing recently is: "SNP honeymoon is over".

    Did you see the look on Salmond's face during the BBC interview last night?

    I have bad news for you Brian: the BBC's honeymoon is over.

    Scotland isn't swallowing it any more.

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  • 58. At 10:51am on 25 Jul 2008, Woundedpride wrote:

    The BBC reports: 'Mr Brown also said: "I'm getting on with the job. My task is getting on with the job. It's exactly what people want me to do." '

    No, Mr Brown, that is precisely what people DO NOT want you to do...

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  • 59. At 11:09am on 25 Jul 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    BBC Scotland reporter on this website: "It all seemed so unlikely right up until polling day."

    It only appeared unlikely if you are suffering from terminal Unionist bias.
    There were hundreds of people on this blog who believed an SNP win was very likely... including many Labour supporters.
    Why don't the BBC just give up and admit that?

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  • 60. At 11:11am on 25 Jul 2008, dubbieside wrote:


    I think a big sub plot to this result is the total humiliation of the Lib Dems.

    A combination of the Ming and I detect sleaze Steven have reduced the Lib Dems to a sideshow.

    The Lib Dems could have been in government in Scotland and Wales but chose to do what they do best, sit on the fence. Scotland has shown that we want people who can help Scotland be as good as it can be not Lib Dem apologists.

    The only choice for the Lib Dems is Rumble or Bumble, the dreadful Tavis would continue the downward legacy of Nicol.

    Any decent LD candidate should jump ship now before it is too late.

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  • 61. At 11:13am on 25 Jul 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    I see the thought police are working overtime today!

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  • 62. At 11:14am on 25 Jul 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Don't dare criticise the impeccably fair BBC!!!

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  • 63. At 11:19am on 25 Jul 2008, Dunky_R wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 64. At 11:26am on 25 Jul 2008, darwinsmonkey wrote:

    Sorry to put a damper on this but the fact that 58% of those eligible to vote did not turn out seems to me to speak volumes about the state of politics in Scotland and the UK as a whole. When the majority of people do not exercise their right to cast a vote in what has been portrayed as a crucial byelection, this can hardly bode well for democracy. Perhaps the non-voters were delivering their own subtle message?

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  • 65. At 11:29am on 25 Jul 2008, sailorjimtoo wrote:

    Congratulations to Mr. Mason.
    As one who spent most of his younger years having but two real choices in Scottish politics it is very refreshing to see that at last - the other coloured 'Monkey' has gone.
    After the war and until Mr. Blair moved the goalposts, Scotland's central belt voted simply on the 'coloured monkey' pricipal. i.e., if you painted a monkey blue, the Tories would vote for it or if you painted it red, the Labourites would vote for it. There are still a few 'dregs' around who still can't think for themselves - most of these seem to be in the Trade Unions if today's BBC stories are correct. It is only dinosaurs who keep resurecting old, failed ideas of socialism. These can only be imposed by brute force upon the ignorant.
    Now SNP - continue to listen to the Scottish People. Use their 'true grit' to elevate Scotland upward onto the world stage.
    As for the rest of you: never has 'grasp the thistle' been so apt. If you're scaredy,wear gloves!

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  • 66. At 11:29am on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re #32 AndrewFR
    "what has Dunfermline got to do with it? if you're referring to Brown, his seat is Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy."

    Yes of course - put it down to the late hour (04:53 CET) and forgetfulness of the Recent Boundary Commission changes. Wishful thinking before 2010, I suppose.

    More immediately relevant is the Motherwell & Wishaw SP seat where McConnell's impending departure in search of sunnier climes and a fuller wallet should result in another interesting by-election.

    With his constituents having been effectively unrepresented since his last surgery in September 2007 it should be an interesting contest whoever NuLabour put up for it.

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  • 67. At 11:34am on 25 Jul 2008, Dunky_R wrote:

    I seem to have been referred to the moderators as well. I'm pretty sure it was as concerned with the topic here as other posts and didn't breach house rules. Mainly commenting on the Lib Dem failure. Oh I think I know why it was because I quoted something I read in Private Ey concerning a donation and a dropped policy. I think they must be considering whether it is libelous or not. Well it is already in the public domain so no harm in posting it I suppose.

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  • 68. At 11:40am on 25 Jul 2008, Chris Morrison wrote:

    I'm amazed by labour.

