Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Notes from the Shires (The East Renfrewshires)

By Panda Paws

In 2010 I woke up around 4am and decided to switch on the TV and see how the election results looked. I was soon confronted by a very smug looking Jim Murphy. Granted he had every reason to be so since he had increased his majority in what was then the Tories top target seat in Scotland. Next, there was a split screen interview with him and Douglas Alexander and the first thing a smirking Jim said was “Did you win?” To a man in standing in a seat where Labour votes are weighed not counted! 

Alexander had indeed won with around 60% of the vote. It was the overwhelming sense of entitlement and complacency that struck me. These were people who had decided that the narrow SNP win in 2007 at Holyrood was an aberration and the people were back where they belonged, voting Labour. Labour owned them. 

They would surely come back home in 2011.Except they didn’t. 

The referendum would easily be won 70-30 except it wasn’t. 

And now Labour find themselves in an unknown position, far behind the SNP in Westminster polling. I don’t think for a minute that the SNP will win over 50 seats or anything like it, though I do think they will exceed their previous best. To be fair that was 11 out of 72 so it’s not a big ask. But areas that have been Labour since before the Second World War are looking decidedly shaky.

You’d think Jim would be safe though given:

General Election Turnout: 2010 51,181 (77.3%) +5.1

Labour hold
Majority: 10,420 (20.4%) +6.4
Swing: +3.2% from Con to Lab


Richard Cook

Gordon MacDonald

Gordon Archer

Donald McKay

But the last Ashcroft polling (sample size 1000) showed only a 1% lead over the SNP who had been fourth in 2010, over 20,000 votes behind him.

I live in one of the affluent parts of the constituency. There have been 3 SNP leaflets, all hand delivered. The Tories have hand delivered one and chapped my door offering another, perhaps hoping for a chat, which was politely if frostily declined. 

Now I know what it was like last year for Labour – standing beside Tories and saying “no thanks”! 

It’s also the first time I’ve EVER had activists chap my door at a General Election and I’m older than Nigel Farage! (Which frightened the life out of me; still I consider it proof positive of the premature ageing effects of excessive booze and fags.)

Bottom line Jim is facing a pincer attack by the SNP on Labour’s left and the Tories on the rig… actually his left!

So how is Jim reacting to this pressure? 

Basically by being on the TV so often I’m sure he has his own room at Pacific Quay, by touring Scotland with a message of old Labour conveniently forgetting his own Blairite credentials (he was David Miliband’s leadership campaign manager), the credentials that enabled him to win in an old Tory area. 

Except old Labour members can’t stand him. 

I’ve had some tell me it’s the one seat they hope to lose. He’s a right winger, a member of the Henry Jackson Society, ardent supporter of the Iraq war and Nu Labour to the core. Facts all the MSM “fluffers” in the world aren’t going to change. 

He’s also someone who voted for tuition fees; which if we’d had them 20 odd years ago would have cost him a fortune, given his nine years at Strathclyde.

Even when he says the right things, he does it in a way that undermines his message. 

For example he’s correct: the amount of NHS money spent on mental health is not only paltry but a disgrace. However, standing in front of a Scottish Labour conference when the party is in turmoil and baldly stating “25% of you have a mental health problem”, well did anyone with an ounce of sarcasm not think “as few as that?” 

The only Labour leaflets I’ve had have been delivered by the postman and, though he’s been seen in Barrhead (according to his twitter feed), there is no sign of any Labour activists in my area. Indeed I hear the Barrhead sighting had as much to do with him by being interviewed by Sky News than him actually canvassing.

He and Ed Miliband are not friends nor allies. Ed’s too far to the left for him. Tommy Ball’s blog suggested Murphy wants Labour to lose the election.

That way, Ed will be purged and the Blairites will be back in the ascendant. Murphy can either bid for the leadership or be assured of a plumb post in the next Labour cabinet. 

It’s an interesting notion but if Murphy presides over the loss of the biggest number of Scottish Labour seats in living history this would not serve him well in his Westminster ambitions. 