    After last may many in the labour party said they deserved to lose and that their campaign tactics were wrong. The campaign of hope from the SNP thrashed the campaing of pulling down the opposition from Labour.

    Just over a year later we have the labour party making the exact same mistakes. Do they ever learn? ..well no, take this morning for example.

    Margaret Curran:
    "I regret that I did not win for Labour tonight. I do believe the Labour party has to listen and has to hear the message from the people of Glasgow East."

    Well done sounds great until good morning scotland this morning where I heard Neil Girffiths say:
    "I found myself on the doorstep ... people reluctant to look me in the eye - saying they were not voting Labour", he said. "They were quite clearly Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters who were voting for the Scottish Nationalists."

    That is a load of rubbish. And shows that Labour clearly haven't learnt any lessons at all. The conservatives remained solid and the lib dems didn't lose many voters. The protest vote was against his own party.

    Until labour really learn their lesson and don't just pretend they have learnt it they will be in opposition for a long time.

    The SNP's agenda for change and their agenda of hope gathers pace. Congratulations John Mason, I never expected to hear about victory this morning!

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  • 69. At 11:41am on 25 Jul 2008, Dunky_R wrote:

    Basically yes well done to the SNP but don't read too much into it. Though the turn out decreased (down to 42%) it's good to see a safe seat broken. That's two this year which is good for democracy. Shows it still works occasionally. The SNP aren't as squeaky clean as many here like to think. I like the idea of big wads of cash influencing policy decisions (though I can't really say as may be considered libelous so I won't specify). Don't really think BBC back labour, they seem fair and less sensationalist compared to other broadcasters. I think Independence is a romantic notion and derives from a persecution complex (partially justified). Nationalism looks inwards too much. However, after 1year of SNP we're not in a rut yet. Give it another 4 to see how we really get on.

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  • 70. At 11:45am on 25 Jul 2008, oldnat wrote:

    What a result!

    Barca 6 - Hibs 0

    I hope your broken arm, doesn't prevent you seeing the game Brian.

    I appreciate your renewing the blog, so soon after your accident.

    Get well soon.

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  • 71. At 11:47am on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re #33 andfreedom

    Some good points, but the "victory for British apathy if anything" you mention was in 2005 when NuLabour got 100% of the power in Westminster on the misguided votes of less than 25% of the electorate.

    Sadly, that won't change so long as our outmoded, unwritten, non-constitution remains in place. It doesn't look as though that will be the case for too much longer in Scotland. If serious constitutional change is not forthcoming PDQ, the SNP have the independence referendum in the bag.

    Bad news for the rest of the UK if the end result is a Tory government just as committed to the same ludicrous system that has given NuLabour three goes at wrecking the union.

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  • 72. At 11:49am on 25 Jul 2008, jamtart13 wrote:

    I still have not forgiven Labour for the Iraq war, I guess that many of Labours problems started when Tony went to war . I do however appreciate the working tax credits i receive which acts as a financial safety net whilst my new business finds it feet. I do wish that Labour moved more to the left and differentiated itself from the center ground. I like Annabel Goldie (not her policies) but the way Cameron lectures people really annoys me and I do not trust him and would worry about his experience. Saying that I look forward to the day that Scotland becomes independent again.

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  • 73. At 11:50am on 25 Jul 2008, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Labour want to have their cake and eat it: not to be blamed for this country's economic woes but still have people swallow that they are the saviours who can deliver us from it.

    Can someone here please explain Labour's logic? They cannot control the "global economic downturn" but they are going to "tackle high fuel and food prices". How can they "tackle" something they haev no control over?

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  • 74. At 11:54am on 25 Jul 2008, deltazippy wrote:

    Good Morning Brian,

    As this was a pretty stunning victory for the SNP, why have we seen no interviews on BBC news with either Alex Salmond, or anyone else from the SNP for that matter?? Have they gone into hiding?

    Or is it that BBC news in London have still not grasped the way in which the overall politics in Scotland have changed recently. The news headline this morning was followed swiftly with comment from David Cameron, and Labour, but no a squeak from the SNP. Are the SNP leadership avoiding the BBC or are the BBC avoiding the SNP?? Perhaps you might know.

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  • 75. At 11:54am on 25 Jul 2008, Dunky_R wrote:

    I'm getting a bit fed up of being put into moderation. A drop in turn out and a big swing. By-election usual though hughe shock and well done to the SNP. We should be scared that the Tories are gaining again. Admittedly it has taken ten years. But the biggest losers not covered quite so much it seems are the Lib Dems. Losing their deposit and coming fourth. Not good times. I don't think it was a vote for independence as SNP only won by just over 300 votes which would indicate generally the populace are still approximately 50:50 split on the idea. But we still have 4 years of SNP administration so let's see if we are still rosey about them (even after controversy within the last year) next time round.

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  • 76. At 11:58am on 25 Jul 2008, badgercourage wrote:


    A new settlement along the lines you suggest may be the best solution - or maybe not. Certainly it'd be best for the Welsh and Northern Irish, but not for the English, I suspect.

    But I doubt if a "Council of the Isles" or regional self-government with shared foreign policy will be on offer unless something radical changes.

    We need a hung Parliament in Westminster and not quite a majority for independence in Scotland before the politicians will be prepared to consider imaginative solutions.

    Labour will never support English self-government on the same basis as in Scotland unless they think that it offers them their only route back to power (or at least office).

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  • 77. At 11:59am on 25 Jul 2008, Jake-the-S wrote:

    When is Mr Brown going to equip himself with a hearing aid. He has said that he is going to "listen and hear people's concerns".
    In view of last nights results he is obviously needing some help in the hearing and listening department.

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  • 78. At 12:00pm on 25 Jul 2008, Anaxim wrote:

    Obviously this is a good victory for the SNP, and it does indeed make independence closer. No typical mid-term by-election, this.

    Where now for Labour? If this result was repeated across the UK, they'd get only 25 seats at Westminster. A 1930s Liberal-style meltdown is a possibility.

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  • 79. At 12:05pm on 25 Jul 2008, Jayeduk wrote:

    #64 darwinsmonkey

    I can only agree about the sad implications of a less than 50% turnout being hailed as amazing. While no system can ever expect 100% involvement (without forced voting anyway) I'd really like to feel we had a political system that was worth being involved in, and which people felt could have a significant impact on their problems.

    Sadly it doesn't seem that a vast proportion of the UK's population feels that way, and that is a crying shame

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  • 80. At 12:07pm on 25 Jul 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    John Mason*,

    Congratulations and best wishes. Hopefully, your services in the Southern Regime will not be needed all that long....


    * (a kinsman, no doubt, through my forebear George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights
    - the model for the US "Bill of rights", and all subsequent ones, including the European)

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  • 81. At 12:34pm on 25 Jul 2008, inmykip wrote:

    An earthquake? For the Labour party most definitely. For Scotland, a sign of increasing self-confidence within the electorate, a realisation that we can manage our own affairs, an acknowledgement that we do have an alternative to the rule of Westminster, I think so.

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  • 82. At 12:52pm on 25 Jul 2008, minceandmealie wrote:

    #52 invokes, of all things, the spectre of fascism. Really. I know which party spokesmen on the TV last night made me thing of oily apologists who would say anything on behalf of the state....but speaking more objectively, most would agree that a typical right-wing power-crazed government might, for example, introduce compulsory ID cards, cover the country with surveillence cameras, build a fleet of new nuclear weapons, and invade sovereign foreign states.....oh, hold on a minute.....

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  • 83. At 1:09pm on 25 Jul 2008, emmablogger wrote:

    Congratulations John and the people of the East End who helped him along the way. Far too long Labour have rested on their laurels. Time to actually do something instead of milking the system for what you can get out of it.

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  • 84. At 1:12pm on 25 Jul 2008, sacrebleu1 wrote:

    What a delight it was to wake up to this news! Well done SNP and John Mason. I'm sure the East End won't regret it.

    It is indeed a seismic shift - even IF only short-lived, which I very much doubt. The mould has been broken of solid West of Scotland constituencies where they used to weigh the Labour votes instead of counting them.

    Roll on Motherwell and Wishaw. A cert for the SNP. Why?

    One factor alone:
    Quote: Motherwell town centre is a pig-sty. Unquote. Who said that? Oe J McConnell, MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw. I agree. It is (having grown up in the town). So why should it be that way, with a Labour Council, a Labour MP and a Labour MSP and a Labour Government for as long as I can remember?