However, he has his back-up plan - his bid to be FM in 2016. 

Stop laughing at the back!

If Ed becomes PM, the best he can hope for is Scottish Secretary, the biggest non-job in the cabinet. The Scottish Office where there is so little to do, they invent conversations that didn’t happen in meetings they didn’t attend.

This election promises to be the most interesting in years. I’ll be staying up all night to watch, hoping for many Portillo moments. And whilst just a few months ago I’d never have believed East Renfrewshire might provide one of them, now I’m not so sure. East Ren now looks a three way marginal. 

Can someone buy the popcorn please?

Panda Paws is just some wummin, with an internet connection and some opinions, whom Munguin and Tris have foolishly allowed atl. She knew those photos would prove useful ;-)  A Yes voter last year, in an independent Scotland she’d vote Green. But we don’t have an independent Scotland and usually she doesn’t have any Green candidates to vote for. All sarcasm is her own, though heavily influenced by the Wee Ginger Dug whom she’d like to be if and when she grows up.  

[Editor's note. If you keep quiet about the photographs (I tell you there's nothing between me and Annabel Goldie) you can have a regular column at the usual rates... OK?]


  1. Little Ed, looks as if Nosferatu's going for his jugular. That was probably the plan, before he was flung below the bus.
    The wheels on the bus go, round and round, round and round.

    1. Don't kiss me... stay away... I thought it was bad last year with whoever she was, but this... Oh no... horror!

    2. He’s not even looking in Jimbo's eyes, he's spotted the bacon sandwich on his right shoulder, where the chip usually is.

      Great post, Panda Paws; I hope my levity doesn't detract.

    3. Yeah...don't get too used to the high quality, it's back to me tomorrow!!!

    4. I should think so. Though you're usually of a high quality, yourself. Grovel, grovel, cap in hand ( good song that ).

    5. Munguin says get up off yer knees....

    6. Muguin would never say that, just in case Jimnarlene forgot his place with him, more a case of continue to grovel Jim.

    7. You'd be amazeed how many grovel to the furry one>

  2. That bottom pic reminds me of this.

    One fine day in the middle of the night
    Two dead men got up to fight
    Back to back they faced each other
    Drew their swords and shot each other.

    1. Said they were on the left, but really on the right.
      Said they were socialist, actually Thatcherist.
      Got into a guddle, expenses to muddle.
      Everyone's deserting them, oh what a puzzle.
      Should've put Murphy in a muzzle.

    2. For the poetry lovers, among us.

      One fine day in the middle of the night,
      Two dead boys got up to fight,
      Back to back they faced each other,
      Drew their swords and shot each other,
      One was blind and the other couldn't, see
      So they chose a dummy for a referee.
      A blind man went to see fair play,
      A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"
      A paralysed donkey passing by,
      Kicked the blind man in the eye,
      Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
      Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
      A deaf policeman heard the noise,
      And came to arrest the two dead boys,
      If you don't believe this story’s true,
      Ask the blind man he saw it too!

      Apparently no known author?

    3. Own up. It was you.

    4. Can I claim royalties? No? Didn't think so.

    5. Paid at Munguin's standard rates? Yes.

    6. Now that is a new one on me but then poetry is not my thing. Sums that lot up though, very well.

  3. Is Murphy going to have a Madonna moment and snog the person he's on stage with?

    (apologies to those eating dinner)

    1. Ye gads.

      I'm going for a lie down.

    2. Now I have a dodgy stomach right now and some people have no thought for others. Ed might also be quite sick at that thought, not that I care.

  4. Ye couldnae make it up, just heard oor Jim is "campaigning for a fairer Scotland", after two fekin years of arguing against the best chance we had of making Scotland fairer, and shouting fae an irn- bru crate at any body that questioned him.

    1. I thought he was hiding in Ms Lamont's bunker, or sleeping in the subway with Iain Gray.

      Well good luck to him, but I wonder for whom he wants this fairer Scotland. MPs?