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  • 85. At 1:19pm on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re #38 Backinmcr

    Some very good points there.

    I'm almost but not quite in agreement with your: "In England there is no real alternative to Labour (so working class people may just stay home), but if Scotland and Wales are lost, when will there ever be another Labour government?"

    I would argue that despite Clegg pulling them a little to the right, the LibDems are still the only national party left of centre and even more importantly the only ones committed to electoral reform and completion of devolution to eliminate the Thatcherite "elective dictatorship" NuLabour have reincarnated. There was clearly no point in voting LibDem in Glasgow East because of our quasi-democratic 1872 voting system, but it may prove the only sensible choice for many ex-Labour voters at the general election, especially in England.

    Failing that, unless the centre-left can split from the NuLabour Thatcherites and form new electoral alliances, England will almost certainly suffer a landslide from Cameron's BluLabour Tories. With Scotland and Wales taking a different view, it will likely presage the end of the union.

    With Brown, Browne, & Co still in denial this morning I can only hope that the few remaining Social Democrats in the Labour Party will fight for renewal at the Labour conference and take to the lifeboats if they fail.

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  • 86. At 1:35pm on 25 Jul 2008, oldnat wrote:

    Let's not bother about the leadership of UK Labour - doomed anyway.

    I'm looking forward to Brian's insights into the Labour leadership in these new circumstances.

    Presumably Curran is now "damaged goods", and one wonders how many of the other candidates will find that the needs of their family prevent them standing.

    They could always make a bid for Annabelle Goldie to take them over!

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  • 87. At 1:40pm on 25 Jul 2008, Tom wrote:

    The Scottish National Party have came out winners from the Glasgow East by election.

    Let us hope that the John Mason can continue to convince the Glasgow East that Labour have not helped them and there are alternatives willing to fight their corner.

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  • 88. At 1:53pm on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re #50 dubbieside

    Good post and agree with all you say.

    Thanks for the reminder re MacDougall of Glenrothes. Michael Crick's one useful investigative piece during the by-election campaign concerned that very gentleman, but was spiked within a day for reasons I know not but can guess.

    With Holyrood back before Westminster, it should be Motherwell & Wishaw first, but with the number of Labour MPs "on the sick" and the expense disclosures in October it could be a busy winter of by-election fun for the SNP and misery for NuLabour.

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  • 89. At 2:06pm on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re #53 Wopitt
    "A new settlement that allows us to deal with local issues separately and international issues together is the most sensible outcome for all parties."

    That's surely the only way to save the union, but with denial part 97 from NuLabour and nothing at all on constitutional issues from the Tories, how is that going to come about?

    With the independence referendum likely coming soon after a Tory win in the general election, 2010 is very close. Discussing the constitution after the general election will be too late, but I don't think it will dawn on most Tories until about 2011 by which time the Scottish die will have been cast and Wales may be turning towards a similar solution.

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  • 90. At 2:08pm on 25 Jul 2008, Jake-the-S wrote:

    Although I am a supporter of SNP and am very pleased at the result last night I do have one concern about indepenence and that is how/what kind of opposition will be at Holyrood if independence becomes a reality?
    What we don't want to see is a toing and frowing from independence/union so how will an opposition function.
    Good government is only as good as its opposition.
    Can anyone give the benifit of their superior political intellect and shed some light on this?

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  • 91. At 2:09pm on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re #60 dubbieside

    Sadly very true.

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  • 92. At 2:19pm on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re #73 bighullabaloo
    "Can someone here please explain Labour's logic?"

    From this morning's interviews the new strategy seems to be: What an ungrateful lot of peasants not to understand how we feel their pain. We're going to sit in the No.10 bunker until something turns up because there's nothing we can think of to turn the situation around.

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  • 93. At 2:31pm on 25 Jul 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    In answer to #90, bear in mind that many of the top politicians of the UK are Scottish or Scottish educated; I appreciate that Brown and Blair are not particularly favourable to people right now, and certainly do not seem the most competent.

    But I think we would quickly get a solid opposition at Holyrood. Annabelle Goldie is already doing a good job, and would do well in leading a party to the right of centre, as I believe someone already mentioned.

    The last thing to point out is that while the SNP are vaguely left of centre in general, they are held together by the one common thread of independence. With that bond gone, as it would if Scotland gained independence, it wold release a host of successful politicians (successful as they have just negotiated Scotland's independence) who would presumably either start new parties or join existing ones, as they reflect their political views. I don't think we need worry about having enough politicians to go round up in Scotland in any case.

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  • 94. At 2:44pm on 25 Jul 2008, Brian Hill wrote:

    I can't believe unionists are still trotting out their 'protest vote' mantra.

    A vote for the SNP goes way beyond a temporary protest these days.

    Whats more the significance of this election over the 2 Govan's is it is not an isolated breach of Glasgow Labour's defences as Govan 73 and 88 was.

    This is the 3rd serious breach in 2 years the first being The SNP breakthrough in the Glasgow Council elections, the other Nicola Sturgeon taking Govan in the Holyrood elections.

    What had been fortress Glasgow for the unionists now has huge gaps in several of its crumbling walls.

    Glasgow is getting ready to fulfil its role of leading Scotland towards Independence.

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  • 95. At 2:50pm on 25 Jul 2008, gordybottler wrote:

    Just watched Alex Salmond being interviewed by an imported London Blonde Bimbo Reporter.

    The halfwit tried to put the vote as a close thing, until the big man pointed out to her that they had just achieved one of the biggest swings in the London New Labours 3rd safest seat in Scotland. As he said to the silly little girl who has to be sleeping her way to the top, this result was a contest between the Scottish Government and the London one. And as we all know Curran made Independance an issue by describing Mr Mason MP for Glasgow East a hardline Independance advocate.

    Alex pointed out to the bimbo that the SNP did a poll in GE based on one thousand voters and discovered that a very high majority do actually support full Independance ASAP.

    Two Years to go until we take our country back into full Scottish Control again. Roll on the great day.

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  • 96. At 2:50pm on 25 Jul 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Eoin_og (93),

    I agree. And we may retain the benefit of having shipped the most cravenly ambitious and corruptible politicians south. ;-)

    I've always reckoned that once independence is achieved, the SNP would fragment, having lost its common purpose. This would provide us with the likelihood of never again being cursed with a "majority" government. We would likely have half a dozen "viable" parties.... In my opinion that is an ideal well worth hoping for.

    Some thoughts


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  • 97. At 2:57pm on 25 Jul 2008, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Re #93 Eoin_og
    "I don't think we need worry about having enough politicians to go round up in Scotland in any case."


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  • 98. At 2:57pm on 25 Jul 2008, gordybottler wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 99. At 3:03pm on 25 Jul 2008, Jake-the-S wrote:

    Thank you Eoin-og for enlightening my grey matter. #93

    I would assume that there would be enough MSPs who would support maitaining independence to prevent any chance of unionism returning in your perceived scenario.

    By the way are you related to "Angus Og" that famous character from the Western Isles portrayed in old editions of the DAily Record

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  • 100. At 3:27pm on 25 Jul 2008, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    Ya Dancer!

    Alba gu Brath!!!


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  • 101. At 4:15pm on 25 Jul 2008, ironduke wrote:

    New Labour can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time..... Now they have reached the end of the road as now as we can see and are suffering from the results ot their 10 years of mismanagement. We can all see through the miasma of their spin, terminological inexactiudes and inability to answer any question hosistly and directly.

    The people are speaking through the ballot box.

    Time for the governement to do the honourable thing and resign and call a general election.

    But I guess these guys do not do honour..

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  • 102. At 5:01pm on 25 Jul 2008, rabbiehippo wrote:

    #99 regarding Angus Og ... did he not say 'Ochone ochone' a lot . Maybe Eon_Og could shed some light as to what that means ?