    2. Well given what we know about him I think he wants Scotland to be fairer to him and his buddies and send them to Westminster so that he and they can continue getting wealthy. Sad but it ain't going to happen Jim, you have been tumbled to.

    3. I shouldn't imagine for a second he wants a fairer Scotland. He wan't a career...

  5. Oh I got quite excited to see that there were 21 posts then saddened to find only one of them was about me :-(

    So thanks jimnalrene glad you enjoyed it.

    "you can have a regular column at the usual rates... OK?"

    is that one of those exploitative zero pay contracts? When the muse next descends I'll let you know.

    1. Ah. I see you've worked for Munguin before...

      The erm...cheque's in the post.

      Don;t be discouraged by lack of comments on the post though. It happens to me a lot.

      I cried a bit to begin with ... but Munguin threatened to dock my pay...and when it's £0 already, you don't want any reductions....so I got over it. :)

      I thought it was an excellent article and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

  6. Panda Paws. Excellent article and hope you write many more.
    We don't get any activistics round the doors either, up here in the Far Beyond, but am gradually suffocating under the rentless pile of Lib Dem election crap being shoved through my door by the Royal Mail.
    Yesterday's effort was a kind of newsletter, headed "The Highlands and Islands Gazette", printed and published by some good ole H&I company based in Lincolnshire.

    Lib Dems have never had to fight for their seats up here, so can't remember where they last left their activists. Probably down the back of the coalition sofa. The Tories have been told to vote Lib Dem to keep the nasty Nats out of heriditary soft-Tory seats in the Highlands and Islands, so don't need to find any activists either and the Labour party appear to have some kind of 14 year old kindergarten refugee standing up here, who nobody appears to have clapped eyes on either.

    Your final point - if Ed becomes PM... He will have to appoint SoS for Scotland from whatever dross of Labour MPs manage to hang on to their seats. Unless he intends to go into coalition with the Lib Dems, where can keep that very effective and political high-flyer, Alistair Carmichael. Snigger.

    1. They say tactical voting might win a few labour and Liberal seats. Maybe even the Tory seat.

      Tories voting Labour... and Labour voting Tory.

      Who knew there were the same party?

      Alistair Carmichael... snigger some more.

    2. thanks hum. veg. i've got another one in the making. So fair warning Tris. As for Dundee, it's got Desperate Dan, whereas East Ren only has Desperate Jim.

    3. I'm glad to hear it... It's had a lot of hits.

  7. Aye, Danny Alexander is pulling out all the stops with his mailshots and television appearances. I think he has got something going with the producers of Daily Politics since he has now been on three times in the past two weeks and was touting for more the other day.

    All to no avail Danny. You are a puff of smoke.

  8. Cracking Article Panda paws,

    I stayed up during the referendum and saw the unionists jumping about celebrating and i thought "only in Scotland". We're the only place where -

    Oil is bad .... very bad.
    Mp's TELL us what's right . No choice just eat your cereal
    SNP - really really bad..... worse than oil apparently.
    MSM treat us a fools and idiots.
    WM treats us fools and Nazi's
    Peodophiles get amnesty in the HOC and HOL
    Bankers ruin the country and get whopping bonuses to boot.
    Foodbanks are the norm when Asda or Tesco is shut. ( they did say folk go for free food only) :(
    Young folk are abused and bullied because there is no work.

    I could go on for days .... even years but you get the jist.

    It's refreshing to read someone else's comments that lift you and remind you that your not alone.

    So bug thumbs up from me PP. You have put a smile on my grumpy face and restored my faith in fellow Scots.

    Tris your going t have to watch your back now. Munguin recognises talent when he sees it.

    Great blog Tris. The pictures say as much as the articles and comments .

    1. I know Richy... I'm already on my last warning. He's threatening to have PP brought over from the shires to replace me.

      Not sure she'd take to living in Dundee though... It's a bit down market after ER :)

    2. Thanks Richy it's good that you enjoyed it. And fair's fair the pictures illustrating the article are Tris's or possibly Munguins!

    3. Munguin was off for a few days in Geneva.

      I had to look out the pics myself.