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  • 103. At 5:02pm on 25 Jul 2008, Dunky_R wrote:

    As much as Alex Salmond quotes his polls many polls show that independence is still only 50:50 (or not significantly different from an assumed 50:50). It is an amazing achievement by the SNP and as pointed out has broken the painted monkey or safe seat phenomena which is so bad for democracy. We are always tempted to look for a single factor to explain results but seldom is just one factor enough. I would say that this election is no exception. And it was close, just over 300 votes in it not the 1000+ we have come to expect. And turnout was lower than at previous elections for the constituency. Yes it is a message to Labour and a big boost to the SNP but it should also be a warning to all. If turnout is low then those who cast their vote have greater influence on the outcome. Though we do need electoral reform and maybe a form of proportional representation. Would an Independent Scotland be a republic or not? The key problem is that it was shared monarchy that inevitably led to union (as well as the financial issues that were key to the act of union). It's easy to fall for the romantic side of independence and the SNP selective history as to why. Want a decent independent Scotland? Become a republic. Or make the union so loose as previously stated (united on aspects of international agreements). I know I'll be accused of being a unionist but to be honest I'm on the fence about independence. I just know from recent history that nationalism isn't exactly good and is to introspective and plays the hapless victim. Bring on 2010 and lets see if the SNP stay that popular. Hung government all over maybe?

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  • 104. At 5:31pm on 25 Jul 2008, Jake-the-S wrote:

    #102 He did say that a lot and I think GB (UK) Brown will be saying it a lot over the coming weeks and months.

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  • 105. At 5:34pm on 25 Jul 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    "We are always tempted to look for a single factor to explain results but seldom is just one factor enough. I would say that this election is no exception. And it was close, just over 300 votes in it not the 1000+ we have come to expect. And turnout was lower than at previous elections for the constituency."
    You're right that there are many factors at work. And it may have been "close", but only after a massive "swing". Turnout was indeed lower than in the General Election, but was it "low" for a mere by-election?

    Roll on independence, followed by truly local "local government".


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  • 106. At 6:10pm on 25 Jul 2008, wheredowegofromhere wrote:

    102 rabbiehippo:

    If you google "ochone" it gives a meaning of "alas, woe".

    Pretty apt, given the circumstances (for some, that is).

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  • 107. At 11:41pm on 25 Jul 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    Congratulations to the SNP. Another nail in Gordon Brown's reign of terror. If you can do a Portillo on him in 2009/2010 my happiness will be complete.

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  • 108. At 11:48pm on 25 Jul 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    Glasgow is getting ready to fulfil its role of leading Scotland towards Independence.

    And England too. Plus y'all get to keep Glasgow.

    I'm not seeing a downside to this from West Sussex.

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  • 109. At 00:16am on 26 Jul 2008, U9461192 wrote:

    The Lib Dems could have been in government in Scotland and Wales but chose to do what they do best, sit on the fence.

    I think they'd prefer to be in government in England. And by withholding support for Labour in Scotland and increasing the likelihood of a pro-independence vote and with Labour getting found out for a decade of manipulation of statistics, increased taxation, increased public spending liabilities and nothing to show for it except a 100bn deficit this financial year then after 100 years in the wilderness the Liberals could be back.

    Best of luck with two left of centre parties in Scotland by the way. Hope the people of Glasgow appreciate all the money they'll have to keep taking off you to keep them voting Labour/SNP.

    I bet Labour didn't figure this would happen back in 1997. The numpties. I thought it was just a mechanism to get shot of Northern Ireland - just give pseudo independence to the Celtic fringe and eventually Northern Ireland will do the right thing. Ho, ho, ho.

    Scotland gets stuck with Glasgow and England gets stuck with Northern Ireland and Wales.

    C'mon Wales. C'mon Norn Irn. Independence is there for the taking. You have nothing to lose but your subsidies.

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  • 110. At 06:02am on 26 Jul 2008, RoryColf wrote:

    I just get the feeling with this by-election that Scotland is on the road to somewhere great. For years Ireland seems to have outshone our great neighbour. Its time for the Scots to manage themselves if you really want to. Why wouldn't you?

    It's your time now.

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  • 111. At 1:39pm on 26 Jul 2008, draboy wrote:

    "And England too. Plus y'all get to keep Glasgow.

    I'm not seeing a downside to this from West Sussex" Post 108

    Well it will be a big byeee from us and go slop with the Tories and your crappy economy

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  • 112. At 11:00pm on 27 Jul 2008, sanatogen wrote:


    It'll be a healthy eperience for John Mason to be more expsoed to WestMinster. Something most politicans in Scotland should do in order to have a broader perspective, hone skills and contacts.

    "It's all the more astonishing because John Mason is not an impressive candidate and Margaret Curran is."

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  • 113. At 9:41pm on 28 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:


    John Mason congrats to his new job and promotion....

    --Dennis Junior--

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